Neillsville, Wis. & Vicinity in 1872
NEILLSVILLE THIRTY YEARS AGO ----Source: Clark County Republican & Press (Neillsville, Clark Co.) 9/24/1903
The issue of this paper of Dec. 26, 1872, tells of the completion of the first brick block in Neillsville. It was built by Hewett and Wood and was located at the corner of East and Third Streets. The same paper chronicles a big smallpox scare at Staffordville. Among the personals we find this item, "Sheriff Al Brown has been buying teams for the lumber camps. He paid $250 for a fine yoke of oxen this week."
The issue of Feb. 6, 1873 tells that Lynn and Tolford have men engaged in cutting poles for a telegraph line from Neillsville to Humbird and the editor says, "This will bring us in touch with the outside world."
At this time Clark County had but one railroad, the "West Wisconsin," and that only crossed the south west corner. The question of granting land to the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Co. to induce them to build a road through Clark County was under discussion. The attitude of this paper at that time was much the same on such questions as it is now. It opposed the grant and said:
"Whenever the interests of the hard-working, tax ridden people are arrayed on the one hand and those of the soulless corporations on the other, The Republican will at all time be found the friend of the former. We are strenuously opposed to granting subsidies of whatever nature and especially of lands to railroads or speculators, believing that the public domain should be sacredly reserved to actual settlers."
The La Cross Land Dealer of Feb. 6, 1873, contain a write-up of Clark County, in which the writer states that "Neillsville is a flourishing little village which will soon rival Humbird as a business center." Although the village and county were so new, an "Old Settlers Reunion" was held on Feb. 27, 1873, at Johnson and Meyers’ Hotel, now the O’Neill House. The Humbird brass band furnished the music. On March 15, 1873, a county agricultural society was organized. Among the members were Elias Weaver, O.P. Wells, L.L. Ayers and Alonzo Brooks.
On March 22 of that year the editor tells of a trip to Loyal and says: Ten years hence the embryo village of Loyal will be nearly as large as Neillsville is today. The wilderness will blossom like the rose and where the monarchs of the forest now stand, will be seen waving fields of grain, dotted with the homes of contented farmers. At present the village consists of two stores, butler and Co. and Brooks and Gwin, Thomas Philpot’s blacksmith shop and John Graves’s saw mill. A school house is being built.
On March 29th the county board created three new towns; in speaking of it the paper said: "The board has named one of the towns "Washburn" after our able and popular governor, another, "Sherman" after the brave general and the third, "York" which indicates that a majority of the people of that town are from the Empire State."
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