Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

August 2, 2006, Page 19

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Good Old Days" Articles 


The Good Old Days

August 1906


The Neillsville Bank and the Commercial State Bank each held their annually (annual) meeting on Tuesday, July 3rd.  The business of these meetings was to choose officers and transact such other business as may come before the controlling body.  Both institutions were found to be in splendid condition and the usual handsome dividend was ordered distributed to stockholders.  All of the old officers and directors of both banks were re-elected.


The Commercial State Bank was founded in 1898.  Its present officers are as follows: President, S. M. Marsh; Vice President, Chas. Cornelius; Cashier, H. M. Root; Assistant Cashier, E. H. Schoengarth; Directors—A. F. Radke, S. M. Marsh, C. Rabenstein, W. J. Marsh, A. B. Marsh, C. Cornelious, H. M. Root.  The Neillsville Bank was founded in 1879 and was organized as a state bank in 1883.  Its present officers are as follows: President, Chas. F. Grow; Vice President, W. L. Hemphill; Cashier Joseph Morley; Assistant Cashier, Carl Stange; Directors—C. F. Grow, W. L. Hemphill, Joseph Morley, Thos. Lowe, H. A. North, D. Dickinson.


A pretty wedding was solemnized Tuesday morning at 9:30 o’clock, at St. Mary’s Church, when Rev. Father Hauck joined in the holy bonds of wedlock John N. Schmoll and Mary E. Neville, both highly respected young people of this city.  The wedding couple were (was) attended by dual groomsmen and bridesmaids, Philip Neville and Martin Conlin and Lizzie Schmoll and Clara Schmidt acting to that capacity.  Tony Zimmer and Mildred Schiller were the flower bearers.  The ceremony was impressive and beautiful.  The happy young pair looked fine.


In the evening, at the home of the groom’s mother at the Wisconsin House, an elaborate wedding feast was spread and the guests were abundantly satisfied with the fine banquet.  Following the banquet, a grand wedding ball was held in the Woodman Hall where all danced the light fantastic until a late hour, when they bid the newly wedded pair much prosperity and a happy journey through life.


The rural mail carriers have received notice that this year they will be given two weeks vacation and full pay.  This will be good news to may carriers.  Heretofore, they were given the vacation but no pay.


The new Wisconsin State capitol will be one of the finest, if not the finest, in the United States.  It will consist of a four-story granite structure surmounted by a large and grace full (graceful) dome.  The form will be that of a St. Andrew’s cross with all the wings of equal length and area.  It will set diagonally on the square with wings pointing to the points of the compass and to the diagonal streets terminating at the corners of the park.  The building will have an extreme length from east to west and from north to south of 420 feet.  The width of the wings will be 120 feet.


The features of the design are the entrances; there being an entrance to the building on the ground floor at the end of each wing with a continuous and uninterrupted vista entirely through the building at the inner angles of the cross.  These enter on the principal floor through curved porticos surmounted by half domes.  They land directly in the rotunda from which four grand staircases ascend to the second floor.  Under the outer terrace of steps, leading to these entrances, are the carriage entrances so arranged that they will be reached by a straight drive from the four avenues.

The rotunda, reaching from the ground floor to the top of the dome, will be 84 feet in diameter and 186 feet high.  Its walls and openings will be embellished with columns of marble and granite.  Its encircling octagonal corridor will constitute a grand architectural composition.  The exterior diameter of the dome is 102 feet in height.  From the ground to top with the statue on top, it will be 276 feet.


The building will rest on a terrace raised several feet above the surrounding streets and enclosed with a stone balustrade.  The sides of this terrace will be parallel with the streets encircling the park.  This, together with the entrances in the corners, will give an entire logical setting for the building placed diagonally in the park.


On the inside, the building will contain on the ground floor, the minor and appointive offices; on the principal floor the elective offices and on the second floor the assembly, senate and Supreme Court.  There will also be provided a lecture hall and memorial rooms.  The architects of the building are George B. Post & Sons, of New York.  They were selected in recent competition for this commission.  The senior member of this firm, George B. Post, is now in London as a delegate at large to the International Congress of Architects.  The Secretary of Stated (State) designated Post as a delegate.


