Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

December 3, 1992, Page 13

Transcribed by Sharon Stelloh Schulte

Index of "Oldies" Articles 





By Dee Zimmerman


James O’Neill, a lumberman, and who later was elected to the legislature in 1848, began construction of Neillsville’s place of elegance and hospitality, the O’Neill House in 1860.


The building was of frame construction, three stories with two stories being occupied during the time O’Neill was owner.  After his death, additions were added, such as the completion of the third floor and the entire building veneered.


In O’Neill’s day, the second story was featured as the “Bull Pen,” a large room where ten-twelve men bedded down.  Often that room was cleared for social affairs, mostly dances.


Then, as now, occasionally we want a break from our regular working routine by getting away for a couple days for relaxation, entertainment.  During the O’Neill House days, people traveled by horse and buggy, or the railroad trains to spend a weekend at the O’Neill House.  They could dine at its restaurant – dining area, spend the evening dancing, socializing and stay over by renting one of the hotel rooms.  Guests traveled from surrounding towns and cities in the central Wisconsin area, some long distances for that point in time.


In the photo, some frame buildings are visible behind the House, on the 6th Street side.  Those were the sample houses and the livery barn which were also built by James O’Neill.  The sample houses were so called because the traveling salesmen used the buildings for displaying their merchandise to prospective buyers.  It was near the railroad station and downtown which was convenient.


That entire area burned in February of 1911, which consisted of the hotel, several sample houses, livery stable and equipment, which at the time belonged to Mr. Frank Younglord.  The O’Neill (hotel) was owned by Mr. Sellers of Stevens Point.


The Post Office is now located on the O’Neill House site.



The O'Neill House on 6th and Hewett Street. It was a busy day for the hotel's business when this photo was taken in 1906 or 1907. The horses and buggy near the front door was probably delivering guests, whereas the horses and buggy at 6th Street side door was delivering food, etc. Notice the barber poles, one in front and one on the side of the building as there was a barber shop in the hotel's main floor. Also, there was a tavern, the lobby, a large dining room and kitchen on the main floor. Hotel waiter and townspeople stand near the hotel. Some of the employees were on the third floor porch, and hotel guests on the second floor porch when the picture was taken. The spire over the porch was decoratively built and painted to give the building a touch of "class" and elegance to an elegant hotel of Neillsville. (Photo courtesy of the Clark County Historical Society's Jail Museum and of the Ernie Snyder collection.)




Compiled by Terry Johnson




“Witnesses who saw the sheriff come out of the jury room afterward said his face was ashen in color.”  Sheriff David Bertz had acted on a hunch, an uneasy feeling he had, and he decided to frisk a certain defendant before allowing him to enter the courtroom.  As a result, Bertz found the .32 caliber revolver that the man had tucked into his shoe and taped to his leg around the handle.  The story continued, “In the office of Judge Gaffney, where District Attorney Norman Saracoff and Defense Attorney Hugh G. Haight were conferring with Judge Gaffney, Sheriff Bertz strode in, showed them the revolver and dumped five live .32 caliber bullets which he had taken from the revolver.”




A front page story told about a pet canary owned by Mr. And Mrs. Leo W. Foster.  The canary, named Sandy, had lived at the Foster’s for 17 years, and was 7 years old when Fosters got him.  “Sandy is so old Mr. Foster is afraid to handle him for fear his curling toe nails will drop out and the remaining few feathers will come loose.”


Pleasant Ridge Creamery in the Town of Grant was scheduled to close at the end of November.  This cheese factory had been incorporated in 1898 and operated continuously for 44 years, except for 11 months during World War I.


The New Year edition being planned by the Press was to have the theme “Production for Victory Under Difficulties.”  Articles would tell "how specific farmers and plant managers of Clark County are trying to keep up their volumn in the face of the labor shortage.”


The NHS basketball schedule was affected by rationing of gasoline.  Fewer games were scheduled, and it could not be predicted whether the scheduled games could actually be played due to circumstances surrounding the war.  Coach Gordon Eggleston said their lettermen would return to the squad:  Bob Horswill, Hilmer (Bud) Dudei and Leo Neville.  Vying for positions on the squad were the previous year’s “B” squad:  Earl Magnuson, Fred Subke, Jack Casler, Andy Anderson, Glen Roberts, Dick Prochanzka, Martin Wagner and Bill Tock.




“The deer hunting season for Wisconsin will open on November 21 and close on November 30…compared with 20 days last year…  A hunter, either resident or non-resident, may kill but one deer – either male or female, but not a fawn with a spotted coat.”  The license fee for residents was $1 and for non-residents $50.


Page four carried a humorous newspaper within the newspaper.  It was called “The Puckyhuddle Times”.  Here are some sample items:  “Flips Gumdrop says that the Puckyhuddle News makes the best fly paper he ever saw, as he has been using it on his kites all season.”  “The town board warped Monday.”  “Our blacksmith is suing Si Rubbin for damages.  Si’s mule stepped on the farmer’s toe Wednesday and ruined his this year’s corn crop.”  “Weather Report – Colder in the north, a mild breeze off the lake, partly cloudy if the sun don’t shine and darker toward night.”






“Many old soldiers, who contracted chronic diarrhea while in the service, have since been permanently cured of it by Chamberlain’s Colic Choleria and Diarrhea Remedy.  For sale by C.C. Sniteman.”


Legal Notice:  “Came into the enclosure of the undersigned on section 3, town 23, range 1 west, on or about May 15, 1892.  One yearling heifer calf, speckled, with red ears.  Owner is hereby notified to prove property, pay charges and take same away.  ANDREW SHORT,  P. O. Shortville, Clark Co., Wis.”


“The greatest single stone in the world has been quarried at the Prentice quarries near Ashland, to be stood on end at the World’s Fair, to show what Wisconsin can do.  It exceeds in size the greatest of Egyptian monoliths.”  It was made of sandstone and was 115 feet long.


“Lord Chief Justice Hale was perhaps the first judge to call attention to inebriety as a cause of crime, requiring special study and attention.  In 1870, he is reported as saying:  “If the murders and manslaughters, the burglaries and robberies, the riots and tumults, and other enormities committed during the last twenty years, were divided into five parts, four of them would be found to have been the issue and product of drinking.”



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