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.

Source:
Red Cloud Chief
April 19, 1907
Nebraska Newspapers Project

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.

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.



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.


Source:
Red Cloud Chief
September 25, 1986
Written by Ron Bartels