New Virginia Cemetery Plot Map

New Virginia Church

Those Virginians who were not Baptists organized a Methodist group in the southeast part of Catherton precinct. The congregation raised over $1600 and hired area carpenter-farmer Svend Lindquist to construct a 28 by 40 foot building. On Augst 18, 1906, the night before it was to have been dedicated, the New Virginia Church burned to the ground. Sunday morning the congregation met at the New Virginia schoolhouse as usual and made plans to rebuild using the insurance money.

The second New Virginia Methodist Church was dedicated on April 14, 1907. This congregation held its celebration of 100 years continuous activity May 2, 1982, and still meets monthly with a carry-in dinner. Prime movers in the early church history were Ed Payne, Clarence and John Wilson, Mrs. Marker, E.J. Peterson, A.A. Cooper, Daniel and Jay Lovejoy, and Rolly Broks.

Bladen Centennial

First Meeting of the Otto Cemetery Association

New Va school house Dist 65, Webster Co. Nebr May 28, 1887

Pursuant to previous announcement the Otto Cemetery Association met for the purpose of transacting all business that should come before them. President in chair. House was called to order. The minutes of the last meeting being read and offered, the looking into and reading of the deed for the land for the Otto Cemetery Association, a deed was settled on and accepted by the majority of the trustees and ordered to be recorded. On motion of John Wilson the cemetery was to be laid out in lots and sold to defray expenses, keep up repairs, and necessary expenses by consultation, if was agreed upon for the trustees to lay out and arrange the grounds, and June the 4th was set apart for the laying out of the cemetery in blocks.

On motion of John Wilson, Otto Skjelver was selected treasurer of the Otto Cemetery Association for one year, from the time this association was organized.

On motion of John Wilson the Cemetery Association is to meet Sept 9th.

On motion of John Marker, C ? was elected vice president of association for one year from time the association was organized.

On motion of A. A. Cooper the association adjourned.

E J Peterson

Named changed from Otto Cemetery to New Virginia Cemetery May 4, 1925

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New Virginia School History

School was first held in a dug out in 1882-1883 or sod house. The first frame school house was built in 1884. In April of 1886 a 12 ft extension was added on. In 1899 a new 20 x 32 ft school house was built. In 1901 – repaired and painted school house. In 1904 the anti room or hall was built on and a book case was built cost 125.00 dollars. In 1907 new desks were bought for $450.00 and the old ones sold for 60 cents apiece. The storm cellar was built in 1912 and the coal house repaired. In 1916 9 mo school started.


1883-1884Nora McCall – first teacher taught 2 mo.
Mattie McCall – taught 1 mo for Nora
1884-1885Fr. Brooks – 6 mo$30.00
Mary Robertson – 2 mo$25.00
Jo Brooks – 3 mo$27.00
1885-1886Addie McFrittle 2 mo$30.00
1887-1888Aristole Smith$30.00
1889-1890S F Bailif$35.00
1890-1891Ella Renasberg$40.00
1891-1892SS Fisher$33.00
1893-1894Belle Spanble$40.00
1894-1985Mildred McCall$65.00
1896-1897Retta Able$30.00
1897-1898William Fraizer$40.00
1898-1899J. M. Scales$40.00
1899-1900Mamie Wiedman$35.00
1901-1902Grace Onstat$35.00
1902-1903Bruce Payne$40.00
1904-1905Della Mccallum$40.00
1905-1906E G Peterson$40.00
1906-1907Visa Dickerson$45.00
1907-1908Blance McCartney$40.00
1908-1909Bernice Marker$45.00
1909-1910May Dickerson$45.00
1911-1912Clare Dyer
1913-1914Mable Lund$60.00
1914-1915Nellie Brooks
1915-1916Francis Nolan
1916-1917Homer Fetty$65.00
1917-1918Leonard Springer$70.00
1918-1919Mildred Arnold$70.00
Helen Johnson
1919-1920Alta Coon$66.00
1920-1921Grace Keagle$90.00
1921-1922Ella Davis$100.00
1923-1924Pauline Pitney$80.00
1925-1926Alice Whitaker$70.00
1926-1927Pauline Hathjen – first teacher in new school house
1927-1928Mildred Lutz
1928-1929Gertrude Wiggins
1930-1931Dewey Adams
1931-1932Maxine McClure$50.00
1932-1933Dorthy Arneson$50.00
1933-1934Veva Feis$35.00
1934-1935Marie James$45.00
1938-1939Verdell Noble

