Clark County, Wisconsin
Bruce Mound Winter Sports Area
From Forest to Farm (Dewhurst, Levis, Sherwood
& Washburn Townships); provided by "The
125 Years of History
of Trow; by
was named for Alvin S. Trow, a lumberman who lived
in Merrillan in the 1880's and 90's. He owned Wakefield,
Trow & Co., who operated a sawmill on Lower Lake
southeast of Merrillan and had extensive camps in
the area of Dewhurst that was known as Trow. His
company operated a steam driven "tram" up into their
pinery and also had a line into Merrillan that intersected
with the Green Bay & Minnesota. Although references
to it in the newspaper were of a "tram" a section
of rail that was found in that area indicates it
may have been a regular logging railroad with iron
rails, and if so, would have been the first such
operation in Wisconsin (but a friend and I were
never able to prove it to the satisfaction of the
"authorities"). I would presume there might have
been some farms in the area and a map of Clark County
from around the turn of the century does show a
siding and some type of structure, probably a passenger
shelter at the Trow location, which is where the
road running north from the Arnold Creek bridge
on Hwy. 95 hits the old Omaha Marshfield Branch
roadbed. Mr. Trow was also one of the first cranberry
growers in the Millston area and owned lands there.
He had a large dairy farm north of Merrillan. He
was elected to the Wisconsin Assembly from Jackson
County for several terms. Prior to living in Merrillan,
he was from Oshkosh and operated a flour mill and
a steamboat line on the Fox River.
His was the distinction of running the last log
drive on the Black River as he had a mill in La
Crosse also. I don't believe there ever was a post
office at Trow though.
Clark County, Wisconsin History
There are also a number of community center and
railroad sidings which bear local names. Some of
them were formerly post offices. West Bridge
Junction is in Thorp Township, at the point
where the Otter Creek Stub branches from the
Stanley, Merrill and Phillips Railroad. Omaha
Junction is in Fremont Township, where the Omaha
crosses the St. Paul Railroad. Sydney, Tay and
Trow are stopping places on the Omaha, between
Neillsville and Merrillan. Gorman's and Owego
are shipping points on the Fairchild &
Northeastern in Hendren Township. Mentor is a
shipping point on the same road in Mentor
Township. Coxie is a shipping point on the same
line, in Section 6, Beaver. Irene, Nevens and
Dewhurst are inland centers in Dewhurst
Township. Pleasant Ridge is an inland center
in Grant, Snow, between Lynn and Fremont,
Carlisle, between Levis and Washburn, and Ralph
in Hoard. Cedarhurst in Fremont, and Kurth in
Grant are shipping points on the Omaha. Boynton
and Sawyers Siding in Lynn are shipping points
on the St. Paul. Weston's Rapids and
Staffordsville are early abandoned villages
north of Neillsville.
When Mrs. Bella French, editor of the
American Sketch Book, came to Neillsville in
1875 to give it a write-up she had an
opportunity to meet and talk with a few of the
men who built themselves into the early history
of Clark County. Of course, she met the senior
James O’Neill, the founder, who was then 65
years of age. She met B. F. (Doc) French, who
seems to have been a close second to the founder
in prominence. She met
Dewhurst, for whom the town of Dewhurst was
named; James Hewett who lives in the name of the
main business Street of Neillsville; Robert
Ross, whose name lives in Ross Eddy down the
Black River; F. G. Cawley, for whom Cawley Creek
Clark Co. Press, Feb 1946
Clark County lies practically half way between
the equator and the North Pole. The north line
of the county reaches almost to the forty-fifth
parallel of latitude. It consists of 34
congressional townships, being seven townships
wide, with the southwestern township set out
into Jackson County. Clark County contains 1,224
square miles. With the new Town of Dewhurst
which will be duly organized in the spring,
there will be thirty towns in the county. The
incorporated cities are Neillsville, Greenwood
and Colby. Half of Colby however lies in
Marathon County. The incorporated villages are
Abbotsford, Loyal, Thorp, Withee and Dorchester.
Clark Co. Press, Feb. 1902
There will be several acres of strawberries set
out in the Bruce Mound area this spring.
Strawberries are at home in that part of the
country and the Town of Dewhurst got credit for
the best berries shipped from Merrillan last
Clark Co. Press, Mar 1906
May, 1938--The five veterans of the War of 1812,
buried in Clark County are, Capt. John French, buried
in the Neillsville cemetery; Capt. Joseph Finley,
in the Town of Dewhurst but which cemetery is not
certain; Jacob Chesley, in Colby cemetery; Samuel
Hartford, in Pine Grove cemetery, Loyal and Bartemus
Brooks, Lynn cemetery.
