Obit: Cornelius, Charles #3 (1854 - 1918)

Contact: Ann Stevens

Surnames: Cornelius, Temby, Sturdevant, High, Brooks, Crosby, Youmans, Albright, Sheddon, Zimmerman, Clemens, Hentschel, Walk, Nitzche

----Source: Neillsville Times (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 12/19/1918

Cornelius, Charles (4 JAN 1854 – 11 Dec 1918)

Charles Cornelius, probably one of the best known men in Clark County, died at the hospital at Marshfield on Wednesday, Dec. 11th. Mr. Cornelius had been sick for some time and had been treated at Marshfield. On Monday of last week he went to Marshfield, but was taken sick at the Blodgett Hotel and from there went to the hospital. An operation was performed and it was learned that he had been patiently suffering with a tumor for some time. The operation was of no avail and he died on Wednesday. The remains were brought home and the funeral was held on Saturday afternoon, services being conducted by Peter Temby at the family residence and interment being made in the Neillsville Cemetery. The remains were attended to their last resting place by the following Masonic brethren: C.R. Sturdevant, Chas. High, Dr. Brooks, E.W. Crosby, G.C. Youmans, H.L. Albright, A. J. Sheddon, Geo. Zimmerman.

Charles Cornelius was a pioneer of Clark County and in turn a merchant, public officer and banker, and a self-made man in every respect. He was possessed of many wonderfully fine traits of character and as a result he numbered his friends by the score. He was at all times genial and pleasant and his attitude toward his fellow man and his ready handshake and cheery smile will be long remembered by practically everyone in lower Clark County. He is survived by his wife and daughter, Mrs. R.A. Clemens, and by one brother, Louis, of Sheboygan. Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius were here for the funeral.

A splendid account of the life of M. Cornelius was recently published in the history of Clark County and as the dates were given the publishers of the book by Mr. Cornelius, the biography is authentic and for that reason is herewith re-produced:

Charles Cornelius, president of the First National Bank of Neillsville, and interested in several of the leading financial institutions in St. Paul and Minneapolis, has been an influential figure in Clark County life for over four Decades, and has won a commanding position of respect and importance. His efforts at beautifying Neillsville will be held in grateful remembrance for generations to come. Born on an isolated farm among the woods of Grandville Township, Ozaukee County, this state, Jan. 4, 1854, son of Conrad and Amelia (Hentschel) Cornelius, he was taken to Sheboygan County as a young boy and was reared to manhood in a picturesque home on the banks of the Sheboygan River. There, attending school and working on a farm, he received much of that love of beauty which was to characterize his later life. As a youth he received the groundwork of his mercantile and salesmanship experience as a clerk in a store at Glenbeulah, and as a sewing machine, piano and organ agent. It was in 1876 that he came to Clark County, making his way on foot from Marshfield to Mapleworks, near the present site of Granton. With keen business acumen he foresaw the future possibilities of the county, and accordingly purchased the little Grange store there and started to build up the little hamlet by bringing in several skilled artisans. In time he added to his growing business the sale of agricultural machinery and implements, and established a branch of this department at Neillsville, renting a barn on the site of his present bank. This branch became of such importance that in 1887 he Decided to devote his entire attention to it and accordingly sold out his Mapleworks business and moved to Neillsville. His acquaintance throughout the county rapidly increased, his fair dealing and companionable disposition won him many friends and in the fall of 1896 he was elected by a good majority to the office of County Registrar of Deeds, a position he filled so acceptably that he was three times re-elected. In the meantime he acquired extensive timberland interests in Oregon and in1904 he resigned his office to give these holdings more of his attention. In 1907 he removed to Boston, Mass., with his family, in order that his daughter might have the advantage of the excellent educational opportunities in music in that city. While there, he himself took advanced courses in commerce and finance at the Boston Commercial Business College, in order to thoroughly perfect himself in the banking business, in which he had determined to embark. With this preparation he returned to Neillsville and laid out his plans. Purchasing the site of his former place of business from P.J. Walk, he started the erection of his present sightly bank building in 1909, and two years later added a duplicate building at the south, so that it is now a commodious structure, housing the bank and a store on its first floor, and a series of modern offices on the second floor. In front of this building he placed an ornamental clock, which furnishes the municipal time of the city and chimes every quarter hour. At the same time he started his bank building he purchased a commanding site on a rise of land in the southern limits of the city, and started the erection of his beautiful home. The first and only national bank in the county opened its doors Jan. 17, 1910, with Mr. Cornelius as its president, founder and active manager. For four years previous to this, he had been vice-president of the Commercial Bank of Neillsville. He helped to organize and was president of the Farmers & Merchants Bank of Greenwood, and aided in the organization of the Farmers Exchange Bank of Thorp. He is now vice-president of the Continental State Bank of Minneapolis, on the Board of Directors of the Exchange State Bank of South St. Paul, and a stockholder in the Mercantile State Bank of Minneapolis and in the Peoples Bank of St. Paul, all in Minnesota. He is president of the Wisconsin-Louisiana Land Company, which has extensive holdings in timber lands in Richland Parish, Louisiana. In Neillsville he helped to organize the Farmers Co-operative Elevator & Lumber Co. and the Neillsville Canning Factory, and was influential in advancing the local interests of the Oatman Condensary, which was established in Neillsville in 1916. For several years Mr. Cornelius served on the city council. Fraternally he is a member of the Neillsville Lodge, No. 163, A.F. & A.M., Neillsville Chapter No. 66, R.A.M., Neillsville Commandery No. 36, K.T., and Marshfield Lodge, No. 665, B.P.O.E., as well as an honorary member of the Beavers of Neillsville. His activities in these various directions have made him a strong factor in the commercial, business, and social development of the community and his reputation stands high as a capable man of affairs. Mr. Cornelius was married at Mapleworks, this county, Sept. 9, 1886, to Theresa A. Nitzche, born in Fillmore Township, Washington County, this state, daughter of Carl and Amalia Nitzche. Carl Nitzche was successfully engaged in the milling and baking business in Germany before bringing his family to this country, and consequently had a good start here. Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius have one daughter, Lydia, now the wife of Raymond A. Clemens. Mrs. Cornelius has been an able and sympathetic helpmate in all of Mr. Cornelius’ various undertakings. Both are members of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston, and are active in Christian Science Circles in Neillsville.



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