Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI
June 25, 2003, Page 11
Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.
Index of "Oldies" Articles
Compiled by Dee Zimmerman
Clark County News
The preliminary steps toward the building of a new Masonic Temple were taken this week, when John Carter began to wreck the old M.C. Ring residence, which stands on the lot where the temple will be built. Carter bought the house and is to excavate the building lot for the new temple, as payment for the house.
A portion of the Ring residence will be moved to a lot on West First Street and rebuilt for Art Flynn, who has bought the lot from Carter on First Street, between Grand Avenue and Hewett Street.
It is understood that the other contractors will be ready to begin their work as soon as Carter completes his job.
Last week Tuesday, Mr. and Mrs. Ed Kutchera and Mr. and Mrs. Morris Weaver returned from Lake Arbor Vitae in Vilas County. They brought back four big muskellunge that they had caught in Lake Arbor Vitae. The largest of the four weighed 30 pounds, the second largest, 18 pounds, another 14 and one-half pounds and the fourth was 14 pounds. Kutcheras have a cottage on that lake and must know the “stamping grounds” of the biggest muskies in the lake.
The first services of Rev. Vornholt, the new pastor of the Reformed Church, were conducted last Sunday in English and in German. Although it rained all forenoon, a goodly number of members came to attend both services. After the services, a very cordial reception was tendered with the new pastor and his family. The reception was arranged by the Ladies Society of the church. Dinner and supper were served in the dining room of the Indian School. Gust Deutsch served as toastmaster. Rev. Vornholt gave a short speech to which Deutsch responded. The afternoon was spent in conversation, intermingled with songs and piano selections.
Rev. J. Stucki, of Black River Falls, and Rev. E. Manger of Humbird, who were returning from a meeting at Stratford, arrived about 3:30 p.m. and joined the celebration during supper. It was a fine get-together meeting and gave the pastor an opportunity to get acquainted with the members. A good beginning was made with mutual good will and cooperation of pastor and people, so now the task before us can be done.
C. S. Stockwell
Cyrus Simeon Stockwell came to Clark County while he was working for the La Crosse Lumber Co. In 1888, he was elected as Clark County Clerk of Circuit Court serving that position for 16 years. Later, he worked with surveying land within Clark County, having been certified in surveying and civil engineering while a high school student in Michigan.
Tuesday morning, June 19, C. S. Stockwell, one of Clark County’s best known and most highly respected citizens, passed away at his home in Neillsville.
Cyrus Simeon Stockwell was born at Kenockee, St. Claire County, Michigan, on February 11, 1845. His father was of Scotch ancestry, coming to America in 1760. His mother was a descendant of the early Hollanders who settled in New York. He received a common school education and attended the Port Huron High School for a time, supplementing his education by private study, until he received a state certificate, later perfecting himself in surveying and civil engineering. He began to teach school at the age of 18. His health becoming poor, he came to Wisconsin, later resuming teaching, becoming principal of schools at Onalaska. He was elected as La Crosse County Superintendent of Schools and served that position for several terms.
About 45 years ago, Stockwell came to Clark County as bookkeeper for a lumber firm and lived at LaFlesh’s mills, near Nevins. In the fall of 1888, he was elected Clerk of the Circuit Court in Clark County and served in that office for 16 years. During most of that time, he was a member of the Neillsville School Board and took an active part in educational affairs. Stockwell may truly be said to be the founder of the Neillsville Public Library. He gathered up all the old books of an early library here; arranged and catalogued them, acting as a librarian, keeping the books for a time in his office at the courthouse. Later, he secured additional volumes; obtained appropriations from the city and with others, helped secure the Carnegie library building.
When not busy with his official duties, as Clerk of the Court and later, he did a great deal of work as surveyor and civil engineer. His work in those positions was considered very reliable.
