Clark County Press, Neillsville,

August 11, 2004, Page 12

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 



Compiled by Dee Zimmerman



Clark County News


August 1894


Quite a number of people on Pleasant Ridge are reported being ill.  Bad water is the cause, mostly owing to the great drought we have been having.


It is said a person is soon to be appointed to go around to the farmers along Pleasant Ridge, on Saturday evening, and remind them the coming day will be Sunday.  They are becoming forgetful of that day’s importance.


There seems to be some petty thieves around the Ridge.  William Gerhardt had all of his honey stolen and some was just wasted, one evening not long ago.  Earlier, thieves entered the cellar of Oscar Eisentraut and helped themselves to preserves, canned fruit and other foods.  Come on, you constables of the Town of Grant, pick up your ears and be on the alert to catch these rascals.  They need catching and to be given what Paddy gave the drum.


Last Sunday, James and John Bryden, of Greenwood, were called to Phillips, Wis.  They went to help their brother David, bury his wife and two children.  His family was drowned in a Phillips lake while they were trying to escape from the terrible fire there.


The people of Greenwood have been helping fight area fires the last three days.


Frightful losses by forest fires have been the feature of the daily dispatches for the past week. The village of Phillips, county seat of Price County, has been wiped out of existence.  About 3,000 residents there have been rendered homeless.  Throughout the Northern Central part of the state, millions upon millions of dollars worth of property has been destroyed, many lives lost and untold suffering under-gone on account of the fires.


Portions of Wood and Clark counties have been over-run by fires. The fires have made the Neillsville air disagreeably smoky for a week.  The fires have swept through parts of the towns of Sherwood Forest, Washburn, Levis, Hewett, Lynn and other locations.  A large local fire occurred a mile or two north of this city, in Pine Valley.  Most harrowing reports have reached us of settlers burned out of home, with barns, crops, fences and their belongings destroyed.


Lloyd’s mill, reported lost, was not burned, but a quantity of lumber was destroyed.  Settlers have been fighting fire like heroes, hauling water in many instances, often compelled to yield to the furious march of the fires.  Rivers are no barriers to the lashing, roaring tempest of heat.  In some cases, even standing corn fields have been seen to blaze like tinder, so terribly dry.  In Hewett Township, hundreds of tons of fine hay have been burned on the big marshes.  In Wood and Jackson counties, the cranberry and hay marshes have been burned, there being no water to flood them with.


Throughout this region, pastures are parched and dry, the grass crackling under the feet when trodden upon.  Fortunate is he who has low-lying spots in his pasture for the livestock.


The pond in this city, used as a reservoir for the city water system, is lower than ever before in the city’s history.  The O’Neill Creek, which feeds the pond, has dwindled to a stream that would not fill a ten-inch pipe.


The rains on this Monday and Tuesday nights have temporarily stopped the dryness and matters are looking brighter.


Herr Kaufman, of the Town of Lynn, had the misfortune to lose two stacks of wheat and peas by fire last week.  A spark from his pipe set the stubble on fire and his harvest, little, all was soon gone.  The old gentleman became so angry, that he gathered pipes, tobacco and matches, throwing them in the fire.


A new post office has been established at Zimmer’s corners, five miles southeast of Thorp.  The office has been named Reseburg and Herman Holzhausen has been appointed postmaster.  The mail will be carried from the Thorp post office once each week, after the necessary arrangements have been made.  The office is named after Wm. Reseburg, the chairman of that township.


The massive metal cornice of the new Tom Lowe building was put in position on Monday.  The building is lofty and towers many feet above its adjoining neighbors.


There will be an entertainment at the Visgar’s Church, a week from next Saturday night.  The entertainment will be given by a group of Neillsville people for the benefit of Rev. G. N. Foster.  Light refreshments will be served afterwards.  Admission will be 10 cents.


Erastus Mack, of Loyal, died August 12.  He was the first settler in Loyal Township.


