New Virginia Church Dedication

The dedication services of the New Virginia Methodist Episcopal church, seven miles north of Inavale, were held last Saturday and Sunday and were the occasion of great rejoicing in that community. For twenty years the people have worshipped in the school house and, summer and winter, have maintained a Sunday school. Two years ago they began a subscription to build a new church, and soon had the building under way. They were greatly delayed, however, on account of illness in the carpenter’s family. They finally succeeded in completing the building and were ready for dedication early in August of last year. Unfortunately, on the Saturday night before the dedication the church took fire and was totally destroyed. This was a great blow, as the building was only partially insured. It was with gloomy faces that the people came back to the old school house the next morning. Yet they were not wholly discouraged, and soon had subscribed enough to replace the building. Thus after two weary years of sacrifice and waiting they have as nice a little church as can be found anywhere.

The services began on Saturday afternoon when Rev. A. V. Wilson, assisted byt the pastor, laid the cornerstone. Rev. Wilson preached a short sermon from Phil. 3, 18, after which the corner stone, containing copies of a number of the county papers, the discipline, the names of the members, the names of the the trustees and names of the donors, the Lord’s Prayer and the church papers, was placed in the wall. This stone, a beautiful granite block, was presented by Mr. Ed McAlister of Red Cloud.

Rev. J. W. Embree of Superior preached the dedicatory sermon Sunday morning, taking for his text Eph. 5, 27. The church was dedicated free of debt. There was no begging for subscriptions.

There were services in the afternoon and evening, at which former pastors of the church presided. The church was filled to its utmost capacity and many were unable to gain admission. The following ministers were present and took part in the services: Rev. Embree, Rev. Fonch, Rev. Priestley and Rev. Wilson.

Red Cloud Chief
April 19, 1907
Nebraska Newspapers Project

Bulus E. Reeves Obituary

Services for Bulus E. Reeves will be Monday at 10 a.m. at Table Memorial Chapel in North Platte. Graveside services will be held at 2:30 CST at the Cedarview Cemetery in Mullen.

Mr. Reeves, 87, died Friday at a North Platte nursing home. He was born March 11, 1898, in Iowa and had been employed by the CB&Q Railroad as a section foreman for more than 40 years. He is a former resident of Mullen.

A memorial has been established to the Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Mullen.

Mullen Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Obituary – William Gibson

William_Gibson_ObituaryWilliam Gibson was born January 29, 1866 at Rock Island, Ill., and died at Mullen, Nebraska, Nov 27, 1958, at the age of 92 years 9 months, and 28 days.

As a boy he moved with his parents, Alexander and Ellen Gibson, to Iowa, and from there at an early age he moved to Custer County in Nebraska, and later filed on a homestead near Tryon, Nebraska. In the year 1900 he moved to Mullen and in 1905 filed on a Kinkaid homestead in South Cherry County, where he lived until his later years when he moved to Mullen, where he spent the remainder of his life.

He is survived by two sons and two daughters, John A. of Mullen, Nebr; Frank of Denver, Colo; Mrs Irene Johnson, Omaha, Nebraska, and Mrs Pearl Waterman, Indianapolis, Ind. Four sisters, Mrs Maggie Hazelbaker, Springdale Wash; Mrs Ella Bower, of Hamilton, Mont; Mrs Agnes Thompson, LeRoy, Iowa, and Mrs Mary Neal, Tryon, Nebr. He is also survived by seven grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren.

Funeral services were held in the Episcopal church November 29, 1958, with Father John Yamamoto in charge. The music was furnished by Mrs Glenna Buchfinck, and the remains laid to rest in his lot in Cedar View Cemetery at Mullen, Nebr.

Pallbearers were E G Long, Wes James, Lee Isom, Allen Smith, Louis Folk and John Kraye.


We wish to thank everyone for the acts of kindness and expressions of sympathy during the sickness and passing of our father and grandfather.

Mrs. Irene Johnson and Family
Mrs. Pearl Waterman
Frank Gibson and Family
John Gibson and Family
John Gibson Jr. and Family
Jeffie McMannis and Family
Barney Gibson

Obituary, Willard Jones

Willard_Jones_ObituaryA service of worship in memory of Willard Jones of Fairfield was held in the Fairfield Community Presbyterian Church on Jan. 13 at 2 p.m. Rev. R. Keith Roumpf conducted the services. Mrs. Russell Broderick was organist. Pallbearers were George Briggs, Jack Briggs, Norman Jones, Donald Jones, Ronald Jones and Stanley Schliep. Interment was in the Fairfield Cemetery. Arrangements were by McLaughlin Funeral Home.

