Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

August 24, 2005, page 12

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Good Old Days" Articles 



The Good Old Days


Clark County News, August 1895


Last Tuesday, Mr. Moh and his wife of the coal kiln neighborhood, were unmercifully stoned by a family of neighbors, while driving along the road in their buggy.  Rocks were thrown at them, one large rock striking Mrs. Moh in the head, knocking her hat to the ground.  She alighted from the buggy to recover her hat and was struck in the head by another rock.  Mr. Moh got a hard blow to his head, so when they got away, they were a bad looking couple.  They drove to town to get their heads fixed up and yesterday intended to have their assailants arrested.  The bad blood grew out of a new road that had been opened, resulting in the closing of an old logging road that had been used by the rock-throwing neighbors.


The art of welding copper to iron or steel, which has been lost since 500 B.C., has been rediscovered at Pittsburgh, Pa., by three iron workers named George Cromley, Cornelius Shay and John Ryan.  Carnegie’s princely offer for the secret is being considered.


Geo. L. Lloyd will build his new residence in our city this season and work will begin at once.  It will be a substantial, valuable house, roomy and convenient.  George has sold his Georgia pineland. 


The Dewhurst, Hemphill & Dickinson camping combination at Ross Eddy have dozens of callers daily.  At night, they illuminate the countryside by setting Ring’s pine stumps afire, which also is helping to clear the land.  Bathing and football are side occupations, along with chin-wagging, resting and eating as the regular order of business.


Last Friday, Harry Darling accidentally shot a revolver bullet into his left shoe at the ankle, while at a picnic with a few friends at the Mound.  He was amusing himself, at the time, handling the revolver.


His foot was bound up as best it could be, and Harry was brought to town.  The attending physicians, Esch & Lacey, probed for the ball, but found that it was so deeply imbedded among the cords and bones, that is was not advisable to make an incision.  The ball is still in the foot and will probably remain there, healing in.


The city water reservoir became so stale, last week that it had to be emptied.  O’Neill Creek is so dry that at places upstream, it has stopped flowing.  It looks as if there was need for prompt action to get a water supply.  So, a new water main has been ordered to be laid up on North Grand Avenue, which will strike the Black River up in Dan Kennedy’s neighborhood, near where the witch-hazel man discovered wetness in the ground.


The great fires that swept over the eastern portion of Jackson County last summer, has proved a blessing in disguise.  The area has now been transformed from thousands of acres of marshland into the finest agricultural lands in the country.  Wet marshes of a few years ago that were dangerous to walk on can today be turned over with the plow.


The Norwegians are going to have a picnic, next Sunday, in Hewett’s grove for the benefit of their new church.  Dinner will be served at 12 Noon.  Worship Services will be held at the grove led by Rev. Gimmestad, of Eau Claire, 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.


On Monday at Charles Shepherd’s farm, a big rasp was carelessly thrown into Al Raether’s steam thresher along with a shovel full of chaff.  Before the engineer could stop the motion of the machine, a concave and fourteen cylinder teeth had been broken.  Work was delayed only an hour and a-half, however.  Dwight Roberts was under, or close, to the thresher then and he said the terrific noise made by the mishap, created a big panic there for a minute or two.


A community sociable will take place at the residence of Herman Schuster, Friday evening.  It will be an evening social, with cards and croquet.  Ice cream and cake will be served during the evening for 10 cents or lunch of coffee, sandwiches and pickles, 10 cents.


August 1935


The properties of the Owen Canning Company and the Carnation Milk Company plants were endangered Friday as a wind fanned fire swept across stump and brush land adjacent to the two industrial plants, shortly after 2 p.m.


Firemen were called to the scene of the fire shortly after it took its surging course over 40 acres of the Radke Wood Products Company.  Massive curls of flame, some 20 to 30 feet in height, shot skyward in long tongues as billowing clouds of smoke rolled over the countryside.


At 7 p.m. the fire was held in check by the Owen fire department and the possibility of it spreading any further was remote.


