Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

October 17, 2001, Page 32

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 

The Good Old Days


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News


October 1911


Mr. and Mrs. G. L. Hoseley had a narrow escape while driving in their car last week.  Ignorance of the mechanism of a new automobile, which Hoseley had just purchased and was attempting to learn to operate, almost cost him and his wife’s lives.  Going for a country drive, Hoseley was driving the car and his wife was along as a passenger.  They drove up a rural road hill and had almost reached the top when Hoseley saw a team coming.  Thinking it would be unsafe to pass, he shut off the power after he ran the car to the side of the road, but he forgot to apply the brake.  Naturally, the machine started backwards.  Mrs. Hoseley jumped out of the car and her husband followed an instant later.  In a fraction of a second, the car had reached the top of the embankment and plunged over, turning turtle several times, landing a complete wreck of twisted iron.


The stork invaded the ranks of York Center last Saturday morning.  He flew straight to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Roy Lawrence.  However, in arriving, he found it more blessed to give than to receive, as he left a bouncing baby girl to brighten their home.  Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence now are parents of three daughters to cheer their fireside.  (Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence named that baby girl Della whom we all know as Della Chase.  This week Della celebrates her 90th birthday.)


A charivari held for Mr. and Mrs. Merle Benedict, in the Town of York, must have been a big affair.  The racket at their place could be heard for several miles around.  We waft our heartiest congratulations to Merle Benedict and his new bride.  May their voyage through life be bright and happy.


Geo. W. Trogner and Peter Johnson are preparing to make mission furniture, beginning in a small way.  They have already installed a four-horsepower gasoline engine and set up a new combination machine that will save much hand labor.  It does sawing, jointing, grooving, doving, boring, etc.  They have also built other machines to use in the carpentry venture with plans to buy or make still others.  Trogner has built and maintained a shop just north of the planing mill.  The shop is warm, well-lit and convenient to work in.  Trogner has a large stock of the finest kind of lumber cut and seasoned, after being under cover for several years.  Both men are skillful with marks of rare excellence in their trade.  They can beyond doubt turn out as fine articles as can be made anywhere in the world.  Without any loud talk about their plans, they simply state that they want to do something to keep busy and help a little in a local way.  If more work is called for later on, they can expand the business if necessary.  As soon as their belting arrives and all arrangements are made, they will be prepared to start working.  They will make to order, all kinds of household items, like bookcases, cupboards and such.


A few items of news from the Heathville Community are as follows:


Richard Balke and Miss Martha Pagelsdorf were united in marriage at the home of the bride’s parents, near Greenwood on Wednesday of this past week.


George Drake had several teams of horses hauling wagons loaded with potatoes to Chili last week.  Drake had an immense crop of potatoes, amounting to 400 or 500 bushels.


Wm. Gerlach returned from Hot Springs, Mich., on Saturday, where he has been taking treatment for rheumatism.  After receiving treatment for two weeks, he thinks his health is much improved.


Rumor has it that the Skunk Hill farm has been sold.


There was a dance in the H. A. Knoll granary on Saturday night.   Those who attended the dance reported having a good time.


Mr. Frank Tragsdorf and Miss Elizabeth May Shaw were quietly married October 24, 1911, by Judge O. W. Schoengarth.  The groom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Julius Tragsdorf and he grew up in Neillsville.  He is an efficient linesman in the employ of the local telephone company.  The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Shaw of Christie.  She has been employed for some time at the Merchants Hotel.  For the present time, they both plan to continue in their positions.


October 1956


After 32 years, Martin Zilisch will retire as Railway Express Agent in Neillsville.


“I’ve really liked the job as railroad agent here, but in some ways it will seem like going out of prison,” said Zilisch. Al Marg will replace Zilisch as the Neillsville agent.


“When I came here 32 years ago, in 1919,” he said, “I only intended to stay a few years.  But I liked the town and the people and stayed on.”


“I started to work on March 1, 1919,” he said, after consulting a small black book he kept in the safe.  The book contains the highlights of his years as express agent, for he started the notebook when he started his job.


“I took over the job from George Hart, who retired at that time,” he said.  “The office was then located in the Hart building on East Fifth Street.  It was a cold, blustery day when I began.”


“The hardest thing to get used to was staying in one place.  Before I became express agent, I had a job traveling on the rail-roads.  I would automatically want to leave when I heard a train whistle.  But you get used to it,” Zilisch said.


“Before I came to Neillsville, I worked a year in Juneau as an agent.  Then we moved up here, he said.


“My job has been kind of uneventful,” he further stated, “However, there were some exciting times.  There was the time someone shipped a racehorse from Neillsville.


The heaviest thing we ever shipped was the canning machine from the old bean-canning factory.  It needed repair work so they shipped it to the company to be repaired.  It was right before the canning season started.  Nowadays, the company would send a repairman, instead of having the machine shipped.”


“I got pretty nervous one time when I almost lost a dog.  A very valuable dog was in the depot overnight.  He gnawed his way out of his crate and disappeared.  When I got to work the next morning, I found the dog missing.  I notified the police and the morning paperboys.  I was just talking to one of the paperboys, when I noticed a dog walking along the station platform.  Sure enough, it was the missing dog.  He came right up to me with his tail wagging.  As soon as he came close enough, I grabbed him by the collar and put him back in his crate, I wasn’t taking any more chances.  I suppose everything was strange to him and the crate was the only familiar object.  I guess he remembered me because I had petted him through the crate a few times.  It would only happen once in a thousand times that a dog would thus return after being free to run.”


