Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

August 15, 2001, Page 28

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 

IN THE Good Old Days 

Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News


August 1886


The partly constructed dam across the O’Neill Creek, at the waterworks, was torn out by the heavy rains and its parts were carried away down stream, where they will hopefully be recovered. The Grand Avenue Bridge was threatened with destruction, a washout occurring at the north end.  Ropes and chains were used to hold the bridge in place.  No serious damage occurred.


Jasper Fisher’s barn was set on fire by the lightning and burned to the ground, along with the contents which included a span of horses.  In the Town of Grant, Harmon Allen’s fine farm home was struck by lightning and burned up.  A nearby barn, on the Hallock farm, was also destroyed by lightning.


The wind storm that accompanied the heavy rains blew over the Fine Arts Hall at the fairgrounds.  Mr. Austin is pushing matters for a new building.  This time he proposes to build a structure which no wind can injure.  It is hoped our Clark County residents will come willingly to the assistance of the Agriculture Society officers and make the County Fair that is scheduled in two weeks, a success.


The new North house went together very quickly.  Painters have matters in hand now and are making the new residence shine.


A new livery stable on the corner of Grand Avenue and Second Street is an addition to the business establishments of this city.  H. W. Kennedy is proprietor of the new establishment. 


Landlord Weisner had a bit of cobblestone pavement laid in front of his hotel frontage this week.  The pavement extends the width of the hotel frontage.  We’re stuck on the pavement idea and commend George’s enterprise in doing that.


Of course, most of you know where the rotten old man-trap called the Weston Rapids Bridge is, that crosses the Black River, and further on.  Doubtless, you have the pleasure of the acquaintance of Jas. Hatch, formerly of the Town of York, who now runs the Chandler farm just on the west side of the bridge.  Monday afternoon, Hatch drove across the Weston Rapids Bridge with his team, as he and his neighbors had been in the habit of doing.  Twenty minutes after crossing, the blessed old bridge lost its grip and went to pieces.  The sides are there, but the plank causeway is gone and now our friend Hatch travels around to the north by Boon’s, then east.  He considers it a great bit of luck that the bridge wasn’t 20 minutes rottener than it was as he and the team would have been in the river.


Loads of Neillsville people were seen riding into the countryside north of town on Tuesday forenoon.  They were bound for Si Wilcox’s farm in the hospitable Town of York where they put in a day picnicking with the G.A.R. and W. R. Corps.  A right jolly time was had by all.


Bruno Sires, a cub bear registered at the O’Neill House on Saturday morning, joined a squad of regular boarders.  He is an interesting young fellow and abides near a tree in the back yard.  He escaped this morning, whooped it up on the street for awhile.  John Paulus, the hotel manager was in hot pursuit, until Bruno stopped to cast a shrewd glance at his pursuer.  Paulus would then stop and coax the bear to come closer only to have the bear scamper off.  Once the cub was caught, but escaped, breaking pell-mell through the crowd diving under the hotel porch, where he now holds the fort.


A Saturday news special from La Crosse, on Aug. 7, says that a large Clark County land sale was completed on that date.  All of the Black River lands which had belonged to the C. C. Washburn estate, amounting to about 23, 000 acres, were sold to J. J. Hogan.  Most of the pine timber, the dispatch states, has been cut from these lands.  But, there is a large amount of valuable hard wood and a great deal of the land will make good farms.  It will seem strange to the Clark County people to have the name of C. C. Washburn stricken from their county map.  However, J. J. Hogan will look well as the lands’ new owner.  (The name of Washburn didn’t disappear from the Clark County map as predicted.  One of the county’s townships was named after C. C. Washburn and remains as such. D.Z.)


The village of Spencer, on the border of our county, was three-fourths destroyed by fire the other day.  All but one street and a few houses remain.  The fire caught in the woods.  The Wisconsin Central depot water tank, two churches, public school, Clifford & Thayer’s two saw mills, planing mills and about 15,000,000 feet of lumber were destroyed.  About 60 families are homeless.  The balance of the town is in great danger.  The loss, $400,000, was partially covered with about $40,000 insurance by different companies.  No lives are known to be lost, but several persons are missing.  The woods are still ablaze nearby.  The town is virtually wiped out of existence.  A large amount of railroad ties and wood were burned.


A relief train, with provisions, went to Spencer, from Marshfield, traveling to bring the homeless back.  There was a large fire in Marshfield, too, but it was subdued by the fire company.  The foundry and stave mills were in great danger, but were saved.  The fire destroyed 150,000 feet of chair stock owned by a. J. Webster of Menasha.  The loss was $150,000 with no insurance.  By the hard work of many, the city of Marshfield was saved.


