HISTORY OF THE WING FAMILY
Mr. Frank B. Wing owned and operated the first drug store in Abbotsford, located at the northwest corner of Main Street and Highway 29. Born in Whitehall, Wisconsin on February 13, 1877, Mr. Wing spent his boyhood there, working at a drug store. After finishing his education-in the local schools in Whitehall, he enrolled at the School of Pharmacy, Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and graduated with the class of 1896. For a short time, Mr. Wing was a pharmacist at LaCrosse and then moved to Marshfield in 1897. He bought half interest in a drug firm known as the Allen & Wing Drug Store. He purchased out his partner a year later. Abbotsford, a little community twenty miles north of Marshfield, was fast becoming a booming railroad center being the division point of the Wisconsin Central Railroad. Mr. Wing realized that a good drug store was essential in a fast growing town so he came to Abbotsford in August of 1901. He opened the drug store that was to remain in the family until recent years when it was sold to Dan Decker.
Mr. Wing remained in Abbotsford even though the division moved to Stevens Point and the little community suffered a temporary slump. In the early pioneer days drugs were not as readily available as they are now and the pharmacist was obliged to mix the prescriptions himself. In cases of emergency (there were many), Mr. Wing returned to the store at any hour of the night to fill prescription which the doctor ordered and often arranged to have delivered to the patient. The old apothecary scale which he used is now on display at the Clark County Historical Museum in Neillsville.
Since Abbotsford lacked a stationary store, Mr. Wing arranged a counter for such supplies and most of the children bought their tablets, composition books, and pencils there as the school did not furnish these materials. Frank B. Wing Upstairs in the drugstore was a wide display of wallpaper. Anyone contemplating papering his home could be found browsing through the wallpaper samples. Another feature of the store in those early days, and of special interest to the Abbotsford young set, was the yellow gum machine. It ejected a stick of gum when a penny was inserted. An equal rival for their fancies was the round glass peanut vendor which brought forth a handful of peanuts for a penny. A large scale located in front of the store attracted the group with expanding waistlines. An assistant pharmacist was Rudy Thompson, a younger brother of Carl Thompson.
On October 21, 1903, Mr. Wing married Catherine MacMillan of Neillsville, and brought her to the home he had built. This home remained in the family down through the years until Mr. Wing's death. Mr. Wing, had preceded him in death several years earlier. Two children were born to the Wings; Mary who married Adelbert Young of Roseburg, Oregon; and J. Ben who married Alice Patrie of Owen. There are five grandchildren. Mary makes her home in Reno, Nevada and Ben lived in Marshfield, where he operated a drug store, now operated by a son, John. Ben died in 1971. On August 18, 1951, the father-son combination celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Wing's Drug Store, having operated together since 1933.
Another big event was the 50th Wedding anniversary celebrated by Mr. and Mrs. Wing in October of 1953. Mr. Wing realized that as the years went by and the early settlers of the vicinity passed away that unless someone made an attempt to write the history of Abbotsford, it would soon fade away. Mr. Wing contacted living settlers and surviving relatives in order to write the history. Historical articles appeared in the local paper during the years 1952-1953, written by F. B. Wing and sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. In later years, Mr. and Mrs. Wing spent many winters in Phoenix, Arizona where F. B. Wing and Carl Thompson, a former Abbotsford resident, met frequently on the golf course. Mrs. Wing died May 8, 1959 followed by Mr. Wing on June 25, 1964. The Wing name has been identified with the drug business and a father-and-son team in this part of Wisconsin for 67 years.
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