Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

October 8, 2003, Page 16

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 



Compiled by Dee Zimmerman



Clark County News

October 1908


J. F. Cassidy of Minneapolis, an experienced house number man, is here numbering the houses and erecting street corner signs.  Hewett Street divides the east and west streets.  O’Neill Creek divides the north and south streets, so that numbering starts from every direction from the two dividing lines.  The street name signs and numbers will be a great convenience to strangers coming into the city.  Mr. Cassidy has been in this sort of business for 11 years, so that the numbering plot, as he lays it out, will be reliable.


Lenus Prock shipped 4,000 lbs of honey to Chicago on Tuesday.  For this, he received a price of 13.5 cents per pound.  Mr. Prock has 85 swarms of bees and the shipment Tuesday was a portion of their product.  The bee business is a rather productive side business of Mr. Prock’s, as he cares for the bees in connection with his store in Globe.


Mrs. Mary Peters has sold her hotel, the Eagle House, in Granton to Gustave Bergemann of Black Creek. The papers were drawn up on Tuesday and Mr. Bergemann is to have possession at his convenience any time within the next 30 days.  The new owner is a young married man with a family consisting of a wife and three small children.  He has had six years experience in the hotel business and comes well recommended.  Mrs. Peters will spend the winter here if a suitable house can be found to rent.


October 1958


Four schoolhouses and a variety of equipment went under the auction hammer in the Washburn School District last Saturday.  Charles Bright, district clerk, reported that the auction was successful beyond expectation, with approximately $3,500 realized.


“This will give us some money with which to get things we want in the new school and which it would be impossible for us to have without this money,” he said.


While every item was sold, including an estimated two tons of old text books, which had been accumulated in the South Washburn School building, the most popular items appeared to be the bells which had called pupils to classes for a quarter of a century and more. The four bells, which were sold, brought from $20 to $23 each.


“I wish we had a whole truckload of them,” Mr. Bright said.  “We’d have been able to sell them all.”


The four old school buildings, which were put on the auction block, were sold at prices ranging from $480 to $1,300.  Among the unsuccessful were several who had expressed advance interest in the buildings for specific purposes prior to the auction. Two groups of unsuccessful bidders represented church congregations.  The Greek Orthodox Church, which currently is using the York Center Methodist building under an arrangement with that church and the Assembly of God congregation, in Neillsville, each had cast covetous eyes at three of the available buildings.  But there were more enthusiastic bidders in the large crowd which went from one property to the other as the auctioneer’s hammer worked through the afternoon.


Top price for the school buildings was $1,300 paid for the Cannonville School building by Ernest Kissling of R. 1, Neillsville.  The Cannonville School bell was bought by Earl Hanson.


Bringing the second high price was the South Washburn School, which was the last one-room school, built in Clark County, a quarter-of-a-century ago.  Robert Wucki, owner of the property on which the school building stands, paid $765 for it.  Everett Kauffman bought the bell.


The Carlyle schoolhouse was purchased for $505 by Lewis Scholtz, formerly of the Town of Grant and now a resident of Neillsville.  L. G. Stevenson bought the bell.


Mrs. Alvin Krause, who lives north of Cannonville on County Trunk K, was the successful bidder for the Shortville school-house and land. She got the brick structure for $480.


Chris Feutz, Don Lindow, George Allbaugh and Irving Sevens worked last week at the Cannonville Church. They repaired the floor, the door and other areas. Some of them are working there this week so as to complete the job.


Rally day will be held at the church on Sunday, October 5, with other Sunday Schools attending.  Worship services will follow the Sunday School. A potluck dinner will be served by (the) Cannonville Ladies Aid at noon.  In the afternoon a program will be put on by the Sunday school students, to be followed by a speaker from the Northwestern Bible School of Minneapolis.


Purchase of the Neillsville Dairy and Quicker’s Dairy Bar by Dan Patey of Neillsville took place here Wednesday morning.  Involved were real estate, personal property and goodwill.


Mr. Patey, who is a life-long resident of Neillsville and well known here, will take over the dairy and dairy bar operation.  He will continue as distributor of Dolly Madison dairy products in the Neillsville area.


