Archives for May 2011

William Thomas and Sarah Gibson Haney

by Helen Trumbull

Sarah Gibson (daughter of Alexander Gibson’s) and William Thomas Haney (son of Isaac Haney’s) were married November 3, 1895, east of Ringgold by the Rev. G.W. Brooks.

This young couple lived on Sarah’s homestead.  This was near the Lena Post Office in what is now Arthur County.  Tom and Sarah acquired quite a few acres of land while living here.  This young couple, like all pioneers of those days, suffered many hardships.  It was while they were living here that their first three children were born, Violet, Lulu (my mother), and Nancy.  Tom always called Lulu Lulee.  A lady by the name of Grandma Stoddard was mid-wife when these three children were born.

After this Sarah and Tom moved with their three children on a tree claim which was located 23 miles south of Mullen.  Their building were located west of where Don Mussers live today.  It was here that William Isaac was born on September 23, 1904.  Fern and Roy were also born while the Haneys lived here.

At the time they moved to the Hooker County ranch, there was no mail other than that at Mullen.  There were no roads, only sand trails, so they didn’t get mail very often.  Later, they were able to get their mail at Eclipse Post Office which was eight miles to the west.  Finally the Haneys were able to get a post office in their home.  Sarah was postmistress for this post office called Moore, Nebraska, for almost 21 years.  Some of the name of people who got mail here were Larsen, Ragland, Vina, Wilcox, Downing, Harris, Summers, McClure, Harmon and Hatch.

On January 22, 1931, Grandma Haney was down on her knees lighting a Coleman gas heater when it exploded.  Sarah’s clothing caught fire.  She was saved only through the action of her son, Bill, who came with covers from the bed and carried her out.  There was no time to save any of the furniture and clothing as the flames spread rapidly and within half an hour, the house was a smoldering ruin.  No one else was burnt, as the rest of the family escaped by going out the windows.  Sarah was rushed to a hospital in North Platte where she wasn’t expected to live for several days.

The Dismal River was two miles from the ranch home.  The cattle had to depend on the water from the “Creek” or Dismal River for their drinking water.  The cattle had to be checked frequently so they didn’t get into swamps or quicksand.

The river furnished these early settlers with fruit, such as chokecherries, plums, currants and raspberries.  Sarah always cooked and canned all the fruit she could use for her family.  They also raised a large garden always trying to have at least forty bushels of potatoes in the cellar for winter.  The fall work wasn’t done until there was a huge stack of cow chips picked up and stacked and wood or trees piled up for fuel for the winter.

Bad storms during the winter was always a great hardship for these early settlers.  One winter they had a bad storm with bad weather lasting for two months so that they were unable to get out with a team and wagon.

Grandad Haney had one of the first cars that was found in the Sandhills.  When he went to put it in the shed for the first time, he hollered, “Whoa! Whoa!”  Luckily, he got it stopped before it went through the side of the shed.

Am and Adeline Hatch lived in the valley to the east of Haneys.  When the children were old enough for school and there were enough pupils, a school was started.  Edna Hatch was the first teacher.

While the children were still at home, a Sunday School missionary came to the schoolhouse and organized a Sunday School and church services were held whenever a traveling preacher came along.  The Haneys were always at these services.

In the early thirties, during the drought and depression some of the place was sold.

Violet married Edgar Deidel.  They lived for a while northeast of Tryon.  Violet is a widow now and lives on Walker Road southwest of North Platte.  Her four children live close by.

Lulu married Clyde Wilson.  Their story is located in another part of this book.

Nancy taught school in the Winters District northeast of Tryon.  She married Ed Frost and now she has retired from teaching.  She and Ed lived in Chadron for several years after they both retired.  Nancy is widowed now and lives at Grand Junction, Colorado, near her two sons.  William is deceased.  Mary, his wife, lives on the home place northwest of Tryon.  Their son, Bill, and his family live on the same ranch.  Their daughter, Patty Jennings, and her family live in Denver, Colorado.

Fern attended high school and graduated from the McPherson County High School.  She attended nurses training and graduated as a registered nurse.  Her husband, Ray Agnor, is deceased.  She lives in San Pablo, California, near Virginia, her only child, and family.  This winter Fern is going back to school to renew her nurse’s license.

Roy, the youngest of the family, married Florence Fox.  They live southwest of Mullen on a ranch.  They have two children.  Bonnie, who married Gaylord Porath, lives southeast of Mullen on a ranch.  Harold lives on a racnh near Oconto.  He married Theresa Applegarth of Hyannis.

