Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

September 8, 1999, Page 28

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 

Good Old Days     

Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News


September 1869


Those who want anything done in the line of gunsmithing are informed that they must leave their gun repair work, with Sam Green as soon as possible.  Green will be going to his homestead again this fall as the deer are running all over his farm, and he can’s stay in town much longer.


A new stock of stoves has just arrived at O. P. Wells’ hardware store. The celebrated “Tribune” cook stove is included with the shipment.  If you want a nice stove for the parlor, office or kitchen, you can buy it at Wells’ store.


Len Stafford has started erecting a building for a bowling alley and billiard saloon in his town.  He will have everything completed in good style, of course, and in a few weeks people will be able to go there for healthful exercise in the shape of pleasant amusement.


The heavy rains, of late, were a God send for those engaged in logging.  The Cunningham Creek came up to a good driving stage for the first time in three or four years.  Jack Creek, a small stream emptying into the Cunningham, came up high enough to permit logs held for the past three years to float down into the Black River.  B. F. French logged upon Jack Creek three years ago and this lucky opportunity was the first to enable him to get his logs to market.  The price of logs has been ruinously low this summer, so we shall not predict what this clean run of the river has done to prices.


Samuel Calway, who lately arrived here, has become associated in business with Emery Bruley, the blacksmith. Calway is a good workman of wood. The new firm advertises to make and repair, wagons, sleds, etc. in the best style according to order. The business will be located at Bruley’s old stand on the north side of O’Neill Creek.


A new town just started on the West Wisconsin Railroad and it will be named Humbird.  It is located on the southern edge of Clark County and is named in honor of Hon. Jacob Humbird, who has been instrumental in building the railroad.  It will not be long before Humbird is a lively town. A vast amount of wheat will be brought there for shipment to market.  Considerable building is going on there now.  


Geo. W. Barker, of Dodge County, who has settled in Clark County, has put up a turning lathe in Graves’ Mill, seventeen miles northeast of here.  He has begun the manufacturing of chairs, bedsteads, tables, and other furniture.  Graves has his mill equipped with a 35 H.P. engine, sufficient to the increase of the manufacturing facilities.  Barker intends to establish a permanent manufacturer of the furniture items.  Hardwood timber is easily obtaining (obtained) at a trifling cost, which enables Barker to sell at prices to command an exclusive trade in this area.


We are informed that the necessary papers are being forwarded and postmasters commissioned upon the new mail route from Neillsville to the Town of Loyal.  Everything will be in operation soon, and we will rejoice with the twenty-six area people. 


L. J. Glass has made up a large and neatly executed map of Clark County.  The map is made on a scale of one mile to the inch and is therefore 30” x 54” in size.  It is in quarter sections with all the different streams, large and small, which are drawn out and their courses faithfully shown.  Many of our business-men are in constant need of such a map.


September 1939


A new WPA wage scale has been announced for Clark County’s remaining 126 WPA workers.  The wage scale is now in effect.


According to G. E. Wiseman, district director of the WPA, unskilled workers on inside projects will be the only persons adversely affected by the revision.  They will receive $39 per month, which amounts to a one dollar per month cut in pay.  Unskilled laborers on out-of-door projects receive a pay boost of $2.90, making their total monthly wages $42.90.


The largest increase was made in the skilled labor group, which receives a raise of $12.60 per month.  They will receive $67.60 as compared to $55 under the former pay scale.


Clark County has eleven work projects in operations at present, according to Wiseman.  Those are as follows:


Operations Projects – repair of exhibit buildings at the fairgrounds, Neillsville; street improvements in Neillsville; curb and gutter in Abbotsford; curb, gutter and sidewalk in Thorp; improvement of dams, county-wide; and water mains in Dorchester.


Farm-to-market road project: county-wide in scope, with units of Hoard, Sherwood, Levis, Mentor, Washburn and Hendren.


General conservation project; Town of Hewett, Professional and technical projects: – adult education, soil analysis and worker’s education (one person working on each project).


St. John’s Lutheran school started its 54th year in Neillsville, opening Tuesday with the largest enrollment in its history.  Ninety-two children enrolled in elementary and intermediate grades according to Principal Erich Sievert, and at least two more registrations expected.


The regular meeting of the Clark County Conservation League, a county-wide organization, will be held in the East Side Hall at Willard on Monday evening, Sept. 11.


Attention please – anyone seeing a skunk with a yellow ribbon tied around its neck, please do not shoot as it is Jennie the unofficial mascot of Jack Creek Square.  Also, it would be advisable for any person seeing this pet running loose to notify us rather than try to catch it and bring it home. Jennie is still dangerous.  Please call William Noel if you see Jennie.


Levis voters will decide on building a new bridge at the polls in the town hall on Sept. 20.  The five-mile bridge was washed out when the Black River flooded about a year ago.


Town Chairman, Elmer Buddenhagen revealed estimates on the construction place for a suitable structure would cost about $13,600.  The cost would be met by the township and the county, to share and share alike.  Voters will be asked to act on a resolution to borrow $6,000 for the project from the trust funds of the state, with payments of principal and interest of three and one-half per cent divided in six equal installments.


The Wausau Iron Works, one of three firms to bid on the steel work, submitted a low bid of $9,300.  Estimates place the floor work at approximately $1,300, and concrete work, repairs of the piers of the old bridge is estimated at about $2,000.


