Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

October 6, 1999, Page 18

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Good Old Days



Clark County News


October 1969 (1869)


(Noted by transcriber that this should be 1869 instead of 1969 Dmk)


The third game of baseball for the championship between the Clumsys and Pioneers teams will be played next Saturday afternoon at the “windfall,” upon the farm of F. W. Davis near Maple Works.  A very interesting time is expected, and a large attendance of persons from the surrounding country will be there.  We believe it will be a lively contest.


Last Monday night the clothesline of Hans Johnson at the O’Neill House was robbed of seventeen sheets, four shirts and some other articles. John F. King’s place, a mile east of town, was visited the same evening, and their clothesline was robbed of four shirts and some infant’s clothing.  There is some low petty thief or thieves in town who make these hauls regularly every two or three months.  We hope they will be caught, clothed in tar and feathers, and whipped with a clothes-line.


The building of the West Wisconsin Railroad is continued with unimpeded progress, and doubtless before the present issue of this paper the iron horse has passed the boundary line of Clark County, reaching Humbird station.  This is glorious, and marks an important era in our history.  It places Clark County within range of the markets of the world and is really the first grand step towards the settlement and rapid development of a rich section of this part of the state.


We are requested to announce that Rev. J. J. Walker will preach at Renne’s schoolhouse, Town of Weston, next Sabbath at 10:30 a.m.  In the afternoon, he will preach at the school house near John Nichol’s in the Town of Grant, and the evening at Palmer’s schoolhouse on the west side of the Black River.


The Wisconsin State tax apportioned to Clark County for this year is $2,864.16, which, added to the county indebtedness of $3,292.99, makes a total tax of $6,157.15.  The amount is nearly $400 smaller than the tax of last year.


Geo. W. Baker, who recently established a chair manufactory in Loyal, brought into Neillsville the other day two loads of chairs.  They are nice looking, well made and prove to be products of the superior craftsman, Geo. W. Baker.


Loggers are preparing for their winter’s work.  We have heard of several crews who have gone into the woods lately.  They are making roads, building camps, and getting ready for the work planned before them.


Arch Day advertises to have a dance at his hotel on Friday evening, Nov. 5.  Of course, there will be a good attendance, being everyone enjoys themselves at Arch’s.  (Arch Day’s hotel was located about 3 or 4 miles south of Neillsville D. Z.)


A strange sight was seen the other day on our Neillsville streets.  An Indian “buck” was carrying a papoose upon his back as he walked along Main Street.  This is an encouraging sign to those who advocate women’s rights.


The newly improved road from Neillsville to Humbird is getting better everyday.  In its present condition it is much easier fro teams and wagons to drive over, being able to go to Humbird and back in the same day.  Clark County is already beginning to derive great benefits from the West Wisconsin Railroad.


O’Neill’s Hall was the scene of a gala ball last Thursday evening. The event was put on by the Germans of our area.  It was thoroughly German in its character and nearly so in attendance.  It is well known that the Germans are lovers of good music and are adept in the ‘poetry of motion.”  We could not help but notice the grace with which an “old country” lady of 62 years in age, waltzed around the room, out doing even those in maiden years and fairer form.


There will be a grand festival at the O’Neill House next Saturday evening, given under the auspices of the Methodist Church.  It is for the purpose of raising funds to meet the expenses which have been incurred in finishing up the new church building.  Stoves have been bought, some finishing work which includes plastering, and these items remain to be paid for by the proceeds from the festival funds.  A committee of ladies has been appointed to provide a well laden table of edibles with all the good foods to be had at this season of the year, especially an abundance of oysters to finish the great menu.


October 1939


More than 500 residents and school children attended the dedication of the fine new Greenwood High School auditorium and classroom building on Friday evening.


This is the third public school to be built in the city of Greenwood.  A formal dedication is planned for the first home basketball game during the second week in November, with Withee High School’s team as opponent.


Memories of many of the older persons present were shared, back 40 years or so.  Mayor Ed Buker vividly pointed out the contrast between the modern auditorium and classroom addition compared to the old log houses in which many received their early formal education. The old log school houses were of rough interior and uncomfortable equipment.


Grandpa Fenske, of Chili, celebrated his 89th birthday last Sunday, Oct. 1.


Still having clear eyesight, Fenske said he has seen a lot of living, most of it right here in Clark County.  He has seen the country around Chili cleared of the virgin timber to pleasant, open fields.  He has seen lots of wild animals such as deer and wolves.  Also, he has seen four and five generations of people in the area.


When Fenske first arrive in Clark County in 1882, he found plenty of work for a pioneer to do.  He worked in logging camps winter after winter.  The home farm then had only a log house.  The only livestock on the farm was a cow with no beast of burden for farm work.  The trees had to be felled and stumps cleared away for crops to be planted.  It was a laborer’s task for the immigrant family, which had to make good to repay relatives their passage money to this country.  They also had to meet the needs of a growing family.  Fenske cut grain with a cradle scythe; his wife tied the sheaves up in bundles.  When it was time to shear the sheep, Mrs. Fenske knew how to pitch in with that job, too.  As a couple, they worked and saved, making a place for themselves by industry and thrift. They shared a lot as pioneers.


To Fenske and his kin, the United States meant an opportunity fifty some years ago.  They could not see much future in Germany, so Albert, his wife and babies started for Wisconsin when Henry Neinas, an uncle of Mrs. Fenske, advanced money for their passage and provided a home for them until they established themselves in the new country.  Neinas had lived on what’s now the Ernest Montag farm. Fenske’s permanent home was on Section 25, Town of Fremont, where Mrs. Fenske’s parents arrived shortly before.  Her parents, the Pofolds, later lived with the Fenskes.