For many years, Stockwell was one of the most prominent Free Masons in Wisconsin. He became a Mason in May 1869, at Port Huron Lodge No. 58, Port Huron, Michigan. He received the capitular degrees in Lapeer Chapter No. 91, in the same state and the Cryptic degrees in the Neillsville Council. He was active in instituting a chapter of the Royal Arch Masons in Neillsville. Stockwell had held every office in the local Blue Lodge. He was elected Senior Warden of the Grand Lodge in 1896 and in 1916 was elected Grand Master. He was appointed Grand Lecturer in the Royal Arch Masons and served that capacity for more than 20 years, still holding this position at the time of his death, even during the past few months, traveling all over the state attending to his official duties.
Stockwell was married to Mary A. Carless, April 11, 1868; to them were born eight children: Cyrus D. Stockwell, of Eau Claire, Division Superintendent of the C. St. P. M. & O. Railroad; Thomas C. of Dallas, Oregon; Israel M., station agent of Volga, South Dakota; Grace, Mrs. S. F. Thomas, Lisbon, North Dakota; Martha, Mrs. E. G. Wanner, Bismarck, North Dakota; Ethel, Mrs. Wm. Holway, Madison and Charlotte, of Neillsville.
Stockwell’s wife died Dec. 31, 1918 and on Jan. 23, 1920, he was married to Miss Katharine Barber Alexander, who survives him.
Stockwell was a man of remarkable all-round intelligence and efficiency. He was capable in many different lines and had the faculty of giving zest to any movement that he promoted or assisted. He combined a rare measure the qualities of a man of affairs with a love of fine things in literature. He was well balanced intellectually, firm in his judgment and fair and just in his dealings with his fellow men.
The Wisconsin Centennial is being observed by the Library of Congress in Washington, D. C. An exhibition of manuscripts and pictures is being shown, telling the story of the state. The exhibition was opened May 29, with an address by Alexander Wiley, senior U. S. Senator from Wisconsin. The exhibition will remain in Washington until August 23, when it will be sent on tour to institutions in Wisconsin.
Featured in the collection is a booklet, which helped greatly to popularize Wisconsin’s nickname, “The Badger State.” This is Josiah Bushnell Grinnell’s “The Home of the Badgers, or a Sketch of the Early History of Wisconsin”, published at Milwaukee in 1845. Grinnell, 1821 – 1891, who wrote this booklet under the pseudonym “Oculus,” The eye, was a Congressional minister, born in Vermont and educated in New York State. He became interested in the Territory of Wisconsin while traveling there in 1844, as an agent of the American Tract Society. Then years later, he went to Iowa, where he helped found the town of Grinnell and Grinnell College.
The booklet was based largely upon information gleaned from personal relations with the hospitable pioneers of Wisconsin.
Included is a collection of 84 photographs, presenting a review of Wisconsin’s architecture, scenery, recreational areas, forest products, agriculture and agricultural education, dairying, manufacturing and mining industries.
The historical portion of the exhibition consists of some 230 items displayed in 22 cases. It begins with a case displaying the original engrossed Act of Congress, admitting Wisconsin to the union as a state, signed May 29, 1848, by President James K. Polk. This has been loaned to the Library of Congress, for the occasion, by the national archives.
The succeeding cases contain prints, portraits, maps, rare books, manuscripts, music, and water colors from the index of American design, loaned by the national gallery of art.
The introductory panels introduce the chief topics of the exhibition and summarize Wisconsin’s history in a pictorial map, prepared under the auspices of the state’s own scholars.
When Jean Nicolet, the fist (first) French explorer of Wisconsin, reached Green Bay in 1634, he was met, not by the Orientals, as he expected, but by the Winnebago Indians. With them, he made the first of a long series of treaties with the white man. Some of the Wisconsin Indian treaties will appear in the exhibition. The Indians’ homes, daily life, culture and religion will be symbolized with two fine manuscript maps.
The exploration of Wisconsin was the work of three heroic groups of adventurers. Voyageurs and soldiers risked their lives to enlarge the bounds of New France, or of the United States. Fur traders ranged the awesome and dangerous wilderness to bargain with Indians and gather pelts for their companies. Missionaries made a great venture of faith to convert the Indians to Christianity and gather the white pioneers into churches. These were the path finders, the men who knew primitive Wisconsin, the land of the Indian lodge, the trading post, the fort and the log cabin.
