Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

December 4, 2002, Page 21

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News


December 1932


The Neillsville Community Club has received from the Federal Government 3,160 yards of various kinds of cotton cloth to be distributed to needy persons in 15 southern townships of Clark County.  There are other agencies that are distributing to the central and northern townships.  Town chairmen have reported families in their respective towns needing clothing. Some overalls and socks are also being distributed where needed.


With the Depression forcing many destitute persons suffering from illness to ask the towns for medical relief, town and county officials are called upon to pay medical bills.  This is proving to be a heavy burden to the communities, according to complaints received from all sections of the county.


In medical cases, which are not considered acute, the patients are sent by Judge O. W. Schoengarth to the State General Hospital at Madison where they are taken care of at the rate of $2.38 per day.  To this charge must be added the cost of the transportation both ways.  During the past year, these cases cost the county $5,706.73, this amount being half of the original charge with the state contributing the other half.


The canned fruit shower held at the Ole Larsen home, in Cannonville, was well attended. A social evening was enjoyed as the guests brought the Larsen’s gifts of about 75 quarts of choice home-canned fruits and vegetables.


A slight curtailment in the bill of fare offered by the city to bums was informally agreed upon Tuesday night at the meeting of the city council.  It was decided that hereafter, instead of a 25-cent breakfast, the floaters will have to be satisfied with a meal of rolls and coffee.  The usual 25-cent supper will be continued.


The city during 10 months of this year spent $352 on meals for bums.  Recently, bunks were installed in a city building, which have met with favor by the destitute transients.  From one to 15 floaters are spending their nights here.  It is said, only a few of them are “repeaters”.


December 1957


The Armistice season of November 1957 brought back memories of the story about ‘Mother’ Haugen and the old Company ‘A’ of Neillsville.


When the bells rang and the whistles blew on that November morning in 1918, it was announced to the people of Neillsville and America that the terrible World War I was over.  The first great Armistice has arrived and the boys were coming home.  But there were many homes to which the boys were not returning, where “Doughboys” had laid their lives upon the altar of freedom.


At this Armistice season 1957, we are turning back the clock 40 years so as to picture the departure of Neillsville’s old Company A as they left for service in Texas and then, early in 1918, for the battlefields of France.  There was pride, mingled with sadness, in the hearts of every parent as the company prepared to leave. They had been to the Mexican border in 1916, but this time it was “for keeps,” this time it meant facing the power of the Kaiser’s army on a European battle-ground.


Almost unnoticed in the rush and the excitement was the old house on Clay Street, which once made a home for Thomas and Hannah Haugen and their 11 children.  The mother, who had brought 10 sons and a daughter into the world, died in 1903.  Then, the father held the family together for six more years, until his death in 1909.  After that the orphan children had to go it alone.  Arthur J. Haugen, the second oldest, had accepted the responsibilities of a parent; had kept the home going until on that fateful morning in 1917 when the key in the Haugen house was turned for the last time. Then the six Haugen boys, all that were left living in Neillsville of the 11 children, marched to the depot to serve with the fighting men wherever duty called.

Even “Hyper,” the family dog went with them that morning and remained with them until the day came for the troops to leave Texas for overseas.  The dog had served as a mascot in Waco and when the bugle sounded he would dash to the Company Street to be the first to stand in line for inspection.  “Hyper” was lost in Kansas City en route to the home of a brother, Frank, in Goodland, Kansas.


Now, turn quickly to the early morning of August 2, 1918, in the Marne sector, in “No-Man’s-Land” in France.  The strongly fortified Bellvue Farm and Hill 230 had been taken the night of August 1 by the 32nd Division.


First Sergeant Arthur J. Haugen, known to the entire division as “Mother” Haugen, had been informed that his “Kid” brother, Otto, was laying dead up there on the crest of the hill.  Searching in the wee hours of the morning, before the break of day, going from one body to another, he at last stopped before the lifeless form of one whom he thought to be that of his brother.  The hands looked natural, but the helmet was on and the face so disfigured that he could not be sure without checking identification.  Around this American soldier, in a semi-circle, lay the bodies of several Boche dead.


