Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

February 19, 1997, Page 20, Section B

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Good Old Days


By Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News of 1947


“1946 Boom Year for Marriages”


Most World War II veterans had returned home by1946 and prepared to get on with their lives as civilians.


In that year, 336 marriage licenses were recorded at the Clark County’s Clerk’s office, breaking all previous year records.


During 1944, the last war year, “business” dropped to 147 licenses.  The end of the wars was accompanied by a spurt, which went the total to 216 in 1945.  Then was the record shattering marriage boom of 1946.  June was the month that tallied the highest number of marriage applications, a total of 67.


Wood Specialties Industry in Owen


Drawing boards from Kidd Co. in Owen are used all over the United States and Canada, and to some extent in engineering and architectural offices all over the world.  They have pressed into them the letter “K”, together with figures which indicate the date of manufacture.  That letter “K” means “Kidd.”  It also speaks for the industrial activity of a man widely known in Clark County and Wisconsin for his public interest and activities.  To the people of Southern Clark County, for instance, he is known best as Republican Chairman, county and district, and as an influential member of the county board.  But in the places where drawing boards are used, the letter “K” means something else and completely businesslike.


The making of the drawing boards at Owen is really Big Business.  The volume of those is 600,000 per year.  They are produced in various sizes; the largest has a value of $2.90 for the Owen product.  The demand is now away beyond the supply of lumber for their production.  The E.W. Kidd Co. of Owen has been turning out drawing boards at the same approximate rate for years.  It is a wonder what becomes of all those drawing boards.  Evidently the world has to do a lot of drawing, and evidently the world draws mostly on Mr. Kidd’s boards.


Similarly it might be interesting to know what becomes of gum trays.  The E. W. Kidd co. has an order for 200,000 trays per year from a prominent gum manufacturing concern.  Owen just keeps right on turning out gum trays used to hold the gum while in process of manufacture; similarly with noodle, meat, and bread boards of which the production is about 200,000 per year.


The above items are used in the form produced at the Kidd plant.  But mostly the products of the E. W. Kidd Co. are incomplete.  They go elsewhere for final processing.


The Kidd Company makes the box portion of coaster wagons and ships them to the manufacturer in knocked down form.  The production of these wagon boxes at the Kidd plant is at the rate of 280,000 to 350,000 per year.


The item which runs into the greatest numbers in the Kidd plant is shoe shine blocks.  These are the wooden blocks upon which manufacturers fasten the polishing part for shining shoes.  Those go out of the Owen plant at the rate of 280,000 to 500,000 per year.


Another important item is spool heads-parts of the large reels upon which are wound industrial wire.  Of these the Kidd Co. has orders for 10,000 per week, but is able to find lumber for only about 250,000 per year.


All told, the E. W. Kidd Co. produces about two million units per year, varying in value from 13 ½ cents each to $2.90.  The greatest number is, of course, on the low cost end.


Historically, this is a relatively old business, having been organized by the Owen family in 1904 as the Owen Box and Crafting Co.   Boxes and crates were manufactured until paper boxes came along; then wood specialties were taken up.  Of the old company Kidd had been general manager for 20 years.  In 1938 he bought the plant and business, operating it since then.  The plant has been electrified and is now a modern industrial operation.


Employment at the Kidd Co. plant ranges from 75 to 150 people.


Passing of Nettie French Youmans Breaks Link with the Days of Old


The ashes of Nettie French Youmans were entered in the Neillsville Cemetery in mid January.  Internment was held in the family lot, where also rests her husband, Clarion A. Youmans, prominent lawyer, farmer and stockman of Clark County’s earlier days.


Nettie Youmans died at her home in Los Angeles, Calif., on December 23, at the age of 88 years.


Youmans personality was a link with the very early pioneering days.  Born in 1858, she was the first child of B. F. (Doc) French, a strong and picturesque pioneer, who was a lawyer, doctor and farmer.  She was born on the family farm in the Town of Levis, and presently moved to Neillsville with her parents and family.  She attended schools in Neillsville and became the bride of Clarion A. Youmans on Jan. 10, 1877.



Clarion A. Youmans, an early Clark County resident, lived on a Pleasant Ridge farm in the relative affluence of a successful lumberman, farmer and lawyer.  Practicing law in Neillsville, he became district attorney, Clark County Judge and then State Senator for the term 1894-1898.


