Clark County Press, Neillsville,

May 19, 2004, Page 13

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 



Compiled by Dee Zimmerman



Clark County News

 May 1884


Our enterprising citizen, J. L. Gates, is doing more than any other one man to build up the city.  Last week, he had a strong, permanent oak walk built from M. C. Ring’s residence lot, south to the other side of what is known as the brick yard lot.  The walk is several feet above the ground, built to resist the floods that occasionally bellow along that area.  He will also complete the three new tenement houses being built there.  The old building, which stood flat on the brick yard lot, has been removed so three new tenement houses can be put up in its place, facing Main Street.  The old house has been moved westward, divided into two tenements, revamped and both parts now face West Street.  The house’s occupants “stuck to the ship,” and are now living on rollers for several days until the house will be put down on the ground.  From M. C. Ring’s house to Cortes Gates’ home, there will be a row of seven houses, closing up that entire gap, leaving that side of Main Street pretty well closed up.  (The M. C. Ring house was then located on the lot where the Masonic Temple was built, on the corner of Fourth and Hewett.  The tenement houses were built in the area of Goose Creek, which often flooded the area until it was tunneled underground in recent years. D.Z.)


Mr. Louis Schuster has purchased Mr. Chubb’s interest in the abstract office of Chubb & Grundy.  He has leased the interest of Mr. Grundy, thus assuming control of the entire business.  He has also bought the insurance business of Mr. Chubb, taking their entire office.  Mr. Schuster is a thorough businessman and will mange the business to the satisfaction of the public.


Ed H. Markey has a quantity of stone flagging piled in front of his residence, with which walks will be laid.  We like this idea very much.  Sol Jaseph’s improvement of the same kind was noticed a week or two ago.  All who build with wood, built but for a lifetime at most, but rock is eternal.


Some of our young folks have fallen into a bad habit of taking their Sunday girls and going fishing at the Dells Dam.  Take notice Deacon; a party is arranged for next Sunday, too.


Last Sunday, two parties of young people went from this city into the country.  One party went to the Dells Dam, not to fish, but only to associate with the wicked Sabbath-breakers who did fish.  Such was the displeasure of heaven, that a drenching rain was doused upon them.  Like detected children, they took their punishment.  Elder Brothers preached so eloquently and well Sunday evening that those young people’s consciences should have been educated to believe Sunday fishing is not right.


Mrs. R. M. Campbell has one of the most beautiful conservatories in town and Mrs. C. B. Bradshaw has, probably, the most elaborate conservatory.  Mr. MacBride, Mrs. Hewett and Mrs. Henry Myers, give much attention to their conservatories, which is noticeable.  Many other ladies window boxes and flower gardens are well worthy of mention, too.  Again, this season, many shade trees are being planted, as usual.  As ex-Congressman Caswell once said of Neillsville, “it’s the beautiful city on the hills,” it will this year and year by year grow still more beautiful.


J.H. Thayer & Co. had a fine and commodious butter room built in their store cellar.  There, they have courses of whitewashed shelves, an icebox and every convenience for storing butter, keeping it sweet.  Persons in the city should keep this in mind and go to this firm for their butter.


Austin’s Creamery butter is only 25c per lb., at J. H. Thayer & Co’s store in the Gates new block.


Married at Greenwood, Wis., May 4th, 1884; Mr. John W. Stout, of Colby, Wis. and Miss Wilda M. Darton, of Beaver, Wis., by Rev. A. C. Bradley.


Reitz & Haugen have their full stock of clothing for men and boys.  Hats, caps, furnishing goods of all kinds and descriptions are there.  They sell a little boy’s good, durable suit for $2, a big boy’s suit for $3 and upwards.  They are prepared to dress anybody from a 3-year old boy to the largest man in the county.  Their prices are on the principle of live and let live, which you will find to your advantage.  Retiz (Reitz) & Haugen’s store is below the O’Neill House.


Wild duck and strawberry shortcake were among the O’Neill House’s Sunday menu.


