Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin

September 3, 2014, Page 10

Contributed by "The Clark Co. Press"

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News

February 1888


Dr. B. F. French died at the family residence in this city at about 5 o’clock Saturday morning of heart disease.


Benjamin Franklin French was born in the Town of Busti, Chautauqua County, N.Y. on August 10, 1832.  He was the son of John French who died in Neillsville in 1871.  There were eleven children in the family, of whom the following are now living: Mary Ann, wife of James W. Sturdevant, living just outside of the city; Robert B., who resides at Hatfield, Wis.; Anna, Geo. W. and John S., who live in Washington Territory, James of California, and Hulda residing in Pennsylvania.


Dr. B. F. French removed with his father’s family from New York to Pennsylvania and in 1843 to Iowa.  This latter journey was made by teams and wagons, which took two months to make the trip.  In September 1849, the deceased came to Black River Falls, principally on account of ill health, which his physicians had told him could be benefited by living in a pine timbered country.  For a time he worked driving teams of horses in the pineries and in 1853 he located upon a piece of land in what is now the Town of Levis.  This land he made into a farm, which he continued to own up to the time of his death.


On the 8th day of June 1854, he was married to Elizabeth R. Brown who had for some time previously been teaching school at Black River Falls.  They immediately began housekeeping on the farm, in a little log cabin 12 x 16, built by B. F., and until the last year, the “log cabin” has stood on the farm and of all places on earth was the dearest spot to him.


Owing to poor health in early life and having a natural desire to understand something of the anatomy of human beings, he pursued for several years the study of medicine and from about 1855 until a few weeks before his death, he administered to the relief of neighbors and friends.  At the same time he was clearing his farm and studying medicine, he was also studying law, and for more than 2 years had been engaged in the active practice of law.  Although a good physician, and often called in to administer medicine, he did not, in later years at least, desire medical practice and more often responded because of his great generosity of heart than for the fees he might receive.  He preferred the practice of law to that of medicine, devoting his later years to law practice.


In 1863, his business, which included lumbering, farming and practice of medicine and law, has assumed such proportions, enabling him and his family to leave the farm and locate in Neillsville, where he had since resided.


In 1854, he was elected county treasurer, being the first one in Clark County and in 1856 was elected district attorney, serving until 1866.  He had been city attorney, member of the county board of supervisors and held several minor offices.


There survives his wife, Elizabeth, who has been such a true helpmate; Nettie, the wife of C. A. Youmans; Elva, wife of Oscar P. Kemp, of Watertown, Dakota; Miss Viola, Miss Dimple and Masters Edwin and John Rollin.


Dr. French was a man of great public spirit and generosity, a good man who will be missed.  He was devoted to his family.  His home was his first consideration and he many times expressed a wish that when he died his funeral might take place from his home; and in accordance with this wish services were held at the family residence.  During Sunday and Monday forenoon, hundreds of his old acquaintances visited the family residence to take a last look upon the remains of the good man.  The day of the funeral, the four spacious parlors were filled with old friends, many coming from Black River Falls and other portions of the country.


The funeral services were conducted under the auspices of the local Masonic lodge, and the remains were followed to the cemetery by one of the largest concourses of people ever seen here, which bore testimony to the esteem in which the deceased was held.


The pallbearers were: Sam Boardman, H. D. Eyerly, and Everett Bacon, all of Neillsville; Harry Mead of Longwood; S. N. Dickinson of Sparta; and Col. Johnson of Black River Falls.


Neillsville Times

May 1903


A Big Heart in a Big Man!


Hanging upon the north wall of the Neillsville Times sanctum is a portrait of a nobleman, in his last sleep now, to be sure, but whose memory is a green in the hearts he left behind as it would be had he left us but yesterday, Dr. B. F. French.  Let us tell a little story about him, brought out in a conversation with Benny Tragsdorf the other day:


The doctor was a doctor by the divine right of having been born one.  He had no diploma from any college, and didn’t have to in those early pioneer days.  Nobody asked him to show a diploma.  He threw more medicine away than he ever gave and his fortune was often to be called in where medicine had failed, and what was needed was what no college can teach, common sense.  This was his strong suit; and he was unexcelled as a nurse, knowing intuitively what the trouble was and how to manage it.