August 1944


L. J. Bethke of Wisconsin Rapids has purchased the Chevrolet Agency of Neillsville and will operate in this territory.  The purchase includes the stock and good will of the R. H. Welsh Chevrolet Co.  The business will continue in the present location.  It will be leased from the owner, Mr. Welsh and the business will be conducted under the name of the L. J. Chevrolet Co.


Mr. Bethke has long been the Chevrolet dealer at Wisconsin Rapids.  He will conduct the business here with a local manager.  To that position, he has appointed William Terman, who has been with Mr. Welsh for eight years.


The property used in the business, leased to Mr. Bethke, consists of the garage building and office on Sixth Street, a storage warehouse on the North Side, near the old Ghent building and a used car lot on Fifth Street.


The sale of the agency marks the end of 28 years of continuous service in this line for Mr. Welsh.  He began to sell auto-mobiles in 1916, when the automobile business was entirely new.  In that year, he sold four cars and it took a lot of selling, for the automobile was then regarded as an uncertain contraption.  By 1917, the automobile had gained somewhat better acceptance and he was able to sell 47.  Up to that time, he had worked from the livery barn of the Merchants hotel, located where the Webb Oil Co. now has a station.


In the fall of 1917, Mr. Welsh bought the present location, at the corner of Grand Avenue and Sixth Street.  That building had also been a livery stable. For three years after this purchase, the automobile business was still so uncertain that it seemed to Mr. Welsh as prudent to hang on to his other lines.  He was still carrying mail on a rural route and was still selling an occasional motorcycle.  But by 1920, the automobile business began to look better than either of the other lines and good enough to warrant the dropping of them. So Mr. Welsh discontinued the mail route and the motorcycle business and concentrated on cars.  By 1922, he had pushed his sale of new cars up to the mark of 122.


The development of sales was not a continuous and uninterrupted performance.  In the early years, the open style of car was the only thing that the public knew and wanted, if it wanted a car at all.  But the manufacturers and some city people kept hankering for closed cars with windows.  To the rural mind, those little rooms on wheels were not so good. They were inclined to be top-heavy and when they went over, their old common glass left its mark upon the occupants.  So, with assigned closed cars, Mr. Welsh at first had to dicker around to get rid of them.



The automobile of late 1910s to early 1920s was the “open-style” phaeton touring car.  The car’s side curtains could be folded down for driving on the sunny warm days or brought up and snapped into place to cover and protect the passengers from the inclement weather.  R. J. Welsh started the Neillsville Chevrolet Agency in 1916, selling the open-style automobile.  The above photo was taken of Mary (Anna) Lowe, a resident of Neillsville, as she sat by the steering wheel of a phaeton car during the 1920s.  (Photo courtesy of Bill Lowe’s family collection)


Now, of course, everybody wants the closed car, but it is not the same thing as those first made and sold.  The present closed car has a low center of gravity and is hard to turn over.  It is provided, also, with shatterproof glass.


In his life and experience, Mr. Welsh reproduces the transition from the horse-and-buggy era to the motor age.  Beginning a mail route in 1905, he used horses for the first five years.  Then the motorcycle came along as the logical vehicle.  It was a one-lung affair, but it covered the ground economically in reasonably good weather.  When the motorcycle couldn’t make the grade, old Dobbin was the standby.  Then came the side car and at about that time, say 1915 or 1916, the parcel post made its appearance.  This swamped the carriers with its volume, raised a question about the capacity of a side car and finally forced the use of the automobile.  By 1917, Mr. Welsh had come to regard the car as the main reliance.


Retiring from the trade at the age of 65, Mr. Welsh has certain conclusions.  The first is that the farm is the standard and dependable source of living.  He has owned the family farm in the Town of York since the death of his father; it has been in the family for 40 years.  With ups and downs, according to the times, it has gone on steadily and dependably.


The other conclusion is that credit is the great danger of business.  Having carried a business through the Depression, Mr. Welsch met the difficulties incident in the lack of money.  In the bad years, he encountered an attitude, in some quarters, of disregard for obligations.  In his business experience, he has been forced to lose a substantial sum in bad debt.  His first job, upon retiring from active business will be to wind up the collections and this he regards a comfortable job now, for he learned to give credit only to the worthy.  But his experience is that it is best to be extremely conservative in granting credit and to insist upon prompt payment.


