Directory of Webster County Nebraska 1894 – Otto

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Source:
Directory of Webster County Nebraska, 1894
Otto – Pages 66-67

New Virginia Cemetery

To organize a community cemetery, the families in the area met at the New Virginia school house on the 23rd of April 1887. The Otto Cemetery Association was organized, with Richard T. Payne elected as president. It was located in the northwest corner of section 34 and was called “Otto” cemetery, after the first name of Otto Skjelver. Following the land dispute the cemetery was called the “Payne” cemetery. On May 4, 1925, the name was officially changed to “New Virginia” cemetery.

Source:
Webster County: Visions of the Past
By Mabel Cooper Skjelver
Published 1980
Page 66


F.E. Payne Biographical

F.E. Payne, farmer and stock-raiser, Catherton Township, was born in Frederick County, Va., in September, 1850, and is the oldest child born to R.T. and Sarah (Scribner) Payne. They were the parents of six children, viz.: F.E. (the subject of this sketch), Mrs. Mary Cooper (of this township), Mrs. Ida Brown (of Winchester, Va.), Mrs. Pinkney Hale and Mrs. Carrie Harvey (of Inavale Township), and Robert Bruce (residing with his brother, our subject). The father was a cooper by trade, and lived in his native State till 1884, when he came to Nebraska, locating in this township where he is now living. Both he and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The subject of this sketch received a common school education in his native State, and at the age of twenty-two years began life for himself as a farmer, following that occupation with success in his native State until 1877, when he came to this State. Here he entered a homestead and timber claim, comprising 320 acres in Section 34-3-12 on Farmers’ Creek, all of which he has under an excellent state of cultivation, well improved with good buildings, fruit and forest trees, etc. He is active in politics and votes with the Prohibition party, and for a time has held the office of justice of the peace in this township. He was married in July, 1881, to Mrs. Vernie (Cather) Clutter, widow of Webster Clutter, and daughter of William and Caroline (Smith) Cather, of Virginia; she died in December, 1885, leaving him one child, Wilella. Mr. Payne is a member of the Baptist Church.

Source:
Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Adams, Clay, Webster, and Nuckolls Counties, Nebraska
Published 1890
Page 646

50 Years Ago – The Virginians

By. Dr. W.A. Thomas

The Wilsons

There is one fact about John Wilson that we must not forget. Before he left Virginia he had married a Miss Wisecarver. To this circumstance, in some measure, the county is indebted for the presence of Johnson B. Wisecarver, usually called “Jack” Wisecarver, and his brother, Wade Hampton, more generally known as “Hamp” Wisecarver. We do not know that Jack was named for the president, Andy Johnson, but Hamp was undoubtedly named after the famous confederate general and senator of South Carolina. The elder of the two brothers, Johnson, came to this county in the fall of 1878. Perhaps the most notable fact in his career in this county was his victimization by the Nebraska Farm Loan & Trust company, whereby he found himself compelled to pay a mortgage on his farm twice. It is bad enough to pay a mortgage debt once in hard times. When it comes to paying twice with accumulated interest of ten years and costs, it becomes a pretty sore burden. Fortunately Mr. Wisecarver held his farm with a close grip until he was able to sell it two years ago for some eight or nine thousand dollars. Even then he sold it too cheap, as events demonstrated. But he was sagacious enough to invest a good part of the money received in other lands, so that he has been benefited by the general increase in the values of farm property. Mr. Wisecarver married Miss Olive Bean, daughter of the Rev. John Bean, who was so highly esteemed during his residence in the northwest portion of the county. There are two children from this marriage, Bertha, who is now Mrs. Bruce Payne, and the bright Rittlo Ethel, whom we permit almost anybody to endeavor to trip in spelling hard words. Since the sale of the farm Mr. Wisecarver has made his home in this city.

“Hamp” Wisecarver came to the county some years later. He married a Miss Holmes, a niece of Mrs. Arthur Wilson. (article missing) During the tabernacle meetings, it is related that one of the evangelists, seeing the abruption with which “Hamp” listened to the exercises, approached him and asked him if he did not think it was time for him to “give his heart to the Lord.” Without any intention of being offensive, “Hamp” replied, after considerable effort and delay, that he needed it for his own use at present. “Hamp” is now running a lunch counter in the city.

