Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

March 26, 2003, Page 23

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 



Compiled by Dee Zimmerman



Clark County News


March 1893


Free & Phillip’s new planning (planing) mill, on North Grand Avenue, is a very nice and handy place. The enterprising owners have decided to add a saw mill this season, so as to be ready for next winter’s cut.


Fred Wolff will move his house to a lot just south of Taplin’s machine shop and foundry, in the spring.  The stone for the cellar has been delivered.  There is more than one way to get out of a disagreeable place.


A Normal Training School is needed in Neillsville. A good site for such a school would be on Dickey hill, or on the lot opposite James Hewett’s residence, or up on the high ground on the north side of the Blakeslee forty acres, near the Esch place.  Some other likely sites for the school would be the baseball grounds, or Mrs. Cawley’s corner, or the five-acre lot owned by Mrs. D. Gates on Grand Avenue.  Neillsville has, in fact, a number of fine spots for a public institution of this kind.


A grand ball was given by the members of Company A, in celebration of the opening of the new opera house and armory.  This event was marked as the high tide of social affairs in the Neillsville’s history.  It was a very close pinch to get the building completed for the date that had been announced.  Much painting and finishing remains to be done; but the main hall was in shape with furnishings in place.  The labors of the commissary department were something enormous, wagon-loads of choice cakes and other viands having been supplied.  The exceedingly large attendance demonstrated the foresight displayed by the committees in their preparations.


The cornet band, whose melodious strains of music having slumbered for months, serenaded the town at 7:30 p.m. and gave a foretaste of the vibrations to follow.


There were 142 tickets sold for the event.  The large floor was covered with the dancers and the gallery thronged with those who came to watch.


In all respects, the inaugural ball was a complete success.


Before the music commenced, Honorable James O’Neill made a short address by the way of a formal dedication.  He bid the guests a welcome, recounting the city’s history in building halls.


The chances are very good for Colby having a state bank.  Jos. Hammel, of Medford and other people, together with A. Flaig, are willing to put money in for that purpose.  A meting will be held at the Council rooms next Wednesday, for the purpose of perfecting the organization.


Last Wednesday evening, a young man named Daniels, jumped off a train as it crossed Hewett Street.  He was badly shaken up and rolled about.  Daniels was carried into the Huntzicker hotel by an excited crowd of people.  But after a few minutes, the young man got up and walked away.  There were no bones, blood vessels or fiddle-strings broken, busted or bruised.


J. H. Thayer sold his old home to Joe Lowe for $1,000.  The house is located on Neillsville’s north side, near the Catholic Church.


A. D. Bass, of Curtiss, is furnishing about 4,000 pieces of birch logs for a log house to be built on the World’s Fair grounds, at Chicago.  The logs average ten feet in length.


George Ure, Sr., of Lynn, died March 26, 1893, aged 67 years.  He was born at Cairns Shore, Scotland and married in that country.  He settled in Lynn in 1861, where his wife died in 1886.  He leaves two sons, John and George and one daughter, Nettie.  Amongst the first settlers in Lynn, he was a highly respected, honorable man, of unblemished character.


J. G. Taylor and Hiram Hart were at Black River Falls, last week.  They were examining a church that is the model to be followed by the Neillsville Congregationalists in their new building.


March 1948


If they ever start giving out civilian medals for “devotion above and beyond the call of duty,” there are a couple of women bowlers whose names ought to be presented for the honor.


They are Eileen Carl, now of Eau Claire and Mrs. Gertrude Keller, now of Marshfield.  They were among 30 members of those who competed in the state women’s bowling tournament at Appleton, last Saturday and Sunday.


Miss Carl’s devotion started early Saturday morning.  Intending to catch an early bus from Eau Claire, she learned that the heavy sleet and snow of Friday night had stopped all scheduled travel.


So she took to the thumb at 7:15 a.m., braving high drifts of snow and the possibility of being stranded in reaching Neillsville and traveling with her team.  She arrived just as the car to which she had been assigned was about to leave.


