Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin

November 16, 2011, Page 16

Contributed by "The Clark Co. Press"

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News

November 1881


The new span put in on the Black River Bridge, here, is the best part of that structure with the piers having been securely built and filled to the top with stone, as they should have been before and as they would have been had it not been for the howl that was sent up by certain parties because it would cost the town a few dollars, or hundred of dollars.  Now there is no great danger of another washout.  To actually insure the structure against damage by flood, however, it should be raised at least four feet above its present level.  Had a logjam formed on that bridge on the water that wrought the damage referred to above, and which is liable to happen in the future, there would not have been anything left of either the piers or the old bridge.                                                                                                         


The roads between here and Hatfield have been so far repaired so that at that point can be reached by going the road west of the Black River, then next fording Wedge’s Creek, then on to the east side of the river near Dell’s Dam where one can take the ferry across to reach Hatfield.                                                   


The infernal roads between here and the depot have necessitated the retirement of the heavy vehicle branded “City Bus”, which had been in use since the opening of the railroad and until last Monday evening.  The canvass-topped bus belonging to the railroad line is still in use, while another comfortable and more convenient vehicle supplies the place of the fancy bus formerly used on that route.  The bus has been taken off on account of the muddy roads that will be replaced as soon as the roads again become passable for a conveyance of that kind.                 


Next Tuesday settles the political pot, but just what political goose is to be cooked appears to be a matter of speculation.


Last week, Robert Christie and Peter Gullingsrud shipped their teams and camp equipment to the Lake Superior country, in the region of Superior City, where they intend operating in lumbering the coming winter.


The timber for building the lower O’Neill Creek Bridge, in this village, is again being gotten out, as the timber first was procured for that purpose, having been used instead in repairing the Black River Bridge.


Last Tuesday, it became necessary to dismiss school on account of no wood being on hand, or to be had, with which to heat the school buildings. How long the vacation is to last will be a conundrum.  The wood trade has been active during the past few days, but the supply is not yet up to the demand.                          


The new Greenwood schoolhouse is to be completed and ready for use by the first of December.


Several German families from Washington and Jefferson Counties have settled in Clark County during the past week.


The iron bridge, formerly in use at Dalles, now spanning the Black River at Greenwood, was formally donated to the towns of Eaton and Warner by the ‘county fathers,’ last week.                   


During the past few days the town has been alive with men seeking employment in the woods.  Our lumbermen are paying good wages and will be able to employ all the men that are likely to come this way.


An effort is soon to be made to organize a club to secure a series of dances for the winter.


The Star Restaurant, under the management of Mrs. O’Neill, is becoming deservedly popular.  A lunch or a square meal can always be had in a few moments’ notice there.                               


Since last spring, bounties have been paid on 40 foxes, 12 wildcats and 1 wolf that were killed in this county.


That the license money received for the sale of intoxicating liquors by the townships in the counties having adopted the county system of caring for the poor, belongs in the county has been legally established, and yet in this county the towns of Eaton, Mayville and Mentor are the only townships that have complied with that requirement since the county poor system was established.                                                                                                                         


The State Board of Immigration, in its report of 1881, says: “Clark County contains about 784,000 acres of land, about 50,000 of which are under cultivation, and 350,000 acres are suitable for cultivation. About 100,000 acres of land is owned by railroads and other companies. Rich forests and fine agricultural lands are found in this county, watered by the Black River and its numerous tributaries.  Excellent land can be secured for $2.50 per acre, and the advantages and opportunities are great.  Neillsville is the county seat.  Population of the county is 12,715.”


November 1941


Five local men are receiving honorable discharges from the army, effective October 20, as follows: Sergeants William Mike, William E. Neville and Norman C. Lynch; Privates Herman C. Moen and Clarence L. Koffanus.


In recognition of commendable service with the 32nd Division, these men will receive certificates of service and citations for their worthy and patriotic service with the U. S. Army.             


Marriage Licenses:


John C. Rychnovsky, 28, Wood County and Gladys Seif, 22, Pine Valley

Eugene Harsch, 18, Marshfield and Shirley Montgomery, 17, Neillsville

Warren Beil, 20, Fremont and Helene Lindow, 18, Fremont

Thaddeus Nowak, 25, Loyal and Lorain K. Ritschen 28, Lake City, Minnesota

Victor Montag, 28, Fremont and Olive Marie Muir, 25, Fremont

Jens Peter Smith, 26, Longwood and Mareta Fritz, 17, Hoard

Louis L. Luzinski, 24, Taylor County and Marie Romanowski, 20, Withee

Joseph J. Schmidt, 23, York and Josephine Wenner, 19, York             


Anecdotes of pioneer Neillsville men who helped to build the city and county and who started Masonry on its way here 75 years ago highlighted the Golden Jubilee celebration of the Neillsville Masonic Chapter here last Friday evening.


The man who told the stories was C. R. Sturdevant, oldest living past master of the chapter, who knew as a youth many of the prominent early men of the territory.  With sparkling wit and keen memory of the past, Mr. Sturdevant turned the dry subject of “The History of Masonry in Neillsville” into a vital, living thing and kept the 100 members and guests who gathered for the banquet rocking in their seats with his stories about Dr. B. F. French, the first worshipful master of the Neillsville Lodge.


Dr. French was an uncle of Mr. Sturdevant, and he was a self-made man.  Prominent in affairs of Clark County at a time when it was composed of one township, Pine Valley, and included all of Taylor County in its area, the good doctor did about as most people nowadays would like to do, he shaped his life as he pleased. 


First of all, Dr. French set great store by books, and through prolific reading made himself almost whatever he wanted to be.  When he wanted to become a doctor, he read all the books on doctoring that he could get hold of, and then hung out his shingle.  He was a successful physician, and the first in Neillsville.