Willard Jones was born on Dec. 25, 1881. He was the son of George Thomas Jones and Margaret Standard. He was raised on a farm near Fairfield. Mr. Jones had four brothers and five sisters, all of whom preceded him in death.

On Nov. 25, 1908 Mr. Jones took as his bride, Ella Smith. This couple lived all of their married life around and in the Fairfield community. They were very much a part of a generation that knew little besides hard work and love shared in raising a family. Willard always took pride in farming with harses and kept a team for plowing gardens long after his retirement. Mr. Jones was a member of the former Congregational Church of Fairfield.

He was preceded in death by his wife less than a year ago.

Surviving are six children: Mrs. Audrey Egan of Ayr, Wendell of Jerome, Ida.; Vilas of Mullen; Mrs. Berdena Schliep of Clay Center; Mrs. Velma Briggs of Hastings and Mrs. Virginia Hatman of Wynnewood, Okla. Twenty grandchildren and ten great grandchildren and several other relatives and friends survive to mourn his passing.

Services held Thursday for Vilas H. Jones, 60

Vilas_Jones_ObituaryFuneral services were held on Thursday afternoon, May 16, for Vilas H. Jones, 60, who died on Monday, May 13 at the Pioneer Memorial Hospital.

Services were held form the United Methodist Church at Mullen with the Rev. Dwight Kemling officiating.

Mrs. Doris Miller and Wayne Hampton furnished the music, with the songs, “Precious Memories” and the “The Lord’s Prayer”.

Honorary pallbearers were Roy Arends, Joe Bader, Harry Deidel, Dale Eppenbach, Ted Evans, Gordon Hansen, Glenn herr, Glen Hodges, Don Long, Gerald Long, Ed Macke, J.E. Macke, Arthur Mathews, Robert Murphy and Allen Smith.

Active pallbearers were Connie Boyer, Richard Cash, Don Herbig, Ernest Leach, William Sonnenfelt and Rolland Ridgway.

Interment was in the Cedarview cemetery at Mullen with Marcy-Upton Post 109 of the American Legion furnishing the military honors.

Vilas Howard Jones, the son of Willard and Ella Jones, was born on a farm near Fairfield, Nebr., on March 21, 1914. He attended school there and graduated from Fairfield high school in 1932.

He came to Mullen in March, 1946 with the United States Geological survey. He was in partnership in a grocery store for a short while and then took up the work of an automobile mechanic, being employed for many years in the Chevrolet garage. Shortly before his final illness he began to work for the Nebraska Department of Roads.

He was married to Neva Little on August 5, 1946, and four children were born to this union.

Mr. Jones was a member of Marcy-Upton Post 109 of the American Legion at Mullen and Lewis Trobough Post 256 at Fairfield. He joined the United Methodist Church at Mullen in 1959.

He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Velma Briggs.

Survivors include his wife; sons Sgt. Donald of the Air Force at Colorado Springs and Ronald of Mullen; daughters Mrs. Robert (Bonnie) Bain of Curtis and Jean at home, two granddaughters;

One brother, Wendell of Jerome, Idaho; and sisters Mrs. Ed (Audrey) Egan of Ayr, Mrs. Raymond (Berdena) Schliep of Clay Center and Mrs. Virginia Hatman of Wynnewood, Okla.

Neva June Andrews

Neva_June_Andrews_ObituaryNeva June Andrews, 76, of Mullen died April 14 2004 at Hillside Estates in Curtis, Nebraska. She was born June 11, 1927 to Carl and Teenie (Long) Little in Cherry County. She attended rural school and graduated from Mullen High School. Neva married Vilas H. Jones of Fairfield, August 5, 1946 in Kansas. He preceded her in death in 1974. To this union four children were born Bonnie, Donald, Ronald and Vonnie (Jeanie). She married Garlan Andrews November 12, 1982 in Mullen.

Neva was a secretary at Mullen Public Schools from 1968 until her retirement. After retirement she enjoyed ranching with her husband, Garlan. She was a member of the United Methodist Church. Her joy in life was her family and all the students she mothered while working at the high school.

