Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

October 26, 2005, Page 20

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Good Old Days" Articles 





Clark County News

October 1875


The Corner Grocery has ceased to exist.  Mr. Kountz has sold his entire stock of groceries to Hewett & Woods, and is now retired from the business. 


A number of hunters report an abundance of game in the woods this fall.  All lovers of bear steak and venison are anticipating more than the usual amount to be gotten as they enjoy the sport of hunting.


Mr. Emery Bruley, of this village, has invented and patented an instrument for cutting washers, gun wads, and such things from leather, rubber, pasteboard or whatever is desired.  Such inventions must prove a great value to all using machinery to any extent.  Washers for buggies, wagons or for any purpose for which they can be used, can be made of old boot tops or scraps of leather of any kind.


The machine consists of two knives working in a shaft made to fit the ordinary brace used by carpenters.  It works on the principle of cutting circular punch holes.  There is no chance for it to get out of repair or give out from use.  No farmer, mechanic or sportsman can afford to be without one.


Messrs. Muir & Nelson, of the Town of Weston, are manufacturing and have on hand a superior lot of pork and flour barrels.  They will offer their trade here, and adjoining counties, at very low prices.  Samples of their work can be seen at Dickinson’s store, in this village, where any information relating to their business can be obtained.  Aside from the article enumerated above, they manufacture everything in their line of business.


Last Saturday, October 9th, we were favored with the first snowstorm that has visited us since last June.  Snow flew for several hours, and continued in sight during the day.  It was a forcible reminder to the boys who once wore the “blue” of winter spent under the canvas during the war in the South.


The brickwork on the Presbyterian Church is nearly completed.  It is the finest-looking church building in the state, outside of the larger towns and villages.


A Division of the Sons of Temperance was organized, in this village, last Thursday night by Rev. H. D. Jencks.


Last Sunday night, E. H. Livermore, an officer from Eau Claire County put up at the O’Neill House, having in charge a man named R. Cummings, whom he attended for stealing a horse.  The horse was stolen at or near Augusta, and found in possession of the prisoner somewhere in the Northern part of the county.  They passed the night at the O’Neill House and on Monday morning started for their place of destination.  There is no doubt but what Cummings will retire from active life for a few years as soon as he has an opportunity of conferring with twelve of his fellow citizens in relation to the impropriety of his conduct in the matter of theft that is in question.


Blakeslee’s new store building is now nearly completed.  It will be one of the best stores of the town.  Soon, it will be filled with as good of a stock of goods as was ever offered to the trade in Neillsville.


The question as to where Thanksgiving shall be spent might as well be settled at one time as another.  Ren Halstead has already commenced to prepare for that occasion.  He says he is going to make it lively and interesting for all who can thankfully appreciate a good thing.  A dance and supper is his usual method of giving thanks.


Last Sunday, two men from Merrillan came here with a team they had procured at Humbird.  They were on a bit of a spree.  On their way back home, not far from here, they met a boy having a gun in his possession.  They took the gun from him, carrying it away with them.  The boy reported the matter to the authorities, and a warrant was issued for their arrest. 


Deputy Sheriff McIntyre followed the fellows to Merrillan, but failed to find them.  After his return, he received a dispatch from certain parties residing at Merrillan, that the guilty parties were anxious to return the stolen property and pay all costs if the matter could be settled on those terms.  There are few criminals who would not settle on such terms after being apprehended.


The question is whether the property would have been returned had no steps been taken to bring them to justice.


Canned fruits are sold cheaper at the Neillsville Bakery, two doors south of the O’Neill House.  Peaches are 25 cents a can.


October 1955


The old Ghent building, on the north bank of O’Neill Creek, has been bought by J. C. Moen and his son, Ray Moen.  They are making some improvements now, and intend to make further and extensive changes later.  They will occupy it for a cabinet shop, which has been housed elsewhere.


This building is one of the historic structures of Neillsville, dating back 60 years or more ago.  It was long known for the sturdy wagons and sleighs, which were made there, marketed in the Dakotas and even occasionally farther west.  Manufacturing there was established prior to the modern assembly lines.  Small factories were then the rule, and the old Ghent plant, as it was later called, was highly in order when it mixed its production of wagons and sleighs with horseshoeing and general blacksmithing.


The building was originally constructed by three partners; Anton Barton, Fred Wolf and Herman Korman.  That partnership started the operation, and the three men remained together until Mr. Barton’s death.  Some time later Mr. Wold, whose home had been on the site of the present Frank Simek house, went to Montana.  Later Henry Ghent came into the business, first as a partner of Mr. Korman and later as an individual owner and operator.  Mr. Ghent died a few years ago, but in his last years, the business had departed.  For some years the building was occupied by Ray Paulson.  He used the facility for an implement warehouse and a salesroom.  It has now been used by the Neillsville Heating & Sheet Metal, which will continue as tenants.


The only representative of the Korman family, now in Neillsville, is Mrs. Susie Thoma, who resides with her daughter, Mrs. Claude Ayers at 712 W. Fourth Street.  Originally, there were eight children in the Herman Korman family, of whom six are now living.  All except Mrs. Thoma left Neillsville long ago.


All of the partners in this old business have gone to their reward, as have most of the men who worked for them.  Among the few survivors is LeRoy Allen of 1111 Willow Street, Neillsville.  He recalls that he went to that concern after the destruction of the old furniture factory, which he places in 1910, to the best of recollection.  He had worked in the factory, which burned, as he recalls, on June 5.  He went to work at the Wolf & Korman, shortly after, on July 22.