Another Wilson that we should have mentioned in connection with her brothers is Elizabeth, who became the wife of John Marker while in Virginia. The Markers followed the Wilsons to this county, where they lived in unassuming, industrious quietude until the election five years ago, when Miss Lizzie surprised a great many of the people by securing an election to the office of county superintendent, and demonstrated that the Virginia settlers possessed a culture that fitted them for any position. John Marker died three or four years ago, his widow and nine children surviving him. Lizzie is well known to our readers by reason of her four years occupancy of our highest educational position; Annie, nicknamed “Tishie,” is an accomplished stenographer in Minneapolis; John, the oldest boy, is managing the homestead; Dora and Carrie are each married and live just out of the county on the Blue; Albert is in California, and Ford and Lena are on the farm with their mother and John.

No account of the Virginians would be complete which omitted mention of the Paynes. The first to come was F.E., or “Ed” Payne. He arrived in 1877. His father, “Uncle Dick” Payne, came the next year, with his young son, Bruce, and his two daughters. “Uncle Dick” passed away many years ago. “Ed” has been something of a political storm center in Catherton township since his arrival. Before coming of G.P. Cather in 1873, the Norwegians, under the lead of one German, O. Lee, made a settlement on Thompson creek in Franklin county. They were located on lands by an old gentleman named Budlong. By him their corners were pointed out. As their Norwegian friends spread out to the east, they eventually met the Virginians spreading from the north and east. By this time the few (article missing) government corners that had been in the township, if any, had been obliterated, and a dispute arose concerning the lines which divided the people of the township, culminating in a new survey under the direction of a town meeting. There being no authority for such a survey, lawsuits arose which kept the two elements of the township, the Virginians and the Norwegians, in disquietude for some years. It fell to Mr. Payne’s lot to be the center of this controversy, his land being near the center of the township. Mr. Payne has also, from the organization of the populist party, been a warm and leading adherent to that party. He is consequently better known to the people of the county than most of the Virginians. While a strenuous fighter, he has never been accused of anything worse than obstinacy by his opponents, which is not the worst fault that could be laid to a man. Mr. Payne has one daughter, Miss Willella. Bruce Payne is a comparatively young man. He is a graduate of the Red Cloud public schools, and was a soldier in the Philippine war. He married Miss Bertha Wisecarver, and is at present in Herman, Nebraska.

The two daughters who came with “Uncle Dick” are now Mrs. Noah Harvey and Mrs. Finley Hale. Another daughter, Mary, is Mrs. Cooper. We have not the pleasure of an acquaintance with the Coopers and cannot relate any particulars concerning them in this issue.

One more Virginian deserves mention who is no longer a resident of the county, Mr. Will Matheney. Mr. Matheney married a Miss Andrews, a niece of Charles Cather. He sold his farm in this county a few months ago for over $9,000, and he is trying to live a life of comparative ease on his farm near Campbell.

We believe that we have enumerated all the Virginians who have ever settled in the neighborhood of Catherton. It must be admitted that there is a goodly number of them. It is not at all surprising that they thought themselves of consequence to build a church and christen it the New Virginia church.

There is one lot of Virginians which ought, perhaps, to be mentioned. The Rinkers also came from the Shenandoah valley, and were neighbors of the Cather and Lockharts. But they settled on Walnut creek. There were two brothers, Josiah and Galloway. Of Josiah, the elder, there were two sons, Clinton and Avilon. Clinton married the daughter of R.B. Fulton. She died within a few years after the marriage. Avilon is back on his father’s farm in Virginia. Galloway Rinker, who remained in this county longer than his brother or nephews, is now in Franklin, but Charles Rinker, his son, is still a resident of Walnut creek.

We have almost forgotten another Virginian who is one of the best known to the people of this city, especially the ladies. The present Mrs. Jones, formerly Mrs. G.W. Francis, came to this county an unmarried girl, and showed that she was capable of making her own way in the world by her work in the harvest field, where she did the work of a man prior to her first marriage. Mrs. Jones is at present in Colorado. Mrs. Bortfeldt is an adopted daughter, whom she reared to womanhood with a mother’s affection and care.