Survivors include daughter Bonnie (Bob) Bain of Curtis, Donald (Debra) Jones of Omaha, Ronald (Jean) Jones of Hastings and son-in-law Dan Gibson of Beaver Lake. Stepchildren Retonia (Tim) Gruntorad, Kearney, Glen (Colleen) Andrews, Gordon and Rodney (Yvonne) Andrews, Mullen. Grandchildren: Michelle Votaw, Sharmin & Joe Gonzales, Cody Bain, Connie & Shawn Landon, Mellanie Portillo, Tom Jones, Tina & Don Nelson, Jason & Angie and Ryan Jones, Terra Gibson, and Wade Gibson. Step-grandchildren, Randy Simonson, Jennifer Simonson, Seth and Jake Andrews, Katie Andrews, Alandrea Andrews and Michael Andrews, and 10 great-grandchildren. Brothers Elmer and Paul Little, sisters, Thelma Pearman, Minnie Miller, sister-in-laws Berdina Schleip, June & Tex Evans, and Norma Pearson.

Her parents preceded her in death, step-father Joe Ulrich, two brothers, Ivan and Carl, and daughter, Vonnie Gibson.

A memorial has been established to United Methodist Church Cedarview Cemetery both of Mullen and Hillside Estates of Curtis. Pastor Lila Slater officiated. Music was by Lois Folk & Alisa Phillips. Neva’s grandsons were pallbearers. Funeral services were April 17 @ United Methodist.

A.N. Wilson drowns while swimming in a flooded draw

One of the most tragic accidents that has occurred in this county for many years took place in Catherton precinct, 16 miles northwest of Red Cloud Sunday afternoon, shortly after four o’clock. Albert N. Wilson and a young man by the name of Ole Iverson went bathing in a pond that had been constructed by the damming of a draw. The water was 15 feet deep and about 40 across. They had not been in the water long before Mr. Wilson was heard to give a cry for help and at the same time was seen to throw his arms widely into the air and then sink from view. Young Iverson, at once surmising that the swimmer had been stricken with cramps, immediately went to the rescue, but the struggling man proved too heavy for the younger one and he was forced to abandon him, after he himself was nearly drowned in his efforts to lend assistance. Other help was then secured, and a rope was tied around young Iverson and he made for the place where the body had disappeared. He made a heroic effort to dive and reach the man whose life was, or had already  passed away, but without avail. When he came to the surface blood was running from his nostrils and but for the rope about him he would have never reached the shore. Work was then begun to break the dam and drain the pond, but this consumed time and it was an hour before a sufficient amount of water had escaped to permit of recovering the body. Of course life was then entirely extinct but doctors had been summoned both from Bladen and Red Cloud and they worked with the man in a vain attempt to start a spark of respiration. It was a sad ending of a prosperous life. The funeral was held from the home Monday afternoon, conducted by Rev. Priestly of Bladen. It was the largest funeral ever witnessed in the history of Webster County, the first of the procession reaching the cemetery one mile distant before the last had left the residence.

Albert N. Wilson was born in Frederick county, Virginia November 9, 1856. In 1877 he came to Webster county and settled in the southern part of Catherton precinct but a few years later purchased a farm 6 1/2 miles from Bladen. On October 29, 1855, he was married to Mary Robinson, who now survived him, and with three children, Vera, Maud and Kenneth, mourns the untimely departure of a true husband and kind father. He also leaves an aged father, two sister and three brothers.

The Webster County Argus

Clarence H. Wilson Obituary

Clarence Wilson aged about 75 years dropped dead suddenly in the Inavale Pool Hall last evening, death attributed to a heart attack.

Clarence H. Wilson was born in Frederick County, Virginia, February 14, 1855, and died at Inavale, July 15, 1930 age 75 years.

He came to Nebraska as a young man in September, 1877, and purchased the farm six miles north Inavale where he spent the remainder of his life, living continuously on this place for more than half a century. When he came here, there was no railway town nearer than Hastings, and the country was yet undeveloped.

Mr. Wilson was eminently fitted by temperament and physical hardihood for pioneer life, and it was men like him who made the wilderness into a garden. In the hardships and privations incident to the life of a pioneer he developed a keen sympathy of mutual understanding of his neighbors and friends.

He was united in marriage to Amanda E. Brooks, February 6, 1887, and three children came to bless their home, Raymond, Gladys and Chester.

He took his bride to the home he had prepared and for more than thirty years they shared the joys and sorrows of pioneer life and rearing their children. Mrs. Wilson’s death on May 2, 1917 was the first shadow that fell on their happy home and was a blow from which he never recovered.

