Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin

November 3, 2010, Page 11

Contributed by "The Clark Co. Press"

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News

November 1930


Del Rodman recalls when Neillsville had one store and of making a 30-mile hike for groceries.


When D. A. Rodman, better known as “Dell,” was a small boy living on a farm in the wilderness south of where the fairgrounds are, Neillsville boasted of only one little store, which also served as a post office.  Main Street was a crooked logging trail with stumps sticking up here and there through the grass.  A great forest hemmed in the settlement on all sides, extending to Fifth Street on the south. Fourth of July celebrations and picnics were held in the woods on the site of the Express office and North’s residence.


Del, who was born March 15, 1856, has watched Neillsville grow from that humble beginning to its present standing as one of the leading dairy centers of the state and recalls many interesting incidents that marked its pages of history.


The store mentioned was run be (by) Martin Moran, according to Mr. Rodman and stood on the location of Herb Brook’s building.  It was a small structure and mail was carried on foot from Stevens Point.  Mr. Moran died a few years ago at Tomah.  Across the street where the Merchants Hotel stands was a hotel run by Ed Hubbard’s father and later by Fred Rossman’s father.  The building was destroyed by fire.


Farther south, across from where the C. C. Sniteman Co. store is, was a small wagon shop run by Blanche Dickey’s father and around the corner east of Fifth Street James Furlong conducted a photograph gallery.  A man by the name of William Beery occupied a house where the Otto Neverman residence is located.


Those few buildings were about all there were in Neillsville in those days and accommodations for the settlers were few.


On many occasions Del and his father walked from here to Black River Falls for groceries, going down one day and returning the next.  Del, then a lad of 10 years, would carry a small pack of goods while his father shouldered a sack of flour and a quantity of salt pork for the long hike home.  It was not uncommon for men living as far north as Longwood to walk to Black River Falls for groceries in those days.  The local merchant brought in small quantities and often was unable to supply the wants of his customers, forcing them to trade elsewhere. Buggies and horses were almost unknown here then and oxen hitched to crude wagons proved too slow for long distances.


The road to the Rodman farm ran southeast from the courthouse site, passing over the hill where the water standpipe now is, having been brushed out of the woods. The Dickey house was near a turn in the road and later Mr. Dickey established his wagon shop a short distance east of the residence.


(The Dickey home site with acreage, years later, became the present location of the Neillsville Public School buildings and property. D. Z.)

Del first went to school in the old courthouse, now the Express office and the home of Mrs. George Hart.  Mrs. Anna Wright was the teacher, who with her husband occupied rooms over Dickey’s wagon shop.  He next attended school about where Joe Frei’s home stands, north of the George E. Crothers’ farm.  The school housed was moved down on what was later the Sol Jaseph farm, now owned by Gus Steffens, then moved across the creek nearby and again moved to Mrs. George Evans’ farm where it is a part of the farm home.


(The school’s locations would have been along what is now Highway 73, on the south edge of Neillsville.  Ross’ Eddy is one mile south, as the river makes its bend toward the highway. D. Z.)


In recalling one of the Fourth of July celebrations in the woods near the North home, Mr. Rodman told of Robert Ross bringing his family to the affair on a ‘pung” draw by four oxen.  A pung, Mr. Rodman explained, was a sled affair, made of two poles with cross beams.  Mr. Ross ran a saw mill with waterpower on the Black River back of his farm, now the Evans place.  Ross’ Eddy was named after him.


There were no shows for entertainment in that period. The amusement consisted of dances held at the farm homes at which the schottische, square dance and waltz prevailed.  In fact, Mr. Rodman pointed out, people didn’t require much amusement. They were too busy clearing out farms from the timberlands to think of entertainment. When night came they were tired and wanted to sleep. Traveling was difficult and two or three families would get together and all come to town in one wagon once a week, or sometimes not oftener than every two or three weeks. They didn’t make “a business of running in like they do now.”  Money was scarce in the pioneer days and the settlers bought little that they did not actually need. Eggs brought 6 to 10 cents a dozen and butter, 6 to 8 cents a pound.  Mrs. Rodman made all of the family’s clothes and he was a “grown man before he had a boughten suit.”  Once a year he was given a pair of copper toed boots and it was up to him to see that they lasted until the next year.