Thomas suffered several strokes and was invalid for many years.  He passed away May 25, 1939, at the age of 77 years, eight months and 22 days.  Services were held at the Episcopal Church at Eclipse.  Burial in the Eclipse Cemetery.

After Tom’s death, Sarah moved to North Platte, where she resided until she passed away at her home on July 10, 1955.  Services were held at the Eclipse Episcopal Church.  Burial in the Eclipse Cemetery.

McPherson County: Facts, Families, Fiction
Published 1986
Pages 520-522

Hugh Elmer and Mary Gibson Neal

by Minnie Wilson

Ellen Morrison was born in 1833 in Belfast, Ireland.  Alexander Gibson was born in Belfast, Ireland, also, but even though they only lived five miles apart they never met until on board ship coming to the United States from Ireland.  They were married in the United States.

Sometime during their life they resided in Fremont, Nebraska.

To this union were born seven children.  The eldest of which as a son, William.  They had six daughters:  Margaret, Mary, Sarah, Ellen, Annie and Agnes.

Mary Gibson, the third child of Alexander and Ellen Gibson, was born January 16, 1872, in Sigourney, Iowa — Keokuk County.  Mary married Hugh Elmer Neal in 1900.  They lived on a farm near Hyannis, Nebraska.  To this union were born five daughters:  Hazel, Helen, Clara, Doris and Minnie.  They lived on a farm in Hooker County, which was about 13 miles north of Tryon.  Then they moved to Seneca, Nebraska, where Elmer worked for the Burlington Railroad in the shops.  In 1912 they moved back to the farm.  In 1918 Elmer was killed in an accident.

Mary moved her family to Tryon, Nebraska in 1919.  Clyde and Lulu Wilson were married in December, 1919, and they moved on her place north of Tryon.  Mary took in boarders.  Mary owned the house where Ed and Annabelle Bullington now live.  In 1920 Hazel graduated from McPherson County High School.  Helen graduated from MCHS in 1922.  Helen taught school in District #1 in McPherson County.

In 1925 Mary moved to North Platte, Nebraska.  Clara graduated from North Platte High School in 1926.  Clara also taught schools in McPherson County.

Hazel and Helen attended the Lord Lister School of Nursing.  Upon completion of study, both became registered nurses.

Doris graduated from high school in 1928.

In 1934 Mary and daughter, Clara, moved to Tryon, Nebraska.  Clara taught school.  Years later they moved to Benedict, Nebraska where they resided and Clara taught for 19 years.

Mary and Clara returned to Tryon again.  Clara got a teaching position in the public schools at Chappell, Nebraska.  Mary sold her home and moved to Chappell.  Clara retired from teaching while living in Chappell.

Mary passed away at Chappell, Nebraska, on January 14, 1964.  She lacked two days of being 93 years old.  She and her husband, Elmer, are both buried at the Eclipse Cemetery in southwest Hooker County.

Clara passed away in February of 1976 and is buried at Chappell.

Hazel married George Geneau in 1932.  To this union two children were born.  Sara Lee in 1933.  She is married to James Utter.  David Neal was born in 1938.  He is married to Marge Hanley.  They have two sons:  Darren and Michael.  George passed away in July of 1980.

Helen married J. Logan White in 1935.  They ran a newspaper in Sutherlin, Oregon.  They still reside there.  Logan passed away in February, 1981.

Doris married Ernest Petri and they lived in Walla Walla, Washington.  They are both now deceased and are buried at Walla Walla.

Minnie married Robert Wilson in 1934.  They had two children.  Warren Wesley born in 1937 and Beverly June in 1948.  Warren married Beverly Brannon in 1959.  They have two sons, Kerry Dale and Jon Eric.  They reside in Kansas City, Missouri.  Beverly married Garry Luedke in 1966.  Three children were born to this union:  Douglas Eugene, Kristi Jolene and Roberta Faye.  They reside in Paxton, Nebraska.

Robert Wilson passed away November 26, 1969 in Denver, Colorado.  Minnie resides in North Platte, Nebraska.

See also J. Logan and Helen Neal white stories elsewhere.

McPherson County: Facts, Families, Fiction
Published 1986
Pages 665-666

Anna Gibson LeLaCheur

by Betty Stevens, granddaughter

The seventh child of Alexander and Ellen Gibson was Anna.

