Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

January 29, 2003, Page 22

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 




Compiled by Dee Zimmerman




Clark County News


January 1953


The trek of a family, of Neillsville, to the Golden West and what came of it are told in a new book, “The Dub of South Burlap.”  The book was written by Brandon Satterlee, son of an old editor of Clark County.  The son spent his early boy-hood in Clark County and was a member of the family, when all of them moved away from the troubles of Neillsville to the promise of a new horizon.  In his later years, Brandon Satterlee became a member of the staff of the Seattle Times.  He has retired from that connection and is writing extensively about the Northwest.


The trek of the Satterlees took place in 1891.  For some years prior to that the father, Milton Satterlee, had been associated with J. H. Tift as a publisher of the old Republican and Press, predecessor to the present Clark County Press.  As an editor he had a facetious, uninhibited brand of humor, which did not always meet the views of his associate.  So he sought an outlet in contributions to the Colby Phonograph, written in the guise of “Belle,” a fictitious Neillsville girl.  His humor also sought a vent in a publication issued in Neillsville and known as “The Owl.”


“Old Sat” had many of the characteristics of the old style tram printer, but his orbit was limited by his marriage and by the accumulation of several children.  His wife had brought a small legacy along and this he proceeded to “invest” in one small newspaper venture after another.  In each instance he came to a crisis and he ran true to form in Neillsville, as thus related in his son’s new book:


“One of the greatest mistakes Father ever made was to enter the church fight that split Neillsville from stem to stern and divided its citizens into hostile camps.  I was caught between these camps and suffered the usual consequences.


“The Presbyterian Church had long been the predominating religious institution of the town and was presided over by a dignified minister of the old school who had grown very old in its service.  Some dissatisfaction arose among the younger, more progressive members at the staid, stereo-typed pattern of operation that had seen the church over many years of struggle.  Many of the members thought a younger and more versatile man would serve better.  A greater number of the members were loyal to the old minister.  The minority withdrew from membership, organized the Congregational Church and met in the theater.  They engaged a minister and wished fair to be successful.  Attendance at both churches almost doubled while this battle continued.”


“I doubt if Father even attended a church service in his lifetime.  At least he had not after I had become old enough, to observe.  It would seem that anything but a neutral policy would be the height of foolishness.  But a public controversy was as meat to his palate.  He plunged into the fight as if his life depended on it, on the side of the old minister and the established church.  He used all the venom of his pen to condemn the revolters, in spite of the pleas of his partner and the earnest, kindly advice of his friends.”


The enormity of this contention was shockingly brought home to me when I stopped at the news office on my way home from school one day, when one of Father’s best friends, C. C. Sniteman, who operated the one popular drugstore in town, came in and sat heavily in the chair opposite Father at the desk and brought his fist down with a resounding whack.”


“’Sat,’ Sniteman said, when you came here and bought this paper and I began to see samples of your editorial ability, I thought you were a pretty smart man; then when you brought out the “Owl” and I saw the humorous side of your character, I thought you were a genius, but now I know you for what you really are – just a plain damn fool.  You never saw the inside of a church, yet you have the unmitigated gall to advise the people in this town about their spiritual welfare.  When the smoke has cleared away, the culture of the town is in ruins and you have lost your business, the citizens who are still in their right minds will present you with a new suit with the odor of tar and the appearance of a Plymouth Rock rooster and give you a free ride out of town on a piece of barnyard fence.  Of all the senseless things the editor of a family newspaper in a peace-loving town could do, you have picked the most asinine one that a peanut-brain could find.”


“During this tirade, Father had been calmly filling his corncob pipe.  He took plenty of time to light it.” 


“You know, C. C., a man named Jeff Davis once said that this nation ought to be divided, but a homely guy named Lincoln thought it would be best to keep it intact – and you thought so too.  You, C. C. helped him through a long and bitter war to maintain the solidarity of the States and although many fell in the conflict, it is general opinion that it was justified.  The Presbyterian Church has served this town for many years and it is my opinion that its membership should not be divided.  The religious Jeff Davis, who is leading this revolution, is an impostor.  In every controversy some go down to defeat.  Maybe this time it will be me, but the business of a newspaper is to print the news that happens; not just what some people think ought to be published and I am willing to stand by my guns, even if it breaks me.”