Despite the conditions under which they lived, the people seemed to enjoy themselves just as well as they do now, Mr. Rodman asserted.


“There wasn’t the strife and discord then that we see now,” he said.  Everybody knew everybody else and all were friendly. Now people don’t know their next-door neighbors.  We had lots of fun on Fourth of Julys with fireworks and dances.  The boys used to shoot anvils and once in a while one would find a finger or two gone after the anvil noise was over. No one ever heard of home-brewing, some made wine.”


Mr. Rodman recalled the excitement in the community when two of the neighbors went away to the Civil War.  What little the settlers knew of the war came from travelers or letters. There were no newspapers coming into the village that he remembers and the nearest telegraph instrument as at Sparta.


Mr. Rodman’s father, whose name was Lyman, made hunting a business. Del remembers that his father had 80 deer hung up in his yard at one time, which were hauled by Hewett and Wood’s teams to the railroad at Sparta from where they were shipped to Milwaukee.  Very little money was received for them.  Deer were plentiful and it was common for Mr. Rodman’s mother to take a muzzle-loading rifle and shoot a deer from her kitchen door as they came out into the clearing around the house. His father killed as many as seven in a day.  Mr. Rodman has the tooth of a bear he shot, as a youngster, after a thrilling experience during which the bear tore most of his clothing off and ripped his hat in two.  He killed eight bears within a radius of half-a-mile of the house.  Many Indians used to pass the Rodman home, groups of 50 to 75 going by at a time.  They never bothered anyone.


The logging industry was the chief topic of conversation in the settlement and when he got old enough, Del worked in most of the camps in the county.  The boys in the camps often got up at 2 a.m. and worked on the skidways by the light of torches, sometimes not quitting until 8 or 9 at night.  Usually they got through at 5 or 6, but after such a day’s work the men were too tired to sit around and talk.  But on Saturday nights the lumberjacks had a “big Hurrah” and stayed up late.  They had no liquor, but according to Del the tobacco smoke got so thick in the shanties that “a man couldn’t see where the door was 20 feet away.”


One winter Mr. Rodman worked for W. J. Clifford at Spencer on the skidway. The foreman of the camp broke out with the delirium tremens and Del was placed in charge until the breakup in the spring.


Mr. Rodman’s parents came from Illinois, his mother’s maiden name being Jane Deborah.  His father took up a homestead of 160 acres south of the Fairgrounds, the farm now owned by Oscar Foote.  Five girls and two boys were born there, four of who are living.  They are Mrs. Rob French, Mrs. William Lapp, Herschel and D. A.  Del was married Dec. 15, 1880 to Hattie King, whose father was a brick-maker.  King’s bricks were used for the courthouse, the old high school and Hewett’s building now occupied by W. J. Marsh.


(The Hewett & Woods’ building is on the northwest corner of Hewett & Fifth Street intersection, the first brick building in Clark County. D. Z.)


Throughout his life Del has lived in the vicinity of Neillsville.  He is still active and has worked all summer at strenuous labor but would rather fish than anything else.  Mr. Rodman’s health is food.  When asked if he was careful about his diet, he replied: “Yes, I have always been careful to eat all I could get.”    


The barn on the farm of Arthur Ehler near Dells Dam was destroyed by fire Sunday night.  It was reported that the explosion of a lantern started the blaze.


November 1945


The Central Wisconsin Cheese and Butter makers’ Association held their convention in Neillsville last week.  New officers of the association elected are as follows: E. W. Martin of Spencer, president; John Wuethrich, Greenwood, Vice-president; M. H. Parsons, Dorchester, secretary-treasurer; trustees: John Boehnlein, Auburndale; R. F. Gotter, Loyal and Ludwig Johnson.                                                                                                  


FREE: 1 Oven-Proof Glass Pie Plate with the $1.29 purchase of a 25 lb. bag of Gold Medal “Kitchen-Tested” Enriched Flour, or 2 pie plates with the $2.54 purchase of a 50-lb. sack of Gold Medal Flour.  Available at any of the following stores:


Neillsville: – Andy’s Super Food Market; Brandt IGA Food Mart; H. H. Van Gorden & Son; Wasserburger’s; Quality Market; Farmer’s Store Co.; Gustman’s Jack Sprat or A & P Store.


