Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin

November 18, 2015 Page 11

Contributed by "The Clark Co. Press"

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News


November 1905


Money is power and power rules the world.  You may gain both if you take your produce to the Farmers cash store where you will get the highest market price and where they have been paying 18 cents per dozen for eggs since the 13th of October.                                                                                                                   


John Aumann who bought the old Chandler Farm from Fred Wendt, Sr., shipped his crop of sugar beets to Chippewa Falls last week.  They went about 13 tons to the acre and averaged better than $4.50 per acre.


C. Krumrey is getting ready to put in about 400,000 feet of hard wood logs on his land in the Town of Seif.  August Lautenbach of Grant is putting up his sawmill on the tract and will saw up the logs as they are landed.  Mr. Krumrey will utilize every kind of timber on the land; even the slabs will be sawed and hauled to Neillsville for wood.


H. Bieneck who lately bought the old Kirkland place north of the city, from E. E. Crocker is making considerable improvements in the house.                                                                 


Maple Glen Farm shipped 30 Plymouth Rock pullets last week to Mrs. Henry Ruseling at Eleva, Wis.


Ladies of the Presbyterian Church will serve a New England Dinner at the home of Mrs. W. C. Bullard Thursday, Nov. 23rd.  Menu: Roast Chicken, mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Rolls, Jelly, Pickles, Cheese, Doughnuts, Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie and Coffee.                                                                                                     


Men Wanted - to work in Woods and Logging Camps, wages $28 to $35 per month.  R. Connor Co. Stratford, Wis.


Frank and Harry Lockman, Harry Taylor, Fritz Moser and others are out camping, expecting to supply the people of Columbia with venison during the hunting season.                                          


Mr. and Mrs. C. S. Graves and daughter Bessie started Tuesday on the 11:40 train for their new home at Arriba, Co.  Many of their friends and neighbors gathered at the Columbia Depot to bid them good-bye.  It is with deep regret that we bid them farewell, as Mr. Graves has spent much time and money for building and promoting Columbia.  But our loss is another’s gain.  May he and his good wife be spared many years held in the building of another new country, is the wish of their friends.                                                                                                      


We wish to announce that there will be a dance Thanksgiving night, Nov. 30, at Shaffer’s Hall in the Town of Washburn.  Everybody come and we will insure you a good time.  Good music will be furnished and arrangements will be made to have stable room for all horses if possible.  Anyone wishing an early ticket can get it by merely speaking to us, Will Wallace and Jesse Reed                                                                                                                                                  


Mr. A. Carlson has been clearing and stumping a road from the eighth stake on the East line of Sec. 28 to the County Line near Hatfield.  While Carlson was clearing the roadway, he found a den of skunks under a stump and killed nine.  He could not carry them all in his hands so he took the boy’s plan that went sniping apples, and tied the bottom of his overalls around his ankles and filled them up regardless of the perfume, which was plenty.


(There must have been a big bounty paid for skunks to put up with that odor and effort.  One dead skunk puts off a great amount of odor, let alone nine of them. DZ)                                        


Mr. Theodore Ziegler and Miss Augusta Ratch of Pine Valley were married at the Lutheran Church Monday, Nov. 20, Rev. Brandt officiated.  The young couple will begin housekeeping at once on the groom’s farm.


C. Neinas team of horses took fright of the rail handcar one day last week while standing near the railroad track and immediately took advantage of a “tie pass” going for Chili.  About 20 rods from their starting point they safely crossed a railroad bridge 85 feet long and 12 feet high, but were stopped a little further up the track by cattle guards.  They were hitched to a wagon at the time and probably could not accomplish such a feat again.


It is the third week in November and farmers are busy finishing up turning over the soil in their fields.


(The third week in November and the ground had not frozen?  Was there global warming back then, too?  DZ)


Mrs. Leonard Howard and mother, along with two lady friends of Neillsville took a drive in an automobile Friday on a pleasure trip to Greenwood.                                                                


Some important improvements have lately been made on the Youmans’ Farm.  A large machine shed, milk room and engine room have been built, and a six-horsepower gasoline engine installed, to furnish power for various work.  Mr. Youmans has a herd of tuberculin-tested cows and has already had a demand for cream, an industry, which he expects to cultivate.


