Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin

August 24, 2011, Page 15

Contributed by "The Clark Co. Press"

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News

August 1881


The Fox River Company has advanced the price of its land in Clark County from $7 to $8 per acre.  The advance is due to the railroad facilities, which are now afforded by the railroad to this area and the promises for the continuation of the railroad to Marshfield in the near future.                                               


Capt. T. J. La Flesh, of Sherwood Forest and Ed Tolford, of here, returned from a forty day sojourn in the wilderness bordering on the northern shore of Lake Superior. Tom, though one of the early settlers on Black River, thinks the region from which he has just returned is the wildest he has ever seen.                     


A couple of brothers, living just north of Staffordville, recently got into a dispute over the possession of the family buggy. Both wanted to use the buggy at the same time, and with one having succeeded in getting possession thereof, the other proceeded to demolish one of the wheels, in consequence of which no riding and a heavy bill for repairs was the result.


The corps of engineers sent to survey the railroad from its present terminus to some point within this village, completed the work the latter part of last week by locating several lines from which the chief engineer of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha railway will select the one upon which the road will be built. The one likely to be adopted will be on the south bank of O’Neill Creek, crossing Main Street between the residence of James O’Neill, Sr. and Tolford and Holverson’s livery stable.                                                                           


August Schoengarth has opened a brickyard near his residence, south of Lowe’s.  He has already burned one kiln of brick.


A portion of the machinery in Canon Brother’s mill, in the Town of Washburn, has been in operation during the past two weeks.  It will be ready for business soon.                                          


Charley Robinson’s horse took a run through town last Monday, leaving the buggy, to which he was attached, on the sidewalk near the residence of D. R. Brown on South Main Street. Aside from the demoralization of the buggy and harness, no other damage was done.                                                                         


Mr. S. Fike, of the Town of Fremont, lost a twenty-dollar bill on the streets of this village last Saturday.  The finder can return the same by mailing it to his address at Snow, Clark County, Wis., or have it returned by leaving it here at the newspaper office.                                                                                       


James Hewett of this village is the inventor of a self-acting gate to be used on flood dams, and if it had been in use at the Dells Dam last year, it would have prevented the dam being washed out, and thereby proved a saving of several thousand dollars to the company by whom it was built.  The gate works upon a pivot and is so adjusted that it will open of its own accord when the water gets to a certain height, preventing overflowing, which has caused the destruction of so many dams on the Black River and its tributaries. The invention is one that only needs to be seen, to be understood and appreciated, and that will prove of its value, of no doubt.                                                


“Buffalo Bill” and Dr. Powell visited Black River Falls last week for the purpose of procuring some Indians to join in the show business.  They succeeded in carrying away four, to be place in their exhibitions.


The town bridge over O’Neill Creek, destroyed by the flood last year, will be replaced by a far better structure as soon as the timber to build it can be obtained.                                                 


C. Blakeslee has just received a stock of pure Penang Ground spices put up in bottles, also Penang Pickling spices, a combination of seventeen varieties of the finest whole spices and condiments known to commerce.


Hon. John Black, ex-mayor of Milwaukee made a long promised visit to Milwaukee last Tuesday.  For the past twelve years, honest John Black cannot go into a town in the state without finding many real friends he has made by his inborn courtesy and hospitality, and Neillsville was no exception. He was the guest of Hon. James O’Neill, who has known him since the time of that big rain.                                                                  


The heavy rains, the latter part of last week, were just what the farmers needed; the corn and potatoes were getting nearly dried out.  The tremendous wind, which we could well have dispensed with, did no particular damage however, except to blow over several trees and frighten some of us into humbling ourselves before the Mighty, asking Him to extend a helping hand to us poor sinful creatures in the cellars.


August 1941


Pots, pans and skillets: even a slot machine front, were heaped together this week as Clark County’s scrap aluminum contribution to national defense neared the 6,000 pound mark.


