Clark County Press, Neillsville,

September 22, 2004, Page 14

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 



Compiled by Dee Zimmerman



Clark County News

September 1884


Mr. J. L. Gates will, this week, begin the erecting of a residence on the lot opposite his home. We have a guaranty that it will be a fine structure in the fact that architect Hart made the plans and he will superintend the construction.


The Republicans of the 11th Senatorial District met in convention at Marshfield Wednesday and nominated M. C. Ring, of Neillsville by acclamation.  The district is composed of the following counties: Wood, Clark, Taylor, Lincoln, Price, Ashland and Sawyer, Ring has a leading law firm in Neillsville and his highly respected.  He has been in the active practice of the profession for about 11 years, having a thorough knowledge of his district.  He has the ability to apply his knowledge to the best interests of the whole district.


Mr. Ring has resided in Neillsville since about 1875.


Clark County may have some important interests to be looked after in the coming legislature and Clark County’s people will consult their welfare by electing a fellow citizen, rather than a person who resides on the Wisconsin River.  Mr. Ring has the ability to serve our people well and this newspaper urges all its readers to join in giving him a home endorsement as unanimous as the nomination.


Local prohibitionists have bought a flag and it will soon be flying over Neillsville’s Main Street, just south of Third Street.  Mrs. French is entitled to the credit of raising money for the flag. It flies the names of the prohibition candidates.


When Elijah prayed for rain on Mount Carmel, he got it, according (to) the sermon Sunday night. We call attention to the fact that Elijah still lives.  He was taken up into heaven without dying.  It has been so infernally wet round here, that we are inclined to suspect Brother Elijah is exercising his faculties.  He is at the wrong end of the route; however, to judge of the rain supply needed in Clark County and, not to be irreverent, has spilled it over a little.


North & Davidson have just received two carloads of cook and heating stoves.  They have a great variety, consisting of the best cook stoves made.  They also have the celebrated Round Oak, Maple, Forest Acorn, East Lake heating stoves and others.


The True Republican has purchased a huge office stove from North& Davidson.  It is 50 inches long inside and weighs in the neighborhood of 500 pounds.  Wood intended for this office heater should be cut 24 to 30 inches in length, although in a pinch we can burn saw logs, almost.


The school authorities have made arrangements for the use of the Episcopal Church for the kindergarten department.  The schoolroom made vacant will be occupied by a first primary grade.


The Clark County purchasing agent’s disbursements during August amounted to $#93.78. The disbursements of the Poor Farm agent, for the same month, amounted to $118.18.


A game of baseball was played at Merrillan Saturday, between our Dudes of brawn and the Merrillanders. It resulted in a score of 29 to 20, in favor of our club.  The return game will be played on the Neillsville grounds, shortly.


September 1939


When Albert Mabie returned to the post office in Granton today, he had completed 34 years of active service as a rural mail carrier in serving the residents of the territory north of the village.  He has traveled an estimated distance 329, 356 miles, using during the 34 years, about 30 horses (26 of these can be recalled by name) a great number of buggies, cutters, light sleighs and carts and eight automobiles.


On August 19, 1905, Mr. Mabie received his appointment from the Postmaster General, telling him to report for duty at the Granton post office on September 1 to take charge of a rural route.  John M. Tompkins, the postmaster at the time, assigned him to route four, serving the territory south and east of Granton, a distance of 29 and ½ miles. But in a short time, he was transferred to route one, 24 and ½ miles long, on which he has continued up to the present time. The salary at that time was $720 a year.  The first team of horses he used was a span of spotted broncos, wild and rangy, pulling a top buggy during he summer and an open cutter during the winter.


Mr. Mabie recalls that on that first route he delivered but one daily paper, The St. Paul Dispatch, being sent to John Schier, deceased, in the Town of Lynn.  The entire daily delivery of mail could be held with is two hands.


The territory swerved by route one, being in an older settled community, the mail delivery was somewhat larger. There are 12 dailies and more weekly newspapers and quite a bit of first class mail.


