Index of "Good Old Days" Articles

Good Old Days--Transcribed by Sharon Schulte

Clark County Press, Neillsville

September 27, 2000, Page 32

Clark County News – September 1880

The O’Neill House has recently been thoroughly overhauled from cellar to garret. It can now be truthfully said, it is first-class in every respect. The new rooms that have just been finished off in what was formerly the hall are commodious, pleasant and furnished throughout with new furniture. There is no end to the improvements. Nearly every room in the house, over 30 in number, has been re-papered. Whenever necessary, new carpets and furniture were supplied. Mrs. O’Neill started out some time ago with the firm determination to make the O’Neill House equal to any hotel in this part of the state, which she has accomplished. The house possesses a gentlemanly and courteous clerk, in the person of Mr. Wm. Woodward. It also has a corps of excellent waiters, a first-class cook and the stable has an attentive and faithful hostelry.


The O'Neill House was widely known throughout Central Wisconsin for its superb dining and hotel accomodations in the late 1800's attracting guests from a great distance who would stay for a few days of relaxation.  A fire destroyed the building on the corner of sixth and Hewett Streets in Neillsville.

W.G. Goss has been making several improvements about his hotel building, in the town of Levis. The most noticeable change is an addition on the north side of the building and the extension of the piazza from the front around the north side. The addition greatly improves the appearance of the building as well as making it more commodious and convenient. (Piazza is another work for porch.)

One of Greenwood’s neighboring townsmen on the west side of Black River, Elias B. Homstead, has sold his farm and personal property to a gentleman from Sheboygan Co., by the name of Friederich Wehermann for a consideration of $2,425 spot cash. They are sorry to see a good man like Homstead leave their community. Slowly but surely all other tribes and tongues are leaving the west side of that town and they are being replaced by the Germans; however, they have proven to be a good class of citizens.

There is a great need for 200 men to work on the construction of Black River Railroad, between Neillsville and Merrillan. New accessions to the crew on the railroad are made daily and the work is being pushed along as rapidly as possible. The wages are $1.50 per day and cost of board is $3.00 per week. Apply to F. D. Lindsay or James Hewett of Neillsville, or W.H.H. Cash of Merrillan.

Peter Johnson’s new hearse is now completed and ready for use and he can boast of as fine a hearse as there is in this part of the state. The wood-work, with the exception of the wheels, was done by Johnson. The iron-work was completed by Tom Hommel and the painting was done by George Isham. All the work shows a high order of workmanship, of which these men may feel proud.

The contract for building the bridge across Wedges Creek, in the town of Levis, was let at ten o’clock on Saturday to R.W. Canfield for $319. A bridge across Dells Dam had a contract signed for $350 on the same day, let to Lewis Rossman.

Lyman Rodman killed a yellow rattlesnake in front of Decatur Dickinson’s store last Friday morning which measured 42 inches in length. Some of the old settlers here say that is the only yellow rattle snake they have ever seen in this county.

Bernhardt Tragsdorf, who has been on a visit to his old home in Germany for the past three months, returned here last Friday. His father and mother came with him as far as Washington County and after visiting relatives in that county, will settle in Clark County to make their future home here.

Samuel Calway has completed the new school house in District No. 1, town of Hewett. It has been examined by the committee, found to be in accordance with the contract and accepted.

Ex-Governor C.C. Washburn addressed the citizens of Clark County on the political issues of the present campaign while at the court house Friday evening. The attendance was quite large and the address was heard with great interest.

September 1960

Mrs. Petra Erickson, Clark County’s oldest resident, observed her 102 birthday this week at the home of Mr. And Mrs. Russell Drake in Neillsville. Mrs. Russell Drake is her niece.

Born in Vardal, Norway, August 26, 1858, she is still able to read the Press and the Decorah Posten, a Norwegian magazine published in Decorah, Iowa, which she has read for more than 75 years. Her right eye is blind and she uses a full power magnifying glass for reading.

"When my husband died 21 years ago in 1939, I had no idea that I would be here in 1960. The Drakes have been very kind to me and have provided such wonderful care that I’m still here."

Mrs. Erickson came to Neillsville in 1947 with her sister, Mrs. Iver Erickson, who was Mrs. Drake’s mother. Mrs. Iver Erickson died in 1949.

Four young ladies of the Neillsville area have completed nurses training. The Luther Hospital graduation ceremony was held last Friday; a ceremony will be at Milwaukee hospital on Friday. They are Jo Ann Grap, daughter of Mr. And Mrs. Frederick L. Grap, Sr.; Mary Hanson, daughter of Mr. And Mrs. John Hanson; Joan Meinholt, daughter of Mr. And Mrs. Louis Meinholt; and Susan Wall, daughter of Mr. And Mrs. Fred Wall, all of the Neillsville area.

The Rev. E.G. Burtness will be installed as pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church in Neillsville at services on Sunday, September 18. Rev. and Mrs. Burtness arrived in Neillsville on Tuesday, now getting settled in the parsonage on Hill Street. The Rev. T.C. Thorson had served as interim pastor.

Iodine tablets will no longer be distributed to children in Clark County schools. Instead, families are urged by Mrs. Lois O. Guest, county nurse, to use iodized salt.

In the past, Clark County has provided an iodine tablet each week to all elementary children through the school health program. Records show that in 1939 there was $157.80 spent on the program, Mrs. Guest said. Through the years, as the number of children and cost of iodine tablets increased, the cost became greater. At the close of the program in 1959, the amount needed to provide tablets was $281.62, she said.

