Clark County Press, Neillsville,

November 23, 2005, Page 17

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 



Compiled by Dee Zimmerman



Clark County News

November 1895


Mr. Donihue, of Columbia, has discovered a new method of salting down fresh meat.  Those wishing to acquaint them-selves with the method may do so by inquiring of him.  He has no thought of having it patented.


Fairchild’s recent fire destroyed every village record, including the assessment roll, as well as the new organization, new ordinances, and such.  These must all be enacted.  Heavens!  Must a man be born again if he loses his hat?


Since bicycling has become so popular, the sly peek at a lady’s ankle has ceased to be a novelty.  One doesn’t need to be sly, nor does he need to peek even.


An inventor has built a motor-bicycle that makes a mile a minute over ordinary roads.  It ran a trial mile the other day in 58 ½ seconds!  But while he is breaking the record, let him think of his neck.


J. W. Page has been spending a few days with Thorp friends, hunting deer, in Taylor County.  He killed as many deer as he cared to, having fine luck.  The Neillsville Times acknowledges the receipt of a fine venison roast.


A woman with a new job has drifted into the lumber woods and mining camps of northern Minnesota.  She boarded a train on the Duluth, Mississippi River & Northern at Swan River, wearing an air of independence that attracted nearly everyone in the car. She was a solid substantial woman with an evident abundance of energy.  She wore a skirt and a neat fitting coat and vest.  At every camp, where the train stopped, she would rush to the door and it was a handshake with “Jack,” or a “Hello Jim,” and a wave of her hand to “Pete.”  The lumberjacks all seemed to know her.  Every one of them had something to say to her and her to them.  She was a hospital agent.  Her husband runs a hospital in a town in northern Minnesota and she sells tickets. Two years ago, when hard times came on, it became “hard sleddin” for their hospital.  This woman had two daughters attending school in Chicago.  It was either a case of bringing them home or for her to get out and hustle, so hustle she did.


The brickwork on the beautiful new Lloyd house is finished except for about 1,000 brick.  The workmen need about that many brick to finish the job; but the extra brick should be here in a few days.  Plasterers are at work putting on adamant.


If there is one thing that the citizen of Neillsville is proud of, and points out to strangers as he returns home from a visit away with satisfaction, it is that great bee-hive of industry, the Neillsville Furniture Factory.  Especially, it is a sight to behold after dark, when lighted up by hundreds of electric lights throughout the four immense stories.  It scintillates, pulsates, throbs, glistening from end to end and top to bottom.  The movements of the men and machinery give it an almost superhuman appearance, as can be seen from long distances away by passers-by.


In addition, we have the big Hein stave and heading mill, the prosperous spoke mill of Emery Bruley, and a washboard factory known from one end of the Northwest to the other.  There are also other industrial institutions, enough to satisfy the pride of many a town larger than Neillsville.


Jesse Lowe is arranging to remodel the front of his present place of business, the old meat market building.  He plans to raise the roof of his building to a level with that of the building now occupied by H. Enckhausen & Co.  Press bricked will be used in the remodeling project.


If there is one plain duty of the average citizen, it is to obey the law; and if there is one paramount duty for public officials, it is to enforce the law; thus says Theodore Roosevelt, as he tosses about on the surface of the sea of corruption in New York City.


L. B. Ring is prepared to deliver Ross Eddy sand anywhere in the city of Neillsville or surrounding country.  If you are going to build in the spring, now is the time to get your sand hauled, before it freezes as solid as a rock, or is covered by the spring freshets.


It is the season for fresh oysters and they can be purchased at Sol Jaseph’s store.  He also has fresh rye and wheat bread as well as cakes every day of the week.


J. W. Hommel’s horse ran away yesterday morning, smashing the buggy he was hooked up to, but no one was injured.



November 1955


The Griffith School, district, No. 3 Town of Sherman, has been dissolved and the area has been joined to the Spokeville district, Joint One, Towns of Sherman and Loyal.