The Neillsville Dairy was purchased in February, 1950 by Hubert H. Quicker, who has operated it until the present time.  In the spring of that year, he remodeled the building at the corner of West 5th and West Streets.  The business opened that May as Quicker’s Dairy Bar, in conjunction with the dairy.


Dan Patey drove a miniature Dolly Madison delivery car through the residential area of Neillsville as a way of announcing his purchase of the milk delivery business in October 1958.  Where he went, he attracted a following of children similar to the children of Hamlin following the Pied Piper in the story of centuries ago.  Those in the photo left to right: Diane and Susie Kunkel; Marie Seif; John Patey in the delivery car, Ellen Blodgett and Kathy Seif.


The continuous residence of the Dewhurst-Hemphill family of 102 years in Clark County and 100 years in Neillsville will be concluded October 14, when Mrs. Frances (Hemphill) Rodolf leaves Neillsville for her home in Tulsa, Okla.


Richard Dewhurst, the grandfather of Mrs. Rodolf located at Weston Rapids, Clark County, on May 1, 1856.  Two years later, he moved to Neillsville, where he and his immediate descendants were to call home for 100 years.  Dewhurst’s parents were born in England, settled in Massachusetts and later in Ohio, where Richard received his early education.  After graduating from Oberlin College, he was admitted to the bar in Ohio in 1850.


He worked in the lead mines of Northern Illinois and in Grant County, Wisconsin, and taught school at Platteville from 1854-56.  He then moved to Weston Rapids, two miles north of the present city of Neillsville.  In 1858, he was married to Maria S. Curtis.  The newlyweds moved into a large house, which he had erected on the bank of O’Neill Creek, just west of the O’Neill saw mill.  This house is located today west of the American Stores plant, near the corner of Grand Avenue and 8th Street. The house is now occupied by the Robert Dwyer family.


In 1856, while a resident of Weston Rapids, Mr. Dewhurst was elected as Clark County Judge and served that position from 1877-79.  In 1858, he was elected to the assembly and the following year he was elected as the Clark County Register of Deeds.


At the time of their marriage, the nearest markets were Sparta and La Crosse.  Roads were trails through the wilderness.  Store produce was brought in by foot or by horseback.  At that time, there were many Indians in the area, Chippewas north of the East Fork and Winnebagos to the south.  They often came begging to the Dewhurst door and were never turned away without food or clothing.


Mr. Dewhurst, one of Central Wisconsin’s most active and capable leaders, was returned to the State Legislature in 1865, at the close of the Civil War and again in 1875.  He also served as Clark County Treasurer and County Superintendent of Schools.  He was engaged for many years in the logging and lumbering activities along the Black River.


In Neillsville, Mr. Dewhurst helped organize the Masonic lodge and was an active member.  He was affiliated with the Universalist Church and was the founder of the Neillsville Bank.


In 1866, he traded properties with Emery Bruley, Bruley taking the Dewhurst residence on Eighth Street and Dewhurst obtaining the residence and acreage on Hewett street.  That included all of the land between Hewett and Grand Avenue, with between 200 and 300 feet of frontage.


The north section of eight rooms had already been built by Bruley on Hewett Street and Dewhurst added the larger south section to the residence which remains today as one of the area’s largest and most impressive dwellings.  An architect planned the addition to give colonial beauty and balance.  Bay windows were added to the south to match those at the north section on both floors.  A large and attractive front entrance and a stately porch were added.  A canopy was built over the driveway to protect the people from rain and weather as they entered or stepped from the horse-drawn vehicles of the early days.


This large colonial residence of 17 rooms was recognized as one of Wisconsin’s best.  It had five fireplaces, a maid’s room, poolroom, spacious living rooms and dining rooms.  This residence was one of the first in the area, if not the first, to have a built-in bathtub.  It was built of sheet metal, six feet long, with a wooden jacket around it.  This early luxury is well preserved to this day.  When the indoor toilet facilities were added, it was understood the conveniences were only for the use of company or guests.


The kitchen was patterned after the early colonial kitchen.  There were no cupboards on the walls, but a large pantry connected with it provided storage for food and cooking materials.  Many months supply was necessary in a period when some items had to be brought in from a distance of 60 miles or more.