“The railway express agency moved down to the depot on March 1, 1931,” Zilisch said after checking the little black book.


“Just about everyone who was in business when I started is gone,” he said, “either out of business or dead.  This business was like all the others; it had undergone changes, too.”


“I’ve no regrets about my job.  I’ve always enjoyed the work, but it will seem good not to be tied down.  You know, when you are the only one in an office, you’re more tied down.  Even to go to relatives’ funerals I had to get the company to send another man over; consequently, I didn’t attend many funerals.”


“What am I going to do now that I’ve retired?  The first thing is to put up the storm windows.  There is so much to do around the house I don’t know where to begin.  We intend to stay in Neillsville.  We’ve always liked the town.  We raised our two children here, a son, Martin lives in Menomonie and daughter, Jessie June Bodoh, is here in Neillsville.”


We built out house on South Park Street in 1928.  I have a large garden and an orchard of 85 fruit trees.  Gardening and trees are my hobby.  I intend to get caught up with my fishing and do some traveling now that I’ve retired.


Zilisch retired from the goat business five years ago.  At one time, he had a number of fine quality goats and sold goat’s milk.


“Yep, I think Neillsville has been a good place to stay for 32 years,” were Zilisch’s closing words.


A berserk cow went on a rampage through the streets in the city of Neillsville on Tuesday night.


But the end of the saga did not come until after the cow had treed at least one man, sent several others scurrying for cover and did miscellaneous damage to cars and lawns.


Six hours after it first broke loose from the Neillsville stockyards, the 14-year-old cow met its end at the rear of the Rev. H. E. Webster house on East Ninth Street.  There, Police Chief Lawrence Drescher had to shoot the animal.


On the last load of cattle to be brought in to the Neillsville stockyard on Tuesday afternoon, the cow bolted through the open scale-gate as it was unloaded. She took off toward the county highway shops, just east of the stockyard.  She then headed along the route that George Scott, a county highway employee, was striking out for home on foot.


Scott heard the warning before the cow reached him and scrambled behind a tree to safety.


From that time the chase was on, with scores of people, trucks and cars joining in the effort to corner and subdue the crazed animal.  It is impossible to trace the exact route of the animal, or to find all who had a close brush with it before it was finally destroyed.


It roamed the city south of O’Neill Creek, principally between Grand Avenue and State Street.  It chased B. J. Benson, retired hardware merchant, around a brick pillar at the Farmers Store.


Lowell D. Schoengarth, at his home on Hewett Street saw the cow outside and went out to investigate.  She took after him and he barely managed to keep a tree between her and himself as the crazed cow made two or three passes.  Then he made a break and got back to the safety of his house.


Joy D. Stanton, livestock dealer, sat on the front fender of Franklin Gault’s car as the cow was being chased.  At one point in the proceedings, the cow turned her attention to Stanton, lowered her head and charged. Stanton still doesn’t remember how he avoided being hit, but: “That’s the fastest I ever disappeared,” he commented later.  “If that cow had chased me from there she’d have burned her feet trying to keep up.”


Duane (Gabby) Schultz attempted to subdue the animal with a club.


“I hit the club over the top of her head once,” he said, “and the club bounced back up in the air like it was on springs.”


On another occasion, and with the same club, Schultz stepped behind a telephone pole as the cow charged.  He lifted the club high, ready to strike, but she had whizzed by before he could bring the club down.


On Court Street, just below the high school, the five-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Kapusta received the maddened attention of the cow.  She took after the boy and he made a dash for the Kapusta house, getting inside as the cow dashed at the porch.


Unaware that a rampaging cow was on the loose in the neighborhood, County Judge O. W. Schoengarth was putting on storm windows at his Hewett Street residence.  He heard a noise behind him and turned to see the cow about to charge.  He started to move out of the way, but tripped and fell.  Somehow, the cow ran by him.


At one point in the proceedings, the cow was chased into the brush along O’Neill Creek, near the American Stores Dairy Co. Condensery.  There, Albert Marg attempted to throw a rope over her, with Gabby Schultz standing by to help if necessary.  The cow rammed at both of them.  Schultz beat a hasty retreat; Marg shinnied up a tree – the animal keeping him treed for a time.


On another occasion, in the same area, Donald (Bulldog) Turner went in to throw a noose over the animal’s head.  He almost succeeded, but was sent in headlong retreat as the cow took after him.


Twice, the cow was cornered.  Once at the Condensery it was backed into a corner near the building.  It hurdled between the back of Franklin Gault’s car and the front of John R. Bergemann’s car and made its way to temporary freedom.  The other time, the cow was surrounded on the Hewett Street Bridge over O’Neill Creek, again breaking loose.


When all attempts in catching the cow failed, the decision was made to shoot her.


The cow’s owner said that when the cow was a young heifer, she had become very wild after being chased by stray dogs in a pasture.  Apparently, that experience had stuck with her and when she was brought to strange surroundings, she became terrified.


(The railroad, with the stockyard that was nearby, is gone from Neillsville and so is some of the excitement that went with it. D.Z.)


A parade on Neillsville’s Hewett Street, shortly after the new Carnegie Public Library was built and is shown on the far right.  At that time, boardwalks were still to be found within the city.  (Photo courtesy of the Glass Family Collection)



***Transcriber's note: We find that the October 1956 should read October 1951



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