Closed School
Reopened in 1951

1951-1952Bernice Marker
1952-1953Thelma Hasselbacher$225.00
1953-1954Mrs. Jean Gilbert – 5 mo
Mrs. Jolene Sanger – 4 mo
1954-1955Mrs. Joan DeBord$182.50
1955-1956Miss Jeanette Martin$172.50
1956-1957Mrs. Darline Pitney
1957-1958Mrs. Barbah Bright
1958-1959Mrs. Joy Pruner
1959-1960Mrs. Schmalle
1960-1961Mrs. Ruth Bridges
1961-1962Mrs. Ruth Bridges
1962-1963Mrs. Bernice Shackleton
1963-1964Mrs. Bernice Shackleton
1964-1965Mrs. Don Burge
1965-1966Mrs. Don Burge
1966-1967Mrs. Don Burge
1967-1968Mrs. Myrtis Alber
1968-1969Mrs. Myrtis Alber
Mrs. John Yost (last six weeks)

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New Virginia Church Insurance Certificate

This certificate is dated October 13, 1906 – some two months after the original structure burned down.

New Virginia Church Original Drawings

We found these original drawings of the New Virginia Church. These are obviously much different than the church that was constructed, but they are very neat documents nonetheless.

The CA & HA markings are presumably for Hot Air (supply) and Cold Air (return).

New Virginia Church Warranty Deed

This is the original Warranty Deed dated April 29, 1905 from John & Mary Wilson which provided the site for the New Virginia Church.

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The Building of a Church

The settlers from Virginia viewed
This land their hearts desired.
Homesteading in the Seventies
On acres they acquired.

They had lookes long for what they found
In this fair neighborhood.
In that great distance from their homes
Hone had seen land so good.

They named it New Virginia,
Because of memory’s hold.
It still had all they wished for it
When they were gray and old.

With sod, they built their homes and school.
More immigrants arrived,
Bohemians, Germans, Swedes, and Danes.
They, and the country thrived.

At meetings held, the settlers urged
For Sunday-School and church.
The sod school house became the place
To make Divine research.

The years sped on; the “soddy” was
Replaced by wood and nail,
But still the place where those who wished
Learned of the Holy Grail.

The Lord showered blessings on the land,
The people were devout.
Their savings they were glad to use;
And thus it came about

When at a meeting of these folk
A good sized fund should start
That they might raise an edifice–
A building set apart

To worship God and hold a school,
Where all could study more
About His teachings and His love;
Or a lost faith restore.

The years were long and hard, but they
Made plans and funds soon grew.
And when they had enough to build
Construction fairly flew.

The day of dedication set,
The planning grew apace.
The preachers who were taking part
Knew all the populace.

The day drew near, all work was done,
The dawn would bring that day.
Alas! The night a story told
That swept all plans away

A fiery light flared to the sky!
Catastrophe had come!
The little group that gathered there
With shock and grief were numb.

The wagons creaked along the road
When came another dawn.
With firm set lips, those pioneers
Brought with them Faith and brawn.

They journeyed to the frame school house–
Prom prayer they rose, to start
Another building on the site,
A House, to stand apart.

The small school house was more than filled,
Where services were held.
The call for building funds met with
Success unparalleled.

In scarcely more than half a year
They realized their dream,
Their church was built — a Holy place,
To worship God Supreme.

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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

Johnny Wilson & Bonnie Skjelver Marriage License

This is the Certificate of Marriage for Johnny Robert Wilson and Bonnie Harriet Skjelver dated October 3, 1942.

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Bonnie Wilson Funeral Program

Bonnie Wilson Obituary

Bonnie Harriet Wilson (Skjelver), the daughter of Otto and Elsie Skjelver (Lambrecht) was born May 31, 1921, on her parents’ farm north of Inavale, Nebraska in Webster County. She departed this life October 3, 2018, at the Colonial Villa Nursing Home in Alma Nebraska, at the age of 97 years, 4 months, and 2 days.