Mr. Wilson was not only a pioneer in this community but was in many respects the founder of this neighborhood. It was largely through his efforts and those of his good wife that the New Virginia Church was organized and later the building erected.

His passing marks the end of the original settlers in the New Virginia neighborhood, he being the last of that group who came from Virginia in the seventies.

Funeral services were held in the home and at the New Virginia Church.

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.

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.

Centennial Farm Family honored by Ak-Sar-Ben at 2008 Webster County Fair

Otto T. Skjelver
SE1/4 28-3-12

Webster County, Neb.

Otto Skjelver Sr., born in Norway in 1849, came to America as a young man. He settled in the SE quarter of Section 28, Catherton Precinct in Webster County, Nebraska, where he raised his family of five daughters and two sons. In the late 1880’s, the post office was named in his honor as “Otto” Post Office.

Otto Sr. died March 13, 1925. His son, Otto Jr., inherited the land and raised his family of four daughters there. At one time, the telephone switchboard between Campbell and Inavale was in their home. Otto Jr. raised corn, wheat, cattle and hogs.

When Otto Jr. died, his oldest daughter, Bonnie, bought the land, and she and her late husband, Johnnie, farmed the land for many years until their son, Robert and his wife Diana, began farming it in 1974. Rob and his wife are still farming the land today. They raise Hereford cattle and hope to pass the land on to their two daughters, Laci and Amber and their families.

Over the years, Otto Skjelver Sr.’s descendants have played an integral part in the success of the Webster County Fair. While Bonnie volunteered as an Open Class Superintendent for many years, Rob has also volunteered his time as a past 4-H leader and a current Fair Board member. Rob’s family helps every year working at the fair, ensuring that the tradition of the Webster County Fair stays alive. There have been three generations of the family who are current 4-H members in attendance at the Webster County Fair over the span of the last several decades.

Johnny Robert Wilson Obituary

Johnny Robert Wilson, the son of Con and Wilella (Payne) Wilson, was born August 15, 1918 on the farm north of Inavale, Nebraska in Webster County. He departed this life on Sunday, November 27, 1994 at the Mary Lanning Hospital in Hastings, Neb., at the age of 76 years, 3 months and 12 days.

As a youth he attended the New Virginia District #65 rural school, District #41 and graduated from Red Cloud High School in 1936. On October 3, 1942, he was united in marriage with Bonnie Skjelver at Smith Center, Kan. To this union three children were born, Teresa, Robert and Jayne.

In March of 1945, he joined the United States Army and served in the Pacific Theatre of Operations, stationed in the Phillipines. At war’s end, he returned to the Wilson homestead and engaged in farming and ranching his entire life. His pride and joy were his Hereford cattle.

Johnny was baptized and was active in the New Virginia Methodist Church. He was an active community leader, a school board member and a member of the New Virginia Cemetery Board. His favorite pastime wa splaying cards with his family and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a daughter Teresa Wilson on September 23, 1968; a sister Verna Lutz; and three brothers Charles, Francis and James.

Left to cherish his memory are his loving wife Bonnie; son Rob Wilson and wife Diana of Bladen, Neb.; daughter Jayne Hogeland and husband Bill of Alma, Neb.; five grandchildren, Laci and Amber Wilson and Geoffrey, Grant and Gillian Hogeland; two sisters Retta Hanson of Red Cloud and Edna Meyer of Peoria, Ariz.; nieces, nephews, and a host of family and friends.

Funeral services were held at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, November 30, 1994 from the First United Methodist Church in Red Cloud, Neb., with the Rev. Dennis R. Linton-Hendrick officiating. Keith Crowe sang “Farther Along” and “One Day At A Time”, accompanied by Marjorie Lockhart, organist. The casket bearers were Marion Duval, Clair Duval, Ron Bartels, Larry Vance, Kenneth Lovejoy and Ken Larrick. The honorary casket bearers were Bud Lambrecht, Norman Johnson, John D. Harvey, Russell Krichau, Pete Moriarty, Russell Lutz and Desco Lovejoy. Interment was in the New Virginia Cemetery with the Simonson-Williams Funeral Home of Red Cloud in charge of the arrangements.

Johnnie Wilson Obituary

Johnnie Wilson, 76, of Bladen died Sunday, November 27, 1994, at Mary Lanning Memorial Hospital in Hastings.

Services were at 10 a.m. Wednesday at First United Methodist Church in Red Cloud with the Rev. Dennis R. Linton-Hendrick officiating. Burial was in New Virginia Cemetery south of Bladen. Simonson-Williams Funeral Home of Red Cloud was in charge of arrangements.

