Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin

October 15, 2008, Page 24

Contributed by "The Clark Co. Press"

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Compiled and contributed by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News

October 1893


Reinholdt Newman has the foundation and frame in place for a new house on his lot on the top of the Bacon Ridge.  It will be a very comfortable home and is in a very good location, facing Oak Street.  Reinholdt has been absent from the city a few years, but comes back thoroughly convinced that Neillsville is the best town in Wisconsin.


Last Saturday, at the washboard factory, Tom Stockwell’s right thumb was cut off at the first joint by a saw.  His hand slipped while he was working and the thumb was gone quicker than lightning.


G. W. Allen and D. J. Kinney, of Loyal, left Tuesday morning for the northwestern part of Lincoln County where they will look over their timber interests.  They have recently purchased 74 40’s of land are looking over another tract, which will, if purchased, give them about 5,000 acres of valuable timber land in that part of the state.  The nearest railroad is at Rib Lake, but the owners believe that the road will be extended in a few years.  It is estimated that the tract will cut 15,000,000 of hemlock.  The tanneries are locating in that scion, so the hemlock price is sure to increase in value.


The sale of lots at Columbia, with people from our state and those of Illinois, has exposed the nothingness of things at the town’s site in “Nowhere land” between Neillsville and Merrillan, so the harvest is closed.  A week ago, deeds to lots were arriving at the register of deeds’ office by the score and great was the rush of recording.  The bubble burst and now calm pervades in Mr. Zassenhaus’ office.  Lots were mostly sold at $5 or $10 each and were disposed of like hot cakes to people of Chicago, Janesville and elsewhere.  The people, who buy lots on land off-hand without inspection, should expect to be nipped.  Hail, Columbia, and farewell!!


Yesterday morning four families, with a number of small children, arrived at the railroad station on their way to “Columbia.”  They were met at the train by men employed by promoters of the Columbia land scheme and then were taken out to the land of tree slashing.  It would be a study to see their faces as they looked for the big factories, hark for the thundering waterfall and the hum of revolving spindles.  No doubt they will promptly return back to the homes they left.


Wonders never cease.  The Omaha Company’s local agent, F. W. Whitcomb will sell tickets Oct. 6th and 7th, to Chicago at $6.40 for round trip, good to return until Oct. 18th.  Chicago Day is Oct. 9th and the World’s Fair will be the scene of the greatest crowds and festivities of the whole year.


Work commenced Tuesday morning on the new sewer on Fifth Street, west from Hewett’s.  A big crew keeps the dirt flying.  The men worked until past midnight last night changing the hydrant and refitting the water main joints.  In the rain and dark, it was a trying job.


The church at Shortville will be dedicated Tuesday, Oct. 17th.  The services will be at 11 a.m. and also in the afternoon.


August Schoengarth has been altering and enlarging his house next to the brickyard and when veneered with brick it will be a stylish in appearance as any house in town.


Monday night at about 12 o’clock, three burglars attempted to enter the house of Chris Christopherson, on the North Side, but Christopherson was awake.  He was on deck with a rifle and firing at them, scared them away.  One would-be robber lost his hat in the yard and left it there, so that transaction was a losing one for the enterprising three.


Merikel’s shingle mill was moved Monday from its old location on Wedges Creek to George Bulliard’s farm, where it will be started up some time next week.


The forest fires, Monday, along Cawley Creek, destroyed a large quantity of logging camp buildings, kits and buildings, the property of J. H. Reddan of this city.  Mr. Reddan was in Brule country at the time the bad news was telegraphed to him.


F. A. and Rella W. Balch went hunting the other day, up northwest of the city a good many miles and each bagged a deer.  The deer were in prime condition and those men are mighty proud.  Jim Canon was with R. W. at the time he shot so both men shot at the deer at the same instant, so closely together that there was but one report.  Therefore the honor was to be shared between them.  But in F. A.’s case he had his deer to his own way, which dressed out at 220 pounds, while Balch and Cannon’s deer dressed out at 232 pounds.  It was a great day’s sport.