As a young girl, she attended the New Virginia county school, and then graduated from Red Cloud High School in 1940. While attending school Bonnie and her sisters lived in an apartment in Red Cloud during the week and would spend the weekends back on the family farm. She continued her education to receive her teaching certificate and taught for several years at North Star and Harmony County Schools. She told stories of building fires to keep warm and also hauling water into the schools.

On October 3, 1942, she was united in marriage with Johnny Robert Wilson in Smith Center, Kansas. To this union, they were blessed with three children, Teresa Ann, Robert Leroy, and Jayne Jo.

Bonnie was a very active farm wife and enjoyed helping out on the family farm and ranch. She would prepare and serve meals to all the farmhands and family always with a freshly baked dessert. On Wednesday afternoon you could find her working on a quilt with the ladies in the church basement. And in the evenings Johnny and Bonnie enjoyed playing cards with their many neighbors and friends.

Bonnie was active in the UMW Church group, Ladies Aid and the Ladies Extension Club. She was also a 4H leader for many years and helped with many 4H projects for her kids and grandkids.

She was preceded in death by her husband Johnny; a daughter Teresa Wilson; her parents; and a sister Eloise Sanford.

Left to cherish her memory are her son Robert Wilson and his wife Diana, her daughter Jayne Hogeland and her husband William; 5 grandchildren, Laci Dinkler and husband Scott, Amber Gibson and husband Wade, Geoffrey Hogeland and wife Kelli, Grant Hogeland and wife Tiffany, and Gillian Hogeland; 11 great-grandchildren, Makayla, Morgan, Jacob and Janaya Dinkler, Lee and John Gibson, Ian, Iaasc, Emerson, and Elliett Hogeland, and Everly Hogeland; sisters Doris Padovan and Ila Young, and a host of nieces, nephews, family members and friends.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 am, Monday, October 8th, 2018 at the United Methodist Church in Bladen. Interment will be in the New Virginia Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to the New Virginia Cemetery.

Wilson Farm 1953 Aerial Photo


Jens Krichau Naturalization Papers

Jens Krichau Immigration ID Card

Directory of Webster County Nebraska 1894 – Otto

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

Weddings Around the World

Under a wide prairie sky, Sherry and Eddie Harlow, high-school sweethearts, pass through a hail of rice and good wishes leaving New Virginia Church, near Red Cloud, which her pioneer grandparents helped build.

Under a wide prairie sky, Sherry and Eddie Harlow, high-school sweethearts, pass through a hail of rice and good wishes leaving New Virginia Church, near Red Cloud, which her pioneer grandparents helped build.

A World Full of Weddings

June, aside from rhyming gaily and conveniently with croon, spoon, love’s tune and honeymoon, has other useful and important hymeneal attributes: in much of the world spring planting is about done, marriageable boys and girls graduate from institutions of learning and the weather is getting just fine-“rare,” the poets called it. For these and a lot of other emotional and anthropological reasons June, bridewise, is very big. The world’s young folks, who get married to the tune (love’s) of many millions a year, like the month and in America about 400,00 of 1961’s estimated three million of them have taken, or will take, the plunge at this bright and happy time.

Last week Life sent photographers to sample 13 wedding on four continents. In Spain, Nebraska and York, England (p. 43) members of old local families were joined in matrimony in a solemn Christian ritual that has varied little over the centuries. But it is still a grave and joyous ceremony whether it takes place to the strains of Lohengrin, or the drums of a tribal dance or the tintinnabulation of a set of Chinese cymbals tapped by a troupe of hired merrymakers.

Life Magazine
June 16, 1961
Pages 36-37

The picture spanned two pages in the magazine layout, which is why there is a gap between the left and right sides.

New Virginia Cemetery

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

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

District 65 – New Virginia School

District 65 was called “New Virginia” which in turn gave that name to the Methodist Episcopal church nearby. Henry W. Lambrecht remembered the sod school house as having a flat roof. A sod schoolhouse was in use before the school district built a frame house in 1884. The carpenters were Robert McCallum and J.P. Braynard. Sabbath school was held in the school house before the New Virginia church was built in 1907. In July 1882 the Webster County Argus reported that there was a [farmer’s] alliance held in District 65, called New Virginia. In 1927 a modern two-room school house was built, the old frame having served its time.

