Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

August 23, 2006, Page 12

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Good Old Days" Articles 


The Good Old Days 


August 1901


Robert Gates of Milwaukee, son of Jas. L. Gates, will donate $150 for a city fountain to be located on the depot grounds.  The donor was born in Neillsville and always retained a great interest in the city’s welfare.  It is a neat and appropriate gift, and one which our citizens will appreciate.


We have decided to close the Neillsville Mills indefinitely after August 20.  So much outside flour is being shipped into he city, by local dealers, that we feel compelled to take this step.  We can not operate at a profit without the cooperation of home dealers.  Neillsville Cash Milling Company.


C. S. Stockwell, who knows every foot of land in Clark County, has been awarded the contract of making a re-survey of the town of Brighton in Marathon County.  The total aggregate of lines to be run will be about 84 miles.


He took with him a crew of assistants consisting of Olaf Olson, Bert Schultz, Arthur Londgren, Harry Darling and his son, Arthur Stockwell.  Fred Glass went along to do the cooking, Mr. Stockwell, having secured Harve Rickard’s bean kettle to facilitate culinary matters.  The men will live in tents during the campaign.


Mr. Gress removed the south span of the Grand Avenue Bridge, across Black River last week.  The old structure is to be replaced by an iron bridge.


Last Sunday, a small boy and girl, about eight and ten years of age, respectively, were noticed hanging about town.  As night came on, they seemed to have no place to go.  Marshall Hommel took charge of them and left them at Weisner’s Hotel.  The next day, it was learned that they were the children of a farmer living eight miles south of the city.  It appears the children had been left to watch cattle and having let them escape into a neighbor’s cornfield, the fear of punishment caused them to run away.  Apparently, they had had rough treatment, for when the father came to get them, the little boy ran away and hid, and the little girl seemed greatly frightened.  The father did not seem greatly concerned about their absence, and went home without the boy.  The boy was found later and presently, is at Mr. Weisner’s.


Most farmers, in this vicinity, have heard of the Neillsville Stock Farm owned by M. C. Ring.  But, perhaps they do not all fully appreciate what it is to have a first-class stock farm right in our own county.  Farmers wishing to improve their stock need not send away to other states.  They can get first-class breeding stock, near at home, equal to the best that they would be likely to get in sending a long distance away and at prices less than they would pay farther from home.


At this stock farm may be found: Hampshire Down sheep, Red Polled cattle, Poland China hogs and the best breeds of draft and coach horses.  Mr. Ring, the proprietor, imports one or more rams every year to head his flock of 250 full blood, registered Hampshire Down sheep.  He pays big prices for cattle and hogs for breeding purposes, so that there is no other northern half of Wisconsin farm better equipped to supply the wants of farmers and breeders.


It would pay any of our farmers, when in the county seat, to drive out and visit the Neillsville Stock Farm.


Chas. Potter, a professional hobo, was given thirty days in jail before Justice Dudley, Wednesday, for stealing a pair of pants at The Fair Store.  Sheriff Campbell bought the pants for him for 25 cents and then took the trusting crook into custody.


Ole Haug has rented the building on Sixth Street, near the brewery, from Richard Braatz of Grant.  About September 4, he will open a boarding house.  There is quite a demand at present for boarding accommodations.


The solid powerhouse, 30x50 feet, with a sold (solid) 30x30 feet boiler house attached, of the Thorp electric light plant, was completed this week.  A crew of men are (is) engaged in setting poles and wiring the thirteen 1,500 candle power are lights.  Soon the engine boiler and dynamo shall be placed in position and connected ready for operation.  The engine is a low-speed 85 HP boiler.  The dynamo purchased, is of the latest improved make.  Meters are to be used.  All the machinery is new and the plant is expected to be ready for operation by October 1.  The plant, when completed will cost $10,000 and will be owned and operated by the village.


August 1951


Some persons working in Neillsville have to live out in the country because of the shortage of housing in the city, but there is one place in Neillsville that stands almost vacant most of the time.


Before people begin flocking to The Press office in numbers to find out about this place of the chronic vacancy, it would be well to state what the place is.  It is the Clark County Jail.  Two empty cellblocks for men, one for women and one for children provide the choice tenant.  At this moment, the jail has one occupant.  He has his choice of a cell with an outside view, or one with a shower.  In fact, he has a choice of eight “bedrooms.”  In his apartment, all are modern, with electricity, plumbing, ventilation, solid construction, excellent doors and locks that are the very best. 


The jail is almost as difficult to get into as out office.  The main door is very heavy and sticks a great deal.  However, a lot of people come to the sheriff and ask for admittance to the jail.  Most of them are vagrants.


Sheriff Frank Dobes recalls a boy of about 20, who came to him one evening, requesting permission to stay in the jail overnight.  He was a well-dressed young man, well mannered, too.  He said he had shipped his stuff to the West coast and was hitch-hiking out there.  The little money he had he wanted to save for meals, rather than hotel accommodations, so he stayed in the jail overnight.  In the morning, he asked for a mop and said he would mop the floors.  He believed in paying his way. 


Vagrants passing through town are often lodged in the jail overnight on request of the city police, and are asked to be out of town by the next evening.


One man, the sheriff recalled, stayed in the jail several nights.  He was in the doghouse, so he stayed at the jail until things were rosy again at home.


In a lot of jails, the vagrants are requested to swab the floors in the morning, in return for the free lodging.  However, that procedure is not followed here.


