Clark County Press, Neillsville,

January 12, 2005, Page 14

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 



Compiled by Dee Zimmerman



Clark County News

January 1895


The citizens of Columbia have had it in mind for some time that they were too much of a community to be without a newspaper. This felling has resulted in the establishment of the Columbia Gazette, which makes its appearance today.  Jas. A. Phillips is the editor and proprietor and bids fair to put the Gazette into the front rank of journalism of Wisconsin.


The Clark County Bank is issuing, to the patrons of that popular institution, a new design of folding pocket checkbook, which is neat and handy.


The indications for the growth of Neillsville, the coming year, are already promising.  It is certain that real estate values here are holding steady and solid as a rock.  The notable real estate improvement made by the building of the Esch Taylor block, two doors from the Times office and removal of the post office thereto, this week, is marked as an advancement.  The move southward from the Gibraltar of Fifth and Sixth streets, filling up this section of Hewett Street with business blocks is but a question of a short time.  Other sections of the city are likewise advancing.  Our big furniture factory cleared $13,000 during the past year, in spite of hard times and starts the New Year with the brightest prospects.  The hopes for a new railway connection are by no means surface indications and will ripen into successful action at the right time.


Charley Cornelius gave a birthday party to a company of friends. There is “silver threads among the gold” on Charley’s top-knot, but he proposes to keep to the gold standard as long as possible.  These jolly parties will help to do it.


The news from the community of Unity reports the snowstorm, on Saturday, left them with a foot of snow, which enables everyone to keep busy.  The weather did away with a surprise party in the vicinity, which was rather disappointing to the young folks, but the elders did not feel that way.


Miss Newman, who has been working in Thorp for some time came to visit her sister, Mrs. Chas. Mollie.  Mollie’s infant son has been sick for sometime, but is reported to be a little better now.


It would take at least a page of this newspaper to do justice to the Friday night concert that was given at the Visgar Church.  A large number of people turned out, notwithstanding the fearful weather.  The Neillsville Band Boys, although a little late, got there just the same.  Every single number on the program was a gem, without question.  The way Gus Reineking blew wind into one end of that horn of his and made music come out of the other end was a caution.  Miss Millie Door and those who helped to get the program organized deserve special mention and praise.  The door tender, Pease, took in over seven dollars in admission for the evening of music.  (The Visgar Church was located about six miles northeast of Neillsville. D. Z.)


An appeal is being sent out from Cranberry Center, a station on the Northwestern Railroad, for the relief of families of owners of cranberry marshes, which were destroyed by forest fires last fall.  The owners of those cranberry marshes, were a few years ago, well-to-do.  But now they have been, by the failure of crops and the loss of marshes and buildings, reduced to poverty and are now destitute.  A cold winter is upon them so they are now hungry and unclothed.


The territory burned is in the counties of Juneau, Monroe, Jackson and Wood, extending from Valley Junction to Grand Rapids, a distance of about 40 miles by seven miles wide.  It includes the best marshes in the State, lands that were formerly worth $100 an acre.


Many of the marshes are rendered entirely worthless, as acres of the mucky soil were reduced to ashes.  In 1893, 10,000 barrels of cranberries were shipped from Cranberry Center, while this year the total number shipped was only 115.


Sigmund Meyers, of Chicago, buyer for the Great Northern Wool and Fur Co., was in town this week.  Sigmund is now 29 years old, a staid man of affairs, who can make the fur fly in his line of business.  He used to do chores for Sho Hammel, 11 years ago, when he was living here.  He is also remembered as the brave boy who stopped Dewett Hart’s team-drawn bus when it was full of passengers, with the driver inside, rushing to catch a train.  H thought the team was running away.


January 1945


Clark County held its own in dairy production during 1944, producing 455,000,000 pounds of milk.