B. F. French is selling the Central House hotel, with three lots and two barns, in Neillsville, for a cheap price.


May 1939


The Clark County Board of Supervisors had eleven new members on the roll call, this week, as they met for the spring session.  The new members, a few who have served on the board in previous years are:


H. C. Conklin of Butler, Matt Maki of Hixon, A. E. Stadler of Hoard, Lee Jensen of Mayville, Perry Marshall of Reseburg, Roy Forester of the Town of Thorp, Paul Schultz of Washburn, A. A. Hennlich of the village of Curtiss, C. C. Guell of the village of Thorp, Wheeler Forman of Neillsville’s first ward and C. R. Sturdevant of Neillsville’s third ward.


Mr. Sturdevant is a former chairman of the county board.


The Clark County Board of Supervisors, in session Wednesday, turned thumbs down on the recommendation of a special committee to shave off about 90 miles of county trunk highways.  They then passed a motion to remove county trunk highways within the corporate limits of the cities and villages from the county trunk highway system.  The motion is subject to approval of the State Highway Commission.


The motion to cut out county trunk highways in the cities and villages was passed with but small opposition.  Supervisor O. W. Parkinson of Owen, chairman of the special committee explained that the cities and villages have had to contribute to the maintenance of them.


The 75th Anniversary of Zion American Lutheran Church of Grant Township will be celebrated next month.  Plans are being made for the celebration by the pastor, Rev. John G. Buth.


The Zion American Lutheran Church is one of the oldest church organizations in this part of Wisconsin; perhaps the very oldest.  Its early edifice was a log construction.  Its ministers roamed far and wide, preaching at points as far as Black River Falls.  From the old Zion Church have sprung various Lutheran churches in this section.


High on a hill, overlooking one of the most desolate countryside’s in Clark County stands an old, weather-beaten house.  Its windows long since have been broken out.  Floors are ripped up; here and there a small splotch of plaster still clings to the inner wall.


A few years ago, a family lived there, eking a frugal existence from the soil and from their few milk cows.  Now they are gone.


It is a forlorn scene. Yet, it rounds out a view of four distinct eras through which 117,000 acres of Clark County land, on its western and southern reaches, have passed.


Standing within sight of the house, in the Town of North Foster, one can see each of four eras as though they were on an illustrated map: a clump of high pine trees shoved into the sky at a distance.  There is a seemingly endless stretch of cover brush.  The house and fields that once were cleared and perhaps diligently toiled for the meager harvest they would give now are over-grown with heavy grass and brush.  Running through the cleared land, which was once the front yard of the farmhouse, are strips where the surface soil recently has been plowed.  These strips trail off in the distance as small ribbons running to a common origin.


In succession, the observing person will see first, the period just a few years back when this land was covered by a majestic evergreen forest.  One can witness the small clump of evergreens still standing.  Then, came the lumberman’s axe, and the years of forest fires; which all but leveled the land; a period of farming, in which the land was coaxed to produce corn or grain, soil that was never meant to produce such crops.


It was during this period that he house was built.  At first, it was a rough-hewn log cabin.  Later, siding was nailed to the outside and an attempt was made to convert the house into a home by plastering the log walls on the inside.


But the land just couldn’t produce the kind of crops a farmer must grow to succeed.  So the farm passed from hand to hand, being kicked about as one after another tried his luck, and lost. During this time, the town and county lost much money in tax delinquencies on this piece of land and every other like piece in the county.


This era is the important one, now; for it means that today Clark County is looking forward, toward the future and is preparing to make the land productive once again.


Those who have lived through the last few years with the 117,000 acres of county forest crop land declare that before many years, 25 at the outside, these forest lands will be made to carry the county’s entire relief burden. When one realizes that the relief appropriation voted last fall by the County Board of Supervisors was in the neighborhood of $40,000, one gets a conception of the staggering production these lands will have to attain.


At the cost of nearly a half million dollars in tax delinquencies, rather than actual cold cash outlay, the county has acquired title to this 117,000 acres of land on western and southern reaches of its border.  Annually, Clark County is spending from $11,000 to $12,000 in an effort to bring back these “bad lands” to the productive and wealth-laden timberland they once were.  The money thus being spent is earmarked for this purpose and comes from the state under the Forest Crop Law.


