Clark County, situated a little northwest of the center of the State, settled as early as 1844, and created out of territory taken from Jackson County, by act of the Legislature, approved July 6, 1853, is one of the most valuable if not the most valuable lumber districts in the State. It is bounded on the north by Chippewa County, on the east by Marathon and Wood counties, on the south by Jackson and on the west by Chippewa and Eau Claire counties. Its central part is drained by the Black river and its branches; its eastern part by branches of the Wisconsin , and its western by affluents of the Chippewa River. Black River, running form north to south, divides the county into two nearly equal parts. The West Wisconsin railway crosses the southwest corner of the county, the Wisconsin Central along the northern boundary, and the Chicago, St.Paul, Minnesota & Omaha runs a branch from Merrillon to Neillsville, a distance of about fourteen miles. This latter was completed and opened in July 1881. The county contains twenty-two townships and is nearly forty miles wide.

    The surface of the country is for the most part gently undulating, and is divided naturally into lumber, swamps and prairie, the former predominating. East of Neillsville for a distance of twenty miles, the county presents a rolling appearance with a dense growth of heavy timber, embracing oak, hickory, basswood, elm and butternut. The pineries are located along Black River and its tributaries and are sources of immense wealth to those interested, from tow to three hundred millions of feet of lumber being cut annually. In the winter the smoke of the camp fires can be seen for a distance of forty miles, it is said, along the Black River, and the ring of the ax and the song of the workman can be heard from morn till night during that season of the year.

    The soil in the southern part is a sandy loam, and in the northern part a clay loam. It is admirably adapted to the growth of cereals and vegetables, which are cultivated as successfully as in the southern portion of the state.

    The water available in the county is abundant. The Black River, for nearly its entire course through the county, is one continuous succession of rapids, with a full averaging for over forty miles fully fifteen feet to the mile. This power is susceptible of improvement at any point, the bed of the stream and its banks being rocky and the soil of such compact nature as to render the building of dams a comparatively safe and easy operation. When the material resources of the county are fully developed, as seems now to be the intent, all its waterpower must and will be employed. It is of priceless value and estimated at its true worth by the inhabitants.

    The only one of the lower silurian formations occurring in this county is the Potsdam sandstone, which forms the basement rock of its southern portion, the primary rising to the surface in the northern portion. The peculiar irregularities of the line of junction between the two formations, the extension southward along the stream valleys of long strips of the crystalline rocks, the corresponding northward extension, along the divides of the sandstone and the difficulties met with in tracing the boundary are familiar to all.

    A large proportion of the sandstone area in the county is level and to a considerable extent occupied by marshes. Underneath these marshes, which to a large extent have peat bottoms, sandstone is commonly found at shallow depths. On some of the dividing ridges again, the sandstone county becomes considerably elevated, and has more or less a rolling character. The divide between Black and Yellow Rivers in the eastern portion of the county is considerably elevated above the surrounding country, but is very heavily covered with glacial materials and presents there fore a much more even surface. The larger part of this sandstone area is within the region of heavy timber, chiefly pine; usually the sandstone of these counties is but a thin covering upon the crystalline rocks which appear in all of the deeper stream valleys. High bluffs of the sandstone, however, occur, carrying its thickness up into the hundreds of feet, and bearing witness to the great thickness, which once must have existed, over all the region.

    Along Black River from Neillsville to Black River Falls, sandstone is quite frequently exposed in or near the banks of the river, the bed of which is on the crystalline rock. West of the river, is sandstone outlier 175 feet high and about one-third of a mile in length; the upper portions of which are perpendicular ledges of bare rock. The sandstone is heavily bedded, indurated, coarse grained and light colored. From the summit of the bluff a number of similar outliers can be seen dotting the county to the west and south and one or two to the north.

    For a half a mile below French's mill the Neillsville road follows the west bank of the river at an elevation of thirty feet above the water. On the east side of the road, granite is exposed in the river bank and on the west side a ridge of horizontal sandstone thirty to fifty feet high. The sandstone is cross laminated, coarse, yellowish, and made up of much rolled quartz grains, which reach sometimes as much as one-eight of an inch in diameter.

    In Town 21, Range 4 west, and Town 22, Range 4 west, ledges of sandstone form the river bank for long distances, rising twenty to forty feet from the water, and are in a number of places to be seen overlying or abutting against primary schists. This sandstone is usually of a light yellowish color, coarse, and somewhat indurated, and includes beds of red and green sandy shade. The lowest layers are often affected by a very marked cross-lamination, the thickness so affected, being often as much as six to ten feet.


Transcribed and Contributed to this site by Judy Groh

Floral Bouquet © Copyright: All files on this site are copyrighted by their creator and/or contributor. They may be linked to but may not be reproduced on another site without specific permission from Clark County Coordinator Judy Groh, the State Coordinator, Tina Vickery and/or their contributor. My very special thanks to Holly Timm for the creation of the WIGenWeb Clark County graphic. The use of the Penny Postcard in the title graphic is used with permission of the Penny Post Cards a USGenWeb Archives Web Site.

This page was last updated on -- Friday, 01-Apr-2011 21:27:59 EDT

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