A partial list of dairy products for the year of 1944 is as follows:


Butter, 3,500,000 lbs; American cheese, 28,000,000 lbs; Evaporated milk, 50,000,000 lbs; Powdered milk, 3,000,000 lbs; Other cheese, 800,000 lbs.  This estimate is a partial listing and does not attempt to consider a large element of the county’s production, figures for which are not available.


The Story of the Year, of 1944, was the coming of Jos. Weidenhoff, Inc. to Neillsville.  This has meant the acquiring of a promising industrial plant for the county seat and an enlarged opportunity of employment in southern Clark County.  Also it is likely to mean a very definite step in solving the problem of the postwar future of the Neillsville community.


The Weidenhoff concern selected Neillsville in the summer of 1944, after an extended hunt for a location and after a careful survey of the advantages of Neillsville. The selection was originally made in the belief that labor could be obtained locally in sufficient amount, that a satisfactory building cold be obtained here upon reasonable terms and that cooperation could be found in the community.


In the four months since the opening, the operations have been gradually stepped up to a maximum of 52 employees.  The company is finding that it can obtain the needed help, even now, when labor generally is short.  The old Inderrieden plant has been remodeled and is regarded by the management to have been satisfactory in all major respects. Right now the only serious obstacle is the difficulty of obtaining material, which is a real problem and which has not been eased by the intensity of recent military operations.


The products of the Weidenhoff plant, here, are all for use in connection with the electrical installations on automotive equipment. They consist of a rapid battery charger and various gadgets used in detecting flaws and breaks in electrical parts and connections. For instance there is a little gadget, which is used for testing the timing of the explosions in the cylinders of motors. This is so constructed that it lights for an instant when the spark is produced in the cylinder. The light will fall upon the mark on the flywheel and the appearance will be as though the flywheel is standing still.  Hence the effect obtained is that, if the timing is correct, the eye is deceived and registers to the brain the claim that the flywheel is not moving. Thus, this gadget is built on the principle of an optical illusion.


Then, there is the “growler.”  That is a gadget used for determining whether armatures are in proper condition.


The factory, known as Jos. Weidenhoff, Inc., is a branch of the main plant in Chicago.  Mr. Yenni is the manger here.  The president of the company is Earl N. Webber of Chicago.  Chairman of the board is R. Hosken Damon, who visited Neillsville at the time of the plant’s opening.


Pvt. Roy West, son of George West of Pleasant Ridge, arrived January 2 from Ft. Sheridan, Ill., having just returned from New Guinea, where he served with the 128th Infantry, 32nd Division since May 1942.  Pvt. West left Neillsville with the service company in 1940.  While here, he is staying on the home farm with his sister, Mrs. Joe Kernz and her family.  He will leave January 18 for a few days visit with a sister, Mrs. Wilbur Smith, in Milwaukee, after which he is to report to Miami Beach, Fla., for reassignment.  Pvt. West says it is sure good to be at home once more.


Major Donald Acker has been spending some time with his relatives in Clark County.  He is recovering from the effects of a wound, which he suffered when inspecting a German ammunition dump outside Paris.  He is in the Intelligence service of the Third Army, commanded by General Patton.  Major Acker is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter H. Acker of Greenwood.


Frank Sturgeon, of Neillsville, has been working for several weeks as an insulator on the Pemiscott, one of the three U. S. Maritime cargo vessels, one of which has just made the historic midwinter trip through the ice-bound upper Great Lakes, from the shipyards at Superior. At the completion of these ships, the men were given a week’s vacation and Mr. Sturgeon came home to spend the time with his family.  He left Saturday to resume his work in the Duluth-Superior shipyards.


The Dickey property is now in the legal possession of the Neillsville School District.  The transaction was concluded a few days ago when C. R. Sturdevant, clerk of the board, drew an order for the funds, signed it with David E. Thayer and made delivery to William A. Campman.  He then received the deed.


