History: Anniversary of Willard, Wisconsin's Settlement

Contact: Janet@wiclarkcountyhistory.org


Surnames: Cesnik, Foster, Klarich


----Source: Marshfield News Herald  Saturday 28 March 1936,  Page 7




Inhabitants Planning Huge Celebration for 30th Anniversary

Neillsville--On March 27, 1908, 28 years ago, the first advance guard of Jugo-Slovenians came to Clark County, settling in what is now known as Willard, in the town of Hendren.

At that time, Hendren township was a part of Eaton, but the land was practically all owned by the Foster Lumber company.  The leader of the advance guard, Ignace Cesnik, who still remains a power in Hendren life, came from Chicago, taking an option on about 5,000 acres of cut-over land owned by the lumber company.

All From Chicago

With a few others of the advance guard of Jugo-Slovenians, Mr. Cesnik built the first buildings near Willard, and soon they were joined by others of that nationality, all of whom came from Chicago.  An industrious class of people, there new arrivals soon hewed out of the cut-over lands, liveable farm lands.

Today, the township of Hendren ranks near the top of Clark county agriculture, and the farms and buildings in the township are unsurpassed by any other county township.  From the small advance guard, the population of Hendren has grown to near the thousand mark.

Twenty-eight years ago, the Foster Lumber company was till in the hey-day of its logging enterprises and the lumber company had its headquarters at Fairchild, and operated its own railway, the Fairchild and Northeastern, running between Fairchild and Greenwood.

Plan Homecoming

In honor of Will Foster, a member of the lumber company family and engineer, the town of Willard was named after him, and here the business life of the Jugo-Slovenian agriculturists is centered.  Today all that remains of the railroad is the road bed, the tracks having been pulled up years ago when logging ended.

Two years from now, according to Mr. Cesnik, the 30th anniversary of the settling of the Jugo-Slovenians in Hendren, will be celebrated in regular style and pomp by the natives and this occasion promises to be a big day in the lives of the Willard and Hendren citizens.

The homecoming will bring back for a day, many hundreds of the younger generation who have gone elsewhere.  At Sheboygan, a number of these have formed a colony on the south side of the city, and Chicago has drawn heavily from the younger generation of the Hendren people.

Klarich is Chairman    

The town of Hendren is ably represented on the Clark county board by its chairman, Martin Klarich, and no township in Clark county has a more sincere and fiery representative on the county board than has Hendren.

The village of Willard lies about 20 miles northwest of Neillsville, the county seat, on county trunk G.




© Every submission is protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.


Show your appreciation of this freely provided information by not copying it to any other site without our permission.


Become a Clark County History Buff


Report Broken Links

A site created and maintained by the Clark County History Buffs
and supported by your generous donations.


Webmasters: Leon Konieczny, Tanya Paschke,

Janet & Stan Schwarze, James W. Sternitzky,

Crystal Wendt & Al Wessel