Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

December 19, 2001

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 

Good Old Days    

Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News


December 1876


Mr. and Mrs. James O’Neill, Jr. took possession of their fine new residence in this village last Wednesday.  They are now more comfortably located within the village. Their residence, with the exception of Mr. Hewett’s, is the finest in town.  The rooms are all large, pleasantly located and well ventilated.  The workmanship throughout the building is not to be surpassed.  May their home ever be as pleasant as it is attractive.  (The historic Judge O’Neill home is located at 319 State Street and believed to be the house referred to in the above article.  Jim and Nancy Nelson presently own the home.  D.Z.)


C. B. Bradshaw’s ability as a builder is well established in the erection of the courthouse in Neillsville.  There are several other buildings, including the Presbyterian Church that is one of the finest little buildings in the West, plainly indicating Bradshaw’s skill as an architect.  His calling card may be found elsewhere in our state.


The most enjoyable party in Neillsville for some time was an impromptu affair, at the O’Neill House Hall, last Wednesday evening.  It was gotten up for the purpose affording Ingalls’ Band a chance to show the people of Neillsville what they could do. They succeeded in satisfying 40 or 50 couples of dancers with more dancing in a few hours than they usually get in an entire night.  Everything was splendid and all those there had a good time.


An exhibition will be given by the high school pupils next Friday evening, at the school hall.  An admission fee will be required, the proceeds to be used in completing the purchase of the Encyclopedia, a part of which has already been secured.  Other necessary articles will also be procured.  The exhibition will be under the careful management of Prof. Miller, principal of the school.  It cannot fail to be pleasant entertainment and should be well patronized.


The burning-out of a chimney at the O’Neill House on last Friday evening caused some excitement.  It was a bad time for such a job for those who had to take care of the problem.


The latest excitement in our village was created by a man who was going to spend a $20 bill.  He was sent below immediately.  A man with that amount of ready cash took on too many airs for a burg like Neillsville, where saw-logs are currency.


Loyal will have a Christmas tree celebration on Monday evening, Christmas night.  It is expected that it will be a grand affair as it will be held in their new Methodist Church.  All are cordially invited.  The new church will be dedicated on the 14th of January, 1877.  Rev. W. S. Wright, Presiding Elder, will preside over the dedication.


The Blair House at Merrillan was burned to the ground last Saturday.  It was one of the finest houses in this part of state.  It is a decided loss to our neighbors.  The property was owned by G. B. & M. Railway Co., and will probably be rebuilt.


There is a young man in town, whose accent tells that he was born under other skies.  He would like to marry and his chances for keeping along in that direction are good as it will soon be leap year when the young women can be choosing.


December 1941


United for War – now we know what our job is.  Japan has made it clear to us.  Attacking us, by treacherous surprise, she has cleared the atmosphere over America. We can now see it plainly.  We shall act accordingly.


This sudden attack, killing hundreds of Americans and doing serious damage to American ships, planes and equipment, seems to have given Japan an immediate and superficial advantage.  Its more important result has been to clear the vision of Americans and to unify them.


The Japanese bombs over Hawaii followed a long period of debate in this country, some of it belligerent.  We were sharply divided as to our course.  Some of us were isolationists; some interventionists.  It was only last week that the Chicago Tribune, leading isolationist newspaper, published what was represented as a sensational disclosure, revealing plans for an American expeditionary force. This was imputed to the administration as a reprehensible plot, a job put on the American people.


But now we have a different story.  What then to some may have seemed evidence of deep purpose is now revealed as a necessary precaution.  The national administration was correctly appraising the prospects.  What then seemed a matter of debate now becomes a matter of certainty with no debate about it.  We shall have an expeditionary force, and no fooling.  It will be a big one.


When Japanese planes unloaded their first bombs on Hawaii and later on the Philippines and Guam, they were striking at Clark County.  Clark County has several youths who were reported to have been on those islands on military duty.  Relatives of many others were in army and naval duty in the danger zone.


Among them are:


Charles Perushek, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ludwig Perushek of Willard, a machinist’s mate on an aircraft carrier, at Pearl Harbor, H.I.


Robert, age 21, and James Cattanach, age 24, sons of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Cattanach, of Owen, second class seamen were on a cruiser, last reported, in Pearl Harbor.


Keith Colby, Loyal, is stationed with an army unit on the island of Guam.


Pvt. Phillip W. Haag, nephew of Leo Foster of Neillsville, is stationed at Manila, P.I.


Vincent and Alphonse Melcher, brothers of Mrs. George D. Hart, whose husband operated the A&P meat concession in Neillsville, are army men stationed near Honolulu.


Names of those in the danger zone are necessarily incomplete and were the last known stations of the men. It is cautioned that these men may have been moved to other stations before hostilities started.


A new nursery has been built at the Neillsville Hospital, with accommodations for seven babies.  Two babies were ready for the nursery when it was opened on Monday.


