Clark County Press, Neillsville,

April 5, 2006, Page 13

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 



Compiled by Dee Zimmerman



Clark County News

April 1876


A wagon-road has been laid out through the town of Levis to Merrillan, the junction of the West Wisconsin and Green Bay Western Railways.   A passable road to that point would be of great benefit to some portions of Clark County.


The new edifice of the Presbyterian Church, of Neillsville, will be open for divine services on Saturday evening, April 8, at which time the dedication sermon will be preached. The services will be continued on the Sabbath, with preaching morning and evening.  The Lord’s Supper will be celebrated in the afternoon of the same day at half-past two o’clock.


Mr. D. H. Hauer, of Humbird, wants to purchase four thousand feet of seasoned White Ash flooring.  Any person having the desired article will find a good customer by communicating the fact to the address above.


George Islam, La Crosse, an experienced carriage painter, has opened a shop in this village for the purpose of executing all work in his line.  During a part of the last season, Mr. Isham (Islam?) was engaged by the Campbell, Watson & Hommel Co., painting several fine buggies manufactured by them.  His work, at that time, established his reputation as a first-class workman, and as such we can safely recommend him to all who may have work of that kind to do.  It is his intention to locate here permanently, if he receives custom enough to warrant him in doing so, which we hope may be the case.


Mr. Hintz, town of Colby, was in town last Monday looking after the interests of his town.


The reason why a dam that dams up a stream just to dam up the water for sluicing logs, or any other damming purpose not calculated to accumulate power, as in case of mill-dams and other dams of the kind, is not always productive of happiness.  This was recently illustrated on O’Neill Creek, where dams abound.  This morning, a party of ladies went out to look for wintergreens, and discovered, when quite a distance above the bridge, that they were on the wrong side of the creek for that vegetable.  They said the water was not more than knee deep when they crossed to the wintergreen side, but when they came back, the floodgates of those dams had been opened and it took some tall wading to get through the creek on their return.


The bridge on O’Neill Creek, near Mason’s mill, has gone down stream with the logs.


Last Monday afternoon, there was a big run of logs in Black River.  It is claimed, by those who estimated the run as the logs passed under the bridge, there were over three million feet per hour, which floated by.


Horace Turner, better known as “Husky” Turner, had a leg broken, the first of the week, while at work on the log drive.


Ice was reported forty inches thick on Rock Creek, last Monday.  We do not know whether the report was founded on actual measurement or simply estimated.  It is generally conceded, however, that but few logs from that stream will go to market on the first water.


Mud is reported forty feet deep in some places between here and Humbird and still worse on the Greenwood road.  There is one consolation in the matter, and that is that no one is obliged to believe the report.


March 1957


Neillsville and Granton donors to the Red Cross blood bank exceeded their quota of 250 pints by 41, last Monday and Tuesday.


In Neillsville, Monday 188 pints were donated, going 38 pints over the city’s quota.  In Granton, Tuesday, 103 pints were donated.


Mrs. M. V. Overman, head of the county Red Cross chapter’s blood bank project, was enthusiastic over the outcome of the bloodmobile’s visit here.  She was lavish in her praise of the people who donated blood and the many workers who did a yeoman’s job in preparing for, and helping with, the visit of the Red Cross team.


Clocks throughout Wisconsin will be turned ahead an hour, April 28, as a result of Tuesday’s statewide voting which gave daylight saving time a 150,000 vote endorsement.


Largely, industrial centers of the state carried the issue, with rural areas voting heavily, but futilely, against it.


Clark County went a little better than three-to-one against daylight time.  The balloting was: for 2,155, against 6,778.


The daylight saving time referendum carried in but three cities of the county: in Neillsville it carried by 14 votes, 390 to 376; in Thorp margin was 45 votes, 195 for and 141 against; and in Greenwood it was given approval by 18 votes, 155 to 137.


Neillsville High School’s crop judging team won first place in the state contests at Madison, Monday, for the fourth consecutive year, and set a whole raft of new records.


They scored the highest team score in the history of the contest; Placed first, second and third as individuals, for the first time in contest history.


And, Darrell Lindow, son of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Lindow of Rt. 1, Neillsville, walked away with state honors by scoring a perfect 900 points.


Neillsville’s farm management team won third place in the state contests at the same time.


The two teams are instructed by John W. Perkins, Neillsville High School Agriculture instructor, whose teams have won the state crops judging title “10 to 12 times, I cannot remember without checking.”


Members of the top-ranking state crops team, in addition to Lindow, are; Byrl Strangfeld, son of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Strangfeld of Rt. 3, Neillsville, who placed second individually with 890 points; and Bruce Crockett, son of Mr. and Mrs. Allen Crockett of Rt. 1, Neillsville, who tied for third place individually with an 880 points.


More than 1,600 boys from high schools all over the state of Wisconsin competed in the state judging events.


They will receive a trip to the International Livestock show at Chicago as an award for their achievement.


The Neillsville Farm Management team made a more than average showing with their third place win.  They scored a team total of 272 points out of a possible 300 in competition with 75 teams.


Members of the management team are: Kenneth Lindow, a brother of Darrell; Arthur Stiemke, son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Stiemke of Rt. 2, Neillsville; and Richard Quast, son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Quast of Rt. 3, Neillsville.


Arthur Carl, Neillsville building contractor, has received the contract for erecting the new store building for the Schultz Bros. Co. variety store, at the corner of Hewett and Fifth Streets.


Mr. Carl expected to start razing the old Schultz building on the corner, Wednesday.  All of that building will be torn down except portions of the south and east walls, which will be used in the new building. 

Plans call for the construction of a completely modern store building on the Schultz-Schoengarth location, with full basement.  It will be one-story high, with slightly higher-than-normal walls in order to blend in with the two-story structures around it.  The size will be 66 by 100 feet.


