Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin

January 23, 2013, Page 11

Contributed by "The Clark Co. Press"

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Compiled by Dee Zimmerman


Clark County News


Memories of Clark County’s First Pioneers


Compiled from 1918 History of Clark County


ORIN WILSON, first chairman of Mentor Township, writing in 1876, says: “At the request of the Centennial committee I write a short history of that part of Clark County now comprising the town of Mentor.


“In June 1856, the first settlers landed in the Town of Mentor with our oxen, cows, pigs and chickens, our covered wagons being our only shelter.  There was not a vestige of a road, no mark of civilization, with the exception of government surveys.  Our colony consisted of 12 families coming from different parts of the word, five from England, two from Erin’s Isle, one from Germany, three from the state of New York and one from the state of Pennsylvania.


“As the season was far advanced, our first work was with our noble oxen to break some of the soil to plant and sow such grain and vegetables as would ripen. What the husbandmen would break and harrow in the forenoon, the wife and children with their baskets filled with choice seed, would plant in the afternoon, but a few days elapsed before we could look from our covered wagons on small fields of growing grain and garden vegetables.


“The next business that demanded our attention was to build houses, and we built them in old-time style, not as nowadays, with sawed and planed lumber, all covered with paint, with a tower on top and all such modern improvements. We built them of logs. They were all straight and sound, hewed down on the inside; they were covered with hollows and rounds, and our floors were made of good substantial plank, split out with the axe. The last of June, we moved into our log cabins; were all happy and contented.


“Wild berries were abundant.  Strawberries were the first to ripen and were a luxury.  Next came the blueberries.  The hillsides were blue with them; yes, and they were thick, too.  Many a time have two of us filled a large wash tub in an hour.  We used to pickle them by the barrel and dry them by the bushel, also preserve and can them.  You might say we could be called the whortleberry farmers.


“Well I do remember our first Fourth of July. We were all speakers and all listeners.  We talked over our nation and the great improvements it had made in 80 years and then we had our picnic dinner. We ate sumptuously and went home feeling well.


“The first summer was a busy one and soon passed away. We joined teams and broke a few acres each, built log stables, and put up some wild hay to winter our stock. Each had a small field of buckwheat; it was the staple crop. Winter came in earnest and hung right by until spring. The principal excitement that winter was hunting deer and elk. We killed plenty for our meat, used the tallow for our lights and their hides for mittens and moccasins. The snow was so deep that we could not go afoot, so we hunted on snowshoes. But the long winter disappeared. The next summer a saw mill was built at the edge of our town by D. B. Travis.  Our nearest gristmill was Wright’s and was the only gristmill in the country, nearest post office was Black River Falls, a distance of 20 miles; also the nearest point to a sort. That summer there was a post office established in Garden Valley on the Black River Falls and Eau Claire stage line.  Union and harmony prevailed in our neighborhood.  When one went to the post office he brought the mail for us all. Likewise when one would go to the store, the rest would send by him for their dry goods and groceries.


“That summer we petitioned to our county father, James O’Neill, to come and lay out a highway for us.  In answer to our call he came, bringing with him one of the side board, S. C. Boardman, and the county surveyor, and they laid out a road through the town. This road proved to be the best route from the upper Trempealeau Valley to Augusta, and is today, July 4, 1876, the main thoroughfare.  The next summer, a road was laid out and made passable through the forest from Neillsville to our little settlement, a distance of 16 miles. Previous to this we could reached the county seat only by way of Wright’s mill. The opening of this road made a ready market for our produce, consumed by the Black River lumbermen.


“Unfortunately for our town it was given to a railroad company and a large portion was entered by speculators, consequently settlers came in very slowly.  Year after year rolled by with a few settlers, yet we employed ourselves.  Our lands produced well, our log cabins were turning into frame houses and our log stables into frame barns; reapers took the place of the old cradle, the mowing-machine the place of the scythe and the horse rake was used instead of the old hand rake.


