Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

August 8, 2001, Page 10

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 

Good Old Days


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News


August 1881


Hiram Hart is laying the foundation for a new residence, opposite Herman Schuster’s lot on Third Street.


Sol F. Jaseph has bought some stock in the Silver Cliff mine in Colorado.  He will soon make a trip there to look at his bonanza.


J. L. Gates and J. D. Stannard purchased the corner grocery and provision store owned by L. D. Lindsay.  They will take possession on Monday, repairing the building, making changes in the interior.


The iron rods were added to the new fence in front of J. L. Gates residence.  The entire fence has been treated to a coat of black paint making it the handsomest fence in town.


Now is a good time to test the virtue of the following fly exterminator:  Take half a teaspoonful of black pepper in powder form, one teaspoonful of brown sugar and one teaspoonful of cream, then mix.  After mixing these ingredients together, place the mixture where flies are troublesome and they will very soon disappear.


Jacob Huntzicker starts today for his former home across the water in Germany.  He has been in the country of his adoption for nearly a quarter of a century.  While here, he has hewn from the great forests of Clark County, a beautiful home encircled by broad and fertile acres.  Now with ample means, fine buildings and surroundings, and a pleasant family, Huntzicker is prepared to enjoy the good things of life.  His wife will (be) accompanying him on his visit to Germany.


The Pioneer Press, of August 2nd, says: Ed Lemon was buried at Lake Wood Cemetery on August 1.  Quite a large number of his old acquaintances from here were in attendance.  Rev. Geo. Galpin officiated at the graveside.  A broken column, a beautiful cross, a wreath and bouquets were placed on the grave as mementos of affection.


Greenwood area news is as follows:


Louis Rossman, with his crew of men, is now making needed repairs on the Hemlock Dam.  Rossman has been in the employ of the Black River Flooding Association for the past year, taking charge of and keeping the river’s dams in repaired condition.  Some person attempted to burglarize Rossman’s home last Sunday night.  Upon trying to enter the house by a window, the burglar was frightened away before being able to secure any booty.


N. B. Mead, from Oregon, is visiting his brothers and sisters here.  He plans to return home soon and will be accompanied by his brother, George, and wife.  The people of this area will be sad to see them leave their midst.


If what we heard is true, George B. Begley is now a married man among men.  Miss Lila Rose, of Black River Falls, is the happy bride.  Rev. B. E. Wheeler, of that city united them in holy wedlock the 31st of July.  “Let no man put asunder what God has joined together.”  We wish this worthy young couple a safe and joyous step upon this theater stage in their life.  The rumor is that George Begley is to be a business man of our town this coming fall.  We do hope so, for we certainly want to keep him here with us.


Big hand bills are being circulated, to announce the fact that Dr. Thomas will have a grand gift distribution and dance in Vates’ Hall on Sept. 9th.  Tickets for the drawing, including the dance, are only $2.00.  One-half of the tickets will draw prizes valued from $1.00 to $1.25.


Dr. Thomas has just received a rifle pistol to be used for target and glass ball shooting.  The Greenwood Gun Club has been shooting glass balls with their shot guns that smash them terribly.  They can now practice with the rifle pistol.


Len Eastman is hard at work making logging sleds for the coming winter.  Orders come in so fast that he is obliged to commence this work early in the season.  D. E. Bailey is his right-hand supporter with the chisel and square needed in their work.


One week from today, the 15th, a party from Greenwood, with keen-scented dogs and guns well sighted, will take leave of their homes.  They will be pursuing the fields looking for prairie chickens on that lawful day when the shooting begins.  What abandon, what freedom they feel as they step forth into the green fields, obtaining inspiration from the open.  When nightfall comes around their little camp fire, they appreciate the delights of existence and the reposing of God’s bounties.


August 1941


Neillsville and Clark County women were bearing up well this week under the greatest calamity that has hit the feminine world since the death of Rudolph Valentino.


