Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

October 5, 2005, page 32

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Good Old Days" Articles 




The Good Old Days


Clark County News, October 1880


Hiram Palmer shot a deer, the first of the week, and as of old habits, left it hanging in the woods over night.  Going back for his venison in the morning, he found that a bear had been there during the night and devoured the deer.


The O’Neill Bridge, as work on it progresses, gives evidence that it is not to be a thing of beauty.


The bridge at Wedge’s Creek, on the Hatfield Road, will be completed within the next two weeks.


Bernhardt Tragsdorf returned from his visit to the home of his childhood last Friday, having been absent about three months.  He visited Germany and France during his absence.  His father and mother accompanied him on his return, and will become residents of this county, after visiting friends in Washington County, where they are at present.


Lumbermen have commenced building and repairing camps, preparing for an active campaign in the timber during the coming winter.  Should the season prove favorable, an unusual amount of lumber will be put in on Black River and its tributaries during the winter of 1880-81.


O. P. Wells has purchased the Second Street meat market, from M. Willet.  The meat market is now managed by David R. Brown.  Dave, in years gone by, was well acquainted with that business.  Customers at the shop will find him competent to carve a steak in the best of shape.


Thomas Chadwick took a look at the super-structure of the new O’Neill Creek Bridge last Thursday evening without malice, afterthought or intent to pass upon its merits.  The track on the east side of the bridge at one end not having been completed, while crossing, one side of Tom’s buggy dropped through, throwing him out.  As there was no place stopping short of the ground, Tom went to the bottom.


The past week has been favorable to railroad building.  A crew of eight men shoveled dirt on the railroad project near here, the other day.  They loaded a wagon with dirt in twenty seconds, one day last week.  How is that for shoveling?


A crew of about 50 Indians is working on the construction of the Black River Railroad, between Neillsville and Merrillan.


The Granton Lutheran Church, in the town of Grant, burned to the ground last Saturday night.  The origin of the fire cannot be accounted for.  It was a good building, and its loss is deeply regretted by the community to whose enterprise it was most creditable. 


George W. Prentice and B. F. Brown, of Clark County, were aboard the western bound train that became snowbound at Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. It was the first snowstorm of the season.  George was on his way to Watertown, Dakota, but concluded one blizzard was enough for him for the season.  He took the first train east, returning back here the latter part of last week.


Frank Brown was on his way to his Dakota farm with a lot of stock, which he was obliged to unload at Sleepy Eye and wait for the road to be opened after which he proceeded, to his destination.  Those blizzards take most of the poetry out of life in that part of the far West.


Charles Kurth will hold a cattle fair at Kurth’s Corners, on Wednesday, December 1st and monthly thereafter.  He proposes to make the sale one of the permanent institutions of his town.


The Colby brass band, which was organized during the present year, has made most wonderful progress.  Though some of the boys on the start had never blown a horn, all appear at present to be perfectly proficient and make music that would delight anyone.


There is a piece of road in the town of Beaver, between Darton’s and Unity that is a disgrace to the town and its authorities.  It is in the disguise of a turnpike, and is left open to lure people into trouble.  A common concern for the welfare of the traveling public would lead the authorities to fence up this dangerous mire hole.  The road should have planks or corduroy on it so it will be passable.  It looks so fair on its face that many teams have been fooled into driving on it during the past month.


Two hundred men are needed to work on construction of the Black River Railroad between Neillsville and Merrillan.  Good wages will be paid.  Apply to James Hewett or F. D. Lindsay, Neillsville, or to W. H. H. Cash of Merrillan, Wisconsin.


October 1935


A wave of grief swept over this community Saturday forenoon when it was learned that S. F. Hewett, for many years one of Neillsville’s foremost and best loved citizens, had died suddenly at the Fullerton Lumber Co., yards, where he had been called to do some surveying.  He had reeled up a portion of his steel measuring tape, and had stooped to pull up a stake, when he fell forward.  The men working near him rushed to his side, but found that he had passed away almost instantly.  He had had heart trouble for some time past, so it is presumed that this was the cause of his death.  He had reached the age of 70 years, one month and one day.