August 1956


When Mrs. Orvilla Zille, of Neillsville, received her Bachelor of Education diploma from William C. Hansen, president of the state college at Stevens Point, last Friday, she set some sort of a record.


It was the fifth diploma she had received from him.


The “string” started back on (in) 1928, when she received a high school diploma.  Mr. Hansen then was superintendent of the Neillsville Public School system.  She followed that with a diploma from the teachers’ training department in Neillsville, the following year.  Then came (after) a lapse of 20 years, to 1949, when she was presented with her second year diploma by Mr. Hansen at Stevens Point. Two years later, came her third year diploma.  Again, Mr. Hansen presented it to her as head of the state college.


When Mrs. Zille made the observation to Mr. Hansen, that the B.E. degree would be her fifth bearing his signature, he observed: “Orvilla, you should have transferred to the city schools in the eighth grade then it would be six.”


Mr. Hansen referred to the local teacher’s early education in the Reed School.  Graduating there, she received a diploma signed by the then Superintendent of Schools of Clark County.  That is the only one of her six diplomas that does not bear Mr. Hansen’s signature.


Her articulation, Friday at Stevens Point, represents 11 summers of effort, as well as nine years of regular attendance at night school courses.  It is evidence of a determination and tenacity that is far from usual, for struggle was extended over 28 years.  “I know this is telling my age,” Mrs. Zille told The Clark County Press, “but I don’t care.  I’m just a little proud of having done it.”


As with most accomplishments, however, early necessity provided some of the “drive” for Mrs. Zille.  That was back in 1937, shortly after she married Earl Zille, Neillsville’s present street commissioner.  She had taught four years each in Dells Dam, Town of Levis and Eaton Center, Town of Eaton schools.  She decided to quit when she tacked the “Mrs.” onto the front of her name.


She did substitute teaching during the next two years; but the over-all plan was blown sky-high when Mrs. Zille suffered a sudden mastoid infection. This was followed by a second infection, and it left the newly-weds with hospital and doctor bills that looked mountainous to them.  The only solution was for Mrs. Zille to go back to teaching. 


She accepted a teaching position at the Kurth School, Town of Grant, and after four years there, accepted a position as teacher of her “old” school, the Reed, where she had attended through her first eight grades.  After five years at Reed School, she entered the Neillsville Public School system, where she has taught the first grade on the South Side for the last eight years.


Although 28 years have passed between receiving her high school and bachelor’s diplomas, Mrs. Zille feels that she and (had) been able to keep up with modern trends of education by “spreading out” her education.


And, as one who has attended and taught in both rural and city schools, she believes that in some respects schools in which eight grades are taught in one room, have some salutary points.  The trend has been toward the elimination of the one-room rural school, and it may come; but Mrs. Zille’s experiences have indicated that children in one-room schools are constantly learning from classes below and above them, so they are constantly exposed to the class sessions of other groups.


Youngsters today, too, are much “sharper” than those of yester-year, in Mrs. Zille’s opinion.  She attributes this largely to television in the homes.


“They know more about jet planes and things like that than children did a few years ago,” she observed.  “They talk about them at school now, and I’m lost if I haven’t seen the program,” she said.


Mrs. Zille has a reputation in the Neillsville school system as a fine disciplinarian.  She is strict with the children under her; but without exception, they like her immensely in spite of, or, perhaps it’s because of her insistence on good discipline.


(Mrs. Zille taught in Neillsville Elementary School through the 1969-1970 term, after which she retired. D.Z.)


Neillsville is furnishing a field day for sidewalk superintendents as work progresses on its main street.  At times there are more sidewalk superintendents than workers, as work progresses on ripping out the old brick pavement on Hewett Street.  A small portion of the “American Society of Sidewalk Superintendents,” watched critically as bulldozers, caterpillars, trucks and power shovels went about their tasks.  The roadway will be replaced with a new blacktop pavement.