“In 1867, the Town of Mentor was organized, comprising Towns 24, 25 and 26, Range 4 West, being in the southwest part of Clark County.  In 1869, the West Wisconsin Railroad was built, which formed a direct line from Chicago to St. Paul. This road runs through the southwest corner of the Town of Mentor, where a little village started up and was named Humbird in honor of Jacob Humbird, the builder of the road.


“In 1872 there was a gristmill built on one branch of Hall’s Creek in our town by W. T. Schmidt, and it makes the best quality of flour. We now have at our hands lumber mills of nearly every description a good gristmill, a post office with daily mail running east, west, north and south, and stores and shops of nearly every kind.


Yes, the change has been great since 20 years ago, and it is a fact that those twelve families who immigrated here in 1856 are still residents of this town and have raised up families of sons and daughters that are an honor to their parents and society. We are looking forward to a brighter future, hoping that our lawmakers will strike at the root of all evil and that the American people will reach that state of perfection that they will look at wars and disturbances as something away back in the dark ages of the past and never to be any more.”


January 1943


The perpetrators of the charivari for David and Esther Parry last Tuesday night worked the thing out on a business basis.


The young couple who kept their marriage secret for nine and one-half years was caught in a trip during the Rotary-Ann party; and here is the way payment was figured:


Fifteen dollars for getting married, and $1 for each year they were married and kept it a secret. The discordant din subsided when Parry shelled out $25 for the amusement and noise-makers.       


A total of 126 18-year-olds signed for selective service during the December registration, the local board at Loyal has revealed.


Numbers have been given to these youths, determining the order in which they will be called for examination.  However, they will not be included in the group that will fill the January call next Sunday.


The January call is for 210 men, leaving Loyal at 10 a. m. Sunday for Milwaukee. They will remain in Milwaukee overnight, receiving their physical examination and induction on the following day.


Martina Davel, chief clerk of the board, said the group includes a number of men who have volunteered in order that they might select their branch of service. This option may be taken only before the registrant has received his notice of induction into the army.                                                                           


Supplies for filling Neillsville’s quota of kits for soldiers have been received by the Red Cross and it is hoped that all donations of individuals and organizations, to help pay for supplies, will be left at the office of John M. Peterson or with Mrs. Peterson within the next two weeks.  Your prompt action in this matter will speed the work of filling the kits and getting them on their way to the boys.  It requires one dollar’s worth of supplies to fill each kit.


The name of the donors will be posted in the Red Cross window at the Northern States Power Co’s office.


The frame structure, which long served as the Tibbett Bros. office before the new building was erected, was moved Monday to the C. A. Paulson farm on Pleasant Ridge.                     


Zimmerman Bros. January Clothing Sale!


Boy’s Domet Flannel Shirts, grey and blue grey, sizes 12 to 14, 59¢; Men’s Work Socks, 50% wool, Med. Weight 29¢; Boy’s Mackinaw Mittens, All Wool, 35¢; Men’s caps, with fur inbands, 65¢ to $1.


A severe cold wave, brining the lowest temperatures of the year, held Clark County and the Midwest in an icy grip this week.


No relief was in sight Wednesday as the thermometer remained below the -20 degree mark for the second consecutive day.  Most of the rural areas were snowbound as a result of roads drifted Monday night when a strong wind brought in the most severe cold of seven consecutive below zero days.


Traffic was paralyzed Tuesday, but weary, over-worked highway crews were punching holes through the drifts in an effort to restore a semblance of service.  Milk, which ordinarily flows into Neillsville, came late and in a bare trickle.  Country schools were closed, city and village schools of the area operated with but a minimum of attendance.  Mail and rail service was brought to an almost complete standstill.                                                  


Rationing, too, is a great equalizer.


Note the case of Leo W. Foster, custodian of gasoline rations as chief clerk of the war price and ration board.


Mr. Foster’s car ran out of gasoline as he returned from Mass at St. Mary’s Catholic Church Sunday.  Not only that, but the car was so stiff from the cold weather that it wouldn’t coast down the Hewett Street hill.