A moose head, shot by Archie Van Gorden, in September 1934, while on a moose hunting expedition to Jasper, Alberta, Canada, is on display at Dahnert’s Tavern on Seventh Street.  The mounted head is one of the largest seen in this vicinity, having a spread of 55 inches, from tip to tip, too wide to get through Archie’s house door.


After two months of virtually rainless weather, farmers of this vicinity are just about ready to concede that this year’s grain, corn and potato crops will amount to practically nothing.


Some revival, particularly in the forage crops, could still be accomplished if heavy showers of rain were to fall right now, but the grain crops will almost surely be a total failure.


Corn is rapidly taking on a wilted appearance and is tasseling out while still in the stunted stage.  Forage fields on most farms will be less than one-half the normal yield.


Homer Potter, Greenwood, operating a threshing outfit with a 22-inch separator, moved and set-up three times one day last week.  Only 700 bushels of oats were threshed out of the 72 acres.


The potato crop may also be a total failure, although some farmers are still hoping that the late crops would be saved by some good, soaking showers.


Pastures are virtually burned to a crisp everywhere.  As a result, milk production is far below normal.


As workmen were excavating in the lawn of Hugh Haight, local attorney, they found that the soil was as dry eight feet below the surface, as it is a few inches in depth.


Roots of the trees are going deeper to get the necessary water needed to supply themselves with their life-giving fluid.


Although the whole countryside throughout the state has been endangered by the forest fire menace, there has been very little damage by forest fires in Clark County.  This is due to the efficiency of the detection and suppression system in use here.  Three patrolmen besides County Forester A. C. Covell, patrol the highways and side roads daily, on the look out for any signs of fire.  The towns, which are in the Forest Protection district, with the help of the CCC boys, have been able to keep the fires under control.  Thus far, little damage has been done as compared to that in surrounding counties.  For instance, in the Wisconsin Rapids area, 9 fires alone, have laid waste to 1,900 acres of land and timber.


Two fires have been reported in the town of Worden, three in the town of Eaton, on the west side of Black River, two in the town of Lynn and several fires in the western part of the county, but all were confined to small areas.


Back in the late “teens”, Clark County spent approximately $188,000 in draining the swamps.  In certain sections of the county, the reclaimed land was to be used for farming and other agricultural pursuits.  This money was raised through a bond issue in that amount.


Evidently in those days, there was more rain falling than there has been during the last few years, for now there is a project afoot to dam up these drainage ditches to hold the water in these same swamps.  There will be no farmers that will have to move because not a foot of the land so reclaimed was ever successfully farmed.  These peat bogs, or what in the normal times would be bogs, are now one of the worst fire hazards in the county.  The bogs constitute one of the worst places to fight a fire when one gets started there.


Under the new Drought Relief Program, now being put under way in the county, between 500 and 1,500 men are to be made available for work on this project of damming up these old drainage ditches.  Ordinary earth fills will be used in most instances to keep the water in the swamps.


The drought relief WPA workers will also be subject to call on forest fire fighting and in cases of emergency can put in unlimited numbers of hours.


They also are to be used in some instances in aiding the conservation department to clear the beds of prospective lakes behind dams that will be built by the county for the holding of water near the headwaters of streams.  In this way it is hoped to maintain water levels in the county during hot dry spells, such as this summer has been. 


Some of these lakes, the result of dams built by the county, will be beauty spots in the county.  The lakes will greatly enhance the value of the adjacent land to be used as picnic grounds although in most instances the land belongs to the county.


At the request of Mayor Fred Stelloh and in accordance with the usual custom, business hours in the city will be closed on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons of Fair Week.


The Clark County Fair Association was organized by an interested group of men in 1872, being capitalized in the amount of $2,000.  The first fair, exhibited, was staged in a building, which had been erected on land purchased by the association.  This land was covered with a virgin forest at the time that it was first used for fair exhibition purposes.  A sufficiently large place was cleared to accommodate the buildings and other activities.  Not over 40 men made up the association at that time but all of them were interested in the agriculture of the county and pushed the fair with all the interest and enthusiasm that they were capable of.


