Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin

July 15, 2009, Page 17

Contributed by "The Clark Co. Press"

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News

July 1929


Several hundred people gathered at Hatfield last Sunday to witness something a little out of the ordinary in amusement. A log rolling contest staged by professional rollers, were challenged by Mr. Millis a merchant of Shamrock, who took two falls out of three heats.  Mr. Millis an old time lumberjack and log roller showed good form although he had been on a log only once in the last 27 years.


Jimmy Hoerl of Augusta took first in the 100-yard swimming event.


Another boy from Eau Claire received a diving medal.


The following boys of Black River Falls received prizes in the 50-yard event: 1st, Carl Pflanz; 2nd, Young Knuteson and 3rd, Harold Ellefson.


Street Commissioner Wm. Farning, who has charge of some repairing of the pavement, which had settled in front of the Press office, states that this is his third turn at paving this area.  It was 26 years ago when he helped macadamize Hewett Street; 10 years ago he mixed the cement to set bricks in for the new pavement of Hewett Street when it was laid and now he is doing repair work.


Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Farning have done a stroke of city improvement by spading up the island, the little open plot of ground in the angle of where 8th and Hewett streets meet in front of the Condensary, where they planted asters.  This fall they plan to plant tulip bulbs for early spring blossoms.


Carl Hoffman smashed his new Plymouth car quite badly, Sunday, when he momentarily went to sleep while driving near Globe.  He collided with a pile of lumber and the car came out second best.


Henry Albinger, hardware merchant at Curtiss, was instantly killed Sunday afternoon when the D. K. Schwarze plane, in which he was riding, crashed near Curtiss,   Alphonse Herman, also of Curtiss, escaped serious injury, as did also the pilot, Schwarze, who lives at Greenwood.  Schwarze, who owns the plane, had been taking up passengers at Curtiss and on the trip with the above named men, the engine stalled when the plane was about 200 feet above the ground. Schwarze tried to make a forced landing in a near-by field, but struck a stump and the machine was wrecked.


Schwarze had just received his pilot’s license last week and had been carrying passengers for a few days.  He claims that the plane ran into an air pocket and that he was unable to right it.     


Charles Neff of the Town of Levis, is completing a new basement to his barn and milk house, all constructed of pressed tile, making a fine improvement to his farm.


Saturday night a young man named Murphy, of Superior, lost his racing boat under peculiar circumstances.  He was driving, with is mother, to Racine where he expected to take part in the outboard motor boat races.  He had his boat on a trailer back of the car and when he arrived at Granton, about 10 p.m. Saturday, he found that his boat had disappeared.  He turned around and started back to see if he could locate it, but was not able to pick it up between here and Fairchild.  He started out again Sunday morning, but without success.


The boat came to light, however, Monday morning when one of the Indians camped at Wedges Creek, reported its recovery to W. A. Campman.  He had heard an unusual noise Saturday night and on going out of his tent, found a boat lying across the road.  He took it out of the road, deposited it near his tent with the idea that the owner would call for it.  It seems that the boat was thrown off the trailer when the car struck a rough spot in the road.  The young man of Superior was notified of the boat’s recovery and will no doubt claim his property, though he did not take part in the Racine races.


Some heavy bombarding at the Northern States Power Co. plant, Monday, aroused curiosity and on an inquiry of Manager G. D. Hill, we learned that the Corliss engine in the old city power and light plant was being broken up with dynamite and plans are also for the building to be wrecked.  This plant was established in 1886 and was the first steam-electric plant in Wisconsin.  It furnished light and some power to the city of Neillsville until it was sold out to the Wisconsin-Minnesota Light and Power Co., which later became owned by the Northern States Power Co.  The wrecked Corliss engine was once a beautiful and efficient piece of machinery and people used to gather about the windows of the plant at night when the lights went on, to see the engine perform its work.


The Northern States power Co. will also wreck the old Hein Store building next to the power plant and this year or next plan to put up a modern building.  Other extensive and expensive improvements are now going on. Two automatic switches have been installed at the plant, each costing $6,000 and two new automatic regulators also costly pieces of apparatus, all of which adds to the efficiency and reliability of the system.


(The NSP & Hein Store property was along the west side of Hewett Street and north side of O’Neill Creek, where the electric transformers are presently located. D.Z.)



The Hein Store and 1886 electrical plant of Neillsville are partially visible in the background of the above photo, to the left and center of the Hewett Street Bridge.


Mr. and Mrs. Fred Underwood of Wauwatosa and Mrs. Underwood’s son, Frank Robins and wife were guests for a few days last week at the home of Mr. and Mrs. F. D. Calway.   Mr. Underwood is a retired railroad man, having been formerly president of the Erie Railroad, Mr. Robins was also high up in railroad circles.  He resigned as vice president of the Erie system to enter World War I, where he served as a Colonel, in charge of a large section of railroad service in France. Mrs. Underwood was a daughter of Len Stafford, the founder of Staffordville, one mile north of Neillsville, and grew to womanhood here.


July 1954


The rail fencing on the Counsell and Ratsch farm is part of the very little such fence remaining in Clark County.  Once the county was full of them.  Why has rail fencing almost completely disappeared?  Probably because it is no longer economical.  The timber and the labor are so expensive that it is no longer feasible to use either for the splitting of rails. 


The last practical rail-splitting in this area was done on the Clarion Counsell place about 18 years ago. At that time Mr. Counsell had a helper on the farm and there came a slack time.  So he set the man to work at rail-splitting.  Quite a batch of rails were made and used for fence, but they are all gone now. They decayed and were discarded after 15 years.


