Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

September 1, 1999, Page 24

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 

Good Old Days    

Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News


September 1894


The citizens of Greenwood have been kept busy fighting fires up to last Sunday night, and they have done well in containing the fire.  If the fire doesn’t get south of town, we will feel perfectly safe.  The farmers in the Town of Warner, west of Black River have had a tough time fighting fires for the last two weeks.


W. H. Begley will open his new hall in Greenwood, on Sept. 12.  There will be room for 16 sets to dance at the same time.  It is as good of a floor as any other hall in the state.  Sam Calway, of Neillsville is the builder.


The G. A. R. dance held at the rink in Unity on Saturday night was well attended.  A very good time was had until 2 a.m. when an alarm of a fire was given which ended the dance.  The fire was found to be in the cellar of the Pettit house of which Mr. Pierce is proprietor.  The house was set fire by unknown persons, who used kerosene.  Nearly all the bedding and furniture was saved.  The barn soon began to burn from the sparks blown from the hotel.  The fellows worked like professional firemen and succeeded in saving Pettit’s house and barn, and Healey’s store. This is the second fire Unity’s had this summer, and it begins to tell on the size of the town.


Have you heard?  Wheat is selling for 52¢ a bushel.  Hurrah for Grover Cleveland!


Our schools in the Town of York are progressing just fine, with the following teachers at the paddles: Dist. 1, Viola Davis; Dist. 2, Lillian Canfield; Dist. 3, Jessie Romaine; Dist. 4, Mrs. J. McKenzie; Dist. 5, Ethie Kemery.


Oliver Chase, the guy who got sick of Clark County last spring and moved to Missouri, is home again to stay.  He said Clark County will be fine enough for him.  His father and family will move back soon, too.


A rain which lasted for 20 hours came upon our area Thursday afternoon. That is the first good rain we have had since early last June.  The forest fires have been put out; fall feed has started growing, and this has benefited the farmers in every way possible.


A farewell party was held at Henry Carter’s home Saturday evening.  Many Pleasant Ridge residents attended, all reporting a fun time. 


Wren’s saw mill of Pleasant Ridge is ready and prepared for a booming business next winter.


The powerful odor of rotten fish which rises from the city water whenever a faucet is opened is terrible.  That is another good argument in favor of a cleaner source of water supply.  (For the benefit of the more recent residents of Neillsville, our city water came from the Black River until the later 1970s, when wells were drilled about twelve miles from Neillsville and piped to our water towers.  Those of us living here prior to that time can remember the spring run-off odors and tastes of the treated river water.  I, for one, greatly appreciate our present water supply coming from the city water towers. D.Z.)


The beautiful Brewster house is shining out more everyday.  It will soon fit a queen’s taste as it approaches the finish.


George L. Lloyd was busy in his field south of the cemetery, where he is up to his ears in soot.  He has been burning pine stumps and log heaps, clearing the land.  It is wonderful how fire completely does away with the stumps in these dry times.  Lloyd has two springs stoned up in the field which holds a plentiful water supply to put in use when fires creep away from the stump piles.


Last Thursday morning Mrs. Samuel Warman and her baby arrived at the home of her father, T. D. Condit, here in Neillsville.  She had traveled from Duluth, where she, with her husband and child had been taken from Sandstone, Minn.  They had traveled by the first relief train that was run in to rescue those who had survived the awful fire that wiped out Sandstone and Hinkley from the face of the earth.


The Warmans had lived on their homestead, two and a half miles from Sandstone, in heavy timber.  A week ago, last Saturday was the fateful day, when, with Hinkley, ten miles away, the people of Sandstone saw the sky turn black.  They heard a noise like distant thunder, and they saw cinders and flakes of flame dropping to the earth.  A large firebrand fell at Warman’s feet as he stood near his house.  With this warning, he with his wife and child ran through the shower of fire and darkness, a half mile to the Kettle River.  Other people were there and more came.  Up to their waist in the river, the people stood for three hours, splashing water upon each other, while hot gusts of wind-swept fire roared about them.  They could breathe between the gusts, bending their soaked bodies toward the blasts of fire.  After the fiery tempest, had spent its fury and the ground cooled somewhat, the people left the water and spent the night wet and supper less on the river bank rocks.  


The relief train arrived four miles from Sandstone.  The women and children were taken by a railroad handcar, and others walked to the train which took them to Duluth. 


Sam Warman is working at a marble shop in Duluth.  They lost their household, and on their homestead, their house, barn and a large and valuable body of oak and pine trees, three to four feet in diameter.


The Warmans said the worst part of the ordeal was seeing the charred bodies of those who weren’t able to escape the terrible fire.  They feel fortunate to have survived and know they are young enough to overcome their financial losses.


The Upham Manufacturing Co., in Marshfield, is enlarging their loading capacity at their furniture warehouse.  When the addition is completed they will be able to load double the amount of rail cars as now.  Their furniture factory is so crowded with orders at present that they are working twelve hour days instead of ten hour days.  The men are receiving extra for the overwork. Every department is being worked to its fullest capacity.  The excellent furniture made by the Upham Co. is the reason for the increased orders.


A new barn is being built on Alanzo (Alonzo?) Huckstead’s farm along Pleasant Ridge.  The foundation is finished, ready for the framework.