Webster County: Visions of the Past
By Mabel Cooper Skjelver
Published 1980
Pages 78-79

District 65, New Virginia, a one-room school house built in 1884

District 65, New Virginia, a one-room school house built in 1884

District 65, New Virginia school house built in 1927

District 65, New Virginia school house built in 1927

Photographs courtesy of Henry Peterson and Margaret Lambrecht Votipka (Mrs. Ed.)

Webster County: Visions of the Past
By Mabel Cooper Skjelver
Published 1980
Page 79

This is the location of the New Virginia school house. It is situated in the middle of the section one-half mile East of the New Virginia Church. The original school building burned down in early 2003, but the foundation can still be seen in the satellite imagery.

New Virginia Methodist Episcopal Church

The Virginians and other early residents in the southeast area of Catherton precinct built a church seven and a half miles north of Inavale in the northwest corner of the SW 1/4 of section 26. The present church is the second structure that was built. It is one of the two remaining country churches left in Webster County. The other one is the Dane church, or St. Stephens, in Batin precinct.

The Bladen Enterprise reported on September 15, 1905 that the New Virginia church construction was being “pushed right along.” Svend Lindquist was the carpenter, a Danish farmer-carpenter, then living in Batin precinct. The church dimensions were 28×40 feet. The roof was being put on and the congregation hoped to have it ready for dedication in November. Its cost was $1,652 and was erected under the superintendency and guaranty of Ed Payne and Clarence Wilson. These two men had contributed the two largest sums to the building fund, with John Wilson, Mrs. Marker and E.J. Peterson also large contributors. At that time the New Virginia church was thought to have the largest and most expensive rural church edifice in the county. It had a membership of 30 and an attendance of 75, with a Sunday School of 50.

Unknown problems delayed the dedication for the Bladen Enterprise on August 10, 1906 reported that the dedication of the New Virginia church building which was to have taken place the past Sunday, (August 6) had been postponed until Sunday, August 19, 1906. A fire of unknown origin destroyed the new church Saturday night before it was to be dedicated the following day – Sunday. *

John Marker then lived across the road from the building site and had gone by the church about dusk and had not noticed anything unusual. However, one mule of his team became frightened and difficult to handle. He got the team quieted down and went on home. When he came from the barn, the church as ablaze. While help was called there was no means to put out the blaze, so the structure was entirely destroyed.

On Sunday morning, the congregation gathered at the school house (District 65) and after a short sermon by the District Superintendent, who had come for the anticipated dedication, the congregation discussed their loss. They decided to use the $1,000 insurance monies and to request the balance needed by subscription.

Enough money was obtained by subscription at great sacrifice to the members, so that rebuilding could begin immediately. A new structure was built by Fred Gaverka, and Inavale carpenter, at a cost of $1,650. Masonry work on the chimney was the work of Allen A. “Al” Cooper. The new church was dedicated April 14, 1907. While the church’s name came about because many of the original congregation came from the Shenandoah Valley area of Virginia, many German and Swedish families were charter members. Family names connected with the New Virginia Methodist Episcopal church include: The Wilson Brothers, Clarence, Albert and John; Alford Marker and sons, John and Ford; J.B. Wisecarver; Richard T. Payne and sons, Frances E. “Ed” and Bruce; A.A. Cooper; William Matheny; Henry Williams; Daniel Lovejoy; Eric John Peterson; Henry and Carl Lambrecht; Swan Johnson; with the Jay Lovejoy and Rolly Brooks families becoming members sometime later.

Pastors of the New Virginia Methodist Episcopal church were recalled by Ray Wilson, a longtime church superintendent, who generously served the New Virginia church with his time, energy and money.

Before 1905 New Virginia was part of the Bladen charge, and Rev. T.C. Priestly was the first minister after the second church was built. He was followed by Folden John Bean, E.A. Van Dyke, McVey Hancock, Blackwell Wilson, and Priestly Bromwell.