October 1943


Wisconsin Boy Scouts planted 108,900 trees this spring, reports F. B. Trenk, extension forester at the University of Wisconsin.


Mrs. John Seif, Greenwood route, will teach the Prosperity School.  She began this week, succeeding Evelyn Steiger, who resigned to marry.


Matte Dergance narrowly escaped instant death Wednesday while driving his big gravel truck with a full load, four yards of gravel, onto a wooden bridge.


As Matte drove his load onto the approach he felt himself and the truck starting to break through.  He quickly threw his truck into high gear and succeeded in getting on the other end of the bridge.  He relates it was a close call, as all the heavy wooden planks were broken.




Dr. H. W. Housley has sold his large residence on Fourth Street to the Parry-Jackson family.  The Housley family will break its immediate ties with Neillsville and will take up residence in Madison, it is understood the doctor has been working professionally in that part of the state for some time.


The purchasers of the Housley home will move into it as soon as the Housley’s have vacated.  The house is one of the larger residences of Neillsville, located opposite the high school and is in excellent condition.


The first break in the continuing of rural school-work in Clark County for the present school year occurred this week at the Beaver Center School. There, the teacher, Mrs. Olive Chisamore of Stanley resigned effective Tuesday, and on Wednesday the school was closed.  It was anticipated, however, that a teacher would be found promptly, with the help of Louis E. Block, the county superintendent and that the children would presently be enjoying their school opportunities.


William B. Tufts of Neillsville is now a lieutenant colonel.  The news of his promotion has come to Mrs. Tufts.  Lieut. Col. Tufts is now assigned to duty at general headquarters of the Southwest Pacific area, being a member of the organization of General MacArthur.


Lt. Col. Tufts entered the military service in 1935 as a lieutenant in the local Service Company, 128th Infantry.  He went into service with that organization on Oct. 10, 1940, when the Wisconsin National Guard was called to Camp Beauregard and Camp Livingston, La.  In April 1942, Capt. Tufts, as he was then, went with his unit to the Southwest Pacific.  He has been there continuously since.


In civilian life Lt. Col. Tufts is the secretary of the Lynn Mutual Insurance Companies, having held that position for 14 years.  Prior to that, he had for several years been an examiner for the state insurance department.  He is a graduate of the School of Commerce of the University of Wisconsin.


Boys as well as apples fall from apple trees.


Steven Gault, little son of Mrs. Frank Sturgeon, was climbing in an apple tree last Thursday noon when he fell to the ground and fractured his collarbone.  He is now recovering satisfactorily, but the doctor says it will be necessary for the shoulder to be taped for nearly a month.


For Meatless Meals, a Surprise Pancakes Recipe is available in Sacks of Betty Crocker Kitchen-Tested Enriched Flour, 50 lb. bag, $2.49, at Wasserburger’s Store.


The Office of Price Administration has announced a range of retail price ceilings for 13 fresh vegetables, explaining that the action was taken to prevent a repetition of last winter’s zooming prices.


The vegetables brought under control are lima beans, snap beans, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, green beans, peppers, spinach and tomatoes.


The passing of the H. P. Ghent shop on North Hewett Street brings to the minds of a few of the older residents of Neillsville some of the earlier history of this shop.


The Ghent building was built in 1889 by three Neillsville businessmen, who formed a company for the manufacture of sleighs, etc.  These men were: Antone Barton, Fred Wolff and Herman Korman and the shop was called, Barton, Wolff and Korman’s Wagon and Buggies Shop.  The building was completed in the early summer and the Fourth of July celebration, that year, centered around the new building.  Here dancing took place and the usual Fourth of July peanuts, popcorn and lemonade were sold.


Later, Mr. Barton sold his interest to the other partners and the firm was then known as Wolff and Korman.  About 1910, Mr. Wolff sold his interest to Mr. Sommerfeldt, and the firm became Korman and Sommerfeldt.


