Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin

December 16, 2009, Page 17

Contributed by "The Clark Co. Press"

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News

December 1929


Saturday the annual winter fire was started in the coal store that stands in the center of C. C. Sniteman’s Drug Store.  Mr. Sniteman states that the stove was placed in service at the store when it was built 33 years ago and previously had been used for ten years by Mrs. Sniteman.  In that period it has only had one set of grates and still is in excellent condition.


A man, his wife and five children, ranging from 1 to 14 years old were found in a precarious condition due to exposure and lack of food Thanksgiving night, east of Neillsville by Sheriff William Bradford who has responded to a call for help from the Suckow Bros. farm where they had become stranded.


The victims who were Mr. and Mrs. Frank Hale and their youngsters of Montana, started from Fall Creek Thursday morning and required all day to get to the Suckow farm.  Their car, which was an old open touring-model, balked numerous times and with the cold weather attacking them through the openings around the curtains, they suffered intensely.  Mr. Hale was without mittens and his hands were nearly frozen.


They had no money and when they ran out of gasoline near the Suckow farm they made their way to the house and the sheriff was notified.  Mrs. Bradbury prepared a warm meal for them of which they ate as though starved and Mr. Bradbury furnished them with lodgings. Despite their long exposure in the below zero weather none of the family suffered ill effects.


Through the efforts of Mr. Bradbury and town officials, the family’s car was brought to the city, put in repair and a supply of gasoline was given them.  The next day they continued on their way to Fond du Lac where they have relatives and intend to make their home.  They had no baggage except a wash boiler and a wash-board.


(At that time the sheriff and his wife resided in the living quarters provided for them in the 1897 jail building.  The businessmen within the city chipped in, taking care of he expenses needed to get the stranded family on their way. That was a common practice in helping others during those years.


In 1928 my parents took in a man and wife, who were traveling from Canada into South Dakota at the start of grain harvest time, ran out of money and needed a place to live temporarily.  The couple, Jack and Winnie helped with the grain harvest, corn picking and other tasks.  Later in the fall after dad sold the year’s harvested grain and corn, he gave the couple money so they could continue traveling.


Nine years later, when mom’s youngest brother enrolled as a college student in Minneapolis he needed part-time employment and inquired at Dayton’s where he was able to see the personnel manager, surprised to meet Jack.  Jack gave him a job working in the stock room, a good deed returned.  D. Z.)


Christmas presents this year will be more useful than in former years.  Gift giving will cost the people of the United States one billion dollars, but it will be cheap at that price, according to Ronald Millar, New York Statistician.


The cost this year will be higher than ever before, a little more than one percent of the national income, Millar declares in the American magazine, but this means only about three percent of the average family’s annual expenses.  He finds that if the family yearly budget is $2,000 Christmas expenditures will be $60; if the budget is $3,000, the holiday expenses will be $90 and so on.


“This,” says Millar, “includes expenditures for present giving, decorations, general celebration and the survey discloses the following fact: At least half of the billion spent throughout the country will be paid out for things which, while they are not, strictly speaking, staple necessities, would probably be bought at this time or some other time, even if no such feast as Christmas ever existed.


“A generation ago every one believed that the ideal gift was something which, nobody would think of buying for himself.  Indeed it was considered downright bad to give anything useful except to servants or needy relatives.  Nowadays it is quite the thing to make every Christmas present fill a long felt want.  We no longer crowd our houses with expensive gimcracks.  Fewer and better possessions are the rule.  Manufacturers and merchants recognize this fact and show their respect for Christmas in their Christmas offerings.”


Again, says Millar, in contemplating with terror the prospect of Christmas buying, one must remember that one is receiving as well as giving.  Also, he declares, families are prone to list two or three times their holiday expenditures, which, come from the same fund; the family’s bank account.


(The Depression financial crash came in October 1929 creating circumstances for the above article. D. Z.)