M. E. Wilding, former secretary of the fair, could give little information as to the fair growth during the years intervening between 1872, the year of its organization and 1917, the year that he became secretary.  During these 45 years, A. A. Huckstead and Herman Braatz were presidents, with Emil Ketel and H. O. Huckstead being treasurers.


In 1917, at a reorganization meeting of the society, it was decided to increase the capitalization to $10,000 from $2,000.  J. W. Hummel was elected president, John P. Kintzele was made treasurer and M. E. Wilding was elected secretary.  Plans were made to enlarge the fair exhibition buildings and build some new ones.


Among the new buildings erected was a new livestock pavilion, which was completed at a total cost of $6,000 in the year 1919.  In 1928, the Boys’ and Girls’ Calf Club department, of the present 4-H Club organization, was given an exhibition building of their own.  The building cost was about $4,000 when it was finished.


In 1924, the present Agriculture and Fine Arts building was put up at a cost to the Society of approximately $4,000, making a total of $14,000 worth of new buildings in the five years from 1919 to 1924.


It was in these years that horseracing became increasingly popular, several fine horses being owned by Clark County residents and many of the prizes being taken home by them.  The racetrack was, at one time, one of the finest half-mile tracks in the state.  Horse Racing in Clark County reached its zenith in 1926 when 52 horses were entered in the various events.  The last race was held in 1931, with only 16 horses being entered.


In 1926, several additions were made in buildings on the grounds, one being to the Swine Exhibition building.  A new Sheep Exhibition building was being erected at that time.  An addition to the Farmers Show Horse barn and a new six-stall racehorse barn were built.


In 1927, the Clark County Fair Society put on its greatest exhibition and drew the largest crowd that ever attended a fair in the county.  On County Day, in 1927, over 6,000 paid admissions were counted at the gate.  The agricultural exhibits wee the best and of the largest variety every presented for judging at a county fair, here.


A freak windstorm, two weeks prior to the opening of the fair that year, took the roof off the big grandstand and damaged the seating arrangements considerably.  It was necessary to block up the grandstand floor with two truckloads of blocking to make it safe for use during the races and program.  During the next summer, a new grandstand, large enough to accommodate 3,000 people was erected to take the place of the one damaged by the 1927 windstorm.  The new grandstand cost the Society $10,000.


It was estimated by Mr. Wilding that during the 1927 fair over 10,000 paid admissions went through the main gates to see the attractions.


The Calf Club Exhibit grew each year.  In 1929, there were more than 300 calves exhibited by the calf club members.  This was the largest number of calves ever exhibited by any calf club in the state, up to that time.  After the fair was over, that year, an auction was held and a full carload of heifer calves was shipped in a palace car to Pennsylvania.


The Clark County Calf Club was the only Calf Club in the entire state of Wisconsin that had a dormitory in connection with their exhibit. 


The year of 1929 marked the largest livestock and swine exhibit in the history of the Clark County organization.  There were over 150 head of grown cattle and over 400 swine exhibits.


Fair admission was 25¢ at the gate and 15¢ for the grandstand, in 1929.


100 Years ago--Only 6 per cent of all Americans graduated from high school.


The game of baseball has long been a favorite American sport and past time.  In the 1930’s, nearly every community was represented by a baseball team made of players from within their midst.  The above photo was taken of the Town of Beaver baseball team whose home baseball diamond was located on acreage west of K-Korners.  Those members were, front row, (left to right): Erwin Kollmansberger, George Bloomfield, Harold Kollmansberger, Paul Gloudeman and Wallace Plaman, (back row) Lloyd Pipkorn, Lawrence Walters, unidentified, Victor Delo, Allan Luber and Delmond Johnson.  (Photo courtesy of Evelyn Fravert)



© Every submission is protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.


Show your appreciation of this freely provided information by not copying it to any other site without our permission.


Become a Clark County History Buff


Report Broken Links

A site created and maintained by the Clark County History Buffs
and supported by your generous donations.


Webmasters: Leon Konieczny, Tanya Paschke,

Janet & Stan Schwarze, James W. Sternitzky,

Crystal Wendt & Al Wessel