Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

August 17, 2005, page 12

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Good Old Days" Articles 



The Good Old Days


Clark County News, August 1880


Rev. W. T. Hendren and his wife went to Hewettville, last Friday, by special invitation, to attend the Sabbath School picnic.  They report that fine preparations had been made and that this was one of the best picnics they had ever attended.  The organ from the Hewettville hotel was taken to the picnic grounds.  Miss Nora Tripp and others treated the company to fine music.  A short speech was also called for and delivered.  All who attended went home well pleased with the success of the event.


Henry Spiegel fell from a scaffold while watching a deer lick in the town of Grant, a week ago yesterday. He sustained severe injuries.  Several ribs were broken and his head was badly bruised and cut. He was found in an insensible condition.  It is not known how he came to fall, but it is believed that he fell while taking a step.  He is getting better and considered out of danger.


A crew of men working on the turnpike, about three miles southeast of here, killed five rattlesnakes one day last week.  The snakes measured from two and a-half to three feet in length.  Some of them had ten rattles.  Should any one doubt the veracity of this snake story, we refer them to Daniel Wood for whom the men who killed the snakes were working.


Mr. M. Willet’s meat market was in full bloom on circus day.  His market was decorated with beautiful flowers and evergreens.  A finer display of meat is seldom seen in any other meat market.  The rush at his meat market, during the day, caused the remark quite frequently: “Willet is just coining the money, isn’t he?”


Considerable excitement was created, last Thursday afternoon, by a little boy reporting that Jimmie O’Neill was drowned in the O’Neill Creek and near Lowe Bros.’ slaughter house.  It proved only a scare, however, as the little fellow was soon found near the reported fatal spot, as well as ever, and a great deal amused when he learned to cause of the alarm.


  1. S. Leason, of Sheboygan County, has the foundation for a residence laid, opposite S. Dixon’s, on the north side of O’Neill Creek.  He has a building in the course of construction, in which he proposes to manufacture water pumps and fanning mills.  Thus the march of improvement goes on.  Just wait until the railroad is completed then buildings will spring up like mushrooms.


A. S. Leason came to Neillsville in 1880 for the purpose of starting a business of manufacturing water pumps, windmills and fanning mills.  The business was located on the east side of Hewett Street, near the 12th Street intersection.  Occasionally, you may be able to see a Leason windmill still standing, and working on an old farmstead here in Clark County.  (Photo courtesy of B ill Roberts family collection.)


Eleven hundred dollars has been subscribed for the artesian well at Black River Falls.  The work of boring the well will commence soon.  The well will probably be located in the lots belonging to the school district on the western part of the village.  If successful, in case of fire, it will be more valuable than a steam fire engine.


Baraboo is soon to have a $20,000 paper mill.  The dimensions will be 300 feet long and 75 feet wide.


The temporary bridge across the O’Neill Creek has been moved a few rods up the stream.  Abutments for the new bridge are now being built.


We received news from the Greenwood area:


It seems the floodgates of Heaven have once more been set ajar and the rain falls there in great abundance.  The sky still betokens that the end is not yet here.  The hum of threshing machine, which had started are now hushed while the rain falls.


This morning, the lightning struck twice on Henry Swartz’s (Schwartz?) place; a pine tree, some forty rods from the house, the first stroke riddling it in pieces.  The second lightning stroke took a butternut tree, eight rods from the house, tearing its roots and branches.  The concussion was sufficiently hard enough to cause the breaking of three lights of glass in Schwartz’s house.


Despite the black clouds, the rain, the mud and water, we noticed several of our young men with their fair maidens, enroute to Colby, this afternoon, to attend a harvest dance given by the people of that city.


B. F. Brown and his wife, along with A. S. Eaton, returned from their annual prairie chicken hunt.  E. P. Brown and his wife, of Augusta, were campers with them.  They reported a successful hunt and claim it took about 400 prairie chickens to supply their table during the hunt.  Aside from the prairie chickens, their table was supplied from what plum trees, farmhouse and melon patches could provide.


Another special town meeting has been called for the Town of Eaton.  They want to see if the voters will reconsider their vote of the last meeting and now vote for a loan for the purpose of building a bridge across the Black River, on the town line between Warner and Eaton.  The Town of Warner voted to build one half of a bridge on said line under the false impression that if they did not, Mr. Schofield would build a toll bridge across by Greenwood.


August 1940


With the new-type 64,000 gallon water storage tower completed, Granton village officials believe that water service will be started within the next six weeks.


Already 41 residents, of the village, have signed to receive water.  It is expected that several more will have applied for the service before the new system is completed.  There is a possibility of 90 users in the village, according to village clerk Arlo Lautenbach.


All that remains to be done before service can be rendered, Mr. Lautenbach said, is to complete the network of water mains, clean up work and to secure a pump for the well.  The project is being carried out with WPA aid.


The new water tank height is a total of 82 feet, above the hill on which it is located near the “Y” on the south outskirts of the village.  This water tank is the third of its kind to be erected in the nation.  A “riser” pipe has a capacity of 14,000 gallons.  The tank, itself, is a sphere 24 feet in diameter.  It is of steel construction, with seams electrically welded.  Not a single rivet has been used in the construction.


Water for the system will be drawn from a well located in a hollow on the eastern edge of the village.  Although test pumping, has brought as high as 90 gallons per minute, the pumps probably will be set at 35-gallons draw per minute.


The population of Clark County is 33,903, according to preliminary figures released this week by E. E. Quinn, supervisor of the Eau Claire District Census Bureau.  This represents a decrease of 262 from the 1930 figures.


The figures also listed 5,179 farms in the county, placing Clark County at the top of the list of 11 counties that comprise the district.


