Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI, May 16, 2012, Page 9


Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin

May 16, 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



By Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge





Dorchester lies between the Eau Pleine River, three miles to the east and Poplar River, a like distance to the west, being on the water shed, one stream flowing into the Wisconsin River and the other being a part of the Black River system.  It is on the Soo Line railway and at one time was an important mill town, but in later years prospers as the center of a rich farming community.  It is one of the thrifty and progressive towns in the north-eastern corner of the county, two miles from one county line and half a mile from another.


The principal business enterprises now flourishing in Dorchester are three general stores, one clothing store, three hardware stores, one tin-shop, two blacksmith shops, one furniture store, one restaurant, one bowling alley, one drug store, two garages, one livery stable, two hotels, five saloons, one feed mill, one flour and feed store, one saw and planing mill, a newspaper and one of the best opera houses on the line from Marshfield to Ashland.  The village contains two doctors and its religious interests are well taken care of by six churches.


Dorchester had its beginning in 1874.  At that time the railroad station was a section house at the end of the railroad, two miles north of the present village. The village was platted in 1874 on land owned by the Wisconsin Central Railroad.  The first residence was a log shanty on the homestead of Louis Robbins. The first store was that of Dan Miltimore.  Soon afterward the Evans and Sand mills went up and for many years the village was an important lumbering center.  The railroad brought quite a few homesteaders who took land in the vicinity, thus stimulating the growth of the village. But for many years most of the arrivals were lumbermen, who spent the winters in the woods and departed in the spring.


The incorporation of the village of Dorchester was effected in 1901, the survey being made July 22, 23, 24 and 25 by C. S. Stockwell and the census taken July 25-27 by J. H. Breed, showing a population of 471, with application being made August 8, thus granted, followed by the charter election held Oct. 22, 1901 at La Bossier Hall.


The town or village hall is a frame building in which are located the council rooms, the lock-up and the fire apparatus, which consists of one gas engine, a hand-pump and a hook and ladder truck. Water for the hand-pump truck is secured from cisterns that have been constructed for that purpose.


Among the attractions of the village is a small park, laid out along the railroad right of way of which is fenced and planted with trees and flowers.


The first school in Dorchester was held in a small building, which afterwards became the woodshed for a larger school structure built in 1876.  In 1917 the old building ceased to be adequate to the requirements, when the present fine school building was erected at a cost of $15,000.




Curtiss, an incorporated village of about 350 people, is situated right in the heart of the rich dairy belt of Clark County, on the Soo Line, between Owen and Abbotsford and on the line dividing the townships of Hoard and Mayville. The land was owned by the Wisconsin Central Railroad Co., who gave the village its name when the line was pushed through the state in 1880. The principal industries of the village are the saw mill, a planing mill, a creamery and cheese factory. The creamery and cheese factory is a prosperous institution, distributing good sized checks twice a month to the farmers near by.  The mercantile and kindred industries consist of two general stores, the Curtiss Produce Co., a grocery store, hardware store, harness shop, two blacksmith shops, a shoe shop, a hotel and a meat market.


Among the early settlers were: A. B. Mathias, who came from Loyal, Otto Jenke, from Sheboygan County, G. H. Thayer, who came from Fond du Lac County with his parents in 1887, Arne Olson, Wanre Ellis and Steve Platt.  Bass & Clark started the saw mill in 1882 and moved the town from the flag station where the railroad intended it to be, to the present site.


The village of Curtiss was platted Nov. 17, 1882, having been surveyed by Edwin R. Parks. The first steps toward incorporation were taken in 1914, a census being taken by B. B. Green in September and a survey made by S. F. Hewett in October.


On Feb. 5, 1917 a new petition was filed. The petition was granted March 30, 1917, with an election, taking place April 24.




