Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

February 27, 2002, Page 17

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles



Compiled by Dee Zimmerman







Clark County News


February 1902


Neillsville probably has the oldest married couple in Northern Wisconsin, if not in the state, namely Mr. and Mrs. L. Weeks.  Mr. Weeks was born in Windham County, Connecticut on April 10, 1822.  He came with his parents to Cooperstown, N.Y., when ten years old and grew to manhood in Cooperstown.  It was there that he married Emiline Clark on August 1, 1845.  She was born in Westford, Otsego County N. Y. May 5, 1829.


In 1854, the young couple moved to Wisconsin and with their family resided in Beaver Dam, for six years.  From there, they came to Jackson County.  At the breaking out of the Civil War Mr. Weeks enlisted in the 79th Pennsylvania regiment, while on a visit in the East and served until the close of the war.


The family moved to Neillsville in 1879.  Weeks started the furniture business, which he worked at for many years.  If they both lived until August 1, they will celebrate their 57th wedding anniversary, thus outranking by four years the couple whose picture was recently published in the Milwaukee Sentinel as the oldest married couple in Northern Wisconsin.  The Weeks have a host of friends in this city and vicinity.


Weeks was a neighbor of the novelist, J. Fennimore Cooper while living at Cooperstown, N.Y., and drove the hearse at the author’s funeral.


Clark County lies practically half way between the equator and the North Pole.  The north line of the county reaches almost to the forty-fifth parallel of latitude.  It consists of 34 congressional townships, being seven townships wide, with the southwestern township set out into Jackson County.  Clark County contains 1,224 square miles.  With the new Town of Dewhurst which will be duly organized in the spring, there will be thirty towns in the county.  The incorporated cities are Neillsville, Greenwood and Colby.  Half of Colby however lies in Marathon County.  The incorporated villages are Abbotsford, Loyal, Thorp, Withee and Dorchester.


In 1890 Clark County had a population of 17,708; in 1895, 21,342; in 1900, 25,848, an increase of 8,140 or 46 percent in ten years.  Clark County never has had a boom but its growth has been steady and substantial.  It has, from the first, been a wealth-producing region.  For many years the Black River and other streams floated out thousands of dollars worth of white pine cut on their banks and along their tributaries.  Later, the hardwood has contributed its thousands of dollars and has really contributed more to Clark County’s wealth than the pine, for more of that wealth has remained here in this area.


Even now, the timber products of this county are something enormous in the aggregate, nearly every farmer has been adding something to his income from the source of timber.  But, the timber is gradually diminishing and the farm and stock products are increasing.


Creameries and cheese factories are replacing the saw mills and logging camps.  However, there is room for much more means of wealth in Clark County.  It is still an infant in years as a county.


The town of Sherwood, formerly the town of Perkins and later Sherwood Forest, lies in the southeast corner of Clark County.  The surface of the township is somewhat level, though there are ridges running through the town with one or two high bluffs.  Until the past few years, the farming land of the town had been hardly developed.  In the past the town was considered valuable principally for its timber, but since the timber has been cleared off and the land has dried out because of the clearing, the land has been producing better crops.  Grass, oats, corn, barley, peas, potatoes and all garden vegetables do well in that area.


In the past few years, the town of Sherwood has developed much faster than in the past.  Good roads are being constructed and there is now a first-class turnpike to City Point on the Green Bay railroad, Pittsville and Lynn on the C. M. & St. P. and Granton and Neillsville on the Omaha railroad. 


There are lumber, lath and shingle mills in the town where the settler can buy or have prepared material for building.  The town is well supplied with schoolhouses and has a fine town hall where religious and other public meetings are held.  There are two post offices in the town, namely Dewhurst and Nevins, supplied by a stage line from City Point.  In 1895 the population was 182 and in 1900 it had increased to 231 with settlers constantly coming in.  Land in this town is comparatively reasonable in price.  The present town officers are as follows: Chairman, Robert Sparks; Town Clerk, Byron Pickering; Treasurer, J. Jacobson and Assessor, G. Maxfield.


