Index of "Good Old Days" Articles

Clark County Press, Neillsville--Transcribed by Sharon Schulte

September 11, 2002


The Good Old Days

Clark County News

September 1892

Work on the Upham Manufacturing Company’s road from Unity to their timberland has commenced. P. Cramer has a large crew of men cutting and grading the right of way into the timber.


Henry Thielen, of Greenwood, will give one of those good old-fashioned harvest picnics, including a dance. The picnic will be held Sunday, September 4th, at Thielen’s farm in the Town of Warner, five miles west of Greenwood. The dance will be held in his hall on Saturday evening, September 3rd. Professor Richardson and Uncle George Andrews will speak in English and Prof. Buseh, of Wein, will address the audience in German. Let everyone who loves to dance, or enjoy a picnic and good time, attend.


Last Sunday afternoon, Julius Sontag and a lady friend were out for a buggy ride. While they were busily engaged in an interesting conversation, the horse and buggy ran over a cow lying in the middle of the road. Julius was thrown head forward over the buggy’s dashboard. The buggy and young lady were nearly overturned in the mishap. Julius, we recommend that the next time you take a young lady out for a buggy ride, that you hire a driver.


The City of Neillsville has purchased the Last Chance saloon on the north side. Rumor is that the city will be running it as a saloon, but that is without a foundation of truth. The building is to be used as an annex to the water works with a storeroom for tools, hose and other fire extinguishing apparatus.


George Trogner has purchased a new embossing machine for his shop. Last week, a company agent was here showing Trogner the machine’s operation and the many things it can do. Hereafter, we will be seeing the different kinds of wood finishing that can be done inside of the new residences. Everyone will want some of the embossed casings or panels rather than the ordinary plain work done in the past.


Benny Tragsdorf went to Chicago last week. He will be receiving treatment for the injuries he received some time ago while riding his bike.


The English Shire and Hackney Horse Co., of Ring’s farm near Neillsville, shipped 15 of their choice animals to Milwaukee. The horses will be on exhibition during the State Fair.


Last Tuesday afternoon, at about 5 o’clock, Chris Hogenson, of the Town of Weston, attempted crossing the O’Neill Creek with a team and load of hay. As they reached the middle of the first span on the north end of the bridge, the rotten old structure gave way. The team of horses, driver and load of hay fell into the creek bottom, a distance of from 12 to 15 feet below.

During the day, workmen had torn away the side rails and sheeting, which served as a windbreak to pedestrians and teams while they crossed the bridge. This was being done in preparation for the building of a new iron bridge to be constructed on the site. It is believed that removing the side rails weakened the bridge enough so that it couldn’t sustain itself.

Luckily, for Hogenson, the water had been drawn off to a low depth in preparation for laying a new water main and digging abutments for the new bridge. Otherwise he may have been drowned as the load of hay turned upside down with Hogenson underneath. Fortunately, he was only slightly hurt though rather shaken up. The horses were trembling but no injuries could be found on them.

The bridge will now be torn down. Drivers and teams will have to cross on the lower bridge until the new iron structure is built.


Last Monday afternoon, William Schlinsog, of the Town of Grant, was on his way home from Neillsville. As he was driving his team on Court Street, opposite the schoolhouse, a tug came unhitched and struck the horses’ heels that made them take off on a run. Schlinsog hung on to the reins until they crossed the bump on the culvert bridge, which threw him from the wagon. The tongue from the wagon dropped from the neck yoke and entered the ground to the depth of about a foot, breaking it off. The horses then freed from the wagon, took off running for home. Dr. Esch and his wife were driving home ahead of the run away team. Someone ran into the road warning Dr. Esch to turn out and let the running team pass. The terrified horses barely grazed Esch’s buggy and then entered Esch’s yard where they were caught. Mr. Grow, who chance to be driving by, picked up Schlinsog and took him home.

September, 1932

The Arnold Construction Co., of Eau Claire, was awarded the contract for laying the pavement on the cutoff west of Neillsville. Arnold’s bid, which amounts to $172,000 is a trifle more than $20,000 a mile. The contractor has agreed to complete the pavement this fall.


O.C. Andersen, Chippewa Falls, internal revenue collector, is spending several days in this vicinity. He is checking up on tax matters and giving advice on the new federal taxes. Andersen visited a number of barn dance operators who are subject to the federal tax when the dance admission charge exceeds 40 cents per ticket.


One of the most serious farm fires ever, visited the Town of York and consumed all of the buildings except the house, on the William Seelow farm on Monday. The flames seemed to burst without warning out of the big hay barn, believed to be caused by spontaneous combustion in the hay mow. A large crowd of people quickly gathered but it was impossible to control the fire until the barn, granary, chicken house, pig barn, garage and smoke house were consumed. Even the windmill melted down. Several times the house caught fire, but the flames were extinguished. Considerable damage was done to the dwelling by the fire but it was saved. Along with the farm buildings, 50 tons of hay and 600 bushels of grain, all the straw, two pigs, nearly all of the farm machinery, including a new hay loader, side delivery rake, and manure spreader were lost to the flames.

All of the household goods were removed from the house and were not seriously damaged.

The Clayfish residence, some 30 rods away from the Seelow farm, caught fire at a few times, but the fire was put out.