Mrs. Keller, on the other hand, missed her car.  Her sister-in-law, Mrs. Agnes Keller, stopped for her in Marshfield, but no one was around.  After a wait, Agnes decided to drive along, thinking that Gertrude had taken a train due to snow – the clogged condition of the highways.


Truth was, however, that at that time Gertrude and her husband were bursting a roadway to Loyal to deliver their youngster unto the care of Mrs. Keller’s parents.


The next scene took place in the bowling alleys at Appleton, where all the Neillsville gals fretted and stewed, wondering what had happened to Gertrude.


Suddenly, the doorway opened and in swept Gertrude with the grandeur of a queen.  In her footsteps and weighted down by a big traveling bag, trotted a beaming little cab driver.


“Who’s arrived, President Truman?” a spectator was overheard saying as the whole Neillsville contingent flocked toward Gertrude.


“Well, I got here,” squeaked the cabbie proudly.  She had taken a train as far as Neenah and the cab from there in order to make the bowling alleys in time.


The bowling alley, itself, was more or less a minor matter; for when it came to checking up on the scores when the gals had returned, it turned out that they were elusive gals.


But, insofar as could be determined, a few teams, doubles, pairs and individuals stand a chance of winning a prize or two when the tournament is completed in May.


Schwann’s team, captained by Mrs. Leola Hall, hung up a 2,084 game in class B; the Silver Dome, captained by Mrs. Mary Lee, scored 2,116 in class B; Eileen Carl turned in a three-game series of 531 and Mrs. Virginia Rahn, bowling in class C, had a 208 game.  Those all look like possible money winners.


Teams: Zilk Villa, Mrs. Sadie Haight, captain, 1,912 series in class C; Sweet Shop, Forence (Florence) Carl, captain, 1,907 series in class C; Deep Rock, Mrs. Laura Wall, captain, 1,954 series in class B; Sport Shop, Mrs. Lila Gluck, captain, 1,792 series in class C.


Doubles: Nita Haack and Bertha Grottke, 971; Eileen and Florence Carl, 913; Laura Wall and Orvilla Zille, 905; Sisie (Susie) Tresemer and Carol Hopkins, 720; and Ione Bruhn and Gertrude Keller, 921.


For the first time in seven years, a Neillsville High School course in driver education will take to the road.


This spring, Earl Ruedy, the teacher, will have a dual-controlled automobile at the disposal of the driving class for instructional purposes. The car for driving training class is provided by the Svetlik Motor Company.


In the past, driver education here has primarily consisted of learning the rules of the road.  Now the opportunity is provided for practicing the rules on the road, as well.


“The course will provide opportunity for full discussion of traffic problems and this will develop an appreciation of what is expected of a good driver,” Supt. D. E. Peters explained.


The Hewett house, a landmark in the city for the last 86 years, was destroyed by fire last Thursday morning, March 11.


It is believed the fire was caused by defective wiring.  Damage was estimated at upwards of $7,000.  The loss was covered by insurance, according to R. M. Horswill, the administrator of the S. F. Hewett estate.


Discovery of the blaze, shortly after 9 a.m. was made by two unidentified men who were driving through on highway 10, which passed by the house on the western city limits.  One of the men went to the Jess W. Scott home, directly opposite the Hewett house, to give the alarm.  The other man ran to the burning building to arouse the occupants.


At the Scott home, the stranger pressed against the doorbell until Mrs. Scott responded.  He told her of the fire and asked her to telephone in the alarm.


In the meantime, the second man had failed to arouse response at the front door of the Hewett house, quarters occupied by Miss Helen Hewett.  He ran to the west entrance and summoned the Earl Pierce family who lived in that portion of the house.


Mrs. Scott said that at the time the alarm was given, the east side of the house, near the roof, was a “mass of flames.”


Mrs. Gene Christie, also a neighbor, ran to the burning building and was responsible for bringing Miss Hewett to safety.


The Pierces and the strangers, in the meantime, turned their attention to saving what they could from the rooms of the second floor.  Others joined them in moving items from the house.  However, the fire spread so rapidly along the aged and dry pine lumber of which the house was built, that they were able to save but little from the second floor.


