Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

January 14, 1993, Page 20

Transcribed by Sharon Schulte

Index of "Good Old Days" Articles


The Good Old Days

By Dee Zimmerman

The Hewett family's home, which was located on West 5th Street in Neillsville. It had been built by one of Neillsville's pioneering logger-lumberman, James Hewett. The photo shows young trees with wooden braces built around each to insure the growth being straight. Some of the city residents can remember the beautiful maple trees which lined 5th Street on both sides, making a shaded arbor from the beginning of the streets west approach extending to the business section eastward. This house burned in the 1940s, thus destroying a landmark in this city.

James Hewett came to Clark County in 1856, from Essex County, New York. After arriving here, he worked on a bridge project during the winter of 1856-1857, a bridge crossing the Black River (opposite what was known as the Arch Day’s Hotel). The next winter he worked for Major Wedge on Wedge’s Creek, earning $30 per month.

In January of 1859, he formed a partnership with Chauncey Blakeslee and O.S. Woods under the firm name of Hewett, Woods & Co. That firm continued for about ten years. Woods went to LaCrosse in 1867 to care for the firm’s business in that area. In 1869, Blakeslee withdrew from the business and moved to Sparta. The firm bought a steam tug in 1870, and another in 1872, for the purpose of towing rafts on the Mississippi River. The magnitude of the firm’s business was seen when it was stated that from the year 1868 to 1873, they put into Black River from eighteen to twenty-five million pine logs per annum, averaging in value, (at the mouth of Black River), about twelve dollars per thousand feet.

During the summer of 1872, Hewett and Woods erected a fine brick building for about ten thousand dollars (on the corner of Hewett and 5th Streets) in Neillsville. On the upper front of the building placed in the brick facing visible yet today, are the letters H&W with number 1872 underneath. Mr. Hewett built an elegant residence in the summer of 1874, which cost about the same amount as the brick building.

Sherman (Frank) Hewett was the son of James Hewett. He and his family lived in the house on the small farm along West 5th Street. It was located on the lot and area where the St. John’s Lutheran School and Church are now located.

Some of the city’s residents went to the farm to purchase their daily milk supply during the time a small dairy operation was maintained by Earl Pierce, as it was conveniently located. Milk was bottled and distributed to local stores and cafes.

In the c.1940’s, a fire destroyed the large house. Mr. And Mrs. Earl Pierce and family lived in the house at that time. The fire started in the third floor turret portion and was believed to have been caused by faulty electrical wiring.

The house on Hewett’s is gone, but there is the street named "Hewett" as a reminder of one of Neillsville’s first pioneers. Also, the brick building identified with "H&W,1872," which is a cornerstone of the main intersection in the city.

We thank Lorraine (Pierce) Stanley for the Hewett house photograph. Lorraine lived with her parents and brothers in the house at the time of the fire.

Milk Condensery stacks were being placed in position when this picture was taken. The name of the business is partially visible in the picture "Oatman Condensed Milk." (Photo courtesy of Gertie [Gress] Hagedorn).

Compiled by Terry Johnson

Clark County Press, January 14, 1993

Twenty-Five Years Ago

Notice in the Georgas Funeral Home community bulletin ad: "Fish frys every Friday at the American Legion Hall Serving 5-8 p.m."

Lynn: Mr. And Mrs. Roland Helm and family of Cedarburg, Mr. And Mrs. Walter Helm and family and Mr. And Mrs. Eldon Helm and family were dinner guests Tuesday at the Louis Helm home… Miss Elaine Short of Milwaukee, Mrs. Allen Troemner and children of Madison, and friends from Wisconsin Rapids were guests Christmas day at the Arthur Short home… Mr. And Mrs. Dale Riedel and Mrs. Mamie Riedel were Christmas day guests at the Lloyd Riedel home in Wisconsin Rapids… Mr. And Mrs. Albert Hasz and family were Christmas day guests at the Charles Schwanebeck home in Sherwood."

In review of national news from December 1967: "Congress boosts postage rates… Medical first: Human heart is transplanted from traffic victim to man with coronary ailment… Congress enacts across-the-board increase of 13 per cent in Social Security benefits… Congress approves extension on War on Poverty… Congress O.K. is stamped on postage rate hikes and pay raises for millions of federal employees and servicemen.