The city of Neillsville has made a most excellent investment, a considerable section of snow fence which has been set up along the west side of North Grand Avenue. Every winter the heavy snowfall has seen that street blocked with drifts, causing much expense to keep open. This snow fence should overcome much of that trouble.    


The reserve in the Humbird State Bank had become lower than the legal limit and the directors met last Friday morning voting to close the bank, placing it in the hands of the state’s banking department.


The prospects for a new bank in Granton within a short time are considered encouraging by a number of businessmen of that community who have been at work on the project.  H. E. Williams, L. J. Bluett, Geo. Amidon, Fred Hart, Louie Rach and Herman Braatz, who were named on the committee at a public hearing a few weeks ago, declared public sentiment in the community is strongly in favor of re-opening the bank as soon as possible.


Neillsville is receiving many compliments for its Christmas street lighting and decorations from strangers coming into the city.  They report that our streets surpass in beauty those of any city in the central part of the state.  The Kiwanis Club committee is deserving of much praise for its work in carrying out the program.


Four old-timers got together for a round-table conference Satruday morning in Herb Brooks’ store. Ed Pierce came over on business from Merrillan on the early train and finding Mr. Brooks store open he dropped in for a chat. A few minutes later H. M. Root and attorney R. F. Kountz came in and what the quartet couldn’t recall of old times here, was not worth recalling.


In the point of time Ed Pierce was the earliest arrival coming to Neillsville with his parents in 1865 when he was five years old.  He began working in lumber camps and on Black River at an early age and for a number of winters was a camp foreman when logging was at its high tide.


Mr. Root came from the state of New York in 1869 and settled at Greenwood.  He gained an all-around experience in the lumber business by working at a variety of jobs in camp and on the log drive.  In 1874 he formed a partnership with B. F. Thompson of Greenwood and for 11 years they did a big logging business.  In 1888 he was elected County Clerk and came to Neillsville to live. After serving eight years in office he remained here, later going into the banking business.


R. F. Kountz was born at Pittsburgh, Pa., moved to Ohio with his mother and stepfather when ten years of age.  In 1868 he came west to Ft. Dodge, Iowa, and the next year to Black River Falls, then in 1874 to Neillsville.  He had experience in many lines of business and being elected Justice of Peace, he settled down to study law, was admitted to the bar and ever since has practiced his profession here, taking an active part in city and county affairs.


H. J. Brooks came to Neillsville from Grant County in 1879.  He also worked in lumber camps, keeping books and driving teams of horses in one of John Paul’s Camps, southeast of Neillsville at the time Ed Pierce was foreman in another nearby camp of Paul’s.  Herb has had a great deal of experience as hotel clerk, hotel proprietor, as a traveling salesman and in the store business.  With the exception of two years spent in St. Paul, and two years in Bloomington, he has been a resident of Neillsville for 50 years.


December 1959


The price of marriage licenses will go up to $3 starting January 1, 1960.  In the past the license fee has been $1.50, according to Miss Elaine Krause, county clerk.


The Rev. Virgil A. Ganz of New London has accepted the call of Trinity Lutheran Church, Loyal, to become its pastor.                     


An agreement to purchase the old Irvin Carl carpenter shop land, now owned by Glen Johnson, has been authorized by the Greenwood City Council.  The city wants the site on which a fire station and city garage can be built.


The old Carl shop is located west of the Krom drug store.  The authorization stipulates a price of $3,000, which payment is to be made on or before April 1, 1960.


H. M. Bergemann, city clerk, said that the lot involved is about 80 feet by 150 feet.  A committee of the city council has been appointed to study plans for the building.


Mr. Johnson will have the right to remove or salvage the building in which he presently operates a blacksmith shop.


Stockholders of the Mississippi Valley Public Service Company late last week approved the sale of the company to the Northern States Power Company.  Ninety and five-tenths percent of the stock was voted.


Included in the sale is the dam on Black River at Hatfield, which creates Lake Arbutus.


Approval of several regulatory bodies is needed before the sale can be made final.


