Good Old Days



Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

September 19, 2001, Page 18

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman



Clark County News


September 1881


The Neillsville lodge of the Sons of Hermann sent a delegation to Menomonie last week. They traveled to attend the organization’s anniversary celebration on Saturday, August 27, the day made famous with Hermann’s victory over the trained legions of Rome. Hermann led the German army in the battles that threw off the yoke of the Roman conquerors. 


The sermons Sunday, given by Bishop Brown were well worth listening to. The evening service was given on the theme of practical Christianity.  The bishop made things lively for those who attended church to satisfy idle curiosity, to see a new minister and to gain something intellectually.  The bishop insisted that people did not, should not; join the church to receive, but to give, to do and to be, to act out their Christianity. They should not sit still and expect to be blessed for so doing.


Bishop Brown has proposed an Episcopal Church building could be built for a cost of $1,500.  At the meeting held at the home of Jas O’Neill, the bishop explained the proposed plan for the building.  He also stated that with a strong society a church will grow, like the bark of a tree.  But to be strong, the minister must be well paid and relieved of the fret and worry of the worldly considerations, the minister can be neither good nor strong while starving.


A new saw mill has been built at the Thorp Station, on the Withee side of the railroad line.  It is situated in Boardman’s clearing and is 80 or 100 rods from the train depot.


Longwood News – Fred Sheldon is repairing his hotel for the coming winter.  Frank Daniels is doing the carpenter work.  John Sanders is fixing the bridge that goes over the Popple River, east of Longwood.  The potato crop around here will be a complete failure after all of the recent rains.  Potatoes are rotting in the ground.  The cost of potatoes in the southern Wisconsin counties has gone up as high as 75c per bushel.


Shortville News – The threshers are still booming around here.  Lumber is being sawed at the Canon Brothers mill. They will be putting up a boarding house for the accommodation of their workmen.  Expectations are that they will be employing 40 or 50 men during the coming winter.  The Shortville post office has been moved on to Main Street and J. R. Richmond is the appointed postmaster.  David Taylor will hold a dance at the residence of his uncle, Geo. Short, next Friday evening.  L. Winters’ band will play the music for it.


Hans Nelson has raised a good piece of sugar cane this season.  It would be good if he could process it here, but he must haul it over to Nasonville, a distance of 18 miles for processing.


The Neillsville village school began on Sept. 19.  The ebb and flow of school children along the streets has started too.  Neillsville is blessed with an uncommonly nice lot of children.


Chas. Bone will weep to learn that the last timber of the old saw mill here has disappeared.  Where once grew the slab pile of his memory is now a grassy, peaceful bank and a clear and sober stream.  Blakeslee’s barn-yard graces one side to the site and Colburn’s flouring mill is on the other side.


The Korman & Taplin Foundry was busily engaged in preparing molds for the iron.  They were expecting to cast again some time this week.  It is very interesting to see the skillful operations in the molding of the sand.


September 1931


A deal of great significance to Neillsville was closed last week when the American Telephone and Telegraph Company and the Wisconsin Telephone Company purchased the old R. J. MacBride home.  Purchased from Mrs. Ethel Holway of Madison, the site will be for a building to be used as a “repeater station” on the new Twin Cities – Chicago toll cable which will be built through here soon.


The building, the cost of which may run more than $50,000 with an additional $100,000 for equipment, is part of a large expansion program of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company’s toll lines.  The repeater stations are located about 60 miles apart and serve the purpose of amplifying the conversation, making the toll lines as clear as the local lines.


Buildings have been built at Eau Claire and Baldwin and it is expected that work on the Neillsville unit will be started sometime this winter.  (The old MacBride home site was located across the street from the Clark County Jail Museum building, East Fifth Street.)


The Honorable R. J. MacBride’s residence stood on one of the most picturesque locations in Neillsville.  It offered a fine view of the entire northern and western part of the city.  The grounds consisted of nearly half a block, with many beautiful trees and shrubbery.  MacBride was a solicitor for the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha railroad company.  A greater portion of his time was taken up with business of the company, but he did have much other legal business before the various courts of the state.


There is a decided shortage of stocks of cheese in the country, according to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and Markets.  Cold storage holdings of American cheese on Aug. 1, 1931 were 20,233,000 pounds less than on the same date last year, less than the five-year average.


R. H. Welsch, Chevrolet dealer, received word this week that the 8-millionth Chevrolet was completed on Aug. 25 at the assembly plant at Flint, Mich.  This remarkable total reveals the tremendous popularity Chevrolet has attained in the past few years.


The nine head of Holsteins in the herd owned by Bernard Dodte, well-known dairy farmer of Neillsville, has won recognition in the dairy industry.  The Dodte herd has just been listed among 81 top herds in 23 different states for their butterfat average.  The herds have been tested on their average production under the Holstein Herd Test of more than 365 pounds of butterfat in one year.  They have produced an average of 10,690 pounds of milk containing 377.0 pounds of butterfat per cow in an average period of 339 days. 


A number of students, who are planning to attend Neillsville High School, are requesting help in finding a place to work for room and board.  Many of the students coming in from the country need help this year.  Any family who feels they have a place for a boy or girl to work for room and board, please notify Mr. Peters, school superintendent, s soon as possible.  These young people are willing to work hard for a chance to keep up their education.


All-time public school attendance records for Neillsville were shattered Tuesday at the opening of the 1931-1932 term according to D. E. Peters.  Peters announced that a total of 245 high school students and 314 grade pupils had been registered.


Both the grade and high school are seriously over-crowded.  The present capacity of the high school is 233 and it is expected that within a week the enrollment will exceed the 245 students already registered.  Additional seats will have to be purchased and efforts made to increase the capacity of the assembly room.


