Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

November 12, 2003, Page 14

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 



Compiled by Dee Zimmerman



Clark County News

November 1873


Eyerly & Breed have bought an interest in A. W. Clark’s sawmill at the mouth of Cunningham Creek.  The mill is to be almost entirely rebuilt and greatly enlarged.  The upright saw will be removed and a double rotary saw put in its place.  An edger and lath saw is also to be added.  Work has already been commenced.  By spring, the mill will be in complete running order and capable of supplying the local demand for lumber at greatly reduced rates. 


John M. Hoyt and John Mills have purchased the stage line between Neillsville and Mormon Ripple.  Johnny Mills still does the driving and attends to the business in his old-fashioned affable way.  The boys ought to buy the end of the line and go through Black River Falls without changing stages.


The Clark County Board has made the town of the Town of Grant square in form by attaching thereto, the north half-mile of town 24 west, taken from the Town of York.  The order for the change is to take effect on the 20th of March. 


The County Board met at the courthouse on Tuesday with all members present except Mr. Yorkston, of Lynn: 


Beaver, S. H. Prickett; Eaton, M. B. Warner; Grant, J. S. Dore, Chrm; Hixon, N. H. Withee; Levis, Ezra Tompkins; Loyal, Wm. Welsh; Mentor, Orin Wilson; Pine Valley, Hutchinson; Sherman, W. McPherson; Weston, Loren Gates; Washburn, J. T. Cannon; York, John B. Mason


Bills to the amount of $3,600 have been received and most of the Board’s time is being spent in considering the bills. About the only other business done was the dividing of the Town of Beaver and the equalization of lands for the purpose of assessment.


The Town of Beaver was divided into four towns as follows:


Towns 29, 30 and 31, range 1 east, 29, 30 and 31 range 1 west, to compose a town to be called Mayville.


28 1 east and 28 1 west will compose a town to be called Colby.


27 range 1 east to compose a town to be called Unity.


The Town of Beaver is now composed of 27 one west.


The new residence of Mr. John Garbisch, in the Town of Grant, was destroyed by fire on Wednesday of last week.  Most of the house’s contents were also destroyed.  Mr. Garbisch’s loss is $1,500.  The building was insured for $600.


A tri-weekly stage line has been established between Neillsville and Loyal by Mr. S. D. Graves of Loyal.  Regular trips will be made on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, leaving Loyal at 7 a.m. and Neillsville at 1 p.m.  Mr. Graves has also taken the mail to carry over his route.


Mr. R. F. Wells, formerly of Humbird, has bought Frank Butler’s store at Loyal.  Mr. Wells will put in a large stock of general merchandise and gives to Loyal a second first-class mercantile establishment.


Le Claire & Gwinn, who run the other establishment, are building a new store building of liberal proportions.


Hon. James O’Neill and Mrs. C. Teller, of Neillsville, were married at Black River Falls on Nov. 20th.  They are both very much to blame for not informing us of the occurrence in time for mention in last week’s paper.  However, we forgive them and extend our congratulations.


The following well-known property in Staffordville will be rented at very low figures:


One farm, with buildings; one hotel, the Stafford House; two store buildings; one saloon; one billiard hall; one dancing hall; one blacksmith & carriage shop and 3 barns.  For terms and further particulars, apply to: Mrs. L. R. Stafford, Neillsville.


(Staffordville was located north of Neillsville, east side of now 73 and south of Granton Road. D.Z.)


The Neillsville Meat Market is owned by Gates & Head.  They have fresh beef, pork, veal, mutton and fish, always on hand.  Poultry and wild game are available in their season. Salt pork can be bought by the pound or by the barrel.  They also have a large stock of flour, feed, potatoes, salt, and such.


Cash is paid for fat cattle, hides and produce.


The Neillsville Spoke Factory is operated by G. Sterns.  Every description of turning can be done.  The establishment is fitted up with the best lathes in use and will also turn out pike poles, neck yokes, table legs, banisters and all other turned articles on short notice and in the best manner.


November 1953


Among those, from Greenwood, who attended the piano recital of students instructed by Mrs. A. M. Wilson, held Sunday afternoon at the Owen High School auditorium, were Nancy Cox, Carol Syth, and Janet Unger.  They participated in the program and were accompanied by Mrs. Lawrence Cox, Mrs. John Syth and Mrs. Minnie Cox.