Mrs. J. W. Kearns, driving behind, helped out by pushing his car to a service station at the edge of the O’Neill Creek Bridge. But, alas the station was closed; so Mr. Foster trekked over to the Condensery office and, amid good-natured digs by R. E. Schmedel, plant superintendent, he telephoned the station attendant who obligingly opened up.


And, oh yes, He had his mileage ration book with him.                      


Mr. and Mrs. William F. Hemp left the first of the week for Milwaukee to visit their son, Atty K. William Hemp, before he left on Wednesday, for Norfolk, Va.  He began his work in the navy with the title of second class petty officer, as a yeoman, doing clerical work in an office. The Hemp’s brought their son’s car and other belongings home with them.


Mr. and Mrs. Steve Rosandich of the Nevins community received a cablegram last week from their son, Mike, who is in Foreign Service, somewhere in Ireland, they believe. The cablegram read: “Best Wishes, Am well.”


The Rosandich family has two other sons in the service and a fourth son was in the county contingent that went to Milwaukee Sunday: Johnny is in Massachusetts, Tommy is in Oklahoma, and Steve is the fourth son.


Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Olson arrived here Friday afternoon, Mr. Olson going to Loyal and Milwaukee to take his physical examination for Army service. He was accepted and returned here the first of the week to spend his leave with his wife and with his parents.                                                                                          


‘Ere long we have to go back to the old time wooden bath tubs, wash tubs, sinks, water buckets and tanks and the dozens of other containers, which have to freely been manufactured from the various metals in the past.  At a local carpenter shop last week there was, in the process of construction, an all wood sink for the Neillsville Milk Products Co-Operative, to be used for washing the equipment in the cheese room. The sink is fitted with parting stops at the seams to make it absolutely water proof. When asked what they were going to line it with, Ted Gall answered: “Nothing and it won’t leak a drop.”


The bureau of public debt, expanding branch of the treasury department, will be in Neillsville today looking for more workers. A representative of this branch will be at the post office to interview, examine and appoint qualified applicants, The Press is informed.  “High school graduates with and without commercial training interested in assisting in this vital part of the war effort are requested,” according to the release. The beginning salary is $120 per month, plus over-time pay.  The jobs will be in Chicago and involve the handling of the sales of savings bonds.


Sugar stamp No. 11 becomes valid Monday, February 1, for the purchase of three pounds, the war price and ration office here announced this week. The stamp will be good until March 15.


Adler Theatre presents the movie, “Flight Lieutenant” staring Pat O’Brien, Glenn Ford, along with Evelyn Keyes, Jonathan Hale and Douglas Croft. The movie will run continuous Sunday, 3 to 11 p.m. Prices; Matinees to 5 p.m., 11¢ - 25¢; later 11¢ to 28¢, tax included.                                                                   


It is necessary that we should keep our milk trucks running.  How can we do this, with repairs running out?


One way is avoid turning. The record is definite that more than 90 percent of the breaks in the driving mechanism are caused by turning.  The reason is that on a turn the power is applied only to one wheel, with doubling of the strain.


You will help the hauler if you arrange so that he does not have to turn in your farm yard. Keep him going on the straight-away, if you possibly can.  The best plan is to take the milk cans out to the side of the road in front of your place and make it unnecessary for the truck to turn into your driveway.


The price of 3.5 gallons of milk for the first half of January was $2.60.


Advertisement of American Stores Dairy Co                                          


Dorothy Hart celebrated her fifth birthday Friday by taking a birthday cake to school as a treat to her classmate s, the North Side kindergartners, it being too cold for the little tots to walk the long distance to Dorothy’s new home way down on Division Street.



A view of Hewett Street in the mid 1940’s after several inches of snow had fallen.  It was an era of severe winter weather, with great accumulations of snow and sub-zero temperatures, unlike our present mild winters.

(Photo courtesy of Bill Roberts’ family collection)




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