As he stooped to check identification, he removed the dog tag from inside the shirt and read, “Pvt. 1st class Otto A. Haugen, Co. ‘A’ 128 Inf.”  As he removed a small testament from a pocket, a soldier guard stepped up, placed his 45 automatic to the head of Sgt. Haugen and said: 


“Do you know the penalty of looting?”


The reply: “I sure do.  I’m a first sergeant.”


The guard ordered Sgt. Haugen to stand erect with arms raised high above his head.  Capt. Watson of Co. “E,” seeing the action, hurried up to explain that the prisoner was “Mother” Haugen and the body of the soldier he was kneeling beside was that of his brother.


The guard was following military instruction, but he quickly apologized, extended his hand in sympathy saying: “Sorry sergeant, this war certainly is h---.”


As “Mother” Haugen again kneeled beside his brother’s body, Chaplain Hood arrived to offer spiritual assistance.  After a long and silent handclasp that carried with it much comfort, friendliness and good will, the Chaplain said:


“Haugen, we can’t leave the boy lying here.  Let’s do what we can for him now.”


They selected a burial spot in the woods, near a quarry on the hill.


With hope of relieving the brother, Chaplain Hood sent Haugen to find a blanket in which to wrap the body.  A long search was of no avail. There were no surplus blankets that morning, Capt. Watson had overheard.  Without hesitation he removed his slicker and handed it to Haugen saying:


“Here Sergeant, this will be better than nothing and I’ll salvage another somewhere.”  The friendly captain, minus his slicker, returned to his company in the rain.


The 32nd Division had been on trial that night at Bellvue Farm and Hill 230.  The 230 was used because the hill was 230 meters above sea level.  It also was 400 feet above the valley, thus forming a watershed between the Ourcq and Vesle Rivers.  All knew that was a strong German position.


Maj. Gen. William G. Haan, division commander, had been trying to keep the 32nd intact, while others tried to use it as a replacement division. While in training in France before moving up to the front, 1,100 privates and nine captains had been transferred to the First division.  The First, Second and Third divisions had already proved their worth, but they were made up and officered largely by men from the regular army.


The 32nd moved toward the front at night, marching 50 minutes and resting 10 and even crawled by day in order not to be detected.  Arriving at the frontline position at night, they supposed the movement was a complete secret to the Germans, but, as the sun brought light to a new day, there, across “No Man’s-Land” was a placard high above a German trench:


“Welcome 32nd Division.”  On August 1, Maj. Gen. Robert L. Bullard arrived at division headquarters to take command of a newly organized Third American Corps. If permitted to assume command, it would be the first unit larger than a division to operate independently in battle.  The permission depended upon the approval of the Allied high command and now Gen. Haan, commander of the 32nd Division, was ready to prove the ability of his men.”


(Quotes from the Armistice Day address by Jess W. Scott)


The rebuilt County Trunk K, between Loyal and York Center, was formally opened in ceremonies conducted last Thursday by the Loyal Rotary club.


Approximately 50 members and guests formed a caravan, which drove over the newly-built, blacktopped highway to the York Center hall, where a dinner was served by the York Center ladies’ aid.


A. L. Devos, Neillsville attorney, was the speaker.


Guests included Otto Weyhmiller, Clark County Highway Commissioner and members of the county highway committee.


Tim LaMont Zimmerman, son of Mr. and Mrs. Reuben Zimmerman and Thomas Harold Lemke, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Lemke, were baptized in Trinity Lutheran Church, Loyal, on Sunday.  Tim LaMont was born on September 29.  His sponsors were Mr. and Mrs. Harold Stange.  Thomas Harold was born October 12.  His sponsors were Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Smith.


A sparkling bright, modern Schultz Bros. Co. variety store opened today in Neillsville, with a three-day weekend grand opening.