Death of R.T. Payne

The many friends of Uncle Dick Payne were surprised to learn of his death during Sunday night. The previous day he had visied his son and though he seemed in usual health, complained of not feeling very well. This was the last seen of him alive. During Monday his son called at the house and found him lying dead in his bed. The open Bible and his spectacles were upon the table as he had left them upon retiring for the night, when he laid down to his last long sleep. Death had come without warning during his slumber, and he passed away gently and peacefully.

Richard Thornton Payne was born in Loudoun County, Va., March 28, 1828, was married Dec. 10, 1849 to Sarah A. Scrivner who preceded him to the heavenly land in 1891, and with whom he had lived for forty years. Mr. Payne was a great reader of the old family Bible and a member of the church since 1855. He leaves six children, one daughter who lives in Virginia, Mrs. Finley Hale, in Missouri; one son, Bruce, is a soldier in the Philippine Islands serving in the First Nebraska, and one son, F.E.

Payne, and two daughters, Mrs. A.A. Cooper and Mrs. Noah Harvey, at his late Nebraska home, and a host of friends to mourn his demise.

The funeral service was conducted by Rev. A.G. Blackwell at the New Virginia school house and the remains were followed to the cemetery by a large concourse of relatives and friends.

F.E. Payne Obituary

F.E. Payne was born in Frederick county, Virginia, September 23, 1850 and was aged 66 years, 8 months and 16 days.

He received a common school education in his native state, and at the age of twenty-two years he began life for himself as a farmer, following that occupation with success in Virginia until 1877, when he came to Nebraska, homesteading on 320 acres in Catherton township, where he continued to reside until the time of his death.

He took an active part in local and state politics, and in 1914 was chairman of the Democratic County Central Committee.

Mr. Payne was always ready and willing to take an interest in all matters pertaining to the welfare and advancement of the state, county and community, and during the past winter he devoted much time to the Federal Road Act.

He was a man possessing all the qualities of a gentleman, kind and loving father, and husband, a good neighbor and an upright christian man, having been a member of the Baptist church for many years.

In July, 1881 he was united in marriage to Mrs. Vernie clutter, to this union was born one daughter, Wilella, now Mrs. C.M. Wilson. Mrs. Payne preceeded him to the great beyond in the year of 1885.

He is survived by one daughter, four grand children, one brother and three sisters.

Funeral services were conducted at the New Virginia church Sunday afternoon at 2:00 o’clock by Rev. R.B.E. Hill of McCool, and was largely attended by neighbors and friends of deceased, and the remains were laid to rest in the new Virginia cemetery.

F.E. Payne Will Be Buried Sunday

As announced in these columns on Wednesday evening, F.E. Payne had just been found dead in his field, where he had been plowing and the following obituary is taken from yesterday’s issue of the Red Cloud Chief:

“The deceased was born in Frederick county, Virginia, September 23, 1850 and was aged 66 years, 8 months and 16 days.”

“He received a common school education in his native state, and at the age of twenty-two years he began life for himself as a farmer, following that occupation with success in Virginia until 1877, when he came to Nebraska, homesteading on 320 acres in Catherton township, where he continued to reside until the time of his death.”

“He took an active part in local and state politics, and in 1914 was chairman of the Democratic County Central Committee.”

“Mr. Payne was always ready and willing to take an interest in all matters pertaining to the welfare and advancement of the state, county and community, and during the past winter he devoted much time to the Federal Road Act.”

“He was a man possessing all the qualities of a gentleman, kind and loving father, and husband, a good neighbor and an upright christian man, having been a member of the Baptist church for many years.”

“In July, 1881 he was united in marriage to Mrs. Vernie Clutter, to this union was born one daughter, Wilella, now Mrs. C.M. Wilson. Mrs. Payne preceeded him to the great beyond in the year of 1885.”

“He is survived by one daughter, four grand children, one brother and three sisters.”

Funeral services will be held in the New Virginia church in Catherton precinict on Sunday afternoon at 2 o’clock in charge of Revs. Hummel and Hill.

F.E. Payne Dies Suddenly

On Wednesday afternoon, while plowing on his farm, Mr. F.E. Payne, one of the most highly respected citizens of Catherton township, dropped dead.

The deceased was born in Frederick county, Virginia, September 23, 1850 and was aged 66 years 8 months and 16 days.

