Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

February 6, 2002, Page 24

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 



Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News


February 1917


The new Christian Science Church is one of the neatest public edifices in the city and is a pleasing addition to Neillsville’s increasing number of modern buildings.   The church is situated at a particularly advantageous location, being across the street from the public library and of convenient access to every portion of the city.  The architectural design of the church is characteristic of all Christian Science churches, the large columns in the front giving it a massive and yet balanced appearance.  The inside finishing is of selected red birch throughout and the building is insulated with linofelt that will make it easily heated, so as to be warm and comfortable at all times.  In all its appointments the church is thoroughly modern and is a most beautiful little building.  A pipe organ will be installed in a short time.  Services will be held in the new church the first Sunday of this month.


The oldest inhabitants of Clark County had a hard time remembering when they had experienced anything like the weather we have had this past week.  Blizzards have followed one close after the other with 20 and 30 degrees below zero thrown in for good measure.  The whole thing culminated Saturday night and Sunday, with a blizzard that crept into every crack and crevice that kept all of Clark County shivering.


Monday morning the passenger train attempted to buck the heavy drifts and get through but it was caught in a snow bank just out of Merrillan.  It remained there until two locomotives behind a snow plow pushed through the drifts so that the train was able to get here later on Monday.  Train No. 3, due here at 4:13 a.m. got caught in a snow bank near Chili and laid there all day, arriving here late in the afternoon.


It was some storm.

Large amounts of snow, with drifting, caused trains to become stuck in snow banks, or as the train above, there were derailments.  The above photo was taken in Clark County, on the F&NE railroad track.


Thursday night Charles Wells, a young man living six miles east of Humbird, was caught in the blizzard and frozen to death.  He and his brother were living at what is known as the Howe farm between Neillsville and Humbird.  He left Humbird Thursday evening to walk home.  After having caught a ride for part of the way, he then started to walk the rest of the way.  In some manner he became bewildered and lost, wandered off the road and then froze to death.


Friday morning, his brother becoming alarmed at his absence started out to look for him and found the body about a hundred rods from their home and a short distance from the road.


William Schultz was frozen to death some time Thursday night or Friday, his lifeless body having been found Friday after-noon about four p.m. in a snow bank about half-a-mile from his home by the children of Theo. Kissling.  Schultz had been working in the woods near Holcomb and had left there Thursday to come home, one of his children being quite ill.  He walked 11 miles to take the train and arrived at Neillsville Thursday afternoon.  After getting a lunch, he started to walk out to his farm, three miles south and three miles east of Kurth corners, on the town line between Grant and Washburn.


Friday afternoon the Kissling children, on their way home from school, saw what they thought was a man’s coat almost covered up in a snowdrift at the side of the road.  They attempted to pick the coat up and found it was the body of a man lying covered up by the snow.


February 1937


As a part of the training for those attending the Teacher Training Course each year, there is a short unit presented by the Home Economics Department on “hot lunches.”


This year the girls receiving their training, by serving hot lunches to those desiring such in the High School.  Two girls, each day, prepare and serve a hot dish, dessert and milk.  The patronage of this lunch has steadily increased during the past week.  The students need not purchase an entire lunch but sign for the food they wish.  Five cents is charged for the hot dish, four cents for dessert and three cents for a small bottle of milk.


The project has proved so successful that the freshman and sophomore classes in Home economics will continue the work when the Teacher Training students have finished their work.


Last week, Bob French informed the Press that he had received a card telling of the death of Walter Granger, for many years rural route driver out of Merrillan,


Granger was born near Merrillan, his parents being among the earliest settlers.


French recalls that when the late Sereno Wren, then a  young man, came up Black River in 1861, he sat down by the road near “Paddy’s Rest”, a wayside tavern near the present site of the Hatfield dam’s power house.  As he sat there, a man named Lynn Tucker came by with two yoke of oxen pulling a wagon, enroute to the Granger farm to get hay.  Wren went with him to the Granger home and remained there all winter, then came over to the mouth of the East Fork to work in the Mead saw mill.


Tucker cleared the old field now the site of W. A. Campman’s and J. F. Schuster’s cottages.


Many of the older residents of this city will remember an exciting day in Neillsville 40 years ago last Friday when Joseph Haugen, the little 4-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Haugen wandered away from home.  He was not found until 11 p.m. at that night after a large crowd had joined in the search.  The Press ran the following story.


“Last Friday forenoon, Thos. Haugen’s little 4-year-old son, Joseph, wandered away from the Haugen home on Clay Street and was not seen again by the family until after 11 p.m.  At that time, he was brought home, numb and in a semi-conscious condition, by the searchers he (who) had been looking for him.  They had found him at the lower side of the Gates’ field, the old baseball ground south of the city.  He was standing up, his little mitten-covered hands clasped about a fine strand of the fence as if with the intention of keeping himself from falling into the snow.  George A. Ludington has the credit for finding Thomas, having followed his baby tracks in the snow from the road.  The little boy’s hands were stiff with cold when he was found and his rescuer had to force the hands open to loosen them from the fence wire.