“And that’s about what it did.”


“In this difficult situation ‘Old Sat’ had a way out.  He and other Neillsville men had made a trip out to the Puget Sound area three years before and his mind was full of the promise he had seen and heard while there.  That was the real heaven on earth three years before and his mind was full of the promise he had seen and heard there. That was the real heaven on earth, thought ‘Old Sat,’ with a railroad going right through South Burlap and with real boosters ready to hand him $50 per month for six months if he would come out and put the town on the map.  So he sold out his Neillsville interest to his partner Tift, bought a printing outfit and set out with that and his family of six, for a journey of 2,000 miles into a new life.


To the small boy Brandon, it was no small relief to shake from his feet the dust of Neillsville.  He had been caught in the tension of the church troubles, as he tells in the book:


“I was the only member of the family attending school and I found myself in the midst of a violent quarrel.  Even the children in town had been taught to hate the opposition and the offspring of the Congregationalists were taught to regard me as an enemy.  I was ostracized.  Boys tried to pick fights with me.  In the makeup of baseball teams, I was omitted.  If I tried to get into a marble game, the other kids picked up their nibs and left.  When the children of Congregationalist parents gave parties at their homes, I was omitted from the invitation list.


“I had been a regular attendant at the Presbyterian Sunday School, but most of my friends were joining the revolt and thus became my enemies.  I thought to placate the enemy and regain their friendship by attending the Congregational School, but when I did this I was accused of being a spy.  This, instead of restoring my friendship, earned me the reputation of a double crosser and lost my friends in both camps.  So I was glad to leave Neillsville.  Not only was it the glamour of the mysterious West, but the hope to made (make) a new circle of friends and burn my bridges behind me.”


On Friday, Dec. 26, 1952, Ross Lawrence rounded out 40 years as a banker in Thorp.  In those 40 years at the bank, which he heads, the Peoples Exchange had grown from $266,000 in deposits to $4,001,000.


Lawrence is definitely a local product.  He was brought up in Fairchild, where his mother Cornelia is still a factor at the age of 96.


Early in his career, Lawrence wasn’t quite sure where his career lay.  Maybe it was baseball; maybe banking.  As a young fellow, he mixed them.  In baseball he was a pitcher, becoming a professional.  He was not in the big leagues, although he had what it took.  The pay was better among the mines of the North Country. So he played there.


In the early days, Owen was a great baseball town and Lawrence went to Owen as a baseball player and a banker.  He recalls that on a Memorial Day of that early period, the Owen team played Marshfield in a snowstorm and the game was not called.


Lawrence went from Owen to the bank at Thorp on Dec. 26, 1912.  In charge then was L.O. Garrison, who founded the bank.  The young ball player went in as a clerk.  But within a year, Ross Lawrence had demonstrated his capacity to handle money as well as a base ball and he was made cashier.  He has held the post of cashier for 39 years.  He now holds the post of president as well.


In the old days, when Lawrence was playing on a circuit, which included Duluth and Superior, he was called the “War Horse.”  He doesn’t play baseball any more, but his friends still consider that this name fits him like a glove.


Mr. and Mrs. Irvin Carl, parents of Harland Carl, left Saturday by train from Madison to attend the Rose Bowl game.  Their son plays on the Wisconsin Badger football team.  Among others going to California for the fame is Harland’s brother, DuWayne Carl, who also attends the University.  He left Sunday by car, accompanying other students.  Dr. William Olson and his brother Carl Olson left Saturday afternoon by plane from Chicago for the West Coast.  Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Gorsegner left several days ago.  They will also attend the game, Mr. and Mrs. Mike Krultz, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Everett Skroch, Mr. and Mrs. Stuart Lathrop, all of Neillsville; Mayor and Mrs. Irvin Carl of Greenwood, Dewey Carl, of Green-wood; Corwin Guell and Louis Walsdorf of Thorp, accompanied by Mr. Guell’s daughter and a daughter of the Francis Conway family and Otto Weyhmiller of Loyal also will attend.