A large crowd of people in the Neillsville area were in the city Wednesday afternoon to attend the weekly program sponsored by many merchants of the city.  Another program will be held next Wednesday afternoon.


Motor vehicles to the number of 313 were counted on the main streets of Neillsville Wednesday afternoon at 2:34 p.m.  The count did not include the entire business, but it did take in the streets mainly used by those attending the Wednesday program.


More than 100 friends and relatives gathered at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Robert French, in the Town of Levis, last weekend to celebrate the golden wedding anniversary of the couple.


It was on that farm bordering Black River, just south of the new Five Mile Bridge, that Mr. and Mrs. French spent their honeymoon 50 years ago, August 3, 1890.  Their lives have been built around the farm and their vast host of friends.


Following the wedding ceremony, which took place at the home of Mrs. French’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Lyman Rodman, near the fairground in Pine Valley, the newlyweds went to the French home to live.


Mrs. French likes to recall that she spent her honeymoon preparing a meal for some 12 to 15 men who Mr. French’s father, an old-time hotelman and lumberman, had invited in to help him put up the first sawmill on the location.


“I had helped cook for threshers before,” Mrs. French said; “but that was the first time I had to cook for a lot of people without Ma there to boss.”


Needless to say, the meal was a success, and afterward “Grandpa” French complimented her highly on her pot roast.


The French farmstead overflows with things relating to the past.  On the roof of one barn are hand-shaved shingles, which were put on in 1872.  Making up a part of that same barn are several large boards, some as wide as 30 inches, which were used because knots in them at that time made them practically worthless on the market.


For the first 16 years of their married life, the saw mill was operated a short distance from where the house is located.  In 1906, the mill was razed by fire and was not rebuilt.


The French farm, during these past 50 years, has been the scene of many happy gatherings, always popular with young and old alike.  Mr. and Mrs. French have always been noted for their hospitality.  Therefore their many friends were happy to help them celebrate their golden wedding anniversary.


Saturday evening, 51 neighbors surprised them and a happy evening was spent visiting.  A fine meal, brought by these people was served, and Mr. and Mrs. French were presented a money purse, by their friends.


Under a mid-summer afternoon sky, a new flag was raised over the grounds of the Neillsville Country Club, Sunday, before a large gathering of members and friends.  The American flag was presented to the country club by Mr. and Mrs. Frank Hepburn.


It was accepted on behalf of the members by Kurt Listeman, who expressed the hope that it would stimulate beyond formal patriotism—that on such a public playground, devoted to giving people enjoyment, the flag should awaken in the heart of everyone entering the grounds a feeling of real happiness.


Following the raising of the flag by Mrs. Hepburn on a pole recently donated and erected by the women of the club, a luncheon was served.


Darwin Graves and Frank Geisler, caddies at the Neillsville Country Club, have qualified for the caddy tournament at Shalagoco, Shawano’s 18-hole golf course.  They spent several days there as guests of Dr. and Mrs. A. E. Blum.


Construction of a dam on Black River at the location of the county recreation park at Greenwood was authorized Wednesday by the Clark County Board.  The board appropriated $2,500 for the purpose and gave a committee of five, discretionary power to proceed.  This committee, headed by C. R. Sturdevant of Neillsville, was authorized to investigate the possibility of making the dam a WPA project, and to abandon the construction if it does not appear feasible to its members.


The construction of the dam is really the revival of an old plan.  Two years or more ago, the county had on its records an appropriation of $2,500 for this same purpose, but the dam to have been erected was of a type which, it was feared, would not stand such high water as is occasionally experienced.  The fear for such a dam was given point by the flood of 1938, and the effort was then abandoned.


Now, it is proposed to build the dam considerably lower, with the expectation that flood waters would flow over it without doing it injury.  Built thus, the board hopes that the dam will stand, and that it will still accomplish the main purpose of creating a pool for swimming, fishing and boating.


Registration of aliens residing in Clark County, under the Alien Registration Act of the National Defense Program, was started Tuesday by the county’s three second-class post offices at Neillsville, Owen and Thorp.


Estimates of the number of aliens residing in the county were not available; but it was believed that there are upwards of 500 people who would be registered by the three post offices during the registration period, from this Tuesday until December 26.


The sincere belief of Frank Kudasik, Town of Withee farmer, in the second coming of Christ played an important role in this future—for the next six months at least.


Kudasik, cited for contempt of court because of his failure to pay $15 monthly for the support of his estranged wife and two minor children, explained to the court Saturday why he was unable to pay.


Since last February, he told the court, he had been expecting the second coming of Christ.  For that reason, his time had been devoted to prayer and preparation.  Consequently, there was not time for working the farm in the Town of Withee.


Judge Emery W. Crosby listened sympathetically as Kudasik explained his troubles at length, and then ordered him to pay up or spend six months in the county jail.  He was unable to pay.


The annual Chicken Pie Dinner of the Sherwood Community Club will be held Thursday evening, Sept. 5, in their church basement.  Everyone is welcome.


It’s time to arrange for your coal supply.  Home heating weather is just around the corner.  Play it safe and fill your coal bin now, before it’s too late to avoid the rush.  Ask about our budget plan for coal payment.


It’s Dollar Days in Neillsville.


Buy a roll of Johns-Manville Roofing for $1; 2 gallons Johns-Manville Roof Coating, $1.  Phone 181 O & N Lumber Co., F. L. Lockerby, manager.


Zilk Villa Service Station specials;


Used Tires, all First-line, selling from $1 to $6.  Car Wash and Grease Job, $1; All makes of Oil Filter Cartridges, only $1.


100 Years Ago


Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone. 


More than 95 percent of all births in the U.S. took place at home.


The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was 30.



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