Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin

January 7, 2009 Page 20

Contributed by "The Clark Co. Press"

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News

January 1869


The farmers on the prairie, as far west as from twenty to forty miles from here, find Neillsville a good market for the sale of their produce.  Within the past few days, a large number of teams have come in bringing flour, feed, wheat, oats, and such, which are readily sold at the highest market price.  The farmers generally return home loaded with lumber, thereby creating quite a lively traffic between here and their homes on the prairie.


(After the 1855-1865 harvesting of virgin white pine from an area 20 miles and beyond, west of Neillsville, the land was barren, considered prairie with some farming until reforesting efforts were initiated by Clark County in the early 1930s, pioneering the conservation program in conjunction with the state of Wisconsin in an effort to bring back trees to a land meant for forests. D.Z.)


Contrary to the wishes, expectations and predictions of the best weather prophets, the weather in this latitude continues fearfully mild.  The snow is fast going away under the melting efforts of the existing temperature and without a radical change soon we shall look for serious damages.  Wagons are now principally used in hauling supplies upon the main traveled roads.  In the northern part of the county they report having snow, but it cannot remain so long with a continuance of the present weather.  The operations of the lumbermen in most parts of the county have somewhat stopped.  A change is much needed for their logging operations.


(Was there global warming back then too, or does history repeat itself, such as in the weather patterns? D.Z.)


An old bachelor, living near town, who is of three score years and ten, after having escaped for nearly three quarters of a century; has at last been caught by the measles.


The O’Neill House is certainly a credit to our place.  Under the careful and orderly management, of Mr. and Mrs. Hans Johnson it is receiving a large and increasing patronage.  Hans knows how to treat his customers and the house is justly becoming popular.


The special meeting at the schoolhouse last night was largely attended.  It was decided that the house should not be used for any other purpose than for teaching the district school.  This action would have been very well if the courthouse was not also closed against certain societies, but the result of the meeting last night will undoubtedly have great influence in opening it again.  The decision last night was not by any means a fair expression of the voters of the district.  We look for an early settlement of all difficulties.


A new paper called the Augusta Herald will soon be issued from Augusta, Eau Claire County.  It will be Republican in politics, and will be conducted under the management of Mr. Geo. W. Brown, a gentleman once connected with the Banner.


On the evening of the 7th inst., a man named Isaac Poson, working in a logging camp in Oconto County, went upon the roof of the shanty and imitated so perfectly the screech of an owl that the men in the shanty supposed to be one, and one of the workmen went out and fired a gun at the object, several shots taking effect on the man on the roof and he died in a few hours.


January 1939


At least five Clark County residents were honored by appointments on committees in connection with the inaugural ceremonies in Madison, Monday of Governor Julius P. Heil and other state officers.  Those named, and the committees to which they were: E. W. Kidd of Owen, reception committee; Mrs. Elnora Arps, of Greenwood and Mrs. G. W. Lowe of Neillsville, women’s reception committee; and Senator Walter J. Rush of Neillsville and Assemblyman Walter E. Cook of Unity, legislative committee.


Cold storage lockers are becoming more popular among Wisconsin farmers.  No less than 60 of these plants have been built in Wisconsin during the past three years.  These provide about 8,800 lockers in which families store meat, vegetables, fruit and other foodstuffs.


(Cold storage lockers preceded home freezers, which were introduced after World War II. D.Z.)


Mr. and Mrs. A. P. Murphy, who last week announced that they had sold their interest in the Merchants Hotel to H. F. Wilsmann of Two Rivers, former operator of the hotel, will winter in Texas and Louisiana, they stated this week.


They plan to leave Sunday with their family for Baraboo, where Arthur will enroll in high school.  He will remain with his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. John Thieman.


The history of the Merchants Hotel is closely associated with Mr. Wilsmann.  It was during his first years in Neillsville as proprietor of the hotel that the building was damaged twice by fire.  Too, it was Mr. Wilsmann who erected the addition to the west side of the original structure.



The Merchants Hotel as it appeared with the west half addition, built circa 1920, during the time of Mr. Wilsmann’s first stint as proprietor of the establishment.  At the right, a portion of the Victory Arch is visible, which was built on the intersection at the end of World War I.  A second arch was on the Hewett and 4th Street intersection.


Fire last week destroyed the Black River Tourist Park Tavern, near Withee, owned by Emil Niemi and damaged the general merchandise store of George Kuehl at Withee.


Through the newspapers of Clark County this week, District Hugh Gwin and Sheriff Herman J. Olson gave warning that “the operation of slot machines will not be tolerated” in the county.


The warning was issued, Mr. Gwin said, because of rumors that certain persons are contemplating putting slot machines into use in the county.  He explained that the notice does not mean that the lid is down, because for the last three and a half years or so slot machines have been absent from the county.


“However, this is merely a warning that the policy of Clark County regarding gambling remains unchanged with the change in officers.  Slot machines are ‘dynamite’ in any community in which they are operated.  They lead to crime and corruption,” he pointed out, “and we are going to do our best to keep these elements out of Clark County.”


Papers recording the sale of the C. R. Sturdevant cottage on Lake Arbutus in the Town of Levis to Benjamin W. Lemley and Amy Colby Lemley of Ohio were one of 27 property transfers filed in the office of Register of Deeds Henry Rahn last week.


Evangelist, St. John’s Church Society, Colby, to the First Evangelical and Reformed Church of Colby, warranty deed, lots 5, 6 and 7 block 8, first addition, city of Colby.


Immanuel Reformed Church, Colby, to the First Evangelical and Reformed Church, of Colby, warranty deed, lots 6, 7 and 8, block 4, Colby.


