Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin

July 5, 2017, Page 12

Contributed by "The Clark Co. Press"

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News

July 1887


The death of the Hon. Niran H. Withee took place at his house in La Crosse on Saturday July 2, at noon, after an illness of several weeks.  His ailment was Bright’s Disease.


Mr. Withee was for years one of the most prominent citizens of the county and a leading Black River lumberman.  The history of his life is not to be told in a few words.  He was born at Norridgewock, Maine, June 21, 1827, and was therefore exactly 60 years and 11 days when he died.  In 1852, he came to La Crosse, and moved to Clark County in 1870.  Since 1857, he has been closely identified with the logging interests of the Black River, and this time has been divided between La Crosse, Neillsville, and the river.  He has been a prominent figure in all the progressive business movements of Black River Valley, in the lumber and flooding dam companies, and has scarcely ever been without heavy official responsibilities of some kind.  He did much to shape the policy and manage the affairs of Clark County, and was its treasurer from 1875 until his brother Hiram succeeded him in 1882.  He represented this assembly district two terms in legislature, his great integrity, and uprightness causing men to honor him universally.  His activity led him on many ventures.  He had men working to build a large stave mill at Hemlock, where he has a large gristmill and owns a princely amount of real estate.  He no doubt owned more land in this county than any other individual holder.  It is estimated that he leaves a million dollars’ worth of property.  The Island Mill property of La Crosse had him at the moving spirit.  The La Crosse Republican and Leader of Tuesday contained:


“The funeral services of Hon. Niran H. Withee will be held at his late residence on Cass Street, Wednesday, July 6, at 2 p.m.  He was born in Maine June 1827, came to Wisconsin in 1852, when he at once identified himself with the great lumber interests of our state. He was for many years a partner in the leading lumber firms of our city.


Since 1879, when the firm of Hixon and Withee was dissolved, Mr. Withee retained the Clark County property, which he managed alone, with its largely increased interests, until the time of his death.  In 1882, the Island Mill Lumber Company was organized, Niran being one of its members, and holding in it a one-third interest.  Also, he held a large interest in the La Crosse National Bank.  Although owning a residence in this city, most of his time was spent in Clark County, where business interests demanded constant attention.  Soon after he went to Clark County he was elected a member of its Board of Supervisors, and was the County Treasurer from 1875 until 1882, and twice represented the county in our state legislature.  He will be greatly missed in public life to the people whose interests he so well protected.


And while by his diligence and business ability he amassed a large fortune, he was ever ready to help the struggling, ever cheerful in supplying the wants of the needy, besides giving largely to many benevolent enterprises.  Although quiet and unostentatious in his life, he left a memory full of good and noble deed, besides having won his way to the very front ranks of the enterprising prominent businessmen of our state.


He leaves a wife and three sons to deeply mourn the loss of one of the most kind of husbands and fathers.


Besides the immediate family, he leaves two brothers, County Treasurer Hiram N. Withee of Neillsville, and Levi Withee of La Crosse, and a sister, Mrs. Varney of the Town of Warner.


The death of Mr. Withee is a calamity of Northern Clark County of immeasurable extent.  Such men build empires, and by their lives set examples of honesty and industry, more valuable to the world than the wealth they leave.                                                                                             


The North Side Hotel trots to the forefront now that its barn has been landed at its destination.  The south porch was removed and the others properly braced Monday, and the hugs structure will be fairly ready to start business as we go to press.                                                                  


N. C. Foster’s sawmill has been completed and is said to be capable of cutting 200,000 feet of lumber a day, eleven hours, and is now running on that time.


(In the late 1800s, N. C. Foster maintained a lumberyard, between Clay and Oak Streets, bordered by 6th Street on the south and a railroad track to the north.  A connecting railroad spur ran from the northwest, through the lumberyard, ending along 6th and Clay.)


A 1906 photo of “The Big Store,” that was located on a Main Street corner in Fairchild.  Under the influence of N. C. Foster, the store was a well-stocked and established business during that era.



The tract of land owned by Bigelow & Co., of Washburn, is large enough for them to put a mill with a capacity of 250,000 feet per day, and it is estimated that it will take twenty years to dispose of the logs.


We are heartily in accord with the movement looking to the establishment of six years as the school age for children instead of four.  We believe that seven is the natural and better age to fix on.


We are glad to see so many of our businessmen adopting the cash basis.  They are entitled to credit for this, and we hope others will fall into line with them.


(There was a custom at that time when customers would charge their purchases throughout the year, paying the total bill in December. DZ)                                                                   


Three days more, and then cows must not run at-large in the city.  Too bad, Bossy, but can’t feed on the sidewalks any more.                                                                          


Clarique is the new prohibition drink, sanctioned by St. John of Kansas.  It cures snake-bites just as well as using whiskey straight.                                                                       


Mr. Henry Hemp of Milwaukee arrived yesterday to take Sweeney’s place on the Neillsville baseball team, which he is said to be quite capable of filling.  He has pitched for league clubs and will make the hair fly.


The crowd drawn to town Tuesday by the great Robbins Circus was nothing less than enormous.  The tent was pitched on Bacon Ridge slope, a convenient, and handy place.  The circus was fully up to its past standard, which was always high, and the street parade was very large and fine.


(The Bacon Addition was located between Grand Avenue and Oak Street, from 4th to 5th Street. DZ)


The small boys are now getting up a circus of their own, borrowing carpets, sheet, and blankets, of their mothers, for tents.


