Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

June 20, 2001, Page 10

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


The Good Old Days

Compiled by Dee Zimmerman

Clark County News


June 1876


The Clark County court house grounds are being put into shape which includes shade trees that have been planted on the lot.  The tower of the court house is completed except for the graven image which is to be surmounted on it.  Is there enough “patriotism” in the people of Neillsville for someone to purchase a centennial clock for the court house?  It would be nice to have such a clock placed and set to be running for the first time on July 4th, the Centennial Day of our Nation.  Will someone investigate this matter and act upon it?


The second Clark County court house was built in mid-1870, in the center of the 500 Court Street block.  The court house tower with a statue of Lady Justice gave it a majestic appearance.  At the rear, on the right, is the Clark County jail, remaining as a symbol of the county’s history.



Some are “cussing” because it don’t (doesn’t) quit raining and others are praying that it may stop raining long enough for them to get in the remainder of their garden seeds.  The fields and woods have put on their summer coat of green.  We challenge the world to produce a place with more pleasant surroundings than those of our village.


The young people of Greenwood are organizing a series of dances to add to their amusements.  Something of this kind might be an advantage here. 


A. F. Robinson & Co., are preparing to give a grand Centennial dance at their hall in Greenwood on the evening of July 4, 1876.  Nothing will interfere with making the entertainment a pleasant one.


During the past few weeks, football has furnished a world of sport for the boys here.  It unquestionably affords them healthful amusement, while it is an annoyance to others.  For an hour or more every evening it is almost impossible for a person to get through the noisy crowd assembled on the main street.  While nothing can be said against the amusement itself, would it not be just as well to indulge in this game on some other street?  Another reason why football should not be on Main Street is that teams of horses are usually hitched thereon. The horses might become frightened by the football if it hits or passes near them, with the possibility of great damage resulting because of it. There is probably not a man or boy in town that could not elevate that football with the extremity of his hind leg to just as good an advantage on some vacant lot.  There, the game of football may be neither dangerous or (nor) annoying, as on the most frequently traveled street in town.


Neillsville’s Main Street is receiving a coat of gravel taken from the O’Neill Creek bed. Time will tell how much of an improvement this will be for travel on the street.


Mr. Furlong objects to any further use of his premises for the benefit of young couples on their night out.  He does not think that “sparking” on a coffin will be productive to their happiness, here or hereafter.


Lost – between Stephen Short’s farm, in the Town of Washburn and Neillsville; two braids of light brown hair.  The finder may leave the braids in the Press office, to be suitably rewarded for doing so.


The ladies of the Presbyterian Church will give a Strawberry and Ice Cream Festival at the Wells House on Wednesday evening.  The event is to be a benefit for their pastor, Rev. W. T. Hendren.  The main object of the entertainment is, of course, to realize a pecuniary benefit, but is also to provide a rare social treat as well as a feast for those who attend. 


The extensive clothespin and shingle factory of D. J. Thomas, at Colby, was totally destroyed by a fire last week.  The loss is estimated at $10,000, upon which there was an insurance of only $2,000.  About 25 people were employed at the factory and now all are without employment due to this occurrence.


On June 6, 1876, James O’Neill was married to Miss Mattie Robinson at the residence of the bride’s father, in the Town of Weston. Rev. W. T. Hendren officiated at the wedding ceremony.


There is to be a meeting of the citizens of the towns of Grant, Lynn, York and Fremont, which will be held at the Windfall School house.  The purpose of the meeting on June 24, 1876, at 2 p.m., will be to organize a town insurance company.


The funds necessary for the completion of the Wisconsin Central railroad has been secured.  Work will commence immediately to extend the rail line northward through to Ashland, after being suspended at section 101 over two years ago.


June 1931


The Capital Times, of Madison, has selected a home designed by Balch and Lippert, as a model home which it will construct in that city. The structure will be erected at 2318 Monroe Street.  An illustration indicates that the building is to be one of beautiful charm and attractiveness.  Both H. C. Balch and Rover Lippert are former Neillsville residents.


George Glass and his sister, Mrs. Will Dahnert, have started a small greenhouse. They expect to develop it so as to furnish the Neillsville vicinity with plants and flowers for all occasions in the near future.  The business has started in a conservative way with choice varieties, having made a most creditable beginning.


Fifty years of life’s journey together was celebrated Sunday at the home of Mr. and Mrs. W.C. Thoma.  There was a large gathering of relatives and friends joining them on the anniversary event.  June 5 marked the half-century goal of the married couple, an occasion reached by few. The Thoma’s have led very active and useful lives in this community.


After the manner of women of the pioneer times, Mrs. Thoma’s activities were confined largely to the duties of home, family and neighborly needs.  Mr. Thoma’s energies carried his work in many and various private and public enterprises.


William Carl Thoma was born at Oak Creek, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Sept. 10, 1860.  His father was a Lutheran minister, who died when William was three years old.  The mother moved to Jefferson County where William C. grew to manhood, attended school and engaged in farm work.  On June 5, 1881, he was united in marriage with Miss Amelia Floerke, who was born in Jefferson County.  They engaged in farming in the southern part of the state until 1892.  They then moved to the Town of Weston in Clark County and secured land of their own.  Gradually, they increased their holdings and enlarged their clearing, put up modern farm buildings, equipping the farm with good machinery and fine livestock.  Mr. Thoma helped to organize the Clark County Butter Co., one of the first successful milk concerns in this region.  He was president of the company for more than ten years.  Also, he took an active part in town affairs, holding the offices of town treasurer, assessor and representing the town for some time on the Clark County Board.  In 1907, he was elected Supervisor of Assessment, serving for four years most efficiently.  Later, he was elected Clark County Highway Commissioner.  He had long taken an interest in highway construction; at the time of his election the road systems of the state were just in their infancy.  Mr. Thoma had to depend largely on his own constructive ability in carrying out his work, but he was considered one of the most efficient highway commissioners in the state.  In 1920, the Wisconsin Highway Department offered him the position of State Road Inspector, but on account of poor health, he was obliged to decline, resigning from all road work that year.


