May 13, 2020, Page 9 

Contributed by "The Clark Co. Press"

Extracted by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 




Clark County News


May 1880


Myers Brothers have come to the conclusion that nothing’s too good for them and are giving the interior of their drug store a complete renovation. The ceiling is to be embellished with a coat of French white linen, the walls back of the shelving will be painted pink, and the outer edge of the shelves India red, while the moulding will be black with a gold border. When finished there will be no neater establishment to be found than Myers Brothers.


Straw hats and linen dusters were brought into requisition for the first time this season on Sunday, May 2, being very comfortable too, as the thermometer here indicated 84 degrees in the shade.


Several of the planets of our solar system will soon be in perihelion. Tornadoes, storms and violent weather are prophesied as consequences to be expected. Friday night, between the hours of seven and eight o’clock, one of the heaviest hailstorms ever witnessed in this region passed over here. Hailstones of four inches were picked up here after the storm. Mr. S.C. Boardman of Hemlock informs us that he picked up hail stones there half an hour after the storm that measured 3-1/2 inches in diameter.


At about 11 o’clock one evening, recently, Sheriff Houston, accompanied by officers Tolford, Cawley and Hommel, made a raid on Ike’s house of ill fame on the west side of the river and arrested all the inmates, six women, Ike, his wife and two men. The whole gang was brought over, the men placed in the “slab-board” lock-up and the women in the jury rooms of the courthouse in charge of an officer.


Attention people of the Loyal vicinity; you are called to the fact that we have just opened a large stock of General Merchandise comprising Dry Goods, Groceries, Boots and Shoes, Hats and Caps, plus much more, which we offer at as low rates as any dealers in Clark County. Your patronage is respectfully solicited: Hartford & Allen of Loyal.


Cullen Ayers, Wm. Dutcher and Phil Rossman, who have just been in town, all say they are going to take in the veterans’ reunion at Milwaukee. Quite a large delegation from Greenwood and north of there will join the throng of thousands that will gather in Milwaukee to commemorate the days of our late civil strife, in which so many took a part and to cherish the memory of the fallen. While the boys in blue, or their descendants live, the old flag, the proudest banner that floats over any nation, will forever be a rock of defense to internal or external foe.


News from North Fork:


The most sudden and saddest case of sickness and death that has ever taken place in this settlement and which is truly heart-rending in its nature, resulting as it did in the death of all the children of Mr. and Mrs. J.S. Boardman, and a son of Mr. J. Klemmer, also of North Fork. All the victims died of diphtheria and lived but a short time after they were taken sick. Charley Hooker Boardman, died on the 14th at one a.m., aged two years and seven days. Daniel Senica, died on the 14th at four a.m., aged four years and one month. Lydia Maud, died on the 15th at seven o’clock p.m., aged ten years and eleven months. Mabel, died on the 16th at one o’clock a.m., aged seven years and two months. Willie Klemmer died on the 17th, at eleven o’clock a.m., aged seventeen years. The children were all buried in the cemetery at North Fork. A few days ago, John Curey, an old employee of the Eau Claire Lumbering Company, was killed on the dam of the North Fork, on the Eau Claire River. On the third of May, the schoolhouse in joint district No. 1, of the Towns of Thorp and Hixon was opened to scholars. On the first of the month, at North Fork post office, contracts were given for work to be done on the several highways in township 29, range 3 west.


May 1940


Scurrying about in snowsuits and babushkas, Neillsville youngsters enjoyed May-Day in a bitter cold northwest gale. The temperature fell as low as 28 degrees above zero that day.


An Unforgettable Thrill: David O. Selznick’s production of Margaret Mitchell’s Story of the Old South “Gone With The Wind,” in Technicolor starring Clark Gable as Rhett Butler, Leslie Howard, Olivia DE Havilland and presenting Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara. Mail Orders Accepted Now! Tickets $1.25 each. While this engagement is limited its production will not be shown anywhere except at advance prices, at least until 1941.


Francis Ridste, a native of Fairchild, has climbed the ladder to Hollywood success. This news came with the release of “One Million B.C.,” a picture showing the world at the dawn of time. Miss Ridste, who henceforth will be known as Carole Landis, has the leading feminine role.


The Hiawatha School in the town of Levis held its picnic at the schoolhouse Sunday. Several games and contests gave plenty of entertainment. In the afternoon Miss Rice and Henry Dahnert planted 100 two-year-old white pine trees in a plot for a future hedge.


Special! 6.00x16 Goodyear Tires, $6.95, each. Silent Yardman Lawn Mowers, only $12, At Stelloh’s, in Neillsville.


Jimmie’s Tavern, it’s the place where old friends meet to spend an enjoyable evening. The best of refreshments served at all times. There’s card playing and dancing every night. Fish Fry served after every successful fishing trip.


Jim Syth, owner. Located on Hwy. 73, 4-1/2 miles south of Greenwood.


John Marincic punched a big, gnarled hand into a trouser pocket and jingled a few loose coins.


To the broadly smiling John, of Willard, as to many other early settlers of the countryside reaching out from here, this is significant; for his experience has been so much like that of nearly every one of the original band who pioneered this area.