A 60-year old barn, which has served as a landmark in the Town of Washburn, has been razed.  The barn was located on the John Urban farm.  The barn was built in the 1880s by Jack Welsh, father of Richard H. Welsh of Neillsville.


The Neillsville Bank has established an office in Humbird: and held an opening there Monday.  The office is located in the Humbird bank building, which has stood vacant for a long time.  The building is a solid brick structure, with modern equipment and accommodation.  It has been thoroughly renovated and repaired as a permanent home for the Humbird office.


The people of the Humbird area had been invited to the opening and were served coffee and doughnuts.  Present to greet them were Herman North, cashier, and Park Sample, who will be manager at Humbird.


Floss from the common milkweed is needed for life jackets for our men in the armed service.


Kopak was formally used, but since Japan captured the East Indies it is no longer available.


A drive to harvest milkweed pods will be carried on through all the schools during September.  This is when the pods are beginning to ripen and should be harvested when seeds are turning brown.


Eugene Laurent, county superintendent of schools, in cooperation with the Clark County War Board, will head the drive.


Milkweed should not be cut; instead harvest the pods when ripened, as it is a vital war material.


Herbert Kippenhan, of the United States Navy, was granted a 25-day furlough.  He is visiting his wife and friends in the Willard area.  Herbie is a radio technician 2/c and is on a ship most of the time.


Emil Podobnik, pitcher of renown in Clark County, has been signed up by the Philadelphia Phillies. He will report for spring training next year.  Emil’s work was observed last Sunday by a scout from the Phillies.  It was a job with frills on it, for Emil struck out 11 men and carried the Loyal ball club to a 6 to 4 victory over Wisconsin Rapids.  In the 1944 season, he has chalked up 88 strike-outs in 83 innings and the Loyal team has won six games out of nine played thus far.


Emil is 21 years of age.  He has heightened his local reputation this year.  He began by pitching for Willard, being a Willard product and working regularly on his father’s farm.  Then, he went on to Greenwood, twirling for the Greenwood baseball team in the 1942 and 1943 seasons.


Last Sunday’s game was played at Wisconsin Rapids.  On next Sunday, the Loyal team has arranged a double header, to be played on the grounds of the Loyal High School.  The opposing team will be the Owen Redbirds.  The Owen boys have beaten the Loyal Blackhawks twice this year, but the Blackhawks are favorites around Loyal, having a long record of victories on the home field.


Armin (Stub) Gerhardt, formerly of Neillsville, is expected to pitch the first game for Owen, while three former Neillsville players will be in the Loyal lineup: Harold Milbreit, Gene Christie and Henry Ott.


Jim Young has accepted a job of a fire watchman in the North Willard fire tower.  He began his new duties last week Thursday and will continue to drive back and forth to work for the present.  Mrs. Young is taking charge of the farm, in York Center, in his absence.  Anyone wishing to contact Jim may reach him in his “tower office” from 9 until 6.


An opening of the new Weidenhoff plant, in Neillsville, will be held September 2.  The opening is public, with a general invitation extended by the management to the people of this area.  The hours are from 1:30 to 6 p.m.


Present to greet the local people will be a group of 12 to 15 Weidenhoff executives from Chicago.  On display will be some of the products manufactured by the Weidenhoff organization, as well as the machinery and some evidences of the local operation.


The actual production in the local plant is expected to be under way before the week is ended.  The start will be upon a small scale, with relatively few workers employed.  Workers will be added gradually, as they can be used to an advantage.


The Neillsville Public Schools, about to open, are turning toward the problems of peace.  With demands of war less urgent, radio code and welding have been dropped from the curriculum, but other courses will bear permanently the imprint of the war.  The war brought home the value of the practical application of some of the standard subjects and there will be added emphasis on applied science and vocational training.




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