At that time, Fred Wolf was what was then known as the “work butcher.”  He had charge of the wood-working.  His son, Ed was a blacksmith.  Mr. Korman was a machinist.  The number of employees at that time, Mr. Allen reckons as having been 12 or 13.


Mr. Allen recalls that Fred Wolf sold his interest to William Somerfeld, who in turn, sold to Henry Ghent.


Mr. Allen worked for the partners about nine years, and then went into the service in World War I.  When he returned, he set up his own business upon the present site of the B & F Plant.  He also made vehicles, and says that there was a market for them, even after World War I.  That kind of manufacturing was then on its last legs, yielding to the competition of the assembly line and the Division of Labor.


Miss Eunice Richardson, a new teacher at the Benjamin School, has things just as she wants them.  She takes 15 or 20 steps into the schoolhouse and the same back again.  Her new trailer has everything, including a practical bathtub, water and sewer, electricity, radio, television and a little dog. 


Miss Richardson’s arrangement is unique, so far as is known to Clark County Superintendent of Schools, Leonard Morley.  Certainly no other rural school teacher in the county has her home in a trailer right on the school grounds.


This arrangement was perfected not without difficulty, for no teacher and no school board have gone through quite the same negotiations.  But Miss Richardson was proceeding from a real need.  Her mother, Mrs. Evaline Richardson, is 81 years of age, has her share of the ills of age and is in need of the continuous watch and help of her daughter.  Mrs. Richardson’s needs were recognized by the school board, so the unusual provision was made, with the large new trailer standing precisely in front of the refurbished school building.


Miss Richardson makes good use of her proximity to her mother.  Confined closely to her work in the schoolhouse, she occasionally sends one of the children to make sure that her mother is all right.  And her mother, who prepares the evening meals, sends the dog ‘Tiny’ to let her daughter know that it is time to come and get it.


Miss Richardson has experienced difficulty heretofore in locating exactly as she wants to be.  She looks upon the present arrangement as promising.  This is her fifth trailer, each one larger and more complete than its predecessor.  The present trailer, absolutely new, is 41 feet long.


Miss Richardson and her mother began to live in trailers in 1944.  That was the second year after the death of the head of the family, Louis Richardson, who was a physician.  The senior Richardson’s had spent their active life in Nebraska.  They made a visiting trip to Wisconsin, fell in love with the state and moved to Jump River in 1932.  Dr. Richardson intended then to retire, but his neighbors would not let him.  So he continued to work until his death in 1942.  During his active years, Mrs. Richardson was his office nurse and constant helper.


The daughter, Eunice, a grade teacher both in village and rural schools, took her mother with her.  They lived in trailers, liked them and graduated from one to the other. Their present trailer is commodious, providing ample space for their needs.


The location is not only convenient for both, but is highly pleasing to Evaline Richardson, the mother, who loves children and enjoys them.  As the children line up to enter the school building, they look through the window and wave to Mother Richardson.


Mrs. Richardson celebrated her birthday, September 23.  All of the pupils visited her in a body, 28 of them filling the trailer close to capacity.  They sang Happy Birthday, to the great pleasure of Mrs. Richardson and of themselves. 


Miss Richardson, working as a grade teacher, has studied through the years.  In 1949, she obtained the bachelor-of-science degree at Eau Claire State.  She is one of the few degree teachers in this area who spends her life upon children of grade age.  At Benjamin, she teaches all eight grades, with 28 kids.


Mr. and Mrs. Art Wegner, of the Town of Seif, observed their 40th Wedding Anniversary Friday evening.  They and their guests played cards.


Patsy, age 11, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Leo Pflughoeft of Route 1 was injured Sunday forenoon when she lost control of her bicycle as she hit loose gravel.  She was thrown from her bike, landing face down in the gravel.  She was taken to the Memorial Hospital, where she is receiving care for severe facial cuts and bruises.


Gordon wolf, as it turns out, is more than the Thorp druggist.  He is a numismatist, too.  That is a mouthful of a word, but it means a person who collects, treasures and studies pieces of money.  Upon that score, “Gordie” Wolf qualifies, as well as on the score of running a drug store with a history of 50 years behind it.  The business, founded by his father, the late Charles W. Wolf, has reached the end of its first half century.


Mr. Wolf’s collection began when his father gave him a $2.50 gold piece as a Christmas bonus.  This coin, and 1870-S, known as a quarter eagle was the spur that prompted its new owner to beg still another rarity from his father, an 1857 “white cent.”


Gordie’s collection, which now numbers more than a thousand coins, was given its largest boost when a transient peddler sold him 25 large copper pennies for a dollar.  The ‘newest” copper in that assortment was coined in 1856 and the oldest in 1801.


What is unique about the collection is the fact that practically every coin was purchased at face value and most of them came from friends and neighbors within a 15 mile radius of Thorp.  However, some travelers and fellow pharmacists have added their bit, and, occasionally, a new addition will turn up in the cash register.


Gordie has in his possession, with two exceptions, specimens of every penny issued since 1826, as well as every coin denomination, which has been issued since coining operations began in the United States in 1873.  The coins include the familiar nickel, dime and quarter used today and also the half-cent and the two, three, and 20-cent pieces which are now passé.


A formal request for the paving of Hewett Street from Fourth to O’Neill Creek was voted by the city council Tuesday evening.  The request was addressed to the State Highway Department, and was for the improvement to be made in 1956.


The request was voted after the council listened to a presentation made by planning and designing engineer A. E. Blunt, of the Eau Claire office of the State Highway Department.  Mr. Blunt indicated that the project probably would not be authorized for 1956, but that the application would put it in line for execution in 1957.


Al Cowles Saloon was located in Neillsville at about 1900. The bar rail with spittoons lined up along the side of it, help depict the era.



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