Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

November 21, 2001, Page 20

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 

Good Old Days  

Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News


November 1901


A class of nine little deaf children, varying in ages from 6 to 14 years, is a very small affair to a casual observer and yet these few claim all the time of one teacher. This teacher must be specially qualified for the work both from an educational standpoint and from that of a true heart culture.


Nine helpless children, representing as many families, is a burden for each family in the circumstance of the presence of a little child without the ability of speech. Each family feels utterly helpless in being able to give their little child the gift of speech.


Because of this calamity that has entered some 800 homes in our state, these little day schools are in evidence, seventeen in all, of which Neillsville has the fourth largest.


The Neillsville Deaf School, just entering upon its fourth year, was organized by Mrs. Elizabeth H. Irish, a Milwaukee woman who is still in charge of the school.  Mrs. Irish has related some of her experiences in going into the hedges and highways to search out the deaf children for the school.  Mrs. Irish tells of a trip made to the northern part of Clark County to locate a 10-year old child in a Polish family, who had never been to school.


After driving 37 miles, she found the small log house where the girl and her family lived. The parents are Polish emigrants who have been in this country for only six months.


After leaving the team of horses and buggy at a farm two miles away, on a main traveled road, she was accompanied by an interpreter who led her across fields and over fences into the dense forest.  In the midst of the forest, there was an interior forty-acre plot that the Polish family had purchased.


The small log house had one room with a stove in the middle. Two rudely constructed sleeping places of boards and straw filled two corners, while potatoes and cabbages were heaped in another corner.


The deaf child was found in the woods and brought into the house.  The child was beautiful, both in form and feature.  It appeared that all organs of her speech were normal, but she could not speak and therefore had become an object of bewilderment to the family.


The interpreter told the family the mission of the teacher who was there to help their child. To such parents, a teacher of the deaf appears as a miracle worker.  Before the State Department of Education, the teacher must prove herself a practical educator in every sense of the word, before she is accepted to take on the job of teaching the deaf.


Connor Mill News: The Connor Mill Co. is again hauling lumber to Tioga.  Those doing the hauling are Will Smith, Ray Sprague, Shephard and Westfall.  Each man, with his team of horses and sleighs, is making two trips a day.  It is believed that the Connor mill will soon be torn down and then will be a thing of the past.


A number of people, from theses parts, attended the surprise party at the Tioga post office last Thursday night.  The report is that it was the best dance of the season.  By the noise that those people made when going home, they must have had a good time.


Last week, W. L. Hemphill sold his farm of 240 acres to B. B. Simmons, of Viola, Wis., for $12,000.  The land lies south of Neillsville and was sold through the real estate agency of Lester Tilton.


H. A. Bright went to his Clark County farm on Tuesday, with a crew of men, to work at logging operations in the coming winter.  He calculates that they will put in a couple million feet of logs this winter.  Next summer, the logs will be cut into lumber by a mill that Bright recently placed on his farm.  The lumber operations will be followed by the clearing of more land in readiness for cultivation in his large and growing agricultural industry.


Chili News: Many of the Chili folks were out this weekend doing some sleigh riding.


Matt Schier held a grand opening last Thursday evening.  He has one of the finest new buildings in Chili.


A number of our young people plan to attend the ball to be held at Thorp on Thanksgiving night.


Chili is growing bigger all the time. We now have two hotels, two good general stores, four saloons, a feed mill, creamery, two hardware stores and a gallery.


November 1951


George J. Vobora, son of Mr. and Mrs. Tony Vobora of Granton, has been awarded the Air Medal.  It was issued for meritorious acts while serving as a pilot in a Marine Fighter Squadron during the period of May 11 to July 4 of this year in Korea.


Vobora, who is a second lieutenant in the Marines, was presented the medal by Major General C. F. Schilt, his commanding officer.


The grand opening of Neillsville’s new Gamble Store will be held on Friday and Saturday.


A number of specials and gifts will be offered to both men and women.


