Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

County Press, Neillsville, WI

October 20, 1999, Page 36

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 

In The Good Old Days   

Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News


October 1879


Mr. Westfall’s German friends gave him a party for his 62nd birthday last Sunday.  The celebration was sure to make him feel young again.


Rev. H. W. Decker, the devoted founder of the Advent Church in Clark County, was in our city this week.  He has been visiting the congregations at Windfall and Loyal.


C. Blakeslee has commenced erecting an addition to his flouring mill by O’Neill Creek.  It will be on the east end of the mill.  It is 18 by 32 feet, one story, to be used as an office and store room.


The work on the new flooding dam at the Dells is progressing.  We paid a visit to the huge flooding dam, nine miles below Neillsville, and found it to be a great magnitude of work.  Mr. Bright is in command of 85 men; one steam saw mill and innumerable teams of horses.  Thos. F. Brown, of Black River Falls, is the builder in charge of the construction with Dave Mason, of Neillsville, as his foreman.  Jim Boudon is doing the office work, sending out necessary papers on the project.


The dam which is more than half done will be about 350 feet long.  It is built on a rock foundation.  Instead of being a dam proper, it is a succession of massive piers between which are a series of flood and sluice gates and rollaways.  The piers are ten in number, built of sawed square timber and filled with rock.  Five of the piers are 93 feet in length, 12 feet wide and 18 feet high.  The other five are 52 feet in length, 12 feet wide and 18 feet high.  There are to be six flood gates 18 feet wide, one sluice gate 24 feet wide and two roll-a-ways 48 feet wide.  The rollaways are piers in themselves but a little lower than the piers proper, and descend gradually from the upstream end in order that the logs may be passed over them without being slivered or otherwise damaged. There has been over half a million feet of square timber used, and when completed will contain over a million feet.


Immediately above the dam, the channel widens to double its ordinary width and runs backwards through high banks for several miles on nearly a complete level.  It is quite certain that it will hold all the water that will ever be found necessary to flood the lower river sufficiently to get out the logs.  It should effectively settle the flooding question and make a fair drive possible, rain or no rain.


J. L. Gates & Co. have purchased at an expense of $400, one of Sargeant & Greenleaf’s Time Locks, which has been placed inside their large burglar-proof safe.  The lock is a clockwise combination which at a desired time locks the safe on the inside, unlocking it again at a certain set hour.


The Winnioka Post Office, in northern Clark County, is now being supplied from Chippewa Falls.  Bernard Brown is the postmaster.


Eyerly’s mill in the Town of Grant is about completed and will start operations next week.  A good supply of logs is on hand.  Indications are that Eyerly will receive a large patronage from the farmers of that vicinity who wish to get their hardwood and basswood timber turned into lumber.


A crowd of young men called at the residence of Thos. Garvin last Monday night and proceeded to Chivalrie Robert Garvin and his bride, the former Belle Cornwell, who were recently married. Robert felt and thought that he had manifested the right disposition towards those who felt a real interest in his marriage, and did not propose to be bulldozed into treating anybody who happened to feel thirsty at the unseasonable hour.  After enduring the racket and noise awhile, Garvin arose to protest, which ended in blows swung between him and some of the serenaders.  He had some of them arrested the next day and the case is still pending.  The serenaders were following a custom that should be rebuked by law.


The Greenwood Stage Line is also putting on the style with a new stage coach.  It was made by Barr Bros. of Greenwood, who have a good specimen of workmanship.  It is the springiest stage we have ever ridden in and it makes a ride to Greenwood a pleasure.


Fritz Brieg is building an addition to his bakery.  In preparing the foundation he had the misfortune to knock down a large brick oven that had recently cost him about $60.


The Colby people are in ecstasies over some very generous donation made them by members of the Central Railroad Company for the purpose of erecting a town hall and establishing a public library.  Gardner Colby, during a visit there last week, gave $500 towards erecting a public hall.  Charles L. Colby gave $100 towards completing a church already built.  Other gentlemen connected with the Central Railroad gave $250 towards purchasing a library.  After they reached Milwaukee, they telegraphed back news that the Emanuel Church Choir, of Milwaukee, will be present and give a concert in the town hall when the building is finished.


October 1934


On Sunday, Sept. 16, Janice Elaine West, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James West of Pleasant Ridge, was baptized at the Mapleworks church.  After the christening the following people were entertained to dinner at the West Home: Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Bartz and family; Art Bequette and family of Fairchild, Wm. Happe and family, and G. C. Kaddatz and family.


A syringe bush at the Sidney Patey home has finally overcome the obstacles of drought and blossomed.  Although the plant is due to blossom in June, the dry weather apparently retarded its development and it was not until this week that it blossomed.  The plant is sometimes called “mock orange” because of the similarity of the blossoms to orange blossoms.


The first organized state meeting of maple syrup producers will be held in Neillsville during the month of December.


Richard F. Kountz, a Neillsville pioneer and prominent of civic affairs, died on October 4.


