Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin

June 13, 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




The village of Thorp is the metropolis of the northwestern part of Clark County.  Situated on an eminence on the dividing line of Thorp and Withee townships, in the midst of what was once a deep forest, but which is rapidly being converted into one of the best dairy regions of the state, it has advantages, which will contribute to its still further growth. Settled originally by Easterners, some of whom now remain; it is the trading center of one of the most prosperous Polish colonies in the Northwest.  Its churches, its splendid school buildings, its magnificent Odd Fellows hall, its beautiful residences, and its air of hospitality and thrift, all tend to make it a most desirable place for residences and businesses. Among its business industries may be mentioned two banks, an enterprising newspaper, a combined creamery and cheese factory, a saw mill, a drug store, seven general stores, two hotels, two harness shops, three garages, one implement depot, two blacksmith shops, two barber shops, a photograph gallery, a furniture store, one tailor shop and two jewelers.


Thorp was settled in the fall of 1872 by James S. Boardman and Ephraim A. Boardman, who both erected log cabins, establishing homes there.  Others soon settled in the forests not far away.  In 1874 a schoolhouse was established nearby. That year the post office of Winnioka was established on the farm of B. J. Brown, four miles east of Boardman’s, with Mr. Brown as postmaster.  Mr. Brown also kept a small stock of goods, which he sold to the settlers. In 1875 E. A. Boardman put a small supply of provisions in his home and thus established the first store in Thorp.  Soon afterward the post office of North Fork was opened at his place.  The next year a new school house was erected, the material being hauled from Chippewa Falls, over thirty miles away. The railroad came through in 1880.  At that time the present site of the villager contained but three houses; the residence, store and post office of E. A. Boardman, the home and boarding house of J. S.  Boardman and the home of George Leslie.


In the spring of 1880 L. W. Garrison erected a store and in the summer time C. F. Kelner built a house and started the illicit sale of refreshments. The first train arrived Nov. 23, bringing a consignment of goods for the Garrison store.


Nov. 21, 1880 the railroad company platted the village of Thorp, about a half a mile west of the present village, the work being done by William B. Agnew, on land of Howard Morris. But in the fall of 1881 the Boardmans platted the village of East Thorp and thus fixed the present location of the business center.


At the close of 1881 the new village contained the general stores of E. A. Boardman and L. O. Garrison, Du Cate U. Schroeder’s saloon, the hotels of J. H. Sargent and J. S. Boardman, the sawmill of Sheldon & Nye, the blacksmith shop of Herman Holzhausen, the station, the school house and in addition to the houses already mentioned, the residences of John McGrogan and J. A. Douglas.


The growth of the village was satisfactory.  An article written in 1887 described it as follows: “Thorp is the liveliest village in Clark County.  It has an exchange bank, three general stores, one of which carries an average of $13,000 worth of stock; four hotels, two meat markets, two hardware stores, one drug store, two blacksmith shops, one wagon maker’s shop, one harness ship, one cigar factory, a stave and heading factory, one shoe shop, a fine graded school building with four departments, Catholic Church and Baptist Church, one barber shop, coal kilns in the process of being put up, a beer depot and warehouse, a livery stable and bus line, a large ice house of sufficient capacity to supply the whole village, seven saloons, a newspaper and job printing office and two saw mills in operation, one of which Nye, Lusk & Hudson’s last year manufactured 5,000,000 feet of lumber, 3,500,000 shingles as well as 5,000,000 lath and pickets. This company now has over 5,000,000 feet of logs in their yard and will probably reach 6,000,000 feet before the spring ‘break-up.’  The town of Thorp contains within its boarders the Eau Claire County’s farm, which is the largest farm in Clark County, there being 650 acres clear of stumps, eighty acres more chopped, worth, with improvements, $41,100. Surrounded by a rich farming country of the finest hardwood lands in Clark County, the prospects of Thorp for the future are exceedingly bright.”


In 1890 the population was 723, in 1900 it was 828 and in 1910 it was 741.  It is now probably about 900 persons.


The two big fires in the village occurred about a year apart, one in 1893 and one in 1894.  On Aug. 8, 1893 the stave factory of J. W. Cirkel & Sons was burned. Rebuilt almost immediately, it was again burned Sept. 11, 1894.


