News: Unity - Centennial (Oldest Couple - 1974)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Mellenthin, Riplinger, Ault, Yonker, Kuesel, Pickett, Neuman, Wichman

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 9/19/1974

Town of Unity – Centennial (Oldest Couple - 1974)

It was in April of 1874, when a few hardy pioneers took over the task of stabling a new town – Unity. In 1915 the first town hall came into being. By that time Osborne was a thriving hamlet somewhat in the center of the township, where the Soo Line Railroad cut through corner-ways.

Lumbering had furnished employment for many early settlers who worked either in the woods or the saw mills. The high waters in the spring thaws furnished transportation on the Popple River to the Black River to get the lumber to the market. Later the railroad was important.

Osborne lost its name to another in the state, when the postoffice was established. Fred Riplinger was the first postmaster and so it was named Riplinger. Now neither Osborne nor Riplinger have a postoffice listed in Wisconsin.

Through the efforts of various organizations including the Homemakers, the 4-H clubs, St. John’s Lutheran congregation, and the Town of Unity officers, plans were laid to celebrate the event earlier in September.

Weather was ideal for the morning worship held on the lawn of St. John’s Church. Seating capacity was more than doubled and the air of an old-fashioned camp meeting set the mood for the day. Only a few extension cords and amplifiers modernized the service. The Rev. David Ault chose a fitting theme for his sermon. The Yonker brothers sang several selections, and Mrs. Henry Kuesel was the organist for the congregational singing.

Through the years only two farms have remained in the same family. The present owners, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Pickett, and Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Neuman, were presented with plaques. Others who have had the land in the family for 80 or more years also were called to the platform for recognition.

The oldest couple in the town were named King and Queen of the centennial. They were Mr. and Mrs. Emil Mellenthin, who were also presented with a plaque marking the event.

Throughout the day names of the adults were drawn for prizes. At noon a potluck picnic dinner was served with a pie and ice cream social throughout the afternoon. Other refreshments were also available.

The afternoon games and contests were held on the Orville Wichman property, the site of the former Soo Grove School, which joins the church property.

Throughout the day visitors could look over a display of antiques, and relics in the basement of the church. From the list of names in the guest book, and an estimate of children, a total of some 600 were in attendance for the day, including several from out-of-state.



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