Roads at the time were not graded or even turnpiked, some of them being more trail through timbered country.  In the extreme northeastern corner of his route, in the Town of Fremont where the land was quite swampy, there was a stretch of road known as corduroy. This was made of poles of hardwood being placed in the center of the roadbed to form a sort of bridge or solid footing for teams. During these early years travel was slow and there were very few days that it was not necessary to stop at noon to feed and rest the team.  Mr. Mabie carried a cold lunch most of the time.  At times, he would eat at farm homes.  It took some time, too, before people learned and realized that the mail carrier was not to be used as a delivery boy to send things by him to and from town.  One instance he remembers was the indignation of a farmer during the maple sugar season, because Mr. Mabie wouldn’t convey the output of syrup to the village for him, sell it, collect and return the proceeds to him.  He wanted this favor even though at that time the roads were so nearly impassible that it was necessary to cover the route with a single horse and a two-wheeled cart. 


In 1914, Mr. Mabie purchased his first car, a model T. Ford, at a cost of $780.  However, for many years the car could not be used for more than eight months during the year, so it was necessary to keep a team, which he did up to about five years ago.


When parcel post delivery was inaugurated, in 1920, it was necessary for mail carriers to have a large conveyance. During Christmas, Mr. Mabie states that his sleigh box, 44 inches wide, 8 ½ feet long and 4 ½ feet high, was so filled with packages that it was necessary for him to walk or ride on the runner until enough deliveries had been made to make room for him in the wagon seat. Since the Depression years, however, the parcel post delivery ahs not been so heavy, the packages being spread out more equally throughout the year.


In 1925, the mail route was enlarged to 35 miles.


Very few persons have had the opportunity Mr. Mabie has had to see the development of a timbered section of land turned into cultivated fields with fine buildings, but the change has been so gradual that it is hard to describe.  For years, there was a large landing for cord wood near the Romadka school house, but no trace of that is seen now.  Where once there were acres of hardwood timber, there is only a wood lot now and the roads are for the most part, turnpiked and graveled. The only concrete road traveled by Mr. Mabie is a little more than a block in the village, from the post office a few rods north.


In his daily trips, Mr. Mabie passes six school houses, four in the country and two in the village.  He has seen three new and modern structures replace old-time school buildings.  The Franklin and Heathville schools each have new buildings; with Romadka having a two-room school that replaces the very small one-room building.  The children at these school houses look forward to the visit from the mail carrier.


Another change noted by Mr. Mabie has been the fact that he is now greeting children at his stops whose mothers and fathers used to wait, in some cases, at the same box for the family mail.  Among those was Mrs. William Eibergen, the former Ella Hales, who used to be very prompt to meet him.  Now her little girl, Diana, is entrusted with the errand.


Patrons on the route come and go, but a few are still living in the same homes. Among these are Mrs. Lib Fuller, Ara Lee, Mrs. Eva Canfield, Oscar Jahr, Fred Wright, Gorden David, John Pietenpol, Mrs. Sarah Davis, Carl Retta, Joe McMahn, Henry Voight, Fred Garbisch and Jesse Mortimer.


At the present time, Mr. Mabie is serving 176 patrons on his route. The mail delivery is not as heavy as a few years back.  In the early days, when the routes were first established, it was necessary to count and weigh the daily receipt of mail in order to determine the necessity of keeping the route in force; that is not the case now.


No unusual incident of any kind has ever happened to Mr. Mabie as he looks back over the years.  He took things as they came, without concern of heat or cold.  His usual greeting of, “S’nice day,” to all with whom he comes in contact makes his daily visit a pleasure to those whom he serves.  He thinks the worst day he ever experienced was this year, in March, when he had to be pulled out of the mud 12 times in traveling one mile.


Mr. Mabie was born in the Town of Loyal, September 24, 1878, with his early years being spent away from here.  While in his teens, he returned here to support himself, working on farms and in logging camps. At the time of his marriage to Miss Altha Davis, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Davis, pioneer settlers of this community, he was foreman in the heading mill for P. J. Kemmeter.


