Clark County Press, Neillsville,

April 14, 2004, Page 14

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 



Compiled by Dee Zimmerman



Clark County News

April 1874


The maple sugar crop threatens to be a failure through the protracted cold weather that has prevailed so far.  Owners of sugar bushes have placed their only hope upon the “three good runs” that are always expected after the frogs become vocal.


J. S. Palmer & Co., the well-known maple sugar makers, of the Town of York are supplying this market with the best sugar we have ever seen. It is of uniform quality, put up in bars of uniform size and weight and marketed by the box.  The present season is a very poor one, but they still expect to make about 4,000 pounds of sugar and a considerable quantity of syrup.


Mr. Frank S. Kirkland has added to his banking business, the agency of the Home Insurance Co., of New York.  Along with Hartford and Phoenix, of Hartford, these three are of the best companies doing business.  He is also agent of the celebrated “Allan Line” of steamships, which furnishes the shortest and cheapest route across the Atlantic.  His advertisements are crowded out this week.


The Presbyterian Society has purchased the lot on the corner opposite Mr. Lynch’s residence, upon which they propose to erect a church as soon as practicable.  The people of here ought to make it practicable at once.


April 1949


Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Richmond and family left Clark County for a ranch in Whitetail, Montana Wednesday morning.


They shipped three boxcars by rail, with household goods; a tractor and some young cattle.


Floyd Alstot furnished two trucks in which their milch cows were transported.  Chester Turville and Frank Wilson went along to milk the cows and care for them on the way.


Herman Hediger, on whose ranch the Richmond’s will live, accompanied the group.  He drove through with his truck.  Mr. Hediger and two friends from Switzerland will erect a milk house on the ranch before returning to Neillsville.


Telephone service for the Town of Sherwood will be brought to a hearing again on May 18.  At that time, Ralph Lawson and 12 other citizens of the town will have a session before the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. The hearing will be held at the city hall, Wisconsin Rapids, at 2 p.m.  The issue concerns the abandonment to that section by the Central State Telephone Company.


This hearing is being held upon a motion of the Public Service Commission.  It follows the action originally started against Badger State that has headquarters in Neillsville.  At the hearing on the original action, the commission learned that it was not Badger State Telephone, but Central Telephone Co. who had abandoned the service.  Hence, the Central Co. as it now appears is at the receiving end of the inquiry.


The Sherwood territory was originally hooked up with the section to the south and east, the Central Co. serving the territory around Pittsville and Auburndale.  When the recent work was done on Route 73, the Central did not move its poles and lines along the right-of-way and the construction gang ripped them out of the way.  This had the effect of stopping the service, of course.  Regretting the isolation, Mr. Lawson and his neighbors sought to be hooked up with the territory to the northwest, including the county seat.  But it appears that such switches are not lightly made.  The Badger State Co. represented that it had not been in that territory and hence is not authorized, under the law, to take over.  The territory, it was maintained, belongs to the Central State Co.


Emil Podobnik, fireball mound ace for the Greenwood V-8’s baseball team last year has been side-lined for the season, as the result of an automobile accident early last Monday.


Emil suffered a fractured pelvis when he was thrown from an automobile as it collided with another car near Kuester’s tavern, one mile north of Greenwood, about 1:20 a.m.


The pitching star was returning from an Easter dance at Merry Ol’ Gardens in a car driven by Howard Susa, of Greenwood.  He was sitting in the front seat with Susa, according to the report of Traffic Officer, Lorris Dusso.  Riding in the back seat were Cletus Susa of Greenwood and Joanne Herrick of Willard.


The Susa car was traveling in the same direction on Highway 73 as an automobile driven by Clifford Rask of Greenwood.  Rask braked his car, intending to turn into a driveway.  The rear of the car slewed and the car driven by Susa struck the Rask car in the rear.


Both doors of the Susa car were sprung open by the impact.  Podobnik was thrown out of one side and Howard Susa was thrown from the other side.


Susa received minor abrasions.  No one else was injured, although the damage to the cars was extensive.


