Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

March 12, 1997, Page 32

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


In the Good Old Days


By Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News

March 1877


Lumbermen having crews still in the woods were made happy last Wednesday by a regular old-line snowstorm.  More snow fell on that day in this locality than during the entire winter.  On Thursday morning every man and team to be had was started for the woods.  The snow, if it lasts for a few days, will be a great benefit to lumbermen, as it will enable them to clear their skid ways, and add materially to the amount of lumber put in during the present winter.


Sol Joseph recently turned out from his shop the nicest single harness we have ever seen.  It was made of russet leather, with solid gold lined russet trimmings, and was a model piece of workmanship, and one that cannot be excelled.  It was sold to Forest Smith, of La Crosse, and if Forest hitches the right kind of a horse to a good rig with that harness, he will be irresistible.


W. W. LaFlesh, formerly editor of the Clark County Republican has organized a company for the Black Hills.  They will start about the first of May, overland, fully equipped for any kind of business, carrying six month’s provisions.


Those having cows running loose in the streets complain farmers do not have sufficient grain and hay in their sleighs when they come to town to keep said cows in good order.


Last Monday, Jackie Campbell, a seven year old son of R. M. Campbell, of this village and one of his little playmates, while giving an exhibition in what they could do in lofty walking, fell from the peak of O.P. Well’s barn to the ground, a distance of 22 feet.  Aside from having the breath and senses knocked out of him for a few moments, he sustained no injury and is all right again.  The escape from serious injury, if not death, was miraculous, and is a lesson that will probably last him for life.


1932 – Campbells Married for 57 Years


A marriage founded upon the altar of pioneer sacrifices of the severest character, in which each shared an equal burden in the struggles, was indeed well founded in the lives of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Campbell.  The Campbells can now stand back and look with lasting pleasure upon the 57 years of wedded life together.


On April 24, 1875, Charles Campbell, a husky 200 lb. farm youth of 20 years, Greenbush, Wis., and his sweetheart, Martha Gibson, the same age, were married in Fond du Lac.  They moved to an 80 acre tract of timber land in the Town of York, Clark County.


“We had to have a home.  Land was cheap up here and I thought I had muscle enough to go through with it,” was the way Campbell explained their reason for choosing Clark County.


When the young couple arrived at their land over a trail they had to cut themselves, they began clearing a patch of timber for the site of their new home, a log house, 18 x 26 ft.  While at the task, they boarded with a settler and his family, who lived a mile away.  On October 30, 1875, they moved into the new un-chinked cabin.


Brides of today who began their married careers in the modern type of home might well sympathize with the outlay that faced the young Mrs. Campbell in the log dwelling.  Only sufficient floor had been laid to form a base for the cook stove and kitchen table.  The stairway to the bedroom above, in the loft, consisted of slats nailed to the logs in the form of a crude ladder.  The floor of the bedroom was made of boards laid loosely across the rough hewn joists.  There was one door and no windows in the home when they moved in.


Without a dollar in money, only a few provisions and no employment, Campbells faced the long winter.  Despite the rather hopeless situation they did not abandon their faith in the future nor allow their instinctive cheerfulness to be dimmed in the face of great odds.  Though their parents were in comfortable circumstances, they refused to appeal to them for aid and fought their way single handed through a season of almost overwhelming hardships.


During the first winter, Campbells had no butter, milk or meat to eat and the only farm “machinery” they possessed was a double-bit axe.  They had no clock or lantern.  “We were young and in good health,” stated Charles.  “We had made up our minds to succeed by our own efforts and we were happy.”


That fall Charles returned to his parents’ home and drove back his team of oxen, taking five days for the trip.  His cousin, Webster Winn, who became a resident of Neillsville, accompanied him.  They had a “fine time shooting at marks and looking over the country,” in Charles words.  He laughed heartily as he recalled, telling about the oxen running away.  It happened when he had leaped off the sleigh and started for a farm house to inquire directions; a small dog ran up to the team and frightened the animals.


Winn, who had been sitting at the rear of the sleigh with his feet dragging along behind, suddenly came to life as the oxen thundered down the road.  He finally reached the whip and ran them into the fence.


Campbell said the sight of Winn’s struggle set him to laughing so hilariously, he was unable to ask the woman at the farm- house for directions to the next town.  He rejoined his cousin to help get the oxen back on the road.


Later that winter, Campbell obtained work cutting wood for a neighbor at a dollar per day, and finally as a teamster, $45 a month.


Money saved from working in the woods, along with working from early morning to later evening, enabled Campbell to improve the farm.  His tireless energy was revealed, in one year’s accomplishments, when with the help of one man for a month and two others for a few days, 13 acres were cleared and planted into crops.  The spirit of the pioneer had triumphed and the independence dreamed of in the couple’s “courting days” was realized.


Five children were born to them in the log house and three in the frame house they later occupied.


“People in those days didn’t have anything, but they weren’t discontented,” said Campbell.  “Nobody felt bad because his neighbor had more on his farm than he had.  We were all in the same boat.  There wasn’t any liquor amongst us settlers.  We had good clean fun and were satisfied to make a living.  I believe conditions were more satisfactory then, than now.  We’d all be better off if we had never seen an automobile.”  (Keep in mind; these statements were made in 1932.  What would Campbell say about the society today?)


After forty years on the farm, Campbells moved to Neillsville living in a home on West Fifth Street.  To help in remaining active, Campbell brought three horses to town with them, doing light teaming and plowing gardens for friends and neighbors.


March 1957


Voters of Pine Valley Mound district, bordering Neillsville to the north and west will vote next Tuesday evening on a petition to join the Neillsville High School District.


The newly formed Calvary Lutheran Church will have its first service Sunday, Mar. 10, at 10:30 a.m. in the Adler Theatre.  The Adler will continue to be the temporary place of worship for the new congregation until the new church building is completed, sometime this fall.


Neillsville Women’s bowling tournament all-events winner was Evelyn Wachholz with 1,527 pins (without handicap.  Second place winner was Nellie Quicker with 1,378 and third place was won by Avril Anderson with 1,368.


Leon Kapfer starts this week as the fourth member of the Neillsville City police force.


Schultz Bros. Variety Store will move to temporary quarters in preparation for the construction of a new and modern variety store on the present downtown location.  The merchandise will be moved to the former Skelgas & Appliance Store, about a half block north of their present site on Hewett Street.


C. S. Stockwell

He came to Clark County in 1882, in the employ of the La Crosse Lumber Co., and was a resident of the Town of Sherwood Forest.  In 1888, he was elected as Clerk of Circuit Court and had worked as a surveyor.

A surveying crew “on-the-job” in the late 1800’s, set-up camping site as they made their way over the land; three of the members were identified, far left, holding a pole, “Bill” Stockwell; third from left, C. S. Stockwell (engineer) and third from the right, Herbert Quinnell.



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