Clark County Press, Neillsville,

January 25, 2006, Page 14

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 



Compiled and Contributed by Dee Zimmerman



Clark County News

January 1896


Mr. Ron Meader has purchased H. D. Eyerly’s interest in the grocery business of Standard & Eyerly, taking possession of the business yesterday, Jan. 1st.  He has for some years been a traveling salesman for the Eau Claire Grocery Co., and is deservedly popular wherever his route has taken him.  He is a welcome addition to our business and social circles.


Logging in the vicinity of Thorp, will not be as extensive as in former years.  Only one firm, Nye, Lusk & Hudson, will purchase timber in that vicinity.  This firm will stock its mill at Eidsvold to its full capacity with its own timber.  Also their mill south of Boyd will be used, if the weather proves favorable.


The Wilcox community news:


A double wedding took place in the Windfall Church, Monday.  Benny Hallock and Jennie Turner, as well as John Mundt and Mabel Hallock were the contracting parties.


The Free Methodist congregation has their new church about completed.  They held their first meeting in it Friday evening.


John Vandeberg purchased 40 acres of land last week, for $350.


Johnny Pietenpol, who was kicked in the eye, by a colt some time ago, went to Milwaukee last week to have his eye treated by a specialist.


The Clark County Board met Tuesday and adjourned yesterday afternoon.


A new county jail was ordered built and the limit of cost fixed at $12,000.  It will be built during the coming season, and should be so substantial and commodious that it will do for all time to come.  The old jail is a disgrace to the county, and the members of the board are commended for their action.


The board also ordered that the room now used as probate court room be transformed into a fireproof vault for the use of the register of deeds.


Henry Billings has sold his 40 acre farm south of town to August Wesenberg, for $1,200.  The sale included Mr. Billings’ span of horses and some farm tools.  Mr. Billings and family will move to California in the spring.  They plan to locate at Fresno, the home of Geo. Brooks’, Mrs. Billings’ father.


The Marshfield Drug Store, of A. G. Backhaus & Son, was discovered to be on fire Sunday morning.  The origin of the flames was explained by Max Szalzinski, the prescription clerk as follows:


While compounding a liniment over an alcohol lamp, he brought a five-gallon can of naphtha from the cellar and on gaining the upper floor, slipped and fell, throwing the highly inflammable fluid upon the flame.  An explosion followed, blowing the drug clerk out of the window.  He escaped with slight burns.  The contents were burned to ashes.  The insurance is $4,000 and the stock was valued at $9,000.  The fire communicated to the store of G. Anderson, adjoining, and it was completely destroyed, causing a loss of $2,000; no insurance.  The hardware store of Knoll & Co. was damaged by smoke and water; fully insured.  This is the third fire that Backhaus & Son have had in one month, their losses being over $25,000.  Several of the firemen were overcome by the extreme cold.


Fred Huntzicker and Miss Mary Eilert were married 2 p.m., Tuesday, at the bride’s home, by Rev. T. G. Owen of Arcadia.  The wedding was witnessed by relatives and a few friends.  After the ceremony, guests were invited to the O’Neill House, where an elaborate banquet was served.  Mr. and Mrs. Huntzicker left the city on the 4:35 p.m. train for a short wedding journey.  Both are popular with the Neillsville people who know them both so well, and everybody is wishing them long life and much joy.


The bride is the eldest daughter of Ernest Eilert, one of our leading and most substantial businessmen.  She is a graduate of our high school and at one time was one of our teachers.  The groom is the son of Mrs. H. M. Root.  He has been a clerk in the Neillsville Bank for some years, a wise businessman who possesses an abundance of this world’s goods and knows how to manage his affairs.  He has exercised fine judgment matrimonially.