The familiar iodine tablet program is being discontinued on recommendation of the state board of health and the division on the school health of the state medical society. It was adopted in Wisconsin many years ago as a means of preventing simple goiter before iodized salt was generally available and dependable as a source of iodine.

These agencies point out that iodine still is essential for simple goiter prevention. It also is needed for growth, development and normal body functioning.

St. John’s Lutheran Church in Neillsville was the setting Saturday of the wedding of Miss Elaine Meier of Neillsville and Charles G. Glassbrenner of Eau Claire. Their parents are Mr. And Mrs. William Meier of Neillsville, and Mr. And Mrs. W.W. Glassbrenner of Eau Claire.

The bride was attired in a white chiffon street-length gown, with a full gathered skirt that fell softly from a self cummerbund. A crown with pearl drops held her face veil to complete the bridal portrait.

Maid-of-honor was Miss Eileen Zank. The groom was attended by David Glassbrenner.

A reception was held in the evening at the home of the bride’s parents on East Twelfth Street, Neillsville.

The new Mr. And Mrs. Glassbrenner will be residing in Eau Claire.

A 13 ½ acre plot of land belonging to William Beeckler, adjoining the Granton School property on the west, has been purchased by the school district for $2,000 and work has started on grading it for a playground.

Plans call for a construction of an athletic field in 1961, which will include a baseball diamond.

Enrollment in St. Anthony’s School in Loyal reached an all-time high this year when a total of 268 students reported for classes. This is an increase of 18 over last year’s 250.

Two leaders in the cheese trade were in Clark County a few days ago, calling on the Stewart Cheese Corporation of Greenwood. They were Ben Villa, president of Otto Roth & Co. of New York City and Karl Jaeckle, assistant secretary of the company. The Roth organization specializes in Italian cheese and handles a substantial volume of the Italian cheese made by the Stewarts in Clark County.

The 80th anniversary of the building of York Center Methodist Church was observed on August 28.

When Adonijah Benedict and his family arrived in 1873 by covered wagon to locate in what is York Center, a log cabin was there which was used not only as a refuge from the weather, but was also the location for the first Sunday school classes and prayer meetings.

Adonijah (named after the forth son of David and pronounced Ad-on-ni’-jah) was a religious man. He read his Bible at every meal. Prayers were offered by the family before retiring in the evening. He had been the leading force in the construction of the Methodist church in Fond du Lac County earlier and it was his purpose to have a place of worship as soon as one could be provided.

A log school house, known as the "old log school house" was erected at the present site of the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Pacholke, then owned by Mr. Livingston. Here the first Methodist circuit riders made occasional visits and there the few pioneer families gathered to worship. Later the Rev. J. Webster walked out from Loyal to hold services in it.

By 1878, Adonijah and his neighbors had decided that a Methodist Church must be built and the Fox River Land Co. donated six acres of land at the present location of the church, across from the present town hall, for church purposes. The land was heavily wooded and in 1879 logs were cut from the six acre plot and hauled to a nearby mill. The lumber was used for construction of the church which was completed in 1880.

Many helpers, from far and near joined in the project, with William Rowe, Sylvester Pease, Sr., and Sylvester Pease, Jr., serving as the managing carpenters.

The church was dedicated in the fall of 1880, with the Rev. J.P. Greer of Spencer riding to the service on horse back. He was the first regular minister of the church, serving from 1880 to 1882.

Since that time, there have been several pastors who have served the church.

The original church comprised only the east wing. The new church in 1880 had homemade benches and seats around the room, with chairs in the center. Later a pulpit and an altar-rail were added. In 1897, the church was remodeled, the west wing was added including annex, belfry, new windows, concrete steps, new pews and the church bell. They were dedicated in 1898.

In 1941, the interior of the church was refinished, Abie and Clayton Turner added Nu-wood to the walls and ceiling. In 1947, 48 electric lights and an oil burner were installed. In 1949, new rugs and runners were added and soon after, new flooring was laid. In preparation for the 80th anniversary observance, members have revarnished the pews, refinished the woodwork and added a new cupboard.

During the ministry of Rev. Greer in 1881, a cemetery was laid out adjacent to the church, with Burt Lawrence and Bert Lindsley assisting. The first burial was that of Ida Turner, wife of Pint Turner.

Bert Lindsley furnished the first organ, taking it from his home and later a Kimball organ was purchased that served the church for more than 50 years.

Along with the early York Center Church should come the information about the Methodist camp meetings held on 10 acres of woodlands joining the church property on the southwest, rented from William Rowe. The Rev. G.N. Foster originated the plan and for many years, camp meetings were held at the site with ministers and pioneers from miles around coming by foot, wagon, horse-back to attend.

Harry Philpot and Bert Lindsley served as assistant pastors during a number of years in the pioneer history and Adonijah Benedict was an early class leader and served as church janitor during his lifetime in York Center.

The names of early members of the church, who still live on in second and third generation descendants include: Benedict, Lawrence, Vandeberg, Mortimer, Root, Rowe, Smith, Turner, Graves, Davis, Fulwiler, Teatz and Warner.

The York Center Church, usually a part of the Loyal-York Center Parish has always enjoyed leadership and attendance. Where so many rural churches have been closed in recent years, York Center Methodist remains an integral part of York Center community life.



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