Sherman Frank Hewett was born in Augusta, Wis., Sept. 4, 1865, his mother at that time being there temporarily with her parents.  His father was the late James Hewett, pioneer lumberman, merchant and business promoter of Neillsville and vicinity.


Frank, as he was familiarly called, grew up here, attended Neillsville schools and early began to take a part in some of his father’s business activities.  At the age of 15, he started to join surveying parties running out the lines of his father’s timberlands.  Under the training of the surveyors employed, he soon became an expert in the science of surveying.  It was a work that he followed to some extent all the rest of his life. 


He took over the Hewett home farm in the Neillsville city limits, which had been his boyhood home.  He carried on farming until his death, developing a fine herd of Guernsey cattle in which he took a great interest.


At the time of the Klondike gold rush in the summer of 1897, he joined a party of Neillsville men going into Alaska, and spent 13 months in the far north.  Although suffering from an injury to his knee that greatly handicapped him, he carried his hundred-pound pack over the icy trail with no word of complaint.  His skill as a boats-man, gained by early experience on the Black River and its tributaries, made it possible for him and Hi Hart, also in the party, to run a boat laden with their supplies down the dangerous White Horse Rapids, a feat none of the rest of the travelers dared to attempt.


On his return, he again devoted his attention to his farm, and the surveying.  In 1909, he was elected Clark County Surveyor, an office to which he was re-elected term after term, and which he filled with general satisfaction until he died.


A number of years ago, he served several terms as Neillsville City Treasurer.  In 1923, he was appointed alderman to fill a vacancy and was elected for another term.  In all of these public offices, he served with efficiency and fairness to all.



Frank Hewett and his wife, Blanche (Robinson) Hewett were well known Neillsville residents.  Their parents were early pioneers of Clark County and the city of Neillsville.  Frank served as the county’s surveyor for many years.  He also maintained the Hewett homestead and farm, which was located on the present property of St. John’s Lutheran Church.  The beautiful Hewett home was destroyed by fire in the late 1940s.  (Photo courtesy of Bill Robert’s family collection)


On Dec. 19, 1887, he was married to Miss Blanche Robinson of Neillsville, who with their daughter, Helen, survives him.  For many years, he has been a member of the Masonic Lodge and the Neillsville Commandery.


No man in Clark County had more friends or commanded more universal respect than Frank Hewett.  Born in pioneer times and growing up amidst the surrounding of a lumbering region, he was at all times and in all circumstances a true gentleman.  Quiet in manner, and never seeking to secure publicity, through all his life he sought to do kindly deeds and help in an unobtrusive manner all who needed or deserved aid.  In his home, his constant thought was for the welfare of his wife and daughter.  Although gentle in manner, he stood firmly for right and justice, and never lacked the courage of his convictions.  By his death, his family and this community have lost a brave and upright man.


Masonic funeral services were held at the Hewett home, Tuesday afternoon.  Rev. G. W. Longenecker, also took part in the ceremonies.


A force of about eight men began work Wednesday on the dam at the head-waters of Goose Creek, which runs across the city of Neillsville.  The purpose of the dam will be to control floodwaters.  It is a WPA project and is to be done largely by relief labor.


Mr. Herbert Filitz, son of Mrs. Otto Filitz, of Levis, and Miss Mary Bricken, R. N., of Minneapolis were quietly married Tuesday evening at the home of Rev. E. H. Vornholtz, who officiated.


A man of fine character, Mr. Filitz will carry on the home farm.  The bride came here from Missouri and was employed as a nurse at the hospital and by Dr. Housley.  A few months ago, she got a fine position at the Veterans Hospital in Minneapolis.  She is a young lady of the highest qualities.


Last week the old Times building, owned by the Telephone Company, was torn down with the expectation of sometime later erecting a new one in its place.