A large stable was erected southwest of the house, which stands today, to provide space for as many as seven fine driving horses and at least two cows.  The backyard, which sloped to the west, was always beautifully landscaped with flowers and shrubs and a pasture extended beyond to Grand Avenue.  A large and graceful fountain in the backyard has for many years added to the dignity and beauty of the front lawn.


Mr. Dewhurst later gave his brother-in-law, Wheeler Curtis land and a residence at the northwest corner of his property, facing Grand Avenue. This property has been known in recent years as the Ed Lloyd residence.


Early neighbors of Mr. and Mrs. Dewhurst, on Hewett Street, included Robert Campbell, a former Clark County Sheriff, in the residence directly to the north.  The residence, later known as the Fred Sears property, was burned to the ground several years ago.  A new residence is now on that location and is the home of Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Tews.  To the south was the residence erected by James Gates and was later the home of Mr. and Mrs. Rufus Sturdevant, parents of the late Claude R. Sturdevant.


Mr. and Mrs. Dewhurst were the parents of three children.  Frank and Lillian died in infancy.  Their daughter Mary became the bride of Wallace Hemphill.  Mr. Dewhurst died in 1895.  The Hemphill’s became the tenants and later the owners of the large home.   Mr. Dewhurst’s mother died in 1901 and Mrs. Dewhurst in 1922, both in the Hewett Street home.


Wallace Hemphill was born in Clearfield, Pa., February 9, 1857.  At the age of 12, he found it necessary to go to work.  At the age of 19, in 1876, he located in Houston County, Minnesota. The following year, he came to Wisconsin and entered the employ of the John Paul Lumber Co., at La Crosse.  In 1879, he was placed in charge of the John Paul office at Neillsville, a position which he held for three years.


From 1882 to 1898, when the company closed its yards, Hemphill served as manager of the company’s logging and lumbering interests in Clark County.  He spent 1898 and part of 1899 managing a cypress saw mill at New Orleans.  Upon his return to Neillsville, he purchased the John Paul mills and operated them for nine years.


He was early identified with the Neillsville Bank, serving as vice president and at the death of Charles F. Grow, as president.  He was also vice president of the Bank of Cadott, in Chippewa County and was a stockholder of the American National Bank of Marshfield.  He served two years as alderman and one term as mayor of Neillsville.  He was active in the Masonic and Woodmen lodges.


Mr. and Mrs. Hemphill were the parents of a daughter, Frances, who graduated from Neillsville High School in 1910, National Park Seminary in 1912 and from the University of Wisconsin in 1916.


In 1916, she was married to M. C. Rodolf, of Tulsa, Okla., the groom then was serving in the U. S. Army.  Three children were born to them; Betty, now residing at Rancho Sante Fe, Calif., Patricia, now living at Houston, Tex., and John, now of Tulsa.  Mr. Rodolf died in 1947.  During the long illness of her mother, Mrs. Rodolf spent most of her time at the Hemphill home on Hewett Street.


After Mr. Hemphill’s death in 1930, his wife Mary served as president of the Neillsville Bank for many years.  She had also long service on the Neillsville library board.  Her kindly beneficence endeared her to many people in the Neillsville area as she assisted in community enterprises.


The Dewhurst-Hemphill residence, on South Hewett Street, was a community-gathering place in the early history of Neillsville.  Many people, traveling by stage, through the city, spent the night at the Dewhurst home.  Many well-known and prominent people of Pioneer Wisconsin days were associated with the family and were entertained by them there.


“During the many years of the Dewhurst or Hemphill tenancy of the house on Hewett Street, it had become a practice,” said Mrs. Rodolf, “to place broken dishes, broken pictures and broken household goods in the attic.  All of the old flooring was piled in it when the new hardwood floors were added many years ago.  In recent months, the attic has been emptied and now the house, room by room, is being emptied.  Some household goods are being packed for shipping to Tulsa.”


This brings an end to the era of Dewhurst-Hemphill family’s living in Neillsville.


(Richard Dewhurst was known for his kindness.  He built the large home, at 26 Hewett Street, inviting travelers and visiting dignitaries to the comforts of his home.  Now, nearly 150 years later, the welcome mat remains at the house’s front door.  Visitors and guests to our city are still being invited into the historical home.  D. Z.)




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