Mr. Wilson was born August 15, 1918, to Conley Martin and Willela (Payne) Wilson in Inavale. He attended school at New Virginia District 41 and graduated from Red Cloud High School in 1936. On October 3, 1942, he married Bonnie Skjelver in Smith Center, Kansas. He served in World War II in the Pacific Theater. He returned to Webster County where he farmed south of Bladen and raised Hereford Cattle.

Survivors are his wife, Bonnie; one daughter, Jayne Hogeland of Alma; one son, Rob of Bladen; two sisters, Reta Hanson of Red Cloud and Edna Meyer of Peoria, Arizona; and five grandchildren.

Memorials may be given to Webster County Alzheimer’s Association.

Tornadic Wind Levels Wilson Barn

Mother Nature unleashed her terrible fury Thursday evening in the form of tornados in several communities across South Central Nebraska. A very quickly developed funnel hit the Johnnie and Bonnie and Rob and Diana Wilson farmstead, 6 1/2 miles north of Inavale at 9:15. Johnnie and Bonnie were not at home at the time but Rob and Diana and daughters, Laci and Amber, were at home in their mobile home which was the far east structure on the farm site. Rob said their first indication that something was serious was brewing with the weather was when their mobile home began to shake. Their family immediately headed for his parent’s house and storm cellar, but the electricity went off by the time they reached their back door and the vibration of their home was so violent they opted for what safety a closet in a frame addition to their mobile home could provide.

When the house quit shaking and he ventured outside, Rob found that their huge barn had been destroyed with a large section of roof slamming into a grain bin and landing on a propane tank, breaking the line from the tank. Not knowing how serious the leak was, they went to a neighbors to call the Red Cloud fire department and report the tornado and several downed power lines that they had crossed to the authorities.

Daylight the next morning revealed the extent of the damage. Nearly every structure on the farm sustained damage of some kind, with the barn taking the brunt of the force, the big hip-roof being completely gone, torn up and strewn about the yard, with a large section nudged up against Johnnie and Bonnie’s house and a piece of tin protruding through a porch window and their picture window and door windows blown out. Straw from the barn loft and glass was strewn throughout the house, yet a centerpiece on their dining room table, which was setting right in front of the picture window, remained in place. The north side of the barn was completely blown out, as was about half of the east side, leaving the hay mow floor leaning precariously to the east. Many of the remaining studdings were cracked or shattered from the terrific, twisting force.

The “Wilson Barn” had served as a landmark in the New Virginia community north of Inavale for many years. A huge structure, the “Red Barn with White Trim” was easily recognized by anyone traveling the Inavale road and was used many, many times as a base of directions to other farmsteads in the area. Built in 1918 by Johnnie’s father, C.M. Wilson, the barn measured 64 ft. long, 72 ft. wide, and 48 ft. to the peak of the hipped roof. At a cost of nearly $6,000.00 in 1918, to build a structure of that type today the cost would be astronomical. The big barn survived another tornado that struck the Wilson farm in 1950, destroying a large hog shed just to the west of it and several other buildings, pushing the barn slightly out of plumb to the east, where it had remained stable and solid until Thursday evening.

 Early the next morning found neighbors and friends arriving to help clean up the debris from the farmstead and to dismantle and salvage what was left of the barn. As the day wore on and more people heard of the tornado, people continued to come to help until evening when Bonnie counted approximately 117 people had been there. For the next three days men continued to return for salvage work, until the spot where the barn had stood was cleaned up. The ladies continued to provide plenty of good food and lots of cold tea to help wash the “30’s” dust and dirt of the guy’s throats.

From the Wilson farmstead the twister continued its northerly path, tearing up trees in a hayland and breaking power lines along the Inavale road, ripping one pole loose from its insulators and dropping it across the road some 60 to 70 years out in a field. It crossed the intersection north of Wilsons, heading north-northeast for just a short distance, then coming back north-northwest in a big arc, upsetting two towers of a center pivot and swirling the cornstalks every which way in its path, and crossing the Inavale road again. From there it went straight north for about 2 miles, just on the west side of the road, taking out lengths of pasture fence, trees, and completely clearing an unoccupied farmstead except for the house. This farm was last occupied by the Leo Conway family and is now farmed by Rob Wilson – so more debris to pick up and clear from a wheat field and milo fields. As the tornado was makings its wide swing to the east, it passed between the New Virginia Church on the Inavale road and the New Virginia school house on half mile east, as if to say one landmark destroyed was enough for this storm.