The calamity, of course, was the order of priority on silk, causing a complete paralysis Saturday night of the production of silk stockings.  Silk was the basis for 80 percent of the nation’s hosiery.


The order caught local stores somewhat off guard, although most of them had had some indication of what to expect a few days before the announcement.  As a result, at least two local stores started “rationing” their present supplies.  At one place purchases were limited to one pair at a time per person; and another store limited them to two pairs per sale.


However, all expressed belief that they would be able to get at least some silk hosiery during the next few days.


In face of the imminent shortage, the attitude of women, young and old, seemed to be, “If everyone else has to get along without them, I guess I won’t mind.”


That is typical of Americans.  And so was the remark of one young woman who looked at it from the standpoint of attractiveness to the male eyes.


The immediate effect here of the priority order was the increase of silk hosiery sales somewhat Saturday and Monday.  Several multiple sales some as high as 10 or 12 pairs to person were reported.  But the increase did not resemble a stampede, such as large urban centers reported.


There were other immediate reactions, too.  Among younger women and girls, ankle socks were more in evidence as silks were saved for special occasions.  And in one store, clerks were permitted to wear half-socks, where they had been required to wear stockings previous to the priority order.


For those local women who feared a return of unsightly black cotton lisles, local retailers were unanimous in their opinion that black would not return.  Black cotton was common in the World War I days; but there was very little color in anything then, as one store manager pointed out.  “Also, another store retailer said, while black shades were coming into style this fall, the style was only popular in sheer hosiery.”


But, a return to black in the cotton lisle? Never!


The final result will be to step up the production of rayon and cotton lisle hosiery.  Toward this end, the federal government has ordered the 10 percent of the rayon produced to be put aside specifically for hosiery manufacture.  Research carried on over the last three years, too, has brought to the front, a new cotton stocking which is smooth and more attractive than the ordinary cotton, according to federal officials.  However, it is true that the problem of baggy ankles and knees in the cotton line has not been conquered, admit the federal men.


Some observers went as far as to hold the government edict as the death knell of the “silk stocking era.”  Some substitute will be developed – probably from cotton – which will replace silk on the American ankle for all time, they predict.


(Silk was being used for manufacture of defense materials, such as parachutes. D.Z.)


Clark County is one of the leaders in the state in the use of radio for rural school education and in the number of rural schools equipped with electric lights.


This was revealed in a survey of schools taken for the last school year, according to Louis Slock, County Superintendent.  The survey revealed that 71 of the county’s 131 rural schools were equipped with electric lights and 69 had radios for educational work.


As little as three years ago no radios were in classroom use and at that time, only scattered schools in the county had electric lights available.


The establishment of buses operating out of the Greenwood School District was voted at a special meeting Monday night.  The buses will be contract carriers and not operated by the school.


Three bus routes are under consideration.  One would operate south and west to Willard, with a possible round trip of 30 miles.  A second would make a round trip of 15 miles, covering territory north and west of the city.  The third route would cover the area north and west to the Braun Settlement, with a round trip of about 25 miles.


The committee which investigated the use of buses was composed of Howard Corey, chairman, T. F. Schiller, Rug Buker, Frank Smaldone and Fred Huntzicker.


The Immanuel Lutheran Church, Globe, will celebrate its annual mission festival on Sunday, August 24.  Services in the German language will be held at 10 a.m. with the Rev. Ferd Sprengler of Thorp as speaker.  English services will be held at 2:30 p.m., with the Rev. A. C. Dornfeld of Marshfield as speaker. 


Tom Kelly, who has sat by his stokers and watched while thousands of girls and boys passed through Neillsville High School and out into the world, has resigned.


For more than 32 years, Kelly lived with the school and with its children.  Kelly has given up because his doctor said he must.  And his comment was a matter-of-fact, “Well, you’ve got to quit someday.”


That someday has been a long, long time in coming for him.  He had seen a full life before he took over the engineer-janitor job at the high school back in 1907.  Also, he leaves a record of the longest service to the school of any man.