Most of the people drove their cars out and back from California.  Otto Weyhmiller will go by airplane, leaving from Chicago, the flight is seven hours one way.


Three young men of Clark County are at Camp Roberts, Calif., a huge military installation located midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco on U. S. 101, a main north-and-south highway.  This camp is now home of the “Lucky Seventh” armored division.


The local men there are Pvt. Edward R. Schecklman, Neillsville, Rt. 4; Pvt. Gene E. Scholtz, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Scholtz of Granton, Rt. 3, and Pvt. Frederick C. Seelow, whose wife resides on Neillsville Rt. 4.


A/2C Jimmy M. Vincent, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jim Vincent of Neillsville Rt. 4, arrived in Korea on Jan. 10, according to word received by his parents.  He is with the 17th Air Police Squadron.  He arrived in Japan on New Year’s Day, having been on shipboard 15 days.  Then he flew to Korea.  He entered the armed service Sept. 20, 1950.


There have been 207 Clark County men who have gone to war in 1952.  Of these, 89 were volunteers to the various services and 118 were inductees.


First Lieut. Lester E. Elmer, 22, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Elmer, of Greenwood, arrived home Sunday evening from Korea to spend his furlough with his parents.  He had entered the service on Oct. 2, 1950 and had been in Korea since March 1952.  He had completed 120 combat missions, when he received his orders to return to the States.


First Lieut. Elmer, a F-86 Saber-jet pilot, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and a second Oak Leaf Cluster for his air medal at an advanced Fifth Air Force base in Korea recently.


A large group of relatives and friends joined Mr. and Mrs. John Seif at their home, in Neillsville on the evening of Jan. 16, in celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary.


Both have been lifelong residents of Clark County.  Mrs. Seif was born in the Town of Weston.  Mr. Seif was born in the Town of Sherwood.  When he was four years old, he moved with his parents to what is now known as the Town of Seif.  The trip was made with oxen.  Seif’s father, Fred Seif, was one of the first settlers in that area and because of his prominence in town affairs the township was named for him.  The school in that area was also named Seif but is now referred to as the Worchel School.


Della Jacklin and John Seif were married in Neillsville on January 16, 1903 and went immediately to the home farm, where they lived for 46 years.  Seif spent a total of 65 years on this one farm.  He served 12 years as town chairman and held office as assessor and school treasurer for a number of years.  The couple retired to Neillsville, in 1947.


Mr. Seif is 74 years of age and Mrs. Seif is 70.  They have three children – Viola, Mrs. Lloyd Nelson of Foreston, Minn., Harley of Neillsville and Robert, now on the Seif farm.  There are seven grandchildren.


The St. Croix Corporation has established a plant in the former Ford garage building in Loyal for the purpose of manufacturing glass fishing rods and dip nets.


The announcement, made this week by Leo M. Meyer, president of Loyal Industries, Inc., stated that the corporation already is in operation in its Loyal Plant, having moved out of Colby.  Eric Erickson, of Unity, is plant superintendent and the expectation is that the corporation will employ about 100 men and women when it is in full production.  It will handle all phases of its finished product and has a well-equipped machine shop, electro-plating department, complete brass works and glass extruding.


Officers of the St. Croix Corporation are: Bob Johnson, president; John Olson, secretary and Bill Johnson, treasurer.


A modern motel will be erected in 1953 on Sunset Hills, the new subdivision of Herman North, on the west side of Neillsville.  The men behind the enterprise are two brothers, Harvey Owen and Gerald Owen, whose present address is Alma Center.  North appeared with them at the council session.


The original construction calls for 12 units of a definitely modern style, with an office at the center and units running out on either side at an angle.


The 12-unit Travelers Motel, located on West 5th Street in Neillsville, was built in 1953 by two brothers, Harvey Owen and Gerald Owen of Alma Center.  (Photo courtesy of Bill Roberts’ Collection)




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