Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin

February 15, 2012 Page 9

Contributed by "The Clark Co. Press"

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News


February 1937


History of Logging in Clark County

By Fred Draper


Chapter II


In Chapter I, I have shown that the real lumbering industry commenced with the surveying of the county.


At this time and for many years thereafter the Federal government was very liberal with its land recently acquired from the Indians.


By an act of Congress any citizen of the United States or any one who had declared his intention to become a citizen could go to the Government land office and buy any amount of Government land he wished to buy at $1.25 per acre or $50 per 40-acre, providing the land was more than 10 miles from any railroad; if it was within 10 miles of the railroad the price per acre was double or $2.50 per acre.


As there were no railroads in this part of the state until 1869, when the West Wisconsin Railway Co., then afterwards the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway was built for about three miles across the southwest corner of the Town of Mentor, there was practically a period of 21 years in which all timber land in the county was purchased from the government at a minimum price of $1.25 per acre.


During this time practically all the best pineland was taken and much of it logged.


The men who first located timber in Clark County were nearly all men from either New York or from Maine. They were mostly men who were accustomed to logging from actual experience in “working in the woods,” as it was called in their native states.


They were a group of sturdy, industrious, far-seeing men, used to privation and hardships and the rough and tumble life connected with the logging industry, most of whom became leaders of men and many of them later became the leaders in local, state and national affairs.


Prominent among these men who had to do with logging in Clark County in a large way was Gen. C. C. Washburn of La Crosse, who served with distinction in the Civil War, and in Congress for several terms as representative from Wisconsin and served as governor of the state from Jan. 1, 1872, to Jan. 5, 1874.


William T. Price of Black River Falls, familiarly known to his men as Bill Price” was elected to the Forty-eighth, Fifty-Ninth and Fiftieth Congress as representative from this congressional District and later, William H. Upham of Marshfield, who served as governor of this state from Jan. 7, 1895, to Jan. 4, 1897.


The usual procedure in locating timberlands was to get a plat of untaken lands from the nearest land office showing the land in each government township.


They then either visited the land in person or sent their timber estimator into the territory where they expected to select timber of logging operations.


The county having been recently surveyed, made it easy to find the section corners, they being marked by a square hardwood stake of post about four inches square set at an angle of 45 degrees to the section lines with the number of the section cut in the wood of the stake opposite its face.  Half way between the section corners was another stake, which were called quarter stakes.


They first looked over the territory generally with several objects in view.  First: To determine whether there was enough timber in the tract to suit the needs of the prospective purchaser.


Second: the size of the timber in logging language, the number of logs to the thousand board feet.


Third: Whether the pine was clear of punk knot and rim rot.


Lastly: its accessibility to market, i.e., its distance from Black River and if it had to be driven on a tributary of the river, the probable cost of clearing the creek of brush, fallen timber or other obstructions.  Whether there was a suitable site and the probable cost of building a flood dam.


With these points having been determined, then came the task of estimating the timber, which was usually done by three men working together.


Commencing at either the section corner post or the quarter post one man followed the line, the second man from five to six rods from the first carrying a compass and note book to enter the estimates and the third man with a compass and axe to blaze a line at about the same distance beyond the first.  The distance between the men varied somewhat according to the thickness of the pine and the undergrowth, they having to be in plain sight of each other at all times. They advanced across the tract of land to be estimated carefully, counting the pine trees as they advanced. When they reached the end of the tract they were working on, they moved over, number three man following his blazes back, number two and one going on into the timber, number one now doing the blazing.


Knowing the average size of the trees, the number upon any government subdivision, it was a matter of mathematics to determine the number of board feet in that subdivision.


If the estimate and the other conditions were satisfactory the prospective buyer then went to the nearest land office, which was first at La Crosse and later at Eau Claire, and there enter such government subdivisions as he wished to buy.  If he wished to purchase a whole section as 22-35 or whatever the number of the section might be, it was entered as a whole; if a part of the section was small or inferior pine or ran into the hardwood, which no lumberman at this time wanted, then he entered the land by the government subdivision as SW of 10 or the SE of 12. Another thing to be considered was the building of a road from the nearest source of supplies to camp.  At the beginning the source of supplies was La Crosse, supplies having been brought to this point by boat.


