Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

April 18, 2001, Page 24

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 

Good Old Days


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News


April 1886


Some of the citizens of Eidsvold have taken the desire to go to Kansas and Dakota.  One or two of them have declared their firm intentions to take up their abode in those regions of “golden grain” and cyclones, in the near future.  They will most likely find out their mistake and return to Clark County inside of two or three years.


The losses by fire at Dorchester last week, Tuesday, have amounted to about $30,000.  LaBoosier lost a store, stock and residence.  Grimmer’s hotel and most of the contents are gone.  The other buildings also lost were: Shafer Bros. business along with their stock of merchandise; Loring’s saloon, residence and another structure; Heim’s stock of merchandise; Koener’s building and saloon; Mattalka’s tin shop and residence and Gutwasser’s hardware store and building.  Hopefully, some insurance carried by each business owner and with a good deal of assistance by others, these businesses can be rebuilt.


The Austin Creamery will start gathering cream on May 1st.  Cream in the milk will be more easily obtained by the Cooly process.  Cooly cans and tanks are furnished to patrons at wholesale cash prices.  Hand skimming cans, $1.25 each, self-skimming cans, $1.60 each, Cooly strainers, $1 each.  All are made in the best grade of tin: Cooly tanks for holding 3 cans of milk from six to eight cows, $4.50; 6 cans for milk from 12 to 15 cows, $5.50; nine cans, from 18 to 24 cows, $6.50.  Cream collection routes will be extended to reach all who wish to join or patronize the company, within 20 or 25 miles.  All who wish to sell cream or have it worked up into butter and marketed by the creamery company, please address by postal, giving the number of cows.  Geo. Austin will see you and explain the plan of work, cost of the outfitting and any other needed information.


The Clark County Poor Farm’s expenses, for the month of March were $101.83.  The disbursements for the courthouse and jail during March amounted to $244.30, of which $200 was on a furnace wood contract.



Clark County, Wis. Courthouse (foreground) & the Jailhouse (right side)

*The above photo was not originally part of this article.  It was submitted by the family of Peggy L. Walter and was taken from a postcard booklet titled, "Souvenir Letter", Neillsville, Wis.


John H. Thayer owns one to the neatest handsomest Jersey heifer calves we have ever seen.  For a family’s milk needs, a Jersey beats all other cow breeds.  A Jersey is superior to all others for dairy needs.


April 1941


An open house will be held at Camp Perkinstown in which several Clark County boys are located.  It is in celebration of the eighth anniversary of the Civilian Conservation Crops (Corps), April 6.  The program will start at 1 p.m. with demonstrations of activities of the enrollees in camp and at work.  Camp facilities and project equipment will be demonstrated.  Also, refreshments will be served, according to the announcement of Ralph C. Bangsberg, camp superintendent.


The new United Lutheran Church parsonage, in Greenwood, was consecrated by the Rev. Dr. Martin Anderson of Chicago, District President, at Sunday afternoon services.


A guest book the gift to the parsonage from the L.D.R., was presented by Miss Verna Caliebe, president of the organization.   A sum of money given by members of the congregation assembled for the consecration was presented to the Norsons by Edwin Hegenbarth, a member of the board of trustees.


At the Sunday morning services, Dr. Anderson dedicated the recently refinished basement in the Emmanuel Lutheran Church of Longwood.


The Neillsville City council, on Tuesday night, turned their attention to the tennis courts in Schuster Park.  The council favored the development of three courts with permanent surfacing.


Alderman Leo Foster called on R. E. Schmedel, whose active interest was largely responsible for the construction of the Schuster Park courts several years ago. Schmedel told of the basic construction of the courts and recommended that asphalt be used as a permanent surface.


Development of Schuster Park received further attention by the city council Tuesday night when it granted a lease to the Clark County Rod & Gun Club.  The Rod & Gun Club will lease space for erection of pheasant pens on the property bordering the north side of the tennis courts. Granting the lease was recommended by members of the park board, including J. F. Schuster, chairman, A. L. Devos and George Zimmerman.


The Rod & Gun Club plans to build two pheasant pens, each 100 feet by 40 feet. They expect to raise a total of from 1,200 to 1,400 pheasants in the pens this year.


