Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin

February 6, 2013 Page 9

Contributed by "The Clark Co. Press"

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News


Memories of Clark County Pioneers


(Compiled from 1918 History of Clark County)


C. I. Ide is one of the most highly esteemed of the early settlers.  His reminiscences, prepared for this work are of much interest and value.  He says: “I left Stockholm, St. Lawrence County, N. Y. Aug. 11, 1873, headed for Clark County, Wis.  In Milwaukee I met Ransom Smith, an old acquaintance and we journeyed to Humbird, stayed all night there and then walked to Neillsville the next morning, seventeen miles. That night we stayed with Edson Breed in the Town of York.  After leaving the dried-up region of northern New York, the green fields looked good to me.  I visited a few days and worked a few days for I. B. Mason.  On the ninth of September 1873, I began under-brushing on the southeast quarter of Section 26, Town 25 North, Range 1 West. From that time until Dec. 3, 1917, the southeast quarter of Section 27 has been my home, with the exception of sixteen months spent in what is now Vilas County.


When I began clearing land there were no telephones to call me up, or down, no automobiles to hinder me from work and very few neighbors; in fact Clark County was almost a wilderness. The first settler in the Town of York was Charles Renne in 1855, on a quarter of Section 35, arriving in 1859.  He is still living in the Town of Sherman. The oldest frame building in this town is on that place. The oldest frame building in the Town of Grant is on the farm of N. E. Lee, northwest quarter of the northeast quarter of Section 2.  The barn was built about 1862 by a man named Searles. The oldest log barn now in use in the Town of York was built in 1871, by William P. Budge, in Section 35 and will be good for some years to come.  The oldest log house now occupied is on the northwest quarter of Section 26, its occupant being Mrs. Mattie Winn.  It was built in 1877.


“The first town meeting was held in the spring of 1873.  John B. Mason was the first chairman elected, with Abe Turner and Tom Northup as side supervisors, I. C. Marsh, town clerk, and H. W. Renne, treasurer.


“When the Town of York was organized, a half mile strip on the north side of the Town of Grant was included in the town, but the next year was returned to the Town of Grant.  In 1873, the wild land in York and Fremont was nearly all owned by the Fox and Wisconsin Improvement Co.  The price was $6 per acre, one quarter to be paid down and the balance in three annual payments with interest at ten per cent.  As a matter of fact, settlers had all the time they wanted to pay it.  They were never urged to pay.  In 1872 the pine timber on these lands was sold to W. T. Price, of Black River Falls.  In the fall a camp was built on the southwest quarter of Section 22.  Six years was allowed for the removal of the timber, but it took several years more, and sold for $2 per thousand feet.  It was nice large, white pine, about three logs to the thousand.  At that time logs of that description were worth $5 per thousand feet at La Crosse.  S. A. Wilcox was foreman of this camp, while it was run, and then was foeman of Price’s camp in Fremont.  In the fall of 1872 Price had another camp built on the southeast quarter of Section 31, Town of Fremont with James Thomas as foreman.  The railroad now runs over the spot where this camp stood.  One winter this camp put in 10,000,000 feet of logs.  Most of their logs were banked on the south fork of O’Neill Creek and those from Wilcox’s camp were banked on the north fork of O’Neill Creek.  In those days oxen did all the skidding and most of the hauling on the logging roads, four oxen to each sled.  A good yoke of oxen brought $150.  The men in these camps received $16 to $20 per month for some years after these camps were started, and they were expected to work until most of the logs were driven to the Black River. The teamsters and pine chippers were paid more and it took a good man to be a successful pine chipper.  I know of but two left in this vicinity now, William P. Budge of Granton and Carl Berg on Section 31, Town of Fremont.  In the winter of 1873-74 it was estimated that Mr. Budge cut down trees enough to make ten million feet of logs.  Mr. Berg was considered a first-class chopper and may have done equally well.


“Financial conditions were bad throughout the country in 1873 and times were hard for the next few years.  I have seen the time when I did not know where I could raise 25 cents, or where the next sack of flour was coming from.  It was an unpleasant experience.  In 1877-78 I collected the taxes in York. The state tax was due the third Monday in January.  I went over the town twice and only got a few dollars. But I was advised by Deputy County Treasurer Geo. Hart to make another effort, which I did and trying the best I could got one personal property tax of 50 cents.  There was no money in the town because most of the men were away in logging camp and they didn’t get paid until spring.  To put up some log buildings, clear a farm, work in the woods, and support a family at the same time, kept most men fully employed.  How we pulled through, I don’t see.  It was a case of root hog or die.


