Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin

July 9, 2008, Page 14

Contributed by "The Clark Co. Press"

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Compiled and contributed by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News

July 1868


There promises to be a good many at the camp meeting in the Town of Weston next Saturday and Sunday.  It is about eight miles from Neillsville and will be a pleasant little drive.      


The excellent fruit known as raspberries is quite plentiful here this summer.  The woods are filled with persons picking raspberries every day.


It should be known that Mr. G. W. Grosbeck of this town, manufactures buckskin whip lashes and by leaving orders with him, whip lashes can be made of any size.


The sound of the plane, the hammer and the saw, is constantly heard on the streets now-a-days.  New buildings are going up on almost every corner, with good, substantial structures.        


The woods on East Fork were again on fire a few days ago, but before any great damage was done, a rainstorm extinguished the flames.


Our village has lately been visited by a number of Potawatomi Indians.  They have an encampment now on Wedge’s Creek.  Some of them have been going from house to house begging for food.  This was, a few years ago, the hunting grounds for the Chippewa Indians and the presence of a Potawatomi, at that time in this vicinity, was sure death to “Pota.”


Our German friend, Mr. Lewis Sontag, has recently opened, in the village, a sort of eating saloon for farmers.  Hardly any German would consider it complete without lager beer, so the enterprising proprietor keeps always a supply of that Teutonic beverage on hand.  Three or four tables are in the room and of course the temptation to indulge in a game of cards is very inviting to some who enter there in.  But “Lew” is determined to keep an orderly house and has notices posted conspicuously on the wall, which we have taken the liberty to copy as near like them as possible: “No Cart Blaying Hear.”


The hall at Staffordville is being fitted up for the best ballroom in two counties.  The building is 24 x 82 feet, well ventilated, and has a ladies’ dressing room and gentlemen’s coatroom.  When finished it is to be dedicated by a grand ball. 


(Staffordville, a short lived community, was located one mile north of Neillsville on the right side of Highway 73. D.Z.)


Prairie chickens must not be killed before the 15th of August.  The State offers a reward of $2.00 for information of any breach of the game laws.


Programme for Celebration of the Fourth of July at Neillsville:


The National Salute will be at Sunrise.


Citizens will assemble at 10 o’clock a.m. at the courthouse, when the procession will be formed under the direction of James W. Ferguson, Marshal of the Day.


Order of Procession – Neillsville Band – Citizens in carriages – Citizens on foot


Order of Exercises – Opening address by B. F. French, President of the Day –Prayer by Rev. Harvey Palmer – Reading of the Declaration of Independence by George W. King – Oration by Hon. C. C. Pope, of Black River Falls


Song – Star Spangled Banner, by the Neillsville Glee Club, after which the procession will be re-formed and will march to the Lumbermen’s Hotel where dinner will be served.


Fireworks will be held in the evening.


July 1948


The 60-year-old O’Neill Creek bridge at Granton went down Saturday under a tractor and trailer carrying a load of bricks estimated at about 22 ½ tons.


The old bridge, which was scheduled to be replaced this summer, apparently had been weakened by a similar load of bricks being hauled to the Granton School job the day before.


According to county officers, Philip L. Nelson of Waupaca, the driver, said the bridge started to give away under the load as the trailer was about midway across the 50-foot span.


The weight of the load and power of the tractor carried the front set of the dual trailer wheels off the bridge.  The rear set, however, hung over the edge. The big crane wrecker of the county highway department was employed to pull the trailer across the bridge.


Comparatively little damage was done to the trailer.  In all, Highway Commissioner Elmer F. Anderson estimated, it would amount to about $150.  Nelson, alone in the tractor, was not hurt.


Nelson told officers that he had crossed the bridge the day before with a load of 10,000 bricks.


Owner of the vehicle is Harold H. Dushek of Waupaca and the bricks were being hauled from that city.


Mr. Anderson said he had expected that the contractor would be starting the new construction July 1, or very shortly thereafter.


Construction of a new span over Black River on County Trunk N, in the Town of Longwood also is expected to be started sometime next week, Mr. Anderson said.  The span it will replace is 61 years old.


The Freedom Train, sleek, silver streamliner carrying priceless documents, which blaze America’s trail of freedom, passed through Neillsville early Sunday morning. 


Few people saw it, but many were aroused by its low, piercing whistle about 3 a.m.


Verne G. Stewart, who watched from his apartment window as the Freedom Train passed over the Omaha railroad tracks, described it as “a beauty.” 


The train was enroute from Eau Claire to Wausau, where it made a stop Sunday.


Tom Stork, 77, missing for eight days and seven nights from the county old folks’ home here, was found last Wednesday night almost within reaching distance of 800 people.


Old Tom was discovered under the grandstand at the Athletic Park.  There, while a crowd sitting in the stands above watched a ball game, two youngsters discovered the old gentleman.


He was on a bed of cardboard, made from display signs, which had decorated fair booths.  For his head, he had fashioned a pillow from old crepe paper, which once had gaily decorated booths during the fair.


As youngsters will do, Forrest Larsen, son of Mrs. Geralda Larsen, and Kenny and Dick Christie, sons of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Christie, were exploring the vastness under the grandstand.  They came upon old Tom, disturbing his privacy.


Coming upon him unexpectedly in the dark, the youngsters were very scared.  They ran and told traffic Officer Harry Frantz:  “There’s a man under there.”


Tom was taken to the Neillsville Hospital, where he was given a thorough examination by a local physician.  His condition was pronounced satisfactory, although he was weakened from the lack of food.


H was kept in the hospital for a couple of days to build up his strength before being taken back to the old folks’ home.