Several area officials of the Gamble organization are expected to be on hand for the opening.


The new Gamble store is located in the building formerly occupied by the Hinshaw Shoe Co.  It has been completely redecorated by the Jordahl brothers, Chuck and Jim, who are the owners.


The Jordahl brothers come to Neillsville highly recommended.  They have their roots in rural Minnesota and are accustomed to the rural scene.  Their hometown is Lake Park, a village of 700, near Detroit Lakes, where their father is a grocer.


Chuck, the elder of the brothers, left the Gamble Company by whom he was employed as a zone man, to start in business for himself.  He is married and the father of a six-month old daughter, Diane Lynn.  A graduate of the University of Minnesota, chuck spent the war years in the Navy and Merchant Marines.


Jim is the younger of the brothers.  He served in the Army during World War II, attended the University of Minnesota and has spent the last three years in the accounting department of the Soo Line railroad at Minneapolis.  He makes his home with his brother and family, who have rented the Alva A. Clumpner house on the edge of Vets’ Village.


The oldest hunter in Clark County got his deer on opening day this year.  George Frantz of Neillsville, who is 87 years young, credited shooting success to his shotgun.


“Best luck I’ve had yet,” the spry octogenarian told “The Press.” “Guess I’ll go hunting with a shotgun from now on.”


“I’ve been hunting that Pray country, where I got my deer; since I was 13-years-old and I think I’ve walked over every foot of that ground.  Why, it was us hunters that named that area – Bushy Ridge, Twin Hills, Saddle Mound and the rest.”


What does his wife think of his hunting?  “Why every year she puts up the same fuss about my going out, but I’ve been doing it since I was 13 and I’m going to keep on doing it.  Besides, she doesn’t really mean it.”


How did he get his deer?  “Well, we parked the car in a fire lane on Brushy Ridge and walked about 20 yards into the woods.  Then I took up my “homestead” on a stump and waited. About 20 minutes later, a deer went past and I got it.  My partner, Bob Thompson of Neillsville, helped me drag the deer out to the fire lane where we cleaned it. Then I built a fire and waited until the others came back empty-handed.”  His partners were Harry Roehrborn and Rudolph Frantz of Neillsville.


A new substitute priest has been assigned to St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Neillsville.


“Your country is like reaching land after a storm at sea, it is so wonderful,” so the Rev. Fr. Peter Zic, formerly of Yugoslavia, described the United States.  He has been assigned as substitute priest at St. Mary’s, taking the place of the Rev. Fr. John Pritzl, who is on sick leave.


Although he only arrived in this country in September of 1950, the 42-year-old priest speaks understandable English.


“I took a course in English when I found I could come to this country but I discovered I hadn’t learned anything when I arrived here.  The boat I caught from Bremerhaven, Germany, was not too bad because everyone spoke German and I could speak that.  However, English was different, I discovered.  The German-speaking customs officer told me that Wisconsin, where I was going, was noted for its rich milk, cream, butter and cheese. That sounded fine to me.  In Yugoslavia we have milk, but it’s not as good as here.”


Rev. Fr. Zic was parish priest in Risika on the Dalmatian coast of Yugoslavia before the Germans and Italians invaded.  In 1941, he was sent to a detention camp in Italy but was not harmed.  The Allied troops liberated him in 1945.


“Neillsville is like my parish in Risika, it is about the same size and there was a lot of farming carried on there, too.  But we didn’t have these big factories as you have all this manufacturing.”


“The people here are different, too.  So friendly, they are always trying to help and if there is nothing they can help with, they give you a few friendly words instead.  In Europe, it is not like that.”


“The people there are unfriendly.  They don’t look at a man the way you do here, really seeing that man. They see what nationality he is.  Is he German, or Italian, or French?  They see him only through those types of glasses. They don’t look upon a man as their brother, the way the Americans do.  I suppose one would have to go back in history for the reasons.”