Within 20 or 25 years, the forest will care for the county’s relief burden, providing deadly forest fires can be kept out of the land.


As a matter of fact, a start already has been made toward making the forest crop land of the county produce for the county’s needy. Last winter, a crew of WPA workers was employed in cutting the diseased and down trees in the area into cord wood.  More than 1,000 cords were cut and distributed among relief families of the county.  Figuring the wood at a dollar a cord, County Forester Allen C. Covell estimates that the county in this manner made a saving of $1,000 through the forest lands.


The prediction that the county forest before many years will be in a position to carry the relief load of the county are quickly supported by County Treasurer James Fradette; who has played a major role in the setting up of the county forest area.


The possibilities of the county forest do not stop with the scientific handling of the forest with regard to a wood pulp and timber crop in the years to come.  Actually, the possibilities just start there, explained County Forester Covell.


This same land, which will handle the county’s relief burden, will mean that, with the proper promotion over the years, Clark County will become one of the foremost vacation spots of the Central States.  This will bring thousands of dollars annually to residents, businessmen and professional men of the area.


“The forest crop land will abound with the grouse chickens and deer,” commented Mr. Covell.  “There will be no need of a Clark County resident leaving his own county for the best hunting to be had anywhere.  Sportsmen living in other areas will learn about the hunting facilities afforded by the Clark County forest and will beat a path to it,” he said.


“The Federal Government long ago saw that Wisconsin’s great timberland, such as those which once stood in the towns of Mead; the Fosters, Hewett, Dewhurst, Mentor, Washburn, Butler and Sherwood, soon would be dissipated.  They set up the permanent forest on the Menomonie Indian reservation.  For the rest of time, now with the scientific handling the forest has received in the past, the reservation will be provided for, declared Mr. Fradette.  “We can and will do the same for Clark County.”


Clark County Treasurer Fradette recently explained to the County Board of Supervisors that, “the county forest will be a spot where every person in the county can go for his or her recreation for the rest of time.  We never will be faced with the situation residents of the southern part of the state now are faced with.  They have no place to hunt and fish because no provision for them was made years ago while there still was time to make that provision.”


In line with the return of the county forest crop lands to timberlands and recreations areas, Clark County this year launched the most ambition program of tree planting it has attempted since the formation of the county forest crop land of 1933.


More than half million trees, two-year-old seedlings are being planted in the Hay Creek and Sherwood units of the county forest. Another plantation of a half million trees is planned for September.  Most of the plantations are being made in jack pine, a fast growing tree, which not many years from now will be in position to yield a pulp wood crop.


The majority of this spring’s plantations are being made in the Hay Creek unit, on the lands bordering the 130-acre lake formed by the $20,000 Hay Creek dam. The dam was completed last year.


A crew of men, some hired by the county forestry and WPA workers will be planting the trees.


(Now we can fully appreciate the foresight of Mr. Covell and Mr. Fradette who convinced the Clark County Board of Supervisors that reforestation was the thing to do with otherwise unproductive county land.  Today, many locals, as well as visitors, enjoy the ATV trails, hunting, campsites and such outdoor activities available in the county forest area. D.Z.)



~Digital Copyright 2015~

George A. Austin purchased a farm along the Ridge, one mile east of Neillsville, circa 1870.  He was the first Clark County farmer to own a cream separator, silo, and operated the first creamery and cheese factory.  The creamery was located in the farmyard, north of the house.  John Langreck was the next owner of the property and built the barn that still stands on the farm.  Langreck, with workers including his brothers, are in the photo taken during the construction.  Charles Bollom bought the farm, from the Federal Land Bank, during the Depression years.  Jack and Joan Counsell are present owners of the farm.  (Photo courtesy of Counsells)




Readers' Comments

I always enjoy these postings! Note the correct first owner of the farm in the photo from "Oldies" 5/19/2004, was George A. Austin who was here in 1870. C. E. Austin was his son, and would have been about 16 at the time. ~ Cecily Ring Cook


*Based on Cecily's information, the text above was changed.



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