Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

February 23, 2000, Page 24

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


The Good Old Days


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News


C. C. Washburn (Continued from last week)


C. C. Washburn died in April 1882 at Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where he had gone seeking medical consultation and help for his ailing health.


After Washburn’s death, seven years elapsed before the executors were able to bring the estate to a close due to the various land holdings and businesses that had to be liquidated in both Minnesota and Wisconsin.


As wealth grew in the 1870s, his benefactions commenced with two major donations.  He financed an astronomical observatory equipped with the facility of a fifteen-inch equatorial. Work commenced in 1878, and upon completion the building stood as a lonely sentinel along Observatory Drive on the University of Madison campus overlooking Lake Mendota.


While governor in 1871, Washburn purchased an elegant home with spacious grounds outside of the Madison city limits known as Edgewood.  Washburn acquired it as a place to rest and to escape the travails of the governor’s office.  In addition, his senatorial aspirations mandated a base of operations in the Madison area.  By 1878 he knew the Senate had eluded his grasp and a home in Madison had become superfluous. For this reason, Washburn offered the home to the State to be used as an Industrial School for Girls, an institution to rehabilitate and educate girls with modestly delinquent back-grounds.  Wisconsin had never created such a facility for females so the proposal proved to be unacceptable.  Finally, Washburn gave Edgewood to an order of Roman Catholic sisters who created an Academy and later a high school within its spacious environs.  Eventually, Edgewood offered collegiate-level courses as well.


At the time of Washburn’s death, he owned and operated three Minneapolis flour mills; those facilities represented four-fifths of his real wealth.  According to the specifications in his will, he wished his executors to incorporate the three mills as quickly as possible or within five years time.  The combined mills produced a product to become known as “Gold Medal Flour.”


Another of Washburn’s philanthropic bequests was a sum of $375,000 to create “Washburn Memorial Orphan Asylum” in Minneapolis, and $50,000 to build and equip a public library in La Crosse.  Not only did he allocate funds for these institutions, but he also specified the original trustees of each and their alternates, if the original trustees declined, died or became incapable of serving.  Washburn included specific instructions for the orphanage to be constructed on a site of 20 or more acres outside of the Minneapolis city limits.  He declared the facility must accept children aged fourteen or under, regardless of sex, color or religion, and to discharge them at age fifteen.  It was built on 40 acres in 1886, equipped with play grounds, a gymnasium, a toboggan slide, vegetable garden and small dairy herd.  Thirty years later the value of the property had increased to more than $1,000,000.  Like the ultimate benefactor, the trustees knew how to choose real estate wisely, and by 1916 the institution at 15th Street and Nicolet Avenue had become prime real estate.


Two and a half years after Washburn’s death the Circuit Court of La Crosse felt obliged to order the estate executors to erect a monument over his grave, a sixty-foot obelisk with a 20-foot base which reduced the residual estate by $12,000.


As a businessman, Washburn operated on a large scale with great optimism for the future and likewise were his philanthropic efforts in financing major institutions to be used for the welfare and benefit of others.


(Foregoing information from “C.C. Washburn and the Upper Mississippi Valley” by K. Bicha)


The Circuit Court of La Crosse ordered estate executors to build a sixty-foot obelisk with 20-foot base over the grave of C. C. Washburn.  A resident of La Crosse for 22 years, Washburn had contributed to the city’s economy and provided the financing for the building of a new public library.


The grave stone plaque of Cadwallader Colden Washburn denoted him as an eminent citizen, a noble statesman, a patriotic soldier and a generous philanthropist.  Washburn had served as president of the State Historical Society for four years beginning in 1878.  (Photos courtesy of Kay Scholtz)



February 1910


This week the First National Bank received from Washington, part of its new currency.  The currency is made up of five, ten and twenty dollar bills and now bear the signatures of Chas. Cornelius and F. P. Ainsworth, “none genuine without this signature.”  The five dollar bills bear the picture of Harrison, the ten dollar bills that of McKinley and the twenty dollar bills that of McCullough.  So, now Neillsville has, in a way, its own mint.


The next Gemueltlickeit Club meeting will be held at the home of Mrs. C. F. Bachmann next Tuesday. Also, the second annual oyster supper will be given on Thursday evening in the Congregational Church.  Serving will begin at 6 o’clock and will continue as long as people appear to eat.