A large and enthusiastic sociable group held a meeting at Frank Zetche’s home, near Greenwood to determine the site for a church building.  It is to be erected in the neighborhood of the Huntzicker and Lyons schoolhouses.  Lots were also offered by Messrs. Heaslett and Waterbury; however Mr. Mabie’s lot was selected as a choice, which is a short distance west of the Iron Bridge. (*See Rutger's Chapel)


January 1946


When James O’Neill, the founder of Neillsville, died on March 28, 1882, he left an estate appraised at $15,892.60.  This was a substantial estate for that period, but Mr. O’Neill had once held, by entry, 160 acres of land, which became the very center of Neillsville.  Most of that land was vacant in 1882, or held as a relatively small value, but a reasonable estimate is that, with present improvements, it would be worth not less than a million and a quarter dollars.


The item of chief value in the James O’Neill estate, as shown by the appraisal still on file in the county courthouse, was the old O’Neill House and the land upon which it stood.  The site was the present location of the post office.  The building and the land were appraised at $7,500.  This property was left by Mr. O’Neill to his widow, who was his second wife, but she held it as trustee for the third James O’Neill, the son of Mr. O’Neill’s old age by his second wife.  It was specified that all debts and expenses were to be defrayed from this property, and that the other bequests were to be debt-free.


Maria Darling, daughter, was given the five lots running along the O’Neill Creek eastward from Hewett Street.  Upon the first of these, stood the Darling residence, which was upon the site of the original O’Neill House, and which is now occupied by the Skroch and Viergutz families.


The remainder of the estate was divided equally between Mrs. Darling and the daughter, Isabelle J. Covill, who was the first white child born in Clark County.  The remainder of the estate consisted largely of vacant lots located east of the present Hewett Street and north of Fifth Street.  Among these other properties was the homestead of the James O’Neills, which was located on the lot now vacant, on Hewett Street just south of the A & P Store.  Of this homestead the O’Neill estate owned one-half interest, and that half interest was appraised at $550.  Upon that site there must have been a house, in which the O’Neills lived at the time of Mr. O’Neill’s death.  The other half interest was presumably held by the widow.  The total value then given the land and improvements was $1,100.  The same lot is now assessed at $1,700, with an additional $100 for improvements, consisting of walls on the lot line.


In his will, Mr. O’Neill provided $50 cash for his widow and specified that she would have her support from the profits of the hotel business.  At that time, the hotel was perhaps the most flourishing business in Neillsville, and the widow made no difficulty about accepting the arrangement as made by the will in lieu of dower.


Viewed from the present standpoint it might appear that the disposition of the estate was not equitable as between the various children: that the young James and his mother came out best; that the daughter Maria came out a little better than her sister Isabella, who had gone West.  But the conditions then are not fully known at this time.  It is evident from the record of the county court that there was no disposition to question the arrangement made by Mr. O’Neill, nor is there any indication of family difficulties, then or at any other time.


Judged by the conditions existing in his day, James O’Neill, the founder, was a man of substance and providence.  He left what then seemed a substantial estate.  It is equally clear that the founder was not very acquisitive and not keen in the pursuit of large opportunities.  He entered the lumber business of Clark County in its primitive phase, and gradually faded out of the business just as it was coming into the period of mass production and large profits.  While Mr. O’Neill’s little mill was growing old and finally coming to a stop, the great drives were hurrying down the Black River to La Crosse and were making millionaires at the river’s mouth.


Edward L. Achenbach, who died in Neillsville this week, lived a colorful life in an exciting period of time.  Known hereabouts as a quiet farmer in retirement, his own memory ran back to a sight of Custer in the days of the Battle of the Little Big Horn.  He was then mining gold in the Black Hills, and he lived to see Teddy Roosevelt visit that part of the country, also.


Mr. Achenbach moved from the Black Hills to Pierre, S.D., and contracted with the government to supply beef to troops in that vicinity.  Later, he worked on a government boat plying the Mississippi, and eventually became captain of the boat.  Mr. Achenbach tired of the big river and moved to Zumbrota, Minn., where he lived for two years; then to La Crosse, where he traveled for a wholesale grocery.  In 1900, he purchased a farm near Columbia, Clark County, and remained there 36 years.  But the health of Mrs. Achenbach occasioned their moving to Neillsville and Mrs. Achenbach died here in 1940.