A circa 1900 photo of the Youman’s farmstead, which was located on the south side of U. S. Hwy 10 about one and one-fourth mile east of Neillsville.  Only the barn remains of the farmstead’s original buildings.


November 1955


Eight boys of the Town of Fremont have set up 85 shocks of corn, pulled down by them as a prank.  These are the recompense in part of Halloween vandalism in Clark County.


Those eight boys were brought to light quickly by Sheriff Kutsche, when he had rounded them up.  They agreed to visit Russell Green Thursday evening and to arrange with him about making good the damage in the cornfield.  It was the wish of Mr. Green that the corn be shocked up around the barn rather than in the field.  So he and his boys turned in with eight Halloween pranksters, and they all moved the corn and shocked it where Mr. Green wanted it.


The number of shocks originally tipped over was 85, and this was about one-fourth the numbers of shocks in the entire field.  That field, even at Halloween was too much for the boys, and they quit after they had messed up about one quarter of it.  But to shock corn, they discovered, is harder and that cornfield, as the sun was setting, seemed to them to rival a western ranch.


As for the Greens and Sheriff Kutsche, they smiled at the outcome, for they think that they did what Gilbert & Sullivan said about the Mikado in the famous opera.  They think they “made the punishment fit the crime.”


The five sons of William Hughes, old-timers of Kurth Corners, recently gathered for a reunion.


The customers of William Hughes, old-time blacksmith at Kurth Corners, frequently ate a meal of Mother Hughes’ cooking, thrown in with a 15-cent job done at the smithy.  Needing a link welded in a chair or some similar service, they were present when the summons came for Bill to come and get it.  So as a matter of course, Bill invited his customer to eat, and Mother Hughes put on another plate.  One, more or less, did not make much difference.  She usually put on at least eleven plates.


The hospitality of the early days was recalled Sunday, November 13, when five Hughes brothers foregathered at the old Hughes farm, just north of Kurth Corners.  They told about the old days, when Kurth Corners was a busy spot, with the Kurth tavern doing a steady business on the southeast corner of the intersection and the Hughes blacksmith shop doing the same diagonally across the way.  The Hughes smithy did a job in hard goods, but the Kurth saloon, important adjunct of the hotel, mainly dealt in soft goods.  It was quite obvious that there needed to be a balance, and the Hughes customers kept a path beaten diagonally across the way.  Thus the hard and the soft became mingled, and at times the soft was a little hard.


The Hughes boys, five of them left and two gone, counting a half brother, secured a rounded education.  At the smithy they learned how to do things with iron, especially the things that needed to be done to horses and oxen.  Of them all, Michael profited most from this branch of learning, for he, becoming a rancher at Lloydminster, Alberta, Canada, still shoes a horse occasionally.  He learned in his father’s smithy how to drive the nails through the horse’s foot and how to clinch them and cut off the sharp end.  All of the boys had a smattering of this, and all of them too a hand at all the other chores around the shop.  If no other duty beckoned, there was always the fly witch, which, in hot weather, needed to be flirted about to keep the flies away.  This switching was the job commonly allotted to the owner of the horse, to compensate his animal for the manner in which his own tail, the natural weapon, was put out of action for the blacksmith’s comfort.  But sometimes the owner took the southeast path, and in his absence, a small Hughes boy could wield the switch.


Then there were the bellows to be blown, with their long arm reaching out, and occasionally a restless horse, upon whose upper lip tongs needed to be pinched, to keep the animal thinking about something else instead of what the blacksmith was doing to him.


The boys cannot remember that the tongs did much else to the horse than divert him.  He may not have enjoyed it, but he did not groan, as did the oxen when pulled up in the sling, which Bill Hughes provided for them.  The sling was operated by a means of ropes run through a pulley attached to a rafter above.  By means of a sling the ox was hoisted a little from the floor, and thus he was deprived of the purchase necessary to enable him to vent his meanness upon the blacksmith.  This may have been good for Bill Hughes, but the oxen groaned in their discomfort.