It is expected that the building will be completed in August.


Mike Johnson, of the Town of Levis, is a man of many titles; farmer, stage driver, woodsman who helped on the last big log drive down the Black River.


But probably the one thing, of which he is the proudest, is the fact that he has been the only town treasurer people in the Town of Levis have known in the last 42 years.


Mike’s name was not on the ballot this spring.  So, at 84 years of age, he concludes a period measuring exactly half of his life, as treasurer of the town.


“When you get as old as I am,” he commented, “you just can’t do it any more.  You’d like to; but you can’t.”


Mike enjoyed his 42 years as treasurer.  For 39 of them, he worked closely with his bother, John, who served as Levis’ town clerk.  John died three years ago.  Together, they formed a town clerk-treasurer team that probably stands as a record in the annals of Wisconsin township history.


In more than four decades of consecutive service, too, Mike Johnson doesn’t recall a single bit of trouble resulting from his job.


“By Golly,” he asserted, “it’s kinda of surprising when you stop to think of it.  You’d think you’d have trouble some place along the way.”


Probably only people who have held public office can fully appreciate Mike’s achievement in this respect.


In the 82 years that Mike has been a resident of the Town of Levis, too, things have happened to real estate taxes, as one might well suppose.  He has a tax receipt of his father’s showing taxes on the home farm, on which he still lives, as $7 for the year. That’s on the whole 40 acres.  This year, they amount to $154, or 22 times as much as his dad paid.


“I can’t see anything but higher taxes ahead, either,” was Mike’s discouraging comment.


When the Johnson family came here from Norway 82 years ago, they settled on the farm near McCarty’s tavern, which Mr. Johnson purchased from the “the power company”.  He bought the 40 acres for $100, paying $20 down.


The children, when they were old enough, went to the rural school then located where the town road bends at Herman Embke’s farm to go to the Lynch Bridge.  In the summer, they hiked; in the winter they oft-times skated over the ice-crusted river to school.


Mike went to school until he was in the eighth grade then a stage operator from Greenwood offered him a chance to go to school there.  But before Mike could get started with his schooling there, the stage man enticed him away from education with the offer of $8 per month, for helping him and later for driving stage between Greenwood and Withee.


Mike took the Greenwood-Withee run for a year, and what he had to show for the year’s work was a 12-gauge shotgun, which the stage man paid him off with because the stage run broke him.  Of course, during the year Mike received his board and room, and his laundry free.


Then, Mike started working out in the lumber camps.  The pay then was but $18 per month, and being during the panic of 1893, “times were pretty hard,” as he recalls.  “There was a man to step into your job whenever you weren’t doing it the way the boss thought you should.”


Despite an arm crippled by fire when he was two years old, Mike worked along with the best of the lumber camp men, handling every job that came at him.  And one of his pleasures is his recollection of participating in the last big log drive that went down the Black River.  That took place about 32 years ago, and Jule Walters of Black River Falls was in charge.


What now, that he’s retired from his town treasurer’s job?  Well, Mike will have time to contemplate things, and to bask in the memory of a long life with long service to the people of Levis.


William C. (Bill) Ambelang was defeated at the polls last week, for chairman of the Town of Hewett; but his family was grateful.


For Mr. Ambelang has had 23 years of it, and if his family had had their way, his name wouldn’t even have been on the ballot.  But he has a pride of accomplishment in the Town of Hewett that dates back to the time, in 1933, when he took over and the Town was broke.


“We had a bill from the Neillsville Public Schools for more money than we had in the treasury,” he recalled for The Clark County Press, last Sunday.  So his first job was to seek some ready cash with which to keep the town going.


Two banks turned him down.  “Nope, not for the Town of Hewett,” was the response of both cashiers.  But the third banker, Homer Root offered to help.  He loaned Mr. Ambelang $200, and that tided the town over until they had some income.


“For the first three years, we raised taxes,” Mr. Ambelang recalled.  “We haven’t raised them since.”


Today, the Town of Hewett is in enviable position, having money in the bank.  There are other reasons for that, which are beyond three raises in taxes in the 1930s, however.  There was a road tax, originally sponsored by Sen. Walter J. Rush of Neillsville, which paid a municipality $50, then $65, per mile maintenance of highways.  And there was the forest crop law, which brought some additional revenue to Hewett from acreage on which no farmer could ever make a living.


But the rest of the story on that bank balance is the closeness with which Mr. Ambelang and his sideboard members watched their spending.


That doesn’t, however, mean that they just turned off the spigot.  To the contrary, Hewett widened its main traveled town roads and graveled them.  Now that program is about complete.


Very few members of the present county board of supervisors sat on that board when Mr. Ambelang first took his seat.  And, over the years, the event which stands out in his mind is the time the late Earle W. Kidd of Owen took the floor to demand the ouster of an alleged communist who had gained the floor to address the board.  Mr. Kidd’s attack was blunt and forthright; the retreat decisive.


There is little doubt that members of the county board of supervisors will miss the presence of Bill Ambelang when they meet for reorganization April 16.  But they’ll miss him no more than he will miss being in his usual place that day.


A Hewettville Mothers club was organized at Hewettville School.  First meeting was held April 18, with election of officers.  Mrs. G. L. Forester was elected president; Mrs. John Apfel, vice president; Mrs. Fred Munkholm, secretary; Mrs. Rudy Opelt, treasurer.  It was planned to have a card party Saturday evening, May 11 at the school.




A circa 1900 view of the city of Neillsville, south of O’Neill Creek and east of Hewett Street: Left to right, in the photo is the Neillsville Brewery, the Clark County Courthouse and the Wisconsin House.  (Photo courtesy of Bill Roberts’ Collection)



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