A road was cut through the brush and woods from La Crosse following the river by the way of Onalaska and Melrose to Black River Falls. Later the road was extended on up the river to Hatfield and thence through the timber to Neillsville and Greenwood.  At first the road was nothing but a trail through the timber following the higher ground.


Gradually settlers began to settle along the trail and the trail grew into a road, by first corduroying the marshes and low spots.


In 1868 the county board appropriated $7,000 for the improvement of the Black River Road. Also came into the being the road in Clark County, now Highway 73, known for many years to the old settlers as “the tote road.”  The greater part of this road was never legally laid out but the Topsy, “just grew.”


As the loggers began to cut the timber back from the river, branches were made from this main artery of traffic to their camps; many of them were later improved and became permanent highways.


The railroad having been built in 1869 as far as Humbird, the county board at its spring session in 1870 made an appropriation of $3,000 for the laying out and improvement of the road from Neillsville to Humbird. (To be continued D.Z.)


February 1957


In Clark County payday comes twice a month.  In this rural setting payday is the big time, not for factory workers, of whom there are relatively few in this agricultural county, but for farmers.  Farmers’ payday is the time they are paid for milk produced.


The custom of the diary plant is to pay on or about the fifth and the twentieth of each month.  On those days the villages and cities witness an influx of farmers, and at the banks there are lines of men and women, each armed with a check from a dairy plant. These checks aren’t insignificant.  In the aggregate they amount to about $750,000 on each payday. Distributed among about 4,500 farmers, their average amount is $160.  Perhaps a better way to tell it is that they would average that amount, if it were not for the deductions. But in many instances there are deductions, and in not a few cases those deductions are substantial, for they represent payments upon capital investments.


These semi-monthly checks speak for the county’s gross income from milk in 1956 of about $17,500,000.  The milk income in the county is about 70% of the farm income. Therefore it would be safe to estimate a total farm income of Clark County at about $24,500,000.  This is shared among 4,500 farmers, or about that number.  Thus the gross income per farm in 1956 was about $5,500.


Clark County ranks seventh in the United States in the number of milk cows on farms, according to a release this week from the University of Wisconsin. Top County is Los Angeles, Calif., but Wisconsin has five of the top ten; Marathon, second; Dane, third; Dodge, sixth; and Fond du Lac, 10th, in addition to Clark.


Clark County, incidentally, is the largest producer of cheese of all types, and the largest producer of American cheese, in the world.                                                                                           


Ed Miller, of Loyal, is moving his bakery business from the Jesse Raab building where it has been located for the past few years to his new bakery building, north of the Red Owl Store. The building, which was begun last fall, is of double construction.  The north half is the property of Mr. Miller, and south part is the property of Robert Prior, who hopes to occupy it with his jewelry store by the last of the month.  Neil Johnston will later occupy the Raab building.


Mrs. Heron Van Gorden and Mrs. Lee Heimstead, both of Neillsville, sang in the state homemakers’ chorus during Farm and Home Week activities in Madison. Also attending the Farm and Home week activities were Mrs. Reno Herdrich, Clark County Homemaker president, and Mrs. Arthur Hubing, of Rt. 4, Neillsville.


Five Clark County registrants were inducted into the army last Thursday at Minneapolis, and a call has been received by the county selective service of five men for induction and 16 for pre-induction physical examinations March 7.


Those inducted were: Eugene R. Wilde, formerly of Colby but latterly of Muskego; Harold L. Stauffacher, Granton; DeWayne G. Lloyd, formerly of Neillsville and living in Stoughton at the time of induction; Ronald D. Ciolkosz of Thorp; and Richard Benton of Owen. All five were sent to Fort Chaffee, Ark., for basic training, according to the county selective service office.                                                                                       


This will be a busy weekend for the Service Company, 128th Infantry Regiment.