A.C. Nasvik of the Nasvik Construction Co. of St. Paul, came to Neillsville on Monday. He has a force of men at work remodeling the buildings of the Neillsville Bank. The stairway, leading to the second floor, will be moved over into the part formerly occupied by the Dairy Exchange Bank, enlarging the lobby. The front and interior of the Dairy Exchange Building will be remodeled to make a convenient place for a store.

Except for the foreman, it is planned that all local labor will be used on the project.

The Nasvik Company is erecting a large Catholic School building in Marshfield. Their quality of work is highly spoken of.


Attracted by the splendid reputation for excellent food at the annual chicken dinners prepared by the congregation of St. Mary’s Church, 782 persons partook of this year’s dinner and supper served last Sunday. There were 490 adult tickets and 122 children’s tickets sold for the dinner and 170 tickets for the supper. The women who prepared the dinner and served it in such an efficient and fine way, deserve much praise.


N.C. Foster Railroad arrived at Truman's Crossing in 1896 when a logging camp was established. The subsequent settlement was later called Willard. Ceznik, born in Zagorje, Slovenia, immigrated to Joliet, Ill. at the age of 24. He was successful in promoting the resettlement of the strong Slovenian makeup of the Willard area with families from Chicago and Minnesota. During the time Ceznik and his family lived in Willard, he was very active in community and county affairs. In this 1914 photo from that community, are a group of early Willard settlers, left to right, Joe Jordan, Sr., a Mr. Pestor, Ignace Ceznik, Sr., Tony Trunkel, Sr. and Frank Perosek, Sr. The men were boarding a railroad handcar as a means of traveling to a neighboring town which could have been Greenwood, Tioga or Fairchild. The handcar, formerly owned by the N.C. Foster railroad, was purchased by Ceznik. (photo courtesy of Val Krainz Collection).

Ignac Cesnik of Willard, is an agent for Briggs and Turivas of Chicago, the firm that bought the old Fairchild and Northwestern railroad. He was in Neillsville last Saturday and in an interview, stated that there are certain indications that point to a revival of business. Cesnik said that Briggs and Turivas, whose business is largely dealing in second-hand steel, are now getting large orders from steel mills. They are in need of used steel for products in their manufactures. This indicates that the steel business is picking up and will bring more business to the railroad.


A comparison of the annual reports of Clark County Superintendent Margaret Walters, filed with State Superintendent for the years 1930-31 and 1931-32, indicates that school expenses are gradually lowering. In 1930-31, the total school outlay in the county was $587,740.18; in 1931-32 the total outlay of all districts was $541,391.85 – a decrease of $46,342.38. The total paid for teachers’ wages in 1930-31 was $309,042.11; in 1931-32, it was $294,799.74 – a decrease of $14,242.37.

A recent report from the County Superintendent to the Federal Commissioner of education on wages of elementary teachers – rural teachers and all grade teachers below high school – shows a decided drop in salaries this year. In 1929-30, these teachers had an average monthly salary of $104.24, in 1930-31, it was $104.85; in 1931-32, $102.38 and for the present year, 1932-33, only $89.80.


E.A. Beeckler, of Granton, was an interesting visitor at the Press office this week. Beeckler is as spry at the age of 78 as a man of 60. He also possesses a keen memory, being able to recall many interesting events in the growth of the United States.

About 50 years ago, Beeckler did the cooking for one of the crews that built the Northern Pacific railroad west from Glendive, Montana, towards Miles City. Among Beeckler’s jobs as cook was the baking of 75 loaves of bread daily.

Money and work were plentiful in those days of the Old West, according to Beeckler. But between gambling and liquor, the men did not accumulate much wealth.

Alec Rogers, of Neillsville, was the contractor on the grading job for the railroad company at that time.

In those days, thousands of buffalo roamed the ranges, according to Beeckler. Large organizations, somewhat similar to the logging crews in this state, were engaged in hunting the animals for the hides.

Beeckler, like many of the pioneers, believes the people of the old days enjoyed life more then. Their tastes were simpler and they were more easily satisfied then the people are today.


Ten newly painted freight cars for the exclusive use of the American Stores Dairy Co. of Neillsville, were put into service between this city and Philadelphia last Thursday. The cars were lined up at the depot, having been sent here from the rail shops at Portage. This was the only time the entire string of cars will be together, R.E. Schmedel, condensery manager, stated.


The organization of a centralized milk plant was effected Monday at Greenwood. Plans have been made to have a cheese factory in operation by October 1, which will use the milk from 1,000 cows.

Persons holding stock in the Central Clark County Storage Company turned over their shares to the new Greenwood Milk Products’ Corporation. They are in hopes that the new plant will become large and flexible.

Fred Huntzicker, of Greenwood, is President of the National Cheese Producer’s federation and A. H. Lauterbach, Plymouth, is general manager. Both, Huntzicker and Lauterbach, were leaders in the formation of the new plant. The federation warehouse, owned by the former storage company, but idle for the past six months, will now be used.

Members of the temporary board of directors are: J. P. Scheering, Frank Meyer, George Kocker, Ed Braun, all of Greenwood, and Martin Clarish, Willard.

Huntzicker stated that cheese can be produced at 1-1/4 cents a pound. H. M. Knipfel, Federal Farm Board and C. F. Claflin, State Department of Markets, were among those present at the organization meeting.


A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.

- Francis Bacon



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