Boasting 6,500 square feet of sales floor, the new building becomes the latest addition to the growth of this progressive community.  Several new departments have been added to increase the “shop-ability” of the store.


The erection of the building, at the corner of 5th and Hewett Street, is one of Central Wisconsin’s newest stores operated by Schultz Bros. Co.  Residents of Neillsville and former residents now living in other places will be interested in the history of the original store located on that site, built by George L. Lloyd, pioneer lumber and businessman of Clark County.


On May 7, 1877, 80 years ago, Lloyd started the groundbreaking for the store, which was built of cream-colored brick brought from DePere.  It was the second brick store to be erected in Neillsville.  In 1872, Hewett, Woods & Company erected the first brick store, which is the one now occupied by the J. C. Penney Co., and in which the late William J. Marsh operated a women’s ready-to-wear store for many years.


The Lloyd store was completed in the fall of 1877 and was then stocked with $30,000 worth of merchandise. This was the winter of 1877-78, known to older Clark County people as the “Al Brown winter.”  That winter was one of practically no snow.  Logging operations, consequently, were at a standstill, there being no snow upon which to skid the logs to the creeks and rivers.  Lumbering contractors became bankrupt as they were unable to merchandise the logs they had felled.


Lloyd is said to have lost half of his investment.  He saved himself only by putting in tram-cars and managed to get his logs to the Black River to be floated down to the mills.


Lloyd was able to secure an extension of time on payment for his stock of merchandise, later being able to pay up his indebtedness, though he lost several thousand dollars. At that time he was selling the very finest grade of lumber at $10 per thousand feet.


The following year marked the beginning of the halcyon days of pine lumbering in Clark County, which continued until the early 90s. Although no one had money to spend during the “Al Brown winter,” with very little merchandise being sold at the new Lloyd store, business picked up the next year.  Eventually Lloyd managed to realize success in the merchandise venture.


Judge Oscar W. Schoengarth, in reminiscing of his early years, recalls that he was born in an upstairs room of a building that was located just east of the new Schultz store.  Located on the open space between the store and the Svetlik garage, was a building that was the home of the Schoengarth family.  Oscar’s father operated a boot and shoe store on the first floor.


The two wooden structures recently torn down to give the new Schultz store added space were part of the early history of Neillsville.  The building to the north was Jones shoe store for many years.  Later, Julius L. Neverman operated a grocery store there.


The wooden structure, between the Neverman store and the corner store, was occupied for many years as a variety store business run by Miss Katie Wirtz.  Nick Gangler, who had previously worked in the Cash hardware store, succeeded Miss Wirtz, operating a business there from 1913 to 1936.  The store had been owned by George Lloyd, but later became the property of O. W. Schoengarth.  The corner store, the old Lloyd building, was the Cash store, a hardware firm operated by the late Alfred J. Peterson and his son, Arne. Arne has maintained his residence on East 5th Street, but for many years has been associated with an Eau Claire business.


Natalie F. Scherf has completed 40 years with the State Bank of Withee.  The anniversary date was Friday, Nov. 15.  At that time, the bank presented her with a TV chair; the bank staff gave her flowers; the businessmen of Withee presented her with a corsage.


Miss Scherf was over-whelmed with pleasure and surprise that her old friends remembered the anniversary date and celebrated it.


Miss Scherf went directly from high school into the bank business.  She has continued there without a break through the 40 years, advancing from one service to another.  She was assistant cashier until the death of Mr. Beilfuss and then became cashier.


Miss Scherf is the only woman in executive capacity in a bank of Clark County.  She performs all the usual functions of a cashier, her long experience in the bank having acquainted her well with the needs and credit of the people of the area.



The Schoengarth boys, Oscar W. and Edward, pictured as young musicians in 1889.  Both natives of Neillsville, Oscar became an attorney, and later was a Judge of Clark County.  (Photo courtesy of Bill Roberts’ Collection)




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