R.B.E. Hill served from September 24, 1905 to July 18, 1909. The following pastors served the New Virginia Church in later years: H.M. Bassett, Sept. 1910-1911; M.C. Smith 1911-1914; Scott Blunt, 1914-1915; A.E. Murless, 1916-1917; J.W. Borden 1918-1919; Charles E. Schofield 1920-1922; David Simpson 1922-1923; M.E. Henry 1923-1925; Glen W. Marshall, 1925-1928; O.L. Bebb 1928-1929; H.B. Lansing, 1930; C.O. Freeman, 1931-1932; C.C Warriner, September 1933; P.J. Kirk, 1934-1935; O.R. Kleven, 1936 as an evangelist, with C.C. Eston as pastor while Rev. Kleven was holding revivals; Earl L. Russell, September 1937-February 11, 1938; W.A. Mansur, February 11, 1938-September 1939; Ralph Good, 1940-1942; Leslie Moore, 1951. In 1942 ministers were not plentiful, and Inavale became part of the Red Cloud charge. New Virginia then did not have a pastor, but community church services and Sunday school continued with Ray, Norva and Mayme Wilson, Rollie and Veda Brooks, Grace and Margaret Lambrecht and others in the community doing what they could to keep the church active. In 1950 the New Virginia charge was reopened for a short time. The families in the community gathered for a carry-in noon meal, that was followed by a religious service conducted by lay people in the community or by a minister from Red Cloud that was willing to accommodate a rural congregation on occasion.

Lloyd Crabill was the first Sunday School Superintendent of the New Virginia church, and it was he who suggested the name for the new church. The congregation participated in annual Sunday School conventions which included the congregations at Plainview, District 66, Pleasant Prairie and New Virginia – District 65. The New Virginia Ladies Aid was organized in 1907 and is still an active organization.

* Many thought the fire was connected with Rev. R.B.E Hill’s attempt to remove boot-leg liquor from Inavale.

Webster County: Visions of the Past
By Mabel Cooper Skjelver
Published 1980
Pages 80-82

New Virginia Methodist Episcopal church second structure built 1906-07

New Virginia Methodist Episcopal church second structure built 1906-07

New Virginia Methodist Episcopal Church

New Virginia Methodist Episcopal Church 1955

1907-04-13_New_Virginia_Methodist_Episcopal_Church_Program_Page_1 1907-04-13_New_Virginia_Methodist_Episcopal_Church_Program_Page_2

New Virginia Church

In simplicity the New Virginia church stands upon wide Nebraska prairie land. Nothing special in its outward appearance would prompt a stranger passing by to stop and make a careful study of its structure. Built of wood, it is painted white with three old-fashioned glass windows on each side. From the belfry atop its gray slanted roof a battered lightning rod shows evidence of fighting survival against stormy winds. Its location is about six and on-half miles north of Inavale.

New Virginia Church is named for the people who came to Nebraska from the state of Virginia and filed timber claims in this section of Webster Co. These claims entitled them to an additional 160 acres if they agreed to plant and care for groves of trees upon their land. Courageous, hard working people, they soon realized the value of a church in their community. Included among these Virginia settlers were families of Cooper, Payne, Lark, Wilson, and George Cather, uncle of Willa Cather. They homesteaded here between 1873-1878. The first church was built sometime prior to 1907. This was a community project and each family helped in whatever way they could. Upon completion of the building, some new furnishings, including an organ, were made. These prized possessions were moved into the new church on a Saturday evening as special dedication services were to be held next morning. This honored day had been happily anticipated for a long time. The completion of the building and its readiness for public worship was the realization of a cherished dream.

Unexpected disaster struck during that Saturday night. Family members living in a nearby sod house were wakened by the sound of skyward shooting flames. Too late in rounding up enough help to put out the fire, the people watched helplessly as flames ended their community project. The cause of the fire was never determined. There were various opinions as to its origin, but no positive proof ever made. In the courageous spirit of the early settlers, the church was rebuilt. Upon its completion it was dedicated in 1907. For many years, Sunday School and church services were held each week. A minister from Bladen was in charge.

Now, 68 years later, the tiny church survives. About twenty members attend church services which are held once each month. They have a cooperative dinner at noon time and hold services during the afternoon. A visiting church superintendent made the remark that New Virginia was the only congregation in his district that observed, “Eat before preach.” The Rev. John Baker of Blue Hill is the present minister. It is an ordinary appearing building, yet its distinctions are unique. In the June 16, 1961 edition of Life Magazine its picture appeared in a feature article, “Weddings Around the World”. An Inavale girl, Sherita Lambrecht, was married here and her rural wedding made part of the story. Willa Cather refers to this church in her book “O’ Pioneers.” It is also included in Red Cloud’s Cather Land Tour. Perhaps its greatest distinction is the fact that the people of this community have cared enough to keep the church door open to serve the spiritual needs of a community.

