Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin

May 2, 2012, Page 12

Contributed by "The Clark Co. Press"

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News

April 1937


History of Logging in Clark County

By Fred Draper


(Another chapter of the Logging series has been found, so is being included in this week’s ‘Good Old Days.’)


As was stated in the introduction to the history of the first loggers in the county, of which there is any record, were the Mormons sent by the Mormon Church of Nauvoo, Illinois for the purpose of procuring lumber for the building of their temple and other buildings begun during the fall of 1841.  Their work continued until the spring of 1844 when owing to disturbances in their Nauvoo Church, the opposition of other loggers on Black River and other reasons, they sold their entire camps including their mill at Black River Falls and as a church left the Black River Valley.  However some of their families remained settling near Hatfield and Merrillan where they worked for other lumbermen.


The earliest logger, as far as the records disclose aside from the Mormons, was Jacob Spaulding who came to Black River Falls in 1838 and built a sawmill and in 1845 was logging on the Black River above the present site of Neillsville.  He continued his slogging operations in Clark County on the Black River, Wedges Creek and the East Fork until 1860 when he deeded his water power, mill and timber to his son, Dudley J., who had been operating with his father from his boyhood, and continued in the lumber business up to the time of his death, which occurred in the 1890s.


In the fall of 1845 Wm. T. Price came to Black River Falls.  It was said of him that when he reached the Falls his entire worldly possessions consisted of an ax and 25 cents.


That winter he went in the pine woods above the mouth of Cawley Creek north of the present site of Neillsville and banked 70,000 feet of logs. That same winter Amos Elliott logged for Nathan Myrik of La Crosse on the east bank of the river above Price’s camp, which was on the west bank.


The following year, 1846-47, Elliott logged for a man by the name of Grover on the west bank of the river just north of the mouth of Cunningham Creek. To skid and haul the logs he had four yoke of cattle.


Elliott in a paper prepared in 1907 says, “We stayed there all winter without a letter or other communication with the outside world.  We had no stoves in those days and all of the cooking was done by a fireplace.”


In 1848 Price and Elliott formed a partnership, which continued until 1853, their logging being done on the west bank of Black River about four miles north of the mouth of Cawley Creek.


In the fall of 1850, they took a logging job from Andrew Sheppard on the east bank of Black River, two or three miles below the present city of Greenwood.


Elliott also wrote in his paper, “The winter of 1849-50 the snow throughout Clark County was very deep, deeper in my opinion than it was some years later in 1856, which ever since has been known as the winter of the deep snow.”


Price, after dissolving partnership with Elliott, quit the logging game for a few years, returning about 1860. From that time on up to the time of his death in 1887 he was one of the most extensive single operators in the United States and the heaviest in Wisconsin. At one time he averaged 60,000,000 feet of logs annually and had in his employ 750 men; his operations were mostly on the East Fork and on O’Neill Creek.


Price was a man of great force of character, a clear-headed businessman and possessed of unusual power as a speaker.  He was elected from this congressional district to the 48th, 49th and 50th Congress, dying before the opening of the fiftieth Congress.


Many stories are told of him as a lumberman and a legislator and I am indebted to George Crothers of the Neillsville Press for one that I never heard before.


Price bought supplies for his camps on O’Neill Creek from the farmers near Neillsville and among other things bought a quantity of dressed hogs, piling them up on a building that stood at the corner of Court and Sixth streets, afterwards used as a Woodman Lodge Hall.


One of his tote teams came to town for camp supplies and drove over to the warehouse for some dressed pork and Price also being in town walked over to the warehouse to see what progress his men were making, “loading up.”  Evidently he thought that the men were not working as hard as they should, and with a choice line of profanity of which he was a past master, he climbed on the top of the pile of hogs and commenced tumbling them down on the floor for the men to carry out.  About that time the Methodist Minister came along and, knowing Price, felt it to be his duty to remonstrate with him over his line of camp talk.