This photo shows the terrible force exerted by a tornado as the full dimension 2″ x 10″ rafters were reduced to shattered kindling. This large piece of roof slammed into the grain bin at left causing considerable damage to it and then fell onto the propane tank, breaking a pipe and causing much concern over the leaking gas until a member of the Red Cloud Fire Department was able to shut off the valve.




What used to be the north side of the barn.





Neighbors and friends showed up early Friday morning to assist in the clean-up. Friday evening Bonnie Wilson was able to count 117 names of people who had come to help.




The lower half of the west hip roof was carried across the yard and part of it slammed into the south wall of Johnnie and Bonnie Wilson’s house at the extreme right of photo.

Red Cloud Chief
September 25, 1986
Written by Ron Bartels

Landmark Demolished

The barn destroyed in Thursday’s storm was built by Con and Wilella Wilson, parents and grandparents of the present occupants. Besides being a successful farmer and stockman, Con also practiced veterinary medicine.

My father had some fine Belgian horses and raised them for sale when farmers still depended on those gallant beasts to pull farm implements. My earliest remembrance of Mr. Wilson was when he had come to doctor some mares and colts who were down with the sleeping sickness. We girls weren’t allowed at the barn, I guess horses dying of sleeping sickness are not a pretty sight. But I caught Mr. Wilson between the barn and his car that day and invited him to dinner. He jokingly asked what we were having. I told him chocolate pudding, for even at age 4, dessert was the most important part of the meal for me! I don’t know what else we ate, but I can see him yet on the east side of the table in grandma’s big dining room, spooning in the chocolate pudding.

CONSTRUCTION ON THE WILSON BARN WAS STARTED IN 1916. The first contractor gave up after a strong wind took down some of the side walls. Another took his place and the giant structure was completed in 1918. It was built of all new lumber and was 72 ft. wide, 64 ft. long and 42 ft. high.

THIS ONCE PROUD, GLORIOUS BARN was nothing but a pile of rubble following a tornado seven miles north of Inavale last Thursday night. The clean-up crew did not find any dimension lumber in the roof which could be salvaged. Most 2×6’s looked like tooth picks.

Blue Hill Leader

Tornado wreaks damage

Johnnie Wilson was hospitalized at Alma Thursday night and his wife, Bonnie was with him. So their farm house north of Inavale was empty. But, on the same farmstead, their son, Rob, his wife, Diana, and their 2 small daughters, Laci and Amber, were in their mobile home when destruction came out of the sky at 9:18 p.m.

Diana has heard a tornado before and recognized the sound. By the time they grabbed their daughters and got to the back door, the air was filled with flying debris and there was nothing to do but sit out the storm where they were.

Almost immediately the power went off. So when the storm passed over they evacuated in darkness and drove to the Ken Larrick home a mile east, where they called the Webster County Sheriff to report a tornado on the ground and called the fire department for help as they could smell a propane gas leak when the left the house.

The main destruction to the farmstead was the large barn which was decapitated above the hay mow floor. The lower part was twisted beyond repair. Parts of the barn were scattered everywhere. One large section of the eaves was layed against the south end of the main house pushing out windows, casing and all. A large picture window was shattered onto a table in the living room, but a vase on that table was standing and undamaged.

Only a few feet from the house, the east side of the garage was gone; and on the opposite end of the yard, the east end was pushed out of a farrowing house. The power poles from the road to the farmstead were splintered and broken, but the wires between the barn and the main house were intact.

Grain bins near the barn were dented by the impact of the roof crashing into them. The propane tank was also hit causing a gas leak which forced the evacuation of the John D. Harvey, Johnnie Allen Harvey and Harvey Lovejoy families. A large cottonwood tree approximately 30 feet from the back door of the mobile has was mutilated.

From the Wilson farmstead the storm tracked east and north and west and north and east again, leaving a trail through fences, trees, milo, buildings, corn and more trees. The outbuildings on the farmstead formerly occupied by the Leo Conway family were leveld and trees were up rooted as far north as the old Cather place now owned by the Jim Krals. All along the Inavale road debris was hanging from fences and power lines yet Saturday morning.

Over 100 people came Friday to help the Wilsons with their giant clean up job and there were 30 there again by 10 o’clock Saturday morning. Sunday work pretty well finished the job of taking the barn down, and friends and neighbors were planning to be  at the Wilson home again Monday to continue clean-up.

