Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin

June 20, 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



1918 History of Clark County

By Franklin Curtiss Wedge




The village of Withee, with a population of 500 or more, is situated in the northern part of Clark County, on the Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie Railway, about two miles east of the Black River.  It has telegraph and express service, while its leading business enterprises are a bank, saw mill creamery and newspaper. The principal industries in the vicinity are farming and lumbering.


It was in the summer of 1870 that the first permanent white settler came to the vicinity of what is now Withee.  He was James S. Boardman and he came from Minnesota. George W. Richards and David R. Goodwin were the next comers, with each year bringing a few more.


Winneoka post office was established in 1874 with Bernard J. Brown as postmaster.  He kept the office at his farm and added a small stock of goods, which he sold to the neighboring settlers.  Previous to this the settlers had received their mail through the post offices at Chippewa Falls and Greenwood, having to pack or tote all their provisions from one or the other of those two points.


On Nov. 23, 1880, the first passenger and freight train ran over the new line of the Wisconsin Central Railway, now the “Soo Line” from Abbotsford to Chippewa Falls and opened up the development of that timbered country with a rush. The settlement of Withee thrived and soon became a prominent station on the new road.  It was named after N. H. Withee, a schoolteacher from Maine, who was county treasurer for several consecutive years and enjoyed the entire confidence of the electors of the county.


On Aug. 27, 1881, the village was platted, the survey being made by J. A. Dupre.  In the same year the first store was built and was operated for two months by E. A. Eaton, who then sold pout to W. S. Tufts. The next building erected for business purposes was put up by William Valiquette as a saloon.  In 1890, the Tufts store was one of the largest in the county.  Mr. Tufts was the postmaster, the office being at the termination of the state line running from Neillsville through Christie, Greenwood, Hemlock and Longwood to Withee.  In the same year, Withee had another general store, a grocery and confectionary store, a hotel, a blacksmith shop, a saloon and a large lumberyard.  The village was then the shipping point for the D. J. Spaulding mills located on the Popple River at the present site of Owen. The arrival of the Danish people in 1894 gave a decided impetus to the village and surrounding country. 


Early in 1901 steps were taken for the incorporation of the village, the survey being made March 4, by C. S. Stockwell. A census was taken March 8, by E. B. Clifton, the latter showing a population of 304.  The application was made March 9, signed by John Christenson, P. H. Hansen, Joe Krom, W. C. Tufts, Charles L. Wasgaard, O. C. Jensen, D. Conley, J. W. Davidson, W. T. Nielsen, Hans Frederiken, R. Johnson, Christ Jensen, Alex Laberge, Mrs. L. Moody, C. A. Brown, Louis Thilbert, C. W. Funk, Prime Laberge, Chas Kuehl, Paul A. Paulson, C. H. Senn, T. H. Barger and W. H. Smith. The petition was granted April 27, the same year, and the vote of the inhabitants being in favor of the proposition, the village was incorporated shortly after. The first president was VC. W. Funk and the first clerk W. F. Nielsen.


Withee has an electric lighting system, which is furnished by John S. Owen Co. of Owen.


The water system was installed in 1907 at a cost of $11,000, the village being bonded for $7,000. These bonds mature from 1917 to 1927.


In 1908, the year after the water system was put in, the volunteer fire department was organized, of which Carl Berger is now chief.  The department has one hose cart, with 700 feet of hose and one hook and ladder truck. The great loss by fire in the history of the village was in 1897 when the Tufts store was burned.


The educational facilities of Withee have been well taken care of and have advanced with the general progress of the community. The first school was held in a small building of one room, built in 1883, the teacher being Lucinda Amo. The present building, of red brick, was built in 1890 and contained four rooms. Subsequent additions have increased the number of rooms to ten, in which all grades are taught, including a high school course and agriculture. The building is steam heated and a library has been provided for the use of the pupils.


Clark County Dairy Farming in 1922

First Annual Report of the Granton Cow Testing Association, 1922


In the vicinity of Granton is the land of clover and good cows.


