Clark County Press, Neillsville, Wisconsin
January 30, 2013, Page 10
Contributed by "The Clark Co. Press"
Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.
Index of "Oldies" Articles
Compiled by Dee Zimmerman
Clark County News
1918 History of Clark County Pioneers
Erastus & Daniel Mack
Loyal Township is on the eastern border of Clark County, midway from north to south. Originally it was covered with timber of which considerable hardwood remains. The soil is a gently rolling deep black loam, with clay subsoil, admirably adapted to the raising of all crops customary in this climate, especially hay.
Loyal Township was first settled in 1857. In the early fifties Erastus and Daniel Mack set out from Canada with a view of locating in Wisconsin. From Sheboygan they went to Oshkosh, where, while attending an auction sale one evening, they met William Welsh, with whom some years later, they became associated. Continuing on their way, the Mack Brothers reached Stevens Point, where they joined a railroad surveying party. The survey extended through the present Town of Loyal and the brothers were so well impressed with the locality, that in 1857 they located there.
In the next year, 1858, Daniel went back to Canada to get families of both, and returned with them, landing at Milwaukee. They went by rail to Prairie du Chien, then by boat to La Crosse where they obtained an ox team and wagon for the final ride to their new home in the wilderness.
After the Macks arrival, came three brothers, Ed, Jerrod and Sam Smith. Ed Smith cleared about thirty acres of land, then his wife died, after which he decided to move westward. Of the other brothers, all traces have been lost. Soon after, the Honeywells, Kings and others, came, who settled south of the Macks. The Honeywells, however, soon left to locate in what is now Greenwood, later going on to Minnesota. In 1861 William Hallock and Eben Borden arrived.
The first school in the area was taught by Priscilla King, who afterward married one of the Smiths. There were eight pupils in attendance at that first school. In accordance with the education laws of those days, the people had to pay out of their own pockets the cost of conducting a school for six months before aid could be obtained from the state.
In those early days the nearest markets were Portage City, La Crosse and Prairie du Chien. In going to Portage City, the pioneers went by way of Weston Rapids, thence to Stevens Point, a two weeks’ trip with oxen teams.
Erastus Mack, who wished to improve the highway conditions, circulated a petition, which resulted in the establishment of Road 26, from McCann’s Corners, twelve miles east. This road was laid out in 1859, by a Dr. Baxter. After this work was accomplished, Mr. Mack went to a town meeting at Weston Rapids and asked for an appropriation of $100 to improve the road. It was objected to, but Mack said, “Gentlemen, I stay right here until I get that money,” and his perseverance was rewarded.
The first white child born in what is now the Town of Loyal was Addie Mack, who later married John Corzett of the Town of York. The first death was that of a child of Daniel Mack.
Lumbering was carried on along Black River, which gave the pioneers an opportunity to work and earn money so they could buy provisions and stock while clearing their farms.
John Castner, now of Loyal Village, came to Wisconsin in 1856, having previously worked as a farmer and lumber man in the East. Upon reaching the Mississippi at Dunleeth, he came up the Mississippi by boat to La Crosse, and there obtained employment in a saw mill. That fall he had his first experience in the Wisconsin woods, walking through four feet of snow, to the Yellowstone Banks region in Taylor County, where he was employed as a logger by Jacob Hackett, a former Maine lumberman. In the spring, Mr. Castner was employed on the river drives. The main boom was that time located at Onalaska, in La Crosse County, where they were no less than fourteen saw mills. From there the timber was made into great platforms and rafted down the Mississippi.
In 1860, he came to Clark County for the purpose of cutting Road 26, a title it still retains. This road branched off the main tote road and extended through the pine swamp in the Town of Eaton to the Town of Loyal. At that time the region was heavily timbered, where an occasional settler would be living in a small clearing.
Mr. Castner secured, through a land warrant, eighty acres in Section 29, of what is now Loyal Township and thereon built a small log cabin.
Supplies were difficult to obtain. Mr. Castner, in the early days, took an annual trip with four oxen to Neshonet, now West Salem, after his yearly provisions and supplies, fording the swollen streams and making his way over roads that were little more than trails cut in the forests.