In an effort to ease the situation, a short period of 40 minutes will be put into effect instead of the 55 minute period of last year.  This program will give eight periods a day instead of six and has several advantages over the old system.


The teacher’s training department has attracted more than the usual number this year, 24 being enrolled.  The normal capacity of this course is about 20.  Stenography and typing also are popular.  So many in the junior class have chosen these subjects; that there was a need to develop two sections in both stenography and typing.


Plans in establishing a new hospital in Neillsville have recently matured to the point where it seems quite certain that it will become a reality.


Mrs. George Stamper has operated a private hospital in Antigo for the past seven years; the county board in conjunction, with public subscriptions has recently built a fine hospital in Antigo.  Mrs. Stamper realizes that this will make it difficult for her hospital to operate and she has been looking about for a new location.  She has made two trips to Neillsville and while here, looked over the O’Neill home, known as the “Balsam Manor,” owned by A. O. Smith of Chicago.  Mrs. Stamper was convinced that with some remodeling, fitting with fire escapes and other changes, the building could be admirably adapted for a hospital of ten or twelve rooms along with an operating room, dining room and a ward or two.


(The “Balsam Manor,” as referred to, is the house on the southeast corner of the State and Fourth Street intersection.  The house was also known as the Judge O’Neill home.  Its original owner, James O’Neill, Jr., was a longtime judge of Clark County and resident of the city.)


Smith made an offer to sell the property to Mrs. Stamper on $1,000 down payment, the balance to be paid in monthly installments, practically on a rental basis.  Mrs. Stamper states that she has the full equipment of beds and other furniture and funds to do the remodeling and moving.  However, she could not do this and raise $1,000 additional money for down payment.


On Saturday, a committee of ten local citizens got together and conceived the idea that this $1,000 could be raised here.  The plan would be to secure 50 firms or individuals who will advance an average of $20 each which will be considered a loan to Mrs. Stamper.


Ernest Herman, who operates the Pleasant Ridge Cheese factory, took first premium on Swiss cheese at the Wisconsin State Fair last week.  It speaks pretty well for Mr. Herman’s skill, when he takes the blue ribbon in competition with the Swiss cheese region in Green County and other like centers in the state.


Mr. and Mrs. Ben Picus (Picas) of Loyal signed a six-year lease on the building formerly occupied by May and Ruchaber’s Sanitary Market on Hewett Street.  Picas’ plan is to open a complete ladies’ ready-to-wear store on Oct. 10.


Picas is a well known merchant in Clark County, operating stores now at Greenwood and Loyal.  Recently, he acquired an interest in a ladies’ ready-to-wear in Marshfield.  Picas announced that he would establish a thoroughly modern store in Neillsville and will keep only the best and latest ladies’ merchandise at economical prices.


Four masked men stepped out from a wooded crossroad 15 miles southeast of Neillsville, on Highway 73, about 9 o’clock on Sunday night.  They attempted to stop the car of Mr. and Mrs. W. E. Roberts accompanied by their daughters, Margaret, Lucretia and Marie.  Mr. Roberts speeded up their automobile and escaped.  The men wore red handkerchiefs over their faces and yelled for the Roberts car to halt as they stepped into the road.  Their motive is still a mystery.  The Roberts family had been visiting Mr. Roberts’ sister, Mrs. John C. Johnson in Chicago.  His mother, Mrs. Grif Roberts, joined them at Cambria for the trip to Chicago.


Joe Schmittfranz, who helps make laws for Wisconsin when he isn’t making cheese at Thorp, would like to knock the whey out of someone.  He would like to find the party who sneaked up on his hen house while he and Mrs. Schmittfranz were visiting in Withee one night last week.


Schmittfranz was in for a surprise when he went out to the poultry roost the next morning with an apron full of corn.  There, he found that five of his best turkeys and several fine geese had been stolen during his absence.


Persons interested in getting legislation passed favorable to turkey raisers no doubt would find Schmittfranz in a receptive mood at the present time.


Ernest Mundy, a farmer residing east of Stanley, lost $90 to some gypsies who came to his home to beg for food.  While Mundy was delivering the articles of food to them, the gypsies gathered around him with demonstrations of gratitude.  They were also relieving him of his billfold, taking $90 from it and carefully replaced it in his pocket, he later discovered.  They considerately left him two dollars in change.


Three young men were charged with using abusive language when talking with George Lastofka of Humbird.  They were fined $10.50 and costs Monday morning by A. E. Dudley, police justice.  One of the three men was unable to raise the money and went to jail.


On October 5, Rev. Fred J. Jordon of Eau Claire will address the Neillsville Kiwanis at their meeting.  The Kiwanis Club will also host the annual reception of the Neillsville School faculty on that evening.  A 6:30 p.m. dinner will be served in the dining room of the Masonic Temple, to be followed by a program.  Rev. Jordon is governor of the Wisconsin and Upper Michigan Rotary Club.  During the past summer, he was invited to represent Wisconsin Rotarians at the International Convention which was held in Vienna, Austria.  His October 5 address will include notes about the recent European trip.


On Sept. 16, Henry Just celebrated his 70th birthday.  It was also the completion of his 39th year of service for the City of Neillsville.  Just has long been one of the city’s most reliable men and is thoroughly familiar with every city maintenance job.


The old story about pop corn popping from the heat while still on the cob in the field has been proved at last.  Fred Bullard brought in an ear of popcorn from his garden this week, on which nearly a dozen kernels of corn had popped from the sun during the last hot spell.


Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Thomas, of the Town of Washburn, celebrated the 60th anniversary of their marriage at their home on Sunday, Sept. 6.  About 60 relatives and friends attended, joining in a happy social reunion.



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