It was ‘way back while Joe Zimmerman, now a prominent local merchant, was still a high school youth in knee breeches that Kelly took up his broom and shovel.  And with but a pause of 18 months, in 1915-16, he has watched them ever since.


Most people who know them now would think of James Musil and Frank E. Brown as “the banker,” or “the jeweler,” but not Kelly.  He is just as likely to think of them as the school boys they were many years ago.


Or, as some would say, “Oh, yes, Frosty Kurth is the postmaster,” but not Tom Kelly.  It’s “Frosty Kurth?  He was always full of mischief.”


And so it goes along the line.  The men of today are likely to be the boys of yesterday in the memory of Tom Kelly.


Sitting on the pleasant porch of his State Street home on Sunday, Kelly reminisced about the 32-odd years of active service in the high school.  It was then that his memory harked back to the days when Isadore Svirnoff was a sharp-minded, keen-eyed youth in high school.


The story involved E. J. McKeen who now is principal of schools at Tomah.  It involved a tremendous amount of waste paper which crowded the store room in the third floor attic of the high school building.  It had come to the point where the waste paper had to be removed.  So Kelly approached Principal McKeen with the suggestion that they offer if (it) free to young Svirnoff.


“No,” said McKeen.  “If you offer it to him for nothing, he won’t take it.  How will it be if I offer to sell it all to him for five dollars?”


So the young Svirnoff was approached and he heard the offer of all that waste paper for five dollars.  Out came his paper and pencil with him figuring busily for a few seconds.


“I’ll give you two dollars,” Svirnoff dealt very shrewdly.


“Sold,” was McKeen’s quick reply.


For the next week, Svirnoff, with the enlisted aid of “half of the town,” said Kelly, tied the paper in bundles and toted in down the three flights of stairs and away.


“However, we were never able to get Izzy Svirnoff to do that again.”  It maybe that McKeen had put something over on Svirnoff once; but Kelly will bet that it hasn’t happened very often since that high school introduction in business.


Neillsville’s first try at a football team lives strongly in Kelly’s memory.  That try came in his first years in the school system, while the late Harvey Schofield was the principal.  Schofield, who at the time of his death, was president of the Eau Claire State Teachers College, was a big, raw-boned young man who had starred on the University of Wisconsin foot-ball team before coming to Neillsville.


Herbert (Tubby) Lowe and some of his schoolmates decided that with Schofield’s coaching they ought to have a football team.  Schofield reluctantly consented to give it a whirl.  So for a few afternoons they practiced and thought they were getting along well.


It was then that Schofield gave up.


“You fellows don’t really want to play football,” he declared.  “All you want to do is keep out of each other’s way.”


And that was the end of football in the high school for the time being.


Down through the years superintendents have come and gone while Kelly stoked fires and watched the boilers.  Three former Neillsville School superintendents have gone on to become presidents of Wisconsin state colleges.  First was Schofield; then George M. Snodgrass, who went on to become the head of the La Crosse Teachers College; and later was William C. Hansen, who now is president of Central State Teachers College at Stevens Point. 


Jay M. Webster, depot agent in Neillsville shortly after the turn of the century, has retired at Menomonie Junction after 42 years of service with the Omaha railroad.


He got his start in the railroad business as a lad of 17 in Humbird.  For two years he served there as a student depot agent.  That was in 1897-98.  In 1899, he was placed on the Omaha’s regular payroll, $40 per month for 12-hour days.  He served in Black River Falls, Fairchild, Augusta and other locations before being transferred to Neillsville.  In 1904, he went from Neillsville to Menomonie Junction, where he was active as station agent until July 23.


Herbert “Tubby” Lowe, a Neillsville High School graduate and life-long resident, purchased the Chas. Cornelius home on the corner of Clay and Second Street where he developed and operated the “Lowe Funeral Home” business for a number of years.  (Photo courtesy of Bill Lowe’s Family Collection)



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