But after a few years doctoring became boring to Dr. French, and he decided to become a lawyer.  So he read all the books he could find on law. Before he had been admitted to the bar, Dr. French was elected district attorney of Clark County.  When he appeared before the circuit judge for admission to the bar, Mr. Sturdevant recalled the judge remarked that as long as the people of Clark County had enough confidence in him to elect him district attorney, he, the judge, ought not to stand in his way.  Thus Dr. French became the first resident lawyer residing in Neillsville.


It was with such sidelights that Mr. Sturdevant punctuated the more drab factual history of Masonry in Neillsville.  Dr. French, upon whom Mr. Sturdevant dwelt at length, was one of the charter members of the Neillsville Lodge. The others were: George M. King, E. H. McIntosh, E. H. Bacon, A. J. Manley, James Furlong and J. P. Thompson.  At first the lodge operated under a special dispensation, granted August 3, 1866, and the charter was granted in October 1866.


From the seven charter members of the lodge has grown until now it includes a membership of 153, with the members scattered from Norway to San Francisco, and from the Canadian border to the Panama Canal Zone.


Several of the older members of the lodge were present for the jubilee banquet.  Three men who have been members for 50 years or more were recognized with special certificates of a half-century of Masonry. The only one of the three singly honored was W. J. Marsh, who has been a Mason for over 54 years. The other two, neither of whom was able to be present, are Carl Stange, who lives in California and Patsy J. Ford, now living in Detroit.  Their certificates will be mailed to them with a letter from A. C. Covell, worshipful master.


Also among the older members present was William Klopf, who had received a 50-year membership certificate four or five years ago; and John O. Carbys, Milwaukee attorney, who made the anniversary celebration the occasion of his first return visit to the lodge room since he left his practice here 36 years ago.     


Preparations are being made to reopen the old bank in Chili about December 1, as a branch of the Central State Bank of Marshfield. The old bank building was bought recently by a group of local businessmen.


Residents of the City of Neillsville were shocked and grieved on Sunday when they were informed that Mrs. Frank Hewett, pioneer resident of Clark County, had passed to her reward during the night, death having taken place at the Luther Hospital, Eau Claire, Saturday evening, November 16.


Born in Weston Rapids, just north of the City of Neillsville on September 27, 1869, Blanche Robinson was the daughter of David and Emma Robinson, pioneer settlers of this section of the Badger State.  She obtained her early education in the Neillsville Public Schools, later attending St. Mary’s College at Milwaukee.  Her educational background prepared her for teaching and at the age of 16 she accepted a teaching contract in a rural school near Snow postoffice in the Nasonville area.


(The Snow postoffice was located one-fourth mile west of the Clark-Wood County line, on the north side of now Hwy 10.)


On December 19, 1887, at the age of 19, she was united in marriage with Sherman Frank Hewett, and took up house-keeping at the Hewett home in Neillsville, which she made her home for 54 years, her entire life having been spent in Clark County, at Weston Rapids and Neillsville.  To this union, one daughter, Helen was born and now survives her parents, her father having died Oct. 5, 1935.  A sister, Mrs. James O’Neill, also survives.


Mrs. Hewett was a lady of sterling character.  Possessed of a keen mind and excellent business ability she was able to carry on the home and farm when her husband joined in the Klondike gold rush and was away for several months.  She was also well prepared to continue the management of the Hewett farm after her husband’s death, which occurred six years ago.


A lover of youth, she was admired by children and her home always held a special attraction for them. She was at all times ready to help the unfortunate, active in those organizations, which rendered service to the needy.  She was a leader of Red Cross activities in Neillsville and southern Clark County for many years. She was an active member of the Neillsville Order of Eastern Star.


The Hewett home, located as it is in the City of Neillsville, has always been considered one of the finest farms in this section of the state and has maintained an excellent herd of Guernsey cattle that could be found thereon at all times.


The spacious home has been a community-gathering place where guests were warmly received and well treated.


In her death, Neillsville has truly lost a community leader.


(The Hewett farm was located on the north side of West Fifth Street from Ayers Street, westward to the Black River with the house previously being on the site of what is now that of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and school. D. Z.)


Funeral services for Mrs. Herman Hagen were held at the Jaster Funeral Home Saturday, Nov. 15, with the Rev. Wm. A. Baumann officiating.  Internment was made in the Globe Cemetery.


Mrs. Hagen was 62 years and nine months of age. She was born February 12, 1879, at Canstatt, Germany, to Caroline and Carl Wahl. She grew to young womanhood and received her education in her native land.  It was there also that she was united in marriage to Herman Hagen in March 1906.  The following year her husband departed for America and three years later in 1910 she joined him in Chicago.


In 1914, the couple came to Clark County to make their home, settling on a farm in Pine Valley.  In 1916, they purchased 20 acres in the Town of Weston just north of the mounds and in 1918 they purchased a tract of land in the same township from Len and George Howard.  The land, then practically all timber, has since been developed into a tillable farm upon which the departed made her home until she passed away.


Mrs. Hagen was the mother of six children, three sons and three daughters, namely: Herman, Jr., Weston; William and Gustave at home; Mrs. Lester May, Neillsville and Bertha and Mary at home.  She is survived by her husband, children and possibly a brother, Edward in Germany from whom she has had no message since the war.



The Hewett House, destroyed by fire in 1949, and farm was located along what is now West 5th Street.  St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church now occupies the former house site.  The farmlands extended north and west of the farmyard and home, bordering the Black River.  The Hewett dairy herd supported a milk route with home delivery within the city of Neillsville.  (Photo courtesy of Bill Roberts’ collection)





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