Clark County Press, Neillsville,

December 19, 2007, Page 19

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 



Compiled and contributed by Dee Zimmerman



Clark County News

December 1927


At a recent session of the County Board, in Wood County, it was voted to finish the concrete on Federal highway No. 10 from its present terminus to the Clark County line.  When this is completed, both Highway 10 and Highway 13 in Wood County will be solid concrete.


Ed Hagie has purchased a saw mill and will saw all logs brought to the mill.  He has employed a first-class head sawyer.  You can be assured of No.1 lumber being sawed at all times.  The mill is set up at Shortville, by the tile shop.  He also has heavy and light sleighs for sale.


Walter Zbinden, this week, began work on a new addition to the Pine Valley Cheese Factory.  The new building will be 40 by 60 ft., one story, and will be built on the west side of the old factory.  The increased floor space became necessary due to the demand of the Board of Health, as the present building is inadequate to take care of the business in a sanitary manner.  After the work is completed, cream and milk can be taken care of in the new building.


In addition to raising the license fees for dances in this county, the ordinance adopted at the recent County Board meeting, also placed restrictions on the number of dances that can be held in any buildings used as granaries or barns.  Only one dance a month can be held in such buildings, which would mean probably not over five or six dances during the year, as few if any barn dances can be held after the cold weather sets in.


A large crowd of ladies gathered at the home of Mrs. Gus Steffen, south of Neillsville on Friday, to help pick geese.  The day happened to be the anniversary of the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Steffen and also Mr. Steffen’s birthday.  In the evening the men folks and others came to a big super and later played games, visited and danced, making the evening most enjoyable.


(Are there some of you who remember picking pin-feathers on geese, ducks and chickens, or stripping goose feathers?  Kids, you don’t know what you are missing.  Stripping feathers was like punishment! D. Z.)


Erwin O. Gilbertson has opened a furniture and undertaking establishment in Granton, moving his family here last week.  There was no furniture dealer, or undertaker in Granton previous to Mr. Gilbertson’s arrival.  There seems to be no question as why he should not make a good business here.  Mr. and Mrs. Gilbertson leave many good friends in the city of Black River Falls.


On Friday, fully 400 interested men and women visited the Ford Garage in Neillsville to get full information about the new Ford car that has been just placed on the market.  The Hoesly Motor Co. display room walls were placarded with pictures of the various styles of the new Ford creations.  The various car styles were studied eagerly by the visitors.  On Monday night, a sample car of the Tudor (2-door) style arrived from Fond du Lac by way of Marshfield and was on display all day at the Ford Garage.  A big crowd surrounded the car all day, some coming and others going.  Besides the new truck, six types of cars are on the market: coupe, phaeton, sport coupe, Tudor sedan, four-door sedan and a roadster with rumble seat.  The prices quoted are as follows, F.O.B. Detroit:


Coupe $495; Sport Coupe $550; Phaeton $395; Tudor Sedan $495; Four-door Sedan $570; truck chassis $460; truck complete, $610.


The buyer has the choice of four colors: Niagara blue, Arabian sand, dawn gray and gun metal blue.  The car has the standard selective gear, with all the new ideas on ignition and cooling; four wheel brakes, multiple disc dry plate clutch of the same type used on high priced cars.  Every car is equipped with five steel spoke wheels; in fact only steel wheels are used on all the cars and trucks.  Every car is equipped also with a starter, windshield wipers, speedometer, gasoline gauge, door lock, dash light, rear view mirror, rear and stop light, oil gauge, theft proof lock, hydraulic shock absorber and a complete set of tools.  The cars are said to be able to run 50 to 60, or even more, miles per hour and make 20 to 30 miles on a gallon of gasoline.


A Christmas Dinner will be held at the Merchants Hotel Sunday Dec. 25th.  Baked goose and turkey will be served.  Make your reservations early.


