Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin

May 23, 2012 Page 10

Contributed by "The Clark Co. Press"

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News



1918 History of Clark County

By Franklin Curtiss Wedge




Colby is one of the thriving communities, dividing allegiance between them.  Formerly the Marathon County half was called Hull and there was a lack of harmony, which prevented the best development, but a city organization overcame this defect and now Colby presents a united front in the line of Progress.


Colby was named after Gardner Colby, of Boston, of the Colby-Philips Construction Company, who built the railroad for the Wisconsin Central Company, of which his son, Charles L. Colby, was president.  It now has an electric light and water plant representing an investment of $3,500 and which has been in operation since 1903. There is a good city library. The population in 1918 is 869.


The principal industries of Colby are the manufacture of cheese and dairying. There is also in the city a cheese box factory, giving employment to about thirty men and which at one time was used for the construction of silos. There is also a foundry and machine shop, sawmill, flour and feed mill, marble works pop factory, four blacksmith shops and a grain elevator. The mercantile and associated interests are represented by three general stores, one grocery and bakery, two hardware stores, one furniture store, one drug store, two millinery stores, two shoe stores, one meat market, one harness shop, two barber shops, a garage, the “Soo” Railroad Insurance offices, one newspaper and one bank.  There are also five churches and two school buildings, one graded and one high school.


Ira S. Graves and his brother, Leroy Graves, were the first white men to penetrate this region with a view to locating here.  They built a saw mill about a mile below the present site of the village. The railroad was built north from Marshfield in 1872-73, and a logging station called Station 51 was established at Colby.  In 1873, George W. Ghoca established a store here and the following year built a hotel. Ferguson Brothers and J. S. Edminster started saw mills. On the Marathon County side, Bune Brothers & Patterson established a store.  The hamlet of Colby grew up around the Ghoca store and the hamlet of Hull about the Bune Bros. & Patterson store.  For many years there was an intense rivalry between the two hamlets, but this has been eliminated to a large extent by the incorporation of the city.


In 1890 Colby was already a flourishing hamlet, with stores, offices, shops and factories representing most of the ordinary branches of business to be found in the cities. These enterprises included four large general stores, two hardware stores with tin-shops connected, two drug stores, two flour and feed stores, one millinery store, three hotels, two harness shops, four blacksmith shops, two boot and shoe stores, one fanning mill factory, a saw mill and a planing mill, a bank, and many smaller places of business.  The professions were also well represented and the village contained a town hall, a high school and three churches.


They city of Colby was incorporated by act of the legislature, approved April 1, 1891, the act to take effect at once. The first election was to be held the first Tuesday, April 1891, which fell on April 7.  It resulted in the choice of the following officials: Andrew Flaig, mayor; Fred Roth, Treasurer; John Riplinger, assessor; J. C. Gotchy, city clerk.  Aldermen: West Ward, F. Bredemeyer and Adam Kuentz; East Ward, N. P. Peterson and August Kuehl.  Supervisors: West Ward, Joel J. Shafer; East Ward, Herman Neumeister, Justices of the peace: West Ward, H. Bruns; East Ward, N. J. White; Constables, West Ward, Phil Henkel; East Ward, George Collier.


Colby Electric Light and Water Plant, was erected in 1902, at a cost of $2,000.  It was destroyed by fire in 1908, but was subsequently rebuilt, the tower being constructed in that year at a cost of $2,500.  In 1916 a concrete reservoir, costing $2,000 was constructed.


Like most other cities, both large and small, Colby has sustained some losses from fire. The most notable instance of this kind and the only one of great importance happened on Nov. 2, 1886, when fire broke out in a barn located on the present site of the bank. Before it was brought under control Brehms Hotel and store, Firnstahl’s shoe store, C. A. Driese’s saloon and cigar factory and several barns and outbuildings, were destroyed, together with four horses.  On September 20, 1897, a fire department was organized, with John J. Grimes as president, Henry Eder, secretary, W. J. Bryan, treasurer and Frank Firnstahl, chief. The apparatus consisted of a hook and ladder truck and a hand-pump fire engine, water being obtained from wells and cisterns.


