Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin

July 18, 2012 Page 6

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




Unity, a thriving village with an assured future, is situated on the “Soo” railroad, on the county line between Marathon and Clark counties and occupies the highest point of land between Medford and Stevens Point, the view of the surrounding sweep of rich farming country being most inspiring.


The village was started in 1873, when D. J. Spaulding came here and built a large sawmill. The station was called Brighton. Soon, Mr. Spaulding opened a store and the place became a busy lumbering center.  John Sterling put up a store and a post office was established, but owning to the fact that another post office in the state bore the name of Brighton, the name of Maple Grove was suggested.  That name was rejected for the same reason and the post office officials selected the name of Unity.


Ed Creed was appointed the first postmaster but did not serve, so then John Sterling was appointed.  Mr. Sterling soon sold to a S. A. Cook, who followed him as postmaster.  In 1878, J. A. Pettet came and opened a store.


The village was platted May 23, under the name of Brighton and was surveyed by Charles W. Johnson. Life in Unity had many attractive features and the village was supplied with all the advantages usual in places of that size. Electricity was furnished by the Abbotsford Electric Light Co.  Fire protection was furnished by a volunteer fire department, equipped with a hook and ladder truck and two chemical engines, which were mounted on wheels.


Early in 1903 a movement was started for the incorporation of the village, and a census taken April 4, by Erwin Schmitz and L. H. Cook showed a population of 405. A survey was made April 6 to 9, and signed by R. H. Brown. An application for incorporation was signed and submitted April 15, 1903.  However it was nullified by the courts, due to reason of irregularities in the census.


April 28 and 29, 1904, a new survey was made by R. H. Brown.  June 13, 1904, a new census was taken by L. H. Cook, showing 424 names. Application for incorporation was again made, the signers of the petition being J. H. Clark, L. H. Cook, F. L. McMiller, Joseph Tennis, James Garnett, R. H. Brown, D. H. Shepardson, George S. Cook, H. J. Kohlhepp, Percy Thayer, E. Creed, D. M. Jones, W. E. Morgan, O. H. Groelle, C. Healey, J. A. Pettet, J. P. Johnson, William Creed, J. F. Koch, Ed Binning, Alfred Cook and F. C. Hulce.  A remonstrance prepared by fifty or more persons, headed by J. W. Salter, was presented, embodying the following objections: “That the survey of the territory shows that the land does not contain one square mile, but contains less than one square mile; that the territory is not compact in form. That territory within 100 rods of the center of said proposed village has been omitted in order that forty acres of section 7, included in said village, might be taken and that the said forty acres of Section 7 is all of a mile or more from the center of population of the proposed village, which is not suitable and not needed for any village purposes, but is suitable only for purposes of agriculture and contains the farm buildings of an extensive stock farm owned by the said J. W. Salter.  The said forty acres is being taken for the village for the sole purpose of inuring the said J. W. Salter; and the census purporting to contain 424 names, does in fact contain but 361 names of persons resident at the time the census was taken.


Beaten in Circuit Court, the remonstrates carried their case to the Supreme Court, but were again defeated.  On May 26, 1906, an election was held at Pettet’s Hall, the judges and inspectors being L. H. Cook, J. A. Pettet and J. H. Clark. Fifty-one votes were cast, the ayes numbering fifty and the no’s only one.  The first Unity Village president was Alfred Cook.


The first school was started in Unity in 1875, in a building prepared for that purpose. The present schoolhouse, put up in 1909, is a brick building of two stories with basement, containing ten rooms, steam heated. The building cost $12,139.50.  In addition to the eight grades of the common school, a regular high school course is provided. The state high school was organized in 1880 by J. W. Salter, who was the first principal.  It occupied the old schoolhouse in the Creed lots.


The Unity Cheese Factory, located in the village of Unity, was first built by Crosby & Meyers of Chicago, who afterwards sold it to Julius Koch.  Koch sold it to the farmers, who made it a cooperative, which for several years manufactured both cheese and butter. The factory was then sold to Otto Rohde, who in 1915 sold it to L. P. Taplin.  Mr. Taplin rebuilt the plant, putting in new cement floors, machinery and made other improvements. A residence on adjoining land was also bought at the same time as the factory.  This factory has now about fifty patrons, with 400 cows and for the year 1917 received 1,830,930 pounds of milk and butter fat, for which the farmers were paid $37,570.15. The amount of cheese sold was 180,275 pounds, of which Mr. Taplin received $40,655.44. The amount received for whey and cream was $1,673.34; for retail milk, $133.49; total receipts $42,460.27. The patrons of the factory in general keep Holstein cows.


