Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

August 10, 2005, page 16

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Good Old Days" Articles 





Clark County News: August 1885


Sunday noon:  Henry Garvin and family drove into town with his horses and a wagon.  They hitched the team up near T. D. Condit’s residence.  Shortly after, while the people were dining, the horses, tormented by flies, broke their fastenings and ran away.  They rushed at top speed around the corner beyond Mrs. Cawley’s, and in the slur, carried away the Gates’ hitching post and horse block.  A telephone pole tore team and wagon apart.  The horses then ran helter-skelter to a point near the Gullingsrud farm, where they were caught.  One horse had a leg cut to the bone.  The harness was considerably wrecked, the wagon tongue and a whiffletree broken.  The horses are gentle and tractable, but in this Sunday escapade they exercised plain ordinary horse sense in an effort to out-fly the flies.


Young boys, who are learning to smoke are usually the sort, who do not like to work.  They would turn pale with dread if they could but half appreciate the enormous amount of work they will have to do during their lives to pay for this foolish habit.  A pure, clean life is the most economical thing in the world.  To be wealthy, be temperate.


Emery Bruley has traded his building and lot at the end of Second and Court streets to James Finnigan for the house and land on South Main Street, between R. M. Campbell’s and J. L. Gates’ and the blacksmith shop property on Grand Avenue.  Whether there was a cash balance, we did not learn.


Cranberry picking is now in progress, giving occupation to many hands.


Carpenters have finished work on Joe Manes’ new South Main Street house.  It will soon be ready for occupancy.  The little house, east of Mr. Joseph’s residence, is now enclosed.  It is the property of Mr. L. Weeks, the furniture man.


Houses that are now in the process of construction by Mr. S. F. Reineking, this season, are those for W. G. Klopf and John Serveta.


John VandeBerg, of York, brought his brother, Garrett and Albert Understal to board the forenoon train yesterday.  They have gone home to Fond du Lac County, after working in York for a year.  We learned from Mr. VandeBerg that his father-in-law, Mr. H. A. Lawrence, has torn down his log house and will build a commodious frame dwelling on the same site.  In the mean-time, the family is living in a detached wing of the old house.


The man most heavily enriched by Grant’s death is Mark Twain.  He is the principal in the firm of Webster & Co., the publishers of Grant’s biography.  He has already received orders from the army of canvassers for 300,000 and he expects to finally sell 500,000 here and in Europe.  The retail price is $5, the share to agents and middlemen is $2, the royalty to the Grant family is 75 cents, the cost of manufacture and delivery $1.50, leaving 75 cents clear to Twain and his partner.  The shrewd humorist had to risk his entire fortune in the enterprise, but he pluckily refused to shirk the chances of loss by dividing the possible profits.  The net result to him and his partner will be a quarter to a third of a million dollars.  Twain was a very solemn and decorous attendant at the funeral.


A man cannot go beyond his depth; his judgment is limited by his knowledge.  Men who can readily tell the difference at sight between good and bad women, have a knowledge which does no credit to their past.


It has been announced that the last spike to be driven on the Canadian Pacific railway will be driven early in October.


Eidsvold is a little village of about thirty inhabitants, situated on the line of the Wisconsin and Minnesota railroad, about thirty-seven miles east of Eau Claire.  It contains a combined saw and shingle mill, a store, post office, blacksmith shop, boarding house, and about a dozen dwelling houses.  That more may be known about this interesting little place, we have decided to write a few items concerning it.


C. Christiansen has added another building to the village, in the shape of a new frame barn, which he has built on the lot east of his dwelling house.


Hans Anderson, a prosperous farmer living about a mile west of there, has just completed a new log barn, which adds greatly to the appearance of his place.


Several bears have been seen near there this fall.


August 1930


A number of Neillsville merchants along Main Street are painting their stores, this week, and making very worthwhile improvements in the appearance of the buildings and street.  Interior decorators are at work in the Schiller Furniture Store. Both the front and interior of Unger’s Shoe Store are being attractively painted.  The Balch Hardware store-front was brightened up with window borders and new signs.