Anna lived with her parents until October 25, 1900, when she married William H. LeLaCheur at Mullen, Nebraska.  They had four children:  Ralph, Earl, Edna and Lee.

Ralph was born September 25, 1901.  On April 8, 1922 he married Mayme Bowman at Pierre, South Dakota.  They had six children:  Eugene, Violet, Earlene, Doyle, Enoch and Charlotte.

Earl was born January 13, 1903.  He married Maude Dishman on March 15, 1924.  They had 10 children:  Arthur, Raymond, Viola, Lois, Wayne, Dorothy, Francis, Lloyd, Paul and Opal.

Lee was born October 4, 1910.  He married Fern Evans on August 5, 1931.  They had six children:  Myrtle, Roscoe, Donald, Betty, Frank and Joyce.

During her lifetime Anna lived at Mullen, Nebraska; Scottsbluff, Nebraska; Torrington, Wyoming; Custer, South Dakota; and Hot Springs, South Dakota, where they lived until their death.  Anna passed away March 27, 1955 of cancer.  William passed away December 8, 1957.  Both are buried at the State Soldiers Home.

Anna was a happy-go-lucky person.  She was very proud of her family and always had a smile on her face.

McPherson County: Facts, Families, Fiction
Published 1986
Page 592

Orin Lewis and Agnes Gibson Thompson

Memories by My Folks by Albert Thompson

Agnes Gibson, fifth child born to Alexander and Ellen Gibson, born May 15, 1874, on a farm near Sigorney, Iowa.  She was one of six girls in a family of seven children.

From what mother used to tell me, her father, Alexander Gibson, came to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from Ireland, then to Rock Island, Illinois and then to Iowa.  Alexander married Ellen Morrison and a son was born to them before they moved to Iowa.  They settled near Sigourney, Iowa and lived there several years before moving to Nebraska.

Mother said they went to a little country church about six miles from Sigourney.  We have a Bible yet, that she won there for learning a number of Bible verses.  All our family’s birth records are in it.

Mother told me her father went to Sigourney every Sunday morning in his wagon and brought the preacher to their church and took him home after the services were over.  He said there would be no charge for the preaching if they would furnish him a way back and forth.  That would make a 24 mile trip for Grandpa Gibson every Sunday, but Mother said they were sure glad to do it so they could have a preacher at their little church.

Around 1890, the Alexander Gibson family moved to McPherson County, Nebraska, where Alex filed on a homestead.

My dad, Orin Lewis Thompson, had come from Iowa to Nebraska with Tommy Neal, who was some relation to him through his mother, Adeline Neal.  (Adeline Neal Thompson was a sister to Cornelius Neal, father of Tom.  Another brother was John Luther Neal, a homesteader in McPherson County, Nebraska.)  Tom Neal was a coal miner from Knoxville, Iowa.  (Thomas Jasper Neal also homesteaded McPherson County.)

Dad got a job with the U.B.I. (United British Industries) Ranch and worked for them until he homesteaded.  The U.B.I. was a good sized spread because Dad said it was fifty miles long.  They would send him up on the Dismal River to herd cattle for months at a time with only his horse and dog.  He would dig a cave in the bank of the river to sleep in and his dog would keep the snakes out.

The chuck wagon would come around every two weeks or so and bring him bacon, lard, flour, soda, salt and some canned fruit.  There were some folks who had homesteaded close by and he would visit them once in awhile and they would invite him for supper.  The lady made real good biscuits.  He was bragging on her biscuits one evening and she said, “Oh, those are made from skunk oil.”  They would render the fat from the skunk for the lard.  Dad said they never tasted so good after that.

It was in McPherson County that Agnes Gibson met Orin Lewis Thompson.  They applied for the sixth marriage license in the County.  Agnes and Orin were married August 8, 1893 at Omega, Nebraska.  The witnesses were John M. Neal and his wife, Lydia Nora Burger Neal.  (John M. was another son of Cornelius).  Hugh Bedell officiated.  (Hugh Bedell’s wife, Nancy Matilda Neal Bedell or Aunt T was a sister of Adeline Neal Thompson.)

The Thompsons took up a homestead in McPherson County.  The land is owned by John Power today.  (Research shows a patent on 480 acres E1/2E1/2 Sec. 20, W1/2 Sec. 21 T20 R31 now owned by John Power.  Research also shows a patent dated December 12, 1898 on 160 acres S1/2NE1/4 Sec. 22 T20 R30 and S1/2NW1/4 Sec. 23 T20 R30, 80 acres of which sold to W.E. Bedell June 17, 1899 and 90 acres sold to McGrey C. Adams, a widower, Sept. 7, 1898 (a date before the patent was even issued by the government) Adams sold to J.L. Neal, John Luther Neal sold to Hugh Bedell in 1899.  LaVerne Neal now owns this ground, so it has been in the family since the first government patent.)