Select farm loans of $1,000 and over are available at 5% interest with privilege of partial payments.  Call at the law office of George L. Jacques in Neillsville.


A deal which had been hanging fire for the past few weeks was consummated this week when the Humbird Roller Mills property was sold by O. M. Hein to Martin Jacobson of Grand Rapids for nearly $7,000.  Hein takes in exchange as part payment a farm of 220 acres east of Necedah.  Jacobson is not a practical miller and for the present time the mill will be under the supervision of W. F. Hein.


The mill has been in the Hein family since about 1872.  Sixteen years ago Hein was taken into partnership with is father and four years ago he bought the entire interest and became sole owner.


Electric appliances having antiquated steam, old time vessels are an antedated dream.  We have our horseless carriages, street cars, etc.  And now ladies get their stockings without knitting a stitch. We have wireless telegraphy, can ride on land or sea, and can play the new piano without touching the keys.  The stomach ache we used to have is now called appendicitis and we get our creamery butter without milking a cow.  Modern times have come to stay and grinding feed in your granary is the latest of the modern conveniences today, so see Tom Wren for feed grinding at your farm.


A good many people are hauling sand from the Dells Dam at present, before the water carries it down stream.  Richard Selves, who lives in the Pleasant Ridge area, had a sand-hauling bee one day last week, getting up 45 loads of sand which he will use in making cement blocks in the spring.


Now is the time to get your buggy, carriage or auto painted.  J. P. Theix will do the job right at Wolff & Korman’s Shop.


The Christie local of the A. S. of E. is out-and-about doing business.  Last Monday, the members of the local went together and bought 100,000 shingles, which will be distributed among those who are planning to build.  Chas. Hiles is going to complete the large barn, of which he built the basement for last fall.  The barn is 30x60 feet in dimensions, and will be a modern one in all its details.


Commercial State Bank has a lot of new nickel-plated steel savings banks, which they are giving to their customers.


February 1940


“Harv’s dead!”


That was the sympathetic comment which passed quickly through the city of Neillsville Thursday night.


It needed no further identification, for everybody knew Harvey Fuller.


With his old, green felt hat punched rakishly on the back of his head and a lock of gray hair hanging down over his forehead, for all the world like that of a kid.  Harv was a familiar figure on the streets for many years.


His slow shuffling gait that of a man 96 summers gone by; was as much a part of the downtown as the buildings.  As he shuffled slowly along in recent years, his gray chin whiskers generally moved as though he were muttering memories to himself.


Every morning, until he was taken ill four months ago, he made his rounds of the downtown.  Frequently, he stopped people, likely as not strangers to him, to pass a remark in his low indistinct voice. Women viewed such meeting with alarm, for one never knew what Harv would say next.  Of course, Harv didn’t much care.


Although his body kept pace with the passing years, Harv’s mind remained young and active.  It was as recently as September 1938 that he took his first airplane ride in Charles Byse’s plane.  Ernest H. Snyder was in the cockpit with him; but there was no need for the precaution.  Harvey took to the air like a boy takes to ice cream.  In fact, while high above the city he leaned over the side of the cockpit and took in the sights.


“There’s George Johnson,” he shouted above the roar of the motor.


Until a few years ago Harv had but one object in life.  That was to outlive an old crony.  A few years ago both were ill, Harv seriously so.


“I’m going to outlive him!” Harv told his friends.  And it was his strong will that pulled him through. The crony died a few years later.


Besides being one of the well-known characters of Neillsville, Harv had the distinction of being the first person in Clark County to receive an old age pension. Three years ago when the first applications were considered, Harv’s was the first approved and after that his monthly check from the pension department was No. 1.


For slightly more than 32 years he worked and lived in Neillsville.  He came here in 1907 from Brillion and for 18 years, up until four years ago, he was actively employed by the American Stores Dairy company and by their predecessors, the Oatman Condensery.  He also had spent nearly 40 years in lumbering camps, also working for a number of years on rail-roads.


Harv was born August 14, 1843, in New York State. This date was arrived at through deduction made from his comment that he was “26 years old when the first census was taken.”  The census referred to was taken in the spring of 1870.


He was married March 8, 1874, to Ernestine Kingsbury, who died in 1914.  They had no children.  Only two nephews survive: Harold E. Fuller of Appleton and E. Dudley Fuller of Brillion.



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