The room has been soundproofed and double glassed.  Indirect ventilation has been provided, so that there will be no drafts on the babies.  Decorations have been provided, suitable to a nursery.


A decision to sell the Clark County Poor Farm in the Town of York and to move the personal property onto the Clark County Asylum farm was reached by the Public Property Committee in joint session Tuesday morning with members of the Pauper Claims Committee.


Three reasons for exposing the 160-acre farm for sale were listed by the committee.  Because of present world conditions, the committee deemed this the “best time to offer the property for sale.”  Other reasons entering into the decision were the fact that William Plummer, manager of the poor farm for several years, “does not care to rent the farm,” and that a new heating system is needed.


The real estate will be sold under sealed bids, which will be opened at 9:30 a.m., February 8, the committee determined.


In the meantime, the management and expense of the poor farm will be taken over by the management of the county asylum effective January 1st.  The asylum is to take charge of all poor persons referred to them by the Clark County Welfare Department.


St. John’s Lutheran Church will hold a patriotic service next Sunday morning, at which will be dedicated two flags, the Christian banner and the Stars and Stripes. The two new banners have been purchased by the church, in accordance with action taken December 7.  The church’s action came upon the day when Japan made its surprise attack upon America.  The purpose had been to dedicate the flags on the first Sunday in January.  The ceremony has been hastened in order that it may take place before local service men, now at home on leave, are recalled to the colors.  Several men in the Service Company, 128th Infantry, have returned for Christmas furloughs.


A drizzling rainfall on Monday night washed away Neillsville’s prospects for a white Christmas; unless snow falls within the next 24 or 36 hours.  This will be the first green Christmas here in several years.


The season’s only lasting snowfall was mostly dissipated during the last week as daytime temperatures arose above the freezing mark.  The official thermometer at the Henry Markwardt home registered a high of 50 degrees on Monday.  Low during the last week was 15 degrees, recorded on Saturday.


Following are the high and low temperatures from Thursday through Monday: Thursday, 42-26; Friday, 40-25; Saturday, 30-15; Sunday, 42-23; Monday, 50-36.  (This proves unseasonable warmer temperatures have happened before in this area. D.Z.)


Boys and girls of Clark County’s rural and village schools are buying defense stamps in their effort to aid the fight for freedom, County School Supt. Louis E. Slock revealed this week.  Sample booklets of stamps and literature explaining the defense stamps and telling students where they may be purchased have been sent to every school in the county.


Because of the old-fashioned spirit of neighborliness, W. H. Wiegert, of the Town of Foster, had a new barn Saturday night – not more than 14 hours after his three-year-old barn had been razed to the ground by fire.


After hearing of the loss at the Wiegert farm early Saturday morning, about 12 neighbors quickly organized a barn-raising bee. They dropped the work they had planned for themselves and hustled over to the Wiegert place.  They worked through the day like a crew of beavers.


When night fell, the outside of the barn had been finished and the roof was on.  Of course, the inside was not completed; no stanchions, or the like.  But the cattle had a place out of the night weather.  The new barn is 14’ by 44’, made of hemlock lumber.


The fire that destroyed the old Wiegert barn was discovered about 3:15 a.m. by a truck driver, Andrew Szydel, and in (an) unidentified motorist, who was driving behind Szydel’s truck.  Together they drove into the Wiegert place to raise the alarm.  One of them ran to the blazing barn and turned the nine head of cattle and two horses out, while the other man awakened the Wiegerts.


The extent of the loss was not estimated early this week.  Wiegert said that the barn was partially insured.  Among his losses, he said, were some tools seven or eight tons of hay, about 90 shocks of corn which had not been husked and some new lumber.  The old barn was built in an “L” shape.  One wing was 14’ x 28’ and the other wing was 18’ x 28’.


The tax rate in the City of Neillsville is down.


A budget calling for the levying of $30,457.84 in taxes was adopted by the city council following a public hearing in the city hall Thursday night. 


The Chili office of the Central State Bank of Marshfield opened its doors for business Monday morning.


Elmer J. Martin of Marshfield is manager of the Chili branch.  With him on Monday for the grand opening were Dr. Potter, C. W. Maw, H. E. Mueller, I. W. Wendt and R. N. Hanson, officers and directors of the bank.  For the present time, the bank will be open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. A lovely banquet was received from the members of the Chili Community Club, presented by Mrs. Phelps Spry, its president.


A benefit for the USO will be put on Saturday, December 27.  The dance is timed for the presence of many men who are home from the armed forces.  All men in uniform will attend as guests, without admittance charge.  All door receipts will go to the USO which is said by returning soldiers to be doing a good job.


One of the best things we can do for creative men and women is to stand out of their light. – John W. Gardner



Plans for a modern Neillsville School system were started in 1872.  The brick building was finally completed in 1875 for the cost of $7,000.  The school was located south of 4th Street, on the west side of State Street, now the site of apartments.  The building housed all grades, including a high school department that was formally organized under the State Free High School Law in 1878.  (Photo courtesy of Sontag family collection)




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