With the countryside in tinder-like dry condition through abnormally low precipitation, fire fighters throughout the area were being kept on the jump early this week.


In Clark County, at least two large fires were battled: in the Town of Hoard, northeast of Owen and in the Town of Beaver, north of Loyal.


The blaze in Hoard was extinguished Tuesday night; but county forestry workers and others still were struggling Wednesday to bring the fire in Beaver under control.


There, the entire county’s equipment, including a D-4 caterpillar with bulldozing attachment and truck with water equipment, as well as the three members of the county crew under Forester Arthur Schroeder, were on the job.


At the Black River Falls Conservation headquarters, A. P. Lund reported that on Tuesday seven fires raged in the forest protection area under that station. Fires burned over 23 acres, bringing the year’s total, on Wednesday, to 153 fires and 918.54 acres burned over.


Ten fires recently have resulted from squirrel hunters trying to smoke out squirrels from squirrel trees.  Lund warned that this practice not only is against the law, but also that it is extremely dangerous under recent low moisture conditions.


For the second time in the history of the station, Lund reported, the “fire danger rating ranged from one to 100, and is based on four factors: days since precipitation, humidity, wind and stage of vegetation.


The only other time the station has recorded a 100% fire danger rating was in the spring of this year.  The station has been in operation for approximately 20 years.


A flaming truck sped at 60-miles an hour speeds into Neillsville late Monday night with $6,000 worth of stainless steel restaurant equipment aboard and left a trail of blazing grass fires along five miles of the route.


The episode ended with the city fire department extinguishing the blazing truck after the driver and his helper jumped from the cab on Highway 10 just before the gasoline tank exploded.  From 40 to 50 farmers fought the series of grass fires along Highway 73 until 4 a.m. Tuesday morning.


There were no homes endangered by the grass fires; but, with the high winds of the night and the tinder-like dryness of the countryside, the blazes were a constant threat until they were beaten out.


In Neillsville, Tuesday, James H. Shankey, St. Paul, driver of the truck told Police Chief Lawrence Drescher that he and his helper were returning to St. Paul from Chicago with the load of restaurant equipment.  Their truck was a late model one-ton job with a stake rack, covered with a canvas tarpaulin, with about 100 feet of new rope used to secure the tarpaulin and the load.  The load was packed with blankets and wood-shavings. 


As they reached a point on Highway 73, believed to be near the Crockett farm in the Town of Washburn, they heard an explosion and saw a flash.


Shankey, who had traveled the route before, recalled the highway sign a little ahead telling that Neillsville was three miles in distance.  He drove toward the city, hoping to find help there.  As the truck traveled toward Neillsville, the west wind whipped the flames on the wood-shavings, blanket packing, rope and tarpaulin.  When the truck bounced, flaming pieces fell from it and were blown to the east side of the road into dry grass, there to start fires.


Along its route, grass fires, covering areas varying in size from an acre to several acres, were started at: the Arlo Lawson farm, the Henry Schoen farm, the Hilbert Naedler farm, the Romuald Schmidt farm and two on the Mrs. Donald Crothers farm, near the south city limits.


Shankey turned his truck eastward on Division street, looking for the fire station.  The strong winds fanned the flames toward the cab of the truck.  Opposite the entrance to Schuster Park, Shankey and his helper jumped from the cab.  A short time later, the truck’s gasoline tank exploded.


At 3 a.m. Thursday morning, a fire destroyed the Hohl Brothers Radiator Service building on Main Street in Greenwood, together with a large share of the contents.  The loss is estimated at $20,000.


The building housed a radiator and welding shop, an automobile agency and service station.  It was a one-story cinder block structure, the business being owned by Fred and Walter Hohl.


The loss included a new automobile, office and shop equipment and the business records.


Mrs. Herman Metzke, who lives across the street, discovered the fire and gave the alarm at 3 a.m.  The flames had gained such headway that the firemen were unable to save the building or such contents.


The fire is thought to have started in the office, either from a faulty electric motor in a soft drink dispensing machine or from a mechanism that controlled an outdoor electric sign.  The building was built in 1949.