After the family and neighbors had hunted the city over for the lost child, at 10:30 p.m. the city fire alarm was rung and the fire brigade and a large number of volunteers joined in the search. The child could not have lived many hours longer in the increasing cold of the night in the open field with the inadequate clothing he was wearing.  A pair of strong arms carried him home and for two or three days his life hung in a balance.  However, he pulled through as well as an Artic explorer.”


There are many memories of early logging days in Clark County.


A large logging camp had both a blacksmith and a wood butcher.  A wood butcher had to have a fair knowledge of carpentry but also had to know some things about wood work that many carpenters today know nothing about.  He had to be an expert with a broad ax for many of the timbers that he used had to be hewed out of the log.


He also had to be an expert with an adz or “shin hoe” as some of the wood butchers called it, to later smooth up the work that he had done with a broad ax.


First, there were the oxen to be shod and anyone who has had any experience with oxen knows that there is a whole box of dynamite packed in the hind foot of an ox.  So some method had to be followed in shoeing the ox other than that employed in shoeing horses.  So the wood butcher constructed a frame consisting of four uprights of hewed timber six-by-six or larger mortises in sills placed about four feet apart one way and three and one-half feet the other way.  Having the base to the structure, he completed the framework thus making a windlass that was attached to a stationary pole by means of chains on one end and a cowhide cradle.


The ox was led into this frame with the cowhide cradle passed under him, then the chains wound up and the ox raised in the air amid much struggling and bawling.  As soon as the oxen’s feet were off the ground, he was helpless from kicking and his legs were securely fastened.  Then the shoe, eight in number, one for each division of the hoof were nailed on.  The shoes were made by the blacksmith to fit the foot and were calked on both the heel and toe of each hoof.


The logging sleighs were huge with three-inch runners, seven to nine feet long with beams long enough so the sleighs were seven feet on the run and correspondingly heavy.  The bunks were usually eight by nine inches and from nine to twelve feet long.  On an ordinary snow-covered road, the sleighs were a heavy load for a span of horses, but on an iced road an average load for one team was from 7,000 to 8,000 board feet measure and there was a team known to haul over 16,000 feet to the landing with one load.


Besides sleighs, to build and repair, there were always ox yokes, cant-hook stocks, ax helves, whiffle (whipple)-trees and eveners to make or repair. 


In a small logging camp the blacksmith was sometimes the wood butcher.


After the camps were built there were the logging roads to build and the man who laid out the road had to have some knowledge of engineering.  He had to determine the shortest possible distance to the landing and still take advantage of the lay of the land, being able to use the downgrade in the path of the road.  The main road usually followed a creek and if there was a marsh in between the timber and the direction of the landing, the road was built over the marsh as that saved the expense of clearing the right of way through the timber. The road was cleared of timber from 20 to 25 feet in width; all trees in the path covered by the sleights had to be grubbed out by the roots.   All knolls were leveled and holes filled, as there could be no short curves owing to the length of the sleighs and the size of the loads.  Many times bridges had to be built across the meanderings of the streams which the road followed.  If there were soft spots in the road, these had to be corduroyed, using logs for the corduroy.


When the loaded sleighs reached the landings, the landing had to be cleared on the banks and skids laid upon it so that later the logs could be rolled on the skids.


At short distances, along the main road, areas were cleared of trees back into the timber about 30 feet wide and 60 feet in depth.  Stumps had to be cut nearly to the ground and here the skidways were built where later the logs were skidded in preparation to being loaded on sleighs and hauled to the landing.


After the main road was completed, there were the side or branch roads to build as well as skidding trails from the skidways back into the timber.


The main road always followed the lowest ground and there was usually a ridge back on each side of the road that ran a few rods to one-fourth mile or more to the top. Then branch roads were cut at convenient intervals intersecting with the main road.


If the contour of the land permitted, a branch road was built around the end of the ridge intersecting with the main road further down.  The timber from the other side of the ridge was then hauled out on that branch.


A good camp foreman, in laying out his roads, as well as all of the work, saw to it that every advantage was taken of the lay of the land.  It enabled getting the logs on the skidways with the least expenditure of manpower and horsepower possible.


There were no labor unions in those days and no 30 or 40-hour weeks.  The camp workers were expected to do an honest day’s work for the wages they received.  One honest-to-goodness lumberjack accomplished more work in a day than the average worker of now accomplishes in a week.


The men were through breakfast early in the morning and in the woods as soon as daylight allowed the sawyers to see the log-mark on the fallen trees.


The teamsters were out in many camps long before daylight and unless the haul was too long, they were at the landing by daylight.


This made it necessary for the landing men to go out on the first load of logs as the logs all had to be placed on rollways.


The workday lasted until the sawyers could no longer see a log-mark in the evening.  For the teamsters, skidway men and the loaders, the working hors were usually much longer.  Unless for some very good reason; the sleighs were loaded at night and ready for the trip to the landing the first thing in the morning.  The skidway men had to stay in the woods until the last team-drawn sleigh was loaded and sent out for the night.


The average wages paid were around $26 per month with the exception of the teamsters who got from $30 to $35 per month.  The taffler and cookee were usually a well-grown boy or an elderly man who was past the age of hard woods-work and he usually was paid from $16 to $20 per month.




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