Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

May 30, 2001, Page 24

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 

IN THE Good Old Days 

Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News


May 1881


A notice is posted on the O’Neill Creek Bridge, forbidding, under penalty, fast driving buggies or riding horses, thereon.  Little regard is being heeded as to what the sign is saying.  We are requested by the town board of supervisors to state that those who do not obey the posted sign’s order will pay the fine stated.  You will do well to have your horse strike the gait required when riding or driving on that structure, enforced on or after this date.


Last Wednesday, Dr. Templeton went to Heathville to aid Chas. Osgood.  The doctor removed a sliver measuring five and three-fourths inches in length from Osgood’s left fore-arm.  The sliver was of hardwood, nearly three-cornered in shape and an inch between angles, having been in Osgood’s arm for 12 weeks.  The injury was caused by an edging being thrown from a circular saw while he was working in a mill at Heathville.


Work has commenced on the Pleasant Ridge Methodist Church in the Town of Grant.  The citizens of that town have taken hold of the matter in earnest and will assuredly have the building soon completed.


With the number of loose horses seen upon our streets almost every day, it is becoming unsafe to hitch a team of horses anywhere in town. The same may be said of driving teams of horses tied to hitching rails along the streets.  It is almost an everyday occurrence to see teams being bothered or stopped on the streets by a flock of loose, roaming horses.  The town has been turned into a public highway, simply because the owners have no use for these horses and let them wander around.


James Hewett has been compelled to place boxes around the trees he had planted on the north side of Third Street this spring.  He hopes to keep the trees from being destroyed by the horses that have been running in the streets.


Next to the nuisance created by running unoccupied horses into the streets, is that of having a lot of unruly cows around also.  The cows have been breaking down fences, destroying vegetables, shrubbery and flowers. The shot-gun policy was adopted by one of our citizens last week, in confronting the cow problem.  Although it is not our intention to advocate that course of action, as a last resort it did prove effective. 


One of the promising towns in Clark County, located near the Chippewa County line, is the village of Thorp.  It is about half way between Chippewa Falls and Abbotsford, in the north-west corner of Clark County.  Last fall, there was but one log cabin there.  Now, Thorp has two fine stores, a large hotel, a fine schoolhouse, a shingle mill and numerous other buildings going up every day.  The land there is fine and is rapidly taking up new settlers.  The people are rejoicing upon the initiative of Judge MacBride’s Success in setting aside $6,000 in bonds voted to the Wisconsin & Minnesota railroad last fall, for the town.


Boardman, postmaster, has done much in promoting the growth of Thorp as a town.  He has put up a handsome store building and is fitting the upper story for a public hall.  Boardman is one of the first settlers of the town and is platting a handsome farm of 160 acres into town lots, offering them to settlers at reasonable prices.


Another energetic business man is Garrison.  After arriving in Thorp last fall, he erected a fine building and put in an ample stock of goods.  With the great response in business, Garrison intends to enlarge his building during the coming season.


Job printing in English, German and Scandinavian languages can be done at the Republican and Press Steam Printing House.


Attention gardeners, onion sets are available at Youmans’ drug and variety store.


May 1951


New directors of the Neillsville Country Club were elected at the annual meeting this past week.  Hubert H. Quicker and Elmer Georgas will succeed Hugh Haight and Harry Wasserberger, who had served as directors.  “Dutch” Manderfield will continue as the country club manager for the ensuing year. The annual meeting was attended by about 50 members and golfers.


Ground was broken and construction started April 23, on the new four-room school of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenwood.


The building will be of fire-proof construction and will have a full basement.  It was planned with the help of the Rev. John Ryan at Catholic University.  He came to Willard in 1917, where he entered at once upon the construction of the new parish house and social hall.  In 1933, he went to St. Bernard’s congregation in Abbotsford, coming to St. Mary’s congregation in Greenwood in 1935.