Tom either would not, or could not, tell officers where he had spent the eight days he had been missing.


“In woods,” was one of his answers; and the officers were inclined to believe it.


They had searched the fairground and its buildings thoroughly on at least two occasions; but had found no trace of him.  They expressed belief that the chill of Wednesday evening had driven him to seek shelter under the grandstand.


Early on Monday, Irvin Thoma went to the fairground and saw an elderly man sitting alone in the grandstand.  It apparently was Mr. Stork.  But Mr. Thoma was not aware that a statewide search was under way for him.


About the only explanation officers could get for his disappearance, Under Sheriff Frank Dobes said, was that he believed himself to be suffering a communicable disease.  Thus he did not want to be around people to spread his imagined disease.


To the inquiry of how long it had been since he had eaten; old Tom responded: “Four or five days.”


Construction is proceeding apace on the new American Legion Hall, located on South Hewett Street next to the O’Neill Creek pond.


The building will be one story, with basement, of tile and brick construction.  The foundation of the old legion hall, originally built as a grain elevator, is being used.


The estimate is that the building will cost approximately $7,500, exclusive of the interior finishing.


The Legion post is planning to finance the building by issuing $25 and $50 notes, available to the public.  The notes bear interest at three percent.  Harry McIntyre, post finance officer, is handling the finances.  Joe Cardarelle is chairman of the building committee.


The post at its recent meeting elected John C. (Hans) Brandt commander to succeed Earl Darling.


The annual Clark County Festival of the Danish Lutheran organization was held last Sunday at the Danish Lutheran Hall at Withee.  Services were held outdoors.  The morning speaker was the Rev. G. E. Borreson of Curtiss. The afternoon speaker was the Rev. C. W. Mueller, director of rural lifework in the national Rural Lifework in the National Lutheran Church at Loyal.


There was a picnic dinner at noon.


An interesting visitor to Neillsville last week was Mrs. Hulda Hartman, of Germany and now of Chicago, who was a guest for a week at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Degener. 


Mrs. Hartman is a lady of spirit.  She came to the United States two years ago, at the age of 73, firmly putting behind her a background of war, destruction and fear, and starting out a new life in a new and strange country with a vigor and determination unmatched by many a younger person.  Coming to Chicago to live with a daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. F. A. Degener, Mrs. Hartman, who knew not a word of English, adapted herself in the new way of life from the start, enrolling in a school to study the English language and further tackling the barrier in communication by talking with neighbors, refusing for the most part to speak German.  Her fluency is now remarkable.


Along with her determination goes the saving grace of a sense of humor, which enables Mrs. Hartman to speak interestingly and without self-pity of the experiences the last years have brought her.  She tells of the growing sense of oppression under the Hitler regime, the final terrors in Berlin when the war came home to the German people.


She tells of the air raids, the urgency of the sirens, the rush for the back yard shelter, carrying such valuables as could be collected at a moment’s notice.  She tells of her husband’s death in May of 1943, the demolition of her home in November of the same year, the various other temporary homes where she found refuge.


At that time when she came to this country she was living with a niece in the Russian zone of Berlin and of the Russian occupation she had nothing good to say.  The food situation was highly intolerable, with no milk for children over the age of four, miniscule allotments of meat, eggs and the like.  Of the threat of the German people embracing Communism she believes that it is only a minority of Germans who believe in it, but points out a few can control many.  She looks on the present situation in Germany in regards to the Russians and the rest of the world as “very bad.”  She had the impression, however, that despite Russian propaganda to the contrary most Germans realize that America is trying to help Europe.  It is Mrs. Hartman’s opinion that “Most Germans prefer America and England to Russia.”


Mrs. Hartman likes America, but, being a woman of indomitable courage, she says that, were she younger, she would have stayed in the country of her birth and tried to do what she could to make a new life there.  As it is, she is happy to be with her children and only hopes that another war will be avoided.


It seems that through thick and thin, Mrs. Hartman was able to save her silverware in each emergency and she felt justly pleased with herself, that is, until the Russians took over. At that time the Russians confiscated her silver, almost the only remnant of past days of comfortable living and as he told the story, her indignation caused her to lapse into German as she berated herself for having been so foolish as to bother with the silver all that long time only to see go under such circumstances.


Her escape from the Russian zone was arranged through her son-in-law, who, through his connection with the Hayden Chemical Company in Chicago, was able to make arrangements with the state department. Mrs. Hartman’s daughter, Mrs. A. F. Degener, had heard through letters from friends in Germany that her mother would scarcely be able to survive the rigors of the Russian regime, and she and her husband began to set the wheels turning that resulted in Mrs. Hartman’s receiving, as a complete surprise to her, the visas and passports that opened the door to Switzerland.  There she found plane transportation awaiting her, even before she received letters from the United States telling her of the plans for her “rescue,” and she was on her way.


And even after two years in the land of the free, she says that she still is more amazed at the abundance of food than anything else.  A person does not easily forget what it is like to be hungry.



With Neillsville being located along the Black River and O’Neill Creek running through the city, four bridges have been needed to span those tributaries, with a fifth being added after the re-routing of Highway 10.  Probably the most ornate bridges during the city’s history were the Grand Avenue and Hewett Street bridges of the early 1900s.  The Hewett Street Bridge is pictured above. D.Z. (Contributed photo)





© Every submission is protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.


Show your appreciation of this freely provided information by not copying it to any other site without our permission.


Become a Clark County History Buff


Report Broken Links

A site created and maintained by the Clark County History Buffs
and supported by your generous donations.


Webmasters: Leon Konieczny, Tanya Paschke,

Janet & Stan Schwarze, James W. Sternitzky,

Crystal Wendt & Al Wessel