The traffic officer reported that a fine snow had fallen and that the highway was in a slippery condition at the time of the accident.


Podobnik was Greenwood’s main mound reliance in the Cloverbelt pennant chase last season.  He pitched the V-8’s to a tie with Loyal, only to be beaten in the playoff.  He was a member of the Eastern Division’s mound staff in the Annual All-Star game, played last year at Neillsville.


The story of a woman who would not quit is written into the autobiography of L. B. Ring, former newspaper publisher of Neillsville.  The woman was his wife.  She was the heroine, both of the Neillsville experience and of the life that followed.  Mr. Ring’s life story, which he wrote at age 65, is now being edited by his daughter, Avis Ring Ninabuck.  Her home is at Winnetka, Ill., a suburb of Chicago.


The family misfortunes of the Rings reached a crisis in Neillsville.  Editor Ring had always been a stalwart; had come to Neillsville shortly after returning to this country from consular service in China, a service then inevitably associated with Republican politics.  In those early days, back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, politics loomed large in the conduct of newspapers and when Bob LaFollette’s papers star arose, Mr. Ring lost political business, seeing his life blacken.  But, his wife Frances, an indomitable English-woman, refused to be defeated and at approximately 60 years of age, went to school in Chicago and fitted herself for institutional management.  After two years of study, she went to Elon College, North Carolina and where she spent 10 years as Purchasing Agent and Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds.


Mrs. Ring went through a grueling test in North Carolina, facing a situation, which might have floored younger women.  Practically all of the buildings were destroyed by fire.  The Duke estate supplied money for reconstruction, but it was necessary to supervise the work and to landscape the 25-acre campus.  This Mrs. Ring accomplished with most of the help coming from students.


It was no bed of roses into which Mrs. Ring was born in England, June 21, 1859.  She was the daughter of a British sea captain, who was in charge of a ship that brought coals to Newcastle, literally.  Mrs. Ring, as a baby, along with her sister, occasioned a sharp change in the family situation.  With two little girls on her hands, her mother insisted that her father get a job on land and he did, working for the same company.  But he also put two thousand pounds, which he had saved, into the Drury Lane Theater at Jarrow.  This theater was dependent upon the business of a community in which shipbuilding was the big source of income.  The business went to the dogs when the Northern States won the Civil War, leaving in the lurch the British, who had guessed wrong.


When Jarrow and his theater and the coal business virtually closed on him, Robert Langford gathered up his wife and two little girls and headed, in 1863, for the United States.  He lived in this country until his death at the age of 86 and he died in the conviction that the United States was the real haven on earth.


The daughter, Frances, who later became Mrs. Ring, was graduated from the Madison High School.  She first taught around Madison and Stoughton; then came to Neillsville, where her sister’s husband, Amzi W. Burton, was Superintendent of Schools.  At this stage in her life she doubled as a teacher in the public schools and as nursemaid to the arriving Burton babies.  In the offing, also, was L. B. Ring, who had come to Neillsville because his brother, M. C. Ring, lived here.  L. B. had, a few years before started a newspaper here, The True Republican, the name of which suggests its place in the political scheme.  The young man, fighting an uphill battle with a new publication and having his trouble to make ends meet, was a likely prospect for the mothering, which the young woman had learned to give.  So, in 1886, she switched her responsibilities from the Burton household to the Ring project, which was even more complicated.


The Rings lived upstairs in the newspaper building, which was located just north of the present Farmers Store.  There, Mrs. Ring kept house, helped with the newspaper, brought Avis into the world in 1890 and set up a sort of private school, which she conducted upon an informal basis for quite a number of years.  Avis, now Mrs. Ninabuck, has a vivid recollection of that building and her life in it.  She remembers that, that under the tin roof, the kitchen at the back was boiling hot in the summer.  She recalls that she used to travel down the stairs to the basement to get the family food and in the cellar; she went past the piles of squash and pumpkins, accepted by the publisher as payment on subscriptions.  For more than one reason, Avis had a prejudice against pumpkins.  She cowered as she walked by them, perhaps imagining with the bodies gone, they were the heads of the various wives whom cruel Henry the Eighth beheaded.