Three urban properties with a total value of about $17,000 have been included in this week’s realty budget.  One of these is the uncompleted house which Dr. Kluchesky was building on South Grand Avenue. This has been sold to Arthur G. Meyer, who had earlier sold a property on South Grand Avenue to Dr. Carroll N. Schield.


Awards Night for Pack 143 Cub Scouts was held on May 3, at St. Mary’s Church basement in Neillsville.  The family “game night,” with each cub member bringing a home made game, for all those attending to play, also provided a fund-raiser.  In order to play, each person had to pay a penny on each game played. About $15 was collected for the Cub Scout Pack.


Alvin Ziegler, the cub master, awarded 1951 registration cards to all scouts and gave out various award pins.


Each Scout Den presented a skit.  Den 1, under the direction of Irene Tibbett, gave “Farmer in the Dell”; Den 2, under the leadership of Dorothy Meier, gave, “Cowboy Stew” and Den 3, under Adele Maeder’s direction, gave a pyramid.


Pink Van Gorden and Jim Hauge caught their limit of brook trout last Sunday and then proceeded to Lake Arbutus where they caught their limit of crappies.  With 10 trout apiece and 25 crappies each, the young men figured that they had qualified as real fishermen.


Sometimes, the fellows, like others, are not quite so successful.  This fact is well known to Calvin Swenson, who has also fished vainly for trout.  So Swenson decided to sleep in during the trout expedition, but he was up and around for the crappie venture and got his limit, also.


Oscar W. Schoengarth of Clark County is the Dean of all Judges in Wisconsin.  As a judge he has had varied experiences.


When Hattie G. Burdett died in Clark County in 1927, she had been for 10 full years without word from her son, L. H. Allen.  This son of a former marriage had gone to France in World War I and she had never heard from him since.  Making her will in 1920, she specified that he should receive one-third of her estate, if he appeared within five years after her death. Otherwise, the money should go to grandchildren.


The Burdett will, posed a problem to Oscar W. Schoengarth, the Clark County judge.  It was his duty to pass a share of the estate to this son, if the son could be found.  In the midst of Judge Schoengarth’s concern about it, Ben Frantz, then register of probate, told the judge that he had known L. H. Allen and k new that he was a railroad man.  His suggestion was that an effort be made through a railroad union to locate him.  So a letter went to the union with a quick response. “Sure,” said the union; L. H. Allen was alive and very active; was, as a matter of fact, a member of the Wisconsin Legislature from the Ashland District.  So the word went to Allen and he appeared promptly on the local scene.  He qualified for, and received one-third of his mother’s estate of $4,064.43.


Whatever the rest of the story is, it had no place in the records of the court and has no place here.  The sure thing is that this gentleman, a member of the Wisconsin Assembly, had come back to Wisconsin after the war, had not seen his mother or notified her of his whereabouts and she supposed that he had been killed in the war.  Residing in Ashland and rendering public service in Madison, he had traveled back and forth not far from Neillsville.  He came back here only when his mother’s estate was about to be closed.


This is only one of the countless oddities that have come to the experience of Judge Schoengarth during his long service as Clark County Judge.  In his work he has come to know the people of the county as nobody else knows them. He is not only the judge of the longest service in the entire state of Wisconsin, but he is also the one man in Clark County who has had the best opportunity to know the people of the county and their problems.  He has rendered them more service than any other man and stands in a closer relation to them.


To the people of Clark County, this intimate relationship is perhaps of more consequence than the length of service.  The fact is that he is the dean, not only of county judges, but of all judges in the state, Circuit was (as) well as county.  He is now in his forty-sixth year of service.  Next in length of service is County Judge Michael Sheridan of Milwaukee whose tenure is four years less.


The deanship of Oscar W. Schoengarth rests upon length of service, rather than upon age.  Just as he is now the judge of longest service in the state, so he was the state’s youngest judge when eh was elected in 1906.  he was then only 25 and had been out of the University Law School only four years.


