Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

  February 16 (actually 23), 1994*, Page 28

  Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

 Index of "Good Old Days" Articles 



Good Old Days  


By Dee Zimmerman


Neillsville Times, a weekly newspaper established in January 1879, printed a special edition on its 27th anniversary in January 1906.


One of the events which sparked the idea was the opening of the city’s new high school. Ground breaking for the building had been done in the fall of 1904.  Some of the stone work had to be taken down and re-laid due to the winter’s frost, plus other delays which caused the late opening in October 1906.


All cut stone in the building was Buff Bedford, from Indiana, considered top quality of all building stones.  The facing brick was of dark red sand mold with red mortar joints.  The cornice was galvanized iron and the roof was covered with Washington red cedar shingles.  All interior finish was a clear red oak, finished in golden oak.  The floors were of hard maple and the second floor had added acoustic material to prevent sounds transmitting to the first floor.


There was about 1,700 square feet of blackboards made of Pennsylvania stone slate.  The heating system was steam from a plant installed in the new building that was setup to heat the old school building as well.  A 70 foot long tunnel, built under-ground and high enough for a person to walk through, was built to accommodate the steam pipes carrying heat pipes to the second building.


The area residents were very proud of their new school facility and chose to celebrate the occasion with a special news edition as an update on their community and its leaders.









Judge James O’Neill of the 17th Judicial Circuit Court was born at Lisbon, St. Lawrence County, N.Y., in 1847.  After receiving his early education at country schools, he attended St. Lawrence University for three years.  He then worked as a principal of Ogdensburg Academy one year, took a full classical course at Cornell University, graduating in 1871.  He then studied law, being admitted to the Bar in 1873, coming to Neillsville that same year.  He had been a lawyer and judge, closely identified with the city and county the rest of his life.


In 1885 he was sent to the Assembly, in 1888 was appointed district attorney by Gov. Smith and went as a delegate to the Republican National Convention of that year.  A successor for John Bailey’s position as a circuit judge, in1897, was won by Judge O’Neill in an election held that year, a position he was re-elected to in 1903.  At one time, he was a candidate for Attorney General.


Judge O’Neill’s Uncle, the late James O’Neill, Sr., for whom the Village of Neillsville was named, and the Judge, became strongly identified with the city and its history.




Born in St. Louis, MO, August 1878, Campman came here as a child with his parents, traveling to Hatfield by railroad, at that time the nearest railroad town, traveling from there to Neillsville, by stagecoach.


He attended the public schools here, graduating from the high school in the year 1896.  After graduating, he entered the law office of O’Neill and Marsh to study and assist as stenographer.


In 1898, at the beginning of the Spanish-American was (War), he enlisted in Co. A. 3rd Bat. W. N.G. of Neillsville, seeing service in Puerto Rico.  After returning home, he accepted the position of private secretary for M. C. Ring, then attorney for the Northwestern Railroad at Madison.


In 1899, he entered the Wisconsin University Law School, graduating from that institution in 1902.


He was appointed court reporter in circuit court for Judge O’Neill in 1902, holding that position until 1904, when he resigned that post to enter the firm of Grow, Schuster & Co. in the practice of law.  During 1904 and 1905, he served as Justice of Peace, also.


Campman can be remembered by many as he lived to be over 90 years of age when he died. 




Krumrey was born October 17, 1856, at Plymouth, Wis.  He came to Neillsville in 1881 and went into the stave and heading business.  He later established a dray-line and freighted goods from the old depot across Black River.  Six or seven years later he branched out into the coal and wood business.  For seventeen years, he was an agent for the Standard Oil Company in the Neillsville area.




Born at Maple Works, near Granton one of a large family of boys, Marsh grew up in the home area.  He chose law as his profession, practicing in Neillsville and county for many years, starting as junior member of the firm of O’Neill and Marsh, senior of Marsh and Tucker, then alone and later as senior of the firm of Marsh and Schoengarth.  For years, he served as supervisor of his ward, was clerk of the school board during its building and held other offices.


His extensive law practice often brought some of his cases before the State Supreme Court.  Being an outstanding speaker and active in the Republican Party, he was often called upon to fulfill speaking assignments at public functions.  While the new high school was being built, he devoted much time to the work entailed with the construction.


This week’s Words of Wisdom:  It is neither safe nor honest to act contrary to conscience – Martin Luther




A resident of Milwaukee, Gates did a great deal in encouraging the development of northern Wisconsin and the future of the state.  He was referred to as a “Cosmopolitan Citizen,” meaning a citizen of the world, or in his position, a citizen of the state.


One of Gates’ predictions which became a reality; was that Wisconsin would become the greatest dairy state of all, a recognition held for several years.


Gates had an interest in Neillsville as he built the block on Hewett Street that was occupied by the Neillsville Bank.  He also established the city’s first electrical plant, plus supported several other enterprises and projects here.


(*transcriber note: We do not know the reason but we have two issues for February 16, 1994 and none for February 23, 1994.)



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