For some time the home of Youmans’ was in the large house on Pleasant Ridge, 1 ½ miles east, of Neillsville, along Highway 10.  That was a country mansion in the early days, having been built by John S. Dore in the early 1870’s, a county superintendent of schools.  There the Youmans’ resided in the relative affluence of the successful lumberman, stock farmer and lawyer.  Nettie Youmans lived on the farm, while her ambitious land owner, husband brought into Clark County from New York, one of the first herds of registered Holstein Cattle.  One of the first, a registered English stallion ever owned in this vicinity was imported by Youmans’ who also promoted and organized the first creamery in Clark County.


Clarion Youmans died in 1906.  Nettie continued living in Neillsville until 1930 when she was invited by her sisters, Dr. Viola French DeLane and Dimple French Oakley, to travel to Los Angeles and make her home with them.  Two brothers, Dr. John French and Edwin F. French, as well as a third sister, Elva French Kemp, completed the family circle, all living in Los Angeles.


Youmans’ had three children, Guy C. of Jefferson City, MO., Viola F. of Los Angeles, and Beth, wife of Major General Clarence L. Sturdevant, of Washington, D.C.   The only local relative Robert B. French, a cousin, resided in the old French neighborhood in the Town of Levis.  The land he owned once was owned by Nettie Youman’s father, as well as the farm owned by the original Robert B. French, brother of “Doc” French.


The B. R. French home that stood where the Neillsville Public Library is located on the corner of Hewett and 5th



Streets for Coasting


The Neillsville Board of Public Works of the City of Neillsville designated the following streets as coasting hills and authorized the street commissioner to put up barricades and signs by day and flares by night to warn the public to be cautious when approaching streets:


South Oak Street – From West 2nd St. to 100 ft. North of West 5th St


South State Street – From East 1st St. to East 4th St


West 19th Street – from North Hewett St. to North Johnson St


Signed: Art Carl, Al Marg, Ernest C. Karnitz and Victor J. Anderson


Travel Greyhound


Winter traveling specials are: New Orleans, one way, $18.75 or round trip $33.70; Miami, one way, $25.65 or round trip $46.20; Los Angeles, one way $37.55 or round trip $67.60 (U.S. tax extra).  The Neillsville Bus Station is at Lewerenz Sweet Shop, Main Street, Neillsville; Phone 284


A & P Store Specials -- Eight O’clock Coffee, 3 lbs $1.03; Red Circle Coffee, 2 lbs. 75¢ and Bokar Coffee, 3 lbs. $1.15; California oranges, doz. 33¢; Crisp Head lettuce, 2 heads 23¢; Ritz Crackers, 1 lb. pkg. 31¢; A & P Raisins, 15 oz. pkg. 29¢.


H. H. Van Gorden & Sons – Buy Wildwood Egg Mash to get a profit from that flock of chickens.  New Low Prices – Wildwood Egg Mash (print bag) 100 lbs. $4.00; Wildwood Egg Mash (polka dot bag) 100 lbs. $3.80; Wildwood Egg Mash (used sack) 100 obs. $3.70.  (The print and polka dot bag’s cloth was used for sewing projects.  How many of you remember wearing dresses or aprons made from the emptied and laundered feed bags?  I can recall a pattern or two that made-up an attractive garment.)


(Transcriber’s note: I can remember my mother making dresses for us girls from the feed bag and flour bag prints, and our garter waists and under-skirts from bleached feed bags, and all our dish towels were of the bleached flour and feed bags.)


Just Arrived at the Sports Shop on W. 6th Street – Army Surplus Sweaters, 100% Wool V-Neck and all wool Dress Trousers.


Market the Eggs where you receive the High Dollar!  Bring eggs to Counsell’s Warehouse every Tuesday, 8 a.m. to 12 noon for the Armour Creameries Market.



Some desire is necessary to keep life in motion;

And he, whose real wants are supplied, must admit those of fancy.

--Dr. Johnson



A busy day for shoppers on Hewett Street, Neillsville in the 1930’s

(Photo courtesy of Clark County Historical Society’s Jail Museum)



© 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