August 1951


The Clark County Sheriff’s wife has learned how to meet the food inflation problem.  Clark County housewives who are trying to make the food budget stretch in these days of higher prices might do well to look at how Mrs. Frank Dobes handles the problem.  Mrs. Dobes is the matron and in charge of feeding the prisoners at the Clark County jail.  Her food costs have also gone up but the amount of money set aside for prisoners has not changed in years.  (Mrs. Dobes was allotted 75c per prisoner, per day, for food costs; That was her only reimbursement for all she did, which didn’t include the laundry of linens for each cell and other duties.  Those additional duties were assumed as part of her husband’s role as sheriff. D.Z.)


How does she manage to break even?  “Some months I don’t,” she said, “but on the average it comes out.”


“I feed the prisoners just what we eat ourselves and when I have so few, I cook food for them at the same time as I do for us.”  The “us” refers to the Dobes family who, at present, has living quarters in the jail building.


For breakfast, Mrs. Dobes serves them rolls and coffee, and with cereal if they want it. She used to make hot cereal but few would eat it.  Dinner is potatoes, gravy, meat, vegetable, rolls, coffee and pickles.  Supper is left-overs with lunch meat, rolls and coffee.


The food is dished up in the jail kitchen onto the stainless steel partitioned dishes the prisoners use.  The filled plates are handed through the bars to the prisoners and they set their own table and eat by themselves.  The prisoners do their own dishes also.  On days that Mrs. Dobes bakes, the prisoners have homemade rolls and cake.


“On the average the prisoners are very clean,” Mrs. Dobes said, “and they wash their hands before eating.”


After handing the prisoners their plates and coffee cups, Mrs. Dobes goes back to the pleasant jail kitchen.  The room is large.  Cupboards line the walls.  A modern stove for cooking and a large refrigerator are on one side of the room.  The tile floor is spotless and there are colorful curtains on the windows.  The Dobes family often eats their meals in the kitchen.


Mrs. Dobes finds that meat loaf is her cheapest meal.  “If I serve chops,” she said, “they only last one meal, while meat loaf lasts for two.”


Her recipe for meat loaf is: soak eight crackers in water and then squeeze dry; mix with two pounds of chopped beef, or veal, or pork; add two beaten eggs; add chopped parsley and onion; form into loaf and put in greased pan; lay strips of bacon across the top and during the baking, baste with tomato juice.  Use a moderate oven, 325 degrees and bake about one hour and a half.


Mrs. Dobes finds that the prisoners, as a rule, don’t care for one-dish meals.  “They don’t seem to feel they get enough to eat,” she said, “so chili and casseroles are out.”


Mrs. Dobes makes her own soup.  Beef and giblet soups are the favorite.  The soup and lots of black coffee are used to sober up the drunks who are brought to the jail.


Mrs. Dobes does all of her own housework and everything is kept immaculate.  The cell blocks were recently painted, so keeping them clean is fairly easy.  The prisoners do their own housework, sweeping the cells once a day and mopping them once a week.  There are the blocks for children and women.  About 26 prisoners in all could be housed at the jail.


The prisoners get first preference, Mrs. Dobes discovered.  When she took over the job in January, she wanted the living room painted.  The cell blocks also needed painting.  The cell blocks got painted and the living room is still waiting.


Despite the present soaring food prices, Mrs. Dobes manages to keep the prisoners adequately fed.  Some of them are better off at Hotel Dobes than they are likely to be out in the cold world.


(At that time, the sheriff’s term of office ran for two years, but he could have four successive years in that position.  Frank Dobes and Ray Kutsche ran together in the sheriff and undersheriff alternating positions.  Ray Kutsche worked with that system for 21 years.  Pat McIntyre was an undersheriff for two years during that time, otherwise Dobes served the positions.  That set-up meant the sheriff’s family moved their furniture and personal belongings into the jail living quarters for a four year stay, then moved out at the end of the term only to return in another four years.  One sheriff’s wife was remembered as saying, “I do get tired with this moving back-and-forth form our house and the jail.” D.Z.)


Clark County is about to acquire a lake in the Town of Mead.  With the Mead Dam virtually completed, the Public Property Committee of the Clark County Board, headed by Otto Warren, anticipates that dam gates will be closed at any time.  Then the water will begin to accumulate.  The probability is that this accumulation will have begun before this issue reaches its readers.