Humbird is a thriving village, situated in the southwest corner of the county, on the first railroad built in the county.  Near it is the overhanging mound, which early gave the vicinity the name of Rocky Mound.  It is a thriving town, surrounded by a rich and prosperous farming country, being on the main line of a great railway system.


The village has first class schools, the system being made up of High School, Grade Schools and Rural Schools. The High School is credited to the State University. The school library has over a thousand volumes, which are available for public use.


The West Wisconsin road was graded through this vicinity in 1869, and a village platted Sept. 9, 1869, on land owned by Almond Alderman and others.  It was named from Jacob Humbird, who had charge of building the railroad. The village at once became an important trading center, grain and lumber being shipped out with provisions and goods of every description being received and transported over the tote roads to inland hamlets and camps. A number of stores and business houses in the first few years were: L. D. Wilder’s store, Peter Wilson’s blacksmith shop, the Andrews & Gunderson brewery, William Schmidt flouring mill, G. W. King’s Rocky Mound House, E. D. Carter & F. W. Whitcomb’s store and E. D. Edwards wagon shop.


In the fall of 1873, the village was overtaken by a visitation of smallpox, which created a panic among the inhabitants and slowed its growth for some time.  There were 25 residents who died during the continuance of the scourge, the bodies being burned at night; business was suspended and trains rushed by the station as if fleeing from wrath in pursuit. The winter of 1873-74 was one of desolation, indescribable; nor did the following spring bring encouragement to the afflicted residents.  As the year advanced, business, however, began to revive and with the dawn of the Centennial year of American Independence, Humbird had full recovered from the effects of the temporary paralysis.


The village now has a bank, a newspaper, three churches, three general stores, two hardware stores, one grocery and market, one drug store, one hotel, one garage, one barber shop, one livery stable, two restaurants, one blacksmith shop, one creamery, one cheese factory, one warehouse, a stock yard and a very successful canning factory.


Humbird has no village government but is part of the Township of Mentor.


Humbird is the home of the Farmers Life Insurance Association, which was established and incorporated in July 1905.  The Humbird Co-op Creamery was incorporated with capital stock of $5,000, the building being put up in 1905.  The Humbird Cheese Co., whose factory is located in Humbird, was incorporated Jan. 6, 1912 with a capital of $5,000, initiated by John Babler, Fred Theiler, John Bryner, John Michael, Gottleib Marty, Earl Grush, Earnest Schumacher, M. B. Baumgartner and Robert Reider.


 A cheese factory was started in Hewettville in 1914, the building being rented from the Farmers Creamery Co., who had operated a creamery there for a time. Fred Theiler rented the building and ran it as a cheese factory for four years, or until October 1917, when, on account of the Condensery at Neillsville, the factory closed, probably never to open again.


In 1917 a pea-canning factory was started in Humbird by people from Whitewater, Wis., and was capitalized for $80,000.  They own a farm of 440 acres and in 1917 raised and canned 300 acres of peas, with plans to grow 500 acres of peas next year.

(To be continued)



The above photo taken sometime circa 1940 was that of the Humbird Cheese Factory in a building that had originally been a hotel.  It was located a block from County Road B and near U. S. Highway 12.


May 1942


Residents of Neillsville and Clark County today were trekking to schoolhouses for sugar rationing registration. In Neillsville, registrations will be concluded at 4 p.m.  All persons are urged to register, for, officials say, the sugar book (War Ration Book No. 1) may be used for more than sugar before this war is over.


That most residents were aware of the scope of the job being performed in the schools this week was evident from returns of the day.  In that time a total of 25,718 out of an estimated 32,000 were registered in the county. The difference between the figures represents the number of persons registering who had more than the six pounds of sugar per person allowed. Their books were temporarily withheld.                                                   


Over in Granton there is a group of boys who want work.


They are only seventh and eighth grade boys, from 12 to 15 years old, so they might be a little light for heavy work. But if there is going to be any work that they can spell a man at, particularly now that surplus manpower on the farm is of a minus quantity, they are ready, willing, and even anxious to do their bit.