Price kept throwing down hogs, emphasizing his labors with a lot of choice swear words, and the minister kept talking and remonstrating, when finally Price threw down a hog at the minister’s feet saying, “Here if you want a hog, take it.”


In 1844 two brothers, James and Henry came to the present site of Neillsville and built a saw mill upon the creek that bears their name. This mill had an upright saw with a capacity of 4,000 feet of lumber per day; his lumber was rafted to the mouth of the creek, sorted and then rafted down Black River to its mouth and thence down the Mississippi to Burlington, Iowa, where Andrew O’Neill, another brother, had a lumberyard.  Here it was sold at an average of ten dollars a thousand to dealers.  In 1846 a man by the name of Willmouth erected a mill near the mouth of the Cunningham Creek and the same year Johnathan Nickels built a mill north of Neillsville on Cawley Creek.


In 1848, Van Dusen and Waterman built a saw mill on the Black River 18 miles north of Neillsville at a point known as the “rips back” near the present Greenwood Cemetery.  Later the mill was bought by Elijah Eaton who continued the business for many years.


The settlement, which grew up around this mill and its outgrowth to the east, was called Eatontown at the suggestion of Miss Mary Honeywell who was one of the earlier teachers in the county.


In 1853 there was a decided change in the method of disposing of the winter’s cut of logs.  Previous to this, there were no logs floated down Black River further than Black River Falls, all lumber being sawed either there or at the mills further up the river of which I have previously made mention, but this year Samuel Weston accompanied by Dave Robinson came from Maine and settled at the rapids two miles north of Neillsville on the Black River and commenced cutting logs and driving them down the river to La Crosse. In a few years the business of sawing lumber locally and rafting it down the river stopped entirely and all logs were driven as far as La Crosse before they were sawed.


April 1947


The Nelson Muffler Company has concluded an arrangement for the occupancy of the building once used as a warehouse by the cannery and located north of the Present Neillsville Recreation. The Muffler Company is moving four machines into this building, and is connecting them up, preparatory to operating there.


In the immediate future the Muffler Company will operate both in these new quarters and in its present location. Meanwhile the building will be partially occupied by Neillsville Milk Products, the former owners, and will be repaired to be put into readiness for the full occupancy of the Muffler Company.


The plan is that on or about July 1, the Muffler Company will occupy the entire building, consisting of two stories and about 14,000 square feet of floor space. This will give the company about four times its present space and will make possible considerable future expansion of its local operations. The company now employs 21 men.


At the Herman Belter sale, held Monday, 34 head of grade Holsteins brought an average of $202.  Cows averaged $240.  These prices are well up as compared with recent months and indicate that the market for dairy cattle is not slipping.


Otto Hainz has purchased the Neillsville shop of the Perko Implement Co.  He has quit farming and assumed management of the business.                                                                                   


Possession of the Ervin H. Witt Cheese factory, located about three miles south of Thorp in the Town of Reseburg, passed to Mr. and Mrs. John J. Worachek on April 1.


This was revealed in a deed recorded last week in the office of the county register of deeds. The Worachek’s bought the property in section eight, including the cheesemaking equipment and machinery, store and fixtures, grocery stock, about 200 milk cans, office equipment and supplies, and other equipment incidental to the business.  The deed had $8.80 in federal revenue stamps affixed. 


In the city of Neillsville, the Lynch’s addition, on the north side, from Mr. and Mrs. Alvin E. Jacob to Mr. and Mrs. Paul W. Jacob was recorded. The deed carried $2.75 in federal revenue stamps.


The Christie Methodist Ladies Aid will hold a Bazaar at Russell’s Gamble Store, April 22, starting at 10 a.m.  There will be 50 Aprons, Fancy Work and Rugs for Sale.                                    