He received a common school education in his native state, and at the age of twenty-two years he began life for himself as a farmer, following that occupation with success in Virginia until 1877, when he came to Nebraska, homesteading on 320 acres in Catherton township, where he continued to reside until the time of his death.

He took an active part in local and state politics, and in 1914 was chairman of the Democratic County Central Committee.

Mr. Payne was always ready and willing to take an interest in all matters pertaining to the welfare and advancement of the state, county and community, and during the past winter he devoted much time to the Federal Road Act.

He was a man possessing all the qualities of a gentleman, kind and loving father, and husband, a good neighbor and an upright christian man, having been a member of the Baptist church for many years.

In July, 1881 he was united in marriage to Mrs. Vernie clutter, to this union was born one daughter, Wilella, now Mrs. C.M. Wilson. Mrs. Payne preceeded him to the great beyond in the year of 1885.

He is survived by one daughter, four grand children, one brother and three sisters.

At the time of going to press arrangements had not been made for the funeral services.

F.E. Payne Death Announcement & Obituary

Ed Payne, prominent and well known Webster county farmer, died suddenly of heart failure while at work in the field on his farm in Catherton Township Wednesday afternoon about four o’clock. Mr. Payne was at work driving a riding plow and apparently was in his usual good health. Employees on the farm noticed the team standing at one corner of the field with Mr. Payne in the seat but in a leaning position. Upon investigation it was found that life was extinct and that he had fallen forward and the body had caught in the machinery and to all appearances he had died instantly.

Source:
Bladen Enterprise

Friday, May 11, 1917
Page 1, Column 4 


F.E. Payne was born in Frederick County, Virginia, September 23, 1850 and was aged 66 years, 8 months and 16 days. He received a common school education in his native state, and at the age of twenty-two years he began life for himself as a farmer, following that occupation with success in Virginia until 1877, when he came to Nebraska, homesteading on 320 acres in Catherton township, where he continued to reside until the time of his death. He took an active part in local and state politics, and in 1914 was chairman of the Democratic County Central Committee. Mr. Payne was always ready and willing to take an interest in all matters pertaining to the welfare and advancement of the state, county and community, and during the past winter he devoted much time to the Federal Road Act. He was a man possessing all the qualities of a gentleman, kind and loving father, and husband, a good neighbor and an upright christian man, having been a member of the Baptist church for many years. In July, 1881 he was united in marriage to Mrs. Vernie Clutter, to this union was born one daughter, Wilella, now Mrs. C M Wilson. Mrs. Payne preceded him to the great beyond in the year of 1885(sic). He is survived by one daughter, four grandchildren, one brother and three sisters. Funeral services were conducted at the New Virginia church Sunday afternoon at 2:00 o’clock by Rev R B E Hill of McCool, and was largely attended by neighbors and friends of deceased, and the remains were laid to rest in the new Virginia cemetery.

Source:
Bladen Enterprise

Friday, May 18, 1917
Page 1, Column 4 

Services Tuesday for Mrs. Con Wilson

Mr. and Mrs. Clair Duval, Mr. and Mrs. Lyle Kile and Mr. and Mr.s Laurence Grandstaff attended funeral services Tuesday for Mrs. Con Wilson who passed away Sunday at the Webster County Community hospital in Red Cloud, after a long illness. She was 77 hears of age and a lifetime resident of Webster County. She made her home for many years in the New Virginia community southwest of Bladen. Among the relatives surviving is a daughter, Mrs. Milton Lutz of Bladen. The Rev. J.W. Scott of Red Cloud and the Rev. L.O. Seger of Bladen officiated at the services at the New Virginia cemetery.

Nebraska Pioneer Farm Award – Payne Homestead 1977

In June of 1977, Johnny and Bonnie Wilson were presented with the Nebraska Pioneer Farm Award for the Payne Homestead ground being in the family for more than 100 years. This award is given by the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben and is traditionally presented at the county fair.

Ed Payne Homestead

Francis “Ed” Payne came in 1877 and entered a homestead and timberclaim in section 34, eventually owning all of that section. Ed Payne’s parents, Richard T. Payne, came in 1883, along with daughters Carrie and Pinkney, and son, Bruce Payne.