The registration of these youths, numbering 10 in all, was sent in to the “clearing house” on farm labor, now being established by County Agent W. R. Marquart. Their registrations were taken by Vernon Peterson, village clerk.


Mr. Marquart was high in his praise of eh spirit that is shown by the response of these boys of the Granton seventh and eighth grades; for it is the spirit that has made America the nation it is, and it is the kind of spirit which, injected from the battle front to home front, will win this war.                                                                        


The golden anniversary of the wedding of Mr. and Mrs. William J. Schulz was observed on Tuesday, May 19, at their farm home in the Town of Hewett where they have lived for the past 37 years.


The Rev. Ban Stucki of Neillsville conducted brief devotional services and the choir of the Reformed Church sang several hymns.  Dinner was served at 12:30 for about 20 relatives and close friends.


Mr. Schulz was born in East Preusen, Germany.  He came to America in 1884, settling first in Dundee, Ill.  Later he established himself in the blacksmithing business at Huntley, Ill.


Mrs. Schulz, whose maiden name was Augusta Gahl was born in Pommern, Germany.  She came to America with her parents in 1883.  They settled in Sheffield, Ill., afterward moving to Huntley, in that state.


They were united in marriage on May 19, 1892, at Huntley, living there until January 1905, when they moved to a farm in Columbia, Wis., which is still their home.


Mr. and Mrs. Schulz are the parents of five children: Arthur, William and Georgian at home, Mrs. Ole Aspen, Neillsville, and Mrs. Fred Montman, Minneapolis.  They also have five grandchildren. All of the children and grandchildren were home for the celebration.


When the couple came to this community in 1905, they purchased 200 acres of cutover land, adding to this from time to time until their acreage now exceeds 300.  Until finances permitted the building of a better house, a small log cabin served as their home, a log shed also being their first barn.


On this 50th anniversary of their wedding, Mr. and Mrs. Schulz, aged 85 and 89 respectively, may look back over the years with but few regrets. Through close application to their responsibilities they have accomplished even more than they had set out to do. The buildings and general appearance of the Schulz farm, the fine family they have reared and the esteem of which is held for them by their neighbors and friends, all are evidences of well spent lives.


Probably the biggest fish stories of the season were being told in Greenwood last week by a group of local men and the unusual thing was that they had the evidence to back them up.


Imagine catching trout too heavy to land.  Well they did!


Proof of the puddin’ of the fish stories was in the window of Keiner’s meat market over the last weekend. An estimated 2,500 people stopped to admire about 275 pounds of fish brought back by Fred Perko, E. L. Mlada, Henry Keiner, H. L. Flatz and Ernest Vollrath, all of Greenwood, and Charles Perko of Willard.


The group flew from Ely, Minn., by seaplane to Crooked Lake, on the Canadian border. There they started fishing May 14, while two inches of snow were falling.


The men had fish on their menu twice daily during the time they were at the camp of Joseph Perko, brother of Charles and Fred, who lives in Ely.  In all they caught 60 fish, weighing about 365 pounds. But when it came to leaving, they learned they could not take all their catch with them.  They left 50 pounds behind because the weight would have been too much for the plane to carry.


One of the stories they were telling was one about catching two trout.  They must have weighed 25 pounds or more each; for when they were brought up to the boat, they were so heavy the fishermen could not land them. But they did land some nice sized ones.  Among those they brought back with them were three lake trout weighing about 18 ½ pounds each.  The rest of the catch was made up of northern pike, weighing about 15 to 16 pounds each, and walleyed pike, ranging from three to five pounds each.


(Ok guys, now that story should give you the “bug” to go on a Canadian fishing trip!  I remember some fishing trips in the Ignace area and the shore lunches made up primarily of fresh fried walleye fillets each wrapped with a slice of bread.  U-m-m, eating doesn’t get much better than that! DZ)




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