“Most of the mail from the Town of York was left at Maple Works for many years. Maple Works was where Sections, 1, 2, 11 and 12 cornered, in the Town of Grant.  At first, mail came once a week, then later twice a week. Nelson Marsh was postmaster, justice of peace, mended our shoes, pulled our teeth and fiddled for all the dances. From an agricultural standpoint, York is considered to be the best town in the county.  The equalized valuation in 1877 was $75,594. Forty years later, in 1917, it was $1,570,000 and considerable of it is yet unimproved.  Grass is the foundation of agricultural prosperity in a cold climate and it would be hard to find a better grass region than Clark County.


“The first cheese factory in this vicinity was built at the northwest corner of Section 2, Town of Grant, in the spring of 1883.  A. H. Tucker was the owner. That building burned in the fall of 1884.  In 1885, a new building was put up across the road, which some years later was moved to Granton.  When that factory was running, a hog yard was built around it and the hogs made their headquarters under the factory building.


“Joint School District No. 4 included the east half of the Town of York and a few sections in the northeast part of Grant.  The schoolhouse was on the northeast corner of Section 2, Town of Grant.  Joint district No. 3 included the west half of York and a portion of Grant. The schoolhouse was on the southeast quarter of Section 31, Town of York and soon after District No. 1 was organized. The schoolhouse was a log building in Section 21. The last time that building was used for election was in 1886.  The new schoolhouse was located in Section 9 with another building being put up in 1917.


“In 1873 and for some time afterwards, Humbird was the nearest railroad station to Neillsville. Then a railroad was built from Merrillan to the west side of the Black River, about a mile from Neillsville.  This was continued to Marshfield in 1890.  The people in the west part of York got their mail at Neillsville.  In 1890, the Dexterville Railroad was continued into the Town of York on Sections 24, 14, 11 and 12.


“In 1883 the Romadka Bros. brought an old saw mill from Seymour, Wis., and rebuilt it on the northwest quarter of Section 24.  They cut some timber and ran it for a few years. The settlers sold hay and provisions to one of the men there, but claimed they had much trouble in getting their pay, so they called the place “Fizzlerville,” and though the mill has long since disappeared, the name still remains.


“About 1890 John Hein built a mill to saw heading on the south side of Section 5, which was run for several years, the heading being shipped from Neillsville.  Some years before that, we used to haul bolts down O’Neill Creek to Neillsville.  For good peeled bolts, thirty-eight inches long, we got $2 per cord.  In 1888 the nicest white oak butt logs brought $12 per thousand at the spoke factory in Neillsville. In 1917 come standing white oak trees in the Town of York brought $45 per thousand.  In 1877 a town hall was built near the center of the town, now called York Center. A post office was established there in the 1880’s, called Wilcox, which was discontinued in 1904. About 1880, the Fox River Co. gave some land for a cemetery there and the Methodists built a church next to it; one and a-half miles farther north stands a Free Methodist Church with a cemetery there also.


(About one-fourth mile east of the County Road K intersection, along County Road H, remains the unmarked Free Methodist Church Cemetery, with a few gravestones.


There are several rural cemeteries located here and there in Clark County.  Many of these sites first had a church building with a plot next to it for a cemetery. The small rural church served worship needs for its members living within that community.  As time went on, introduction of automobiles and improved roads made traveling out of the area easier.  Difficulties in supporting a rural church financially and trying to provide a minister to a small congregation caused many to close, moving or merging with a church of their denomination in a nearby town.


The empty church buildings were removed or torn down, with only the cemeteries remaining. Some of these cemeteries have a sign that designates the name the former church, or have been given some other name.  Often, extended family members, in doing research, seek out the rural cemeteries looking for information of an ancestor, such as wording on the grave marker.


Every summer, we are asked by visiting out-of-towners the location of area rural cemeteries because they are looking for family burial sites.  With aid of the county plat book and other gathered data, we are able to give them some information. DZ)


A grant of six acres of land was secured from the Fox River Land Co. as a site on which to build the new, York Center Methodist Church.  Logs were cut from the land and sawed into lumber for the building, which began in 1879.  The cemetery on the east side of the church property was started in 1880.


