News: Neillsville – Description from 1877

Transcriber: Ellen Johnson

Surnames: Bunn, Hoffman, Hopkins

----Source: Ogdensburg Journal (Ogdensburg, NY) 24 Nov 1877)

Thinking some of your readers might like to have a description of that part of Wisconsin known as Clark County, lying along Black River and its tributary streams, I take the liberty of writing you a short letter on that subject:

On a journey thither, leaving Chicago on the Northwester Railway, we pass through some very poor, barren, sandy land, covered with stunted brush, her and there a bluff rising in peculiar form. We pass through Black River Falls, a village where formerly a large lumbering business was, and to some extent is yet, done. The surrounding country is generally poor land. Arriving at a station on the road called Humbird, we take the stage for Neillsville, about sixteen miles east, passing through a region covered with a poor , stunted growth of pin, the soil miserably poor; but on nearing Neillsville a complete change is seen; the land is beautiful and rolling, covered, where not cleared, with sugar maple, basswood, oak, and some other varieties of timber. The soil is rich and very fertile, the grasses growing luxuriantly.

Neillsville is a beautiful village, situated on a branch of the Black River, and is the county seat of Clark County, Considerable public spirit is manifested here. The Courthouse and High School are beautiful structures made of brick, the courthouse costing thirty-five thousand, and the schoolhouse fifteen thousand.

Surmounted on the tower of the courthouse is a bronze statue of a woman blindfolded, holding a drawn sword in one hand and scales in the other, meaning, I suppose, that strict and impartial justice is meted out to all.

The growth of pin in this region is generally confined to belts of land lying along the margin of Black River and its tributary streams. Fortunes have been made her by lumbering, and many of the lumbermen have fitted up splendid farms with beautiful, costly dwellings and very large barns. Good turnpike roads have been made, at the expense of the county, to different points, some toughing the West Wisconsin railroad. Grand opportunities are her offered to the hared-working man to purchase and make for himself a comfortable home, the lumbermen needing and purchasing all the hay and grain and stock as yet raised in the county. In winter the services of the farmers and their teams are needed, cutting and hauling pine logs to the streams, where they are floated down to the Mississippi River, manufactured into lumber and furnishing building material for the states of Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri and other western states. The lumbering region receives in turn the products of the soil and manufactured articles. Good farming land not cleared of timber can be bought in Clark County from six to ten dollars per acre. About three miles distant from Neillsville is a mound, about two hundred feet high, of sandstone, and about sixty rods in length; on its sides and summit are pine trees fifty or sixty feet in height. Their roots, penetrating the crevice in the rocks, give to the mound a beautiful appearance. On its summit there is a beautiful view of the surrounding country, the belts of green pine winding their serpentine course for miles in every direction.

The size of the county is 42 miles from north to south and 30 miles from east to west. Excepting the southern tier of townships, which is very poor sandy land, the soil is deep and rich, and will become a good dairying region. The population of the county is about seven thousand. There are a good man people from New England and New York; also considerable numbers of Germans and Norwegians. The Germans make economical and industrious farmers. Many of the lumbermen are from Maine. The Wisconsin Central railway, running from Portage to Ashland on Lake Superior, touches the easter border of the county. The Green Bay & Minnesota railway, connecting Green Bay with La Crosse, runs through the southern part of the county, while the West Wisconsin railway, connecting the Chicago and Northwestern with St. Paul, cuts off the southwestern corner. Thus the county is surrounded by railways on three sides, but there is no railway through the center. From Neillsville you may reach Chicago in sixteen hours and St. Paul in ten hours. There is published in Neillsville a paper, The Clark County Republican and Press, able edited by E.L. Hoffman. While in Neillsville the Circuit court was in session, the Honorable Romanza Bunn presiding, who, it is expected, will be appointed U.S. District Judge for the western district of Wisconsin, in place of Judge Hopkins, deceased. The legal fraternity is well represented here, there being nine residing in the place.



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