Christie: Cutt’s Store and Christie Mercantile


Owen: Stenseth Grocery; Clover Farm Store; Froland Red & White; John’s Trading Post and Thorson Cash Store


Withee: Thorson’s; Christenson’s; and Farmers’ Store


Granton: O. W. Trindal; Spaete’s Market and Erhardt’s


Loyal: Beaver & Rellis; Colby’s; Picus Grocery; Kerberg’s Ben Franklin; J. Raab; O. W. Trindal


Humbird: A. W. Short


Riplinger: Lanejahr Store


Thorp: Joe & Frank’s Grocery; Farmers’ Store Co. and Rogus Grocery


Fairchild: Farmers’ Store


Atwood: D. R. McDonald Store


Shortville: Morensen’s


Willard: Flynn’s Grocery; Perko Grocery and Joe Lunka


Merrillan: Graf’s Red & White; and Van Sickle’s Grocery


Greenwood: Farmers’ Store; Baird’s; People’s Market and Mlada’s


Globe: Linus Prock


(It is interesting to see how many grocery stores there were within this area back in the Mid-40’s. Do any of you still have one of those Gold Medal flour’s Fire-King oven-glass pie plates with the scrolled designs on the bottom, made by Anchor Hocking, in your kitchen cabinet?  I have one, given to me by my mother-in-law. D. Z.)


Entertainment & Places to Eat:


A Bazaar by the Granton Ladies Aid at the Granton Community Hall, Saturday, Nov. 3; also, serving a Chicken Supper, starting at 5:30 p.m. until everyone is served.


Turkey Dinner served at 12:00 noon, Sunday, Nov. 4, at the Merchants Hotel.


American Legion & Auxiliary sponsors Armistice Day Dinner at the Moose Hall, 6 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 11 for Neillsville Area Veterans of all Wars, their wives and sweethearts, also wives of men who hve not returned from the wars.  Dinner 75¢ per plate, the dinners will be prepared by the Army Chefs and K. P.’s.  Also entertainment


Work on the Hill Street site of the Veterans’ Village was started this week when shovels started digging trenches for water mains and sewers.


The trenching is expected to be completed later this week, with Street Commissioner Emil Mattson, in charge of the preliminary work, saying that it would be possible to start placing the 12 pre-fabricated houses should they be here by that time.


Contracts have been signed and returned to the federal housing administration, which is the government agency in charge of the houses.  The houses will then be placed on the west side of Hill Street, which is being opened up for this purpose; while the four one-unit houses will be place for an extension of West Fourth Street, just west of the Hill Street Corner.


Harry Schlinsog, cheese maker west of Greenwood, has sold the real estate on which the old Meinholdt cheese factory is located, on county trunk G, between Greenwood and Willard.  The purchaser is Fred J. Barr.  Mr. Schlinsog formerly lived east of Granton and until a couple of years ago, was a buttermaker at the Neillsville Milk Products Co-op.


O. W. Trindal, Wholesale and Retail, has Cheese Salt available and will deliver to any factory in Clark County with outlets at Loyal, Granton, Spencer, Abbotsford and Greenwood.                


The New 1946 Ford will be here Friday, October 26 at Svetlik Motor Co.  This is the first new post-war car to be shown in Neillsville.                                                                                               


Cpl. Ray Loos, son of Mrs. Elizabeth Loos of Loyal, has received his discharge from the army after spending 4 ½ years in the service.


Robert Cattanach, son of Mr. and Mrs. L. W. Cattanach of Owen, received his discharge from the navy after having served over six years.  He was stationed at Pearl Harbor at the time of the attack and since then has participated in many naval engagements in the Pacific Theater.  He wears the Purple Heart.


Gordon Brown, son of Lizzie Brown of Greenwood, served almost four years in the army before receiving his discharge.  He wears seven battle stars, the EAME Ribbon, the Good Conduct medal and a Unit Citation.                     



The above photo was taken September 17, 1938 on Highway 73, one mile south of the Division Street intersection, where a normally small creek empties into the Ross Eddy area of Black River. A large amount of rainfall at that time flooded the creek and highway with only the top portion of the guard rails and creek’s concrete bridge railings visible.  (Photo courtesy of the Roy Strebing Family)





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