January 1953


A three-way responsibility to youth; by home, school and community; was outlined by the Rev. Peter Leketas, pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church before the Neillsville Kiwanis club meeting Monday evening.  “Young people,” he pointed out, “are basically good; but they are molded to what they are by the home, school and community.”


Attacking obscene literature and comic books, which deal with “bloody war and black magic,” the Rev. Leketas surged the appointment of a committee to study the type of literature on newsstands; and to arouse community action in helping young people along proper paths.


He outlined what, in his opinion, the home, school and community can do.


Flitter’s Grocery Specials: Walleye Pike, headless, only 35¢ lb.; Ocean perch, fillets 35¢ lb.; Beef Special: U. S. Grade, T-Bones or Sirloin 59¢ lb.; Juice Oranges, 2 doz. 49¢.                         


Dollar Days Specials at Urban Sales & Service -- Any accessory for car or truck, exclusive of Radio or Heater, Only $1.00 with the purchase of a New Chrysler or Plymouth car or an International Truck.


Red Owl Agency’s First Anniversary Specials -- Red Owl Cake Mixes 3/$1; Cream Style Corn 8 for $1; Skippy Peanut Butter 39¢.  Free coffee mug with purchase of Harvest Queen Coffee, lb. tin 88¢.


W & H Pontiac Motors at 133 East Sixth Street has a special! Complete Motor Tune-Up $4.50, (Parts extra). Also “Goodwill” Used Car Specials!  Owners Wayne Wall & Robert Horswill


Dollar Days Specials at Quicker’s Dairy Bar on West 5th St. Fri. & Sat.: Arbutus Brand Ice Cream 2 ½ gallons, only $3.65; All Flavors, pints 4/1.00!                                                                      


Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Gaede have disposed of their grocery business here and are moving onto the Strong farm in the Houghtonburg community.                                                                          


In recognition of National Boy Scout Week, the Neillsville Kiwanis Club is arranging to make cash awards to patrols having the best Scouting exhibits. The Kiwanis Boys and Girls committee, consisting of B. H. Crissinger, Ivan Lauscher, Dr. Kenneth Manz and Larry Babka will arrange for the judging of the windows and the winners will be announced next Monday night at the Kiwanis meeting.


Ever since the organization of Scouting in Neillsville in the early 1920s, Kiwanis has furnished cash awards each year in February for window displays. The exhibits are now to be seen in downtown store windows.


Twenty-five women of Neillsville will compete in the 34th annual State Bowling tournament at Fond du Lac, February 14 and 15.  This will be the largest state tournament in bowling history, with competition between 2,132 teams, 3,060 doubles and 6, 120 singles.  The total value of prizes is $46,506.


The bowlers who will represent Neillsville are as follows:


Deep Rock Team: Laura Wall, Capt.; Pal Wall, Orvilla Zille, Virginia Rahn, Nellie Quicker.

Neillsville Recreation: Florence Carl, Capt.; Neta Haack, “Buddy” Langreck, Florence Wiesjahn, Eileen Berg.

Sparky’s Plugs: Lottie Anderson, Capt.; Sadie Haight, Caroline Gustman, Edris Haack, Rose Schiller.

Urban’s Sales & Service: Marie Urban, Capt.; Ione Bruhn, Betty Koehler, Mardene Chase, Dorothy Steiger.

Maytagers: Adeline Schoenherr, Capt.; Lucille Kalsow, Jean Hemp, Mary Dickof, Delores Foster.


Two boys of Neillsville will become Eagle Scouts on February 12.  These boys are Hubert Quicker, Jr. and Jack Tibbett.  The Eagle award will be presented to these boys at the annual Scout-Parent banquet, which will be held at the Legion Hall at 6:15 p.m. Thursday evening.  It has been some time since Neillsville has had a Scout to qualify.  Behind this award, lies many hours of work by the boys and their leaders.                          


The Gorman Cooperative Dairy Company held its annual meeting last Tuesday at the factory, discussing business matters and held an election of officers, as follows: Henry Janezich, pres.; Anton Prebil, Sec.; and Alvin Kaltinger, treas.


Opening Soon will be Potter’s Furniture & Appliance Store, 1 block west of First National Bank.




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