Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI
July 24, 2002, Page 9
Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.
Index of "Oldies" Articles
Compiled by Dee Zimmerman
Clark County News
The two Neillsville rural mail delivery routes have been laid out. One will run south through Levis and return on the west side of Black River, to be known as route two. The other rural route will run north to Christie, turn west, traveling over the river to Globe corner, returning south on the North Road. This will be route three.
Bert Garfield has put in a cabinet mineral water bath in connection with his barbershop. The bathers can get as good of results as they can by going to Mt. Clemens or other resorts. He also gives other medicated baths such as tar, pine needles and other assorted choices that are good for different ailments.
C. S. Stockwell and a surveying party composed of Leland Balch, Pat Ford, Percy Free, Will Stockwell and Byron Selves are down near Columbia running out some lines. They are camping out and Ford has been telling them some hair-raising tales of army life he experienced while in the Philippines. Not a member of the surveying party dares venturing out after dark since hearing those stories.
County Surveyor C. S. Stockwell has made a contract with the Town of Loyal to survey the township. He will establish all the section and quarter corners in the town and mark each with stone monuments. This is a proper move by the Town of Loyal. The permanently established corners will save endless disputes and partial surveys and be a lasting benefit to the town. Stockwell furnishes his own crew and will camp on the ground while doing the work.
The Hyslip creamery distributed $5,528.19 among the farmers of this vicinity for the month of June. The Clark County Butter Co. and Ross Paulson pay nearly an equal amount as Hyslip, each month. The pay roll of the Andrus creamery in Pine Valley is of a big amount. A cheese factory is at Christie, the Martin factory in Grant, as well as Chili and Columbia factories. All of these are within a trade radius of Neillsville, which is to say nothing of the private dairying. When combined, this probably gives an income of $40,000 per month to farmers tributary of Neillsville, during the height of the dairy season.
George Schweiger, of the Town of Loyal, was in our city last Thursday, accompanied by his son, Arthur. His son had a broken collarbone. Drs. Conroy and Conroy were able to set the fracture.
The Wisconsin State Fair will be held in Milwaukee on September 8th through the 12th. Half rates are being secured on all railroad lines in the state and the Northern Peninsula of Michigan for those planning to attend the fair.
The boards and timbers of the Youmans house tell a story of the olden days. As they come clattering down, in a cloud of plaster dust, they carry the people of today back 75 years and more ago, when Clark County was young and when the pioneers were transforming the forest into the beginnings of the dairy-land of today.
This old house, on the farm now owned by C. A. Paulson, is located on Pleasant Ridge, in Section 19, Town of Grant. It has long been known as the Youmans house, named for the lawyer who resided in it in the latter part of the 19th century and who was probably its best known occupant. Youmans came into possession of the house on March 8, 1884. The deed of that date was drawn to him and to his partner in the law, M. C. Ring.
However, Youmans did not build the house. The house was built by John S. Dore, who later sold the property to Youmans. Dore has almost entirely faded from local memory and his name does not appear in the county histories. The only person remembering him, so far as The Press can find, is W. J. Marsh* of Neillsville. Marsh said Dore was very tall, a farmer and after selling the property to Youmans, moved to California. (*Note: below states W. H. Marsh)
Dore had big ideas. The house he built was the largest and most ornate of any other in Clark County up to that day. An old volume on Clark county, running back to the Youmans days, says that the house contained 14 rooms and that is consistent with present evidence. Eight of the rooms were very large and with the spacious halls and stairway, took up the main rectangular portion of the building. That portion had 12-foot ceilings. The trim was made of butternut lumber. The house was surmounted by a large cupola or observation tower and was amply supplied with windows. That cupola disappeared in its later years, cut away because it trapped the inclement weather and dumped it into the house.
The purpose of the cupola, according to Mrs. Casper Marty, was so that Dore could use it as an observation post from which to watch his men as they worked in the fields. This story may have some truth to it, for Dore owned 400 acres and had needed to boss the job. But another possibility is that Dore, perhaps with lines running back to New England, was affected by a style of architecture of that area. It was quite the fad, in the 19th century, to place a cupola at the top of the more ambitious houses. That custom probably started with the old sea captains of New England, who used these high towers from which to watch the ships come and go. Accustomed to the height of the bridge, the old captains were irked by the ground view and provided a bridge upon the land. There, even in retirement, they provided themselves footing more to their liking. The influence of these old captains upon residential architecture may still be found in the old houses of the east and of the Mid-west. Dore, in building a magnificent cupola, was in line with the best style of his day.
Some were under the impression that Dore ran into some financial difficulty and that impression is borne out by the records. On June 30, 1883, he gave a deed to R. S. Stafford on nearly all of his holdings, one of the considerations being that Stafford would assume a mortgage of $3,500 and would clear Dores homestead, upon which his large residence stood.
It is entirely possible that Dore found the cost of the 14-room house a little extreme, even in those days of low costs. But the trouble was not insurmountable. Within a year, he had placed himself in a position to give clear title to a quarter section, including the land upon which the house stood. Thereafter, he faded from the local scene, with no spectacular impact upon it, so far as W. H. Marsh* can recall. (*Note: above states W. J. Marsh)
The exact date of the construction cannot be established, but it is possible to infer it with some degree of accuracy. It certainly lies between 1871 and 1883, for Dore did not buy the place until July 5, 1871 and it was his homestead on or before June 30, 1883. He had bought the land from William Steelman, who is beyond any local memory.
The records show that it was Steelman who secured the original government patent. The date of that patent was February 20, 1857. The patent was issued in the name of Franklin Pierce as president. Steelman held the land until 1871, when he deeded to Dore. At that time Steelman resided in Sutter, California, a name which recalls the gold rush of 1849. The inference was that he followed the crowd to the excitement in California.