The crusaders are reported to be coming back to Pleasant Ridge this coming winter.  They will be here to stir up our people on religious matters again.  Another of the plum pudding parties occurs again soon at our area church we are hoping.


Last night, after dark, Carl Neverman was run over by a bicycle ridden by Julius Hanson and knocked over.  His face was badly cut open, and his right shoulder was strained.  It happened near Wasserburger’s saloon, on a crossing.  No one appears to be to blame as Hanson tried his best to avoid the accident by turning the cycle handle which then struck Neverman’s face.  Dr. Matheson dressed Neverman’s wounds and took him home.


Farmers, who lack cash and wish to fix up their accounts at the Neillsville Times, may do so by bringing oats or oak fence posts, all they can spare, to our office.


September 1949


The York Center Methodist Church celebrated their 70th Anniversary last Sunday.  Heroine of the occasion was Mrs. Walter Rowe. She is credited with originating the plan for the celebration, and she was the leader in carrying it through.  It was she who prepared the history of the church, and it as she who played the piano and joined her granddaughter, Shirley Rowe, in singing “The Church by the Side of the Road.”


Among the 150 or more persons attending the celebration there were others whose memory reached back into earlier days.  Burt Lawrence, hard of hearing but vigorous in physique recalled the days in 1879, when as a youth he helped clear trees and brush from the land the church was built on.  Rev. W. J. James, whose first pastorate of the church reached back 55 years, was also present.  Rev. James was the star old-timer of the afternoon service, telling from the pulpit the story of his coming to the church.


In those early days, Rev. James was known as the “boy preacher” of the conference.  He could not vote until after his first service at the York Center Church had ended.  He had began his work at Pittsville, and when assigned to the new charge, he packed most of his belongings to travel by freight train, as at that time a railroad had been built up into York Center, and his belongings were entrusted to the railroad company.  He left Pittsville wearing his preaching Prince Albert suite and a few other things which he could carry. The freight was long in coming and the roof of the Loyal Church needed shingling.  So the boy preacher, dressed in his Prince Albert, went up on the roof and helped with the shingling job.


Finally, word came that his freight had been deposited along the railroad track, there being no freight shed, or depot or agent.  He went and picked up his belongings, but there ws no one to pay, to this day it is unpaid.


Rev. James’ father was a minister, also.  In his family, it was considered  wrong to prepare the dinner on Sunday, it was done on Saturday; men never shaved on Sunday; there weren’t baseball games played on Sunday, nor were picnics held on that day.  Many other memories were shared.


The total enrollment for the Neillsville Public Schools is 610.  The high school student count is 300; North Side Grade School, 97 and South Side Grade School, 213.


Six railroad cars wee unloaded at the Neillsville railway station, with approximately 154 tons of steel, the superstructure for the Black River Bridge west of Christie, on County Trunk H.  The cargo included about 104 tons of trusses and floor beams in preparation for the project.


The superstructure will be 81 feet long and 12 feet high.  A Milwaukee steel erecting firm is expected to begin work on the construction on Friday.  The heavy steel beams will be swung into place by a big boom.


The concrete abutments for the new structure were put in last summer.


Saturday, Sept. 17, is the date of a wedding dance in honor of Eugene Jepsen and Evelyn Bartz to be held at the Silver Dome Ballroom.  The Jack Kolbeck orchestra will provide the music.


A Pet Parade and a Penny Scramble will be features of Neillsville Harvest Days, now announced for Friday and Saturday, Oct. 7 and 8.


The government will give Vet’s Village to the City of Neillsville.  Title to 12 pre-fabricated houses which were moved here from Baraboo a few years ago to relieve the housing shortage, will be turned over to the city by the federal government as a gift, with no strings attached.


Up until this time the city has operated the housing project under a lease arrangement with the federal government.  The federal government has realized from $1,200 to $1,300 per year in the past for rental of these units, City Clerk John C. Brandt, told the council.  After the transfer takes place, these revenues’ will be retained by the city. 


Farmers Union invites the public to the grand opening of their new oil station on the corner of West and Sixth Streets in Neillsville.  Just completed, the building is of handsome glazed tile, faced with brick, equipped with a 10-ton truck hoist.


Another feature, are the two big “I” beams which support the sloping flat roof of the new station.  Each beam is 45 feet long and 21 inches deep.  They weigh more than two tons each, and cost a total of from $500 to $600.


Covering an area of 38 by 46 feet, the service station building rises 21 feet above the ground, and has an inside clearance of 16 feet.  It has a full basement, which will be used for storage and has a shop room for repair of milking machines and other smaller farm appliances.


The old frame building, which was left standing, is to be used as a display room for various appliances.  This display room is the space formerly used as a restaurant.  The old kitchen area, which was cut down somewhat in the remodeling, will be used as office space.


Directors of the Neillsville Farmers Union Co-op are: Herman Schoenherr, William Zank, Leo Korth, Elmer Kapfer, Edward Lindquist and Eugene Ehlers.  General Manager is Arthur Tews.  Albert “Lefty” Zank is operator of the new station. 

Shortly after the turn of the century, Neillsville had some automobile traffic, such as this scene indicates. Everyone was dressed in their “Sunday best.”

Stagecoach lines serviced the area’s needs for passenger travel and in-coming or out-going freight.  (Photos courtesy of Tufts Museum & the Glass Family Collections)



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