Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

October 30, 2002, Page 25

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 



Compiled by Dee Zimmerman



Clark County News


October ?


Throughout Wisconsin, may be found amidst the scenes of modern industry, interesting bits of history and romance.  At Jim Falls, recently visited by this writer, is located a great hydro-electric station, which develops power.  It serves power to the Twin Cities area and elsewhere, to great industrial centers.  Here, long before Eau Claire or Chippewa Falls, were established cities, white men had made their habitation, built homes, mills and even schools.


Jim Ermatinger, a Scotsman, was the first settler in the area, for which Jim Falls was named.  He married an Indian woman and their two sons, now close to 90 years of age, still live in the village.


Just above the town and on the site now covered by the lake formed by the power dam, was where a settler named McCann lived at the time of the Civil War.  McCann bought a large bald eagle, a magnificent specimen, from some Indians who had captured the bird.  This live emblem of our country was taken to Eau Claire and there was presented to a company of the 18th Wisconsin Infantry.  The eagle was carried to the front line in the Civil War.  The bird was christened “Old Abe” and went through many battles with the soldiers.  At first he was carried on a standard and prevented from escape by a cord or chain.  Later, however, “Old Abe” became thoroughly famed and was greatly attached to his human comrades, flying above them screaming in the smoke of the battle.  After the war, Old Abe was kept in a room in the State Capitol at Madison where he later died.  Old Abe was stuffed and kept on exhibition for many years until a fire wrecked the old capitol building and he was consumed in the flames.


Attorney R. F. Kountz has informed the Press that the Wisconsin war-eagle, “Old Abe,” was once a visitor at Neillsville.


For many years, in the 70’s and 80’s, the veterans of the Civil War held annual reunions here in the month of October.  At that time “Old Abe” was alive and had quarters in a room at the Capitol in Madison.  In 1871, it was conceived by the managers of the reunion that “Old Abe” would be a drawing card for their reunion.  They managed to have the eagle loaned for the occasion.  At that time there was no railroad into Neillsville, or express office either.  Arrangements were made for “Old Abe” to be put into a large cage and shipped by express to Black River Falls. R. F. Kountz was then the express agent there.  Kountz and a man named Ed Carpenter drove across the country with a team of horses and buggy, getting the eagle here in time for the reunion on Oct. 9, 1871.  The two men remained to attend the celebration and took the bird back with them and expressed him home to Madison.  Kountz is of the opinion that the late George A. Austin was in charge of military affairs here at the time and that the eagle was consigned to him.


Ed Carpenter, who assisted Kountz in the matter, was in the lumber business and later lived at Greenwood.


The Emanuel Evangelical Church of Chili was organized January 27, 1883, with the Rev. Geo. Winkowitsch presiding.  August Prust was the acting secretary and the following Trustees Board was elected and served as follows:  Wm. Lindow for a term of three years, August Prust for two years and Henry Neinas for one year.


For 13 years, this little congregation worshiped in the public school building and private homes.  In 1896, action was taken to erect a new church on a building site, two miles southwest from Chili in the Town of Fremont.  A modest structure was erected and dedicated by the Rev. G. F. Kiekhoeffer, Presiding elder of the Portage District. But this structure has out-grown its usefulness and is too small to accommodate the growing congregation.


A special meeting was called by the Board of Trustees for January12th, 1927 with Rev. G. E. Zellmer presiding to consider the advisability of remodeling or building. Action was taken for the erection of a new church building on a site that the congregation has procured several years previous for this purpose.  That site is in the village of Chili. The following members were elected to serve as members of the Building Board: W.R. Happe, Sr., President; Chas. Lindow, First Vice- Pres.; August Lindow, Second Vice-Pres.; Henry Nebel, Secretary and Edward Ott, Treas.


G. A. Krasin, architect of Marshfield, was engaged to draw a blue print and set of specifications for the new building.  The plans were accepted and the contract granted to the Krasin Bros. of Marshfield with building to begin as soon as possible. 