February 1947


Clarence Burchell and Lloyd Johnson have taken over the taxi service in Neillsville.  They have purchased the business from the Winn brothers, Don and Bernard. The transfer was effective January 30.  They have changed the name of the business to the B & J Taxi Cab Co.


A celebration of unknown extent, depth and vigor is due for the annual meeting of the stockholders of the Neillsville Country Club, to be held February 10. The celebration grows out of the condition of the treasury, which wound up the year with $12.89 to the good.  In some situations this balance would be nothing to shout about, but for a country club to have $12.89 at the end of the year is really something.  At the end of one recent year the local balance was 15 cents.


Another reason for the club’s good standing is that the number of members in 1946 was 97, largest in the club’s history.  It was a great year for the local club, with the picturesque course even more than commonly beautiful and well cared for. Also progress was made upon the basement of the club house, which is already in shape to house repair operations upon the club’s equipment and which may ultimately house lockers, showers and toilets, if and when the finances continue to grow.


The sale of timber lands and timber rights were revealed in a number of warranty deeds filed during the last week in the office of the Register of Deeds.


Grant R. Rose has sold the timber on a piece of his land in section 17, Town of Lynn, to the Hart Lumber and Tie Company of Black River Falls. The lumber company paid $4,000 for the timber and will have a period of three years in which to cut and remove it.


Two automobile accidents in the Village of Loyal occurred recently in which cars were making U-turns at intersections, according to a report from Traffic Officer Loris Dusso.


The first accident involved cars driven by Dale Young and Gustave Wehling, both of Loyal. According to the traffic officer’s report, Young was making U-turn and had stopped to permit a truck to pass in the intersection. On starting again, the Young car collided with the right rear of the Wehling car. Damage in this accident was estimated by Officer Dusso at $150.


About 24 hours after the first accident, cars driven by Vernon Rogstad and Cecil Kippenhan, also both of Loyal collided at the intersection of County Trunk K and 98.  Rogstad was making a U-turn at the time and his car collided with the right rear of the Kippenhan car. Damage in this accident totaled about $100, the traffic officer estimated.


Clark County’s smallest man is dead.  He was four feet, three inches short.  His name was John Henry Furlong. He was born and reared in the Christie community.  He died in the state of Washington, where he lived and worked the latter part of his life.


In his younger days, Furlong did farm work around the Christie area, but barbering was more within his taste and capacity.  So he barbered in Neillsville, Loyal and Osseo.  There, while working, he stood upon a box.  In his later years, owning his own shop in Rochester, Washington, he had a special platform, made upon his order and he stood upon it while at work.


Furlong died on February 3, at the age of 69.  He had overcome the handicap of size and had made a comfortable success in life.  He had done well enough financially so that he retired last summer, intending to spend his remaining years at ease.  But his arteries hardened and his heart failed.


Surviving Furlong is his wife Emma, four feet short. She looks back upon a life of comfort and contentment, happily spent with John Furlong.  The realization of her married life did not accord with the trepidation felt by her parents, when her marriage first projected. Then her father and mother were apprehensive. Since she was small and unfortunate, she has been the object of their great care and solicitude.  They hesitated long before they gave their consent to the importunities of the little barber from Rochester.


The first that their daughter heard of John Furlong was a letter which he wrote, a letter which grew out of a visit of Emma’s brother, a traveling man, to Furlong’s barber shop.  Swapping social words, he mentioned that he had a sister just about Furlong’s size.  Furlong asked for her address and got it; wrote the girl and followed the letter personally, finally proposed marriage and ran into parental objection.  It was not that the parents thought less of him, but that they thought the more of their little daughter.  They thought she needed to be cared for in their home, instead of taking on the responsibilities of a household.