This winter with Schmitt’s Snow Chains, which are practically a new invention in Auto Snow Chains; 30x3 ½ inch tire base of the rear wheels; will make a ten-inch track with three-inch lugs on either side to grab into snow, sand or mud and draw the machine out.  These can be made to order for trucks and heavy duty cars, also.  Write for information to H. Schmitt’s Snow-Chains Mfg. Sheboygan, Wis. R. 3.


December 1947


In Budapest, Hungary, there are 60 used dress suits upon 60 musicians of the Budapest symphony orchestra, placed upon them through the good will of the people of Greenwich, Conn. and through the management of a splendid Greenwich woman.  With their American dress suits upon them, these Budapest musicians, in recognition of their American friends, will give two benefit concerts in Budapest for the relief work going on there.


The people of Clark County were told about these dress suits, over the weekend by Rev. Del Eberhardt, a son of Neillsville who is back in the Old Home Town after 18 months of service with the Friends Relief Organization in Europe.  To his hearers, the formal dress suits might have seemed less necessitous than some other things he mentioned, for in Clark County dress suits are a rarity, the people not feeling the need of them in their business.  But to a symphony orchestra dress suits rank next in order to instruments, and the musicians of the Budapest symphony just did not feel proper when they performed in their old dowdy suits, relics of the pre-war epoch.


Also, in meeting this need of the Budapest orchestra, the Friends naturally turned to an area where dress suits have extensive recognition, as they do in the commuting environs of Greenwich, from which wealthy brokers and bankers and businessmen pour into the downtown district of New York City.  Greenwich could contribute 60 dress suits to Budapest people.  There great music has long had a home, and to Hungarians recovery from the war means, in small part, the enjoyment of it.  To them the dress suits are a symbol of friendliness, and Mr. Eberhardt, in his talks to various local groups had emphasized the great need, which the European people feel for good will.


But mostly the story of Mr. Eberhardt was grim.  For instance, there were the sisters in the University of Budapest.  They had one pair of shoes between them, and they took turns attending classes, one wearing shoes one day and the other the next.  There are students in the dormitories at the University living in rooms with the window lights all gone and with no fire to keep them warm.  In zero temperatures, they sleep with one blanket per bed, if they are lucky; more of them cover themselves with curtains or rugs.  The lack of window glass was described by Mr. Eberhardt, as one of the greatest difficulties; practically all the glass has been shattered in the bombed cities.  The demand for glass has been completely beyond the possibility of filling it. Add to that the lack of coal and not enough food and there is the picture of misery, as Mr. Eberhardt painted it.


To Mr. Eberhardt the lack of food became something more than conversation.  As an American worker, whose success depended upon his health, it was necessary that he and others like him should decide in advance that they would nourish themselves more nearly according to the American standard than according to the European standard.  But they had constant evidence of the under-nourishment of the average Europeans.


Mr. Eberhardt told of taking a meal with a friendly French family.  It consisted of green spinach soup, a little macaroni, two slices of sausage and one slice of bread.  At the conclusion of the meal, Mr. Eberhardt was still hungry.


Americans, hearing the great discussion in this country about European relief, may suppose that they are alone in the relief enterprise, said Mr. Eberhardt, but that is not the case at all.  American workers there come constantly upon the activity of many European relief organizations.  He mentioned several, including the Swiss.


Mr. Eberhardt spoke Sunday morning in Zion Reformed Church, that evening at Fellowship group of the Congregational Church; Monday evening to the Kiwanis Club.


Mr. Eberhardt summarized this thought by quoting another thus; Do not talk about your democracy; act as though you have it.  The world wants real friendship.  The whole world must be made fit to live in, or no part of it will be complete.


(Although the above world conditions were that of 60 years ago, presently there are areas of the world experiencing hard-ships at this point of time also.  In our country of plenty, it is easy to become complacent with the abundance we enjoy, losing thought that there may be those among us who lack the basic needs for life. D.Z.)


Conrad Frantz, believed the oldest living native of Clark County; observed his 91st birthday last Thursday, at his home on South Grand Avenue.


