Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

July 9, 1997, Page 32

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


In the Good Old Days


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News of 1887


The tract of pine owned by Biglow & Co., of Washburn, is large enough for them to put up a saw mill with a capacity of 250,000 feet per day, and it is estimated that it will take twenty years to finish the project.


Marshfield has ordained that no wooden buildings shall be erected within the fire limit of the city.  Well, and wisely done, Marshfield.  May Neillsville make a similar law?  The council will be upheld in such an enactment.  The “wooden period” of a town usually ends up in a woeful state.  Let us take our wisdom in trust, and not by way of bitter experience.


The Black River boom will close this week, the boom and channel being clear to the last moveable log.  This run may amount to 15,000,000, but will go no higher.  Crews are engaged in sacking into the middle of the channel, but the water is so low that logs cannot move until the river rises, although a small raise will bring a good jag of logs. 


The Hon. Niran H. Withee passed away on July 2, 1887. 


Withee was a leading Black River lumberman.  He was born in Norridgewock, Mass., in 1827.  In 1852, he came to La Crosse, and moved to Clark County in 1870.  Since, he has been closely identified with the logging interests of Black River, and his time has been divided between La Crosse, Neillsville and the river.  He has been a prominent figure in all the progressive business movements of the Black River Valley, in the lumber and flooding dam companies.  He did much to shape the policy and manage the affairs of Clark County.  He served as county treasurer from 1875 until his brother, Hiram, succeeded him in 1882.  He represented the assembly district two terms in legislature, with integrity and respect.  At the time of his death, he had a crew of men at work building a large stave mill at Hemlock, where he has a large grist mill and owns a princely amount of real estate.  It is believed he owned more land in this county than any other individual holder at this time.  It is estimated that he leaves a million dollars worth of property.  The Island Mill property of La Crosse was a financial boost for Withee’s other investments.


The death of Niran Withee is a loss to Northern Clark County, of immeasurable extent.  Men such, as Withee, build empires and by their lives, set examples.


July 1932


This week James Neville demonstrated that he is an artist with a broadax when he used that instrument to dig part of a cellar and smooth the walls for the basement of a new house his brother, William Neville, will build at West Twelfth and Johnson Streets.  The walls were hewed as smooth as a planed surface and no mark of the ax shows anywhere.  Neville, who has been in the timber and saw mill business all his life, is an expert in his work.  In the job of digging the basement, he did not strike one stone with the ax, Neville stated.


An old fashioned “raising bee” at the Pinecrest Golf course Sunday made fine progress on the new club house, the entire framework being constructed during the day.  Mrs. Ernest Snyder, assisted by club members, served an exceptionally fine dinner for 57 workers and their families.


The previous golf course record of 32 was broken at Riverside Golf Course, when J. W. Ferris, of Beverly, Mass., shot a 28.  Playing with Kurt Listeman and his wife, Sunday, Ferris had a hole in one on the 8th hole, 215 yards, which helped achieve the record breaking 28 score at the Dells Dam area course.



An impressive and pretty wedding took place at Zion Reformed Church south of Granton at 2 p.m. June 26, when Miss Esther Braatz, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Herman Braatz, became the bride of Rev. Franklin Albrecht, son of Mr. and Mrs. William F. Albrecht of Burlington, Wis.  At the same time the silver wedding ceremony for the bride’s parents was solemnized.  An address for the bride and groom was made by Rev. A. Diemer and a similar address for the parents was given by Rev. J. G. Buth, who also performed the double ceremony, and the double ring service.


The maid of honor was Miss Anna Albrecht, and bridesmaids were Miss Helen Braatz and Miss Edna Kurth.  Best man was Erwin Braatz, and other attendants were Victor Braatz and Otto Schuetze.


The attendants for Mr. and Mrs. Braatz were Mr. and Mrs. Carl Braatz and Mr. and Mrs. Clayton Hubbard, their attendants of 25 years ago.


Anton F. Hein, well known as Tony in the Clark County area during his early life, died June 18 at Grand Rapids, Minn.


Born in Brown County in 1870, he came with his family to Greenwood in 1884 and the next year they moved to Neillsville where his father, John Hein, Sr., engaged in the stave and heading business in Neillsville and at Heintown, Town of York.  Tony kept books for the firm of Hein & Beaulieuand, (and) Hein & Meyer.  Both businesses existed under those names for a number of years. 


In 1890, Hein married Miss Maude Stafford. They lived here until 1897 when they moved to what is now Rusk County and established a stave and heading business, and also founded the village of Tony which was named after him.