They all left their records, in the maps of explorations, printed and manuscript journals, quaint engravings and pictures of the posts and churches they founded in the wilderness. Some of them are nameless, like the voyager who dictated the manuscript memoirs, which appear in that section of the exhibition.
For 50 years, after the organization of the Old Northwest Territory in 1787, Wisconsin was shifted from one territory to another – to Indiana in 1800, Illinois in 1809 and Michigan in 1818, under the rule of the noted explorer and military chieftain, Lewis Cass. The increasing population soon demanded a separate government and in 1836, Congress responded by creating the new Territory of Wisconsin, with its own governor and legislature. Its vast original area included Iowa, Minnesota and the Dakotas.
While the settlers streamed in, they began to long for statehood. In August 1846, congress passed an act enabling them to call a convention and draft a constitution. The people rejected the document offered to them by the first convention and elected a second body, whose work was accepted by an over-whelming majority and has stood the test of time to the present day. The people had scarcely become adjusted to it, however, when they were summoned to test whether or not the democracy it represented could endure. This section shows the schoolhouse, at Ripon, where some of them met in 1854 to organize the Republican Party to save the union and check the expansion of slavery. The state of Wisconsin sent over 91,000 men to the Civil War.
Many of the men who went to the war were new Americans – Germans, Norwegians, Swedes, Irish, Dutch and other nationalities. There is a significance in the fact that the members of the Constitutional Convention of 1848, who had come mostly from New York and New England, thought it necessary to print the constitution in foreign languages. One of those texts, in Norwegian, was printed by “Nordlyset” the first Norwegian newspaper in the United States, published at Norway in Racine County.
More than any previously admitted state, Wisconsin made intelligent and efficient efforts to attract the immigrant and to give him advice and help to save him from the sharpers at the sea ports. The reports of the Commissioner of Immigration and the many guidebooks in English and other languages will be represented at the exhibition. They hit Europe and the Eastern states just when various causes of discontent were coming to a head, being largely responsible for Wisconsin’s present quilt of national colors. The newcomers were not the defeated and hopeless, but the ambitious farmer and mechanic, who wanted land, a home and the vote. Their hopes and ambitions, their occupations and arts, are illustrated by the guidebooks they read.
The pioneers of Wisconsin were a tried and sifted stock. Their epic story is that of the marvelous capacity of a free society to develop the talents of a new and mingled race of men and women. The new land demanded great energy and offered great challenges and rich rewards. There were fertile lands to be cleared, forests to be cut to furnish homes for pioneers and ties for railroads, ore ranges to be mined to supply rails and farm machinery. The men with statesmanlike visions and ability had to organize a new commonwealth, govern it and represent its interest in the national capital.
Wisconsin’s people rose to the occasion and produced the leaders demanded by the great adventure. Their activities ranged from the primitive fur trade, Wisconsin’s first organized industry, to the modern manufacturing plant.
Most of the early settlers came from cultured and highly literate classes in the older states and in Europe. They were avid readers of books and newspapers. Even before they attained a territorial government, they had the second newspaper west of Lake Michigan – the Green Bay Intelligencer, established at Navarion in 1833. About the same time, from the same press, appeared the first book, known to have been printed in Wisconsin – an almanac in the Menominee language, compiled by the veteran missionary, Rev. Samuel Mazzuchelli. Both of these items are rare imprints and will appear at the exhibition.
Together with the above, will be the petition of 1836 to Congress, by the trustees of the University of Wisconsin, destined to become the head of one of the finest state public educational systems and to attract a virtually unrivalled band of scholars, including renowned historians and researchers. In the Wisconsin University, have studied or taught some of the state’s nationally famous, native authors. They have been outside reporters, but have grown up in this state’s small towns or on its farms, drawing their inspirations, their scenes and their characters from this area’s experiences. Their poetry, dramas and stories of growth of a great commonwealth represented are devoted to the human freedom that was available – Wisconsin, is now about to enter upon the second century of statehood.
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