Nor is this the only terrifying recollection of her childhood.  To her it now seems that horse whips and lawsuits were a more or less constant reaction to her father’s aggressive tactics, but local recollection is that only one such incident came to major notice in the community.  It appears to have been true, however, that L. B. Ring was not only forthright in his political policies, but that he also wielded a trenchant pen.


In this old Republican fortress, Mrs. Ring wasn’t only a housewife, mother and editorial assistant, but she was also the tutor of various children of the community.  Her pupils numbered a few mature persons who are still extant.  She taught her own daughter Avis, who never went to public school until she had covered the equivalent of six grades.


Even in her old age, Mrs. Ring never lost aptitude for teaching and managing.  Finally giving up her school work in North Carolina at the age of 72, she joined her husband in her daughter’s home and took up the task of mothering and managing him.  In 1941, three years before Mr. Ring’s death, she was stricken with coronary thrombosis, but even that did not dull her wit and will.  She read seven or eight books a week; read various daily newspapers, but was so riled by the Chicago Tribune that she had to quit reading it.  Time after time, Ninabucks employed a trained nurse for her, but she amiably fired them just as fast, maintaining that it was a waste of money and that she would soon be up and at ‘em without the help of any nurse.  When General Ike declined to run for the presidency, she tired to get word to him that he should recant and run.  It is her daughter’s testimony that she should have set up a school for congressmen and presidents, to the end that the American way of life might yet be saved.


It is the local recollection here that Mr. Ring was the more aggressive member of the partnership, but in his later years, away from Neillsville, Mr. Ring pursued a vocation and a course, which would seem to hve been somewhat less managing that that of his wife.  For some years he did editorial work on Cram’s Atlas in Chicago and for the last two years of his activity he taught printing in the public schools of Joliet.


For a time after the journalistic crisis in Neillsville, Mr. Ring worked in Chicago and Mrs. Ring kept the home in Neillsville.  Here, she was secretary of the Clark County Red Cross during World War I, occasionally substituted as a teacher in the public schools and for 30 years was a member of the Neillsville library board.  In that capacity, she and Cyrus Stockwell had the duty of saving the community from books that ought not (to) be read and Mrs. Ninabuck recalls that there was in the Ring attic an old bookcase in which reposed some of the offerings thought to be too naughty for the eyes of the public.


Relics of the Rings are becoming scarce in the Neillsville community.  The old files in the office of the Press contain some of the editorial work of Mr. Ring.  The old newspaper shop was wrecked 15 or 20 years ago, upon the order of the fire warden.  It was a frame building, in great need of repair, but the fire warden decided that wrecking, rather than reconstruction, was the way out.  The old building is vividly in the mind of the William A. Campmans.  They occupied the upstairs after the Rings moved out, going to it as their first home.  Mr. Campman recalls that they lived there but a few months and were glad to move out, as it was terribly hot in the summer and very cold in the winter.


L. B. Ring’s brother, Merritt C. Ring, was also a forthright individual who agreed with his brother in politics and who took his part when legal help was necessary.  The M. C. Ring family resided in a house on the site of the present Masonic Temple.  That house was doomed when the temple was to be built, but the contractor sold the larger part of it to Arthur Flynn and it became a major part of the present Flynn residence on West First Street.  (The smaller portion of the Ring house was moved to the south end of West Street. D. Z.)


The Rings had but one child, Avis.  She took a degree in economics and sociology, majoring in labor history and industrial relations.  She became assistant to the manager of industrial relations of the International Harvester Company and in addition took a course in journalism at Medill.  In 1921, she married William L. Ninabuck, who is an assistant manager of the Consumer Relations Department of the International Harvester.




The True Republican was owned by its publisher and editor L. B. Ring, in the 1880s and 1890s.  The Ring family lived in the upper story of the structure while they operated the newspaper business.  Located at 420 Hewett Street, the old frame structure was torn down circa 1930.  This photo was taken during a July Fourth parade showing the Ring building in the middle of the background.  (Photo courtesy of O. Warren collection)



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