Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

March 13, 2002, Page 24

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 



Compiled by Dee Zimmerman




Clark County News


March 1882


The recent high wind blew down the brick veneering on the north end of the Pleasant Ridge Church.  This is very un-fortunate for the people of that locality as they had done nobly in contributing to build so fine an edifice.


F. G. Cawley died last Sunday at his home in Neillsville.  Cawley has been a resident of Neillsville and Clark County for many years and will be greatly missed. For many years he occupied the office of constable in the Town of Pine Valley.  In the performance of his official duties, he was prompt and faithful.  The weather was never too cold or the night too stormy to prevent him from serving his duties.


Wm. Franz, a resident of Clark County and an experienced iron miner, returned from Dubuque, Iowa, this past week.  He will commence work at once to sink a shaft some 60 feet deep in the iron mound one mile north of the city for the purpose of testing the quality of the ore.  If the ore proves better below than on the surface, a company at Dubuque will erect a furnace here in a short time and commence manufacturing iron.


The people of Wood County seem to be contented and prosperous.  Every few days we see new faces on our village streets.  With the new bridge that now connects us with the settlement and country west of the Yellow River; it will open a thoroughfare and connect us with the settlement in the southeast corner of Clark County.  The traveling public will have a better and shorter route to and from Neillsville and Grand Rapids, by the way of Pittsville, Weisner’s and Tom LaFlesh’s farms.  Other than the way of Big Bull and Nasonville, Grand Rapids and Centralia will be benefited by this movement.  One more important change is needed and that is to shorten the distance from Centralia to Pittsville by a direct road running due east from Pittsville, until it connects with the Seneca highway.


N. C. Foster, of Fairchild, has just bought out the interest of Messrs. Cook and McLaren in the business of the old, solid and responsible lumbering firm of Foster, Cook & Co.  Foster now has perhaps the finest lumbering business in this section of the country.


A grand donation party was given at Thorp last Monday evening for the benefit of the noblest gentleman, Elder Greer.  Greer shines as an effulgent light before the people of Thorp.  The proceeds amounted to $37.  Mrs. Seldon baked a cake with a 50-cent piece in it; then sold the cake at ten cents a piece, which brought $5.65.  Mrs. Seldon adds much to the life of the village.  Ed Brown got the 50 cents and then gave it to the Elder.  Jon B. Clark was married during the evening to Miss Ada Kelly. May their pathway be smooth and lively is the most earnest wish of the writer.  The happy couple went home rejoicing, as did all the other people, feeling they had done a good deed for a good cause.


Our last fall of snow is being utilized for all it is worth in the logging camps.  Those who had broken camp are calling all the teams of horses back they can procure and will clear the skids at least.  Many million remaining logs were piled on skids along the meandering Black River and its tributaries.


The community of Maple Works will soon boast of a cheese factory, as Fred Reed is preparing to build one there.  As yet he has not settled on the factory’s exact location.  A cheese factory is something we have needed and Reed is a first-class cheese maker.  Our farmers will do well to turn their attention to cows, buying more and selling less.


Jacob Rossman has sold his hotel in this city to William Sohn, of Colby, who will take possession in about two weeks.  Rossman takes payment of Sohn’s farm in sections 35 and 36, town 28, range 1 west.  It contains 400 acres on which there are 70 acres cleared, with good buildings and a mortgage for the difference of $1,250.  Rossman’s future plans are to engage in some manufacturing business in Neillsville.


James and Andrew Short, Town of Washburn, started on Monday evening to travel to Jefferson County, Wis., to attend the golden wedding of their parents.  Their sister, Mrs. John Fuller, had already gone to be present for this occasion.


Joseph Morley took his supper last Friday evening in one of the North Western railroad dining cars.  He says it was the best meal he had on his trip to Madison.  Riding at 40 miles per hour and eating as he traveled is one to the wonders of the 19th century.


March 1932


An automobile parked in the O. W. Lewerenz lot on Hewett Street started out by itself early Saturday evening and headed for the large plate glass window in Schiller’s Furniture store.  V. C. Woelffer and Frank Ruddock spied the runaway car and made a dash for it.  They managed to slow down the car enough to prevent it breaking the store window, although the wall beneath the window was slightly damaged.


As part of the George Washington exhibit in the First National Bank, Dr. M. C. Rosekranz has contributed two old guns, an early day army musket and a muzzle loading rifle.  Both guns are later than the Revolutionary War type; at that time only flintlocks were used, while these guns were fired by percussion caps.


On April 11, Neillsville will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its incorporation as a city.


The village of Neillsville was platted on April 14, 1854 by A. Boardman for James O’Neill.  At that time O’Neill’s residence and mill, with Samuel Ferguson’s bachelor’s hall and his blacksmith shop were the only buildings to be seen in the four acres appropriated to village purposes, according to local history.  With the completion of the platting, settlers immediately began to purchase lots.  Among the first was Robert Roix who erected a tavern.  Then James O’Neill erected two frame buildings, for a store and residence purposes.  Others followed and the town enjoyed good business until the panic of 1857 which struck a hard blow at not only the village but Clark County as well.  Few settlers came in to the village from then until the close of the Civil War.


Financial stringency produced a practical suspension of the lumber interests and consequent stagnation of business.  There was comparatively no farming of consequence and less trade. The value of farm products depreciated and prices of commodities increased correspondingly.  The effects of these anomalous conditions were perceptibly visible, not only in Neillsville and Clark County, but also throughout this portion of the lumber district.  Impoverishment, if not ruin, stared many in the face and escape there from was only accomplished after trials no pen can adequately describe.  To the close of the war, both increase in population and the number of improvements was nominal.