Unger’s Shoe Store was a well-known Neillsville business, in the early 1900s.  Adolph Unger was actively involved in city and community affairs.  The other businesses, in the photo, next to Unger’s store were the Clover Leaf Farm Grocery, owned by the Prochazka Brothers and the First National Bank, which was on the corner.  (Photo courtesy of Bill Roberts family collection)



William Ruchaber, former manager of the A&P store, this week joined George May in the proprietorship of the Sanitary Market, taking over the interest of Alfred Spaete.  Mr. Spaete and his family expect to leave soon for his old home in Germany, where he intends to visit until next March.  He expects to return to this locality in the spring and possibly purchase a farm.


The new partnership is expected to be a popular one, each member having been in business here for a number of years and having made many friendships.  Mr. Ruchaber, for seven years, was assistant manager of the Condensary and then was manager for two years.  For the past two years, he was manager of the A&P store. Mr. May has been in the grocery and meat business for a number of years, at one time running a store where the Woodward store is now located.


Residents of Neillsville will have an opportunity to test their driving skill at the wheel of a Chevrolet Six, enjoy the fun that comes from participating in any contest, and at the same time will be paid for their expert handling of the car to the extent of $50 in cash that will be offered in prizes.


R. H. Welch, Chevrolet dealer has announced an Economy Driver’s contest beginning Saturday, Aug. 16 at 8 a.m., which will undoubtedly result in a rush of contestants, eager to test their driving skill and win some extra vacation money.  A stock model Chevrolet Six has been equipped with a Mason glass jar, mounted outside the hood and plainly visible.  A pint of gasoline will be placed therein and the contestant will start from Welsh’s place of business and drive over a selected route until the gasoline is exhausted.


The contest is scheduled to run for one week or until all contestants have made the drive and the three persons who have registered the best mileage on a pint of gasoline will divide the $50 cash as follows: 1st prize $25; 2nd prize $15; 3rd prize $10.  An observer will accompany every driver and make records of the mileage.  In fairness to all, every contestant will be required to drive the same course, and one trial only will be allowed.


The contest results were announced two weeks later:


More than 100 drivers tried their skill at long distance driving on a pint of gasoline with the Chevrolet Economy car.  W. L. Murphy of Dells Dam holds the record with 4.2 miles, or 32.2 miles to the gallon.  Bob Dux was second with 4.1 miles for one pint of gasoline.  Ollie Meihak and W. M. Winn tied for third place with 4 miles.


Under the spell of the “homing” instinct which so often drives older men and women back to the scenes of their childhood, Robert Goss of Minneapolis returned to Neillsville.  Bob Goss, as people here used to call him, came back last week to seek out old familiar scenes and visit such friends of former years, as he might find in this community.  Mr. Goss, who is 76 years of age, came here with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Goss, when a small boy in 1858.  The father homesteaded 80 acres of land half-a-mile west of Day Corners on the south side of the road in the Town of Levis; the farm is now known as the Filitz place.


There, Robert grew to manhood.  Before he was of age, he bought the forty acres across the road from the home farm and built a barn on the land.  In 1882, the family moved to Minneapolis.  In 1890, Bob Goss bought his father’s farm and returned to live there, working the farm until 1896.  Then, he rented the place and returned to Minneapolis to work at his trade, that of millwright, for the Pillsbury Milling Co.  He had not been here since then.


He sold the farm to Otto Filitz about 1901, and the Filitz family continues to live on the farm.  Mr. Goss was made welcome at the old home, stayed over-night and spent some time in looking over the fields.  He visited at the Bob French home and called on a number of former acquaintances while here.


A son, Lee Goss, born while on the farm, is a noted nose and throat specialist in Seattle.  An adopted daughter lives with Mr. Goss, in Minneapolis.  His wife died in 1920.


