Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

 August 19, 1993, Page 36

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Good Old Days" Articles 



Good Old Days  


By Dee Zimmerman


The town of Lynn, located in the southeastern portion of Clark County, is one of the older towns of the county.


Some names of early settlers were: Geo. Ure, Bartemus Brooks and sons, Wm. Yorkston, the Sternitzky’s and Geary’s, many of whom were farmers.


The northern two thirds of the township was of a rolling terrain heavily covered with hardwood timber, such as maple, elm, birch, basswood, oak and ash.  The southern third of the township had a level surface which was covered with a growth of heavy pine timber, interspersed with the common hardwoods.


Once the land was cleared, the first agricultural crops to be planted were wheat, oats, rye, barley, corn, potatoes and grasses.  The grains and other harvested products had to be drawn by team across the country to the nearest market or shipping points, which was Neillsville or Marshfield.


In 1890, the Milwaukee Dexterville & Northern Railroad was extended to the town.  A few months later, the railroad was purchased by the Chicago, Milwaukee & ST. Paul Company, which built additional track across the center of the township, extending to Thorp.  Once the railroad was completed, the township settled rapidly.


Circa 1890, there were two large general stores, a post office, hardware store, meat market, hotel, livery stable, blacksmith shop and two saloons.  The 1890 population was recorded at 525.


Dr. D. C. Geary was the postmaster.  A two-room schoolhouse had been built and a town hall building was erected.  Officers of the town were Herman Yankee, chairman; D. C. Geary, town clerk; James Sternitzky, town treasurer; and John Hoover, assessor.  All of those men were farmers of that area.

Town of Lynn, as viewed toward the west in November, 1909


1866 – The McConnel Brothers Tavern in Lynn.  Two railroad companies were laying railroad track at that time, one line built west to east, the other line built south to north, intersecting one and one-fourth mile north of Lynn.  Many men with oxen, mules and men were employed by both companies, vying to reach the intersecting point first.  The loser was to build the half million dollar crossing.  The McConnel tavern was patronized by both railroad crews.  During one of the days of business at the tavern when both crews were there, an argument began and next a brawl broke out in front of the tavern.  One man was killed.  The Omaha rail crew reached the intersection first, so it was named Omaha crossing.  In 1917, John Bresemman purchased the building which was later known as the Lynn Store.


The old Opelt Store at Lynn – a typical General Store of the turn of the century;  It was owned and operated by Max Opelt, Sr., for 26 years, who died in 1937.  Max is seen in this photograph, at the far right, behind the counter and wearing a low, flat derby hat.  The clerk helping Max, behind the counter, at the far left, was Anton Hoganson who later became postmaster at Chili.  The elderly man, standing and leaning against the counter in front of Anton was Carl Opelt, Sr., father of Max.  The fourth gentleman was believed to have been a Gotter.  The large lamp, hanging from the ceiling, top and center, gave off more heat than light.  Lanterns are shown hanging from the ceiling on the right.  Max retried from the store in 1916 and went into farming.  He granted long-term credit, as much as a year, while owning the store.  The customers who were mostly farmers, made annual settlements on their accounts and kept their credit in good standing.



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