But John Furlong stuck to his proposition and Emma’s parents came to see that he was more of a man than his stature indicated.  For one thing, he did not drink.  For another, he was industrious and thrifty.  He made money in his shop and he saved it.  So he convinced Emma’s parents that becoming his wife, she would not be cast out into a cold and cruel world.  The fact is that she found the world with John Furlong, to be quite comfortable and a happy place.


The Furlongs vigorously resisted any effort to capitalize on their shortness.  They had invitations to work in the movies and at one time Furlong was urged to go with the Ringling Bros. show.  But Mrs. Furlong was earnestly opposed to any showing off.  She considered that their stature had best be minimized and that they should live in quiet retirement.  She is a woman of considerable education and refinement, an accomplished pianist.  So, after the day’s work was done and the dishes were dried, she and her husband were likely to turn to music, she with the piano and he with the violin. This was not for public consumption; it was for their own enjoyment.


John Furlong came from a large family with four brothers and three sisters, all of whom were of normal size. John had rickets as a child which his family believed may have been the reason for his short stature.  He also grew up in a time when proper diet was not understood as it is today.  Living meagerly, short of many of the comforts of life, John Furlong’s mother coped to the best of her ability in caring for the family.


The elder Furlongs went to the state of Washington after most of their children were married and on their own.  The children were farmers in Clark county, or farmers’ wives.  But the elder Furlongs beckoned and the rest of the family went along.


Among the present residents of Neillsville, the closest friend of the Furlongs is Mrs. Myrtle Robinson, who was their house guest several weeks last summer and who had visited them before. The Robinsons and the Furlongs lived not far apart in the Christie neighborhood.  The Furlong place was just west of the present Paul Jacob farm.


Fred Rupnow of Humbird has received a license from the state to establish a muskrat farm on 40 acres of unproductive land, part of Rupnow’s holdings.  The land is located in the Town of Mentor.  The license includes the right to kill other wild life which is hostile to muskrats, such as mink.  The establishment of the farm calls for a considerable investment.


The transfer of the Green Grove Cheese Factory, operated for many years by George Foelsch, to Standard Brands, Inc. of New York, N.Y., was completed January 27, according to a warranty deed now on file.


Robert Spiegel, the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Spiegel, fractured his right leg above the ankle on Thursday after-noon.  He had been helping his brother Bruce cut some logs to be sawed into lumber.  Alfred, Jr. and Bruce Spiegel are planning to use the lumber in building a new garage at Cannonville next spring.  Bruce and Robert were skidding the logs into piles to be hauled home.  As Robert was riding the Schneider horse, it slipped on some ice, pinning Robert’s leg underneath the horse.  He was taken to the Neillsville hospital, where the bone was set and put in a cast after an x-ray revealed the fracture.


The January 29th snow storm was an expensive luxury for the city of Neillsville, costing a total of $1,091.58.


Figures on the cost have been prepared by Emil Mattson, the street commissioner and they are impressive.  Items follow: truck plowing, $291.55; patrol plowing, $145.80; trucks hauling snow, $263.00; rented trucks, $20.00; labor – loading, $268.10; shoveling walks, $92.40; compensation insurance, $10.73.  Of this, the city will recover $53.25 from house-holders who pay the city for having the crew shovel off their walks.


In the above reckoning trucks are charged at $2.00 per hour, hard labor at 70 cents per hour; plowing at $3.50 per hour. This may have seemed quite a storm, but it wasn’t up to that of February 20-21, 1937, when 17 inches of snow fell. At that time costs were $1.00 per hour for trucks; 32 ½ cents per hour for labor and plowing, $1.50 per hour.  Had those same rates been in effect on January 29, 1947, the cost of the recent storm would have been $460.00.


“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.”




Neillsville’s downtown, Hewett Street, appeared like this 100 years ago with the Merchant’s Hotel on the right, foreground, looking southward.  (Photo courtesy of Bill Roberts’ collection)




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