The experience with new rail fencing led Clarion Counsell to admiration for the pioneers and for the old timber.  Just how did the old-timers work it?  The rails on the Counsell and Ratsch farms are upwards of 75 years old; part of them may crowd a century.  Most of the timber was oak.  Many of the rails still have in them many years of usefulness.  How does it happen that they have lasted so long?  Mr. Counsell has asked himself whether there might have been some skill in the old method.  Did they cut the logs at a particular time of the year?


The weakest spot in the old rail fence is the bottom tier of rails, which rot out faster being closer to the ground.  The hazard of rotting has been countered by putting stone under the fence corners, rather than wood blocks to keep the rail fence off the ground. When used for pasture, the rail fence was kept clean in the corners by the grazing animals.  Otherwise the tendency was for the fence corners to grow up in brush and small trees.  Thus splendid cover was created for birds and small animals. With the coming of the straight wire fence, this cover has disappeared and life has become harder for game birds and wild creatures.


The rail fences on the Counsell and Ratsch farms are bout the oldest man-made thing now in existence in Clark County. Some of the fence dates back to Clarion Counsell’s grandfather, Henry Counsell, who came from England and homesteaded the Suckow farm across the way from the present Counsell place.  The present Counsell farm was the home of Joe Counsell, Clarion’s father who lived much of his life in a log house across the road from the Reed School,  It was there that Clarion was born.  Most of the rail fence on the Counsell farm is quite a bit older than Clarion; some of it may even antedate his father.


It will not be long before the rail fence will have completely disappeared.  It will then be seen only as a museum piece, or a picturesque relic on a city lawn.


On July 1 Mr. and Mrs. George Beaver will observe their 50th year’s residence at the same place of business in Granton.  On July 1, 1904, they purchased their place from John Hoover, who at that time was conducting a saloon in the building. Mr. Beaver continued in this line of business until July 17 (1917) when they changed to the restaurant business, of which Mrs. Beaver assumed management and Mr. Beaver became engaged in carpenter work.


In 1937 Mr. Beaver became janitor at the local schools and continued in this capacity for 17 years.


Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Oldham left Sunday for Fort Knox, KY., where he is stationed.  They were married recently.  Mrs. Oldham is the former Shirley Minsaas, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Minsaas of Greenwood.


Nine hundred miles on bikes plus unnumbered miles on a ship is the program of three ambitious young men of Neillsville.  They are Skipper Lee, Paul Manz and John Swenson, who set out Wednesday morning for the Soo, the Canadian border, the Straits of Mackinac, Ludington, Lake Michigan and various way stations.


The plan of the boys is to see the big ships at the Soo, to plant their feet on Canadian soil, to pump their way back and across into Michigan, to cross Lake Michigan from Ludington to Manitowoc and then pump their way back to Neillsville.


The bike part of the trip is figured at 900 miles, with a schedule of 80 miles per day.


The boys intend to rough it at night.  They took a tent along and each had a sleeping bag. But for food they will not rely upon their own skills; they will live off the eating houses as they journey along.


The boys have English bikes, with shifting gear ratios, which will enable them to negotiate hills to their advantage.


A new cement silo is being built on the William Happe farm in the Riverside community.  It is replacing the one that started to lean last fall when it was nearly full of silage.  People came from miles around to see it.


Saturday and Sunday were days of celebration at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Drake of Loyal, route 1, their golden wedding anniversary.


On July 4, 1904 Miss Sadie Miles and Walter Drake, both of Spokeville, were united in marriage at the Loyal Methodist Parsonage by the Rev. James A. Hill.


After two years’ residence on a farm near Spokeville, they moved to Tacoma, Wash., where they resided another two years.  They then returned to Spokeville, where they lived for many years.  After living for a short time in the Town of Unity, they purchased a farm in the Town of Beaver and for the past 13 years this has been their home.  Two years ago they sold their farm acreage, retaining one acre on which their buildings stand. Thus they maintain their home among old friends and neighbors without the heavy work entailed by a large farm.


A county park site has been located about five and one-half miles west of Thorp, having been purchased by the county park committee.  The deal was completed Tuesday and involves land on the North Fork of the Eau Claire River, in section 34, Town of Thorp.  The purchase was made from Louis H. VanErt and his wife Elizabeth.


In all probability, it was stated, the county park committee plans to grant concession rights to some resident of the area if they are desired; but no details of this nature have been worked out.


Approval has been given to a contract with Clark County in the amount of $27,889.79, cost for covering the bituminous surfacing of the Granton-Loyal road, County Trunk Highway K.    


A big four-city playground tournament will be held on the Greenwood Public School playground July 27.  Youngsters from Colby, Owen, Loyal and Greenwood summer playground programs will compete.


There will be nine events and the youngsters will be divided up into two divisions. The junior division will consist of all boys in grade 1 through 6 and the open division will include all boys from grades 7 to 12.  Awards will be given in each division and each event.


The events in which contestants will compete are: 60-yard dash, 100-yard dash, 440-yard relay, broad jump, high jump, distance throw, baseball and softball, base circling, rope climb and sack race.


Cy Buker, Greenwood summer playground director, is the local manager of the tournament.  The Loyal playground program is under the direction of Willard Stuvetras.  Owen’s summer program is directed by Byrl Rowe and Colby’s is under the direction of Howard Kumier.


Smorgasbord to be held Wednesday, July 28, 6:30 p.m. at the Kenneth Van Gorden Cottage, Hatfield.


Chap Paulson and Duane Schultz left Friday with their team of oxen, covered wagon and stagecoach for Caledonia, Minn., where they took part in the weekend Centennial celebration.          


H. H. Van Gorden & Sons Canning Special is 100 lbs. of C & H Pure Cane Sugar for $9.75.




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