Mr. and Mrs. Thoma moved to Neillsville in 1913 and have since made their home here.  He was elected to the Neillsville City Council in 1921, serving until 1924, when he was elected Mayor, an office he held for several years.


The Thoma’s are the parents of five children: Paul in Roswell, New Mexico; Will H. at Toledo, Oregon; Carl in Neillsville; Ben on the home farm, and Helen, Mrs. Wm. F. Beyer in Pine Valley.  They also have 12 grandchildren and one great grandchild. 


The Hatfield amusement concessions, including the pavilion, store, boats and a dwelling, have been leased for the season by Archie Van Gorden of Neillsville.  The Hatfield amusement business formerly owned by Clarence Hell was lost through a bankruptcy action.  Mrs. Van Gorden and her brother, Glen Fremstad, of Whitehall, will run the store and other business during the day and Mr. Van Gorden will be there evenings to attend to the enterprise.


Mr. Van Gorden announces that he is rushing plans for a big celebration to be held there on July 4 and 5.


(The amusement center of Hatfield was known as “Hell’s Acre” during the ownership of Clarence Hell.) 


The Boy Scout Camp near the mouth of the East Fork had been named “Higichari.”  The name has been taken from the Winnebago Indian language, meaning Scout camp.  The scouts plan to go into camp for ten days beginning June 18 and are making an appeal to the public for the use of tents during that period.  If you have a tent which you would permit the boys to use, tell any scout about it and they will appreciate it very much.


Carl Walk, for many years a resident and prominent business man here, passed away on June 17, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Harry Roehrborn.  He had been in poor health for some time.


Carl Frederick William Walk was born in the town of Farmington, Jefferson County, Wis., June 9, 1869.  He grew to man-hood there and at the age of 22 want (went) to Wausau where he worked in a saw mill, remaining there two years.  He then came to Neillsville and went into partnership with his brother, Paul, in the mercantile business. They had a store where the Lewerenz filling station now stands; later building a new store on the site now occupied by the Unger Shoe Store and Prochazka Bros. Market.  This building burned in 1905, but Carl had previously gone to Abbotsford and established a store there.  After operating the Abbotsford firm for two or three years, he moved to Bay City, Mich., starting a business there.  In 1918, he returned to Neillsville and joined in partnership with Wm. Heiking, carrying on a garage business for some time.  In 1925, he again went into the mercantile business on West Seventh Street, near the Neillsville train depot.  About a year later, he sold out to his son-in-law, Harry Roehrborn.


Mr. Walk was married to Miss Emma Sontag on May 12, 1896.  Owing to poor health of his wife and himself, he made several trips to the West.  Mrs. Walk died in 1928.  Shortly after, Mr. Walk’s health failed and he has since made his home with his daughter, Mrs. Roehrborn.


He is survived by his daughter, Mrs. Roehrborn, one granddaughter, Arlene, and three brothers: John, of Neillsville; Paul of Clark, Wash.; and Rudolph H. of Lewis, Idaho.


The prohibition law is making itself felt in more ways than one.  The latest evidence being a claim for $15 worth of home brew equipment, for making beer, was listed amount the losses suffered by an area farmer recently.  The incident was reported by W. B. Tufts, secretary of the Lynn Mutual Fire Insurance Co.


The Pinecrest Golf Club members have accepted an invitation of the Owen Club to play a tournament match next Sunday.  The local players will play at Marshfield on July 12.


John W. Perkins, the Neillsville High School agriculture teacher, entered the exalted ranks of the “hole-in-one” club.  On Sunday, he made an ace on the No. 9 bucket at the Pinecrest Golf Course.


In a letter written by W. E. Tragsdorf from what he terms the “man-made canyons” of New York City, he recalls the charms of Clark County.  He writes: “Although I am writing this from the 63rd story, I hate this continual strife between skyscrapers and subways.  I would prefer to drop a fishing line into the Black River, or stand on the brow of Dave Wood’s hill to look westward on one of those beauteous days.”


The vigilantes of the Clark County Bankers’ association staged their second annual practice shoot at the Neillsville Country Club golf course at Dells Dam Sunday.  There they demonstrated a brand of marksmanship that should be any-thing but favorable to those engaged in the business of robbing banks.


C. Hoehne, of Greenwood, took first place and received a pair of Rubber boots as the prize; William Schwellenbach, of Neillsville, was second and received a sport coat; Mr. Boardman, of Thorp, third, received a wool blanket and Walter Dangers placed fourth, receiving a straw hat.  Out of a possible score of 500, the vigilantes made 455.


The following men under the direction of Sheriff William Bradford took part: C. Hoehne, Greenwood; Boardman, Thorp; Arbs, Greenwood; Lawrence, Thorp; Sample, Chili; Terrio, Owen; F. E. Brown, William Schwellenbach, Walter Dangers, George Prochazka and Ben Brown of Neillsville.


The vigilantes were invited to meet at the golf course by Judge E. W. Crosby.  A splendid dinner was served to about 80 guests by the women of the Country Club.



© Every submission is protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.


Show your appreciation of this freely provided information by not copying it to any other site without our permission.


Become a Clark County History Buff


Report Broken Links

A site created and maintained by the Clark County History Buffs
and supported by your generous donations.


Webmasters: Leon Konieczny, Tanya Paschke,

Janet & Stan Schwarze, James W. Sternitzky,

Crystal Wendt & Al Wessel