Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

April 4, 2001, Page 13

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 

The Good Old Days


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News


April 1876


A meeting was held in Neillsville last Sunday by those of the Catholic faith living here.  They appointed a church committee consisting of E. H. Markey, president; J. Dwyer, treasurer; with three assistants; Wm. Hughes, M. Lorenz and Martin Neville.


They empowered the committee to act in conjunction with the Priest, in making arrangements for building a Catholic Church in Neillsville during this year.  Also, they are to call upon all members and friends of the congregation to subscribe money for that purpose. They will also be authorized to receive and pay expenses for which proper accounts will be kept.  The committee is assigned to select suitable grounds to erect thereon a Catholic Church, also.


The Clark County Republican newspaper has been purchased by the proprietor of the Clark County Press, being consolidated with this issue.  This leaves but one newspaper in Clark County. There wasn’t business enough to support two newspapers in Neillsville at the present time.


George Isham, of La Crosse, an experienced carriage painter, has opened a shop in Neillsville for the purpose of executing all work in this line.  During a part of last season, Isham was engaged by Campbell, Watson & Hommel, here, to paint several fine buggies manufactured by them.  His work, at that time, established his reputation as a first-class workman.  We can surely recommend him for quality painting projects to be done.


With the coming spring, let every person having a homestead in Clark County do something to adorn their land.  If not able to do more building at least plant some trees.  Do something permanent each year in fitting up your homes.  Then, in a few years you will not only enhance the value thereof, but have something to be proud of.


The following men will comprise the Clark County Board of Supervisors for the ensuing year: Town of Beaver, Wm. Darton; Colby, D. C. Daniels; Eaton, Henry Huntzicker; Fremont, Ira Fike; Grant, John S. Dore; Hewett, S. B. Hewett, Jr.; Lynn, A. Brooks; Loyal, Wm. Welsh; Mentor, Orin Wilson; Mayville, R. C. Evans; Perkins, T. J. LaFlesh; Pine Valley, Jas. Hewett; Sherman, John Salsbury; Unity, Thos. Shanks; Washburn, John Welsh; Weston, E. M. Holden; Warner, M. B. Warner; York, H. W. Renne.


During the present log-drive this spring, gun powder has been used quite extensively on the Black River in removing ice and breaking rollways. The breakup last winter which flooded the landings caused logs to become frozen together. The mass of frozen logs made it almost impossible to get them started down the river by any other means.  The ice was removed from the pond at Greenwood by blasts of gun powder, very effectively and with little expense.


Ice was reported 40 inches thick on Rock Creek as of April 15.  It is generally conceded that but few logs from the spring rollway will go to market on the first water.


It will be seen by a notice elsewhere in this issue that a Methodist Church is to be built in Greenwood during the coming season.  The building is to be 32 by 56 feet and plans are to complete the construction by November.  Our neighbors to the north do credit to anything they do.


The reason for dams in our area streams is not for the purposes to accumulate power, as is the case of mill dams. The dams in O’Neill Creek are rather used to dam up water for sluicing logs downstream to market.  O’Neill Creek is abound with dams for sluicing logs which a few Neillsville ladies came to realize the other day. The party of ladies, who went out to look for wintergreens, discovered when they were quite a distance above the bridge that they were on the wrong side of O’Neill Creek for that vegetable. They said the creek water was not more than knee deep when they crossed to the side where the wintergreen was growing.  However, when they came back across the creek, the flood gates of those dams had been opened and it took some tall wading to get through to the other side.


Wisconsin’s historical records reveal that its land area was under the French Government rule for 93 years.  Next, it was under Virginia rule for one year; then it became part of the Territory of Ohio for 18 years. After that time, it became a Territory under the name of Wisconsin, where it remained as such for 12 years.  On the 13th day of March, 1848, it became the 30th state in the Union.  So, Wisconsin, as a state, is 28 years old this month.


Profanity never did any man the least good.  No man is the richer, or happier, or wiser for it.  It is disgusting to the refined; abominable to the good; insulting to those which whom we associate; degrading to the mind; unprofitable, needless and injurious to society.


Sal F. Jaseph has commenced the construction of a building, between Mrs. Crossett’s millinery store and the Presbyterian Church.  The new structure will be used as a sale room and harness shop when completed.  Jaseph is one of our most enterprising businessmen and we predict he will complete the undertaking in a fine manner.


April 1931


Early Tuesday morning, of last week, a mysterious blast wrecked the farm house of the F. W. Barr family, in the Town of Eaton. The house, with all its contents, burned to the ground and Barr was badly injured by the explosion.


Mr. and Mrs. Barr and their children had all gone to the barn to do the chores. After a short time, Barr had left the barn and the children thought their father was in the silo.


A terrific explosion was heard and the children began calling for their father, getting no response. Barr’s wife and children left the barn to go to the house.  Then, they found Barr lying unconscious on the ground about four feet from the house, which was in flames. Mrs. Barr summoned help to get her injured husband to the hospital at Marshfield.  There was a deep gash on Barr’s head and one arm was broken in two places.


No positive explanation of the accident can be given, but apparently Barr had gone to the house to see whether or not the kitchen fire was burning.  It is believed that he found the fire smoldering and had attempted to hasten the fire by adding kerosene, causing the explosion.


It appeared as if Barr had been blown through the kitchen window, the glass from which was scattered a great distance away from the building.


Barr’s condition is still listed as serious, but it is hoped that he will recover from the injuries.  The house and its contents were a total loss.