Saturday the company will hold open house at the armory from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. as a part of the statewide National Guard recruiting program. The local company’s quota is 19-men.  In addition, equipment will be displayed on the city’s main street.


Sunday afternoon from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. the company will hold its annual fishing contest at Snyder’s dam, six miles west of Neillsville on Highway 10.  Major prizes include a 12 gauge automatic shotgun, a .22 automatic rifle, and a spinning reel. Holes will be cut and minnows will be available to entrees.           


Marriage Licenses:

Garelyn R. Vollrath, Town of Warner, and Evelyn J. Shupe, Loyal, married in Neillsville February 16


Curtis Gest, Watertown, and Nancy Reber, Neillsville to be married in Neillsville February 16


Robert M. Miller, Town of Levis and Glenda Mitchell, Town of Levis, to be married in Neillsville February 20


Public Card Party will be held at Odd Fellow Hall, Wed., Feb. 27, 8 p.m. Sheepshead, Canasta, 500 will be played.  Prizes and lunch!  Proceeds will go to March of Dimes fund.                   


Clark Grange, No. 749 will have an Open House at the York Town Hall, Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 8 p.m.  Entertainment, free lunch and short talk on taxes                                                               


Residents of the Pine Valley Mound School district, adjoining the city of Neillsville to the northwest, will vote March 12 whether to dissolve their district and attach it to the Neillsville – Pine Valley – Grant Joint District.


The election, which follows the acceptance of a petition bearing signatures of 30 residents of the district, will be held at 8 p.m. in the hot lunchroom of Neillsville High School. A favorable vote of 50% is required.


The petition was received by the Neillsville School Board at its meeting last Thursday evening. At that time the date and other arrangements were completed for the election. 


This action is one of two direct consolidation moves of its kind taken in Clark County under an enabling law adopted by the 1955 legislature. The other is the Sunny Knoll district, which has voted to join the Loyal District.


Silver Dome Supper Club, specials served: Fridays, 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. Fish Fry – 50’; Saturdays 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. ½ Fried Chicken - 75’                                                                                        


Dance at Markham’s hall at Chili Corners Saturday, February 16th.  Music by Ross Downer & his band


Lots and lots of prizes!  Sponsored by the Southern Clark County Conservation Club


American Legion and Auxiliary are sponsoring Potato Pancake Supper & other kinds of pancakes, Wednesday, Feb. 20th; serving from 5 to 7:30 p.m.; benefits to go to Polio and Heart funds.


Bake Sale to be held at Haslow’s Hardware, Chili; Sat. afternoon, Feb. 23rd, sponsored by Ladies Aid Society of E. U. B. Church.                                                                                                  


Grassland Butter, Product of John Wuethrich Creamery Co. Greenwood; buy Grassland available at your favorite food store.                                                                                                             


About 50 years ago, eggs were shipped in huge boxes packed in oats so they wouldn’t break.  Today eggs arrive in individual dozen cartons, graded to size, clean and of uniform high quality.


Neillsville IGA Foodliner specials at their new IGA store: Table Rite 30-foot self service meat section! 100% pure ground beef, ground fresh daily 3 lbs. $1; choice rib steaks, 79’ lb. IGA Picnics 6 – 8 lbs at 29’ lb.


(Correction on February 1, 2012 ‘Good Old Days’ photo caption, 1957; in front row, Bob Murphy rather than Art Murphy; second row, Wilbur Lenz, not Wilbur Lortz. Sorry!)



The above photo was taken in the mid 1950s at the John Wuethrich Creamery Factory, which is located in Clark County on Fairground Avenue, about one-fourth mile north of State highway 98, between Greenwood and Loyal. Employees at that time, left to right: partly visible, Orville Greene; Harold Dahl, carrying butter from a churn; Jake Henseler, Jr., weighing a package of butter; and Elmer Zimmerman stamping the packages. At that time the freshly churned butter was put in cardboard packages and sent elsewhere, to be weighed, cut into quarters and wrapped in one-pound Grassland labeled cartons for dairy case display and sale at area grocery stores. The Grassland Butter Company has through the years, grown to be one of the largest producers in the United States.






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