In the early days Bert Wheeler, a pioneer pastor here, called in on him one day and said his wife was out of sorts and he had better come up.  So, the two went to the parsonage.  The doctor sat down at the side of the sick woman’s bed, felt her pulse, looked at her a silent minute or two, and after asking what her diet had been, got up, went to the cupboard as if looking for something, then to the kitchen, and peered around, under pans, in jars, in the breadbox; everything was empty.  There was not a mouthful of food in the house!  It was a parsonage, so the explorer had to be careful about his language, but we who knew him well can recall the language that he thought!  His teeth went together with a snap as he went for his hat and he shot out of the house.  He told his friend Chauncey Blakeslee he wanted five dollars. “What for?” “Give me five dollars, I tell ye!”  He got it.  Then he went around town and got a lot more money, bought a wagonload of necessaries and delicacies and drove to the Wheeler home.  That was his prescription, all the medicine he gave, or that she took; and she was up, well and happy as a lark in a few days.  The Wheelers had been too refined and sensitive to tell of their distress.


This kindly deed was characteristic of Dr. French.  Be assured that he put in his five dollars along with the rest, for he was generous to a fault, and old settlers still delight to tell of his self-sacrificing devotion to duty to suffering humanity whenever called upon; and in later years, when a law was enacted compelling physicians to have diplomas, he went right on with his wife ministrations without charging a fee, until at last Nature said “Well done!” and he, too, lay silently beneath the “drapery of his couch.”


(Doc French’s Neillsville home was located on the northeast corner of Hewett & Fourth Street intersection, now the site of the Public Library.  Patients, when ill, would often go to French’s home seeking medical help and occasionally were kept in a designated room for treatment when it was determined the patient needed attentive nursing care.  The French home also served as Neillsville’s first hospital. DZ)



B. F. French’s Neillsville home was located on the northeast corner of the Hewett and Fourth Streets intersection. 

It was razed in the early 1900s, with that lot becoming the site for Neillsville’s new public library.


August 1969


The equipment, trucks and goodwill of the South Granton Cheese factory have been sold to the Lynn Dairy, and the plant operated for the last 30 years by Mr. and Mrs. Walter Schmidt will be closed August 15, when the sale becomes effective.


Purchaser is the Lynn Dairy, owned by William Schwantes.  Mr. Schwantes is a widely-known cheesemaker who has operated an expanding factory in Lynn for several years succeeding his late father there.


The Schmidts plan to remain in the building, where they also have their home, and to operate at least for the present, a small country store, which they have maintained in connection with their factory operation.


On August 15 the Schmidts will be closing out exactly 30 years of cheesemaking operations at South Grant.  They came there in 1939 from near Fremont, where Mr. Schmidt had spent five years in a cheese factory.


For the second time in as many weeks, an ace was scored on the 180-yard fifth hole at Neillsville County Club last Thursday.


Turning the trick was Larry Olson, son of Mayor and Mrs. Kenneth M. Olson and a junior this fall at the University of Wisconsin.  About two weeks before, Tony Zupanc of Loyal also turned the trick of an ace on the fifth hole.


Olson was playing with Dave Roberts’, captain of last year’s Neillsville High School golf team, when he scored his ace.  The eagle helped him to a 42-stroke round that afternoon.                            


The Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Ladies Aid of Globe will commemorate its fifty years of service during the regular morning service Sunday.  A history of the organization will be passed out to the members of the congregation.  Living charter members will be honored with a corsage and the women’s group will supply flowers for the altar.


The Ladies Aid was organized on August 3, 1919, at the home of Mrs. Albert Kalsow.  Charter members were Mrs. Gus Grap, Mrs. Albert Hemp, Mrs. Bruno Henchen, Mrs. Carl Schroeder, Mrs. August Worchel, who served as first president, Mrs. William Mitte, first treasurer, and Mrs. Kalsow.  Charter members still living are: Mrs. Martha Grap, Mrs. Martha Hoffman, Mrs. Mary Kalsow and Mrs. Lebrecht Kalsow.