In 1909 the village of Unity was visited by fire, which destroyed the old Forest House, Fred Westcott’s saloon, Button Membrue’s hardware, Zell’s Bros’ store and August Weide’s butcher shop and shoe shop. Another fire occurred Feb. 23, 1917, which destroyed Dr. Clark’s drug store, the Clark County Telephone office and the residences of Christian Vogt and Julius Luchterhand.




The platted villages of Clark County in addition to those incorporated are Weston’s Rapids, Humbird, Willard, Osborn, Poznan, Columbia, Allison, Atwood, Lynn, Chili and Eidsvold.  Weston’s Rapids was platted Feb. 10, 1859, on lots 3 and 7 in the Northeast quarter of the Southeast quarter of Section 3, Township 24 Range West.  It was surveyed by Moses Clark for Samuel Weston.  Humbird, formerly Rocky Mound, was platted on land of Almond Alderman, in 1869.  Eidsvold was platted June 14, 1884, on land of Jacob Bye & Co.  Lynn was surveyed in Township 24 Range 1 East, Feb. 12, 1890 by George Ure on land of James G. and Henry Sternitzky. Chili was platted Nov. 13, 1891, on land owned by Ira, F. C. and S. E. Fike and the Neillsville Manufacturing Co.  Columbia was platted Aug. 4, 1893 for the Columbia Improvement Co.  Poznan, Sections 34 and 35, Township 29 West, was platted Aug. 16, 1895 on land of the Sterling Lumber Co.  Willard was platted June 11, 1911 on land of the N. C. Foster Lumber Co.  Atwood was platted May 15, 1910, on the Northeast quarter of Section 27, Township 28, for the Tri-State land Co.  Osborn was platted on the Northeast Quarter of Section 17, Township 27 Oct.15, 1910 by the same company. Allison was platted Oct.15, 1914, on lots 6 and 7, Township 23, for the Wisconsin Railway Light & Power Co.


Mapleworks, a stagecoach stopping place, now abandoned, was located about a half mile northeast of the present village of Granton.  At one time it was a busy little rural center with two stores, a saloon, a post office and several residences. The village had its beginning with Nelson Marsh and was platted years later by Sylvester Marsh.


Nelson Marsh reached this vicinity in 1857 coming with an ox team by way of Sparta, cutting a temporary road through the trackless forest. He located not far from the present village of Granton, where he established a farm, a tavern and stopping place on the old stage route from Neillsville to Stevens Point, which was established in 1858.  There was a post office in his house.  Mapleworks by name, although it should have been Maplewoods; the chirography of the early settlers being deciphered wrong by the postal authorities at Washington.  The stage route was maintained until the railroad came through and on the old maps of the county, Mapleworks is one of the two or three places marked in Clark County.


Charles Cornelius came here in 1877.  At that time the post office was at the home of Nelson Marsh and a Grange Store had been started.  He bought out the Grange Store and induced Mike Grasser to open a blacksmith shop and Henry Limburg a wagon shop. Ernest Crevecour opened a furniture establishment. A physician, Dr. Keller also settled there. Later, Mr. Cornelius sold his dry goods department to his brother-in-law, Adam Reichert and his hardware department to S. L. Marsh. The Reichert store burned, but the Marsh store was moved to Granton. The little hamlet grew until 1890, when Granton was established; then the business of the village was transferred to the new site.


Nelson Marsh did a variety of things in helping his neighbors.  He sorted their mail; he mended their shoes; he pulled their teeth with an old-style turnkey.  Honest and able, he did not need to be a good penman. So when he sent to Washington the name of the new post office, the dull boys down there could not make out his writing.  He wrote “Maple Woods,” but they thought he wrote “Maple Works.”  So they gave it that name, and the name stuck.