This action was taken by the Clark County School Committee Tuesday evening, November 1, after a public hearing, held at the Griffith School.


At the meeting no opposition appeared.  Questions were asked, especially about the prospective taxes under the merger.  County Superintendent Leonard Morley wrote cost figures on the blackboard.


The two districts are Adjacent and the Spokeville School offered to the Griffith District the advantage of a building recently improved.


The first Elk dinner to be provided here for the public, in a quarter century or more, will be given by the Wilson-Heintz post, No. 2241, Veterans of Foreign Wars, at their hall on November 16.


The elk is being secured through the conservation department of North Dakota.  Tickets are now being sold by members of the veterans’ organization.


The customers of William Hughes, old-time blacksmith at Kurth Corners, frequently ate a meal of Mother Hughes’ cooking, thrown in with a 15-cent job done at the smith.  Needing a link welded in a chain or some similar small service, they were present when the summons came for Bill to come, as it was mealtime.  So, as a matter of course, Bill invited his customer to eat, and Mother Hughes put on another plate.  One, more or less, did not make much difference.  She usually put on at least eleven.


This hospitality of the early days was recalled Sunday, November 13 when the five Hughes brothers: Daniel P. of Menomonie, John J. of Chippewa Falls, Archibald Francis of Lloydminster, Alberta, Michael L. of Lloydminster and James E. of Kurth Corners, foregathered at the old Hughes farm, just north of Kurth Corners.  They told about the old days, when Kurth Corners was a busy spot, with the Kurth tavern doing a steady business on the southeast corner of the intersection and the Hughes blacksmith shop doing the same diagonally across the way.  The Hughes blacksmith shop did a job in hard goods, but the Kurth saloon, important adjunct of the hotel, mainly dealt in soft goods.  It was quite obvious that there needed to be a balance, and the Hughes customers kept a path beaten diagonally across the way.  Thus, the hard and the soft became mingled, and at times the soft was a little hard.


The Hughes boys, five of seven still living and two gone, counting a half brother, secured a rounded education.  At the smithy, they learned how to do things with iron, especially the things that needed to be done to horses and oxen.  Of them all, Michael profited most from this branch of learning, for he, becoming a rancher at Lloydminster, Alberta, still shoes a horse occasionally.  He learned in his father’s smithy how to drive the nails through the horse’s foot and how to clinch them and cut off the sharp end.  All of the boys had a smattering of this, and all of them took a hand at the other chores around the shop.  If no other duty beckoned, there was always the fly switch, which, in hot weather, needed to be flitted about to keep the flies away.  This switching was commonly allotted to the owner of the horse, to compensate his animal for the manner in which his own tail, the natural weapon, was put out of action for the blacksmith’s comfort. But sometimes the owner took the southeast path, and, in his absence, a small Hughes boy could wield the switch.


Then there were the bellows to be blown, with their long arm reaching out, and occasionally a restless horse, upon whose upper lip tongs needed to be pinched, to keep the animal thinking about something else instead of what the blacksmith is doing to him.


The boys cannot remember that the tongs did much else to the horse than to divert him.  He may not have enjoyed it, but he did not groan, as did the oxen when pulled up in the sling, which Bill Hughes provided for them.  This sling was operated by means of ropes run through a pulley attachment to a rafter above.  By means of the sling the ox was hoisted a little distance from the floor, and thus he was deprived of the means that would enable him to vent his meanness upon the blacksmith.  This may have been good for Bill Hughes but the oxen groaned in their discomfort.


The only Hughes boy who took much to the smithy job was Michael. The farm, owned by Mrs. Hughes, was mostly the other boys’ dish.  The farm was an important sideline for the Hughes family, mostly timber at first, but gradually coming under the plow as the Hughes boys cleared the land.  To provide or the eleven members of the family and the steady stream of customer-guests, the Hughes boys were nursemaids to six or eight cows, a few hogs and an assortment of chickens.  These provided importantly but hogs were the only livestock, which were a year-around basis of production.  The cows and the hens quit business when winter settled down.  The food necessary to production was lacking, and winter dairying was a thing then unknown in these parts.