Aside from the vagrants, the jail stands almost empty most of the time.  Herman Olson, the former sheriff, can recall having no more than 12 prisoners at one time.  Ray Kutsche, former sheriff, and now under-sheriff, stated the most he had had at a time were nine or ten.  Sheriff Dobes, who has served since January, said that five or six were the most he has had behind bars.


The Clark County jail is in good condition, it meets the rigid state laws for the housing of prisoners.  But it stands empty or practically empty most of the time.  The possibility of other counties sharing the facilities has been brought up.


A group (of) people returned to Chicago, Sunday, after spending two weeks vacation, their annual visit here.  They will be joined by more families, next year, as they are planning for a three-week’s outing at Rock Dam.


This year, a fish fry was held in Memorial Park at Rock Dam, by the group on July 27.  One hundred thirty-seven pan fish, 10 bass and bullheads were prepared for the feast.  On July 28, they had a sweet corn roast at Keiner’s resort in Rock Dam.  They also had a turtle dinner, prepared by Evie Walter, as only she can cook turtle dinner, which she does every year.


Robert Ratsch, of the Town of Grant, is proud of his oats stand.  In threshing on Saturday, he got a yield of 380 bushels from 4 ½ acres.  His usual yield of oats is 40 to 50 bushels an acre but Mr. Ratsch, got an average of 84.4 bushels an acre.  The type of oats was Yellow Kherson.  He planted the oats the first week in May, mixing a little barley in with it.  The oats weighed 36 pounds to a bushel, whereas the usually oats weighed 32 pounds. 


Mr. Ratsch’s farm is located half a mile north of the Reed School, in the Town of Grant.  He has ten acres planted in oats 2½ acres are planted with Beaver Kherson and Dakota oats.  He cut grain on July 31, and started threshing with a crew of six on August 11, when he discovered how heavy a yield he was getting.  The threshing crew is made up of farmer neighbors who band together at the threshing season.


Twenty years of cooking for the young people staying at the Clark County fair is the record set by Mrs. Frank Kuhl.


Mrs. Kuhl, who lives on a farm west of Neillsville, said she started cooking for the junior fair exhibitors while a leader of the Grandview 4-H club of Pine Valley.  She said they were short of help, so she volunteered and has been cooking ever since.  She said she enjoys cooking for large groups, although the fair is the only quantity cooking she does.


Mrs. Kuhl described the routine of the dining hall.  She and her helpers, her daughter, Mrs. Eric Koops, Mrs. Carl Hoffman, Mrs. Walter Beyer, Mrs. Fred Dux and Mrs. Earl Hansen, all of Neillsville, arrived at the fair at five a.m.  They started the breakfast.  The sweet rolls, fresh from the bakery ovens, arrived at six.  The food was served cafeteria style, with the girls lining up along one side and the boys on the other.  Breakfast was served at seven.  The young people had cereal, fruit, cocoa and scrambled eggs in addition to the fresh rolls.


The boys and girls did their own dishes.  Three portable tubs, the type used for washing clothes, were set in a line.  One tub contained hot soap water, with brushes, and the other two were for rinsing.  The young people line up to scrub and rinse their dishes.


Lunch preparations were started as soon as breakfast was over.  The young people ate 100 pounds of potatoes, at each meal, this year.  There were about 234 people eating, at each meal.  A typical lunch was mashed potatoes, meatloaf, bread, butter, salad, ice cream, cookies and milk.


After lunch, supper is started.  The cooking staff gets through about eight or nine p.m.


Mrs. Kuhl said it had been fun cooking for the young people this year, despite the work and the weather with mud.


The Neillsville Forty Square Dancing club is holding a special dance at the Neillsville Legion club on August 22.


The guest of honor of the dance will be Vic Graef or Sheboygan, past president of the Square Dance association.


Mr. Graef is chairman of the districting committee of the state Square Dance association and is on a tour of Northern Wisconsin.


The Granton Public Schools will open Tuesday morning, September 4.  Buses will run at about the same time they did last school year and will follow nearly the same routes.  As all except new students have already registered, the regular program will be held the opening day.  Freshman students and new students will be registered Tuesday morning.


All buildings have been redecorated and several new pieces of equipment have been obtained.  The major addition for the school system is the new hot lunch program.  The new lunchroom is located in the grade school building.  A new milk-testing lab has been added to the agriculture building.  Two curriculum changes are listed for the school year; a full year of bookkeeping and an office practice for the seniors.


The average income of persons in the United States, in 1950, was $1,436.  That was the average income, in term of dollars, for each man, woman and child.  This was the record dollar income of American History, being a gain of $116, or 9 percent, over the income of 1949. 


The average income of persons in Wisconsin was $1,431.  This means that Wisconsin has almost an exact average income and prosperity.  It was ahead of Mississippi, the lowest, where the average was $698, below the District of Columbia, where the average was $1,986.


Miss Esther Greub, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Greub of Neillsville, became the bride of Louis Ziegler, son of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Ziegler of Willard, at a ceremony performed at the Zion Evangelical and Reformed Church, in Neillsville, on Saturday, August 25, at 7:30 p.m.  They repeated their vows before an altar banked with baskets of gladiolus.


The Rev. William Koehler performed the double ring ceremony.


Clark County was one amongst other communities, which celebrated the Wisconsin State Centennial in 1948.  The Neillsville community held an event that included a parade.  The 40 Square Dance Club made up a float whith some of the club members demonstrating dancing sets.  The two men standing in this pickup box, (left to right) are Art Nemitz, the dance caller and Louie Nemitz, who was a well-known and popular accordion player in the Neillsville area.  The others in the photo wre not able to be indentified.  (Photo courtesy of Margaret Nemitz)



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