The cheese-making industry has been carried on in Colby, or the vicinity, for the last 25 years or more and so excellent has been the product that it has extended the fame of this little city as the home of the Colby Cheese, not only throughout the United States, but too many other parts of the world. The Steinwand Cheese Factory, in Section 26, Colby Township, was established by Andrew Steinwand, a native of Wurtemburg, Germany, who with his family, settled in Clark County in 1875; and the factory has been operated continuously ever since, making the famous soft cheese, which has given Colby its reputation. Andrew Steinwand retired in 1895, with the business having been carried on by his son, Joseph F.  Another son, Ambrose M. Steinwand, is proprietor of the old Schultz factory in Section 3, Colby Township, having purchased it in 1898.


Another enterprise of this nature was started in Colby city, under private ownership, in July, 1916, the Colby Star Cheese Factory, which is located in that part of Colby, which lies just across the one line in Marathon County. The building was erected in 1916 and also provides living quarters upstairs. The proprietor of the factory is Henry G. Mauel.


The Colby post office was established in 1872 in the store of George Ghoca, who was the first postmaster. Two rural routes were established in 1916. The post offices of Wein, Cherokee and Green Grove were then discontinued.  In 1900 the Colby post office was robbed of $700 in stamps and money.




Granton is located in Section 2, Grant Township, on the banks of O’Neill Creek, on the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway, its important neighbors being Marshfield to the east and Neillsville to the west.  The village is surrounded by gently sloping hills and has many features, which make life comfortable and prosperous.  The population is about 350 persons.


The vicinity of Granton was first settled in 1856, the first pioneer being Eli Williams, soon followed by J. D. Wage and Levi Marsh, all three of whom took war claims.  The next year came Nelson Marsh, his son, Sylvester, “Vet” Marsh, born a year later, in 1858, being the first in this region to claim Clark County as his natal place.  At the home of Nelson Marsh, an old Neillsville-Steven’s Point stage line was established, as well as a tavern and post office, around which the hamlet of Mapleworks developed. When the railroad came through, April 1, 1890, a new village was projected, but its actual site remained for a time in doubt.  The present site was property of T. D. Wage and the doubt arose from the inability of Mr. Wage and the railroad officials to agree upon the terms at which the company was to obtain a location for its buildings.  Owing to this difficulty, the company actually made its plans to build its station half a mile further east. But Sylvester Marsh, the first white native of the vicinity, finally secured a sixty-acre tract from Mr. Wage and persuaded the railroad officials to build the station at the present site.  Nov. 22, 1890 C. S. Stockwell surveyed and platted the Granton village site.


The first business building within the village proper was the store of D. A. Baker, the same structure also housing the post office.  Later that store was occupied by P. J. Kemmeter. About the same time several buildings were moved to the new site from the pioneer hamlet of Mapleworks.  W. H. Butler and A. Knorr, the latter still a resident of the village, erected the store building now occupied by the Witte Cash Store. John Trimberger built the first structure in the village on the site of the Eagle Hotel.


Efforts were made to incorporate the village of Granton on Jan. 21, 1903, some twelve years after the site was platted. A petition was submitted and granted by the court Sept. 2, 1916, in charge of Philip J. Kemmeter, Edward J. Schroeder and Price Lee, followed by an election in favor of incorporating.


Excavation for the new Granton High School building was started July 24, 1917 and the building was formally opened Feb. 16, 1918.  It is a one-story structure with basement throughout.


The ward school constitutes the graded school of the village. The building consists of four rooms, moved in from Windfall and enlarged, after the starting of the village.


The Granton heading mill was started in 1890 by P. J. Kemmeter and is engaged in the manufacture of headings for pails and employs 15 men.


Granton post office was established in 1890. The first postmaster was William Butler. The post offices of Lynn, Brook and Nevins have been discontinued since the establishment of the four Granton rural routes.


The fire department is on a volunteer basis and the apparatus consists of two chemical engines.


April 1947


Six Neillsville men, along with several thousand other sportsmen, opened the trout season on north-flowing waters last Saturday and Sunday. They returned with 11 trout and a story of seeing one 8 ½ pound rainbow beauty, which had been taken in the Brule River. Those who made the junket in two cars were: Matt Gassen, Louie Meinholdt, Eugene Wegner, Elmer Georgas, Bill Hill and Louie Scholtz of Granton.                  