The effects of the panic gradually wore off and the community entered a period of substantial growth.  As the village was a part of the Township of Pine Valley, agitation for a separate government became more pronounced as the town grew in importance and in the late 1870s the necessity of incorporating became imperative.  Accordingly the city of Neillsville was duly incorporated by an act of the legislature and approved on March 29, 1882, to take effect the second Tuesday of April of that year.


At a recent Kiwanis meeting, D. E. Peters, superintendent of schools, talked before the Kiwanis club on the histories of several inventions familiar in every household.


The common fly swatter was invented 30 years ago, but met with little success until health officials began pointing out how dangerous flies are to the human health.


While luminous watch faces are thought of recent origin, Peters stated they were developed in 1870, but were not perfected until after radium was discovered.


The metal writing pen has been found in the ruins of the Romans, but passed out of use for a period while goose quills became popular.  Napoleon is credited with destroying the geese producing countries and the metal pen came back into favor.  Camden, N.J., is now the pen center of the world.  Fountain pens date back many years as do the mechanical pencils which were first made in 1840.  They were not, however, successful until 1915 when the thin lead was invented.


While the safety razor is regarded of recent date, Peters reported that they were used in France in 1760.  In 1880 guards were added to the razor and in 1900 Gillette brought out this famous razor which paved the way for many others.


The electric flashlight was invented 32 years ago.


The crown cork, used on beverage bottles largely, was invented in 1892 and since approved.  In 1929 there were 12,384,000,000 of them made.  Since prohibition came into effect it was stated the consumption of such corks increased.


The railroad company has failed to replace 140 milk cans, which the Neillsville Milk Products Co., charges were lost in transit to Chicago last May.  As a result the milk company has discontinued shipping its cream to Chicago by train and is now using truck service.  Ray Shaw has fitted up a large trailer body as a refrigerator and three trips a week are being made at a slight saving over railroad costs.


Wheeler Forman is beginning his 30th year as a rural mail carrier out of Neillsville, having started Feb. 2, 1903.  Forman estimates that he has traveled 192,000 miles in that time, figuring 178 miles a week.  More than half of this mileage was made by horses.  Forman is in excellent health and always able to get through, regardless of weather conditions.  He is vice president of the Wisconsin Rural Letter Carriers’ association and president of the Clark County Rural Carriers’ association.


Making their first raid in Neillsville since prohibition went into effect; two federal agents visited the city Tuesday and arrested a resident who lives east of the city cemetery.  It is reported that they destroyed the still and a quantity of mash in the basement of the home.


The agents appeared at the house about noon and presented a search warrant. They explored the premises and are said to have smashed a small still and poured kerosene over the mash.  The owner has been ordered to appear in Eau Claire, Wednesday, to face the charges.


The news that federal agents were in the community was soon spread among the dealers in liquor in the city.  Within a short time the various places had been “cleaned up” and were prepared for any raids that might take place.  It was said that the city was a “desert” Wednesday and no liquor was being sold except to trusted customers.


The reports persisted that the agents were still in the city and that further arrests might be expected.


Mickie, the Shetland pony belonging to Billie and Dick Lowe, sons of Mr. and Mrs. G. H. Lowe, died early Wednesday from a gunshot wound received Monday morning when he strayed a few blocks from home.


The pony has been the pet of all the children in the neighborhood.  The many youthful visitors were calling upon him as he made his valiant but losing fight against death in the barn at the Lowe home.  Many a tear was shed in the pony’s behalf.  The Lowe boys were heartbroken by the death of their pet which they have owned for several years.


Mrs. Lowe received a telephone call about 11 a.m. Monday, from a neighbor who informed her that the pony was wandering in a nearby yard and she was afraid some harm would come to him.  Mrs. Nicholas Blau, employed at the Lowe home, started after the pony, but before she arrived the animal had been shot.  Drs. M. L. Claffin and F. E. Sillick were called to look at the animal.  They were able to raise the pony to his feet and lead him home.


Mr. Lowe swore out a warrant for the arrest of whom he thought to be the guilty party in the shooting of the pony.  At the arraignment before A. E. Dudley, the accused party denied having a rifle, stating he owned only an air gun.  The case was postponed until next week and the accused was released on bail.  District Attorney Haight plans to have a post mortem examination to determine the kind of bullet used in the shooting.


Clark County is temporarily bankrupt and unless financial relief is received within the next few weeks, the county will be unable to meet its payroll and other bills. John J. Irvine, Clark County Clerk, made the announcement this week.


The critical situation in which Clark County now finds itself was brought about as a result of the state superintendent of public education ordering Clark County to pay the towns the school funds of $93,000.  The understanding was that the state would immediately reimburse the county for that amount.


The state now informs Clark County that it does not have the money available and (the) county must “hold the sack” until, if and when, the state is able to make the payment.  This money should have been paid to the county about the second week in March.


Out of $240,000 taxes due in Clark County, Miss Mary Rude, county treasurer, has taken in only $24,000 this year.


County officials view the situation with alarm and assert that Clark County is facing an extremely grave problem.




A mid-1930s view of Neillsville’s Hewett and Fifth Street intersection looking southward; The Lewerenz Standard Service station was on the southeast corner and the First National Bank on the southwest corner of the intersection.

(Photo courtesy of Bill Roberts’ collection)



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