While various members of the County Board, with some outside support, have come to look upon this as a dubious project, dubbed by Supervisor Tobolas as “Operation Rat-hole,” those immediately responsible for it are certain that a sizable lake will result.  The committee has recently had a check made of the engineer’s levels, this check having been made by Al Covell, County Forester.  The result of running levels afresh was to satisfy the committee that the earlier estimates are correct and that the resulting lake will be of the size previously estimated.


In view of the clearing upstream of the dam, it is assumed that the shore line of the lake is approximately the line of the clearing, making the body of water within it, very sizable.  It will cover about 320 acres, according to the survey and will be about one mile wide at the widest point.


Except for the excavation immediately above the dam, the clearing has a rough appearance; such as would remain after the usual logging and brushing.  There was considerable timber on the lake bottom originally and a lot of brush.  This has been removed but no effort has been made to remove the stumps and brush stubs.  Thus the present appearance is of a rough bottom, but the bottom will of course disappear from sight eventually and the resulting lake will be like most lakes which have been created by a dam in a previously timbered area.


The present approach to the site of the dam is by a winding dirt road which runs northward from the Plautz place in Section 31 of the Town of Mead.  It is located on the southwest corner of the town. That road is passable, except that there are two or three deep dips which are difficult to negotiate with the large, low-slung cars. The character of the soil is such as to promise the construction of a permanent road from the east at a modest cost.  That road, which is to be constructed by the Clark County Park Committee, will probably be of dirt, without hard surfacing.  That sort of road is now thought to be sufficient for the prospective needs.


The new road will approach the lake area by the road which runs northward through Section 3 of the Town of Hendren and which now ends at the county line.  That road will be extended northward and will then turn west, running along the south shore of the lake, extending to the dam site.  The new road will be winding and will probably have a length of about two miles.  Eventually there will be other approaches to the lake area.


The completion of the lake at the higher level is now looked upon as virtually assured.  A constructive attitude seems to have been taken at the recent haring, held locally by the Public Service Commission.  While the owners of adjoining property were notified of the hearing there was only one appearance and that was chiefly in the nature of an inquiry.  It was obvious from the hearing that the proposed elevation will not create damage from flowage.  The formal finding of the commission to that effect is anticipated in due season.


A ride on a manure spreader, rubber golf clubs and eight-inch tees were among the features of the Neillsville Ladies Golf Jamboree held Thursday, July 26, at the Neillsville Country Club.


Seventy-two women from six country clubs participated in the fun day.  In the morning, regular golf was played and the Neillsville team placed first in the low score.  Members of the team were Jean Chesemore, Alta Allen, Sadie Haight and Mary Lee.  Lottie Anderson of Neillsville won for high putts in the afternoon.  A Neillsville team, composed of Jean Rosenquist, Janet Hauge, Lenice Schiesel and Lovetta Anderson registered high score for the day’s events.


The men of the country club served lunch at one o’clock for the women.


In the afternoon, “goofy golf” was played.  Teeing off on the first green, a rubber golf club was used.  It was made out of an old garden hose.  The ball was set on a tee eight inches high, as compared to the usual tee of about one-inch high.


On the second tee, the women stood on a cushion and teed off with a croquet mallet.  On the second green William Whaley and William Brooks put in the appearance as clowns.


They served refreshments and hindered the golfers.  One woman looked up at the clowns from her putting, swung and discovered her ball had disappeared.  She was merely chopping the air because Clown Whaley had spirited her ball away.


Hi-jinks were carried on at each green.  Finally on the eighth green, a vehicle was sent out to haul the women back to the club house.  It was a manure spreader, complete with levers. Contrary to what the reader may anticipate, it was a new manure spreader.


Prizes were awarded to golf and bridge winners Thursday afternoon and a picnic supper was served.


Dutch Manderfeldt was master of ceremonies.  He was assisted by Rai Munger, Bruce Beilfuss, Hugh Haight, William Brooks, William Whaley, Harry Wasserberger, Victor Anderson and “Hans” Schiesel.


Clover Farm Stores grocery was located on Neillsville’s north side, on the V-lot adjoining Hewett Street and Black River Road.  In 1950, Harold and Pearl Prock purchased the business from Wayne Potter.  Previously, Ray Strebing operated the store briefly, before Potter took over the ownership.  Strebing then bought a grocery market on East Division Street.  (Photo courtesy of the Strebing Family Collection)



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