Game was plentiful. On one occasion, while deer hunting with his father-in-law, Daniel Mack, Mr. Castner had an interesting experience. He had killed one deer and was looking for another, when he was startled to see a large white-headed bear coming toward him. Taking quick aim, and pulling the trigger, Mr. Castner had the satisfaction of seeing the animal drop dead. But unfortunately, after taking home his deer, he returned the next day to find that someone had skinned the bear, taking the most valuable trophy.
Mrs. John Shanks, in narrating her early experiences, says: “We left Ontario, Canada in 1866, traveling by rail to West Salem, Wis. When I reached Bangor in 1866 I was married to Mr. Shanks and in the fall of that year, we came by team of horses and wagon through Sparta with William Shanks.
We stayed the first night at Tom Emery’s tavern, south of Black River Falls. There were many men staying there who were bound for the woods. The second night we stayed at Paddy’s Rest (Hatfield area) and the third night at Staffordsville, reaching Henry Huntzicker’s the afternoon of the fourth day. We traveled in lumber wagons, loaded when we started with supplies, but at each place we stopped we were obliged to leave some. It was on this first trip that I saw my first deer.
The roads were bad on account of heavy hauling and we had to get out many times to cut our way through the brush to avoid the bad places in the roadway. I worked for Mr. Huntzicker that winter and stayed there the following summer. Henry Huntzicker kept a hotel for the lumbermen. On New Year’s night, 1867, John Huntzicker was born and I cared for him during that summer.
In November, 1867, I went to a camp on the Popple River, walking the distance. There, I cooked for the men during the winter, leaving on March 17, 1868. That was my first experience in a logging camp. That summer, I stayed at Huntzicker’s and in the fall we built a log hut sixteen feet square, with a scooped roof.
My occupation was making buckskin mittens, shirts and buckskin trousers, which I sold to the boys going into the logging camps. The buckskin I secured from the Indians. Mr. Shanks, during this time, was driving logs down the Black River. We commenced clearing our farm in 1868. Later we built a good log house and lived there, faming until we moved into town. While we lived on our farm, we hardly ever saw any women, only Indians.
The upcoming basketball game January 3 between Granton and Neillsville high schools, to be played in the Neillsville gym, is the continuation of a rivalry that dates back 40 years. The Granton-Neillsville game has always brought a large crowd and more interest has been shown in this rivalry than that of any other team.
Postmaster Erhart Witte of Granton recalls that the first Granton School basketball team was made up of Smith Davis, Cliff Paulson, Wally Rausch, Frank Storm and Merle Lee. This time: 1917-1919. The 1920-21 team which took third place in a tournament held at Ripon College with Oshkosh, Fond du Lac and Ripon competing, was composed of Smith Davis, Ell Lee, Erhart Witte, Francis O’Reilly, Vance Williams, Herbert Witte and Holly Hogenson. Principal White was Granton’s first coach. He was succeeded by Miss Williams, a high school teacher from Stevens Point. Miss Williams arranged the games and did what she could to encourage basketball there. M. V. Overman coached basketball at Granton High in the days of Alex Witte, Doug Crandall and Carl Storm and Granton had one of the strong teams of the area.
Neillsville basketball fans like to look back to the days of “Cooney” Dux, Don Herian, “Babe” Bradbury, Oscar Gluck, Melvin Ure, “Bud” Bremer, Bill Neville, Bill Allen, Alex Gall, “Curly” Donahue, Ken Olson, Lawrence Junchen and Glen Roberts. The team that the late Coach Vernon Anderson took to the state tournament, Mitchell Whiterabbit, Harold Feirn, Oluf Olson, Lowell Schoengarth, Hugh Horswill, Murray Whiterabbit, was one of the strong teams of Neillsville. Among later players who are remembered in Neillsville’s basketball records are Bob Horswill, Jim Scott, Dick Prochazka, Paul Bartell, Dan Patey, Martin Wagner, Bob Scott, Mickey Tock, Bradley Larsen, Glenn Lazotte and Ronnie Meihack.
Friday night this inter-city rivalry will be resumed. Granton and Neillsville highs have strong teams this season, Dale Trimberger being one of the finest basketball players ever produced at Granton. Neillsville has a well-rounded team and an interest is assured.