Bright Feather, an Indian buried in the Town of
Dewhurst, was listed as an “Omaha scout” during
the Civil War.
January, 1948--The group, with whoever else wishes
to help, plans to establish a real slide on Bruce
Mound, in the Town of Dewhurst, for next year. The
area contemplated for the Bruce Mound slide is said
by these people to be one of the finest in this
section of the state. Clark Co., Press
first wolf bounty of this year has been claimed
by Frank Lipkie of Augusta. He brought five
mature timber wolves into the office of County Clerk
Mike Krultz, Jr., to make the bounty claim.
He shot them in the Town of Dewhurst on December
30. This is the largest group of wolves brought
in by a single man in one day in the memory of old
courthouse hands. The bounty is $20 per wolf,
paid by the state. So Mr. Lipkie stands to get $100
for the five.
LAKE ARBUTUS DROWNING
East Fork arm of Lake Arbutus, whose bosom is seldom
at rest beneath the fleeting spirit of winds that
play across its black depths, gathered in the lives
of three young Neillsville men Sunday morning when
their frail boat was washed under by the cold waves
that rolled in from the west. A fourth passenger,
Donald Dixon, 16-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest
Dixon, reached shore and safety after a spectacular
swim of a quarter mile.
Harold Norman Lipkie, 19-year-old son of Mr. and
Mrs. Henry Lipkie, football star and high school
Harry Claude Westphal, 19-year-old son of Mr. and
Mrs. Claude Westphal.
Harold Wilson Frantz, 19-year-old son of Mr. and
Mrs. Henry Frantz, and 1933 graduate of the Neillsville
The bodies were recovered Monday after two days
of intensive effort in which dozens of volunteers
manned boats and assisted in dragging the area where
the tragedy occurred.
Funeral arrangements for the victims are as follows:
Westphal, services from the home at 1:30 p.m. and
at 2 p.m. Wednesday from St. John’s Lutheran Church.
Harold Frantz, services from the Lowe Funeral Home
at 1:30 p.m. and from the Zion Reformed Church at
2 p.m. Thursday.
Harold Lipkie, services at 2 p.m. Friday from the
deaths of the boys, which were a terrific shock
to the entire community, occurred as they were returning
from the island in the mouth of the East Fork where
they had spent several hours hunting ducks.
The young men had gone to the lake Saturday evening,
staying overnight at the Boy Scout camp. About
3:30 a.m. they arose and crossed to the island in
an old boat which they found a year or two ago and
had made use of at frequent intervals since.
8 a.m., having killed eight ducks, the boys decided
to return to the mainland, setting out from the
northeast corner of the island. A brisk wind
had sprung up from the west and was chopping the
surface of the lake, the waves running two feet
high. As the craft reached open water the
waves began pounding the side. Before the
boys could get the boat headed with the wind a wave
swept over the side and flooded the bottom.
In attempting to shift their weight to get the boat
on an even keel the boat rolled over, hurling the
four youths into the icy water.
good swimmers the boys remained calm, holding their
guns in one hand and clinging to the boat with the
other. For a few seconds they talked over
their plight. Donald Dixon who had often swum
the distance between the island and mainland while
with the Boy Scouts, volunteered to swim for shore
and get help, telling his companions to drop their
guns and hang to the boat.
use of his Boy Scout training, in which boys are
taught to undress themselves in the water, Donald
removed his heavy hunting coat. Fearing that
his water soaked sweater might prove hard to get
off over his head and perhaps smother him, Donald
left that on and permitted himself to sink beneath
the surface while he struggled to get his heavy
hunting boots off. The strings, however, were
knotted and after a vain effort to get them untied,
he rose to the surface and started on the long swim
we fell in the boys acted calm and we talked for
several seconds,” said Donald when interviewed Tuesday
afternoon at his home where he was ordered to remain
in bed by his doctor until danger of contracting
pneumonia had passed. “Somebody said, ‘What
are we going to do?’ and we said, ‘we’ll hang onto
the boat.’ I said I would swim for shore and get
help. After telling the boys to drop their
guns I started out. As I left I heard Harry
say, ‘there goes my gun.’
didn’t mind the cold water, but I was swimming hard
and when about 100 feet from shore, I began to get
tired and my head kept going under. I turned
over on my back and floated, letting the waves carry
me in toward shore. About fifteen or twenty
feet from shore I began swimming again. That
distance was the longest part of my swim.