The old Goss home, for many years, was a noted wayside inn.  It was a most popular stopping place for tote teamsters and other travelers going back and forth between down river points and the lumber camps north.  It was said, that many a teamster would even pull through Neillsville, going south after dark, to reach Goss’s to stay over night.  Also, going north, they would stop there even before nightfall in preference to going on to some other tavern.  Wide stalls, good hay and dry straw for bedding made the travelers’ teams comfortable in the barn.  A warm fire, a friendly welcome and good food greeted the travelers in the house.  Mrs. Goss was noted up and down the “tote road” for her warm biscuits, often served with honey; fried chicken also was frequently a part of the bill of fare at the Goss house.


In the midst of this atmosphere of pioneer romance, the visitor of last week grew to manhood.  It is little wonder that his memories drew him back again after many years to “view the landscape over.”


(Days Corners was near the intersection of what is now Hwy. 73, Hwy. 95 and Poertner Road. D.Z.)


J. L. Neverman is constructing a miniature golf course, a form of the golf game, which is now becoming the rage all over the country.  Mr. Neverman has laid out the course on his home grounds on South Hewett Street and will soon have the course open to the public.  He has named it the Log Cabin Golf Course.


At a meeting of committees of the Presbyterian and Methodist churches, last Wednesday afternoon, with Rev. C. H. Giesselbrecht, Presbyterian Synodical executive of Wisconsin and Rev. Goodell of the Eau Claire District of the Methodist Episcopal Church, it was decided to consummate the union of the two churches, same to be known as the Union Church of Neillsville.  It was also agreed that the Eau Claire District of the Methodist Church should furnish the minister for the period of time this should be in effect, with one being recommended to the committee by Mr. Goodell.  The time agreement was reached by a conference of the two fieldmen for a period of three years, after which time the churches would again take a vote as to what and how they should continue.


After the Presbyterian Church burned, Feb. 9, the Methodist Church of Neillsville very graciously offered the unfortunate church temporary quarters and as a result of this arrangement, matters have proceeded toward the union, which has at last been consummated.


Sunday, several members of the S. H. Van Gorden family motored to Nashua, Iowa, to attend the centenary celebration of the birth of Dr. William Savage Pitts, at the “Little Brown Church in the Vale/” situated two miles northeast of Nashua.


The so-called “Little Brown Church in the Vale,” was built of native lumber sawed in the vicinity and dedicated in December 1864, but services had been held in a temporary building from 1855.  At that time, a thriving village called Bradford, sprung up and flourished until a railroad was built through two miles away, then Nashua was made the station.  All of Bradford moved away except the church, which continued to flourish.  In 1857, William Pitts, a Wisconsin boy, visited the locality and was charmed by the scenery about the church site.  On returning to Wisconsin, he wrote the famous song, “Little Brown Church in the Vale.”


Later, he returned to Fredericksburg, near Bradford, teaching singing school in the two villages.  In 1864, he sang his famous song for the first time publicly in the church.  Some time after, he studied medicine at Rush Medical College and returned to practice in Fredericksburg, where he remained in practice until 1906.  He then went to live with his son, Stanley William Pitts in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he died in 1918.  The song was published and became very popular, making the church itself world-famous.  Many pilgrims visit it every year and hundreds of couples touched with its story of romance have gone there to be married.


Across the road from the church, once stood the Bradford Academy.  S. H. Van Gorden, when a youth, attended the academy and was there fitted for his work as a school teacher.  Later he came to Jackson County and went into business where he, his sons and a grandson have continued to expand the business.  He greatly enjoyed the trip Sunday, and the elaborate program, which was carried out in honor of the memory of Dr. Pitts.


Proprietorship of the Model laundry, operated for the past 23 years by the Scherer Bros., was changed this week when Mat Scherer sold his interest to Robert Wagner, now employed in the Balch Hardware.


The past 60 Years- has been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.  We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all!



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