In 1915, H. P. Ghent entered the firm, which then became known as Korman and Ghent.  In 1922, shortly before Mr. Korman’s death, he sold his interest to Mr. Ghent, who has since been the owner.


In addition to the making of buggies, wagons, etc., the firm has always done planing of lumber, horse shoeing and general blacksmith work.  In later years, the business has run more to the repairing of trucks and farm machinery.


In the early days, a paint shop was maintained on the second floor, where the firm painted their buggies, wagons, etc.  James Campbell was the first painter employed.  Ira Wolff was also one of the early painters.


The original lot included the lad on which the Tibbett’s ice house and the R. H. Welsh warehouse now stand.


In recent years, Mr. Ghent has done much planing of fine lumber, and cabinetwork.  He was the first man who ran the business alone.  The shop had been closed since June 14, when Mr. Ghent became ill.  Ray Paulson, who has taken possession and will conduct his farm implement business there, has purchased the lot and building.  As stated, Mr. Korman’s death occurred in 1922 and Mr. Barton passed away in 1925.  Mr. Wolff is still living at the home of his daughter in Sheboygan.  Neillsville friends have lost rack of the Sommerfeldt family.


Another product turned out by Barton, Wolff and Korman’s Wagon and Buggy Shop was the wheelbarrow, their own special kind, made of wood, with wooden wheels and spokes.  The setting of wagon, buggy and wheelbarrow tires was an important part of their work.  In this connection, the name of Martin Kapka should be mentioned as their chief black-smith from 1889 until his death in 1911.


In 1883, The Northern Pacific Railway, the first transcontinental railway to cross Montana, was completed and a “Go west to Montana boom” swept the county.  It reached Neillsville and resulted in a demand for heavy wagons for west-ward travel.  So, the local wagon shop was humming with industry and many of their wagons traveled westward across the prairies.  Mr. Wolff himself was caught in the westward movement in 1910, the year he severed his relations with the local firm.


In the earliest years, the wagon shop employed 10 and 12 men.  In 1915, six men were employed and this number gradually decreased until the past two or three years when Mr. Ghent has handled the work alone.


During the early days of their enterprise, and industrial transition was taking place in the country.  The trend was away from the small shop and more and more industries became centralized.  So gradually, the need for the little shop declined.  The work carried on when it changed to fit the needs of the times.  The business, which was begun to make horse-drawn vehicles, was transformed by the industrial revolution into a shop for repairing motor machinery.


And so it was a significant occasion when Raymond Paulson made a clean sweep of the walls of the old Ghent shop.  From then he took in the labor of two days, the patterns, which had been accumulating through the years.  There were patterns of rockers and sleighs, of all sorts of parts for almost all kinds of furniture.  They spoke for the old days, when a few men in a small plant made many different things, a few of each.


Now those old patterns, made of wood, are in the room where once was kept the fuel to feed the old boiler.  They will be used for kindling and for wood burning.  When winter comes there will go up through the chimney the last vestige of the old era, beloved by many, when the good craftsmen, made many things with his own good hands and a few tools.


The record of it all is in the old daybook in which are inscribed the names of the customers of those good old days.  Prominent in the list is good old Charlie Sniteman, who bought a spring cutter in 1906 and paid $38.00 for it.  The names written there are names of Neillsville history, the names of the persons who made southern Clark County.  Many of them are resting now under little white stones under the stately spruce trees of the Neillsville Cemetery.  They were the patterns of their era, returning to the dust. The book containing their names is now a relic, tossed into a barrel for the discard.  Soon even the old record book will be gone, perhaps in smoke, like the patterns.


(And we can only hope that some of these old relics were snatched up by someone and placed in the Jail House Museum in Neillsville. Dmk)



Built in 1889, the wagon and carriage shop, along 815 Hewett Street, was an active business in that era.  The above circa 1910 photo was taken during Sommerfeld* and Korman’s ownership.  Ghent owned the business when it closed in 1943.




*(Note: Sommerfeld and Sommerfeldt have been used for the same business party’s name.)



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