The Hughes boy who took, much to the smithy was Michael.  The farm, owned by Mrs. Hughes, was mostly their dish.  The farm was an important sideline for the family, mostly timber at first, but gradually coming under plow as the Hughes boys cleared it.  To provide for the eleven members of the family and the steady stream of customer guests the Hughes boys were nursemaids to six or eight cows, a few hogs and an assortment of chickens.  These provided importantly, but the hogs were the only ones that were on a year-round basis of production.  The cows and the hens quit business when winter settled down.  The food necessary to production was lacking, and winter dairying was a thing then unknown in these parts.


But in the open weather, Mother Hughes had put down in a large crock a great store of butter, had flooded it with the strongest brine, had covered it with an inverted plate, upon which was a stone to press it firmly down.  From this rich stored butter of splendid quality was drawn the supply for the Hughes cooking and table.  And not far away was the barrel containing the maple syrup, partially sugared, to which the Hughes boys went willingly when sent or volunteering.  The cellar also contained a large store of potatoes, beets, cabbage and “beggies,” as everyone then called rutabagas.


Daniel P. Hughes said Sunday evening that their parents gave them a wonderful start in life with sound minds, sound bodies, and respect for old persons and regard for religion.  They were taught the value of work, and they worked hard, in their youth, for 50’ a day.  Their religion they absorbed at home and at St. Mary’s School, to and from which they went on foot, six miles each way, a total of 12 miles per day.  With this daily walk contributed by themselves the Hughes boys set a correspondingly high estimate upon their schooling.


Discipline in school and out was learned from the first.  John recalled how he absorbed some of it when too small to be a regular at Kurth School, but present as a visitor.  He did not conform to the satisfaction of the teacher, then Spence Marsh, and received no consideration because of his status as visitor.  Mr. Marsh gave him a shaking.  Thereupon John Hughes said, “Damn you,” and thereupon Mr. Marsh gave John another shaking, more vigorously.  When the story of this episode reached the ears of the elder Hughes, John got more than a shaking.  It was the rule of Bill Hughes that he backed teacher.  If the boy got a thrashing at school, he got another at home, and worse.  There was just no use to seek sympathy at home.


The Hughes family had two residences at Kurth Corners.  One was on the west side, and there, James was born.  The younger ones were born on the east side, the later home.  Both houses have now disappeared, but on the east side a silo stands upon the homesite.


The boys recalled Sunday evening the sight of a hermit of the early days, named Dart.  He lived off in the woods, in the vicinity of East Fork of the Black River.  In the woods he trapped bears, getting them alive, with honey as bait.  Dart caught the bears alive in the summer, transferred them to pens where he fed them corn and acorns to fatten them.  He butchered them when cold weather came and sold the meat and pelts.  The boys used to see him pass occasionally, enroute to Neillsville with his burden of bear.  Bears were not uncommon, even in the vicinity of Kurth Corners, coming up that way in a search for berries.  The women feared them.


Bill Hughes, the blacksmith, died in 1908.  He had retired a few years before.  He had accumulated upon his books some $3,000 of debt, which had been extended to his customers along with the free meals.  He had never had time to be a good collector, in his retirement he had the time to collect, but he did not make much of a success at it.  He learned that a blacksmith after retirement had lost his opportunity to collect as well as his ability to serve.  The bills of a retired blacksmith, it turned out, were as hard to collect as the bills of a dead doctor.


With the year’s gathering upon them the Hughes boys see one another with increasing frequency.  The oldest of them, James E., is 81.  He and his wife spend the summers on the old place, just north of Kurth Corners, with their son Don.  In the winter, they live with another of their children at Lorain, Ohio.  Daniel P., now 76, resides in retirement at Menomonie.  He is the only brother to dodge the farm.  He was a teacher and Ag agent who once taught in Neillsville.  John J., 74, now lives at Chippewa Falls.  He was once a rancher in Montana.  Michael, 72, and Archibald, 70, are both ranchers, residing at Lloydminster, Alberta, Canada.  There is also a sister, Margaret, who resides at Calgary, but she was not present at the reunion Sunday.


(Kurth Corners was at the intersection of USH 10 and Pray Ave.  Kurth Hotel building still stands on the southeast corner. DZ)




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