Marriage Licenses:


Ruth Petersen, Withee and Frank Oleson, Medford


Melva White, Greenwood and Harold Hendrickson, Greenwood


Verna Grobe, Chili and Leo Roehl, Chili


Phyllis Hardwick, Humbird and Clarence Burchell, Neillsville


Irene Korntved, Greenwood and Grant Coulthard, Pittsville           


Just Arrived!  Bedroom Suites, 4-piece sets, $116 to $224 at Lowe’s Furniture Store in Neillsville


Get a Radio for Your Car!  The Well-Known Motorola is available at Clark County Electric Shop at 137 Hewett St. Phone 261


Should the Veterans of Foreign Wars desire to build horse sheds upon the property west of the Masonic Temple, just bought by them, they will encounter conditions and obstacles.  The shed, if constructed at all, must have the east wall or walls constructed of stone, brick or concrete; they cannot, by any account, be constructed of wood.


When this condition was encountered by the Veterans group, it did not greatly disturb them, because they have no intention of building horse sheds.  What they intend to put up is a good, modern building of permanent building material such as brick.


But when the horse shed condition was written into the deed, there was really a point to it. It was back in 1919, when cars were coming in, but when horses had not gone out. The lot in question, measuring 80 x 132 feet was bought from the Masons by the Zimmermans, owners of the Big Store. What the Zimmermans wanted was to hedge against future transportation developments.  Owning the Big Store, it looked to them then as though they would need to convert into a parking area all the land they owned immediately west of their building, and that they might also need conveniently at hand, some additional land, where either horses or cars might be parked, depending upon the future trend.


So when they negotiated the purchase from the Masons, the Zimmermans dealt upon the basis of their anticipations. The Masons didn’t want their temple property hurt by being in proximity to wooden horse sheds.  Thus the restriction was written into the deed.  Passing the property on, the Zimmermans could sell only what they owned and they definitely did not own the right to construct upon that land, horse sheds with wooden walls to the east.


Having purchased this site, the Veterans of Foreign Wars have assured themselves of a splendid location for their future home.  With about $3,000 earmarked for the purpose, the Veterans have a start toward a building, but that is as far as they have gone. The possibilities are being explored by a building committee, consisting of Millard Cole, Bruce Beilfuss and Robert Schiller.


(The property west of the Masonic Temple building was on the south side of the 100 block of West 4th Street. D.Z.)


Announcing the re-opening of Murphy’s Tavern, Saturday, April 26, at their new location on the River Road; free ham sandwiches will be served on the opening day. The serving of suppers will begin at a later date. Watch for the announcement.


Murphy’s Bar was first located at what is now the Lake Arbutus Sports Bar and Grill building along Riviera Avenue, later moving Ό mile to a building on the curve, which later burned. D. Z.)


Roofs, new or repaired, all kinds of roofing materials for immediate delivery, See Galbreath Bros. Roofing & Siding Co. at 155 East Sixth Street


The electors of the Granton School District voted Monday in favor of buying a new school bus. The meeting was attended by 22 persons. After a discussion, the vote was 20 in favor of the purchase and two blanks. The question was upon giving the school authority to make the purchase, in its discretion.             


A seven-man board of the Neillsville Rotary Club was elected at the meeting Tuesday night. They will take office July 1 and will select officers of the club. Elected by ballot of the membership were: Dr. M. V. Overman, William F. Whaley, D. E. Thayer, Harry Wasserberger, John Mattson, Carl R. Wegner and Adolph Unger.


Members of the present board of directors, who will serve until July 1, are Everett P. Skroch, Herbert Borde, Mr. Thayer, Mr. Wasserberger, Dr. Overman, Mr. Whaley and Arne Matheson.


Dancing at the Stables nite Club Every Saturday Nite; also Sunday nites with Modern Dancing!


A traveling Wausau area photographer took the above photo of Hewett Street about 1910, and added a “trick photography” touch, which was a street car with track, giving Neillsville the appearance of a big city.


(Photo courtesy of Steve Roberts)





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