They build a sod house, sod barn and dug a well.  We had a Majestic kitchen range that heated the house and we used to cook on, too.  The fuel was cow chips and wood hauled from the Dismal River about twenty miles away.  The folks always warned us kids when gathering cow chips to be sure and watch for rattlesnakes, because a coiled rattler was about the color and shape of a cow chip.

Ten of the twelve Thompson children were born in Nebraska.  The first six were girls, including a pair of twins.  Dad told his neighbors, “Now I am going to have six boys.”  He did, the two youngest born after we moved back to Iowa.

While living on the homestead, he would put up hay for the U.B.I Ranch on contract on the Dismal River.  He had two teams, a mowing machine and a hay rake.  With two other men, they would camp up there, mow, rake and tack the hay for so much a ton by measuring the stacks.  Dad was on the stack, stacking hay one hot afternoon, when he said, “Boys, I have been bitten by a rattler that come up with the hay.”  He crawled down off the stack and laid down in the shade of it, and rolled up his pant leg.  There was a small trickle  of blood coming down his leg.  He said, “Get me a quart of whiskey in a hurry.”  One of the men unhooked the team from the rake, pulled the harness off one horse, jumped one and rode off on the dead run.  A few hours later, he came back on the hot lathered horse, jumped off and handed him a quart of whiskey.  Dad laid in the shade of the stack the rest of the day while the two helpers made a fuss over him and fed him whiskey — by evening he was well and happy, feeling fine — so happy, he couldn’t keep his secret any longer.  He was only scratched on the leg by a weed.

It was while he was putting up hay on the Dismal that Orin contracted typhoid fever and was sick for several weeks.  All his hair fell out and he was bald for awhile.  It cost $50.00 for a doctor to come from Mullen, so the neighbors all chipped in and helped pay for the doctor’s trip.  The doctor came twice to see him.

It was after this that Orin ran for sheriff on the Republic ticket in McPherson County.  His brother, Jess, ran for sheriff on the Democratic ticket.  Orin won the election.  (Records show Orin Thompson was sheriff in 1893 and a second term in 1903.)  It looked like the family had the election in the bag either way it went.  Wages were 8 cents a mile while on horseback.

The year Orin was running for sheriff, Teddy Roosevelt was running for President of the United States.  With a group of neighbors, Orin went to North Platte to hear Teddy Roosevelt give a speech.  Dad said when Teddy’s train came in, the trainmen opened the baggage car door and led a good looking gray horse down a ramp and on to the ground.  Teddy mounted and rode up to the courthouse yard and gave his speech while sitting on his horse.

After his speech he said, “Now, boys if any of you want a drink, go across the street to the saloon and I’ll buy the drinks.”  Of course, most of the men took him up on his offer.  Dad said after he had his drink, he walked up to Teddy, who was still sitting on his horse and thanked him for his drink and said, “Teddy, if I had a gallon of that whiskey, I could get you every vote in McPherson County.”  Teddy told the saloon keeper, “Give this man a gallon of that whiskey.”  Dad hung the jug on his saddle horn and took it home.  He gave his friends and neighbors a drink while campaigning.  He told them the drink was on Teddy Roosevelt.

When the next Thompson child was born, in 1905, it was a boy and was named Teddy.  He lived to be two years old and died of summer complaint, probably caused by cutting teeth in hot weather.  He is buried in the Miller Cemetery by Tommy Neal’s and his wife’s graves.  His grave is marked by a little lamb on the stone.

All the girls got to go to school in the sod schoolhouse.  Their teacher was Scott Wisner.  He married my oldest sister, Ethel.

In 1912, the family moved to Iowa, by two covered wagons, Dad drove one team and Art Cooper drove the other.  I, Albert, was three years old when we moved.  I can remember some things about the hold homestead — the old soddie, the sandburs in my bare feet when I tried to follow the girls to school and our old black shepherd dog, Carlo.  When the wagons were all loaded and everybody in the them but me, I didn’t want to leave because they were leaving old Carlo.  I went behind the house and laid down in the dust wallow with him.  The folks started down the road.  They thought I would come if they acted like they were going to leave me.  The bluff didn’t work because they finally stopped the wagon and someone back for me.

