Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

December 11, 1996, Page 32

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Good Old Days


“A Memorable Christmas”


By Dee Zimmerman



December 1896


The jail committee let the contract Thursday for rock to be used in constructing the new county jail and sheriff’s residence, to Carl and Herman Wegner for $2.15 a cord.  This is a remarkably low figure, and shows that the committee is getting the business under way to the best advantage of the county.  There were a number of other bids ranging up to as high as $3.50 a card.


J. W. Shafer of Shortville was a caller yesterday.  He is one of our, new comers, and has built a new building and put in a general store.  It is located near the Shoop store, and contains a complete stock of goods.  Mr. Shafer formerly resided at Oshkosh, is an energetic businessman.  (The business became known as the Shortville Store and remained on that site for nearly one hundred years)


During the big flood caused by the rains last week, 80 feet of the east wing of the Popple River dam was washed out.  Last summer the Paul, Coleman and Withee estate spent several hundred dollars on the dam, and it was put in excellent shape by Cy Dewy and a crew of men.  It is to their credit that the part they put in stood to the flood all right.  In the pond above the dam were several thousand feet of logs confined in booms, which rode the flood all right and staid where they had been put.  The dam will be up-raised this winter and made ready for the spring drive.


Clarence Brown and Johnnie Christie of Christie are hauling logs to the railroad.  They have a camp near Wedge’s Creek.


Thursday while Walter Graves was crossing O’Neill Creek on a log he slipped into the stream, which was then quite high.  He stood a good chance of being drowned, but managed to get out, and enjoyed his Thanksgiving bath.


Quite a number of people from this vicinity went to Fairchild Saturday to take advantage of bargains at N. C. Foster Lumber Co.’s store.


Apples are selling for $1.25 per barrel and oats is 15¢ per bushel.


A fire broke out the other day at the rear of Julius Tragsdorf’s tenement building on Fifth Street, back of the Lloyd block.  The shed was pretty badly wrecked and some damage was done to the upper rear part of the main building before the firemen got the fire under control.  Captain Hommel and his men did good work in handling the fire.  The lower level is occupied by a laundry, second floor residence of Ole Hauge. Little damage was done to contents of the building.


John Wilbur, aged 106 years, lacking one month, died recently at the home of his son, Charles, near Loyal.  He was of Dutch descent and was born in Saratoga, N.Y., in 1791.  He was the oldest person in this part of the state, and could remember many incidents of the war of 1812.  His longevity may be partially accounted for from the fact that he never indulged in stimulants or tobacco.


December 1906


J. W. Sturdevant, Clark County Pioneer passed away at the home of his son, J. F., at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. last Tuesday.

Sturdevant was one of Clark County’s pioneers, has a wide acquaintance, both on account of his personality and his increasing efforts in behalf of the county.  He was born in Warren County, Penn., in Sept. 1816.  In 1842 he immigrated with his family to Jefferson County, Iowa.  In June, 1854 he settled in Pine Valley, buying a farm from the U. S. government, and took up the occupation of farming. 


Sturdevant married Mary Anne French.  Their children were J. R. Sturdevant of Neillsville, R. F. Sturdevant of Washington and J. F. Sturdevant of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.


When Sturdevant came to Clark County he entered a practical wilderness.  He was soon recognized as an enterprising and progressive man and held many offices and positions of trust.  He was town treasurer of Clark County when it consisted of but one town, and for many years was chairman of the board of supervisors.  The eight miles of turnpike, first in the county, constituting the main part of the Black River road was built under the supervision of Sturdevant.  He was an ardent beekeeper and brought the first hive of honey bees into the county.  He was foremost in building up Clark County and was a man of progressive spirit.


Sturdevant was brought back to Neillsville for burial.


M. C. Ring, Guy Youmans and Frank Hewett are attending the stock show at Chicago.  Guy went down to investigate a milking machine, and may become a purchaser.  Guy doesn’t seem to have any particular admiration for the pretty milk maid.


December 1946


Donald Winn and his brother, Bernard has purchased the GI Cab Company, a local taxi service, from Vernon L. Guy.  Donald Winn had, until his purchase of the cab company, been plying the barber trade in Neillsville.  His brother, Bernard, has been hauling milk on a Granton route.


Harry Roehrborn of Neillsville didn’t get his buck in the deer season just past; but he had a doe momentarily last Sunday night.


Harry was driving on Highway 10 east of Snyder Park and at the same time a large doe decided to cross the road.  The doe leaped – and landed straddling the hood of the Roehrborn car.  She freed herself and was gone before Harry could much more than gasp in disbelief.


The bell of the South Side grade school rang strangely on a recent night, and rang and rang and rang.  It was late, long after school hours on Friday, Nov. 29, when there was no school in session.  The bell shouldn’t have been ringing at that time.  Some few, residing on the hill, heard it a little and wondered.  But they did not wonder enough, and did not do anything about it.


That bell was ringing because there was a man inside the school building.  He was inside and he thought that he could not get out.  He had been working there busily, not knowing he was locked in until his work was done for the day.  All the doors were locked; the windows seemed to resist his efforts to open them, too.  So with darkness falling, he went to the bell rope and rang it as a last resort – summoning help.


It seemed he rang the bell, off and on, for an hour – no one paid attention.  He watched for someone to approach the building, so he might call to them – nobody came.  The neighbors thought it a little odd; if they thought anything at all that the old recess bell should be ringing at supper time.


Finally, the prisoner gave up.  He concluded he had to go out the hard way, through a broken window.  Just how he did emerge is not a matter of record, but it was through a window and involved a fall to the ground.


The man who was locked in was Arnold Swenson, a piano tuner of Sheboygan.  Since good piano tuners are scarce, there might have been some thought that this valued gentleman had been locked in to make sure of keeping him on the job.  But that was not the way of it.



Chauncy’s Shop was on the corner of the former First National Bank and about the year 1907.  Pictured are Jim Owens, E. H. Snyder, Free Welch and Chauncy Owens.



Wolff and Korman Wagon Shop is visible in the far right side, east side of creek.  Lumber was floated down Black River in vast amounts each year eventually emptying into the lower mouth of the Mississippi River.  (Photos courtesy of Clark County Jail Museum, Neillsville)



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