Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin

February 29, 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 IV


A large logging camp had both a blacksmith and a wood butcher.


A wood butcher had to have a fair knowledge of carpentry but also had to know some things about woodwork that many carpenters today know nothing about.  He had to be an expert with a broad axe for many of the timbers that he used had to be hewed out of the log.


He also had to be an expert with an adz or shin hoe as some of the wood choppers called on him to smooth up the work done after using a broad axe.  It may be of interest to know some of the things he was called upon to make.


First, there was the oxen to be shod and as many may not know, three is a whole box of dynamite packed in the hind foot of an ox, so some method had to be followed in shoeing him other than that employed in shoeing horses, so the wood butcher constructed a frame consisting of four uprights of hewed timber six by six or larger, mortised in sills placed about four feet apart one way and three and one-half the other way, about five feet in height with cross pieces mortised in cross ways at the top.  On one side about three and one-half feet from the sills was a stationary pole, perhaps five inches in diameter, mortised in the uprights on the other side at the same height as the other pole.  Holes were bored into the poles with an auger so that the ends of a separate pole could be fitted into them and mortised with the ends to form a windlass. To the stationary pole was attached a piece of cowhide that was attached to the windlass by means of chains attached to a pole to which the cowhide was sewn.


The ox was then led into the frame, the cowhide cradle passed under him, then the chains wound up and the ox raised in the air amid much struggling and brawling, but as soon as his feet were off the ground he was helpless, his legs were then securely fastened and then the shoes, eight in number, one for each division of the hoof were nailed on.  The shoes were made by the blacksmith to fit the foot and were calked on both heel and toe.


The logging sleighs were huge affairs with three inch runners, seven to nine feet long with beams long enough, so the sleighs were seven feet on the run and correspondingly heavy.  The bunks were usually eight by nine inches and from nine to 12 feet long and were a load for a span of horses, but on iced road an average load for one team was from 7,000 to 8,000 feet board measure and one team has been known to haul over 16,000 feet to the landing at one load.


Besides sleighs, to build and repair, there were always ox yokes, cant-hook stocks, ax helves, sleigh whiffletrees and eveners to make or repair.


In a small camp the blacksmith was sometimes the wood butcher.


After the camps were built there were the logging roads to build and the man who laid out the road had to have something of knowledge of engineering to get to the landing in the shortest possible distance and still take advantage of the lay of the land, so that the road to the landing was as much down grade as possible. The main road usually followed a creek and if there was a marsh from the timber in the direction of the landing the road was built there as that saved the expense of clearing the right of way through the timber.  The road was cleared of timber from 20 to 25 feet in width; all trees in the track covered by the sleighs had to be grubbed out by the roots, all knolls leveled and holes filled, as there could be no short curves owing to the length of the sleighs and the size of the loads.  Many times bridges had to be built across the meanderings of the streams, which the road followed.  If there were soft spots or spring holes in the road these had to be corduroyed with tree logs.


When the landing was reached, that had to be cleared on the banks and skids laid upon for which to later roll the logs.


At short distances apart, along the road, holes were cut back in timber about thirty feed wide and sixty feet in depth, stumps had to be cut nearly to the ground and here the skidways were built where later the logs were skidded preparatory to being loaded on sleighs and hauled to the landing.


After the main road was completed there were the side or branch roads to build as well as skidding rails from the skidways back into the timber.


The main road always following the lowest ground, where there was usually a ridge back on each side of the road from a few rods to one-fourth mile or more to the top, and branch roads were cut at convenient intervals intersecting with the main road.


If the contour of the land permitted, a branch road was built around the end of the ridge intersecting with the main road further down and the timber from the other side of the ridge was hauled out on this branch.


A good camp foreman, in laying out his roads as well as all of the work, saw to it that every advantage was taken of the lay of the land to get the logs on the skidways with the least expenditure of manpower and horse power possible.


There were no labor unions in those days, no PWA with 30 hours per week, the men expected to do an honest day’s work for the wages they received and my observation has been that one honest to goodness lumberjack accomplished more work in a day than the average PWA worker now accomplishes in a week.


The men were through with breakfast in the morning and in the woods as soon as the sawyers could see the log mark on the fallen trees. This too included all of the woods men.


The teamsters were out in the many camps long before daylight, and unless the haul was too long, were at the landing by daylight.


This made it necessary for the landing men to go out on the first load of logs as the logs all had to be placed in rollways.


The day lasted until the sawyers could no longer see a log mark in the evening and for the teamsters, skidway men and the loaders usually much longer.  Unless for some very good reason, the teams’ sleds were loaded at night for the trip to the landing first thing in the morning, and the skidway men had to stay in the woods until the last team was loaded and set out for the night.


The average wages paid was around $26 dollars per month with the exception of the teamsters who got from $30 to $35, the taffler and cookee who were usually a well-grown boy or elderly man who was past the age of hard woods work, these usually received from $16 to $20 per month.

(To be continued)


Last week, Bob French informed the Press that he had received a postcard telling of the death of Walter Granger, who for many years was the rural route driver of Merrillan.  Mr. Granger was born near Merrillan, his parents being among the earliest settlers.


Mr. French recalls that when the late Sereno Wren, then a young man, came up the Black River in 1861, he sat down by the road near “Paddy’s Rest,” a wayside tavern near the present site of the Hatfield Power House.  As he sat there, a man by the name of Lynn Tucker came by with two yoke of oxen on a wagon, enroute to the Granger farm for hay.  Mr. Wren went with him to the Granger home and remained there all winter, then went over to the mouth of the East Fork to work in the Mead sawmill.  (Sereno Wren became a permanent resident of Clark County. D.Z.)