But in open weather Mother Hughes had put down in a large crock, a great store of butter, had flooded it with the strongest salt brine, and covered it with an inverted plate, upon which was a stone to press it firmly down.  From this rich store, butter of splendid quality was drawn for the Hughes cooking and table.  And not far away was the barrel containing the maple syrup, partially sugared to which the Hughes boys went willingly when sent, or when they volunteered.  The cellar also contained a large store of potatoes, beets, cabbage and “beggies,” as everybody then called rutabagas.


Daniel P. Hughes said Sunday evening that their parents gave them a wonderful start in life with sound minds, sound bodies, and a respect for old persons and regard for religion.  They were taught the value of work, and they worked hard, in their youth, for 50c a day.  Their religion, they absorbed at home and at St. Mary’s school, to and from which they went on foot, six miles each way, a total of 12 miles per day.  The high school was not quite so far, 10 miles a day.  With this daily walk contributed by them selves, the Hughes boys set a correspondingly high estimate upon their schooling.


Discipline, in school and out, was learned from the first.  John recalled how he absorbed some of it when too small to be a regular customer at Kurth School, but present as a visitor.  He did not conform to the satisfaction of the teacher, then Spence Marsh, and received no consideration because of his status as a visitor; Mr. Marsh gave him a shaking. When the story of this episode reached the ears of the elder Hughes, John got more than a shaking.  It was the rule of Bill Hughes that he backed the teacher.  If the boy got spanked at school, he got another at home.  There was just no use in trying to seek sympathy at home.


The Hughes family had lived in two different residences at Kurth Corners.  They first lived on the west side of the road, where James was born.  The other boys were born in the latter home on the east side of the road.  Both houses have now disappeared, but on the east side, a silo stands upon the home site.


The boys recalled the sight of a hermit of early days, named Dart.  He lived off in the woods, in the vicinity of the East Fork, of Black River.  In the woods, he trapped bears, getting them alive, with honey as bait.  Dart caught the bears alive in the summer, transferred them to pens and fed them corn and acorns to fatten them.  He butchered them when cold weather came and sold the meat and pelts.  The boys used to see him pass occasionally, enroute to Neillsville with his burden of bear.  Bears were not uncommon, even in the vicinity of Kurth Corners, coming up that way in a search for berries.  The women feared them. 


Bill Hughes, the blacksmith, died in 1908.  He had accumulated upon his books some $3,000 of credit, which had been extended to his customers along with the free meals.  He had never had time to be a good collector.  In his retirement, he had the time to collect, but he did not make much of a success at it.  He learned that a blacksmith after retirement had lost his opportunity to collect as well as his ability to serve.  The bills of a retired blacksmith, it turned out, were as hard to collect as the bills of a dead doctor.


With the years gathering upon them, the Hughes boys see one another with increasing frequency. The oldest of them, James E., is 81.  He and his wife spend the summers on the old place, just north of Kurth Corners, with their son, Don.  In the winter they live with another of their children at Lorain, Ohio.  Daniel P., now 76, resides in retirement at Menomonie.  His is the only brother to dodge the farm.  He was a teacher and agriculture agent; having once taught in Neillsville.  John J., 74, now lives at Chippewa Falls. He was once a rancher in Montana.  Michael, 72, and Archibald, 70, both ranchers reside at Lloydminster, Alberta, Canada.  There is also a sister Margaret, who resides at Calgary, but she was not present at the reunion on Sunday.


Wisconsin Trivia

Q. What Milwaukee high school did Oprah Winfrey attend?

A. Nicolet




The Clark County courthouse and jail buildings as they appeared on the county’s one block square lot, in 1905.  Notice the Lady Justice statue on top of the courthouse’s hexagon shaped dome.  Clark County’s second courthouse was built in 1879 for the cost of $35,000, serving local county government until 1965 when a new facility was built.  (Photo courtesy of Bill Roberts’ family collection)



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