The older members of the Granton Cow Testing Association remember the area over which our Association extends when it was a vast wilderness of pine, maple and basswood and lumbering.  At that time it was the principal industry but is now almost a tradition that has given way to the industry to which this fertile area was destined for, “that of Dairying.” 


Now one’s eyes scan with pleasure the fields of clover, grain and waving corn, and herds of “Dairy Cows” leisurely and contentedly enjoying the luxuriant pastures, which grow so abundantly.


There are occasional patches of maple, which our older members are religiously reserving as a sugar bush, taking pleasure each spring spending a few weeks gathering sap and making syrup. They tell the younger generation tales of how they blazed the way to where their modern farm homes now stand, where they and their families enjoy the comforts of life, such as the industry that modernized farming affords.


The village of Granton, business center of this section, is located on a branch of the Chicago Northwestern Railroad and on State Highway 18 and County Highway K.


It has three churches of different denominations, a modern hotel, a real Farmers Bank, lumberyard, two blacksmith shops, wagon shop, two cream stations, receiving station for the Condensery, three garages, drug store, meat market, two grain elevators and real general stores.


The educational advantages are exceptional for a village of its size.  It has two large school buildings, one which is a four-year high school and the farmers as well as town folks are giving their children the advantage of a high school education.


It is rumored that the high school building is fast becoming too small and an addition to it is being planned.


The roads are unusually good in this district; practically all the main traveled roads are being paved and patrolled, making traveling a real pleasure.


Review of Year’s Work


We feel that during the past testing year, the members of the Granton Cow Testing Association showed great progress in dairying. As this was our first year of testing we have no way of making any accurate comparisons.


The 244 cows that completed a whole year’s work, showed an average production for the year of 7, 422 pounds milk and 286.4 pounds butterfat.


We believe Granton has the highest butterfat average of any of the 14 associations in Clark County.


Statistics show that the average production per cow in Clark County is 165 pounds butterfat.


We claim to have the highest herd in Clark County, the herd, which as 409.4 pounds of butterfat average, a herd of registered Holsteins, owned by Otto Henze.  He says it is easy to make money, milking Holsteins.


James Baker, however, does not agree with Henze, as his herd of 8 milking Guernseys was the most profitable herd.


Henze’s herd of 7 registered Holsteins holds high herd honors for the testing year. The entire herd was milked three times a day for three months.


There were 24 additional dairy herds in the Clark County testing program.


Wonser & Co. with 13 registered Holsteins; Wendell Crothers had 8 Guernsey and Reg. Holsteins; Harry Hales, 8 Guernsey and Reg. Holsteins; Henry Sternitzky, 12 Graded Guernsey; Art Berg, 7 Graded Holsteins; Clifford Winn, 8 Graded Holsteins; Ara Lee, 12 Graded & Reg. Guernsey; Fred Tyler, 12 Graded Holsteins; Elmer Anderson, 13 Graded & Reg. Holsteins; Dale Lee, 10 Graded Guernsey; Fred Fehrman, 8 Graded Holsteins; George Hales, 12 Graded & Reg. Holsteins; Walter Rowe, 13 Graded & Reg. Holsteins; F. w. Winn, 5 Reg. Guernsey; John Pietenpol, 15 Graded & Reg. Holsteins; Myron Osgood, 16 Graded & Reg. Holsteins; Price Lee, 16 Graded Holsteins; Adam Allbaugh, 6 Graded Holsteins; L. K. Davis, 11 Reg. Guernsey; Joe Krause, 17 Graded & Reg. Holsteins; Grassman Bros. 14 Reg. Holsteins; Pete Schmitz, 10 Native Cows; E. A. Beeckler, 14 Graded & Reg. Holsteins.


Overall average milk produced was 7,442 pounds and average butterfat was 286.4.


Things we are Proud of


Drinking cups in 17 barns; all members except one have one or more silos; Electric lights on six farms; Acetylene lights on four farms; Farm papers in every home; No butter substitutes used by members, nor are butter substitutes sold at Granton; There are four members who have tractors; All our members are good fellows; All their wives are good cooks.


