Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

June 21, 1995, Page 32

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 



Good Old Days


By Dee Zimmerman


On August 17, 1877, Andrew Shoop purchased a plot of land at the northeast corner of Section 8, township twenty-three North, Range (1), west of the Fourth Principal Meridian, Clark County from the U. S. Government.


A few years later, in 1886, Shop and his wife Susan, built and opened a country store on the plot of land, located along the stage line road, intersection of now Highway 73 and Miller Avenue.  The store was a short distance south of Andrew Short’s farm where the first Shortville Post Office was operated in Short’s home.  It was feasible that the store be named “Shortville” for the community that it was part of.


The Shoops owned the store and property until 1897 for a total of twenty years, and then sold it to Kittie Shaffer.  Shaffer ran the business for six months, selling in November of that year, to O. G. Barnes and wife, Tilda.


After leaving the Shortville store, Kittie and John Shaffer built a two story building one mile east of Shortville on the Pray Avenue corner.  The main floor provided space for a general store business and the second floor was used as a dance hall.  About ten years after the Shaffer store building was erected it was destroyed by fire.


Shaffer’s Store was built by John and Kittie Shaffer in 1891, on the corner of Pray Avenue and Hwy. 73.  The first floor accommodated a general store business, while the second floor was used as a dance hall, in existence for about then years when it was destroyed by fire. 


Barnes and wife sold the Shortville store to Edward and Nettie Ward in 1899.  They continued the general store for four years, and then sold.


Two brothers, Thomas M. and William J. Winters obtained the Shortville store in 1903, continuing the partnership for ten years, when Thomas bought out his brother’s share, operating it until 1933.  For a time during that span of years, Edward and Dora Bowen leased the business from 1924 to 1932.  Winter’s working the business when Bowen’s left.


Thomas and William Winters, as young men, had their photo taken at Juve Studio, Neillsville.


Thomas Winters was born Sept. 14, 1867, in the Town of Farmington, Waupaca County, and when six weeks of age he accompanied his parents on a two week journey in covered wagon drawn by oxen.  They traveled from Waupaca, to Clark County, locating on a farm in the Town of Washburn, near the rural community of Shortville. His first job away from home, at age 16, was driving logs on the Black River.  Later, he worked in logging camps and saw mills for many years on the Black River and its tributaries.


Winter’s wife, Jennie, was born in Cresco, Iowa, March 3, 1869.  Her mother died in Iowa.  Her father moved to Clark County, one of the five Short brothers for whom Shortville was named.  Jennie spent most of her childhood with her grand-parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Short, Sr., in Jefferson County.  She came to Clark County, attending Washburn School one term and during that period she met Thomas Winters who later became her husband.


Mr. and Mrs. Winters were married June 28, 1893, in the Presbyterian parsonage on the corner of Fifth and Court Street, Neillsville, by Rev. R. Everett, Presbyterian pastor in Neillsville and Shortville at that time.  On the day of their wedding they drove to Neillsville in a one-horse, top buggy.


Their honeymoon was the buggy ride from the parsonage back to Shortville where a wedding dinner had been prepared for them.  Mrs. George Bue and William Winters were their wedding attendants.  As was the custom then, friends and neighbors from miles around came to their home on that wedding night, gathering for a charivari.  They came carrying whatever would make a loud noise, such as guns, metal items, etc.


The Winters farmed on land later knows as the Clarence Reinart farm.  They had three daughters, Anita (Wall), Gladys (Stevens) and Merille (Vincent).  When Anita started attending school, she was very shy and became upset with leaving her parents, having to travel a distance to the Shortville School.  To comfort and ease Anita’s fears, they purchased the Shortville Store, moving to live across the road from the school building.  They leased out their farm.


Merchandise for the store was shipped by railroad to the Neillsville station where Winters picked up the orders with a team of horses and wagon.  Flour, Sugar and such staples were packed in wooden kegs or barrels.  As their daughters became old enough to help in the store, they would fill bags, weighing out 5-10 pound amounts of bulk foods to put on the shelves.


Mrs. Winters worked in the store along with her household duties.  Teachers of the Shortville School boarded at their home during school terms.


Winters served in various positions with the Washburn town board, was school treasurer for many years and director of Lynn Mutual Insurance Company.  The first concrete culvert built in the area, was installed with Winters’ help at Shortville in 1909, having to be removed in 1942 with the relocation of Hwy 73.


Other land parcels were made by Winters through the years.  He obtained a farm north of the store which was later owned by Adolph Mazourek.  Also, he bought a farm on Pleasant Ridge, property known now as the Gehrt farm.  Daughter, Gladys, married Irving Stevens and the couple farmed one of her parents’ farms.



A 68th Wedding Anniversary marked the occasion for a photograph of the honored couple, Thomas and Sarah Winters.


John and Sarah Winters with their sons; Thomas, on the left, and William, to the right; standing in front of their farmstead home.


The Winters’ moved to Neillsville in 1923, retiring in the house on the corner of court and Division, now the office building of Greater Insurance Services.  They lived to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary.  Mr. Winters lived to be 97 and Mrs. Winters was 96 when she died. 


A late ‘20s or early ‘30s view of the Shortville Store and attached living quarters.


(The Shortville story to be continued; Thank you to Ione Urban, Winters’ granddaughter for providing photos and information.  Also, thanks to Carol Mortenson for photos)


Ideas often flash across our minds more complete than we could make them after much labor. -- La Roehefoucauld





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