Youmans, the new owner had resided in Neillsville. He had married a daughter of B. F. French, the notable pioneer. He had resided with his bride in the French home, located on the site of the Neillsville Library. There, on October 18, 1884, was born their son, Guy C. Youmans. C. A. Youmans moved to the farm and entered upon an ambitious program of livestock breeding. He went into the shorthorn cattle and then Holsteins, importing registered cattle from the state of New York. Then he shifted to horses, bringing in registered English stallions. Also, he went into raising sheep, having a large flock of Shropshires.
But C. A. Youmans was not a dirt farmer. His chief interest was in law and in politics. He had served as district attorney, county judge and state senator. Eight years on the farm was enough. Then he moved back to Neillsville. Eventually, he turned the farm management over to his son Guy, who had taken a course in agriculture at the University of Wisconsin. Guy Youmans put his education to work on the farm. He stuck to it until 1913, when he moved to town and devoted himself to handling livestock and dealing in real estate, also interesting himself in a cooperative elevator in Neillsville.
This was one of the 14 rooms of the Youmans house that graced Pleasant Ridge for 75 or more years. The house stood at the upper-most part of the Ridge, enabling a most pleasant view for its occupants.
In 1913, the Youmans place went into the hands of Charles Altemus, who came up from Rock County. His daughter, Emma had only recently married Casper Marty and the young couple was looking for a start on a farm. So they established themselves, upon Altemus invitation, in the southeast portion of the big house. There, on the first floor, they had three rooms. After three years, it was arranged that the Martys should move from the site of the old home, to portion of the granary which stood between the house and the barn. This was taken some distance to the east and became their home for three years, now is the eastern or lower section of their present residence. After three more years, they moved a two-story four-room part of the original Dore home and joined it on the west side, creating the Marty home as it now stands. Mrs. Marty recalls that the moving was done by the late Sherman Gress, who used the old style winch, with power furnished by horses.
Altemus split up the 400 acres of the Youmans holdings. He sold 40 acres to Rush Hake; transferred 131 acres to the Martys; sold 120 acres to Ross Paulson. Altemus moved to town and lived in what is now the Georgas Funeral Home. His first wife died in an auto accident in 1925. Two years after her death he married Elsie King, a former teacher. He had moved to California in 1926, died in 1933. It was he who removed the cupola from the old house.
The Ross Paulsons lived in the old house for about a decade and tried to do something with it. But it was badly run down and they were elderly. Then the C. A. Paulsons succeeded them in possession and succeeded to the problem of the ancient residence. After living in it a few years, they concluded that the old place was beyond them and that the way to fix it up was to tear it down.
It is an odd coincidence that so many persons connected with this place have established themselves in California. Steelman, the original owner, was there when he deeded to Dore. Dore went there after he sold to Youmans. The Youmans-French family established themselves there and Altemus made his home in California, in later years, also.
A house that has been unoccupied for 25 years is going to be lived in again. That place is known as the Korman house on East Ninth Street, Neillsville. Through a series of transactions involving a number of heirs it has been acquired by Mr. and Mrs. Arden Hinklemann. The house is in very good condition, considering the long period of vacancy. Mrs. Hinklemann says it does need papering and painting, but the varnished woodwork is still nice. A good scrubbing is about all the wood-work will need. However, in all that time of standing idle, the house has accumulated some dirt. The Hinklemanns are now working on the house to get it ready to occupy. This means a lot of scrubbing and fixing because the house does have ten rooms. Mr. and Mrs. Hinklemann also plan some remodeling to make the place more convenient and modern.
The house was the home of Mary Korman, who died December 7, 1951. While she was living she wished no one to live in the house. She and her husband had bought the place about 55 years ago. It was then a one-story house and the Kormans built on to make the ten rooms. Here the Kormans and their family lived until Mr. Korman died. Mrs. Korman stayed on in the house for 6 or 7 years after her husbands death, with her son Jake. Then she went to live with her daughter, Susie Thoma, for a number of years. When Mrs. Korman became bedridden, she and her daughter moved to the home of Mrs. Kormans granddaughter, Mrs. Claude Ayers, where she died. Mrs. Korman never wanted to sell or rent her house. It had been her home and there she had raised her family. So as long as she lived the house stayed just the way she had left.
Neighbors, passing that house in those years wondered how the interior would be, especially how the furniture would stand the years in a house unoccupied. But after Mrs. Kormans death, the furniture was sold and found to be in very good condition.
Records show the house to have been purchased by Free Christie and his wife, Elizabeth, from Susie Thoma. The price was between $3,000 and $3,500. The Christies sold the house to the Hinklemanns, who have been looking for a house for two years.
The Korman house had stood unoccupied throughout the years of housing shortage, practical evidence of the sentiment of a mother who had brought up her family in it. To her there was continuing satisfaction in the old place standing there unchanged, full, as she thought of it, of the laugher and play of children and of the work and devotion of parents.
In the quarter of century of disuse the outer surroundings had been maintained, with the lawn cared for quite well and with the expense of taxes. A hurried computation shows that the taxes for 25 years would come close to the present market value of the property. But the commercial side of the situation did not impress Mrs. Korman. With her it was the old home and she wanted it solidly right there, despite whatever else changed or disappeared.
The Kormans were among the early business leaders of Neillsville. The husband, H. E. Korman, ran a profitable wagon works in the present Ray Paulson building.
(The Korman house is located at 125 East Ninth Street. The Korman wagon works building was on the north side of ONeill Creek, along Hewett Street, now the site of Kwik Trip. DZ)
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