Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin

January 12, 2011, Page 9

Contributed by "The Clark Co. Press"

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News

January 1876



The snow has come, and the able – bodied men have taken themselves to the timber. Idle hands are scarce in these parts now.                                                                                                   


The Dutch person who thought there was nothing in the world worth living for but the “gospel and girls,” never tried any of Mrs. Tibbitt’s best oyster stew.                                                             


The new courthouse is to receive a calcimine finish for the present, with a view of frescoing in the future.  Several of the offices are nearly ready for use and will soon be occupied.                  


The merciful man is merciful to the dumb animals that come under his care, and he who abuses or overworks one of these mute creatures will fail of heaven, no matter what day he keeps for Sunday.


A dishwashing machine is the latest invention. They will continue to invent washers, wringers, ironers, sewers and one thing and another until women won’t be worth fifteen cents a dozen.


Mr. Wm. Seeley has opened a new hotel in the house lately vacated by Al Stafford, where he proposes to dispense cheer to the hungry and the weary, at rates that, if universal, would make it cheaper to travel than to stay home.


The surprise party at Dr. French’s last Monday evening afforded a world of enjoyment to those in attendance, about forty in all.                                                                                                           


Last Saturday, January 8th, a meeting of the prominent citizens of this County, who do not favor a division of the County, was held at the law office of O’Neill & Sheldon, in this village. The meeting was organized by the election of Mr. Jas. O’Neill, president; H. J. Hoffman, Secretary; John Reed, treasurer, and the appointment of an executive committee consisting of five members.


Jas. Hewett, John S. Dore and H. J. Hoffman were appointed to represent the interests of Clark County before the legislature, with instruction to oppose any division and to use all honorable means to prevent the changing of its present boundaries.


K. W. Ingham of Colby addressed the meeting in the interest of the Colby-Dorchester division, which if granted, would take off towns 27, 28, and 29, ranges one east and one west.  Messrs. Hewett, Dore and Hoffman left for Madison last Monday where they will probably remain until they are able to determine how the matter will be decided when brought before the legislature.                                                                                           


Progression of Republic, Chronology of the Principal Events Beginning in July 1776:


July 4 – Declaration of Independence signed and promulgated in Philadelphia.


Aug. 27 – Battle of Long Island


Sept. 15 – General Washington evacuated New York


Oct. 28 – Battle of White Plains, N. Y.


Dec. 8 – Washington crossed the Delaware River;


Dec. 25 – Washington re-crossed the Delaware River;


Dec. 28 – Gen. Washington surprised the British army at Trenton, N. J.


Commercial tourists pronounce this the “boss” little town of the state.  They say the amount of goods sold here is astonishing.                                                                                               


Again during the first of the week, January 18, the hopes of the loggers were dashed to the ground by the disappearance of the snow.  It is now generally conceded that the amount of lumber put-in in Wisconsin during this winter will be much less than was expected earlier in the season.


The number of persons who have lost their lives during the past month by going on the ice is alarming.  There has been but little weather during the present winter to make good ice, and those who venture upon it for any purpose are doing an unwise set and one that may be fatal.  Our exchanges are full of accounts of persons drowned by breaking through, the greater number being boys while skating.  Let this serve as a warning that we may not be called upon to chronicle a like sad event in this community.                                                                                  


On Friday evening of last week a German living in the Town of Perkins had an encounter with three wolves. The animals shoed a seceded inclination to make a meal of him, but he succeeded in fight them off.  After following him with that behavior for about a half a mile, they disappeared, leaving him a sound but very frightened individual. This is the first time we have ever heard of any person being attacked by those animals in this county, but we have the facts from reliable authority and do not doubt is accuracy.



January 1941


Improvements have been made in 1940 by Frank Meske in the Lone Pine Dairy, in anticipation of the Quality Improvement Program.  He has installed a power can washer, so that patrons’ milk cans are turned back to them in absolutely clean and sanitary condition.  He has constructed a modern cooling room for cheese, which is clean and sanitary. Each year Mr. Meske takes a forward step in the development of his plant in the Town of Reseburg.


Mr. Meske takes the view, in the conduct of the Lone Pine Dairy, which the best answer on quality is to keep his place clean and to work with approved equipment.  He states that it is his purpose to cooperate with farmers and operators in making a success of the Quality Improvement Program in Clark County.


In 1940 Mr. Meske installed a modern refrigerating locker plan with 152 lockers, all but 14 of which have been rented.


Managers of Neillsville’s four hockey teams will meet in the council room of the city hall Saturday, January 4, at 6:30 p.m. to complete plans for the city league and adopt a schedule.             


Clark County gave up its ghost on its only ghost town in 1940.


It was an event of local historical note, although of little moment in the every day life of some 34,000 residents of Clark County, when the plat of the Unincorporated Village of Columbia was vacated.  It was but one of several moves taken during 1940 by the County, which made the year a memorable and in some instances, an outstanding year.


When the announcement was made that the plat of Columbia, located in the wilds of the Town of Hewett, was to be vacated through court action, it sent older memories scurrying back to the “boom days” of 1892, when bright things were envisioned for that development.


The Village of Columbia was to be a busy industrial center and a beautiful community of homes, so the promoters said.  Lots sold for as much as $150 and some say more.  But the boom soon proved to be a dud.  Streets, which end to end would have stretched miles, never felt the cut of a wagon or car tire.  And down through the years Clark County came into ownership through tax delinquency of nearly 90 percent of the lots of the village.