City aldermen, at a special meeting last Saturday, voted to instruct the city’s purchasing department to order a Diamond T chassis for the fire department through the Reinhard-Davis Co. of Neillsville, at their bid price of $1,228.50, less federal tax.  The purchase was authorized with the provision that the contract drawn up by the city for the purchase of a fire truck body and equipment, which included a 500-gallon pumper, was accepted by the General Fire Truck Corp. of Detroit.  The General Fire Truck Corporation’s bid on body and equipment was about $2,700, which will bring the cost of the new fire engine to slightly below $4,000.


Approximately 243,200 trees were planted in Clark County’s forest areas last year, according to County Forester Allen C. Covell.  The plantings were mostly of pine and spruce.


A majority of the trees were produced at the Wisconsin State Nurseries, which sent plantings to every county in the state.  According to the state conservations department, a new record of planting, 25,305,986 was established in the past year.  The plantings were made with the help of the WPA in Clark County, as well as in other counties, and, in some instances, the CCC.


The annual meeting and election of officers of the Granton Conservation Club, the membership of which includes many sportsmen of Neillsville, Lynn and the townships in the southern part of Clark County, will be held at 8 p.m. Tuesday, January 24, in the Lynn town hall, M. G. Zahradka, secretary, has announced.


Present officers, besides Mr. Zahradka, are: L. J. Bluett of Granton, president; Leonard St. Dennis of Granton, vice-president; and Frank Preston of the Town of York, treasurer.


Discussion on a proposal to change the name of the group to the Southern Clark County Conservation Club also will be on the agenda, it was announced.  All members are urged to be present.  Ben Straub, well-known local sportsman, will show conservation pictures, which he had taken. Plans for a sportsman’s banquet to be held in the Neillsville Moose hall, February 27, also will be discussed.  Either H. W. McKenzie, director of the state conservation department, or B. O. Webster, director of fisheries propagation in the conservation department, will be the principal speaker.


The oldest portable saw mill in Clark County and one of the oldest mills of its kind in the United States was placed in well-earned retirement on January 9 by Tom Wren of Sidney, when the engine’s venerable flues gave out after 57 years of service.


The saw mill, a 20-horsepower affair, was brought to Clark County on December 1, 1881, by Tom’s father, Sereno Wren, and was unloaded at the Ed Hubbard farm, where the railroad station was located at the time.


Since its arrival here the saw mill has been operated yearly and for many seasons was kept going full speed ahead.  Mr. Wren was unable to estimate how many feet of lumber had been sawed from logs by the portable machine.  However, he said the total would run into many million feet.


The last big job by the saw mill was the sawing of 4,000 feet of lumber for P. M. Warlum of Neillsville.  That job was just recently finished.  A great deal of the lumber sawed by the old sawmill was used for building structures within the county.  About ten years ago Tom bought the old stone cheese factory at Sidney and moved the saw mill there from the Bob French farm in the Town of Levis, where it had been maintained for about 12 years.  At that time, after the saw mill was moved, the original flues were in perfect condition upon inspection, when Mr. Wren overhauled the saw mill.


“I will just retire the saw mill now,” commented Mr. Wren, Monday.  “Maybe the makers of the engine will want that.”


Thirty years ago last Friday the Kleckner family arrived in Neillsville.  It was 28 degrees below zero and the snow was four feet deep.  The family consisted of Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Kleckner, son, Alfred and dog, Rover.


The Kleckners had been living in Chicago and had traded for a farm south of Neillsville.  The horses that took them to the farm floundered belly-deep in the snow.


Mr. Kleckner, ill, had been advised to get a change.  The conclusion, in view of the snow and temperature, was that he and his family had, indeed, experienced a change.


All of the members of the family party still reside in Neillsville, except Rover, who, highly honored and full of years, passed to his reward in 1914.  He was interred near the family home.


Everett Kleckner did not come with the family at first, but joined the others the following August.


Rail Chief Bib Overalls, made of 8 oz. denim, guaranteed not to shrink, at a low price of 89’ can be purchased at Zimmerman Brothers Store in Neillsville.


Record books in the Register of Deeds office in the courthouse would cost from $450,000 to $500,000 to replace, according to a conservative e estimate made by Henry Rahn, Register of Deeds.  Many of the records, if destroyed, could never be replaced.


For this reason extreme care was taken in erecting the addition to the courthouse, which now houses the deeds office on the second floor of the north wing.  The walls, ceiling and floor are constructed entirely with brick, sheets of steel and plaster, making it in reality a fireproof vault.


Mr. Tibbett’s bobsled will be at the library corner at 7 p.m. Friday evening to take a group of Congregational Sunday School pupils to the Imig farm for the annual sleighing party.


The income of America’s middle class family in 1935-36 was said to be $22 per week.


A. W. Jaster has been making material improvements inside the house, which he has bought from Mrs. Vivian Krause and which he is using as a funeral home.  The doorways downstairs have been replaced with large archways, which open up the interior as into one large room.  The walls have been freshly papered and the woodwork repainted.


The windows have been curtained with cream fillet and deep red damask drapes.  The floors have been carpeted with taupe and red velvet.  Indirect lighting fixtures have been installed.


The work downstairs has been pushed along, but Mr. Jaster, who comes from a line of cabinetmakers, intends to do the upstairs himself in leisurely fashion.  Next spring he will replace the porches, repaint the exterior and put in a roomy driveway.


Among the articles of furniture in the house are a desk, chair and card table designed and made by Mr. Jaster with his own hands.  For these pieces of furniture, he chopped down the black walnut trees and had the lumber cut.


One of the features of the house is the winding stairway, with hand-made posts and rails, made of solid walnut.


The house is located on the corner of Fifth and Court Streets.


(This is the funeral home that later became the Georgas Funeral Home owned by Elmer and Edna Georgas. Dmk)





© 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