Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

September 6, 2000, Page 32

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 

Good Old Days


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News


September 1885


A basket and button-hole bouquet party will be held at Henry Counsell’s of Pleasant Ridge on Friday evening, for the benefit of Mr. Brothers.  Every lady should bring a lunch for two and a button-hole bouquet. All are invited.


Joe Hammel and Herman Schuster, on Friday, received a Sweitzer cheese weighing nearly 200 pounds and it cost them $51!  It was more than the 30 pound size they had ordered.


Emery Bruley has traded his building and lot at the corner of Second and Court Streets to James Finnegan for the house and land on South Main Street between R. M. Campbell’s and J. L. Gates and the blacksmith shop property on Grand Avenue.


(The following news item appeared two weeks later in regard to Bruley’s newly obtained property.)


Emery Bruley has a force of men at work on his newly-acquired premises, the Finnegan place. Workers are laying a foundation for one of the most elegant houses to be in the city. The house now standing on the lot is destined to serve as a wing to the new one being built.  As Bruley has the means, it is likely that he will rear an edifice which will be a substantial ornament to the city.


(And that he did accomplish. The house referred to is now known as Tuft’s Mansion, a historical landmark within our city. D. Z.)


The West Nevins, Lake Superior and Section Nine railroad is running daily trains under the careful supervision of conductor Bates.  So far, the road is doing nothing but a freight business; carrying saw logs one way, then slabs and splints used for ballast on the road bed, back the other direction.


The Nevins Store is about completed in construction.


Clemons and Nelson have started up their broom factory in Shortville.  They are working full blast, making all kinds of brooms which they will have on hand for sale.


On Friday evening, there will be a dance at Tourigny’s Casino in Neillsville’s North Ward.


John Klopf’s building with the new iron roof attracts much attention.  It is said to be durable and the cost is but little more than wood shingles.


Attention has been called of local citizens to the property of the exhumation of remains now resting in the cemetery located in the eastern part of the city between Third and Fourth Streets.  The locality is being gradually filled up with residences and the site of the cemetery is one of the prettiest in the city. There are not over 15 or 20 graves there now, as the work of exhuming and re-interring in the new necropolis could be done by a few workmen in a week. As soon as the last remains are exhumed, it is certain this disused burying-ground is on the crown of the most commanding hill inside the Neillsville City limits which retards the growth of the city in that direction.  We think there is a reasonable and almost universal objection to making one’s home in the immediate vicinity of any repository for the dead.


Eidsvold is a little village of about 30 inhabitants, situated on the line of the Wisconsin and Minnesota railroad, about 37 miles east of Eau Claire.  It contains a combined saw and shingle mill, a store, post office, blacksmith shop, boarding house and about a dozen houses.  (The Eidsvold community is located two and a fourth miles west and one-third mile north of Thorp on Hart Avenue, in Clark County. D.Z.)


J. L. Gates has bought out Ed Hart’s interest in the handsome new house opposite his residence.  He has a crew of men at work lathing and doing the other work.  He has put up a new windmill and well house, completed and operating, doing a good share of the work himself as an amateur mechanic.  We expect to see things rush like the wind, windmill, in the new house.


Editor Carl Rabenstein of the Deutsch-Amerikaner and Miss Ray Pound were married on Sunday, Sept. 20, 1885, in this city.  While we extend our heartiest congratulations to Carl, we must express our thanks for the delicious wedding cake and wine.  The ceremony took place at the residence one door west of Sol Jaseph’s place. Rabenstein had put in carpeting, placed furnishings from the parlor to the kitchen.  Rev. W. T. Hendren performed the ceremony.  Some friends were invited and were hospitably entertained.  After the guests had departed and quietness reigned, the couple was serenaded by the German Glee Club and more acts of hospitality followed. It was then that Rabenstein realized he had forgotten all about getting a cook stove placed in the kitchen.


Chas. Deutsch, the city’s leading tailor, now has five first-class tailors in his employ.  Two of his tailors have recently arrived from Chicago, where they were employed to work upon fine goods.  Deutsch is confident the public will appreciate his enterprise and keep his full work force busy.  Now is the time to order fall and winter clothing, while the choice patterns are not picked over.


The present population of Wisconsin is 1,560,000.


G. W. Wilson has purchased the J. L. Gates carriage.  He now runs the hack, employing good driver and it is pulled by an excellent team of horses.  Passengers are carried at 25 cents each, the regular bus fare, which gives the patrons a very stylish ride indeed.


September 1930


“No matter what men do, if they will keep at it and are not extravagant, they can make a success of life.”  That was one of the statements made by C. C. Sniteman, oldest and longest established Neillsville business man on active duty as he reached the 80th milestone last Wednesday, Sept. 17, and talked of the things that have impressed him during his remarkable career here which dates back to the afternoon of January 15, 1879, when he drove into this city in the old stage over the corduroy road from Humbird.  Neillsville was only a few shanties and cheaply constructed store buildings in the heart of a vast forest.  The stage stopped in front of the O’Neill House and Sniteman, then a young man of 29, carried his baggage into the lobby, warmed his hands for a few moments by the big wood stove and got a room for the night so that he might look over the prospects of this new logging town the following day.  But Sniteman kept the room longer (than) that one night.  To be exact, it was 30 years later that he quit living there and 40 years later when he stopped boarding in the famous old hostelry.  While thus engaged he contracted malaria and was advised to go west for his health.  When the western climate failed to help him, doctors advised the pineries of northern Wisconsin or Minnesota and it happened that Sniteman picked out Neillsville which was then the center of a vast pine region.


