Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin

January 5, 2010, Page 9

Contributed by "The Clark Co. Press"

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News

January 1901


William Thron and Ed Hommel have taken a logging job together for the Foster Lumber Co., to put in timber from the North Mound, west of Greenwood. They have moved their families out there and hired John Christianson and wife to cook for them.  They expect to run a crew of about a dozen men.             


While hunting last fall in the Town of Nevins, Mr. Pickering found a furrow in the ground with earth thrown several feet to the sides.  An investigation a few days ago proved it to be the work of a ten-pound meteor.


Frank Hewett has been busy building shanties and will soon begin work upon his logging out near the Dewhurst area.


Sheriff Campbell took the keys of Clark County’s Bastille at high noon Monday and will for the next two years look to the food and lodging for the wayward ones who find their way to his castle.


H. B. Gregory, manager of the Levis Creamery, returned this week from Loganville, Wis., to fill the icehouse preparatory to starting the creamery.  A good season’s run is anticipated.


Tilton, Roberts and Company began operations in their mill at Lindsey, Wood County. They manufacture lath, shingles and sidewalk lumber. Much of the material used comes from the Clark County side.


While Willie Beaulieu was driving from Hogen Sunday night, with his best girl, he got on the wrong road, getting as far as Lynn before they realized where they were, arriving in Chili at about midnight.  Pay a little more attention to your horse next time, Bill.                                                                                              


A number of the railroad crew that went over on the mainline to work last week have now quit. The cost of board and difficulty of getting accommodations made little in it for the men at $1.50 per day.


Self-government is being given a trial in the Neillsville High School. During one hour of the day the assembly room is left with no teacher in charge. Thus far the pupils have deported themselves excellently and if they continue to do so the time in which they are governed entirely by self may be extended.               


The Galloway Lumber Company, which has operated a large saw mill and heading plant at Chili for several years, has sold its property in that vicinity to W. H. Ford, of Chicago.


H. G. Prust of Chili is agent for the Wisconsin Land Company in that vicinity with the company listing a considerable number of farms, expecting to have numerous buyers when the season opens in spring.


Thos. D. Genge, for the past two years head miller for the Neillsville Milling Co., has resigned his position and left Tuesday morning for Keskoskee, Dodge County, where he, in company with Wm. Widlake, of Ripon, have leased a mill and will go into business.


Some very fine winter wheat is being received this winter at the Neillsville Mills.


Lumber is being hauled for a new creamery to be built in the Town of Grant, near F. D. Reidel’s.  The creamery is to be 26 feet by 60 feet by 18 feet high, including the basement.  Its construction is under the management of John Hansen who is looking after the interests in the vicinity for a large creamery company in the southern part of the state.


On Tuesday, as Bert Hart and Will Bradford were cleaning out Marsh & Tucker’s chimney, a loose brick from the top fell down into the flue.  The boys had a “hot time” cleaning them out.  Attorney Tucker claimed the smoke in the office smelled like brimstone, and he came over to the Republican & Press office until it was all over.  He says it always makes him sort of faint to hear anybody swear.                                               


Mr. Thomas Wren and Miss Amy King, both residents of Pleasant Ridge, were united in marriage at the Methodist parsonage Tuesday evening Rev. Ingham reading the service.  Mr. Wren and his bride leave for Randall, Minn., where he has a position.                                                                                                   


H. J. Brooks killed 44 prairie chickens Sunday and Monday and those were not very good hunting days for chickens either.


The Big Store, as it used to be known, has been run under the firm name of Balch & Tragsdorf.  It was announced that R. W. Balch was retiring from the firm and that his interest was being taken over by J. G. Zimmerman and John Kolar.  The new firm will continue the business under the name of Tragsdorf, Zimmerman & Co.


Wm. Braun, of the “Braun Settlement” northwest of Greenwood was in Neillsville, Thursday, as a delegate to the Woodman convention.  He reports that part of the county is fast displacing the log houses with brick ones.


There is still logging within the city limits of Neillsville.  Last week, James Campbell hauled about 2,000 feet of basswood logs from his five-acre tract down to Trogner’s mill.                            


Buy full set of false teeth for $4.50, usually $8.00 at Dr. Leasons.          


The high school building at Fairchild burned last week Wednesday.


Last Saturday, Herman Schultz, who lived near Globe, was killed by a falling tree while cutting timber about a mile from his house.  His brother was with him at the time of the accident. He was 28 years old and resided with his parents.


January 1951


Dairying as the major business of Clark County is a development of the past 50 years.  At the beginning of the century there was a dim understanding of the possibilities.  Land salesmen and local boosters were talking about the dairy possibilities, but there was little accomplishment to give a demonstration.


In 1900 there was little dairy industry, as such.  The census of 1895 showed that the county had seven cheese factories and eight creameries.  The dairy business was largely conducted at and from the farm.


At the start of the century a large proportion of farmwomen were making butter on the farm and turning it in at the stores.  They were paid in trade.  The butter went a long way in providing for the family the things that were not gown on the farm.


In those days most farms had their own cream separators, separating cream from the milk. Skim milk was fed to calves and pigs, and some of it used in the family.  Fred Stelloh recalls that he was connected with their first concern, which made a business of paying cash for butter and eggs.  He did quite a business, not only in Neillsville, but also in Granton, Loyal and Greenwood.


The butter was taken in trade was of varying quality.  Some farm women had a reputation for excellent quality butter. That butter was held aside by the merchant and sold out to his best town customers. The rest of it went into a general mixture, which was consumed by strangers.  In those days refrigeration was uncommon and the butter kept in the cellar, suffered accordingly.  Much of it was renovated. Some of it, according to the gracious saying of the day, went into ‘axle grease,’ but that was an exaggeration.