Mr. Achenbach and Magaret Barthel were married at Zumbrota in 1885.  There are four surviving daughters, Mr. E. S. Ross, Mrs. J. K. Nielsen, Mrs. Hazel Beach and Miss Vivian Achenbach.  Of these, all except Mrs. Beach reside in St. Paul, and her home is in Minneapolis.


Mr. Achenbach died at the home of Mrs. Leslie Marden.  The funeral was held at the Lowe Funeral Home.  Interment was in the Neillsville cemetery.


An update of some of Clark County’s young people in the service is:


Pfc. Paul W. Lindekugel, of Curtiss, is one of the five Wisconsin men working in the Swiss Leave Center at Reims, France.  The center moves Americans on leave to and from Switzerland.


Cpl. Norman L. Sischo, a member of Ordnance Company on Oahu, T.H., is spending a 60-day re-enlistment furlough with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Leo C. Sischo, Rt. 3, Neillsville.  He has re-enlisted in the regular Army, having been sworn-in for an 18-month “hitch” at Fort Shafter, on Oahu, recently.


Ann Martha Svetlik received her discharge from the WAVES December 18, at the Great Lakes, Ill. Separation Center.


Arnold Mortenson, Thorp, has received his discharge from the Navy.


Vernon Schley, Owen, has received his discharge from the Army after serving three and one-half years in the South-west Pacific.


S/Sgt. W. R. Kleemeier, Loyal, has received his discharge from the Army after 19 months of service in the South Pacific.


Neil Johnston, of Loyal, spent two years in the South Pacific before receiving his discharge.  Neil has been in the service for over three years.


T/5 Donald Kauffman, son of Mr. and Mrs. V. O. Kauffman of Loyal, has received his discharge after spending three years in the service.  He was in the European Theater of operations for 17 months.


Vernon Mech, son of Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Mech, Greenwood, has received his discharge from the Navy.  Vernon was last stationed at Manicani, Philippine Islands.  The Philippine Liberation ribbon and the Victory medal are included among his awards.  Prior to his induction, he was employed at the Mech Dairy.


Milo Mabie, who recently was discharged from the navy, has purchased the barbershop operated until recently by Harold Pischer.


Joseph Ylvisaker, superintendent of the local branch of the Nelson Muffler Corporation, has purchased the home on the southwest corner of Fifth and Court Streets, now occupied by Henry Wittke.  Mr. Ylvisaker plans to move his family here from Stoughton as soon as the house is available.


A large concrete monument to the Thirty-Second “Red Arrow Division” stands at Santa Maria, Luzon, on the base of the old Villa Verde trail.


The trail has been renamed the “Red Arrow Trail” in honor of the division in which so many Neillsville and Clark County men served.  The monument, built by U. S. Army Engineers, was dedicated in September of last year.  Present among the original members of the National Guard units, which composed the division was Capt. Dale Schweinler of Neillsville, who has been spending a holiday furlough here.


Representing the division was Brig. Gen. McBride, temporary commander of the division.


Three million pounds of Italian cheese is the minimum set for the operations of 1946, by the Stewart Cheese Corporation.  This organization, about to open its plant at Greenwood, has a New York connection, which is expected to absorb about that volume of Italian cheese.  The Stewart organization looks upon the three million pounds as a minimum, and expects to go beyond that figure.


The Stewart Cheese Corporation is now putting the finishing touches on its reconditioning of the old Greenwood Food Products plant.  The reconditioning has been a considerable project, requiring a substantial expenditure.  Included in the construction has been an aging room, which is 40’x80’.


The present expansion is the result of years of experience, as the Stewarts have long been making Italian cheese.  They had expanded to the point at their Redville plant that the building there would no longer hold them.  They were forced to seek enlarged quarters, and their occupancy of the long unused plant at Greenwood was a logical development.


Wisconsin Trivia

Q. When did the Braves move from Boston to Milwaukee?

A. In 1953




The Neillsville Bank underwent a major remodeling project in 1914.  The main entrance was built at the front, center, after having been located on the northeast corner of the building.  A group of the construction workers gathered at the front of the new doorway, for this photo.  (Photo courtesy of Bill Roberts’ Family Collection)




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