To get up in the air a ways you can travel out to Saddle Mound, as it is sometimes called.  There it is possible to get 500 feet up above the surrounding land, and 1500 feet above sea level.  It is one of the highest points in this countryside, and high enough to give a wonderful view over this portion of Wisconsin.  A practical roadway has been built, which goes above the 400-foot level.  The road ascends the southern slope with a moderate grade.  At the end of the upward road there is a level spot to permit safe turning around of a car.


There is a fire tower at the tip of the mound which is named by Carl Strozewski.  The 28 foot tower enables Strozewski to look out over the country side and watch for fires.


There will be a new tower installed soon by WPA workers. That tower will be up forty or fifty feet above the peak.


Some residential improvements have been made in our city this past week.


The path from the Harold Pischer property on south Park Street to the new home built by Otto Roessler is being replaced with a fine concrete sidewalk.  Roessler has also put in a half-moon drive at the east side of his residence, and a private sidewalk which leads to his residence, work was done by Zilisch.  John Putz and Tony Erpenbach put a new wall under the east wing of Rose Schiller’s house on Fourth and Oak Streets.


A “war price scare” rumor sent Clark County residents running to buy staple items at the local stores.  The staple foodstuff supplies were depleted, temporarily.  The war in Europe has reminded people of World War I circumstances when high prices and limited supplies of basic foodstuffs hit our country.


At one point, some merchants limited the flour sales to one sack per family.  This action was taken after some customers were asking to buy14 to 15, 49 lb. sacks of flour, per family.  One merchant said he sold 40 sacks of flour and two large sacks of sugar to one customer. 


One farmer explained, “I ate black bread all during the World War I and I don’t intend to do that again.”


Although reserve supplies of flour and sugar were said to be plentiful, the sudden buying wave depleted small stocks carried by local retailers and their jobbers thus forcing prices to skyrocket.  Refineries and mills refused to ship out orders for a couple of days last week while they waited for the market to become steady, local merchants said.


Retail prices are in the process of leveling off after last week’s high.  Flour had increased 35 cents for a 49 pound sack, dropping back slightly this week. Sugar was holding at $1 per sack higher.


Eggs continued to a high of 17 cents per dozen.  Butter was up from 26 cents to 30 cents per pound.


A rise of prices at auctions here-about also was experienced during the peak of the buying wave. At one auction grade cows went for as high as $91.  Milk checks covering that period will show a raise of three to four cents per pound of butterfat or from 12 to 15 cents per hundredweight.


Speed limits within the city of Neillsville have been boosted to 25 miles per hour and more by the city council to conform to recently enacted state legislation.


The council established speed limit of 25 miles an hour in those portions within the city limits where the average distance between buildings is less than 500 feet.  The speed limit was raised to 35 miles per hour in zones within city limits in which the average distance between buildings is not less than 500 feet.  The former speed limit was 15 miles an hour in the business district and 20 miles an hour in the residential districts.


The council also decided to continue its quest for well water for the city’s ordinary needs after the favorable results of capacity and chemical test conducted on test wall in Schuster Park.  The council authorized the expenditure of up to $250 for drilling another test well on the western edge of the E. J. Lanam farm, just east of the Neillsville Country Club.


Construction of a new bridge over O’Neill Creek for Hewett Street traffic is expected to be started within the next two weeks, replacing the old 110 foot span which collapsed early last Sunday morning.  Walter Aumann of Neillsville was driving his milk truck onto the structure when it collapsed.


Fortunately, Aumann escaped with only minor injuries as the bridge collapsed under and around his truck.  Pieces of steel overhead structure crashed against the truck wrecking it completely.


William F. Baumgartner, head of the Eau Claire division’s office of the state highway commission, said that the construction of a new bridge has been made an emergency order by the commission.


Two celebrations were combined at the Helm family home in the Town of Lynn this past week.


One was the celebration of the golden wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Ferdinand Helm, pioneer residents of the community.


The other was the celebration of the marriage of Clarence Helm 24, of Brillion, eldest of 23 grandchildren of Mr. and Mrs. Helm, to Alexa Radka of Weyauwega.


The young couple was united in ceremonies Saturday morning at Weyauwega, and then drove to Lynn to join the family celebration.


One hundred and fifty relatives of the elderly couple gathered at the family home for Saturday’s observance.  Their gathering climaxed with a six o’clock dinner.  Rev. A. H. Laesch and others shared memories following the dinner. The balance of the evening was spent in singing.


The elder Helm couple was married at the old Mapleworks Lutheran Church on Sept. 16, 1889.


The old church building now serves as the Granton post office, moved to its existing site after the present Mapleworks church building was erected in 1905.


For three years after their marriage Helms lived with her parents.  During those three busy years, they cleared land and built their own house where they presently live.


When they moved to their new home there was a small house and a barn on five acres of land from which the trees had been cut. The stumps remained in the ground.  The struggle to stump that land and get it under cultivation, and eventually clear the rest of the land while raising a family was a good-sized job.


Eight of the nine children of Mr. and Mrs. Helm are living and are: Carl, of Brillion; Mrs. Bertha Garbisch of York; Mrs. Elda Bartz of York; Henry Helm of Grant; Mrs. Gertrude Garbisch of Granton; Mrs. Ardina Nowack of Lynn; Louis Helm, who with his wife and children, has remained on the home farm; and Mrs. Anita Guenther of Eau Claire.


(The enjoyment of singing is a family tradition having been carried on by the Helms’ through the generations.  Present day family get togethers’ include singing, a great tribute to the Ferdinand Helm couple. D.Z.)


The Mapleworks Lutheran Church built in 1905 served its congregations’ needs until 1958 when a new edifice was constructed.  (Photo courtesy of the Webster Collection)



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