Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin

March 10, 2010, Page 14

Contributed by "The Clark Co. Press"

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News

February 1880


 Jas. W. Ferguson has just received a splendid stock of the celebrated Wilson Sewing Machines.  Persons desiring anything in the sewing machine line will do well to give James a call.           


Quite a number of young folks of the village went out to the residence of W. S. Covill, on Wednesday evening of last week.  They report having had a splendid time, as they generally do when they visit Covill’s.


The sheet and pillow case party at the residence of C. Blakeslee, Esq., on Thursday evening of last week, is reported by those who were present to have been largely attended. We do not know how anybody looks or feels decorated with a sheet and a pillowcase, but we know how it was with us when we first put on a long nightshirt.  


Anson Green’s camp on the Eau Claire River has put in more logs this winter than any one camp on the Eau Claire or Black River.  On last Saturday, 1,800,000 feet had been put in.            


Mrs. Joseph Beiter, who lives a short distance from John King’s place, east of here, caught a runaway team belonging to George Lloyd that was passing her house a few days ago.  This is the second time Mrs. Beiter has given evidence of intrepidity by catching runaway teams, rarely found in one of her sex.


Joe Miller, a workman in one of Jas. Hewett’s camps along the Popple River, is the last victim of the numerous accidents in the woods.  Last Friday a large limb fell among a group of five men who were at work, striking Mr. Miller just above the right hip, bruising it very badly. He was brought to town and attended by Dr. Morley and will probably be able to take his place again in the woods in a few days.                                                 


The first anniversary of the Ladies’ Temperance Union will be held at Odd Fellows’ Hall tomorrow evening.  A cordial invitation is extended to all interested in temperance work.                  


We are informed that the largest load of logs that has been drawn this winter by one team of horses was taken from the camp of Lloyd & Gullen, on last Friday. The load contained 4,200 feet and was taken to the landing, a distance of three miles.


(At that time, the logging trails were thoroughly iced to enable easier sledding and the horses pulling the sleds were well shod to prevent slipping and falling on the icy surfaces. D. Z.)          


The loggers in Wisconsin have had a fine winter for business.  Last winter the cut on the Wisconsin River was sixty million. Up to this time seventy-five million have been banked on the Wolf River and its tributaries.  Last winter the cut was seventy-five million and this winter the yield will be at least a hundred million.


On Tuesday evening of last week, several persons, with no fear of the law before them, indulged in the “booze” at the saloon of the Rossman House. Getting unruly, they were finally put out and in the melee, one in the party succeeded in getting his eyes decorated in a very artistic manner.  The parties were finally run in by officer Cauley and spent the night in the classic retreat located east of the courthouse.  On Friday morning they were brought before Justice Kountz and contributed their quota to the Clark County treasury, and so endeth the first chapter.


The congregation of the Methodist Church was very large last Sunday evening.  There is talk of enlarging the church building, which seems to be necessary to accommodate the increasing attendance.


On Sunday morning the attendance at the Presbyterian Church was large, and the meeting was one of deep interest.  Four new members were received, making thirty-two additions within the last eighteen months.


Mr. L. Randall, of here in Neillsville, has been at work in Hi Palmer’s logging camp along the Eau Claire River and is the victim of another accident.  He was engaged in chopping off a tree, which had fallen and lodged between two smaller ones, getting it in shape to be accessible to the sawyers.  When the tree was nearly chopped off Mr. Randall jumped to get out of its way and fell, breaking several of his ribs.  He was brought into town the next day and is receiving treatment from Dr. Morley.


(Working as a lumberjack was a very dangerous job with several becoming badly injured and some losing their lives while engaged in chopping, sawing down trees. D. Z.)


February 1930


Sunday a fire so small that at first it was put out with a damp rag, rekindled itself undetected and forty minutes later was burning the Presbyterian Church to the ground in a roar of flames that raged unabated until only one black spear of charred frame work rose above the heap of ruins where before the steeple had looked out across the city for the past 55 years.


Fanned by a 40 mile snow laden gale from the west the blaze spread through the time dried timber like fire in a brush pile and despite heroic efforts of firemen it swept on, first demolishing the main structure and finally making a spectacular torch of the steeple, which soon toppled over and crashed on the front steps of the edifice in a shower of flaming fragments.


Within a few minutes after the firemen arrived it was seen that the church was doomed and they concentrated their efforts on preventing the fire from spreading to the homes of R. F. Kountz and C. Krumery as flying embers tumbled down upon their roofs.  With the terrific wind blowing toward the east the vast crowd that watched the fired expected to see the burning steeple fall directly on top of the Kountz residence, slightly to the east, then twisted back and as if guided by unseen hands it tipped at right angles to the wind and fell directly in front of the door of the church. The home of Kountz’ had been saved and a sigh of relief came up from the onlookers.


In the meantime the spray of flying water was rapidly encrusting the firemen with a white mantle of frost and ice that clung to their coats and froze to their faces.  Yet none faltered and some without boots stood in slush and water for more than an hour.  The Sweet Shop came to the rescue and served a large quantity of hot coffee and sandwiches to the firemen and Miss Kitty Kountz and Mrs. Carrie Neverman furnished a supply of coffee.


The fire started about 2:30 p.m. the first time while Rev. Lane C. Findley, pastor, and several members of the play cast of “Corporal Eagen,” the benefit home talent play, were gathered in the basement of the church preparing to rehearse.  Those present were Ray Munger, Everett Kleckner, Dr. W. F. Kunert, Dr. Lynn Morris, Howard Dodge, Lowell Schoengarth, George Prochazka and Miss Marjory Smith, coach. A smell of smoke was noticed and a search revealed that a composition insulating board over the furnace was burning, which Rev. Findley extinguished with a damp rag. Seeing no other evidence of fire the party resumed its work on the play until a short time later smoke was again noticed.