They have a family of eight children: Vesta, Mrs. Louis Schutter, of Chicago; Donaan of Watertown; Milo of Neillsville; Caroline, Mrs. Beauford Loga, of Broadview, Ill.; Misses Irene and Adeline of Chicago; Ernest of Detroit, Mich. and Theodore, student at Hylandale Academy and three grandchildren.


Thomas Goodell, one of Clark County’s two remaining Civil War veterans, quietly observed his 91st birthday, Tuesday, at his home in Spokeville.


Mr. Goodell reflected on his own life and drew to the conclusion, “I don’t like war.”  There was a time back in 1863, when I was a young buckaroo and felt it would be a glorious adventure.  I enlisted in the Union Army when I was 15 years old, having lied my age.


“That taste of war was enough.  It wasn’t a glorious adventure, as I had supposed.


A veteran of the battle of Gettysburg, Mr. Goodell was born August 29, 1848, 20 miles from Abraham Lincoln’s home at Springfield, on a farm in Fulton County, Ill.  Although he never saw the Great Emancipator, Mr. Goodell recalls hearing many, many stories about Abe in private life and as a public figure.


In his early youth, Mr. Goodell recalled, the name of Abraham Lincoln was on the lips of almost every person in the area almost constantly.  They repeated his speeches and told stories of his prowess at splitting logs.


A comparative snip of a youth when he appeared at the recruiting station in 1863, officers in charge smiled as he had lied his age and enlisted, but they said nothing.


He was mustered in Company A, 15th Illinois Infantry.  This company saw more than its share of action on many fronts and played a vital part in several battles.  Thomas Goodell was in the thick of them all; from the time he enlisted until after Gettysburg.


But memorable Gettysburg was Mr. Goodell’s last battle with bullet and bayonet.  Shortly after the encounter, he contracted measles and started a life-long battle with sieges resulting from the infection.


When the measles over-took him, Mr. Goodell did not know what was wrong with him; so he kept right at the job of being a good soldier. With his outfit, he went to Pittsburgh, Pa., where he boarded a train scheduled to carry the outfit to Louisville, Ky., to another battle.


But that was curtains for Thomas Goodell in the Civil War.  He lost consciousness during the train ride and came out of the coma some time later to find that he was lying on the deck of a ferry boat bound for David’s Island hospital.  A strong cold breeze was blowing. As a result, Mr. Goodell took cold.  For some time, he battled with the cold and measles and several times, he hovered near death. The illness settled in his eyes and he nearly lost his sight.  Ever since that time, he has been troubled by poor eyesight.


By the time he was released from the hospital, the war was over.  A year later, in 1866, he was married to Mary Bayless, who died in 1914.


A farmer for many years, Mr. Goodell has been interested in many types of business enterprises.


“I’ve been in about as many things as there are to be in, except jail.”  He remarked.  For a time he was a dealer in cattle in Illinois.


For the last 12 years, he has made his home with his grandson, Howard, who lives in Spokeville.  His only son, Franklin, is living with another grandson, Everett, on a farm in Iowa.


Clark County’s other remaining Civil War veteran is Albert Darton of Loyal.


Two celebrations were combined at the Helm family home in the Town of Lynn, Saturday.


One was the celebration of the golden wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Ferdinand Helm, pioneer residents of the community.


The other was the celebration of the marriage of Clarence Helm, 24, of Brillion, eldest of the 23 grandchildren of Mr. and Mrs. Helm, to Aleda Radke of Weyauwega.


The 50th wedding anniversary date of Mr. and Mrs. Ferdinand Helm was also chosen by Clarence and his wife as their wedding day.  They were united in ceremonies that morning, in Weyauwega and then drove to Lynn to join the family in a combined celebration with his grandparents’ anniversary.


The above photo shows the activity that went with shopping at the Neillsville’s Hewett Street businesses in 1939-1940.  Notice the recognizable facades and storefronts, which have remained the same, having been cared for through the years.  (Photo courtesy of Bill Roberts’ family collection)



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