“You fought a war and against the Japanese and the Germans.  Now the war is over. They are your friends.  In Europe, it is not that way.  They hate because their fathers and grandfathers hated. They carry the burdens of their ancestors.  People are living too much in borders there; too much divided the countries.


People in Neilslville and the rest of the United States, who have lived through two world wards and now the cold war, think of things as being very unsettled.  Rev. Fr. Zic describes America as an asylum of refuge compared to the rest of the world.


How did Rev. Fr. Zic happen to come to this country?


“The archbishop of the La Crosse diocese, the Most Rev. Tracey, agreed to sponsor me.  He has sponsored other members of my order also.”


Rev. Fr. Zic was referring to the 11 Yugoslavian priests who helped the Rev. Gregory Rozman, bishop of Ljubljana, Yugoslavia, celebrate his 20th anniversary pontifical mass in Willard in 1949.


“When I was in the seminary in Yugoslavia, I studied under Bishop Rozman.”


Rev. Fr. Zic was garbed in the traditional gown of priests in his country; called a Cossack, it is a long, fitted black coat that buttons up the front.  He was sitting working on his Sunday sermon in the rectory study when interrupted for the inter-view.


Rev. Fr. Zic studied church law in Rome after his liberation and qualifies as a doctor of canon law.  He also acted as chaplain at displaced persons camps in Italy, at Capua and Fermo.


“People here take their religion very seriously, whether they are Catholic or not. Everywhere you see churches that are well kept up.  The people in my church here in Neillsville are also very religious.  Of course, it is different from Yugoslavia.  There was no other religion where I was.  In other parts of Yugoslavia there were Greek Orthodox people, but in my part, Croatia, only Roman Catholics.   There were no problems there because of different religions, such as matrimony but still they have their problems too.


Rev. Fr. Zic was unable to return to his country after World War II because of the Communist regime.  Since his arrival, he has been serving as a substitute throughout the La Crosse diocese. Probably after he learns the language better, and the customs, he will be assigned as priest to a parish similar to Neillsville.


Shop at the Neilslville A&P Store this week for the following specials: Jonathan apples, 4 lbs. for 29c; Pillsbury flour, 50 lbs. $4.59; June 1950 Longhorn cheese, 61c per lb.; Texas Grapefruit, 10 for 49c; Libby’s cream style corn, 12 – 46 oz. Cans, $1.95’ Fresh peanut brittle, 1b. 39c.


Be sure to attend the Chicken and Ham Supper at the Loyal Methodist Church on Saturday, Nov. 10th.  Serving starts at 5 p.m., adults $1.00 each, children 50c each


Remember, there is roller-skating every Tuesday evening at Poppe’s Recreation Hall.


There are three convenient Greyhound bus trips from Neillsville to Marshfield, and returning, daily.  The cost is only 81c for one-way or $1.50 for round trip.  The bus leaves Neillsville at 5 a.m., 2:40 p.m. or 5:15 p.m., returning to Neillsville at 1:15 p.m., 5:50, or 4:40 a.m.  For more information on other points of bus service, call the Minette Sweet Shop.  Phone 338, Neillsville.


H. H. Van Gorden & Sons specials for this week are as follows: U.S. No. 1 Red Potatoes, 100 lbs. $2.50; U. S. White Potatoes, 100 lbs, for $3.70.  They also have Wisconsin and Idaho bakers on hand.  A shipment of Electric Lamps has just arrived.  A new lamp can be yours by redeeming only 45 Wildwood coupons, in exchange.


Shop at Flitter’s Grocery for your Thanksgiving Dinner needs; please place your order for a turkey, goose, duck or capon.  Lean, center cut pork chops are 57c per lb., or end cut chops, lb. 47c.  Don’t forget, they deliver grocery orders every morning!


Deer roamed the confines of Neillsville before the turn of the century, as shown above.  The vacant lot across from the Neillsville Armory building, East 4th street, later became the site of the Christian Science building.  (Photo courtesy of the Sontag Family Collection)



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