Still active and spry for his years, Mr. Frantz was born on what is known as the old Borde farm, south of the city in Pine Valley, on December 11, 1856.  He also is the only survivor of the original National Guard Unit of Neillsville, the Clark County Zouaves, formed following the Civil War.


In observance of his birthday, the Neillsville American Legion post presented Mr. Frantz with a box of cigars on his birthday.  In the evening, Mr. Frantz puffed away on a cigar and played a few games of cards with Mr. and Mrs. Rudolph Frantz, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Frantz, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Roehrborn and Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Hunt.


Ninety-foot poles, designed for use on the athletic field lights, arrived in Neillsville, Sunday night.  They were the second shipment of material for the system to be installed for night playing of football, baseball and softball.  The reflectors arrived earlier.


The lights are to be installed on the fairground field in the spring by the Neillsville Athletic association, which sponsors athletics here.  They re expected to cost approximately $8,500 installed.


Incoming Christmas mail and express has been heavier in Neillsville this year than in any year in history.


This is the impression of Postmaster Louis W. Kurth and Al Marg, who delivers the express.


“Christmas packages delivered in the homes by the express are double last year’s volume; and deliveries to retail establishments have been about one-third larger,” Mr. Marg estimates.


The post office had handled approximately 10 percent more parcel post deliveries to residences and farms of the area, according to Mr. Kurth’s estimate.


These are indications, which point to a Merry Christmas materially at least, for the people in this area.


Christmas with the pioneers held deep religious meaning.


Christmas on the frontier, as new bands of pioneers pushed ever westward, to carve an empire out of virgin plains and wildernesses, was in marked contrast to the present holiday.


There was more meaning then in the words of The Book concerning shepherds in a certain country watching their flocks by night.  The solitudes, the closeness of the stars, the virginity of the new world and the humble people made one feel that time had stood still. Christmas in those days somehow seemed much closer to that first Christmas.


Those bleak plains could be the ones the Wise Men crossed, this Night and yon sleeping village, Bethlehem.  The faith of the trailbreakers was that of the Wise Men.


On Christmas Eve the pioneer folks would gather in a crude little church or schoolhouse where children recited pieces and sang songs about the birth of the Christ Child.  Santa would hand out sacks of candy, a golden orange or an apple to each one, and childhood rapture would make that meager offering truly a gift of gold and frankincense.


Homemade sleds and sleighs skimmed over the snowy countryside with sleigh bells jingling accompaniment to the caroling of “Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells.”


Except for the forest regions, few children enjoyed the sight of a Christmas tree.  But always they hung up their stockings, an old custom of their forefathers.


It was a lucky boy who awoke Christmas morning to find a new jack-knife in his stocking; a lucky girl who received a string of beads or a calico doll from Santa Claus.


For goodies, no Christmas was complete without its pans of popcorn and ropes of molasses taffy.  In rare cases there might be a bag of candy.


In the isolated cabins it wasn’t so easy to gather with one’s neighbors to celebrate.  There were wolves in the timber and being caught in a sudden blowing storm on the pioneer trails, spelled death.


Christmas in some places meant a bobsled ride or perhaps a square dance, often followed by a turkey dinner, costing 25c.


Throughout the holiday season a candle burned in the attic window, guiding late-faring travelers to shelter; the Star of Bethlehem on the frontier.


However these hardy folks had as much fun as their great-great-grandchildren who again this year will be exchanging elaborate gifts, feasting with no worries that tomorrow there may be nothing in the electric refrigerator.



 The railroad first came to Neillsville in 1881 and with it came express and mail delivery service, which had previously been transported by stagecoach.  In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Al Marg hauled mail for the Neillsville post office, to and from the railroad station.  The above photo shows Marg’s truck with mail sacks stacked to full capacity on a Christmas season delivery enroute to the post office.  (Photo courtesy of Virginia Marg’s family collection)





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