Fifty-Year Ago

Looking back on 1942, the Press noted that it had completed 75 years of continuous publishing, since 1867. In 1942, the Press purchased the "Zbinden" building on Grand and Seventh, and moved to that building. The property had its Owen well, "the splendid old Zbinden well, which had provided excellent water for many years."

Included in the Year in Review was lists of the marriage, deaths and anniversaries of 1942.

Advertisers in the New Years supplement included many cheese factories: Greunke Dairy (Granton), South Grant Cheese Factory (operated by Mr. And Mrs. Walter Schmidt), the York Center Cheese factory, East Pleasant Ridge and North Star Cheese factories, Pine Grove Cheese Factory, West Fremont Cheese factory (Hugo Kobs), Woodland View Cheese Factory (Francis M. Knops), Hediger Dairy, South Lynn Dairy, John Wuethrich Creamery Co., Curtiss Cheese factory and Longwood Cheese factory.

In review of December 1942, "Hewett sale unearths ancient spinning wheel. Emil Ketel as highest bidder, becomes the owner… Mrs. Floyd Winn, Granton, attends 71st annual session of the state Grange… Sixteen army men, stalled here for a day and a night, are entertained by Rotary Club and USO… One hundred customers of the Lynn Telephone Company without service for two weeks after Thanksgiving eve snow storm wrecks lines… Coldest December in last ten years. Up to December 24, there had been only seven days when the thermometer rose above zero."

Seventy-Five Years Ago

"York Center. With tomorrow’s dawn, we will enter upon the New Year of 1918, so we will wish everybody a very Happy New Year. This includes the force who are grinding out the Times every week, the editor, the devil, the compositor, and even the Man on the Corner, the correspondents, and of course, the Wayward Kid. Let’s all make better resolutions and keep them."

"The Modern Woodmen had a wood bee this week Wednesday for Ernest Rose."

"Notice of Tax Payers. The tax roll of the town of Weston has been placed in my hands for collection. Will be at the Neillsville Bank every Saturday, at the Christie Store January 29th, and at Globe January 31, to receive taxes. W.A. Armitage, Town Treasurer, Neillsville, R.4."

"Galesville has a population of 1,000 and a Red Cross membership of 1,200."

"A young woman can get more out of a man by a brief smile, they say, than an old woman can with a long argument."

"Roddis Luber and Veneer Co., will buy logs at Neillsville this winter…."

"George and Ruth Free have been ill with scarlet fever the past week. Little Helen is at the Baer home at Granton, kept away by the quarantine."

"L.M. Sturdevant and daughter, Miss Viola, went down from Eau Claire last week to see Col. Clarence Sturdevant before he left for his new post at Palo Alta, Cal."

One Hundred Years Ago

"When Benjamin Harrison was elected President, there was scarcely a day that a delegation from the people did not wait upon him, shake hands and counsel with him. But Democrats dare not approach Cleveland in that way. He began to dodge the week after election, and to day, no common mortal can approach his house and shake his hand. Democrats have prated about "Ben Harrison’s coldness," but if there has ever been anything chillier than Cleveland’s reception to the common people who made him, it has escaped the public observation."

"The negro editors of Georgia have formed a State Press Association. Twelve newspapers are represented. The editors have issued an address discouraging immigration and urging negroes to work industriously with renewed vigor for the advancement of the race, and advising the cultivation of friendly feeling with their white neighbors. They also suggest using the word "negro" instead of colored, and that it be spelled with a capital N."

"A new buggy shed at the Sheriff’s official residence is being built by Wm. Free, Henry Sturdevant overseeing the work."

"Thousands of suckers with their mouths wide open, gaze up through the ice at the new bridge across Black River and marvel at the works of man."



© Every submission is protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.


Show your appreciation of this freely provided information by not copying it to any other site without our permission.


Become a Clark County History Buff


Report Broken Links

A site created and maintained by the Clark County History Buffs
and supported by your generous donations.


Webmasters: Leon Konieczny, Tanya Paschke,

Janet & Stan Schwarze, James W. Sternitzky,

Crystal Wendt & Al Wessel