I read in the Friday issue of a daily paper widly circulated in our area, that a Webster County Sheriff’s office dispatcher had reported to them that a possible tornado was sighted near Inavale. Believe me, it was a tornado! Or if not, I’m sure the Wilsons are hoping they never have one come their way! And the other people living in the tornado’s path are thanking their lucky stars that other farmsteads weren’t hit as no warning was ever given after the initial sighting was reported.

Blue Hill Leader

Ray Reeves Obituary

Ray A. ‘Baldy’ Reeves

SPRINGPORT, Mich. – A former resident of Hyannis, Ray A. “Baldy” Reeves, 55, 118 E. Main, Springport, Mich., died March 21 in Springport. He was born May 18, 1928, at Nahant, S.D.

Mr. Reeves was a 1946 graduate of Hyannis High School and had been captain of the basketball team. He served in the United States Navy and had been employed as an accountant for Fans Steel Corp., retiring five years ago. At the time of his death, he was county commissioner at Springport.

Survivors include his wife, Margaret of Springport; two sons, Ron and Bob, both of Kenosha, Mich.; two daughters, Tammy and Terry both of Springport; his father, B.E. Reeves of North Platte; one brother, Arthur of Hesperia, Calif.; five sisters, Lois Clark and Iola Richardson of Arvada, Colo., Ruby Sommers of Lincoln, Betty K. Gibson of North Platte, Evelyn Foster of Sparks; and other relatives.

Ray Reeves passes away

Ray A. Reeves was born May 18, 1928 in a small town Nahant, S.D., to Bulus and Ida K. Reeves.

He married Margaret Reopke on Sept. 29, 1951.

He is survived by his wife Margaret; two sons Ronald and Robert, both of Kenosha, Wis.; two daughters, Tammy and Terri of Springport; two daughters-in-law, Judy and Barbara of Kenosha; five grandchildren Jeremy, Jaclyn, Christen, Rebecca and Richard; his father Bulus of Nebraska; five sisters Iola, Ruby, Betty, Lois and Evelyn of Nebraska and Colorado; and one brother Arthur of California.

He held a bachelors degree in accounting from Northwestern University and a Masters degree in finance from Lake Forest College. He was employed by Fansteel Corp. for 27 years when he retired. He was a member of the Springport Lions Club and the Springport Friends of the Library. He was a past president and lifetime member of the Eagles, past church treasurer, past Little League coach and past Boy Scout leader. He was a lifetime member of the American Legion. He served in the United States Navy during the Korean conflict and was honorably discharged.

Ray, Marge, Tammy and Terri moved from Wisconsin to Michigan in 1971 and purchased Lawrence’s Food Market in February 1972. He was a township supervisor of Springport for three years. While in office a new township hall was built and a new library was built. He was the innovator for the Springport Recreational Community Park project. By working with the State Highway Dept. he had various warning signals placed throughout our township warning motorists of po-

This newspaper clipping incorrectly spells Ray’s father’s name as “Beulus” , instead of “Bulus”.

Betty Gibson Obituary

MINDEN – Betty K. (Reeves) Gibson, 82, of Minden, formerly of Mullen and North Platte, died Sunday, April 29, 2012, at Bethany Home in Minden.

Memorial services will be at 1 p.m. MDT May 18 at St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church in Mullen with the Rev. Bill Graham officiating.  Scattering of cremains will be later.

O’Brien-Straatmann-Redinger Funeral Home in Kearney is in charge of arrangements.

She was born Feb. 7, 1930, at Nahant, S.D., to Bulus Reeves and Ida Gilkey.

On Nov. 14, 1948, she married John “Bud” Gibson Jr.  He preceded her in death.

Survivors include her son, Dan of Plattsmouth; daughter, Shari Bergmeier of Kearney; sisters, Ruby Sommers of Omaha, Iola Richardson of Arvada, Colo, and Evelyn Foster of Sparks; six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Betty graduated from Hyannis High School, after which she earned her teaching certificate from Chadron State Teachers College.  She and her husband, Bud, owned and operated the Mullen Cafe for 12 years.

Additionally, she taught for numerous years at various rural schools throughout the Sandhills.

In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by her parents; eldest son, Eddie; and siblings, Arthur, Ray, Lois, Hazel and Martha.

Memorials are suggested to the family for later determination.

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Vonnie Gibson Obituary

OMAHA – Vonnie J. “Jeanie” Gibson, 46, of Beaver Lake, formerly of Kearney, died Saturday, Jan. 13, 2001, at Clarkson Hospital in Omaha.