I remember crossing the Missouri River and looking out the back of the covered wagon and seeing some boats.

The family lived in Humeston, Iowa for one year, then one year in High Point, and one year in Garden Grove.  In 1917, they moved to LeRoy, Iowa and spent the rest of their lives there.

Orin worked for the railroad and Agnes and the girls ran the telephone office at LeRoy from 1918 to 1932.

We ran a general store in LeRoy, Iowa during the thirties and forties.  Dad was retired and he enjoyed helping us out in the store.  He would sweep the floor and build the fire in the stove for us.

It was during the quiet time of the day that we could set down and visit and he would tell me about living in Nebraska.  He told how he shot prairie chickens and packed them in barrels and shipped them back east on the train.  How the sportsmen from Omaha and Lincoln, would come out in the sandhills in the fall with their pedigreed dogs and hire him to take his team and wagon and take them hunting.  He always took his own dogs along just in case they needed them when they started hunting.  The sportsmen would let their dogs loose and in a few minutes their dogs’ feet would be full of sandburs.  They would lay down and howl.  They’d carry their fancy dogs back to the wagon.  Dad would then turn his dogs loose because his dogs knew what a sandbur was and stayed clear of them.  From then on the fancy dogs rode in the wagon.

Dad said there was a prairie dog town about a quarter of a mile north of our house.  The neighbors would get together on horseback with their shotguns and ride up there to shoot rattlesnakes.  They would shoot as many as two a day sometimes.  The horses would get so nervous they would have to quit.  One morning when Mother was cooking breakfast we heard a dull thud on the kitchen floor.  A big rattlesnake had fallen from under the eve of the sod house, and was curled up by the wall.  Dad took his shotgun down from over the door and blowed snake all over the kitchen.  Mother had to throw out the gravy and biscuits, wash the pans and skillets and cook breakfast all over again.

Our neighbor had a little two year old child that came in the house one day and said, “Mommy, that snake in the yard scratched me.”  The mother came out in the yard to see the snake and it was a rattler.  The child didn’t live very long.

We had a wire that ran from our sod house to our well and also one from the house to the barn so you could hold on to it during a blizzard and not get lost.

One summer night mother started for a bucket of water and she heard a rattler buzz. She went back in the house and got Dad.  He took the lantern and found a big rattler curled up in the path.  He shot it.

One time when Dad was sheriff, he had to take a man in for stealing cattle.  His first name was Pete and I don’t remember the last name, but he took him to Tryon and the trial was in the sod courthouse.  There was no jail so Dad and Pete slept on a bed they had in the courthouse.  Pete was handcuffed to the bedstead.  At the trial Pete was convicted.  Dad had to take him to North Platte to take a train to Lincoln where Pete would have to serve four years in the State Pen.  They stayed overnight in North Platte.  Pete needed a shave, so Dad took him to the barber.  When Pete got in the chair for the shave, Dad handcuffed Pete to the barber chair.  Before the barber was through shaving him, his hand was shaking so bad from nervousness, that Dad was afraid he might cut the poor guy’s face.  The barber, no doubt, was glad when that shave was over.

Orin passed away in 1948.  He and Agnes had been married for fifty-six years.  After Orin’s death, Agnes and a close friend, Mollie Hitt, spent the next few years in their own homes, looking after each other and enjoying a very close friendship.

In 1955, Agnes’ daughter, Ellen Boyce, came to live with her.  They spent the next fifteen years together.  In September of 1970, Agnes was moved to a nursing home in Osceola.  The first part of November, she suffered two light strokes.  November 7, 1970, she was moved to Clarke County Hospital, where she passed away, Monday, November 8, 1970, at the age of 96 years, five months, and 24 days.

Orin Lewis and Agnes Gibson Thompson were the parents of 12 children:  Ethel, Carrie, twins Adeline and Ellen, Iva, Pearl, Clifton, Charles, Albert, Teddy, Keith and Dean.

At the time of Agnes’ death, her parents, her husband, Orin, her daughter, Carrie, and three sons, Clifton, Charles and Teddy, one brother and five sisters had preceded her in death.

Agnes was survived by five daughters, Ethel Wisner of North Platte, Nebraska; Adeline Garton of Humeston, Iowa; Ellen Boyce of LeRoy, Iowa; Iva Jelsma of Lineville, Iowa; and Pearl Biddison of Conoga Park, California; three sons, Albert Thompson of LeRoy, Iowa; Keith Thompson of Phoenix, Arizona; and Dean Thompson of Daytona Beach, Florida; 30 grandchildren, 49 great-grandchildren and nine great-great-grandchildren.