With about 200 pounds still to be transported from Neillsville, and other odds and ends of collection still to be completed Tuesday, 5,570 pounds of metal had been gathered at the central county depository as a result of the house-to-house canvassing. The estimated one-million pounds collected in Wisconsin, it was, nevertheless, considerably more than members of the county defense committee had anticipated.                      


Into the aluminum collections here last week went some small pieces, light in weight but poignant in memory.


They were pieces from the warplane in which Quentin Roosevelt, youngest son of Theodore Roosevelt, was shot down behind German lines in World War I.  They were the donation of Dr. M. C. Rosekrans of Neillsville.


It was on July 14, 1918, that Roosevelt was shot down in the Chateau Thierry push, Dr. Rosekrans recalled.  He apparently was dead when the plane crashed into the side of a hill near Chamery, on the Marne River.


German soldiers buried his body in a shallow cemetery, and marked with a cross on which they printed: “An American Aviator.”


Later in the action troops of the 32nd Division, men from Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan, pushed the Germans back, and captured the hill on which young Roosevelt’s plane had crashed. The plane still was there.


On the crude grave, the first Americans to go by marked, “Lt. R.”  Later contingents reburied Roosevelt on July 28, Dr. Rosekrans related.


The doctor stood by while the reburial took place, and he was camped not more than two city blocks from the plane.  It was then that the small pieces of aluminum from Roosevelt’s plane came into his possession. From one piece he fashioned a small shield, which he attached to a cane.  From the other pieces he said he always had intended to make a model airplane; but that was never done.  


So into the metals for defense small pieces of aluminum, poignant in memory, of which had served in World War I.


Saturday Special at the Neillsville Bakery – Coffee Cakes 13¢ & 15¢; Get Brownee Bread today, Rye, 1-1/2 lb. loaf, 12¢; Whole Wheat 1-1/2 lb 12¢ or, 1 lb loaf for 10¢.                                     


A recent item in the York Center News carried the story of the young wife who made her first trip to Neillsville after two months.


To the late Mrs. Mary Hannah, mother of Mrs. Neil Northup of this community, this would have seemed unusual, but for another reason. She would have thought herself a regular gadabout had she left her home so often. Coming to Clark County from Canada 71 years ago, Mr. and Mrs. Hannah and their family of three children were forced to stop at Ross Eddy near Neillsville where their baby Al was born.  Two weeks later they went on to the timbered tract of land owned by an uncle, Charles Ross. This farm now occupied by Paul Roder, is probably better known as the Jornsby farm and is in the Town of Eaton along Black River. The region was of dense woods with no neighbors nearby.  But her time being taken up with cooking for a crew of ten or eleven men, in addition to caring for her brood of little ones, Mrs. Hannah had no time, nor inclination for social affairs.


For five years the Hannahs remained on this place and two children were born there. Clearing the land in the summer and logging it in the winter was the work of Mr. Hannah and his crew, hence the large number of men whom his wife and hired girl had to feed all the year around.  It was here on this place that Mrs. Hannah, then a young woman, did what would seem almost improbable today. She remained the entire five years there without once getting off the place.


The Hannahs lived in a way, which now seems primitive. Their furniture consisted of benches and tables, made by the young husband.  He was an ingenious soul, inventing a piece of furniture, which was unique then and would be regarded as still more unique today.  This was a combination rocking chair and baby’s cradle, which was made of a long plank with the cradle made lengthwise of the plank. The plank was mounted at either end on rockers, and at the far end, where the baby wasn’t; a back was put on sideways, so that the mother could sit there and rock the whole contraption. Mrs. Hannah used to tell in later years of the hours she spent in this combination rocker and cradle, rocking herself and the baby at the same time.  An ingenious article of furniture that was, but those were the days when men and women had to be inventive and self-reliant.