Thorp was incorporated as a village in 1893.  An effort at incorporation was made in 1886. But owners of certain tracts of land fought the proposition and a special election was held on June 5, 1886, defeated it.  March 16, 1893 a proposition was again proposed being granted on May 26, 1893 at the Hipke & Gerbing Hall. The first annual election was held on June 23, 1893 which voted George H. Lusk as president.


In 1893, the year of incorporation, the assessed valuation of the village was $82,410, the amount of taxes assessed being $3,201.77.  In 1917 the assessed valuation was $461,307 and the taxes assessed amounted to $12,287.62, a most remarkable gain in twenty-five years.


The first municipal improvement to be installed was the water works system, the original contract being let on June 24, 1894, and the work being completed before the close of the year.  The original plant consisted of an artesian well, an engine house with a pump having a capacity of 150 gallons a minute and an upright tubular boiler, 3,675 feet of mains laid seven feet under ground and ten fire hydrants.


At the time the water works was installed 1,000 feet of hose was purchased and on May 28, 1895, the Thorp hose company was organized with James Connors as fire chief and James Covert as assistant chief. 


In 1901 the electric light plant was installed and in 1914 the sewer system was put in.


A public school building was erected in 1883, now being used for the lower grade pupils of the village having four rooms for many years with two additional rooms being added on later.  With growth of the village, a large institution became necessary. A new high school building was put up in 1912 at a cost of $30,000.  It has eight rooms in addition to the library, offices, cloakrooms, retiring rooms and basement.  A full high school course is given with special studies in Manual Training and Domestic Science and a Short Course in Agriculture.  Among the features are the State University Extension department, a piano and a Victrola.


There are now four rural mail routes, with Ignatz Przybylski, Hugo Quast, H. M. Mead and Martin Zeaman as carriers, distributing mail daily in all directions from the post office.


Dairying is the principal industry of the territory surrounding Thorp with cheese and butter constituting the principal shipments from the village. The Thorp Dairy Company now controls four factories in this vicinity, with headquarters in the village.  The first creamery was started in 1892.


The Thorp Dairy Company was organized in 1907 by William Krause, George Biddle, R. VerWeyst, Val Przybylski, Martin Burzynski, T. F. Murphy, Andrew Brenner, Felix Mikolainis, T. P. Bolin, Max Weber and Caesar Barth.  The well-equipped building was completed in the year of incorporation. Later a cheese factory was added, with living rooms in the upper story.

June 1952


Jim Haas, former University of Wisconsin fire ball pitcher and Jim Baierl, popular catcher of the Athletics two years ago, will help the Neillsville A’s open their night baseball season here tonight in an exhibition game against Thorp.


Given a reasonably warm evening, the combination of Haas, Baierl and Thorp are expected to pull a large crowd to the Neillsville field for the opener at 8:15 p.m.                                     


Albert Susa, who has spent the last four years in Guam, as cook on a government project for the U. S. A., has spent several days with his brothers, Paul and John Susa, Sr. To the Guam folks, he is notable for fine cooking and also for raising rare and beautiful flowers taken from the wild lands and transplanted into gardens.


Anthony Schmidt, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Schmidt and Miss Delores Spangler of Milton Junction were married Saturday morning in the Catholic Church at Loyal.  A wedding dinner for the immediate family was served at the groom’s parents’ home.                                                                                                  


A&P Food Specials - Heinz Ketchup, 14 oz. bottle, 28¢; Watermelon, 24-lb avg each $1.18; Sweet Corn, Tender Golden Ears, 3 for 25¢; Cracker Jacks, Prize in every box, 6 boxes for 25¢; Dill Pickles, Madison Brand, 32 oz. jar 31¢.


McCain’s Special Purchase: Bemberg Sheer Dresses, only $4.17 each; New Blousettes, Piclay Material, $1.98 each.