The Granton Baseball League met Monday evening at the Davis barbershop.  Clarence Pannier was elected manager and John Hammond, treasurer. Fifteen boys came out to play. The first practice will be held Sunday afternoon in the Granton ballpark under the supervision of Carl Eisemann.                                 


Price ceilings for sugar have been announced by the sugar rationing administration of the U. S. Department of Agriculture.  They range from 10.7 to 12 cents per pound, depending upon the class of the store and the kind of container.


The Volkmann tourist cabins, the small house and the building housing a tavern, located on Division Street at the south end of Hewett Street, will transfer possession to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Scheuerman on or before the 15th of this month. The Scheuerman’s until recently operated the Soo Café in Owen.          


The St. John’s Lutheran congregation has decided to enter upon a building project.  The decision was reached at a meeting of the voting members, held at St. John’s Church Sunday afternoon. The structure will be a combination of church and school. The preliminary discussion points to a building constructed upon institutional lines, to care for school, recreational and social activities, as well as public worship.                                        


Ride with Greyhound to Eau Claire for only $1.21 one-way ticket, or $2.19 round-trip ticket. Greyhound bus stop is at Lewerenz Sweet Shop, Hewett Street, in Neillsville.                           


Dance at Granton Village Hall, Thursday, May 15, to the Old-Time Music by F. Volovseks 8-piece Family Orchestra.


H. H. Van Gorden & Sons Specials:

Certified Irish Cobbler Seed Potatoes, all No. 1, $2.75 per hundred;

Plant only Hybrid Golden Cross Bantam Sweet Corn;

Free, 2 Water Glasses with 50 lbs. Dairy Queen Flour Purchase, $3.69


Only 48 will graduate from Neillsville High School Thursday Evening, May 22.


The class is still relatively small, influenced by war conditions. The graduates of 1947 are the freshmen of 1943, a year in which young farm boys were needed at home. Now the pressure is off and the farm boys are flocking to high school in the old way, with the freshmen class in Neillsville High having about 90 members.


Sunday evening, May 25, at 7:30 p.m. St. Mary’s Church had its annual crowning of the May Queen. Patricia Zschernitz was chosen by a class vote to perform the symbolic rite.  Her attendants were Geraldine Hoeser and Catherine Hainzlsperger, Mary Aumann, Susan Frank, Marilyn Hubing, Marlene Liebe and Marilyn Schuld formed the guard of honor.


The services were concluded with the benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament.


Marriage Licenses:

Delores Rogstad, Marshfield, and Raymond John LaBarge, Loyal

Ruth Eloise Schnabel, Neillsville, and Lorenz Gilbert Langbecker, Neillsville

Irene Shefchik, Loyal, and Roman Braun, Loyal

Lorena F. Vanderhoof, Spencer, and Russell A. Gehrke, Loyal

Regina Gorsegner, Thorp and Carl H. Broeking, Stanley

Helen E. Lobacz, Greenwood, and Fred L. Krzyzanowski, Thorp

Una B. Stephens, Owen, and Martin E. Peterson, Owen

Ruth Peterson, Unity, and Earl Kramer, Unity

Vernetta Laabs, Owen and Roland Knecht, Unity

Helen I. M. Amdahl, Stanley, and John G. Troz, Thorp

Elaine Jackson, Greenwood, and William G. Zilk, Neillsville

Alice Garbisch, Granton, and Arden Hinkelmann, Neillsville

Jennie F. Klabon, Withee, and Salvatore Anzalone, Withee             


The parade for Memorial Day will form at the Legion Hall, 9 a.m.  The order will be: colors, high school band, firing squad, veterans of Civil War and Spanish War, American Legion, soldiers and sailors in service, American Legion Auxiliary, Boy Scouts, Brownies, Children and civilians.


Exercises to be held at the high school gymnasium at 10 a.m. with speaker Lieut. Col. Lupient



A 1911 photo of the Neillsville Guard Unit

Marching northward on Hewett Street, entering the Fifth Street intersection as a part of the Decoration Day ceremonies that year.

(Photo courtesy of Steve Roberts’ collection)    




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