The completion of this purchase had taken some time, chiefly because of the necessity of adjusting heir-ship interests.  The years have brought changes to the Dickey family, including the death of Mary A. Dickey, the mother; Edgar Dickey, one of the two sons and Blanche Dickey, who once taught the first and second grades in the public schools here.


Surviving of the family formerly living here are Marion Dickey, who taught the seventh and eighth grades and Chauncey Dickey, a brother.  These two signed the deed and also Marion E. Dickey, a son of Edgar.


The passing of this deed is an historic occasion, for it marks the first transfer of this property since May 15, 1865.  It was upon that date that Mary A. Dickey, the mother, bought the land from James O’Neill.  Since that time, the Dickey family has resolutely held out against efforts to get them to part with this land. Various persons have tried to buy it, but they would not sell; not until there was a prospect that the land could be used for a new high school.  That project appealed to Blanche and Marion Dickey, former teachers and they promptly gave their consent.  The deliberation of the subsequent proceedings has been necessitated by the legal situation and not at all by the Dickeys, who have proceeded steadily in their purpose to get the property into the hands of the school district.  The consideration, $1,500 was a modest valuation for the approximately 15 acres, which is perhaps the most attractive and the best situated vacant piece of land in the residential area of Neillsville.


The Dickeys have been gone from Neillsville for many years, but their retention of the land was supposed to speak for the intention to return some day and to build upon it.  The old Dickey home, a small frame house, is in ruins now, but it still commands the one best view from Neillsville with the Neillsville Mounds to the northwest and the broad sweep of the golf course and the fair grounds to the southeast.  This little frame house is close to the highest spot upon the site; close to the spot upon which a new high school building would logically be constructed.


This land is but two removes from the Government of the United States.  It was part of a forty upon which James O’Neill, Sr., entered August 4, 1853.  He was at that time consolidating the area, which subsequently became the city of Neillsville.  He then entered five forties in what is now the central part of Neillsville.  He took a patent from the government upon the forty in question, November 15, 1854.  Presumably he paid for this land approximately what is now considered to have been the going rate at about that time or a little later, $1.25 per acre. The Dickey site presumably cost him about $20.


When Mr. O’Neill purchased this land from the government in 1853, it was just a piece of woods.  Located near a creek, nobody else would have given more for it.  Its increase in value has come slowly with the years.  Two full generations have come and gone since that purchase from the government.


The residence of the Dickeys upon this land must have extended close to 40 years.  Mrs. Dickey, the mother, is credited with extraordinary character and capacity, for her children was recognized for the good conduct and good manners.  They did not have any great amount of money.  The father had a little shop on the northeast corner of the site, not far from the house. The recollection as to what he made there is a little vague.  One of the old-timers thinks he did black-smithing; another, that he was a cooper and sometimes made beer barrels for the local brewery.  He is also supposed to have worked the land.


As for the children, the two girls taught in the local schools.  Edgar was clerk in a local store, perhaps in the Dickinson store, or perhaps in the store of Hewett & Wood.  Like his sisters, he was a worker and it was he who led the family to Portland.  The fourth child of Mary A. Dickey was Chauncey B., who is with his sister in Oregon.  Chauncey is perhaps best remembered here by his old friend, Fred Ackerman.  In those days, Mr. Ackerman was clerk in a local store and Chauncey used to come in to visit him.  They visited by means of pencil and paper. Chauncey was a deaf mute, but he had a good mind and was regarded by Mr. Ackerman as being an interesting friend. 


The decision to buy the property was reached at the annual school meeting, held last summer.  The vote was taken after Fred Bullard reported the successful conclusion of preliminary negotiations conducted by him with Miss Dickey.



Participants in an early 1900s patriotic celebration assembled on the southeast corner of Court and Fourth streets, Neillsville, possibly in preparation for a parade, or dedication. Visible in the background of the photo left to right, are the Presbyterian Church steeple, the Methodist Church and the Court House.  (Photo courtesy of Patricia Wall’s family collection)



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