At the aftermath of a fire at Loyal Saturday evening, it was discovered that six people had died in that tragic blaze.


Those who lost their lives in the fire were: Mrs. Marjory Shober, Mrs. Matt Bever, Mrs. Christiansen and her three children, Rovert (Robert?), Jane and Marie.


A John Doe hearing of an investigation by the state fire marshal, at the site, may be ordered by Hugh G. Haight, Clark County district attorney.  Clues are needed to determine the cause of the fire.


Haight was of the opinion that faulty wiring may have been the source of the fire.  The building had been remodeled a little at a time.  Wiring that had been added, as needed, could have resulted in a tangle of wire throughout the building, according to Haight.


The fire, which started sometime after 2 a.m. in the old Wallace Allen block was discovered by Ralph Clementson, town policeman, who turned in the alarm.  Within a few moments, flames were sweeping through the entire structure which housed the Emil Wepfer drug store, the Loyal Tribune publishing office, the Kerhberg variety store and the Edward Meyers’ recreation hall.  Sixteen other persons who lived in the flats above, barely escaped with their lives.  The loss is estimated as high as $100,000.


It is expected that the business places lost will be re-established. Wepfer has another building a block north on Main Street which he intends to remodel for a new drug store.  Kerhberg intends to rebuild and Lawrence Cowles of the Loyal Tribune plans on building a new plant as soon as possible. All places were insured, but never-the-less will suffer heavy losses. The Allen block was a three-story structure and was erected more than 30 years ago by Wallace Allen.  For years it was vacant, but recently has been fully occupied.  The Christiansen family had moved in a week previous to the fire.


Forest fires which raced with a 50 mile-an-hour wind all day Sunday covered wide areas south and northwest of Neillsville, causing heavy damage to property.


The new home of William Manthey near Tioga caught fire from flying embers while the family was in the barn milking cows and was destroyed. Several unoccupied buildings in the fire area were reported burned.


In the East Fork country, the blaze worked north along a ten-mile front, menacing several farms in its path.  At night both the fires to the north and south cast a bright red glare in the skies and were visible for 25 miles.


Albert Sollberger, meter tester for the Northern States Power Co., was visiting his brother over Sunday at Park Falls.  He stated that no less than 25 fires could be seen burning in the woods along his way home from Park Falls.  Because of the terrific wind, the tops of the trees in many places were blazing like torches, he said.


At Chippewa Falls, fire destroyed a number of buildings at the fairgrounds and seven or eight buildings at Wisconsin Rapids were burned on Sunday.  Firemen were handicapped by the gale which made furnace-like heat from the blazing structures enabling them to get close enough to fight the flames.


Sunday, Mr. and Mrs. Geo. E. Rude and sons, Mr. and Mrs. George Hubing and daughter, Betty, Miss Pearl Chapman and Louis Bradbury with two cars drove down along the Black River.  They stopped below Paddy’s Rest and ate a picnic dinner in a picturesque place near the river.  While they were there, a forest fire, driven by the fierce wind from the south-west, raced across the narrow sandy road, cutting off the route both north and south.  Undecided for a time as what to do, they finally decided to run the gauntlet on the road going north, up a steep, sandy grade, with fires burning hotly on each side.  Fortunately, both cars came through safely and everyone breathed more freely when they got out of the fire danger and the thick smoke.


Less than half as many people have died from tuberculosis in Clark County in recent years in proportion to population as in the average Wisconsin county, according to a statement issued today by the Research Department of the Wisconsin Anti-Tuberculosis Association (WATA) in connection with the fourth annual Early Diagnosis Campaign.


Clark County had only 23.7 tuberculosis deaths per 100,000 population during the three-year periods ending Dec. 31, 1929, compared with an average of 57.4 deaths per 100,000 population in the whole state, it was stated.  With the exception of Pepin, Rush, Buffalo and Waushara counties, this was the lowest tuberculosis death rate of any county in the state.


While Clark County’s present tuberculosis death rate is very favorable, the WATA points out, however, that for every death there is estimated to be at least nine active cases.  On this basis, there are believed to be at least 84 active cases of tuberculosis in Clark County.


Forty-nine years ago, Tuesday, Neillsville’s first election as a city was held with the following officers elected: James Hewett, mayor; John B. Jones, treasurer; F. A. Lee, clerk; D. R. Brown, assessor and R. F. Kountz, police justice.  In the first ward, C. Blakeslee was elected alderman and W. S. Colburn, supervisor; F. D. Lindsay was named alderman in the second ward and Henry Myers, supervisor.  O. P. Wells was elected alderman and S. F. Chubb, supervisor in the third ward.


In the mayor race, James Hewett polled 138 votes against 110 for his opponent, B. F. French.


About 60 people representing several of the local churches, met at the stand-pipe on Sunday morning to hold Easter Services at sun rise.  The weather was clear and mild and a fine view of the sun was obtained as it came up over the eastern hill.  There was a prayer given by Rev. Paul White, a number of hymns were sung by the worshippers and short addresses delivered by Rev. White, Jesse Scott and S.G. Patey.



Never does the human soul appear so strong as when it forgoes revenge, and dares forgive an injury.

--E. H. Chapin


A circa 1930 photo of St. Joseph’s Hospital, in Marshfield, reveals that even then it was a large medical facility not commonly seen in a rural community.  News articles appearing in the Press, during that era, often refer to Clark County area residents receiving medial treatment at St. Joseph’s Hospital.   The phaeton style automobiles, shown parked along the street helps to verify the date that the photo was taken.



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