When Sniteman arrived in this community, a drug store in a wooden building was being run on the site of the present C. C. Sniteman store by Dr. John C. Lacey, who had come here from Monroe.  At the site of the present Kearns Drug Store was another drug store, also a wooden building and was returning to work in Peoria from 1871 to 1875.


While at Peoria Sniteman purchased a fourth interest in the Allaire Woodward & Co., a concern still manufacturing botanical drugs and insect powders.


Sniteman is the kind of a person people like to talk to.  He has ideas that reveal a deep and penetrating philosophy of life, a youthful outlook, keenly alert to the t rend of the times.  His opinions are valued because they are rooted in a background of far reaching experience and unquestioned integrity.  Sniteman and Neillsville have always seemed an inseparable unity and the thought of one brings to mind the other.  It was reluctantly that he consented to tell of his years in this city when he learned it would be for publication, but his modesty was finally overcome with the thought that the people of this community are honestly interested in the man with whom they have been associated so long and intimately.


“A good many people have an idea that success is largely luck,” said Sniteman.  “Luck may have something to do with the start of a business, but luck will not keep it going.  People are quite apt to forget to make their business a business.  They would rather let it run itself and are very much surprised when it ceases to be profitable.  It you want to make a success of anything, keep working, never let up.  The formula is simple, but only a few are willing to follow through.”


As evidence that Sniteman is a firm believer in his own theory is the fact that for half a century he has been one of the first to reach the store in the morning and the last one to leave at night when he closes between 11 and 12 o’clock.  One day a week, Sunday, he takes off.


“If I had a pension or a million dollars I would do exactly as I am doing now,” said Sniteman.  “I am used to work and I like it.  My first job in a drug store was at Peoria, Ill., when I was 14 years old.  I was paid $5 a month for working from six in the morning until 12 o’clock at night.  To make it easier to get to work that early I slept in the drug store and incidentally got away from room expense.  At the age of 18, I went to Philadelphia to the University of Pennsylvania and took up the study of pharmacy, run by a Dr. Crandall.  About that time Dr. Lacey lost the store through failure to repay a loan from Henry Meyers, a logger.  Meyers employed Sniteman to run the store for him.  Later, Meyers sold a half interest to his brother, Lige, after which Sniteman bought out, first Henry, and his brother and then his brother in the fall of 1881.


Under Sniteman’s management the store grew rapidly and in 1895 it was necessary to enlarge the premises.  The present building was erected and became Neillsville’s finest structure, even today being considered one of the best equipped drug stores in the mid-west.


In the 51 years that he has been in business here, he has filled nearly a half-million prescriptions, 421,325 to be exact.  Through his filing system it is possible for Sniteman to find prescription No. 1 almost as quickly as the last one filled.  Among the prescriptions of 1881 are the names of Mrs. Cross, M. Murphy, L. Lazotte, M. C. Gates, Dud Manes, J. W. Lynch, Jerry Isham, Louis Rossman and Hi Palmer.


“We sold large quantities of patent medicines in the early days,” said Sniteman.  “More people treated themselves.  Prescriptions that cost 30 cents then now cost 75 cents.  In those times drug stores were limited largely to drugs.  Now they are almost general stores.”


Only once n his life did Sniteman seek public office, that resulted when Fred Klopf came up for alderman of the Second Ward.  Some of the people of that ward felt Klopf was against public improvements and finally prevailed on Sniteman to make the run.  When the votes were counted it was found they were tied.  Somebody pulled straws and Klopf as declared elected.  Sniteman did not vote that day and would have been elected had he cast a ballot for himself.


Sniteman was married Jan. 31, 1900, to Mrs. Kate Stevens.


Neillsville is Sniteman’s choice as an ideal sized town. He believes residents of this size town had all the advantages of a large city and none of the disadvantages.  He has visited every large city from the Atlantic to the Pacific and declared he would again select Neillsville if he were starting life out anew.  Throughout his life Sniteman has expressed his love for Neillsville by backing almost every project that pointed toward a better city.  He was instrumental in founding the electric light plant here which was the second erected in the entire state of Wisconsin; he helped obtain the armory and was one of the heavy supporters of the old furniture factory which gave employment to many men for a great number of years.  In recent years he lent his support to getting the canning factory which has meant a great deal to the farmers and the business men as well.


Sniteman is enjoying excellent health which he attributes to regular habits and careful attention to diet.  He eats plenty of fruits and vegetables, but seldom eats meat more than once a week.  He does not drink tea nor coffee and uses no liquor.  He quit the tobacco habit 60 years go.


When asked for an opinion on whether drugs are of great benefit to mankind, he said: “I don’t believe in dosing like some do.  People often mistake symptoms and take the wrong kind of medicine if they try to treat themselves.  Drugs are all right if you know what you are taking them for.  There would be less chronic sickness if people didn’t put off seeing a doctor so long when ailments first start.”


Sniteman laughed when asked when he was going to think about retiring.  “Retiring is of no use,” he smiled.  “Men who have been working as long as I have don’t live long after they retire.  Human beings should remain useful as long as they are able to do so.  Besides I want to die with my boots on.”


(C. C. Sniteman was a very sharing person.  He willingly gave financial support to countless improvements within the City of Neillsville, new businesses and invested in the futures of several young adults whom he had befriended.  D. Z.)


Looking north on Main Street (now Hewett) from the Fifth Street intersection, about 1890.  The brick building in the foreground is Hewett-Woods.  The two-story white building was the first structure of C. C. Sniteman’s drug store.  Tourigny’s hardware store is in the background. 



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