They came here broke, or, at least badly bent. They found fields covered with rocks, stumps and brush. They came with nothing; they found nothing, and now John jingles coins together in his pocket.


For a few years John worked catch-as-catch-can in the flour and steel mills of South Chicago. Twelve hours of back-breaking labor brought just $1.25. Then his health gave out, and through Ignac Cesnik, a schoolmate in old Austria, he learned of Willard. Mr. Cesnik was the land agent for the Willard territory, succeeding Mr. L.E. Claire to that position after Mr. Claire’s death.


The doctor had ordered country air and outside work. Willard offered these; but John did not expect the quantity of each that he got. Leaving his family behind, he struck out for the new land.


“And when I got there,” he recalled last week, “I found a depot, and brush.”


He had just three dollars, three of the big, green bills used at that time. But there was no place to spend money; so, John didn’t have to worry about it. As it happened, this was fortunate. For three months he carried the three bills loose in his overall pocket. When he tramped over the N.C. Foster Lumber Company’s railway tracks to Greenwood for the first time, he carried in his pocket the remains of those three bills, each worthlessly worn to pulp.


As he re-called this to mind, John stopped a moment. Then he sized up the situation:

“It was easy to come here; but it was next to impossible to scrape together enough to get back. It was probably a good thing, though, for now we,” and he indicated others of the early settlers, as well as himself, “have nice farms, good homes, and we’re making a living.”


When he arrived in Willard in 1911, Anton Trunkel, Anton Zupancic, John (Happy) Routar, and one or two others formed the entire settlement. John took on an acre of land, located near the present site of the Willard State Graded School, and adjoining the home of Mrs. L.E. Claire, widow of the first land agent. She remains there today.


Although the old-timers of Willard mutter in their whiskers about the brush that covered the land, it offered many of them their first chance for a livelihood in the new country. The land had to be cleared to make it tillable and many turned to the work of clearing, at $8 an acre.


Brush fires set up a glow in the heavens as they worked, for the firing was done at night. “We cut in the day, and we burned at night,” John said. “And by working day and night we would come out even at a dollar a day.”


Somehow, between clearing jobs, John was able to build a house and a small barn on his Willard acre. He was given credit for the lumber, and when he had finished the frame buildings, he owed exactly $244. It took three years’ work of clearing to wipe out that debt and to have his home really his own.


After a year, Mrs. Marincic and the three children, Albina, Donnie and Rudolph, arrived in Willard. They lived there for the next two years and the community already was picking up its ear, showing signs of becoming a community center.


Roads were unknown in that section, though, and the closest food supply was at Greenwood, eight miles through brush or over railroad ties. Many were the times that early settlers walked the railroad ties or struck out through the brush for Greenwood. And many were the times they returned at night with a 100-pound pack of provisions on their backs.


With five mouths to feed, John began to see where he would have a tough wrestle with the wolf, at $8 a day clearing. So, in 1914, when he was offered an opportunity to trade his Willard home for 40 acres three miles north and west, he jumped at the chance.


The 40 offered was the property of the Catholic Church and had been given to the church by N.C. Foster, the lumberman whose woodsmen had gone over the land with axe, saw and log trains. The church had wanted to raffle the land; but the state jumped in solidly with both feet and prevented such action on grounds that it was a lottery.


So, there John was, with a family of five and 40 acres with nothing on it except brush and stone. And without a single farm tool with which to work, how could the land be quickly cleared?


Those were dark days, to be sure. But the family made out, as most families of the area have, by working hard and long, and by making what money they could get together to go as far as possible. The lack of tools did not mean a great deal at that time, for the Slovenian farmer and his family had not learned to depend on them. Everything was done by hand, even to spinning and hand-weaving of cloth, and the mowing in the fields.


It cost nearly $100 an acre to clear the land, John said, and after that was done the rocks remained in the fields. “We plowed with a single ox then,” he continued, “and we would plow a day or two, and spend the next week picking stones.”


During those early years while the rough land was being slowly subdued, and before roads were built, those children who went to school attended first at Willard. In the case of the Marincic family, the children cut cross-country through the brush for the schoolhouse. “And many is the time,” John recalled, “that I had gone out at night looking for the children, afraid that they had become lost.”


Through twists of fickle fortune, John lost heavily in his early years with the farm; and at one time he owed $4,400. But today that debt has been wiped out; he owns 120 acres, including the original 40; he has 32 head of cattle and is milking 21 of them; he is 65 years old and has his health; he has a sense of humor, which has helped him through the difficult years; and he can jingle coins in his pocket, where once no coin could long remain.


This is the story of John Marincic; but it could well be a saga of Willard.



Shown here is the Willard train depot and pickle station, built in 1910. Trains traveled through on their way from Fairchild to Owen. According to an account by Steve Plautz on, “Mr. [Ig} Cesnik came to Willard every day to meet the train. He picked up an newcomer that was interested in buying land. Trains came here about 7:30 a.m.; they had left Fairchild about 6:30 a.m.”





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