As a law graduate, the young Schoengarth came back to solid ground in Neillsville.  The Schoengarth family had been long established here.  Oscar, son of August Schoengarth, was born in a building on the site of the present Ford garage on Fifth Street.  The family lived upstairs; his father had a boot and shoe store, below.  That building was moved away later, making way for the present Ford garage.  It is now the residence of George Rude on South Grand Avenue.  Leaving the shoe business, August Schoengarth went into brick-making.  He furnished brick for many homes in this part of Clark County.  The parents of August Schoengarth, were farmers in Grant Township.  Mr. and Mrs. Carl Schoengarth rest in the Grant cemetery, north of Kurth Corners.


Ready for law practice in 1901, Oscar Schoengarth not only had this family background and a wide local acquaintance, but he had the good fortune to secure a partnership at once with Spencer Marsh.  Marsh had an extensive practice; later went to San Diego, California and became district attorney and Circuit Judge.


Upon his election as county judge, Oscar Schoengarth left Marsh and set up a practice for himself.  At that time, the county judgeship was a part-time job.  For about 25 years, the Judge continued in practice, as well as carrying the judge-ship.


This year of 1951 means much to Judge Schoengarth, for it marks the 50th anniversary of his graduation from the law school at the University.  His class is preparing for a big golden reunion on June 15.


Judge Schoengarth solidly is important in human affairs.  He likes the local family traditions, with the Schoengarth line running back through five generations in Clark County.  He is glad to have the family continued in local service through his son Lowell, who like himself, is a graduate of the Law School of Wisconsin University and who came back to the “Old Home Town” as the natural place to establish himself.


With Lowell, the Schoengarth family enters upon a fourth generation of local service in citizenship.  Nor did Oscar Schoengarth go a-field in establishing a home.  He married Olga Dodte on August 25, 1915.  She came from a family of long residence in the Town of Pine Valley.


Judge Schoengarth is a quiet, industrious and thorough worker.  He is not given to far travel or long absence.  It is seldom that he misses the daily start on foot from his home on South Hewett Street.  He makes a thorough business of running down the law on all legal questions which come up in his court.  With the passing of the years those questions have become more and more intricate and difficult.  They now involve many points of welfare and pension laws, together with inheritance tax and condemnation procedure.  When such questions come before him, Judge Schoengarth tries to speak what will be considered the final word on the subject and that is his reputation with lawyers and judges.  In only one case has his finding been reversed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court and in that instance testimony in Circuit Court was at variance from testimony in the county court.


Under present conditions, Judge Schoengarth handles estates with an aggregate value of between $2 and $3 million per year.  The problems, arising in connection with them, keep him busy.  His present activities are in contrast with the situation of his early years, when the county was young, when estates were few and usually small, when the county judge spent much of his time in private practice.


Even if conditions at home, in Neillsville, were not fully to the taste of Dr. Pitcher in 1910, he found that they could be worse out in the indifferent world.  He had had a rough time of it during his quarter century of absence and was in 1934 living on a nine-acre tract at Brimfield, Ind., without modern conveniences.  He had had his ups and downs, many of the latter.  The depression caught him with a home nearly paid for, but he lost his job, lost his income and lost his home.  His bank went wrong and he lost $1,100 in its failure.


So, returning to Neillsville, at the age of 54, Dr. Pitcher showed clearly the ravages of hard work and tight times.  He was in position to appreciate the attention which he received from his old friends.  They helped him recover a writing desk which had belonged to his father, Dr. H. C. Pitcher; a bathrobe which had belonged to his mother; a rifle which he and his father had made.  They started him back to Brimfield with these mementos and with the warmth of local friendliness.


Among those who entertained Dr. Pitcher upon his return were Judge and Mrs. Schoengarth, for the Judge does not confine his relations to the walls of the county court.  As he looks out upon such experiences away from Neillsville as that of Dr. Pitcher, and as he occasionally hears things said about the large opportunities out in the wide world, the Judge reflects that there are really less hospitable places than Clark County.  The Judge believes that there is a point to establishing a family solidly in such a community.


A turn-of-the century, 1900 view of the 500 block of Hewett Street as it appeared from the Sixth Street intersection, looking south.



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