Services were today at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Kearney with the Rev. Janet Sturgis officiating.  Burial was at Kearney Cemetery.

O’Brien-Straatmann-Apfel Funeral Home in Kearney was in charge of arrangements.

Memorials are suggested to the church or to Bryant Elementary School in Kearney.

She was born Nov. 7, 1954, in Broken Bow to Vilas H. and Neva J. Jones.  She graduated from Mullen High School in 1973 and then worked as a teacher aide at Coble School northwest of Mullen.

On May 29, 1976, she married Daniel P. Gibson in Mullen.  They moved to Kearney, where she was employed at Killion Motors, Bryant Elementary School and Buzz’s Marine.  In 1992, they moved outside of Gibbon, and in 1998, they moved to Beaver Lake.  She was employed by Tincher Auto Group of Plattsmouth.

She enjoyed bowling, soccer, archery, camping and other outdoor activities.  She also was a loving and caring mother with a joyful personality.

Survivors include her husband of Beaver Lake; son, Wade of Lincoln; daughter, Terra of Lincoln; mother and stepfather, Neva and Garlan Andrews of Mullen; brothers, Don Jones of Omaha and Ron Jones of Hastings; and sister, Bonnie Bain of Curtis.

She was preceded in death by her father.

Obituary Vonnie J. (Jeanie) Gibson

Vonnie J. (Jeanie) Gibson, deceased, January 13, 2001, at Clarkson Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska.  She was born to Vilas H. and Neva J. Jones on November 7, 1954 in Broken Bow, Nebraska and married Daniel P. Gibson on May 29, 1976 in Mullen, Nebraska.  Of this union two children were born, Terra Dawn, 21, and Wade William, 18.  Jeanie’s childhood years were spent in Mullen, Nebraska where she graduated from Mullen High School in 1973.  Throughout school she enjoyed being a cheerleader, the senior class president, and participating in volleyball and choir.  After high school, Jeanie was employed as a teacher-aide at the Coble School northwest of Mullen, Nebraska.

Following her marriage, they moved to Kearney, Nebraska where Jeanie was employed at Killion Motors, Bryant Elementary School, and Buzz’s Marine.  In 1992 the family moved outside of Gibbon, Nebraska, until 1998 when they relocated to the Omaha area.  While residing at Beaver Lake, Nebraska, Jeanie was employed at Tincher Auto Group of Plattsmouth, Nebraska.

Her hobbies included bowling, soccer, fishing, archery, camping and other outdoor activities.  Jeanie was a very loving and caring mother and wife who always put her family first, and held a special place in her heart for children and animals.  Her colorful sense of humor, bright smile, and jubilant personality touched many lives and created lifelong friendships.

Jeanie is survived by her husband, Dan, of Beaver Lake, Nebraska; children, Terra and Wade, both of Lincoln, Nebraska; sister, Bonnie Bain, of Curtis, Nebraska; brothers, Don Jones of Omaha, Nebraska, and Ron Jones, of Hastings, Nebraska; mother, Neva Andrews, and stepfather, Garlan Andrews, both of Mullen, Nebraska.

She is preceded in death by her father, Vilas H. Jones.  Visitation was held on Tuesday and Wednesday, January 16 and 17, at O’Brien-Straatman-Apfel Funeral Home.  Services were held on Wednesday, January 17, 2001, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Kearney, Nebraska with Mother Janet Sturgis officiating.  Interment was at Kearney Cemetery.

Memorials are suggested to the church or to Bryant Elementary School in Kearney.

Skjelver-Wilson Nuptials Solemnized At Smith Center

Miss Bonnie Skjelver, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Otto Skjelver, of Inavale became the bride of Johnny R. Wilson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Con Wilson of Inavale, on Saturday, October 3rd, at 1:00 in the Methodist parsonage at Smith Center, Kansas.

Rev. Frey of Smith Center performed the single ring ceremony.

The bride was lovely in a dark brown street dress, with matching accessories. The groom had on a dark brown suit. They were attended by Edna Wilson, sister of the groom, and James Richardson, both dressed in blue.

Both of these young people are well and favorably known in the county, both being graduates of the Red Cloud high school, the bride with the class of ’40, and the groom with the class of ’36. The bride has taught two successful years of school at District 40 and at present is teaching District 41. The groom has farmed in partnership with his brothers since his graduation and will remain there until he is called for army service.