Agnes was buried at Garden Grove, Iowa in the Garden Grove Cemetery.

In April of 1981, Ellen Boyce is in a nursing home in Corydon, Iowa, suffering from a stroke.  Ellen’s twin sister, Adeline Garten, lives in Humeston, Iowa.  She seems well.  They are 84 years old.  The only other sister living is Pearl Biddison, who lives in Conoga Park, California.  She ran a restaurant there several years.

I, Albert, am the oldest son living.  I am 71 years old, and live at Weldon, Iowa.  I still farm some, but rent some out also.  Keith is 68 and lives in Phoenix, Arizona.  He and his son own a marble plant which makes marble for bathrooms.  Their firm is called Arizona Marble Inc.  The youngest son, Dean, 61, lives in Daytona Beach, Florida.  He and his wife work in a gift shop.  They like their work and enjoy the sunny climate of Florida.

McPherson County: Facts, Families, Fiction
Published 1986
Insert Between Pages 726-727

Teresa Wilson Senior Picture

Teresa Ann Wilson Gravestone

This is Teresa Ann Wilson’s gravestone in New Virginia Cemetery, Webster County, NE.

NTV’s Ralph Wall Interviews Ermal & Bus Wilson

Johnny R. Wilson Gravestone

This is Johnny R. Wilson’s gravestone in New Virginia Cemetery, Webster County, NE.

CM Wilson in Grocery Store

CM Wilson Home

Original Home

Deconstructed in May 2003

Conly Martin Wilson WWI Draft Registration Card

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.

Inavale Pioneer At 94 Still Doctoring Animals

by Dean Terrill
Southeast Nebraska Bureau

Inavale – The one thing C.M. Wilson never learned about animal doctoring was when to quit.  He is 94.

“Never had a toothache or headache, never saw a day I couldn’t work, yet I never felt better than I do right now,” chuckled the colorful Webster Countian.  “I’ve got 15 cattle to dehorn even tomorrow.”

Mostly, however, Con is at leisure that he splits between his ranch north of town and the Inavale grocery of his son Francis.  Customers never tire of his recollections of the early prairie life.

Indians still camped along the Republican when Wilson’s parents broke their first sod within arrow shot of his present home.  Their Virginia-born son, four when they came west, recalls his bewilderment when first seeing “a woman with a blanket that wiggled on her back.”

“All there was around here then were grasshoppers and rattlesnakes, and deer and antelope and now and then a buffalo,” the oldster continued.

Loved Animals

A boyhood love of animals brought an apprenticeship under a “school-trained veterinarian,” and what Con didn’t learn there he picked up in 73 years of practice.  Lack of a degree made no difference to farmer he called by name for 20 miles around.

“The state offered me a permit a couple of times, but I always told them I’d soon be quitting,” the widower reflected.  “I did sort of quit after I got my holding up to 21 quarter-sections – but there still is livestock to vaccinate and all.”

Buying a Model T from “the first load that came to Campbell,” Wilson added even more to his clientele.  The days were as long as ever, but at least the rides were warmer.

‘$5 Too High’

“One time I walked a mile when it was 42 below, hitched up a team and then drove 14 miles in a buggy,” he recalled.  “I hated the cold, and the only real complaint I ever got was when I went out in zero weather for a cow that was calving.  The owner said $5 was too high, but in that weather I wouldn’t have taken off my coat for any less.”

Butchering (“only 35 minutes to skin a hog”) and his own cattle raising added to his responsibilities.  Hunting and fishing in the game-rich valley were principal diversions.

“I bet I’ve killed more ducks and geese than anyone in this part of the country,” he continued, “and I know I’ve cut more colts – up to 250 a year.”

Treats for Friends

His “sport” these days derives from frequent visits to the Inavale Care Home, armed with treats for his many old friends.  Young admirers identify him also with handouts of ice cream bars and skating rink tickets.

Deliberately deeding land to his children “so they have to stay,” Wilson is practically a neighbor to all six.  Francis, John, Bus and Mrs. Raymond Meyer all have Inavale addresses, while Mrs. Milton Lutz live in Campbell and Bladen, respectively.

There are 15 grandchildren – one of them within months of being a “school-trained vet like I always wanted to be.”  Byron Wilson is to graduate this spring from Kansas State.