In 1900 there were 14,306 dairy cows in Clark County. They were the producing animals. Back of them were 4,994 heifers, 11,688 calves and 6,089 steers, giving promise of development.  Bulls numbered 512.


Arthur Imig, who arrived in Clark County in 1901, recalls that the provision for dairying was cold and unclean.  In many cases they were not entirely enclosed by walls. The wintry winds whipped in among the cows.


But the winter’s cold did not mean as much then as it would now, for there was little winter dairying.  Milk flowed in the open season and was largely utilized in the growing season.  Many farmers almost shut up shop in the winter and went logging. The Republican and Press said that H. B. Gregory, manager of the Levis creamery, has just returned from Loganville, Wis., with a view of “filling the ice house, preparatory to starting the creamery.  A good season’s run anticipated.”  Note the use of the word “season”. Dairying was then a seasonal occupation.


Another item, published later in 1900, says that H. B. J. Andras (Andrus) expects to operate his creamery all winter.  Quite obviously, that was news, and perhaps marked the first time that a creamery in Clark County had been operated the year around.  In view of this situation the present generation of farmers has occasion for congratulations that winter dairying is so firmly established.  Recent years have seen some promotion of winter dairying, with some regret that it has not made even greater progress.  But it is evident that, during the half century, it has made a tremendous stride.


Arthur Imig recalls, when he came to Clark County in 1901, H. B. J. Andrus bought his cream.  The Andrus Creamery was located just west of the railroad trestle that was over what later was U. S. Highway 10.  The building was a frame structure, located at the southwest corner of the intersection (River Avenue).  Somewhat later, Mr. Imig sold his cream to Ross Paulson, who had a creamery at Granton and who had a skimming station on the Gus DeMert farm.  Mr. Paulson operated only in the open season, and so Mr. Imig took milk in the winter to Christie.  In 1902, he recalls, he received 60 cents per hundredweight for whole milk.


(The Imig farm was located two miles north of Neillsville, along Highway 73.  The Gus DeMert farm site was one and three-quarter mile east of Highway 73 along the north side of County Road C. D. Z.)


One of the first jobs done by the Imigs, when they brought their herd to Clark County, was to do some “raising”.  That is referred to here because it is typical.  The barn was too low to provide for dairying in the basement, and the ceiling was too low at the house.  This was in accordance with the trend of the times, probably and eight-foot height would be considered sufficient by present standards.


Those were the horse-and-buggy days and they called for horses.  The country had 8,041 horses, plus 1,321 colts and 85 mules.  There were also 6,089 steers, some of which were undoubtedly used as work animals.


At the beginning of the century no milk was evaporated in the county and cheese was hardly more than getting a start. The factory production of cheese in 1895 was 29,804 pounds, hardly more than a month’s production of an average cheese factory of Clark County now.  The volume of cheese production in the county is now running at the rate of substantially better than 30 million pounds per year, more than 1,000 times the factory production of 1895.


The production of evaporated milk is now running at the rate of more than 35 million pounds per year and evaporated milk was not being produced at all at the start of the century.  The production of creamery butter is now running toward the five million pounds per year, but most of the butter is made from whey cream. The creamery business has not grown in Clark County in the same proportion as the production of cheese and evaporated milk.


The evolution into a dairying economy is shown by a comparison of the land devoted to various uses.  In 1900, when general farming was the rule, the wheat acreage in the county was 3,068.  In 1947 the wheat acreage in the county was 6,809.  In 1900 the barley acreage was 1,923; in 1947, 380.  In 1900 the rye acreage was 4,363; in 1947, 80.  In 1910 the potato acreage was 2,902; in 1947, 80 acres.


It will be noted as to each of the above crops that it is not closely identified with dairying. As to corn and oats the story is different.  The acreage in corn in 1900 was 6,141 acres; in 1947, 42,760. The acreage of oats in 1900 was 21,096; in 1947, 68,400.


The start of the century was marked by strong promotion of Clark County and its agricultural resources.  Land salesmen busily brought farmers and others from the relatively expensive land of Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois and sold them on the opportunity in Clark County. Some of this promotion was based upon empty hope, such as Columbia.  The rest of it has borne fruit in production and permanent prosperity.  It was in the early part of the century that Clark County grew in population. The population in 1890 was 17,706; in 1900, 35,848; in 1910, 30,074; in 1920, 35,120. Since then the county has not gown, as very slight decline set in about 1920, and this has continued. The decline is associated with mechanization of the farm and the decreasing need for manpower.  The mechanization trend will continue as well as the demand for manpower in the industrial centers.


From 15 dairy plants in 1895 the number grew to a total of 83 in 1910, showing a rapid development.  Of these 50 were cheese factories and 32 were creameries.  The top in cheese factories was 99, in 1934. Since then there has been a tendency for the factories to be larger and fewer, with a gradually increasing aggregate production. The creameries decreased drastically, until there were only three in 1932.


In 1900 there were 3,456 farms in Clark County, containing 325,755 acres.  The farms averaged 94.3 acres.  By 1945 the number of farms had grown to 4,930, containing 581,393 acres, the average size being 117.9 acres.  The percent of tenancy in 1900 was 5.5 percent and in 1945 15.3 percent.


(Now 60 years later, statistics will show a continuing trend of fewer farms in Clark County, with each farm having many more acres. There are fewer cheese factories with each remaining factory producing greater amounts of their product.  One of the largest butter producers in the nation is located in central Clark County, all evidence that dairying remains a major industry in our county. D. Z.)



John Wuethrich started a creamery business in 1904, located near Greenwood.  The original small frame building shown above was used for the creamery operation in its beginning.   Growth of the business through the years has required the building of new facilities.  The business, still operated by members of the Wuethrich family, is now known as Grassland Dairy Products.





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