Purposes of the organization: to carry out the work of the church at home and at large.  Fellowship is stressed in working together, talking together and lunching together.  It is interesting to note in minutes of the first meeting:


“Lunch will be coffee, cookies, or coffee cake, or cake without frosting; also sandwiches.”


Seems times haven’t changed too much, lunch-wise.  However, “cake with frosting on it” is often enjoyed by all.


The name “Aid” implies the final purpose.  In 1925 the ladies purchased a new organ at the cost of $850.  It has helped with decorating the church and each year makes some improvement in the parsonage.  In observance of the 50th anniversary, the Aid presented one dozen folding chairs to the congregation.


Serving members of the congregation who are ill or in need is an important part of the work, but the organization also extends this help to those outside their own.  Clothing and gifts often are sent to benevolent institutions.


Both those who have served and those who have been served will feel a sense of gratitude and appreciation for all those years of the Aid.


The pastor of the congregation has always led the ladies in their devotions and discussions. Following are the names of those who have led since its beginning in 1919: The Rev. Perisius, Rev. Motzkus, Rev. Adolph Schumann, Rev. R. Schlict, Rev. J. G. Ruege, Rev. D. Witte and Rev. R. Bitter.                         


Young people in the Neillsville Public and Parochial schools who are interested in hunting and recreational shooting are invited to enroll in a Wisconsin Hunting Safety course to be given at the Neillsville high School during the month of September.


Lloyd Johnson and Charles Matousek certified N.R.A. and Wisconsin Hunters Safety instructors will conduct the course.


Students who enroll must be at least 12 years old by October 1 of this year.  There is no maximum age.  The fee of $2.50 covers all materials except the firearms.  Upon successful completion of the course, students will receive arm patches and certificates.                                                                                              


 Bali Hai’s First Annual Luau scheduled for Saturday, August 2, has been sold out!  Admission will be by Pre-Sold Tickets Only! Sorry, because of this Bali Hai special event, we will not be open to the general public this one evening, only!


However, we “Invite you,” to enjoy the cuisine and the atmosphere at Bali Hai every other evening except Mondays, from 5 p.m. to midnight.  Serving Choice Steaks & Seafood!


Located 4 miles east of Neillsville on US Highway 10.                                     


A “get-together” with a large attendance of friends from Greenwood and the surrounding area honored the Rev. and Mrs. Arvid Myhrwold family at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church Sunday evening.  The Myhrwold family left Monday to take over the pastorate at Downsville.  Harry Johnson acted as Master of ceremonies.  The Freedom Band presented several selections; Mrs. Leonard Johnson gave a reading, “The Parson’s Tongue”; Knute Wallin gave several humorous musical selections; Mrs. Duane Olson and Mrs. harry Johnson sang a duet with Arlene Dyre as accompanist. John Snedic, Greenwood mayor, and the Rev. Leander Koopman pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, were called on to say a few words.  The Rev. and Mrs. Myhrwold spoke in appreciation of the gifts they received.


Refreshments were served.  The centerpiece was a cake, decorated in the Bible motif, baked by Mrs. Kenneth Hium.


Trees and some of the shrubbery in the Listeman Arboretum have been marked with names to assist visitors of the 42-acre natural preserve in the enjoyment of the area.  The marking of the shrubbery will continue until it is completed and plans are being made to make signs for the flowers, which normally abound there in the spring.


The work is being done by Mike Finney, science teacher at Neillsville high School, who has been retained for the vacation period to assist in the development of the Arboretum.


The Listeman Arboretum, which lies along the Black River, south of the Winnebago Children’s Home, presently has its entrance on Second Street, near the south end of Memorial Hospital.  It provides more than a half-mile of shale-covered trails through scenic sylvan areas.  Rough-hewn benches are spread along the trails for those who want to rest, or to sit and contemplate the quiet solitude of a peaceful natural wooded area.   


Mr. and Mrs. Joe Boh have started construction of a new ranch style house on the former Eli Heck property, just west of their present residence.




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