So the unincorporated ghost Village of Columbia was vacated on the records, as it had always been in actuality.


But Columbia die not have a corner on things when it came to the undoing of things done before bubble-like dreams of cast celery beds, which arose in the western reaches of the County in 1917, also the dissolution of the Clark County Drainage District. For all concerned the action holds but little heartache, which in the district’s duration, it held mostly naught but headaches.


The drainage district, in which swamps were to be drained in order that their supposedly fertile black soil might be put in profit, was set up in 1917, and comprised 2,376 acres of land in western and southwestern Clark County. Roughly, it embraced the land now in the County forest area.


Speculators who pushed the plan predicted that the lowlands would produce carload after carload of celery and bring untold wealth and prosperity to all within the County. Although landowners in the district objected at court proceedings to set up the district, they were unable to offer concrete evidence by which their objections could be sustained.


So the district was organized and a bond issue approximating $100,000 was floated. Drainage assessments were levied against all bonds within the area and those selfsame assessments have been a constant source of irritation to the County financing officers, even to the present year.


It may have been a coincidence that wholesale delinquencies or real estate in that area stared with the drainage assessments; nevertheless, that is what happened.


Swamps were drained at great expense, and labor; but the land would not produce. For years, then the County has been awaiting the opportunity to wipe the drainage district from the books.  This action was made possible, at long last, through the purchase, in early August, of the last unassigned drainage certificate by F. D. Calway of Neillsville.


While some time and effort was spent in undoing things done before, not all of it ws so spent, not by a long way.  The year 1940 saw Clark County in possession of its first complete mound, the Wildcat Mound southwest of Neillsville. Although, it had owned the majority of the mound for some time, it did not obtain complete possession until early in the year, when purchase was completed on a 40-acre plot on which one corner of the mound was situated.


Wildcat Mound has been turned into a public park, with a shelter and picnic facilities at the base of the mound and a trail, which wins around the face and to the top.


And a little later in the year, a horse kicked Clark County into ownership of a forty, which it had needed to complete its block in the forest area in the Town of Hewett.  Sidney Richard Prescher, Janesville World War I veteran and former Clark County resident, had filed a homestead claim on the forty. As long as that claim was in force, Clark County could not complete its block. But a horse kicked Mr. Prescher in the head.  He died, and thus his claim was voided. Clark County has made overtures to the United States Government for the property, and present expectations are that it soon will become a part of the County forest area.                                                                  


Week end Specials at A & P Meat Concession, are Pork Steak, Hamburger, Pork Sausage or Beef Roast, 18¢ per lb.


E. B. Hart, Proprietor                                                                                   


Many acres of Clark County land, which have become “lost” through the passing of time and through human error, are being brought to light in the court house.


There, for the last year, a WPA project has been at work correcting descriptions of he more than 33,000 parcels, which make up the County; and incidentally they have found several hundred of good acres and some not so good acres, which many land owners never realized they had.


In virtually every instance it will mean an increase in the number of acres assessed to the owners of land affected as soon as the corrected descriptions are put into line, which is likely to be with the 1941 tax rolls.


The story of lost land had its roots in the original government survey, made in this region in 1854.  It arose from a combination of inaccuracies in surveying instruments, in human error, and the natural curvature of the earth’s surface.  When the surveyors laid down the original township lines they did their best to make them perfect six-mile squares. But their best was not good enough.


Subsequently surveys made in laying out sections and quarter sections revealed that there were errors.  In laying out the 40-acre lots of the quarter sections, the surveyors worked from the southeast corner toward the north and the west. Thus, the first quarter sections were true 40’s; but the quarter sections to the extreme north and the extreme west of each township may have been anywhere from 30 to 57 acres each, depending on which direction the original error carried them.


In the Town of Sherwood, the original town lines were so far from being true that in some instances it was necessary to make very obvious curvatures in the quarter lines to make the quarter sections fit into the township at all, according to County Forester A. C. Covell.  Mr. Covell who served as County surveyor for some time has had much to do with the County property in that township, speaks from first-hand knowledge of the situation there.


Along with this, the WPA workers have discovered several whole plots of land that were “lost” at some time or other in the past as assessors copied the tax rolls.  Miss Marian Zaske, in charge of the work, could not estimate the number of such lost parcels the work had resulted in finding, but said it was several.


All these “lost” lands are being brought to light in the WPA tax description project, which finally has reached the stage, after a year of effort, where its effect will be felt.                                   


It is hoped that grade schools of the city system might soon be able to provide hot lunches under a program of the surplus commodities corporation, which has been expressed this week by D. E. Peters, city superintendent.


Hot lunches have been provided at the high school for about two weeks and are proving successful, Mr. Peters said.  Hot lunches were served Tuesday noon to 99 high school students made up largely from children of rural communities who would otherwise have to pack a cold lunch.


A typical lunch includes such things as: macaroni and cheese, prunes, bread and butter, milk and perhaps one or two other dishes. The lunches are prepared by two women obtained through the WPA office and menus planned by Miss Agnes Hed, the home Economics instructor.  Lunches are served cafeteria-style.


The amount of food available is figured in proportion to the number of underweight children in the school system



In the early 1890s a one-room school was built in Columbia.  Later, in 1900, a larger building was built with two rooms on the main floor that were used for grades up to the eighth.  It was thought that Columbia would grow in population so the new two-story building was erected, with a second floor for the higher grades, which didn’t materialize.  In the meantime the upper floor served as an auditorium with stage to accommodate many social events within the community.  (Photo courtesy of “Recollections of Columbia” book)





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