Art Opelt is willing to give his testimony about this spring’s bad roads, if you can catch him.  Being a generous soul, Opelt hooked his truck to the Holub truck which was stuck at the foot of the Mike Johnson hill on Highway 95.  Opelt’s truck was on good footing, while the Holub truck was not.  But the power of the mud was greater than the strength of the axle of the Opelt truck and the axle broke.  The mud was still there and going strong after the axle gave out.


Thereafter, Opelt was obliged to resort to his tractor for milk hauling.  That seemed a tolerable answer until Opelt hit the famous mud hole on the road going east from his farm.  (Art and Ada Opelt’s farm was located on what is now Poertner Road, along the Levis and Pine Valley township line.  D. Z.)  That portion of the road runs from the old Powell farm, occupied by Herbert Filitz, to the old Lowery (Lowry) farm. There, the tractor went down, stopping this side of China.  Opelt tried diving for it; no luck. So, he got a fence post and another piece of timber.  He fastened the fence post to one drive wheel and the strip of timber to the other drive wheel. Then he put on the power and the tractor finally emerged.  Opelt has become the inventor of “wooden water wings” to be used in emerging obstacles from mud holes.


A stroke of lightning struck a big pine tree about a mile from the Hugo Kobs cheese factory in the Town of Fremont on Sunday morning.  Kobs made such an explosive fuss about it that almost everybody in that vicinity thought the lightning had struck him.  The same notion of a fuss struck two teams of horses standing by the Kobs factory at that time.


One team belonged to Carl Bartsch, who had unloaded his milk and had put the empty cans back on the wagon.  Bartsch had his young nine-year-old son, Robert, with him.  The horses, known to be frisky, stated for an uncertain destination, throwing Bartsch, the little boy and milk cans in all directions.  The team ran for two miles to the almost complete ruin of the wagon and the milk cans.  But fortunately there was little damage to the members of the Bartsch family.


The other team of horses belonged to Fred Sternitzky, who had not yet unloaded his milk cans.  He had about 275 pounds of milk on his wagon when the lightning struck and about 10 percent of that amount was left when his horses quit jumping.  Except for the loss of milk, his experience was mild compared with that of Bartsch and his boy.


Another stroke of lightning came 24 hours later and struck the Havor Eide place, striking the house.  The tenant farm is located one-half mile west and about half-a-mile north of the Kobs factory.  The house was completely burned to the ground.


The fire on the Eide farm seems to have started on the roof.  It was seen by a family member and one of the Henninger children at the school.  The house was occupied by the John Henniger family, consisting of Mr. and Mrs. Henninger and their two children.  The Henningers were able to save most of their furniture on the first floor, but practically nothing on the second floor or cellar.


This past week, love triumphed over mud in the Town of Weston.  It took Paul Schumann of the Globe Lutheran Church five and one-half hours, last Sunday, to travel five miles, tie a knot and make the return trip. Rev. Schumann, acquainted with the Dust Bowl of the West, has thus learned, in his second year of his Globe pastorate, what Wisconsin mud can be.


Schumann’s excursion through the mud took place when he was appealed to for his service in connection with the Kindt-Foemmel wedding.  Here were two young people, intent upon matrimony, with their plans all made.  They had had every intention of going to the preacher on Sunday afternoon.  The bridal couple, employed in Milwaukee, had returned to their home area for the wedding event.  They had made plans not thinking about muddy roads, to later learn the road from Christie to Globe was absolutely impassable; no chance for an auto to get over it.  Now this might not have been an impossible handicap; for the groom, as Ervin Foemmel could walk to the preacher.  But just how the bride would look after she had waded three miles through the mud from Christie to Globe was something else.  Besides, there was the matter of the bride’s mother and various relatives, who had intended to participate.


It did not take much explaining to make Pastor Schumann see the point of concern. He knew that, if a wedding party could not get to the preacher, the preacher might possibly get to the wedding party.  So he agreed to walk from his home to Globe and the pavement, where he was to be met.  He had a three-mile stretch of mud in front of him, when he set out at 1:30 p.m. and he also found he had some ditches to jump or ford.  Schumann protected his clothing with overalls, wore mud boots and carried his vestments in a suitcase.  Thus attired, he was in presentable condition when he was met by the bride’s brother, Edward Kindt, at the town hall.  From there to the Kindt home, north, the going was good with only cement to travel on.  The only trouble which Pastor Schumann faced was how he would get home again.