The Fenskes grew wheat as a farm crop, and had some ground into flour at the Neillsville Grist Mill.  A few Chili area farmers accommodated neighbors by hauling their sacks of wheat on one wagon to the mill.  Fenske would walk to the neighboring farm carrying a sack of wheat and return in a day or two to pick up a sack of flour, carrying it on his shoulders.  On one occasion, he carried a quarter of beef, weighing about 150 pounds, for a distance of five miles.  Their early pioneer days had numerous hardships which they were able to endure and now Fenske lives in greatly changed surroundings.


The city of Greenwood will have a new fire engine; the first mechanical pumper in its history is expected to arrive in six or eight weeks.


Contracts for a chassis, fire truck body and 500 gallon pump were approved at a meeting of the city council.  The total cost of the pumping engine will be $3,284.50.  The body work is to be started in Chicago this week by W. S. Darley & Co., whose low bid of $2,420 for the body, pump, booster, hose and ladder accessories was accepted.


The chassis will be a Ford with a Mercury motor, purchased by Speich and Braun, Inc., Greenwood Motor Sales, on it bids of $854.


Buy your hunting equipment at Coast-to-Coast in Neillsville.  A double Barrel Hammerless Springfield, 12 or 20 gauge shotgun, $19.95; Single Barrel Springfield, 12, 16 or 20 gauge, $7.49; Bolt Action, single shot Marlin, 22 Rifle, $3.98.  Ammunition specials are 12 ga., case lots, shells, 67¢ or American Eagle shells in all loads and gauges, 70¢ per box of 25, R. Reimer, owner.


Clark County’s new outdoor work relief camp in the Hay Creek unit of the county forest opened this week.


Ten men on county relief rolls were assigned to the camp as the first contingent to work out payment for necessities for themselves and their families during the next ten months.


The camp is located on the Hay Creek flowage, near the lake created by the new Rock Dam, and is near a large plantation of small Jack and Norway pine trees developed by WPA crews and forestry department workers last summer.


Establishment of the camp was approved by the Clark County Board of Supervisors at their summer session. At that time, an appropriation of $500 was made for the establishment of the camp and for its maintenance.


Work was started immediately under the direction of the forestry and welfare departments, and the camp now includes a foreman’s shanty, a garage and workshop, a combined kitchen and dining room and a bunkhouse constructed to provide quarters for 15 men.


Logs for the buildings were taken from the county forest. The group which opened the camp this week will at first be occupied with expanding the facilities of the camp.  Men assigned to the camp later will undertake improvement work in the county forest and prepare for future plantations.


The camp is under the direction of A.C. Covell, county forester, and Joe Lesar, of the Town of Hendren, is the foreman in charge. 


Neillsville has become a favorite dog named, “Pug”.  He travels exclusively by train, unattended.


From Neillsville to Granton, Marshfield and Green Bay; from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Merrillan and points south – Pug knows them all, and he is known by many.


Pug is a dog beset with wanderlust and plagued with a love of trains.  He is, to put it in the vernacular, a canine “hobo”.


For years he has pestered, pleaded and begged rides on the mainline of the Chicago and Northwestern, ranging from his home in Merrillan.


But of the late he has snubbed the snobbishness and the lavish comfort of streamliners for adventure on branch lines such as the Omaha.


Pug was in Neillsville again last week.  He came in on the early morning train and he left on the 3:21, just because he had made his rounds in the city, picking up choice tidbits at Roehrborn’s and other stops on his “regular route,” and was ready to leave.


No one knows just what kind of a dog Pug is.  “You got me,” said Pearl Lockwood, telegraph operator, when asked recently.  “I guess he’s just a plain dog.”


Pug’s thick chest and neck indicate something of the bull dog.  His coat of black and white with white usually covered by a heavy later of soot, suggest something of a hound.


Nor does anyone in these parts know how old Pug is or how long he had been riding the rails.


Martin Zilisch local express agent estimates Pug had been riding rails from eight to ten years.  His theory is Pug started hanging out at the Merrillan depot when he was a puppy.  Members of the train crew coaxed him into the caboose and took him on short trips.  And so it went.


Since then, Pug has become a snooty customer; for now he absolutely refuses to have the least bit to do with freights.  It’s the best or nothing at all.  And it’s always the best because all train men know him, and they treat him with consideration.


Perhaps one reason is that Pug knows his place on the trains, and never takes advantage of his preferred position with train-men.  He knows that the baggage car is the place for dogs. So, although he might board the train at a coach entrance, he quickly seeks out the baggage car.


Station agent H. G. Kvool says Pug never misses a train.  Half an hour before it’s time for the train on which he wants to leave, Pug is at the depot waiting, edging up to strangers and workers there begging for a pat.  The best anyone dares do for him is to roughly massage his dirty back with the sole of a shoe. But Pug apparently likes that, the rougher the message (massage), the better he likes it.


A few minutes before it’s time for the train, Pug makes his way to a spot near the tracks in front of the depot.  There he sits and waits.  Then the sound of the train whistle floats in from a distance.  Although the train (is) not in sight, Pug can tell by the sound of the whistle it is the train he wants. His ears perk up, he runs to another spot on the depot’s platform as the train approaches and there he waits until the train arrives.  And when it stops, he looks straight ahead, at the doorway, hustles aboard and back to the baggage car.


Pug’s visits are never regular. He may be back next week, or it may be two weeks before he comes again.  But sooner or later he’ll be back, riding in style in the baggage car.


Crudely built dams made of logs and rocks were built to control the Black River for running the winter log harvest down stream to market in the spring of the year.



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