It seemed like an eternity and I thought I wouldn’t
be able to make it. Finally I touched bottom
and crawled onto shore. As I looked back toward
the boat I could see that two of the boys were missing,
Harry yelled to me and said, ‘So long, Don – get
help quick.’ Then he went down.
ran down to the William Campman cottage and gave
the alarm. Mr. Campman got out his boat
and we started back to where the boys sank.
After searching for some time Mr. Campman insisted
that I go back to shore and get warm. I got
into my car and drove to the H.L. Brown cottage
up the river a short distance where the Browns provided
me with warm clothing and gave me first aid.
Mr. Brown jumped in his car and drove to the W.L.
Smith cottage, where Mr. Smith called the telephone
operator at Neillsville.”
fire siren was sounded and a large crowd gathered
at the city hall where the news of the drownings
was learned. Volunteer and L. Morris, in charge
of Red Cross work here, loaded all available life
saving equipment into cars and started for the lake.
Within a few minutes men in boats with drag lines
were combing the lake.
great quantity of heavy rope was gathered from farmers,
Stelloh Bros. and at Hatfield, which was tied together
and stretched from the mainland to the island.
Boats were spaced along the rope at short intervals
and after dragging an area the rope was moved a
few feet and the dragging resumed. The men
in the boats suffered much from the raw wind and
wet hands, but continued without interruption until
darkness Sunday night. Numerous sunken logs
and debris were hooked and brought to the surface,
but it was not until 11:40 a.m. Monday that the
first body was recovered, which was that of Claude
Westphal. In the boat which recovered the
Westphal body were Melchoir Hoesly, Jr., Walter
Brown and Harland Kintzele. Harold Frantz’
body was recovered at 2:30 by Melchoir Hoesly, Jr.,
Emil Matson and an Indian whose name was not learned.
Harold Lipkie’s body was recovered at 3:45 by H.L.
Brown and Emil Matson. The three bodies lay
within 15 feet of each other and at the point where
the boat capsized.
Press had difficulty in learning the names of all
those who took part in the recovery work, but among
them were Robert Rush, Lewis Bradbury, Harry Wasserberger,
Marvin Eide, Harry Donahue, Walter Brown, H.L. Brown,
P. M. Warlum, Leslie Yorkston, Harland Kintzele,
William Campman, Dr. M. C. Rosekrans, L. Morris,
W. B. Tufts, Herbert Smith, Ralph True of Minneapolis,
Robert Wagner, Everett Wildish, Clifford Elliott,
Irve Henry of Wis. Rapids, William Schiller, G.
H. Lowe, Johnny Matson, Bert Pollnow, Curtiss Zschernitz,
Herbert Arndt, and Roy Schmedel. There were
many others and the Press regrets that it is unable
to supply all of the names. The men who braved
the cold weather deserved the highest praise for
their ceaseless work, which continued from shortly
after the accident until darkness Sunday and from
5:30 a.m. on Monday until the last body was found
at 3:45 p.m. Monday.
Boy Scouts, under their new leader Jake Hoesly,
supplied hot coffee and sandwiches to the men Sunday.
The Scouts on duty were Arnie Schwellenbach, Robert
Unger, Jack Zimmerman, Lloyd Brunzel, Dwayne Nehs,
James Hell, Dale Elliott, Martin Zilisch Jr., and
James Elliott. Mr. W. L. Smith Sr., and Mrs.
Geo. Zimmerman assisted the boys.
hot coffee and food was served at the William Campman
cottage by Mrs. William Campman, Mrs. L. H. Howard,
Mrs. A. L. Devos, Mrs. W. B. Tufts and Mrs. George
Zimmerman. The food was supplied by the Red
Morris as chairman of the Red Cross expressed his
gratitude to the people who assisted and praised
the work of the Northern States Power Co., which
at the direction of Clifford Elliott, manager, placed
its life saving equipment and men at the service
of the men directing the recovery work. In
this connection it is pointed out that at any time
a disaster or accident occurs the Northern States
Power Co. stands ready to lend its men and life
saving….(last bit was on a page I did not have).
Neillsville Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., Wis.);
A 1938 Visit to
the Hatfield Dam
The Schwarze sisters,
Dorothy (left) and Lorraine (right).
Return to the Dewhurst
Twp. Main Site