“He went with me a lot and I remember one night we made three trips and got home at sunup,” remarked the proud grandfather.  “If that didn’t scare him out of the business, nothing will.”

The Lincoln Star

Tuesday, Feb. 7, 1967

Con Wilson Interview

The following interview was recorded in 1965 for the Webster County Historical Museum. Fred Householder of the Bladen area was the interviewer. CM would have been around 92 years of age at the time of the interview, and later passed away at 94, just a couple months short of his 95th birthday.

Download Full Quality Audio File (256 kbps mp3 – 25 MB)

Interviewer: This recording is being made by Con Wilson for the Webster County Historical Museum.

Con: This is CM Wilson. I was born in Virginia in 1872, the 27th day of October. We came here to this country in ’75. We landed there in Hastings and stayed there all night and moved down here to this here old home place the next day.

Interviewer: How did you travel from Virginia to Hastings?

Con: We traveled from Virginia to Hastings – we came there on the train and we bought two horses in Hastings, an old lumber wagon, and moved down here in an old dugout.

Interviewer: Were you the only child in the family at that time?

Con: No. There was some girls and I, the elderly. Daisy, Dell, and I were born in Virginia when we came here.

Interviewer: Did your father pick a timber claim?

Con: Yeah, he took a timber claim. If I remember right, he took a railroad quarter, if I remember right.

Interviewer: And you say you moved into a dugout?

Con: Yeah, we moved into the dugout.

Interviewer: Had your father come before and made the dugout?

Con: Nope, nope, no. I had an uncle that was here and he had a place all ready for us when we got here.

Interviewer: What was your uncle’s name?

Con: My uncle was Albert Wilson and Clarence Wilson. They had _____ in the dugout.

Interviewer: And they had dug the dugout?

Con: Yeah, they had a dugout for us.

Interviewer: What was the first recollection that you have of this country? You were a little more than 2 years old when your folks came here.

Con: I was 3 years old.

Interviewer: What’s the first thing that you remember about the new country?

Con: Well, sir, I wasn’t but a, I don’t know what year it was in but dad took me to town with him one time, I went along with him. In those days all we had is rattlesnakes, deer, and we had both geese and ducks, and Indians, so dad took me along with him into Red Cloud that day and an ole girl there had a bump on her back and so I didn’t know what that bump was and once in awhile the thing would move a little bit and ______ something so I kept fooling around and that old Indian got between dad and me and I took a _____. I thought the old, I thought I was a goner, but it turned out to be alright.

Interviewer: What was that lump that you saw move?

Con: That Indian had a papoose.

Interviewer: What other early recollections do you have, Con? Were there other Virginians besides your own family that came at the time that your folks did?

Con: Oh yeah, I think, I couldn’t tell you for sure. I think Mr. Ramey, and Mr. Cather, Mr. Lockhart, they come here before we did.

Interviewer: Now you mention that your Uncle Clarence and Uncle Albert came before your folks did?

Con: Yeah, they come before we did.

Interviewer: How long before?

Con: Well, I think they, I won’t say for sure, we came here, if I remember, in the spring and they was here they come here in the fall.

Interviewer: Did all 3 of the Wilsons, your 2 uncles and your father all settle here in Catherton Precinct?

Con: They what?

Interviewer: Did they all take claims or timber claims here in Catherton?

Con: __________ took a claim and dad he had 2 claims, had 2 quarters, and Uncle Albert had 1 quarter.

Interviewer: Uncle Albert was the one that was drowned later.

Con: Say what?

Interviewer: Your Uncle Albert was the one that was drowned?

Con: Yeah, right there on the quarter he had.

Interviewer: Oh, yes, I remember that.

Con: Yeah.

Interviewer: What other settlers were here when your folks came, in this immediate vicinity?

Con: The _____ Mr. Cather was here and Mr. George Cather and his wife was here and I, they had a couple-three kids here. Then Charlie Cather came, he must have come a year or two later and they lived on the quarter, they have the quarter yet today, that’s where they lived. Old Mr. Cather come and his wife came here and I believe one of his sisters, sisters of George Cather.

Interviewer: That would have been _________.

Con: There was 2 of them, I don’t know for sure.

Interviewer: Were there other – how about the Coopers and the Markers?

Con: Oh, they came later.

Interviewer: Do you remember where your folks got their mail when they first came?

Con: Well, I tell you, let me think a little bit.

Interviewer: The Otto Post Office, was that organized?