Source:
Webster County: Visions of the Past
By Mabel Cooper Skjelver
Published 1980
Page 63


Ed Payne Homestead 1886

Photograph courtesy of John Wilson, grandson of F.E. Payne

Ed Payne is holding his daughter, Wilella, with his mother, Mrs. Richard T. Payne in the background. His sister, Carrie, later Mrs. Noah Harvey, is in the foreground with her hand on a post. Two neighbor friends, Daisy Wilson, later Duval, and Della Wilson, later Bean, are in the foreground.

Source:
Webster County: Visions of the Past
By Mabel Cooper Skjelver
Published 1980
Page 69


Current location of Payne homestead pictured above. Also location of the original Otto Post Office, of which F.E. Payne was the first Postmaster.

Otto Post Office

The Otto post office was established September 12, 1884, with Francis E. “Ed” Payne as postmaster. It too was named for Otto Skjelver. In 1890, William Brethour had the mail contract to carry mail from Inavale to Otto. The post office remained in the F.E. Payne residence in the NW 1/4 of section 34 until December 11, 1894, with Ed Payne’s sister Mary, (Mrs. A.A. Cooper) performing the duties of postmistress. Ada Skjelver, daughter of Otto Skjelver, pointed out that the District 66 school teachers boarded with the Coopers – in the Ed Payne house – “so it was no trouble to get the young men to ride over there for the mail in the evening once or twice a week!” Anne E. Marker was the next postmistress until July 7, 1898 with the post office in the Alford Marker residence. The post office was then moved to the Eric J. Peterson farm, with Mr. Peterson as postmaster. The Otto post office remained at the Peterson farm until January 14, 1904, when the mail was sent to Inavale post office for distribution to the residents of southern Catherton precinct.

The Farmers Creek Telephone Company was formed in 1903, with lines strung from Inavale to the Otto post office. Another line came up the middle fork of Farmers Creek to the A.A. Cooper farm. A telephone line from Campbell came to the Otto Skjelver and the E.J. Peterson farms. Thus families in the area could go through the “switches” at the Cooper, Skjelver or Peterson farms to talk to neighbors on another line without paying toll. Also in 1903, the Webster County Argus reported that the “Rural mail route was ‘running full blast’ and the farmers who live several miles from town now enjoy reading a daily paper.”

Source:
Webster County: Visions of the Past
By Mabel Cooper Skjelver
Published 1980
Pages 66-67


The Otto post office was at the E.J. Peterson farm residence from July 7, 1898 to January 14, 1904, when the post office was closed and mail ordered distributed from Inavale. This event was commemorated by the mail patrons of the area who brought a basket dinner to the Peterson residence. Some thirty families were present who had taken their mail from the Otto post office regularly, and they presented the E.J. Peterson with a library table in appreciation of their service.

Source:
Webster County: Visions of the Past
By Mabel Cooper Skjelver
Published 1980
Page 65


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Here is a plat map of Catherton township from 1900.  It shows the Otto Post Office located on E.J. Peterson’s ground, as mentioned in the article above.  The Otto Post Office was originally located on the Payne homestead.

Conly M. Wilson & Wilella Payne Certificate of Marriage

This is the Certificate of Marriage for Conly M. Wilson and Wilella Payne dated March 15, 1910.

Final services for Wilella Wilson

Wilella, daughter of Francis Edward and Alverna Cather Payne, was born near Inavale May 1,1882.  Her entire life was lived in Webster County where she attended our local school in preparation for the training received in the Grand Island college.

Tragedy struck early in her life in the loss of her mother. Her grandparents, William and Caroline cather, cared for this 18 month old baby as well as making a home for the half-brother, Kyd Clutter, and the cousin Retta Ayer who was also motherless.

On reaching maturity, she assumed the responsibility of homemaking for her father who lived on a farm north of Inavale.

March 15, 1910, she was married to Conley Martin Wilson. Four sons and three daughters were born to them.

Preceding her in death was one son, Charles Richard, who passed away at five years of age.

Remaining to mourn the loss of this loved one are her husband, daughters, Verna Lutz, Retta Hanson, Edna Meyer and her sons James, Frances and Johnny.

Source:
Red Cloud Commercial Advertiser
April 1960

Conley M. & Wilella Wilson Gravestones

These are Conley M. and Wilella Wilson’s gravestones in New Virginia Cemetery, Webster County, NE.

1910 Census – Catherton Precinct, Webster County, Nebraska (page 10)