Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

February 2, 2000, Page 24

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


The Good Old Days


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News


February 1875


Horace M. Weston is doing an extensive business in flour and feed at his store rooms located one and a half miles north of Neillsville, along the Black River.  Weston has the reputation of being a competent and reliable businessman deserving a fair share of the area’s patronage.


Those of the Press subscribers residing outside Clark County are requested to send us the amount required for postage.  We are now obliged to pre-pay postage on all papers going out of the county.  The amount for each paper is 15 cents per year.


Last Monday night, between eleven and twelve o’clock, the Jail was discovered to be on fire. The alarm was given at the Rossman House and the O’Neill House, causing quite an uprising among the guests who had retired for the evening.  It is remarkable in what a short time so many individuals can make a respectable appearance in the case of an emergency.  Crows was the only guest of the O’Neill House who failed to stimulate into action with the cry of fire.  The fire was confined to the jail, where it did but little damage. The present occupant of that asylum, a man named Kelley, claims not to know how the fire originated.  It is believed that fire started by sparks from the heating stove.  The prisoner, being asleep at the time it occurred wasn’t aware of the fire until it had gained much headway and then he couldn’t extinguish it himself so had to call lustily for assistance.


The Circuit Court for Clark County will be held at the Court House here next week, commencing on Tuesday, Feb. 23. The calendar for this term is the largest ever had in the county and unless an unusual number of cases are put over or settled, the present session will probably be a long one. There are 89 cases in all; two criminal cases, 49 jury cases, 33 facts for court and five issues of law. There will be 22 law firms represented from various parts of the state, five of them being of this village.


All the citizens of Clark and adjoining counties interested in the building of a railroad from Merrillan via Neillsville to Unity on the Central Wisconsin Railroad are requested to meet at the Court House in Neillsville at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday the 24th of February, for the purpose of devising ways and means for the construction of such a road.


Johnson, who works at the post office, has just received a new lot of watches and jewelry which he will sell cheaper than any itinerant merchant living. Stop by to see the selection he has on hand.


Shop at W. H. Kountz’ store for the best green and ground coffees; teas from 50 cents to $1.25 per pound; 20 bars of soap for $1.00; great supply of macaroni, vermicelli, barley and split peas; also dried peaches, apples, prunes, plums, cherries, etc.


February 1940          


The large bell in the tower of the Zion Evangelical Church at Granton peals forth with its usual round, clear tone on these quiet Sunday mornings. But there was a time, recently, when it was a serious question whether the bell ever again would call the congregation to worship.


For 19 years, the 1,200-pound bell tolled forth.  And throughout that period the heavy clapper clanged against the same spot. The force of those blows over the years, though not heavy, caused the cast iron to crystallize.


Last October the bell cracked – a jagged separation 17 inches long ran along one side.  Inquiries of the foundry in which it was cast indicated that the bell might never again be restored to its former clarity through repairs.  But a new bell ran into several hundred dollars.  To weld the bell which had served so well could cost only a fraction of that.


It was a chance, but officials of the congregation decided to accept that chance. They talked the matter over with Ed Hagie, the Shortville blacksmith, and Hagie started out to learn what he could about the technique of welding a heavy cast iron bell. 


After making several inquiries around the central part of the state, Hagie called a firm in St. Paul.  In order to maintain the tone, he learned, it was necessary to heat the bell evenly.  This brought on a problem of retaining the shape, as the possibility of other problems which could arise.


After more than two weeks of investigation and study, he was ready to make the try.


The Rev. Arthur H. Lawsch, pastor, and the church trustees, Louis Elmhorst, Henry Elmhorst and Henry Schlinsog, gathered a few members of the church for the job of removing the bell.  Among the others who aided were Hugo Trimberger, Armin Moh, Fred Bartsch, Ed Schlinsog and Fred Grottke.


After building braces to aid them in lowering the heavy bell, a block and tackle was attached.  What was believed would be a hard job became a relatively simple task for within 10 minutes after they started lowering, the bell was on the ground.


The bell was trucked the mine miles to Shortville smithy and Hagie started to work. He first had to chisel out where the bell had cracked.  Then he had to grind it down to a “V” shape at the top before the actual heating and welding of the bell could be started.


The heating of the entire bell evenly was one of the major tasks; for the bell stands three feet and four inches high, with a diameter of four feet at the base.  The thickness ranges from an inch and three-eighths at the top to three and five-eighths inches where the clapper strikes.


But the job was completed and apparently with success.


Hereafter, church officials will make certain that the bell is turned periodically so that it will not be as likely to crack again.


Ed Hagie was well known for his blacksmithing skills at his shop on Shortville Corners.  One of his accomplishments was the difficult task of restoring the bell of the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church.


Improvements of the recreational facilities on O’Neill Creek pond was carried out last week through the cooperation of the city, the American Legion and several youths interested in ice sports. The improvements included the erecting of barriers of snow fence at each end of the skating pond to keep skaters from dangerous ice and the laying out of a regulation hockey rink. The rink is 165 feet long and 60 feet wide, enclosed with rough board sides.  It was laid out by members of the city crew aided by Orville Jake and Henry F. Ott.  Other youths who have had a hand in the improvements and maintenance include David Lewerenz, Donald Kunze and Darwin Graves.


Two boys suffered abrasions in hockey accidents Sunday. They were Bernard Schaub, who received a cut over the eye in a fall and Darwin Graves, who suffered a gash on the leg in a melee.


Clark County has gained complete possession of and title to Wildcat Mound.  Taking deed to the forty upon which the northeastern portion of the mound rests the county now controls the four forties upon which practically all the mound is found, also controlling unbroken areas east, west and south.  The northern boundary is marked by County Trunk Road B, which affords access to the mound.