Mrs. Northup tells of the first shirt her mother made for the father. She had no shears, so undaunted; she cut it out with a butcher knife. After five years on this place Mr. Hannah moved his family to 160 acres near Christie. This farm, which became the Hannah homestead, is now operated by Hugo Halle. When the Hannahs moved there, a little log house had just been “rolled” up, a garden spot cleared and they had one cow. There were no roads, the trip being made through the woods.


Twice a year Mr. and Mrs. Hannah went to Neillsville, where she purchased clothes for the family.  Her mother spent the summers with a son on the farm now owned by Carl Kessler.  So the Hannahs went to town on Saturday, in the fall, did their trading and then went across the river to the home of her brother. The next day they started for their home, taking “Grandma” with them. When they made their spring shopping trip to town, Grandma went along, returning to her son’s home for the summer. Their trip to Neillsville was made with horses along the tote road.  Nancy and Jim, the eldest children, milked the cow and looked after the younger children while the folks were away.


The Fourth of July was a real day for the Hannahs, for it was then that the father took his family to the Bowery or in reality Boughery, for that is just what it was: a dance floor canopied with boughs.  The one to which the family went was all of the two miles away from home, in the Lavene woods. Bass viols and fiddles made the dances exciting times for the Hannah children, who went to them barefooted, and the girls all dressed up “special” with their pretty sunbonnets. A lemonade treat for the family made the day one to be remembered.


Always there was plenty of maple sugar and syrup of their own making and a chest was always kept filled with sugar. About one-fourth of the chest held Grandma’s sugar, especially made in tiny creamy cakes, while the rest contained larger, and to the children, not enticing cakes, for home use. The grandmother wore a large pocket of serviceable material, made with a belt and this was worn under her skirt, which had an open placket where by she could reach into the pocket and get thread, thimble or any of the numerous articles she carried in there. Usually a supply of those delicious maple sugar cakes was to be found in the pocket but as she kept that under her pillow when she slept, there was little chance of the children snatching any.


However it remained for young Cindy to put one over on Grandma. While the old lady knelt to pray, Cindy, who slept with her, would quietly “swipe” some of those tantalizing confections from the skirt under the pillow.


Grandma was very strict with her grandchildren, and they found it necessary to find ways of getting out of the house without her knowing it.  One night Nell and Cindy were going to hang May baskets and left a window open a little so they could get in without explaining to Granny.  William had the same idea, but he found the window open when he came in, so promptly closed it.  Just how they fixed it up with the old lady, we don’t know but we do know that Cindy climbed over the fence that night and in jumping off the fence landed on the back of their old sow, who promptly took the girl for the most exciting ride of her life.  They went pell-mell through the pasture until Cindy fell off.


Nell well remembers her first dance on the night of the last dance in the old log house. Billy Lightfoot, an old resident who passed away many years ago, was her partner.  His farm is now the Weaver place.


Mr. Hannah owned the first windmill in Christie. After he moved to his own place he worked for Whipple and Ray, and his 16-year old daughter Nancy, now Mrs. John Richardson of Neillsville, cooked for the men in the logging camp that winter.  Being crippled with rheumatism, he “wood-butchered” on his knees all one winter making ox yokes, ax handles, cant hooks and “go-devils.”  Mr. Hannah died about 34 years ago and the mother ten years ago. Besides Mrs. Northup and Mrs. Richardson, the other children are Cindy, Mrs. Van Langford of Portland, Oregon; Minnie, Mrs. George Barr of Silverton, Oregon; Eliza, Mrs. William Hurlburt, Neillsville; James of Priest Falls, Idaho; William, Mineral Point; and Robert of Portland.  Reunions of the Hannahs are occasions for the retelling of the tales of their youth and the time when their mother stayed home for five years, or when she made those semi-annual trips to town.



The circa 1930 photo was taken when children within the area enjoyed diving off the Hewett Street O’Neill Creek bridge into the pond below, above the dam on hot summer days. The dangerous diving practice was discouraged by the elders and eventually curtailed.  (Photo courtesy of Bill Roberts’ collection)




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