Here’s to The Scrub Cow:


Goodbye old Brindle, bony scrub,

The time demands a better breed.

You eat enough, but there’s the rub,

You never pay for half your feed.

So after all these years we part,

But pray, remember as you go,

If this should break your bovine heart;

You broke my purse long, long ago.


(It is interesting to note the size of the dairy herds in 1922.  The smallest was five cows in the F. W. Winn herd and the largest was 19 cows in the T. F. Lee herd, which is very few in comparison to present day Clark County numbers.


The largest dairy herd in Clark County now, 90 years later, is 2,500 cows, which varies from day to day due to that large of a number.  The average size dairy herd is 80 cows.


The present day records show average milk production of 20,000 lbs.  The top record cow produces 31,278 lbs. of milk, with a record of 1,233 lbs. butterfat and 974 lbs. protein.


These records show a vast difference since the beginning of herd testing in 1922.  Much has been done in improving herd genetics, feed programs and cow comfort provisions, which all play into the great advancements in dairy production within the county.


The “1922 Granton Cow Testing Report,” brochure was shared by William Howard, who has kept the brochure in the family archives collection.


Maria Bendixen, UW-Extension Dairy & Livestock agent of Clark County provided the current diary herd statistics. DZ)


June 1947


The Women’s Softball League, boasting such team names as the “Sluggers” and the faintly nostalgic “Leftovers,” unlimbered their big hats Monday night in the opening of their league schedule.


The somewhat lopsided results in the two opening tilts were: Sluggers 28, Pete’s 5; and Sockettes 8, Leftovers 1.


The league will play games each Monday and Wednesday night on the North Side School diamond. This Wednesday’s schedule placed the Zille’s against the Leftovers, and the Sluggers against Pete’s.


The team captains are: Dorothy Kunze (Sockettes), Joanne Pietenpol (Pete’s), Mrs. Orvilla Zille, (Zille’s), Mrs. Della Botnen (Leftovers) and Mrs. Stella Shafer (Sluggers).


The Kiwanis club will pay off a debt of long standing Tuesday night when it entertains members of the Rotary club at dinner at the Neillsville Country club.


The debt arises from the licking the Kiwanis bowling team took at the hands of the Rotarians way last winter.


Principal speaker will be Judge Roland J. Steinle, presiding judge of the second branch of the Milwaukee circuit court.


Glenn Lezotte and Donald Anderson, who left for the West about two weeks ago, have written their parents in Neillsville that they have secured good jobs in Yellowstone National Park and hope to stay all season. The boys hitchhiked all of the way and say that they did very little walking.  On the first lap of the journey, they had a ride from Fairchild to Fergus Falls, Minn.                                                                                                      


Sugar stocks in Neillsville retail stores were being built up again this week after a brisk turnover last mid-week following the end of rationing.


Local merchants reported that the end of sugar rationing brought a rush of housewives and other family members to make their first ration-free purchased since the sweet stuff was put under controls.


When Ed returned to his truck on U. S. Hwy 10 last Sunday, he found a highway cop awaiting him.  He had gone to get some gas for his truck, which was stalled right on the concrete. But if he lacked gas, the officer found that Ed was not lacking a load and he later pleaded guilty before Justice Haven to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of liquor.  He was fined $50 and costs, and his license was revoked for a year.


A couple of horses have made Wilmer (Bill) Meier swear off fishing.


It happened this way: Bill went fishing Tuesday afternoon in the river at the mouth of Cunningham Creek.  He parked his car in Otto Miller’s pasture, and noticed a couple of horses there as he did so.


He didn’t count on horses being inquisitive. But when he returned he found that they had:


Stepped on the running board and smashed it; opened the door in some manner; and ripped the covering off the front seats and started eating the stuffing; and all that in 45 minutes.


One of Clark County’s first cheese factories was located two miles south and two miles west of Granton on the southwest corner of the Pray avenue and U. S. Hwy 10 intersection.  The above photo was taken in the early 1950s when the factory was owned by Walter Reber, who made Swiss cheese.





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