A typical logging scene, loggers using a team of horses, in preparing to “snake” logs out of the woods to an accessible location along the sled trail.


February 1942


Mining operations have started in Clark County.


No hole in the side of the hill will bear testimony to this. Nor are hillsides’ being slowly crumpled by the constant pounding of a heavy stream of water, as is done in placer mining.


No, Clark County’s mining operations are being done and will be done, at home, on the farm, and the business houses.  For in these places will be found, the materials most urgently needed for the war effect.


Scarp metals, an old, broken piece of hay rake or a discarded automobile cylinder head, will be made into metal for guns, tanks, planes and ships. Clark County residents can pull more scrap metals right now out of their scrap piles than can be mined in a week at an average mine.


Right now, too, scrap metals are particularly required, for old metals must be added to fresh ones if the strongest of steel is to be made.


Waste paper, too, is needed.  And, although there is a shortage of paper, there is not a single house in Clark County in which there is at least a pound or more of old newspapers or catalogues doing nothing bur gathering dust and taking up space.


If this paper could be placed immediately into the proper channels, it would relieve the shortage.  It would be turned into paperboard in which would be shipped munitions, clothing and food for America’s fighting men at home and overseas.


Old rubber is on the list of materials to be mined here.  With conditions as they now stand, it would not be amiss to say that Clark County can now produce more rubber, in worn-out tires, tubes, hot water bottles, and such, than the nation could get from Malaya in months. And from this old rubber would be made new rubber for our motorized forces.


About 2,100 Clark County men between ages of 20 and 45 are expected to register for military service in the three days starting Saturday. Those who have previously registered or are exempt for some specific reason will not be included in the registration.


The largest registration is anticipated at the courthouse in Neillsville, where preparations are being made to handle registrations of 600 men. The remaining 1,500 men are expected to be divided about equally among the other four registration places set up by the local selective service board: in the selective service headquarters at Loyal, the village hall at Thorp, the village hall at Abbotsford, and the city hall at Owen. 


Mr. and Mrs. Gustav Kaddatz of Levis Township and Mrs. Ruth Lindow, Chili, have taken over the management of the Neillsville Nursing Home, the home being moved from the former North Hewett Street to the location on South Hewett.


Fourteen patients are being cared for in the home at present.


Mrs. Lindow is well known throughout a large section of Clark County as a splendid practical nurse.  Her kindly and sympathetic nature and her understanding of the aged, will add much to the comfort of the patients.


All registered nurses in Clark County are requested to register promptly at the Clark County Nurse’s office in the court house.  This request is being made by Dr. A. L. Schemmer of Coby, health and welfare committee chairman of the Clark County Civilian Defense board.  Nurses are asked to give the following information: maiden and married names, addresses, name of training school and whether currently registered.


Ronald Happe, age 6, came out second best last Friday afternoon in an encounter between his sled and a farm wagon. Ronald, also with some of his friends from Cozy Corner School, went coasting on the inclined driveway in front of the Albert Lindow barn.  He and his sled ran into the tongue of a wagon standing near the driveway, cutting and bruising Ronald’s left cheek.  It took two stitches to close the wound and Ronald was back in school Monday, as good as ever, or almost.  He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. William Happe, Jr.             


The Silver Dome Ballroom will have two Free Wedding Dances this weekend: Saturday, Feb. 14, in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Gib Loos; Sunday, Feb. 15, in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Ted Dux.       


A tree believed to be the largest in Clark County will be cut this week on the farm of Wendell Crothers in the Windfall Corners community.  An elm, the tree measures 18 feet in circumference at a point four feet above the ground.  It is more than five feet in diameter.                                                                   


A survey of about 150 of Clark County’s schools has revealed that most schools will close May 1 to 15.  However, nine of the group included in the survey will close in April, while the Greenwood grades, closing June 3, will be the last to finish the school year.                                                                                      


According to word received this week by Ray Paulson, local distributor, the Massey-Harris Company of Racine has been awarded the largest single war contract yet given in Wisconsin; a multi-million dollar award for building army tanks.  For the production of tanks, the company has purchased the Racine factory of Nash-Kelvinator, which will be converted into a tank assembly line. Production is scheduled to start in the near future and will be undertaken in addition to the present types of farm machinery, of which production will be continued.  


Fish supper, York Town Hall, on Friday, Feb. 27 beginning at 6 p.m.; there will also be entertainment.  Everybody is welcome!  Admission is 25’ or 50’. Sponsored by the York Farmers Union, H. C. Vandeberg, Secretary


Public Notice, by May & Ruchaber Grocery – In the past we gave three grocery deliveries on the south side of Neillsville and two deliveries on the north side with one each way in the afternoon.


However now the defense restrictions compel us to limit ONE delivery each way in the forenoon and ONE each way in the afternoon:


New Schedule will be: North Side 9:00 a.m.; South Side 9:30 a.m.; North Side 3:00 p.m. and South Side 3:30 p.m.


Neillsville Dairy’s special price on Cultured Buttermilk is 7 cents per quart.


The first automobile to be rationed by the Clark County Rationing Board was granted Tuesday of route one, Loyal.


While the car had been purchased in December from a Loyal automobile dealer, it was still in the dealer’s possession when the freezing order on new cars was issued, Leo W. Foster, Rationing Board explained.


The car was being held at the time for a set of seat covers and a heater; and when the freezing order was issued, the car transaction also was temporarily “frozen.”




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