But, if the preacher had had his troubles in getting to the Kindt household so, had the members of the Foemmel family.  Like the rest of the people in Clark County, the Foemmels have lived in a sea of mud, too.  To Aldred (Alfred) Foemmel, who was slated to be best man, his foresight was the requisite, as he hitched a team of horses to the family car.  By that means, he was able to navigate the two-and-a-half mile trek to Granton.  Arriving in Granton at 10 o’clock, he discarded the horses and picked up Jessie Mills, who was to be the bridesmaid.


Traveling for these two on the cement road was in happy contrast to the horse-and-wagon travel required by Mrs. Margaret Foemmel, mother of the groom and her son Raymond.  The two journeyed to Granton, borrowed a car of a relative, picked up Doris Spry and made the journey to the Kindt home in time for the ceremony.


Some 40 to 50 relatives and friends were there by the time Schumann had donned his vestments and was ready to perform the wedding ceremony. So the job was done and completed, when Mr. and Mrs. Fred Marg pulled up, having traveled through the mud for five miles by team and wagon.


The hour’s time for the wedding service was the limit for Rev. Schumann, for he had to milk the family cow and be ready for an evening worship service.  So, he hurried through the mud, reached home at 7 p.m., milked the family cow and was at the church by 7:30 p.m.


Miss Lillian Kindt, the bride, was gowned in a beautiful lenceon lace and marquisette pink dress.  She wore a pink shoulder veil and carried a bouquet of red roses, snapdragons and ferns.


Her attendant was Jessie Mills, a close friend, who wore an aqua net dress over taffeta and carried a bouquet of tea roses, snapdragons and ferns.


Alfred Foemmel, brother of the groom, was best man and wore a dark blue suit. The groom wore a medium blue suit.  Each wore a white carnation boutonniere.


The bride, a graduate of the Greenwood High School, class of 1939, has been working in Milwaukee.


The groom is working for Wisconsin Ice and Coal Co. of Milwaukee.  They returned to Milwaukee on Tuesday, where they will take up housekeeping.  (Erv and Lil Foemmel are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary this month and presently live in Neillsville.)


Looking back in our county’s history, the conditions of roads has been worse.  For instance, in 1878 or 1879, an ox became bogged down on the Hewett farm hill and never got out alive. 


The story of that ox came to the memories of W. J. Marsh and J. F. Schuster recently, when they were talking of mud and the old times.  They both recalled how it happened.  The team of oxen was called into service to bring into town the freight which had been hauled to the old depot then located on the west side of the Black River.  Horses could not get through the mud, but the oxen managed it until finally one of them became mired completely and sank so deeply that it all but disappeared, head back and all.


Tremendous efforts were made to get the ox out, but they were unavailing.  Finally the animal was shot, to put it out of its misery.


This happened on the Hewett hill, just in front of the present Winnebago Indian School.  The people of today slip over the same spot on concrete and never dream that the bog was once so deep as to take the life of a large ox.


The Volz children were playing in the yard of their farm home in the Town of Washburn on Friday evening, April 11.  Willis, age 11, aimed his slingshot in the direction of his sister, Deloris, age 9, who had her back toward him.  Unexpectedly, she turned as the slingshot stone was airborne, getting hit in her left eye. Taken to the Granton clinic, she received care from the doctor.  It was found that the stone had not penetrated the eye and complete recovery from the injury is expected.


This scene from the “Good Old Days” depicts the problems incurred on country side roads when the frost went out of the ground in the spring.  It is a reminder that not all things about the old days were pleasant, such as traveling on country roads.


The photo was taken in the early ‘50s near Neillsville, on a township road.  As shown, the ’51 Chevy is sunk in the muck. A plank placed by a back wheel didn’t help the situation.   A tractor driven to the scene didn’t get as far as the car had before it became mired down. 


Our township roads, with more grading and gravel surfacing, have been greatly improved in the last 50 years.




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