Most of the household items from the first floor, however, were saved.  One of those articles was an unusual clock; which not only ticked off the hours, minutes and seconds; but also recorded the month, day and year.  This antique is the very uncanny because its intricate mechanism also provides for the extra day, February 29, as it occurs each leap year.


One of the important losses was S. F. Hewett’s collection of original surveyor’s records of Clark County. These records were highly prized and of considerable value.


Also lost were some pieces of antique furniture, which had been locked in an upstairs bedroom. 


The fire spread so rapidly inside the building that fireman (firemen) had no chance to confine the blaze to any portion of the house.  When water reduced the flames in one section, they shot high from another location.


The landmark, though 86 years old, was the second house built on that site.  James Hewett built the first house that was located on the site also.  He was a prominent pioneer lumberman of Clark County and for whom the Town of Hewett was named.  Hewett’s lumbering operations were centered in the Wedge’s Creek area of Hewett Township, in his early days of living in this area.


He built the first house there in 1864, intending to move into it the day of his marriage.  The house mysteriously caught fire and burned to the ground the night before his wedding.


Hewett was married October 17, 1864 and immediately after, started building another house on the same location.  The second house, which is the one that burned last Thursday, was an exact replica of the original.  A close guard of the property was kept throughout the period of construction of the second house.


In its building Hewett used only carefully selected pine lumber. As County Judge O. W. Schoengarth relates, “Only the best materials went into it.”


Miss Hewett, a granddaughter of the builder, is making her home temporarily with the Ed Fullers, on North Grand Avenue.  Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. S. Frank Hewett, died several years ago.  Since the death of Mrs. Hewett, the property had been in estate, under the administration of Mr. Horswill.  The Hewett farm adjoins the Black River on the west side of the city and had been operated, until last fall, by Mr. and Mrs. Earl Pierce.  Last year, the Pierces purchased a farm on the Globe road, in the Town of Pine Valley and will now be operating it.  However, they had continued living on the Hewett place to take care of the house during the winter.


The fire occurred on the day that the administrator advertised the farm for rent or for sale.  The cattle, kept on the farm, were sold last fall.


(Along with farming the land, Pierces had a dairy herd.  They sold milk to Neillsville grocery stores and individual customers who brought containers to the farm to be filled with fresh milk. D. Z.)


Frank and Blanche (Robinson) Hewett along with their daughter, Helen, lived in the Hewett home on West 5th Street for many years.  Built in 1864, by James Hewett, Frank’s father, the house was a showplace of Neillsville’s history until it was destroyed by a fire in 1948.  Frank Hewett was well known as a surveyor within Clark County and surrounding areas.


On and after April 1st, the curfew will sound at 9:30 p.m. in the city of Neillsville.  All minors, under the age of 16 years, must be out of business places and off the streets not later than 10 p.m.


Chief of Police Lawrence Drescher said the police department will enforce the ordinance strictly.


Robert Ratsch has purchased a farm from Charles Schaeffner, in the Town of Grant.  This is the old Emil Jahr farm, located one mile north of the Reed School on the Pleasant Ridge. The farm was owned and operated for several years by Marvin Jahr, son of Emil Jahr and later was sold to Schaeffner.  Mr. and Mrs. Ratsch are presently living at the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Herman Ratsch, Town of Grant.


A formal dedication of the new cheese plant, in Abbotsford, was held on March 2.  The cooperative, which constructed the new building, began its operations in 1933 with 86 patrons.  The organization now has 275 patrons and during the past summer handled about 100,000 pounds of milk daily.


Mr. and Mrs. Edward Murphy and Mrs. W. L. Murphy have sold their property, in the Town of Dewhurst, to Steve Zaje of Stratford.  The property includes the Murphy farm as well as the tavern and lake frontage property.


M. L. Phillips, of Withee, was expected to leave today for Newfoundland.  There, he will be a civilian employee on an air base construction job.  Phillips was engaged with this type of work during World War II.




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