Clark County Press, Neillsville,

March 10, 2004, Page 21

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 



Compiled by Dee Zimmerman



Clark County News

March 1879


In response to the Republican and Press’ advertisement a few weeks ago, we now have basswood saw logs enough to last a lifetime.  We will continue to take logs on subscription, but would prefer pine, butternut, oak, or white ash.


Cole & Pashell want 10,000 pounds of beeswax, for which the highest market price will be paid.


Mr. W. S. Payn is now the very fit Master Workman of the A. O. U. W. lodge here. The lodge is in a most flourishing condition, having about 75 members in good standing.


Charlie Gates is getting the material together to add an extensive refrigerator to his establishment.


There will be a short Lenten service at the Episcopal Chapel, in the High School building, on next Friday evening, March 14th.  All are cordially invited to attend.


Mr. Frank S. Kirkland has sold his insurance agency to E. L. Hoffman and has started on a tour of observation through the West.  He has the view of finding a suitable place to locate in.


This week, we have to report the first loss by fire that has occurred in this village for several years.  The property destroyed was that of the steam mills owned by L. W. Gallaher and generally known as the Neillsville Planning (Planing) Mills.  Mr. Gallaher had first commenced with that business, to which he has added from time to time.  The now very useful establishment became almost a general manufactory, a sash, blind and door factory as well as a saw mill and machine shop, which is an evidence of its worth to this community.


It is believed that the fire was caused by a spark from the smoke stack entering through or under the roof. By the time it was discovered, the fire had made too much progress to save the building with the means at hand.  General attention was given to removing the machinery and preventing the flames from extending to adjoining buildings. By the hard work, cheerfully rendered by the many who responded to the first alarm, nearly all of the machinery was saved, except that belonging to the sash and blind factory, which was situated in the second story of the main building. The engine passed through the fire, but was not seriously damaged.  It can be put in running order again at trifling expense.


At one time, it appeared about certain that the two-story building directly north, owned by Geo. Lloyd, night go, which would no doubt have been the case had it not been for the fire extinguisher that the Fire Company handled to good effect.  Had the Lloyd building burned, it would be hard to judge what the result might have been, but it is more than probable that a considerable portion of the town would have been laid in ashes.


Mr. Gallaher extimates (estimates) his loss at $4,000, upon which there was no insurance.  It is his intention to rebuild and he expects to have the saw mill running within six weeks with other machinery in place as soon as the work can be done.


Subscriptions to the amount of about $800 were raised in this village, last Tuesday morning, to aid Mr. Gallaher in rebuilding his recently destroyed mill.



The Neillsville Planning (Planing) Mills, or Gallaher Mills, was a manufacturer of sash, blinds and doors.  It also had a saw mill and machine shop, being a very versatile business in providing building needs for the city and community at that point in time.  When a fire burned the building, in 1879, members of the community gave financial and labor assistance in rebuilding the structure.


Jones Tompkins, of 26 Road, is spending a few days in town, resting up and preparing himself for the arduous duties of potato planting.  The measure of Jones’ earthly ambition is full.  He has steered a raft, published a newspaper and run for the legislature and now he is calmly waiting for death.


F. H. McIntire, recently associated with Dr. J. B. Cooledge, of Boston, has finished the course study at the Boston Dental College.  He will open an office in Neillsville about the first of April, where all dental operations will be faithfully performed and satisfaction given both in the price and quality of the work done.


We are indebted to Mr. William Summerside, of Necedah, a former resident of this place, for a copy of the Necedah Press, a little six-column folio, which has just been established at that place.


March 1939


Ernest Begley and Glenn Ehlers, southern Clark County hunters, recently returned to Neillsville from a foxhunt wearing embarrassed rosy-red faces.


It seems that for a several hours they trailed a “fox.”  Then, fatigued, they reached the end of the trail in the Arnold Henchen farmyard, in the Town of Weston, to find, a tomcat!


It was just “Tom,” Henchen’s large cat, who had been out for his morning constitutional.


Miss Gertrude Ellen Northup and Gustave DeMert were married at Waukon, Iowa, February 15.


The bride was graduated from Neillsville High School with the class of 1936.  For about a year and a-half, she assisted in the Public Library and when not in school, or employed, she was helpful in the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Northup.  Mr. DeMert spent most of his life on the farm with his parents, recently being engaged at various occupations.  For a time, the couple plans to live at the Northup home but later will take up farming.


Upon their return from Waukon, a group of relatives and friends gave them a shower and dancing party at the Grant town hall.


E. W. Kidd, of Owen, rescued a young traveler early this week. During the storm and cold, the young man had fallen along-side the highway 29.  He was so weak that he was unable to get up.  Mr. Kidd took him to a garage, where he was revived.  Then, he told Kidd that he had only twenty cents worth of food in three days.


At his own request, the young man was taken into Owen, where a fellow Jew, I. Pevan, is a merchant.  Mr. Pevan provided for him and paid his transportation to the Twin Cities, where he is a senior in medicine at the University of Minnesota.


Sap’s running!


And with that word, over 100 Clark County farmers, last week, turned to the annual task of tapping the county’s extensive sugar bush and melting down to make the maple syrup for which Clark County is becoming noted.  Annually, Clark County produces thousands of gallons of maple syrup. Through the course of the years, the green and white label of Clark County maple syrup has found its way from one end of the United States to another.


Always it has enjoyed the stamp of quality.


This year, the many owners of sugar bush are anticipating an even better market for their product than they have built up in the past.  The reason for this has its basis in the fact that from three million to four million sugar trees in the New England States were destroyed by the hurricane of last fall.