Con: Who?

Interviewer: The Otto Post Office, was that organized, was that?

Con: Now just wait a minute. That post office, if I remember right, I think the first mail we had came out of here is over here, Cooper’s had the post office and Mr. Payne, Mr. Ed Payne, I think he had that post office first and then the Coopers got it and took and run it then it went up to Petersons.

Interviewer: Did Mrs. Marker have it for a year or so?

Con: Huh?

Interviewer: Did Mrs. Marker have it for a year or so?

Con: Yeah, he had the post office there too, I forgot about them. They had a post office there for awhile.

Interviewer: What other area recollections do you have, Con, of the country? Where did you go to school?

Con: I went to school where the school house is right now.

Interviewer: The New Virginia School?

Con: Yes, sir.

Interviewer: Do you remember who your first teacher was?

Con: Yes, sir. She was Mrs. Grubbs.

Interviewer: Is that right.

Con: And then the next teacher we had was Mrs. Rice.

Interviewer: And, when did you start veterinary work in the county, Con?

Con: 71 years ago.

Interviewer: 71 years ago?

Con: Yes, sir.

Interviewer: And you still are doing veterinary work, aren’t you?

Con: Some, oh just a little bit, not much.

Interviewer: Isn’t that a state record?

Con: Huh?

Interviewer: Isn’t that a state record?

Con: No, I don’t know that it is, I expect it is of course. I traveled from __________ out of my drive, north and south, there’s no limit to it, traveling to Lebanon to up to Holstein.

Interviewer: From Lebanon to Holstein, from south to north, and what dimension from east to west?

Con: Well, that there’s from Bostwick to Bloomington.

Interviewer: From Bostwick to Bloomington, you’ve covered all that area?

Con: For 71 years.

Interviewer: That’s a remarkable record I’d have to say, Con. Have you enjoyed working with the farmers in all those 71 years?

Con: Huh?

Interviewer: Have you enjoyed working with the farmers in all that 71 years?

Con: It couldn’t be no better.

Interviewer: You’ve enjoyed it?

Con: Yes, sir. I did. All of them treated me the best in the world. Very few of them, very, very few of them wasn’t the best in the world.

Interviewer: That’s fine, Con. Who were some of the younger people who went to school when you did?

Con: _____ Marker had, he had 2 or 3 kids, and Lambrecht’s had kids, all 3 of them, had boys and girls too. That was Henry Lambrecht, George Lambrecht, and brother all went to school there together.

Interviewer: About how many people were in school when you

At this point the tape cut off. We presume that the original interview was recorded on reel-to-reel media and was not fully transferred to the cassette tape that was used for this transcription or the audio capture.

Transcribed from cassette tape by Joyce Terhune
, Director WCHM – June 11, 2008
Audio digitally captured from cassette tape by Wade Gibson – December 21, 2012

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.

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.

John C. & Mary Wilson Pictures

These pictures are on display at the Webster County Historical Museum in Red Cloud, NE.

John Clyde Wilson

Mary Catherine (Wisecarver) Wilson

John C. Wilson Obituary

John C. Wilson was born near Winchester, Va. January 19, 1850. In 1872 he was united in marriage with Miss Mary Wisecarver. To them were born five sons and three daughters. One son died in infancy. The others are: C.M. Wilson, Roy J. Wilson Jr., Claude Wilson, Don Wilson, Mrs. Frank Bean, Mrs. Lulu Lockhart, Mrs. Oscar Johnson, and Mrs. Claude Duval. Mr. Wilson and family came to this county in April 1878, and settled on the farm northwest of here where he resided continuously until a few months ago when he went to reside with his daughter, Mrs. Duval where the final summons came on November 2nd. During the past year he had failed rapidly. He leaves besides the sons and daughters, two brothers, Arthur and Clarence Wilson of Inavale, and one sister Mrs. Mary Bayles of Winchester, Va. The wife from whom he had been separated for many years, is a resident of Red Cloud.

Funeral services were held at 2:30 Sunday afternoon at the New Virginia Church, conducted by Rev. R.B.E. Hill of Sterling, Neb., and interment was made in the New Virginia cemetery.

Webster County Argus Paper
November 9, 1922

John C. Wilson Gravestone

This is John C. Wilson’s gravestone in New Virginia Cemetery, Webster County, NE.

Vilas & Neva Jones

Neva Little Senior Picture

Vilas Jones Senior Picture

Carl & Tennie Little

Carl Little

Carl Little Gravestone