This new church stands as a landmark and a credit to the congregation and community.  The church building will be dedicated on Sunday, Oct. 16, by the Bishop S. P. Spreng, D.D. of Naperville, Ill.  Services will begin on Friday evening previous, Oct. 14th.


This past Sunday was the 50th anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Pischer’s marriage.  About 40 of their friends came to help them celebrate the event. A fine dinner was served and all had a jolly good time.  A number of useful presents were given to them.  One gift was quite remarkable, a sauerkraut stomper that was made of a block of wood with a long handle attached.  The stomper was whittled-out by Gottlieb Mallig who is blind.


This past week, on Monday, the Circuit Court convened with Judge Crosby on the bench. 


The first thing on the program was to call the calendar, which took up a portion of the afternoon. A number of defendants on the criminal calendar plead guilty and received sentence.


There were eleven moonshine, violation of the liquor law cases, brought before the judge as well as some other cases.


A meeting of the members of the Bar of Clark County was held at Neillsville, on Sept. 26, 1927.  It was resolved that James O’Neill, of Neillsville, prepare and present to the Supreme Court, a memorial expressing the high regard entertained by the members of the Clark County Bar, of the life and character of their deceased brother, Lafayette Monroe Sturdevant.


May it please the court: In Accordance – with the resolutions of the Bar of Clark County, I present the following memorial of the life of our deceased brother.


Lafayette Monroe Sturdevant was born at Chandlers Valley, Eric County, Pennsylvania September 17, 1856.  His parents were Hiram and Mary Sturdevant. They came to Wisconsin in 1863, locating in the Town of Pine Valley, three miles south of the city of Neillsville.  Lafayette attended the schools in the town and the High School in the city of Neillsville, but did not get a college education.  He taught school.  He studied law under the tutorship of his cousin Judge John R. Sturdevant who still resides in Neillsville.  He was admitted to the bar in 1879.  He entered into partnership with L. A. Doolittle, a relationship continued for two years. He than (then) became a partner with Judge John R. Sturdevant.  He was elected District Attorney of Clark County, serving two terms with marked ability.  He was elected a member of the Assembly and served two terms from 1898 to 1902.  He was then twice elected Attorney General of Wisconsin, occupying the position from 1903 to 1907.


Upon leaving the office of Attorney General, he located in Eau Claire, where he practiced his profession until his death which occurred August 25, 1923.


It was my pleasure to have known Mr. Sturdevant intimately from the time he began to practice law.  I often pass the old home where he spent his boyhood years and I recall the fine record he made in professional life after he left the farm.  He had a keen intellect.  He was industrious.  His rewards came as the result of ability and integrity.  He was a vigorous prosecuting officer as District Attorney.   He made such a record that he was later twice elected by the people to represent them in the Legislature.  Growing in the esteem of those who observed his course in that body, he was elected to the office of Attorney General.


I have before me three volumes, being biennial reports of the office of Attorney General for the years of 1904 and 1906. Many difficult questions were submitted for decision.  It seems to me his opinions are equal in quality to those which come from the pen of Judges of the higher courts.


As a teacher of youth, a lawyer, a district attorney, a member of the Legislature and Attorney General of the state, Mr. Sturdevant left a most honorable record. ~ James O’Neill ~


October 1957


Mr. and Mrs. W. F. Hein, of Humbird, who “sort of sneaked away to get married” 50 years ago, will observe their golden wedding anniversary on Sunday.


They will hold open house in the Methodist Church from 2 to 4 p.m.  Their two children, Beth Jeffrey of Lemmon, S. D. and Col. Neil Hein, of Fort Meade, Md., both are expected to be home to join in the celebration.


When the Heins “sneaked away” a half century ago, it wasn’t that they were doing something to which their parents might object.  After all, they were 24 and 21 years old - in the eyes of law, eminently old enough to be responsible for themselves.