With this title perfected, Clark County now owns its first complete mound and has thus the beginning of what is likely to become a public monument of high distinguishing characteristic of esteem.  While there are other mounds in this part of Wisconsin, most of them are in areas privately owned.  Clark County owns no other mounds of major importance.


The significance of the acquisition of the “Wildcat” is the greater, too, because this is one of the most unique and distinctive of all the mounds in this part of the state.  It has varied topography, a peculiarly ornamental rock, interesting spurs, remarkable overhangs, a great cliff along its southern side and a tremendous view from its top.  It is no wild prophecy to suppose, with the passing years, Wildcat will become the popular picnic spot of this region and a place famed for its beauty and commanding views.


The final step in acquiring title was taken only recently by J. H. Fradette, County Treasurer, who has been watching the opportunity during recent years to consolidate the county’s position as to this and other forest areas.  This forty, which is the northeasterly of the four and which lies along County Trunk B, was formerly in the name of Elizabeth Sherman and F. H. Hankerson, whose residence is given as La Crosse County. But these parties did not pay taxes and the county acquired the land through a tax deed.


The forty just west of that piece has belonged to the county since December 20, 1938.  Prior to that, a tax deed to the property had been taken by F. Wheaton of Alma Center, who had previously acquired tax certificates. But Wheaton did not pay the taxes and the county acted in its own interest.


The Wheaton forty is the area which includes the front of the mound, the road entrance, the picnic ground with its improvements and the main front spurs. Wheaton’s original purpose in taking a tax deed appears to have been to get rock and he blasted away part of the end of one of the main spurs of the mound.  From this spur he took some rock and is under- stood to have tried it for rock gardens.  But this rock, though very ornamental when it first breaks away, weathers gray not to be so very desirable, even for this limited use. It was evidently on this account that the owner was not sufficiently interested to protect his title.


Wildcat Mound is much larger and more picturesque than can be appreciated from the road.  It has an extent of roughly 80 acres.  The ascent has been made easy by the new trails, which lead to all the picturesque parts of the mound.  The southern aspect of the mound is one huge cliff, with a precipitous drop of perhaps 300 feet.  On the north side there are three spurs, each with its own characteristics.  From the top there is a remarkable view to the south and from the northwesterly spur there is a wonderful view north, west and east.


The formation of Wildcat Mound is soft sandstone.  Much of the rock is yellow with peculiar red markings, which are reminiscent of the wildcat.  Presumably this is the origin of the name, and not, as related by one of the community’s famous myths, because a large number of wildcats met their doom on this site.


The only other mound owned by Clark County is what is known as Little Wildcat, located northwest of Tioga, along Hay Creek.  This mound, however, is rather small and has been burned over.


A headquarters camp for rough fish removal in the eighth WPA district of Wisconsin will be established on Lake Arbutus and work will be started February 19, it was announced today by officials of the Black River-Lake Arbutus Conservation club. The club has been working to secure the project since shortly after its formation last summer.


The camp will be established on the site of the old CCC camp on Arnold Creek, where a long-time lease on a 10-acre tract has been secured by the state from the Mississippi Valley Public Service company.  Plans include the erection of a shelter house, tool house, drying rack for nets, a holding pond near the mouth of the creek and a portable shelter house.


According to work received here, the project will furnish employment for from 20 to 60 men over a long period of time.  Approximately 20 men are expected to start work on February 19.  It was expected to be increased as the project gets under way. 


Lake Arbutus is the first lake to be seined in the rough fish removal program.  Conservation experts estimated that about two years would be required to clean the lake bottom of stumps, logs and other snags and to get the lake “under control.”  By this expression, it was explained; they mean to strike a balance of about 25 percent rough fish to 75 percent of game fish.


A game warden and an expert fisherman are expected to be stationed permanently at the camp.  The state conservation department will furnish a dozen nets and trucks to enable immediate operations.


Marketable fish secured in the seining work will be loaded into tank cars and sent to eastern markets. Smaller fish will be sent to the state conservation department’s fish cannery to be used by fur and fox farms and for the rearing of trout.


According to the way the project is set up, other lakes in the district will see rough fish removal operations after the job at Lake Arbutus is completed. However, the headquarters for operations will remain at Arbutus.


The seining activities will not affect fishing in the lake during the coming season, officials of the conservation club said.  Club officials also expressed belief that plantings in the lake during the next year would be heavier as a result of the project.


Cooperating with the club is (in) securing the project were Senator Robert M. LaFollette, Congressman Merlin Hull, the Lions Club of Black River Falls, the Neillsville Kiwanis Club, Assemblyman Peter Hemmy of Humbird, Senator W. J. Rush and others.


The project was approved Monday, after several months of activity.  It came about as an offspring of the club’s action toward securing some sort of a level for Lake Arbutus after a period in the summer during which the water had been drawn unusually low.


The Mississippi Valley Public Service company, owners of the Hatfield Dam, worked side-by-side with the club to accomplish this purpose.  Officials said that the power company has offered to set up a maximum and minimum table of levels to be adhered to as closely as possible without endangering life or property below the dam.


The establishment of a single level for the lake is impossible, the state public service commission told Dr. E. A. Peterson, president of the club and John Mattson, secretary, during their investigation of the matter.  They explained that the reason for this is the fact that Black River is one of the “Flashiest” streams in the nation. Due to the rapid rise and fall of which the river is capable, it would be impossible to maintain a lake level without endangering lives and property below the dam.


However, it was believed that a maximum and minimum level arrangement would work out to the satisfaction of all parties concerned.



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