Returning to the furnace, they found the fire burning between the floor, near the back wall in an inaccessible place and an alarm was turned in.  The church was built with a space between the back wall and the woodwork leading up through the attic and out the belfry, so that a perfect draft resulted and the fire swept up through the opening, which acted as a huge wooden chimney.


The history of the Presbyterian creed in this city goes back to an early date when preaching services were held by Rev. Mr. Harris. Later, the congregation was served by Rev. James Mair, a Scotchman.  For some years services were held in the schoolhouse and courthouse.  The organization was perfected Aug. 2, 1869 and in 1875 the church was built.  The next pastor was W. T. Hendren, who was instrumental in building the church and responsible for raising the funds.


The bricks used in the construction were made by Edward King who then ran a brickyard south of the Big Store on the land between Hewett and Clay Streets.


The church’s weather vane was made by Tom Hommel who once ran a blacksmith shop.  That weathervane was very durable and through 55 years it was battered by the elements but stood unscathed and until the moment it fell it was registering the path of the wind with as much fineness and delicacy as it did the day it was put in position, indeed a tribute to the genius and thoroughness of the man who shaped its metal on an anvil when Neillsville was still but a clearing in the forest.



The Presbyterian congregation vowed their creed in 1869, building a church edifice in 1875 on the south side of the 100 block of East 5th Street.  After 55 years in existence a fire destroyed the church building.  The congregation chose not to rebuild probably due to the difficult economic times, as it was during the Depression.  Their members joined the Methodist Congregation, located nearby.


Mrs. Emma Wright, aged 82, is laid up from injuries received some days ago when she was riding with her son, Glenn and the auto was struck by a section men’s gas car at a crossing west of Columbia.  The auto was badly damaged and one of the section men, Mr. Wood, of Merrillan, received cuts about the head.  The railroad company paid the damages for the car and the injuries to Mrs. Wright.


Many people are coming to the post office late with mail not knowing that the trains are now running on a different schedule. Arrange to have your mail in the post office at least a half hour before train time, so as to give the clerks’ time to make up and tie the mail bundle. Different train arrivals are as follows: 7:23 a.m.; 11:13 a.m.; 1:26 p.m. and 5:02 p.m.  Postmaster


Rev. E. H. Vornholt went to Shortville Sunday to preach in the Union Church.  He succeeded in getting there through the blizzard but had to stay over night, leaving his car there Monday.  He worked his way back to Neillsville as best he could, part of the way coming afoot.


W. F. Clifton of Loyal has rented the Odd Fellow building here, formerly occupied by E. A. Holcomb’s harness shop and he plans to open a bakery there as soon as the necessary equipment can be obtained.  Mr. Clifton also has lived at Owen.


Neillsville’s greatest of all basketball carnivals will be Friday night at the Opera House when the Neillsville School squad meets the speed kings of the Granton High School, which promises to set an all time record in attendance and preparations are being rushed to take care of the biggest crowd ever seen at a game in this city.  The Neillsville High School band and the Granton High School band will be in attendance to pep up their teams, special yells and songs have been learned by the students and if cheers and enthusiasm have any part in making a basketball game a success Neillsville is certain of seeing the most stupendous sporting spectacle ever staged in the community.


The doors of the Opera House will be opened at 7 p.m. with the first game starting promptly at 7:30 p.m.


As a grand finale to the evening a big dance will be given by outside interests.  The Neillsville High School will have no connection with the dance, but Albert Kreisch of Neillsville has rented the Opera House for the balance of the night and with an imported orchestra will put on a dance, which no doubt will be well attended.


(The following week, a report on the basketball game was that there were 900 spectators at the game with Granton defeating Neillsville by a score of 23 to 17.  The receipts for the game were slightly more than $360, a lot of money for that time. D.Z.)


Monday morning the people of Neillsville and vicinity were somewhat surprised by the announcement that the J. G. Zimmerman & Sons Co. had sold their entire mercantile establishment, known locally as the “Big Store,” to the Farmers Store Company, a chain store organization owning 19 other stores.  Wm. Larson of Eau Claire, who is General Manager for the purchasers, is here to affect the transfer.


The J. G. Zimmerman family came here in 1901 from Muscoda, the father J. G. Zimmerman buying an interest in the store with Ben Tragsdorf.  This partnership continued until 1910 when Mr. Zimmerman bought out the Tragsdorf interests, the firm was incorporated and has since been carried on by J. G. Zimmerman and his three sons, George G., Joe and Harry.


Last Thursday, Feb. 20th, the ice in Black River went out, the earliest, according to old times, since 1877, the year of the Al Brown Winter. During the warm spell the snow left and hundreds of motorists took advantage of the weather Sunday to enjoy an outing.  A large number of golf fans spent the afternoon Sunday at the Pinecrest and reported the course in excellent condition. By Tuesday most of the frost had come out of the ground and sinkholes were appearing in the roads. It was feared by some that the warm weather would start fruit trees to blossoming and result in a shortage of fruit when cold weather returns and kills the buds.


Mrs. William Schultz has lilacs in bloom in her yard.


Mrs. Anna Handky, or as she is generally known in the Lynn community, “Grandma Handky” was 90 years old February 4, and the event was duly celebrated by a large gathering at her home in the afternoon and evening.


Mrs. Handky came to Lynn in the early 1870s and has done her part in the pioneer activities and development of that community.  Mr. Handky died many years ago and she continued to live on the home farm.  Her daughter, Anna and granddaughter, Mrs. Martha Riedel, live with her on the old farm and carry on the place.  There are two sons, Fred Handky of the Town of Lynn and Ernest living in Fremont. Another daughter, Mrs. A. F. Dankemyer also lives in Fremont.





© 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