Farms, which have had ownership in the same family for the past century, are beginning to appear in Clark County, according to Stanley W. Ihlenfeldt, Clark County Agricultural Agent.


The Vern Howard and Rollie Dietrich farms in the Town of Grant, and the Albert Hasz and Amos Yankee, Arthur Yankee and Arleigh Kleinschmidt farms of the Town of Lynn, all are marking their century ownership.  Each received land patents in 1858 from President James Buchanan after application was made in 1856.  All settled in the county in 1856.


Rollie Dietrich’s grandfather, Christian, made his land patent entry on April 17, 1856.  He came from Wutenburg, Germany, at the age of 23, and was the only member of the family to settle in this country.  His father, who ran an old time gristmill in Germany, taught him the miller’s trade.  He worked in the lumber camps of Clark County and finally settled in section 22 of the Town of Grant.


Robert Howard, grandfather of Vern, moved up from Chicago with two brothers-in-law, John Pope and Henry Counsell, and settled in section 15 of the Town of Grant, making application for land on January 17, 1856.  The three men had five dollars between them, according to Mr. Howard, present owner, and built three cabins.  Mr. Howard was a cattle buyer for years, butchered and sold the fresh meat to the lumber camps.


Frederick Yankee, Charles Sternitzky and George Kleinschmidt came up from Town 10, near Milwaukee, each making application for land on May 5, 1856, in the Town of Lynn.  The first two cabins built were on the lands of Yankee and Sternitzky.  The first summer, Kleinschmidt lived with Yankee, building his own cabin in 1857.


Frederick Yankee was a tailor by trade, according to Arthur Yankee, present owner, who made suits and wove hemp.  “The first pants were made of hemp,” says Yankee, “and they could stand up by themselves when first made.”


They first obtained supplies from Sparta, and Mr. Yankee drove up the first flock of sheep into the country from there.  Later, they traded homemade shingles at Black River Falls for supplies.  Mr. Yankee also homesteaded the land, which is now owned by Carl and Amos Yankee.


Charles Sternitzky, great grandfather of Herman Hasz of the village of Lynn, moved in and started logging immediately.  At one time, the George Hiles Land & Lumber Company occupied a portion of the farm and manufactured headers for barrels.  The headers were shipped out on the Milwaukee Railroad, which came up from the south, through Lynn, and terminated at Romadka.


George Kleinschmidt, grandfather of Arleigh K. Smith, lived the first year with Frederich Yankee.  There, Fred Kleinschmidt was born, the first white child to be born in the Town of Lynn.  In 1857, a cabin was built, and the family moved in.  In the early years, Mr. Kleinschmidt produced hay and garden vegetables, which he sold to the lumber camps in the nearby area.


All the families arrived in Clark County by ox team, following along the river road, and hacked through the brush for the last five or 10 miles to clear a road to their new homes.


Dean of the county fair “Sandwich Men” is Clark County’s Ben Grambsch.


To some of the middle-aged and older folks of his native Loyal, he may be referred to as “the Candy Man,” but most folks who elbow through the midway of the Clark County Fair, year after year, will recognize him standing behind his hamburger and hot dog gill.


For Mr. Grambsch has been at fairs for 43 years, and for 41 of those years he has been on the midway at the Clark County event.  That would put his start back in 1913.  He was younger then, and full of enthusiasm for the life and excitement of the midway.  The flame hasn’t died in the least; but the flesh has weakened some.  So in late years, Grambsch has been to only two fairs—the Clark County event, and the Central State Fair.


Mr. Grambsch missed two years at the Clark County Fair in his string of 43.  Those were in 1929 and 1930 when he joined a group plying the lower Michigan circuit.


His first year, in 1913, was not what one might describe as a whopping financial success.


“I left that fair with $12 profit,” he smiled.  Then he explained: “There’s a lot to running a stand so you can make some money.  It’s like every business; you have to know the tricks of the trade.”


A circa 1940 view of the Clark County Fairgrounds taken during a “Fair Week.” The boys and girls club dormitory is visible in the background with 4-H members shown walking to and from the fair events. (Photo courtesy of the Zipfel family collection.)



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