But the fact was that they were trying to make as little noise about it so that their friends of the Humbird area wouldn’t have a chance to pull any of their favorite pre or post-wedding tricks.


“We regretted it when we got back from our honeymoon,” Mr. Hein mused the other day.  “Our friends pulled a really big charivari on us.”


Mr. Hein and his bride-to-be, Kittie L. Phillips, ran off to Merrillan, where they were married in an unusual 6 a.m. wedding in the Methodist parsonage by Rev. Burton Sills.  The early hour scheme was for getting unnoticed as they boarded a Green Bay & Western train at 7 a.m. for La Crosse.


The young couple spent their honeymoon at Prairie du Chien and in Mrs. Hein’s old hometown, Mount Sterling.  They then returned home to Humbird to face the music, that of beaten dishpans, cowbells and almost anything that would make noise.


In his early years Mr. Hein worked for his father and brother in the feed mill which is near his home and now is owned by Herbert Green.  But in 1911, he became the rural mail carrier, a job which he held for 32 years.  Starting in the horse and buggy days, he continued through the transition to the automobile.


His route, at first, was 25 miles long and he covered it with horse and buggy in six to seven hours, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.  Sometimes, in the winter it took him two or three hours longer; but he recalls only once that his return was as late as 6 p.m.


When the automobile came into use, the route was expanded, until it became an automobile route of 47 miles.


The Cornerstone of Calvary Lutheran Church, in Neillsville, was laid at special services here Sunday afternoon; being in interest was the unusual triumvirate of pastors who took part in the service.


As more than 100 members of the recently formed congregation and friends looked on, three Tanners – grandfather, father and son, all dedicated to the work of Christ – took part.


Jacob Tanner, S.T.D., doctor of sacred theology, the 92-year-old grandfather, gave the address.  Rev. Idar J. Tanner, the father and pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church, laid the cornerstone with the assistance of the church council.


The Rev. Ira Tanner, the son and pastor of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Greenwood, gave the scripture reading.


In the black robe of the scholar, Grandfather Tanner made an impressive appearance, his white goatee and hair contrasting with the black of his robe.  He spoke in a strong and certain voice, with a show of vigor and clarity which belied his age.


His clear enunciation was tinged with the accent of his native Norway, which he left when a young ecclesiastic of 27.


The head of a family of three ministers, Dr. Tanner remains active today as a professor of religion in Waldorf College at Forest Grove, Iowa.  He drives his own automobile and remains unusually active.


Just recently, he took part in the installation service for another son who also is a man of the cloth, the Rev. Agnar Tanner, in the Trinity Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, N.Y., which the late columnist E. V. Durling described as “the lovely borough across the bridge.”


An unusual coincidence was that the service took place on the 50th anniversary of Grandfather Tanner’s service as a minister in that same church.


Grandfather Tanner was born in Norway of Swiss and Norwegian parentage and attended the theological school of the University of Oslo.  He was an ordained minister before coming to the United States at the age of 27.


The whole town of Milwaukee went slightly berserk when their beloved Braves clinched the National League championship last week.


But, with their minds on more serious matters, two Neillsville ladies retired in their rooms at the Schroeder Hotel after a hard day at the Grand Chapter meeting of the Order of Eastern Star.  Due to noise, they couldn’t get to sleep until about 4 o’clock in the morning. 


In innocent oblivion, Worthy Matron Gladys Flynn wrote a dutiful card home:


“We couldn’t get to sleep last night.  There must have been a big party going on somewhere.”



The overhead truss bridge, a style of the early 1900’s, was commonly seen throughout Clark County in that era.  The above photo was taken of the overhead truss bridge that spanned O’Neill Creek on Grand Avenue.  A bridge of the same style was also on Hewett Street, spanning O’Neill Creek.  One of the bridges was saved and moved to Schuster Park.  Its unique design and the wording “Grand Avenue” within the framework, displays its distinction.




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