Penney’s Father’s Day Specials: Rayon Poplin Sport Shirts $2.98; Men’s Towncraft Ties 98¢ each; Men’s Argyle Sox 79¢


Marriage Licenses:

David Erwin Bragg, Donner-Foxcraft, Maine, Luella Mildred Daniels, Town of Grant

George Sorenson, Withee, Joan LaPoint Leibke, Menominee, to be married at Withee June 21

Wilbert Schultz, Weston, Doris Damgaard, Clinton, Ia., to be married at Globe, June 14

Vernon Piquet, Auburndale, Margaret Cattanach, Granton, to be married at Marshfield, June 14

Warren Van Kirk, Mentor, Dolores Hause, Neillsville, to be married at Neillsville June 21

Baylor Johnson, Albuquerque, N. Mexico, Betty Jean Murphy, Hendren, married at Greenwood June 10

Calvin Charles Young, Loyal, Marjorie Holmes, married at Loyal

Donald Pierce, Pine Valley, Dorothy Pflughoeft, Pine Valley, married at Neillsville June 14

Joseph Horban, Emily Manier, Stanley, married at Stanley, June 14

Leon Emmett Nelson, Loyal, Lydia Emma Schmidt, Colby, to be married at Loyal June 18

Everett P. Skroch, Neillsville, Susan A. Tresemer, to be married at Neillsville, June 24

Alma Todd, Town of Lynn, Kenneth Franke Town of Beaver, to be married at Granton June 28


Clark County hopes to have three dollars to spare, when the new building is completed at the fair grounds.  The contract has been let by the general property committee for $14,927 the county board’s authorization was $15,000.


The new building will be located along the west line of the grounds, just south of the pump and drinking fountains and on the west side of the road running into the fairgrounds.  The size will be 60 x 100 feet. The building’s sidewalls will be surmounted by a domed roof and will be made of aluminum.


The contract has been awarded to the Puschek Farm Service of Chili, with the provision that the building shall be up and ready for occupancy not later than August 1. It will be used to house exhibits during the fair and the county road equipment at other times.                                                                    


Rychnovsky Brothers Used Cars at Savings: ’41 Pontiac, in running order, $150

Special of the Week! 1949 Kaiser Deluxe, very Clean, Special $850

Fisherman’s Special - 1934 Ford, very good condition, make an offer! 1936 Chevrolet, in good shape, name a price!


The Forty Square Dance Club held a ‘hoedown’ at the Silver Dome Sunday afternoon, June 15, from 2 to 6 p.m.


Dancers were present from Wisconsin Rapids, Wausau, Marathon, Thorp, Withee, Frenchtown, Madison, Black River Falls, Marshfield, Unity and Neillsville.


Square dancing was the main feature, but there was some folk dancing also. The callers from Neillsville were Art Nemitz, Harry Hauge and Stanley Ihlenfeldt. Those from away were Merle Sonnentag, Mrs. Merle Sonnentag, Don Plant, Mrs. Tony Knetter, all of Marathon; Alden Paterson, Wausau; Denise Simonis and Cecil Billmeyer of Wisconsin Rapids.


The Girl Scouts of Neillsville provided some special entertainment under the direction of Mrs. Jake Hoesly, Mona Hoesly and Phyllis Brewer demonstrated the Southern Schottische.  Other exhibition dancing was done by Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Ihlenfeldt of Neillsville and by a group of dancers from Marathon.       


The old Youmans house on Pleasant Ridge will be razed. The work of dismantling the interior was started Monday by the present owner, C. A. Paulson and his son, Chap. When the interior has been dismantled it is the purpose to make a “bee” of the wrecking of the exterior and the frame, calling in friends and neighbors for a picnic.


With the wrecking of this house will disappear a landmark of the peak of the Ridge east of Neillsville, which is conspicuous because of its size and location. The early histories record that there was a 14-room house on the farm when, it was bought in 1884 by Clarion A. Youmans.  Its construction goes back to that date. Thus the building is crowding the century mark in age.


The house does not fit the modern taste or needs.  Its size and high ceilings are the worry of the man who buys coal to heat it and despair of the woman who tries to keep it clean. The wind blows through it and the rain beats through the roof. To repair it, to heat it and clean it is beyond the modern willingness and the Paulsons will build, mostly out of the material in it, a modern one-story house, with three bedrooms, located just to the south of the present site. The main entrance will be to the west. The workday entrance will be to the south.


The more southerly location will lessen the present exaggerated distance from house to barn.



One day in 1912, as a Soo Line Railroad train went over the Black River Crossing, between Thorp and Withee, a slab of lumber fell from a freight car onto the railroad track, which derailed the train and the crash caused the bridge to collapse.





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