July 1942


The Otto J. Haugen post No. 73 American Legion, is cooperating in a state-wide navy recruiting campaign, which will close July 4 with a mass induction of recruits in Milwaukee.  Commander Harry Roehrborn of the local Legion post, and a navy man of World War I, will supply youths with information.                         


Sugar for church and club suppers is “out” for the duration.  


This announcement came from Leo C. Foster, ration board chairman, this week.  In an order from state headquarters, Mr. Foster was advised that no sugar is available in the July-August quota for “institutional users” unless the user serves four or more meals weekly.


“Institutional users” include churches, lodges, service clubs, and the like.


In an inquiry to the state office about how this order will affect service clubs such as the Neillsville Kiwanis Club, and the Greenwood Rotary Clubs, both of which served one meal weekly.  Mr. Foster has been advised that they are included under existing regulations.  The state office, however, said that further inquiry will be made in regard to the question of service clubs.                                                         


As the rubber salvage campaign went into extra innings this week, Neillsville bulk oil dealers reported collections for the city totaling approximately 50 tons; while collections in Granton were roughly five tons in the regulation two-week period.


However, as President Roosevelt has extended the national campaign until July 10 because of the disappointing showing of many states, gasoline service stations of this area expected the boost of their “take” to be upward of 75 tons before the close of the drive.


A few unique angles in the collection campaign were undertaken in Clark County during the last week. At Greenwood collectors held a “rubber parade” last Thursday night.  At that time the salvage of rubber was paraded through the city on trucks, trailers, and wagons to add impetus to the campaign.  In Neillsville the Adler Theater loaned its facilities to the nation-wide drive by holding a “rubber matinee,” admission: children, three pounds of scrap rubber; adults, seven pounds.


Only 219,000 tons of rubber had been collected in the nation-wide drive up to Monday, a figure considered very disappointing.  However, Wisconsin, with collections stood high above the average in its per capita collections.  The Midwest was leading in the collection drive, with the heavily populated, and now gasoline-rationed eastern states are lagging considerably behind.


(During tire rationing, I remember our family driving to town one Saturday night, in the summer, on the weekly shopping trip, when within that eight-mile drive there were three flat tires on the 1929 Dodge.  On the third flat, dad got out of the car, kicked the tire, and threw the tire-iron in frustration.  Mom quietly said, “A lot of good that did.”  My brother and I helped search the ditch, through weeds, until we found the tire-iron. The tire-iron was needed to remove the tire from the rim, in order to patch the inner tube. DZ)


George Mashin member of the old Sunny Nook school board, was elected to the enlarged district as the organization of the new Hewett-Dewhurst district was completed Monday night.  He replaces Mrs. Martha Albrecht, treasurer of the Hewettville School District.  The terms of Arno Durst, clerk, and Ray Arndt, director, members of the Hewettville District, hold over.                                


Three schools are to be operated in the new enlarged Levis School District during the next school year.  They are the Riverside, Meadow View, and Dells Dam.  The new board, elected at the meeting Monday night, is composed of William Rath of the old Meadow View School District; Arthur Opelt of the old Riverside School District, treasurer; and Harry A. Anderson of the old Dells Dam District, clerk.


The three sons of Mr. and Mrs. Casper Marty of Pleasant Ridge, Jesse 13, and Billy 6 and Bobby, 5, celebrated their birthdays with relatives Sunday night.  They received a card congratulating them on the triple birthdays, from their brother, Priv. Red Marty, Australia.                                    


Jess A. Leason was home from St. Paul, for a weekend visit with his folks, returning Tuesday noon with one of his classmates in journalism at Marquette University, whom he had not met since their graduation.


Mr. Leason’s friend had returned from Germany on the Drottingholm, having been a news announcer in Berlin for ten years.  He had been locked in his hotel room since December 7.  His release was issued through an exchange between the two nations.


The young man now is on the staff of a Chicago daily as foreign news reporter.


(December 7, 1941, was the date of the bombing of Pearl harbor and the beginning of World War II. DZ)


Atty. H. G. Haight has purchased the former Gus Hosely house on North Hewett Street, which was once occupied by Harry Hewett, a former sheriff of Clark County.  The Haight’s plan to redecorate and will move about September 11.                                                                         


A silent reminder of the days when a man could send a “substitute” to war is in the Pine Grove Cemetery, about two miles northeast of Loyal.


There is a large bronze plaque, bolted solidly to one of the large pine trees from the cemetery takes its name, tells the story of Samuel Hartford, a “soldier of 1812.”


“As a lad of 14,” the inscription reads, “he went as a substitute for his brother-in-law that his sister and her seven little ones might not be deprived of a husband, and father’s care.”


In the earlier days of American nationalism, the practice of furnishing a substitute to serve in the armed forces was a relatively common, and a highly acceptable practice.  Generally, it was the “out” for men of wealth, and the sons of the rich, who paid from a few hundred to a thousand or more dollars to someone else who would serve in their stead.


Samuel Harford, who substituted for his brother-in-law in the War of 1812, is one a few veterans of that conflict whose body rests in Clark County.  The plaque states that he served as a private in the New York militia, and was in the battle of Niagara.  He was honorably discharged September 3, 1813, and lived until August 1, 1884.


A grey-haired pioneer of the Pine Grove district revealed to Harry Roehrborn, County American Legion commander, who furnished the article to The Clark County Press, said that Samuel Hartford was the first man buried in Pine Grove Cemetery.


“We carried his body up to the top of the hill among the pines, and buried it there, be related simply to Mr. Roehrborn. 


(The Pine Grove Cemetery is located at the intersection of Spencer Road and Pelsdorf Avenue, northeast of Loyal. DZ)                                                                                          





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