Romadka is a neighborhood center in York Township, near the end of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad.  It was formerly the site of a flourishing mill and the headquarters of extensive lumber operations. It still is an important place for the shipping of stock and cordwood, John P. Kintzele having several cordwood shipping points in the neighborhood. The name of Mr. Kintzele has been intimately connected with Romadka and he still has his home and farm there, though he now serves as Register of Deeds.  In the early eighties, George Hiles organized the Milwaukee, Dexterville & Northern Railroad with a line being built from Dexterville via Newton to Lynn. Later the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul extended the line through the towns of Lynn and York to Romadka. A survey of this line has been made through York, Loyal, and Eaton and northwestwardly through the county to Bateman in Chippewa County, but the line has not been built beyond Romadka.


The story of Romadka is an interesting one. The Northern Manufacturing Co. located at Seymour, Wis., reorganized as the Romadka Manufacturing Co. and in 1883 established a large mill in Section 24, York Township, where they started the manufacture of spokes and wagon felloes, in addition to general saw milling. John P. Kintzele came here as their agent.  At that time the nearest railroads were the Omaha at Neillsville and the Wisconsin Central at Marshfield. All the products of the mill had to be hauled out and the supplies hauled in.  When plans were made for extending the Omaha from Neillsville to Marshfield, it was thought that the line was to run near the mill, but the survey was changed, so the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul started to extend their road from Lynn to Romadka.


There was a merry race as to which should be the first to reach the crossing and thus establish the grade. There was much excitement and many personal encounters between the members of the crew. St. Paul crew won and though the line is now but in little use and the Omaha runs several through-trains every day, nevertheless the St. Paul still has the right-of-way at the crossing. About the same time, the Wisconsin Central built from Marshfield to Greenwood. William Upham, logging for Davis & Starr, built a logging road from this line extending through Sections, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, Fremont, and Sections 1, 12, 11, and 14 in York, to within twenty rods of the St. Paul Line. After this logging road was taken up, part of the roadbed in Section 14 was used for an extension of the St. Paul line.


Windfall was one of the earliest community centers in Clark County.  It received its name from the fact that the heavy winds of the pioneer days had left a large area of devastated forest and fallen trees.  A schoolhouse was built at the crossroads, a number of farmers settled in the vicinity and the name became well known. The schoolhouse afterward was moved to Granton and enlarged, being now used as the ward school there.


Riplinger is a flourishing village with good prospects.  It is located in section 17, Unity, on the “Soo” line between Spencer and Owen.  Formerly known as Osborn, it has received new life in the past few years and is growing rapidly, being well situated in regard to the surrounding agricultural country.  It is an important shipping center for cattle, wood and wood pulp.  It has a saw mill, two stores, a meat market, a blacksmith shop, a garage, two saloons, a schoolhouse and a public hall.


Eidsvold is a small station on the “Soo” line, in the Town of Thorp, between the villages of Thorp and Stanley.  In 1887, it was already a point of some importance. An article written in 1887 says: “Eidsvold contains a combined saw, shingle and hoop mill, employing about 50 men, a blacksmith shop, a boarding house, a post office and a general store. The Eau Claire Lumber Co. has a dam across the North Fork of the Eau Claire River near there and Jacob Bye & Co. proprietors of the sawmill, plan to build another in the spring for the purpose of forming a pond to hole logs.”  The principal industries in the village are the cheese factory and general store.


Longwood, on the old maps, occupies a position equal almost in importance to the county seat, while the now prosperous villages of Owen, Thorp and Withee are not to be found.  It was a post office and important trading station in early days, but since the advent of the rural mail carrier is serene in the history of the olden time and its assurance that eh development of the surrounding country must ever be its support even if other places outstrip it in importance.  It is, however, still a busy little center with a store, a blacksmith shop, a cheese factory, a town hall, church and schoolhouse.


Hemlock is an abandoned village in Warner Township, deriving its name from an island of hemlock trees now washed away.  In 1890 it was written: Hemlock is the location of the dam of the Black River Logging Company’s dam, also of a grist and saw mill, the latter owned by N. H. Withee. The dam was completed in 1879 at a cost of $21,000.  Of other improvements, the gristmill was finished in 1879 and is supplied with three buhrstones. It is of frame; four storied high and does a large local business.   The saw mill is also of frame, two stories high and is furnished with a rotary and upright saw. The total investment is between $10,000 and $15,000. The settlement is connected with Neillsville by telephone, erected in 1879 at a cost of $800.  Nothing now remains but the ruined dam, and the abandoned buildings.


(1918 Clark County History to be continued)





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