Everyone in the Clark County jail’s cell-block had a fresh, new haircut for Christmas, except the barber.


And it all happened because Mrs. Frank (Ann) Dobes, wife of the sheriff, is a careful and fastidious person.


When one of the newcomers was brought from Judge Lowell D. Schoengarth’s court to await trial on a traffic charge, Mrs. Dobes looked at his shaggy hair, long beard and general unkempt appearance and announced firmly:


“Don’t you think he ought to be cleaned up before you put him in there with the others?”


Sheriff Dobes, who’s generally considered the boss among men of the county took a long look at the prisoner and then agreed to the gentle persuasion of his wife, as most knowing men do.  He hauled out a razor and handed it to the prisoner with the instruction: “Shave!”


The man did.  Another temporary resident of the Dobes house saw the effect thus created, and suggested: “If I had a pair of clippers I’d give him a haircut.”


The sheriff recalled that he had an old pair of hair clippers someplace around.  “I used to like to cut a little hair myself,” Sheriff Dobes commented later.


He found the clippers and handed them to the self-appointed barber.


Two other “residents” of the stockade watched as their fellow inmate, turned barber, operated on the newcomer.  The effect must have been satisfactory in their eyes, for after the newcomer was finished each of them requested that the “barber” would cut his hair.  He did.


But when it came for a haircut for the barber there wasn’t anyone around who wanted to give him his Christmas haircut.


Or, on second thought, there was nobody around that the self-appointed barber wanted to trust with his hair.


The Annual Holiday Ball will be held Saturday, Dec. 26 at the Neillsville High School Gym.  Music will be by Howie Sturtz and is sponsored by the Memorial Hospital Auxiliary.              


Mr. and Mrs. William F. Jake, Sr., celebrated their 50th anniversary Saturday at an open house in the afternoon.  A dinner was served at 5:30 to relatives and friends at the VFW Hall.


William F. Jake, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Christof Jake of Montello, was married to May Haskins, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George A. Haskins of Montello, December 20, 1909.  The ceremony took place in the Baptist parsonage at Portage with the Rev. H. R. McMillian, pastor of First Baptist Church, officiating.  Marriage witnesses were Leon O. Haskins, brother of the bride and Mrs. H. B. McMillian, the pastor’s wife of Portage.


After the ceremony, the newlyweds had a nine-mile sleigh ride to the home of an uncle in Columbus.  The snowdrifts were so high and the weather so stormy that the driver of the sleigh had difficulty getting the bridal party through to Columbus.


Soon after the wedding, Mr. and Mrs. Jake located on a farm near Montello, which they operated a year, then moved onto a farm near Westfield, there for five years.  In 1916 they moved to the village of Westfield and in 1922 to Clark County, locating at Christie where they rented the F. Wiesjahn farm for two years.  In 1924 they moved onto the Raymond farm, two miles east of Christie, and in 1927 they moved into Neillsville, living here since.


Arriving in Neillsville, Mr. Jake bought out the trucking and grocery delivery, and service station business then operated by Jack Light.  The service station north of O’Neill Creek Bridge is now operated by Clarence Becker.  He continued to operate the general delivery service until 1937 when he took a job with A. Hauge & Son, working there eight years.


Later he was employed in the Weidenhoff factory and at B & F factory operating a lathe, retiring a few years ago.


Their children include: Mrs. Kenneth (Dorothy) Wallace, William, JR. and Orville of Neillsville; Mrs. Wilbur (Ina) Albee of Cambria; Harley Jake of Fort Lewis, Wash.; Mrs. Wilber (Ina) Turner of Kirkland, Ill.; and Mrs. Roger (Margaret) Riley.



Even back in the late 1920s and early 1930s Hewett Street took on the festive look of Christmas with added strings of lights crossing the street overhead from 4th to 8th Street.  Christmas trees were also placed at the edge of the side-walk in front of each building where a small section of pipe had been placed into the cement to be used for holding flags or Christmas trees.  (Photo courtesy of Bill Roberts)





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