Born at Pittsburgh, Pa, in 1848, he was the son of Hiram and Elizabeth (Sirwell) Kountz.  His father was a steamboat captain for a number of years, plying on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.  His father was born in Holland and his mother was a descendent of England.  Richard was only six years old when his father died.  Four years later, his mother remarried and soon after moved to Ohio where they lived until 1865.  His step-father enlisted in the Union army when Richard was 15 years of age and was left to help support the family.


It was at this time that an incident occurred which greatly impressed his mind and influenced his future life.  Gen. John H. Morgan, a noted Confederate Cavalry leader, with a body of troops crossed the Ohio River from Kentucky and invaded Ohio.  Rumors of Morgan’s dashing bravery and the devastation of his horsemen spread fear throughout southern Ohio.  While passing through the region where the Kountz family lived, Gen. Morgan took the young Kountz along as a guide for several days.  Though he could have been considered a prisoner of war, Gen. Morgan treated him very kindly.  He was deeply impressed by Morgan’s gallantry and humane treatment of the people as his troops passed, especially the care and protection given to the women and children.  He became an ardent admirer of Gen. Morgan and his men.


At that time and years later strong prejudices prevailed throughout the North against the Confederates.  Kountz’s experiences reflected the prejudice unfounded when he remembered Gen. Morgan’s actions.  Due to his respect for Morgan, Kountz has been a true Democrat all of his life. 


In October 1868, Kountz left home and went to Fort Dodge, Iowa where he spent the winter.  In the following spring he traveled to Black River Falls, Wis.  There, he worked in a store, bought wheat for an elevator, and later established a store in Humbird which he operated for a time.


In 1874, he moved to Neillsville where he went into a partnership with his brother, W. H. Kountz.  After a year in business together, they dissolved partnership and Richard followed various occupations.  About 1876, he was elected Justice of the Peace, an office that he held for many years.  After his election, Kountz began to study law by himself, and in 1879 he was admitted to the bar.  Previous to his election law enforcement in Neillsville had been very lax, as was true in most frontier villages and lumber towns.  But with Kountz as Justice of the Peace and later as police Justice and City Attorney, he brought an era of strict law enforcement.


For many years Kountz represented Neillsville on the County Board and was an influential member.  Locally, he served in organizing the first fire company, was active in getting the railroad built into the city from Merrillan, helped to organize the first electric light company and was its manager for many years.  For several years he was a Court Commissioner, and was County Divorce Counsel for several years also.


Kountz was married to Miss Emma Bailey in 1872.  To them were born two children, Winifred, who died in infancy and Kitty, now sole survivor of the family.  Mrs. Kountz died in 1919.


Richard F. Kountz, born in Pittsburgh, came to Neillsville in 1874, as a young man.  After being elected Justice of the Peace, he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1879.  He was actively involved in Neillsville City and Clark County government for many years.


Through the action of County Agent Landry, farmers of Clark County have signed up for nearly 100 carloads of ground lime rock to be delivered next month.  Purchased through the government agency, lime will cost farmers only $1.25 per ton laid down at the depot, less than half price.  The lime will be unloaded by relief labor at no cost to the purchaser; half the trucking costs to the farms will be paid by the government.


W. Wood, Director of Relief, has received the following letter from the La Crosse WERA office:


Farmers who have received drought relief from Federal Government in Clark County must work off at least one-half of their obligations before they can get further drought relief aid from the Clark County Office.  (There are those of us who can remember our dads going to work at jobs such as shoveling gravel on roads, etc., after fall farm work was done, working off the drought relief indebtedness received during the year and being happy to meet that obligation.  D.Z.)


A campaign to immunize all school children and pre-school children against the dreaded disease diphtheria is being started in Neillsville schools.  Arrangements have been made with all local doctors to inoculate children sometime in the near future.  It has been about ten years since the last immunization clinic was held.


The big annual Legion rabbit hunt is set for Nov. 4 and all Legionnaires are asked to meet at the Legion Hall at 9 a.m.  Only shotguns will be permitted on the hunt.


Judge Schoengarth, who owns the store buildings occupied by Jule Neverman and Nick Gangler has had some repair work done on the fronts including new plank steps, etc. pursuant to the President Harding Housing and Building program.  Harve Fuller who often finds these steps a nice sunny seat, appears to approve of the work.


The Harold Oldham family drove up from Crawford County where they have lived for some time.  They came by truck, bringing their household goods with them.  Once again, they will be living in the Town of York.


Mr. and Mrs. Art Russell were pleasantly surprised last Friday morning when they received a five-pound lake trout caught by Harry Fladstol in northern waters.  The Fladstols, who live in Ashland, packed the fish in ice and sent it as a gift to the Russell family.  The Russell’s invited Mr. and Mrs. R. P. Munger in to enjoy a roast trout dinner with them that evening.


The 1911 flood destroyed dams along the Black River.

Dells Dam was one of the dams that had to be rebuilt.



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