“All we need now is some good sap weather, frosty nights and sunny days,” agree the bushmen.  “That kind of weather is the perfect weather for sap.”


Recent days have been fairly good for making the sap run; but the early days of tapping, starting about Wednesday of last week, were far from good.


“Too warm at night, we must have frost at night,” declared John W. Pietenpol, who operates one of the largest sugar bushes in Clark County.  Mr. Pietenpol’s bush, in which he is tapping 1,400 trees this year, is located about two miles north west of Granton, just off county trunk highway K.


During the first days of the season, Mr. Pietenpol’s bush produced only 12 gallons of syrup in a single day.  An idea of how that production stacks up with good production in the bush is given by the fact that when the sap really is at its high point, Mr. Pietenpol has melted down about 48 gallons of syrup in a single day.  The average daily run, during the season, usually is from 35 to 40 gallons.


Mr. Pietenpol usually puts up from 400 to 500 gallons of maple syrup annually, although last year, a relatively poor one for maple syrup, was about 300 gallons.


In itself, the making of maple syrup is something of a ritual in the larger bush of Clark County.  Mr. Pietenpol, for instance, stays in the bush for a full month every year during the run.  He has fitted out comfortable quarters in the sugar shanty and he stays with the job from the time the sap starts to run until the last bit has been melted down.


While his men go through the bush on a horse-drawn sled gathering the sap, Mr. Pietenpol keeps the sap boiling in the shanty and tends to the canning.


The process of melting down, which is, boiling out the water until the syrup weighs at least the required 11 pounds to the gallon, is an interesting procedure.  Many persons make annual visits to the bush to watch this process.  Sunday, the general visitor’s day at Pietenpohl’s, will find anywhere from 25 to 50 visitors watching the 70-year-old maple syrup maker at his work.


Nearly 400 cords of pine, in eight-foot lengths, is piled in the railroad yards in Neillsville, awaiting transportation to the Nekoosa-Edwards Paper Co.  The pine logs are being first freed of bark by local men, who strip it off by hand labor, mostly with axes.  On Wednesday, we found the following at work on the big pile; Otto Kutchera, John and Ernest Gaden, Otto May and Walter Zank.


The following story about logging on the Black River as the end of the era was approaching, was taken from an edition of the Galesville Independent, which was printed in 1898.


The days of the logging industry on the Black River are numbered.  The supply of standing pine has been diminishing year after year and now, today, a comparatively small portion of it remains.  Whole towns in Jackson, Taylor and Clark counties, which were once covered with pine forests, are now barren and desolate; only black pine stumps remain.


Twenty or 25 years ago, the lumbering business on the Black River was in its prime.  Lumbering camps were here and there throughout all of the Black River country.  Fully 2,500 men were employed every year and from 1868 until 1881, these 2,500 men cut and rolled into the river 2,000,000,000 feet of logs annually.


The lumbering industry was huge; there were millions of dollars in it.  Cities and towns sprung up along the Black River and employment was offered to all who came.  Every year, about the middle or first of November, men made their way “to the woods,” where the winter days were spent in hard work. From 3 in the morning to 8 or 9 o’clock in the evening, the men toiled until spring opened.  This has been going on for 30 years, but a halt will soon come.  This year, only 80,000,000 feet of logs will be taken out; while the available amount of timber left is only 255,000,000 feet.  This seems to be a big lot, but when one glances back over the records and finds that Bill Price and his crew of 500 men cut and drove down the Black River, in one season, 100,000,000 feet of logs, the remaining amount of pine seems almost insignificant.  Bill was quite a lumberman and this season’s work is considered a big one.


Lumbering on the Black River is practically over, but the good old steam has made thousands of men rich and no less than a score of millionaires.  Trow, Bright, Paine, Birchard, Elliot, Brockway, Nichols and others grew rich at Black River Falls.  But the bigger ones posted themselves at the mouth of the Black River.  Of these, the most noted are Withee, Coleman, Gile, Sawyer, Austin and Washburn.


In getting rich, these men, as “The Black River Improvement Co.,” transformed the once deep, beautiful stream to a shallow river filled with sandbars.  They have literally spoiled the Black River forever.  Cities and towns, now situated upon it are generally dead.  It was a blessing that the founders of this city (Galesville) built the first foundation two miles away from the then beautiful stream.


The burning desire of some Clark County residents to become American citizens can scarcely be realized by those who have been fortunate enough to have been born under the flag.


This fact was brought out forcibly last week Thursday, when Joe Slachetka of route 3, Thorp, was seen plodding through six miles of ankle-deep mud toward the naturalization school meeting in the Withee High School.


Six long miles through the mud tramped Joe to reach the school and undertook his studies along with about 12 others who attended the first of the naturalization schools in the county.  And, after the school had adjourned until the next week, he was seen slowly plodding through the mud back toward his farm, six miles away.


One of the impressive things about Joe’s insistence on attending the classes is that his final papers for citizenship have been refused twice.  “Knowledge of the English language, poor,” stated the refusal both times.  But Joe and others of Clark County’s foreign population are seriously intent on becoming American citizens.


Ben Frantz, clerk of circuit court, who has been in charge of arrangements for the naturalization schools, said this week that time of the school in Withee probably would be changed to Wednesday evening.  The first school there was held in the afternoon last week, but many who would like to attend were unable to do so because of the time the class was held.


The school at Thorp will continue to be held at 7:30 p.m. each Thursday until the hearings in Neillsville on June 13.


Poor roads, in many instances, also prevented several of Clark County’s applicants for citizenship from attending the schools last week.  Mr. Frantz said he had received many letters from these people explaining this and excusing themselves for not being present.




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