Seven Clark County men, and one transferred from an Illinois draft board, were inducted into the army at Minneapolis, last week, for Clark County’s November selective service quota.


Those who went were: Roger F. Kuehn of Granton; Milton L. Ystad and Frank A. Harycki, both of Greenwood; Donald J. Lindner of Loyal; Earl G. Cornwell of Owen; Rene P. Harder of Neillsville and John W. Dallas of Thorp.


Mr. Sisson moved the Janesville school building to his farm last week. The old school, like the old settlers that helped build it, has gone from its accustomed place.  As a landmark to the Janesville settlers, the building will be missed.


The 1953-54 Neillsville High School Basketball Squad will consist of: Dean Zickert, Fred Gutenberger, John Swenson, Bill Zank, Donald Shaw, Terry Schwantes, Gerald May, Louis Steinhilber, Wendell Seif, John Nozar, Dennis Maus, Bob Gutenberger, Larry Carlson, Allen Knutson, Gary Mills, David DeMert, Tom Barr, Wendell Suckow, Bill Meyer, Harland Crume, Gary Northup, Louis Hoffman and Charles Thompson.


Cheerleaders are: Carole Bemis, Marlen Hoesly, Shirley Keller, Beverly Bemis, Phyllis Brewer and Lucille Dodte.  Ernest Storm and Richard Berndt are the team’s coaches.


The days of the old Clark County Vigilantes flashed to the minds of many an older Clark County resident last week as two men held up the State Bank at Curtiss.


For it was after a siege of such violence that the Vigilantes were brought into being.


They were a loose organization of citizens who were determined to do what they could to stop bank robberies and holdups sometime in the 1920s.


Records of their operations are incomplete; but County Board of Supervisors proceedings from time to time in the period from 1927 to 1945 refers to their existence.  They were organized with the blessings of the Clark County Bankers’ Association and the county board of supervisors.  One reference in the board proceedings, Nov. 13, 1936, indicates that $3,000 was spent for high-powered rifles and sawed-off shot-guns.  Another reference, April 19, 1927, refers to the appropriation of $500 in a resolution of thanks from the Bankers’ Association and “such action has been of great assistance to the bankers in their efforts to more properly protect the business interests of the county against daylight holdups and burglary.”


William Bradford of Neillsville, who was sheriff at the time the Vigilantes were organized, recalled that the guns were placed strategically in various communities of the county.  The idea was that, should any holdup or burglary be attempted in any community of Clark County, the Vigilantes would be on the spot to try to thwart, or capture, the culprits.


At the time, the Vigilantes were being organized, Mr. Bradford recalls, he was approached by members of the Bankers’ Association with the inquiry whether he would deputize members of the Vigilantes, thereby giving them authorization to act.


“You get the guns,” Mr. Bradford said he told the representatives, “and I’ll do the appointing.”


But there turned out to be little work for the Vigilantes and they more or less dropped out of being.  For a long time, however, the guns, bought by the county and the bankers’ group, were in various locations.  Many of them were used for deer hunting, although Ben Frantz, long-time clerk of the circuit court, recalls, “They were so powerful they’d knock a ‘hole’ clear through a deer.”


On April 18, 1945, the county board took official cognizance of the demise of the Clark County Vigilantes by adopting a resolution to the effect that all rifles and shotguns belonging to Clark County and the Bankers’ Association, now in possession of the county, to be sold “excepting two rifles now in possession of the sheriff.”


An effort was made to collect the firearms, or at least as many as could be traced.  They were sold at an auction.


Two guns, one a rifle and one a sawed-off shotgun, remain in the possession of the sheriff of Clark County.




A logging truck of the early 1950’s style though somewhat on the small scale in comparison to the present, did get the job done.   At that time, local farmers each had small wooded acreages that the farmers would harvest large trees from, hauling logs out in this manner.  (Photo courtesy of Zipfel Collection)




© Every submission is protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.


Show your appreciation of this freely provided information by not copying it to any other site without our permission.


Become a Clark County History Buff


Report Broken Links

A site created and maintained by the Clark County History Buffs
and supported by your generous donations.


Webmasters: Leon Konieczny, Tanya Paschke,

Janet & Stan Schwarze, James W. Sternitzky,

Crystal Wendt & Al Wessel