(From Tribune, June 2, 1975): By Marjorie Blankenbaker

Webster Atlas by Doover
Compiled 1983

Skjelver Brothers

The two Skjelver brothers, Hans and Otto, filed on homesteads, Hans on May 18, 1873 and Otto in the fall of 1876. Both brothers worked in the lumber camps of Wisconsin before coming to Webster County. Otto came to America in 1869 and Hans came in 1871; however, it was Hans Skjelver who first decided to join a group of Norwegians in Webster County. Both men helped to establish the Norwegian Zion Lutheran church and a religious school that was eventually to be District 66, “North Star,” a name selected because of the many Scandinavians within the community. Otto Skjelver was the first teacher of District 66,  and the Otto post office was named for him. Both brothers were well educated, but Otto, who had a more outgoing personality, became the spokesperson between the Scandinavian and English-American community. He helped interpret American laws, customs and their usage to his fellow countrymen. It is ironic that some of these laws worked against his best interest and deprived him of land that he thought was rightfully his.

Webster County: Visions of the Past
By Mabel Cooper Skjelver
Published 1980
Pages 63-64

This citation notes Otto Skjelver filing homestead in the fall of 1876, but Otto filed homestead in December of 1883, as documented here.

The last sentence is likely referencing the court battle between Peterson & Skjelver that ultimately ended up in the NE Supreme Court in 1895.

Nebraska Hereford Assn. 2012 Commercial Breeder of the Year Award

Rob & Diana Wilson were recently presented with the 2012 Commercial Breeder of the Year Award from the Nebraska Hereford Association. The banquet dinner and awards ceremony was held at Fonner Park  in Grand Island on Saturday, November 17, 2012. Ron Schutte presented the award.

The Wilson Hereford Ranch located in Webster County is owned and operated by Robert Wilson. Rob’s grandfather, Con Wilson, bought the first registered Hereford cattle in 1922, beginning with only four bred heifers and a bull. Rob’s father, Johnny, started operating the ranch after WWII and sold Hereford seed stock for years. Rob came back to the ranch in 1973 and now runs a commercial Hereford cow/calf and yearling operation of around 190 head. His heifers are sold privately all around the country and he markets his steers at local sale barns.

Rob is an active member of the Webster County Fair board and sponsors the Champion British Breeding Heifer each year. He has also been a 4-H leader for more than thirty years and sells club calves to local youths. Rob and his wife, Diana, along with their children and grandchildren continue the family’s longstanding tradition of raising quality Horned Hereford cattle.

F.E. Payne Biographical

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

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

Veterinary Medicine on the Farm

Nebraska Farm Life WWI to WWII is a book written by Richard C. McCall based on a true story of a family growing up on a Nebraska farm. In Chapter 10 “Veterinary Medicine on the Farm” there are several mentions of Con Wilson related to his veterinary work.

“This chapter concerns some of the veterinary problems that we experienced on our farm. We administered most of the veterinary care to our animals ourselves. There was a veterinary in Red Cloud named Doc Hurst, but for some reason or other we never used his services. There was a Dr. Moranville in Guide Rock, who was said to be pretty good, but most of our work was done by a self-taught man named Con Wilson.”

“Cholera was an ever-present problem with hogs…Most of the time, Con Wilson came and administered the vaccine but later during World War II when labor was scarce, we were able to get the vaccine and do it ourselves.”

“There were several instances of cases of lumpy jaw in cattle…A veterinarian would arrive, probably Con Wilson, and treat them with an intravenous injection of calcium into a neck vein.”

“Con Wilson had been called once to clean a cow that had failed to deliver the calf bed. By the time he arrived, this was a very foul smelling, messy job. Dick and Dad were observing and providing some help. Neither of them had the strongest of stomachs and both were wishing they were somewhere else. In the middle of the job, Con withdrew the arm he had had inside the cow, reached into his shirt pocket with that hand, and pulled out a plug of chewing tobacco that he offered to Dad. Dad turned slightly green and left the barn. Dick was amused enough at Dad’s discomfort that he managed to stay to the end.”

Nebraska Farm Life WWI to WWII
Published 2002
Chapter 10
Pages 79-84