The county law enforcement committee Monday afternoon accepted the low bid of Fel-Gross Chevrolet, Inc., of Neillsville for three new cars for the county traffic police.
The cash price, plus trade-in of the present units, is $1,779.25 per unit. Delivery is scheduled within 60 days.
The cars will have black tops with white bottoms, plus several other special features.
Sonny James, recording star whose “Young Love” record swept the rock ‘n roll world, will appear at a special teenage dance at the Silver Dome Ballroom Sunday afternoon, January 26.
James, who has appeared in the Ed Sullivan television show, rivals Elvis Presley, but disdains some of the slithery gimmicks employed by Presley. Called “The Southern Gentleman,” he neither drinks nor smokes. His “Young Love” recording has reached nearly two million in sales.
The dance will be a truly teenage affair, and for it Fred Munkholm, Silver Dome proprietor, said that the bar in the Dome will be closed. Only soft drinks will be available.
Accompanying James will be the “Five Strings,” a modern rock string quintet, which forms the background for James.
Childbirth in the home today has become almost as rare as it was common in Clark County just a decade ago. That was the striking thing about figures reported by Henry E. Rahn, Clark County’s register of deeds, just a few days ago.
Where just a few years ago kettles and tubs of water were heated on the kitchen stove as family members awaited the birth, today’s Clark County children are born within the cleanliness of a hospital. Instead of father pacing the floor in front of the closed bedroom door, the expectant father does his pacing in the quiet of a hospital waiting room.
At least that’s the way it was in 896 out of 901 births recorded in Clark County in 1957, Mr. Rahn revealed. For, 896 babies were born in hospitals of the area, and all but five were born in Clark County homes.
In the previous year 860 births were recorded in the county, which made an increase of 41 births last year over 1956.
Linus Prock, one of the area’s oldest merchants, has retired, announcing the sale last week of his Globe store to Raymond Kalsow. The sale ended a half-century as a Globe merchant for Mr. Prock, who went into the store business on that stand in 1908. For the 28 years preceding that, he has worked on his father’s farm, a little ways east of the store.
His father offered to give the farm to him, Mr Prock reminisced the other day; but the stone and those early Globe area farmers didn’t need anyone to tell them about stones, held no appeal for him.
“It was hard on machinery and on men,” he commented. “It would make a wrestler out of anyone.”
During one winter Mr. Prock has a taste of store work in Neillsville. He was employed at Klein’s store, later purchased by the late C. C. Wasserburger, that winter. One of his fellow-workers was Miss Katie Wasserburger, who is still connected with that store. Miss Wasserburger is one of the oldest, if not the oldest merchant in Neillsville. With the retirement of Mr. Prock her horizon expands in this respect.
In those early days, the Globe area was not the developed farmland it is today. Woods bounded on every side of the store and the farms were scattered. Horse and buggy, of course, were the mode of transportation and this crossroad was mecca for all that countryside. People came from Tioga and Willard to do their trading at the Globe store.
In his early days as “the Globe merchant,” Mr. Prock built a large horse shed and dances frequently were staged above the store, on the second floor. On dance nights, dinner was served in the store’s basement.
The advent of the automobile has brought about a change in that, however; and today the dance hall has been converted into two apartments.
Several years ago, when Mr. Prock’s son, Harold, was interest in mink, they installed a freezer for use in that business. When Harold gave up the mink business, Mr. Prock converted the freezer space into lockers, which are now used for meat storage by area farmers.
Although he leaves the Globe store, Mr. Prock takes with him memories of people and events that have crowded the last century. One is the “Globe Band,” a galaxy of musicians who played far and near in his earlier days. Mr. Prock played second cornet in that group and other members of the group included Ellis Jacklin, Alvin and Mike Gall, Bill Schwellenbach, his brothers, John and Ed Prock, Eric Schoenherr, Louis Scheel and Carl and George Hoffman.
Mr. Prock has nothing in view for the immediate future, except “we might go to Florida for the rest of the winter.”
This family photo was taken by the Neillsville railroad depot with a Seventh street building visible in the background (Photo courtesy of Steve Robert’ family collection)
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