His wife, Maude, passed away in 1900.  They had two children, Joseph (deceased) and Helene.  He married Therese Godfrey in 1906.


Funeral services were held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Neillsville, burial in the family lot at St. Mary’s Cemetery.


Neillsville’s hospitality in feeding hoboes appears to be getting results.


For the period from Oct. 1 of last year to June 1 this year, 750 “floaters” have been fed by the city, according to Fred Rossman, chief of police.  About two-thirds of these men were given two meals and the balance one meal.


In the same period 1930-31, the total of hoboes fed by Neillsville totaled only 150, it was reported.


Many of the floaters have a circuit over which they travel, reappearing at intervals at the towns where they know they will be well fed.


(Hoboes were commonly seen in the Depression years, circa 1930:


The homeless, jobless men traveled by railroad, hopping onto empty freight cars, avoiding the conductor’s attention as a ticket was supposed to be purchased by passengers riding the train.  Some even risked “riding the rail,” the under carriage rods which were but a few inches above the track, laying across the rods between the noisy, rattling steel wheels which rolled over the rails.


The hoboes had a marking system to be recognized by their fellow travelers.  They would carve words or draw symbols on posts or fences at the edge of a village near the railroad track, indicating where they would be able to find hand-outs of food.  Some were willing to do odd jobs in exchange for a meal.


They would seek shelter in empty outbuildings, under bridges or asked permission to sleep on the hay in a farmer’s barn.


For some, living as a nomad became a way of life, staying in one area permanently was hard for them (to) adjust to.)


A very pretty wedding took place at the Globe Ev. Lutheran Church, 2 p.m., June 29, when Miss Gertrude Gress, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Sherman Gress, became the bride of Herman J. Hagedorn, son of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Hagedorn. 


The bride was attended by Miss Nelda Hagedorn.  The bridegroom was attended by Mr. Verland Anding.


After the ceremony, a very fine wedding dinner was served at the home of the bride’s parents.  The dinner was attended by 80 guests.


The home and bridal car were decorated in blue and white crepe paper with large white bells.


The bride has been employed as stenographer at the Neillsville Milk Products Company.  The groom has spent most of his life on the family farm; for the last few years he has been employed as a milk hauler.


The young couple will reside near Globe.


Area residents voted for the 1932 Neillsville School District levy to be set at $21,000 at the annual meeting, $6,000 under that of last years.


Pen Picus Style Shop of Neillsville puts on a sale starting July 14; Ladies wash dresses – 59 cents; ladies hats – 48 cents to $2.48; ladies voile dresses, all going at 79 cents each; children’s dresses, silks, prints and voiles, $1.48 to $2.89.  Jewelry; earrings and beads 29 cents!


Clarence Heil Maytag Co., Neillsville, features Maytag’s newest finest washing machine, with square cast-aluminum over-sized tub, roller water remover wringer, and life-time quality in every part-only $26.

A noted lumberman of Clark County and business developer of the late 1800s, James L. Gates, left his mark here in various ways.  The west side of the 500 block of Hewett Street is referred to as the Gates block, the block where Gates started the Neillsville Bank in 1879.


Daniel Gates, father of James, built their family home on the corner of Grand Avenue and Division Streets, the southwest corner, circa 1870.  After being in the Gates family for a number of years, the Stanton family purchased the home and property in 1937.  Stanton was a livestock dealer in the area.  Stanton’s daughter, Donna (Erickson) Robinson, became the owner after her parents’ death and now has recently sold the house and land.  Before the house was razed, Robinson’s removed an artifact from the house – a door with J. L. Gates Signature, the date June 12, 1870 and Neillsville written on a lower panel.


Last week’s “Good Olde Days” page included a 1936-1937 Happy Hollow School photo with some students not identified, so it is being re-run with all students’ names.  Left to right: first row, Jake Moller, Jr., Elaine Krause and Elaine Kroll; second row, Donnie Reindel, Jerry Johnson and Lois Ayers; third row, Loren Julinski, Wilmer Kroll, Sinclare Ayers and Keith Irish; fourth row, Cleo Reindel, Ervin Kroll, and Clarence Krause; fifth row, Louie Poziombke, Elizabeth Embke and John Kaudy.


An early 1930s view of Hewett Street, Neillsville, looking north from the Fourth and Hewett Street intersection  (Photo courtesy of Clark County Historical Society’s Jail Museum)



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