The old structure was probably put up by L. B. Ring, who purchased the lot in July 1883.  At that time, he published the True Republican, which was merged with the Neillsville Times in 1887.  With the exception of short interims, Mr. Ring published the Times in this building until 1906.  Then the Times was leased to McGillvary and then sold to L. Williamson, who continued to use the building for several years, before moving to the present Press building.  Later, the place was occupied by Mrs. Bruley’s millinery shop and for other purposes at different times.


A new Fullerton Lumber Company building, which is in progress, will be one of the finest improvements to Neillsville of recent years.  It will cover 130 feet by 100 feet over all.  The front of the building will be along Grand Avenue, extending from Fourth Street to the Armory Alley.  The main center part will be 32 feet wide and two stories high, flanked with wings of one story.  Doors on each side of the main building will open into driveways 22 feet wide.  The office will be in the south wing.


H. M. Knipfel, former Clark County Agent, and now field manager for the Farm Credit Administration, while in Marathon County recently, stated he is “satisfied the government is setting up the National Farm Loan Banks and other loan agencies, does not intend that farmers lose their farms.”


“He explained that the Federal Farm Credit Administration’s whole purpose is to set up a permanent cooperative credit source and as to whether the whole system works out as intended will depend upon the acceptance of the responsibility by the members and the directors of each individual farm loan association,” he asserted.


Captain Peterson, who has charge of certain activities in a number of CCC camps and is now spending some weeks at the Globe and Fairchild camps, gave an interesting talk to Kiwanians Monday noon.


Capt. Peterson is an Army Captain with overseas experience as a chaplain and is a Lutheran minister.  His work with the young men in the CCC camps, so he states, is of three-fold nature: 1—Religious; 2—Athletics: 3—Entertainments.  In the first field, he seeks to promote attendance at some religious service each week, either Catholic or Protestant. Under entertainments, he tries to provide programs of music, singing, orchestras, bands, plays, and readings.  In athletics; he promotes boxing, baseball, football, basketball and such sports.


Capt. Peterson gave a resume of the principal work being done by the CCC enrollees in his district, largely reforestration, (reforestation), fire lane building and soil erosion work.  But most important of all, the speaker stated, is the building of men; in physical, mental and moral lines.  Many of the young men come with very limited education, and every effort is made to help them progress intellectually.


F. R. Usher, Educational Director of the Globe and Fairchild CCC camps, wishes to get books to add to the camps libraries.  It is quite probable that many area readers have old books, which they will be willing to contribute to these libraries.  The government funds for the purpose are quite limited.


Mr. Usher states that there are many educational projects being carried on at the camps.  In addition to English, reading and such subjects, the boys who wish may take up forestry, typing, commercial courses, leather work, wood work and auto mechanics.


About 100 young men, of Clark County, passed their physical examinations at the courthouse Wednesday.  They were then accepted for entry into CCC camps.  The boys will be assigned to camps throughout the state.


There will be a Grand Opening at Andy’s Handy Cash Grocery & Texaco Gas, Friday and Saturday.


For these two big days, they will have fresh pork at rock bottom prices.


Other weekend specials are: Kellogg Corn Flakes, 9¢ per pkg.; Bologna, 2 lbs. for 25¢; No. 3 Sweet Peas, 9¢ per can; Hershey’s Baking Chocolate, 9¢ per bar; Size 288 Oranges, 18¢ per dozen; Excell Crackers, 2 lb. box 19¢.  COD deliveries.


Gust Peterson, Irma, Wis., believes that he caught the biggest fish taken in Wisconsin this year.  His Muskie caught on Oct. 10, weighed 52 pounds and measured 57 inches.  He has an affidavit to prove it.  The fish was caught in Sand Lake in the Lac Du Flambeau district.


Three blacklisted men appeared before the city council Tuesday night and requested that their names be withdrawn from the list.  The matter was taken under advisement.  Chief of Police, Fred Rossman reported that there are 90 persons on the liquor blacklist in the city.



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