Norfolk High School 1940

115 Seniors to Graduate from Norfolk School

Announcement was made Wednesday by Principal Theodore Skillstad of members of the graduating class of the Norfolk senior high school, who will receive diplomas at the annual commencement exercises Thursday evening, May 23. There are 115 members in the class this year.

As in previous years, senior class members will be dismissed from classes Friday evening, the last week of school being given over to senior activities. These will commence Friday evening with the annual junior-senior banquet in Hotel Norfolk ballroom; while events scheduled for the final week include the baccalaureate service Sunday evening; the senior play, “Our Town,” Tuesday evening; the annual senior day program, Wednesday afternoon; and the commencement exercises Thursday evening.

Excerpt from: The Norfolk Daily News, Wednesday May 15, 1940, page 2.

Norfolk Teachers 1906-1907

Teachers Are Elected ; Special Meeting of Board of Education is Held            
Most Positions are Filled
Teachers for Norfolk’s City Schools Season 1906-07 Were Elected
at a Special Meeting of the School Board Held Last Night.

Teachers for Norfolk.s schools for the year 1906-07 were elected by the board of education at a special meeting which was held last night. Assignments have not yet been made.

Following are those elected: Miss Ida Von Goetz, principal high school;

Miss Gertrude Watson, A. J. Kennedy, Misses Pearl Reese, Nellie Fleming, Pearl McCormick, Ella Toomey, Louise Mathewson, Harriett Mather, May Olney, Ellen Mullen, Otelia Pilger, Lena Mills, Clara Rudat, Nell Dingman, Laura Durland, Nina Walker, Pearl Widaman, Clara Brueggeman, A. V. Mason, Minnie Sears, Nellie M. Collins, Carrie A. Brush, and Mr. Reese Solomon.

All are known in Norfolk excepting Miss Sears, who comes from Plainview: Miss Collins, Table Rock; Miss Brush, Ashland.

There is still a vacancy in the primary department and no teacher of sciences has yet been elected for the high school.

Source: The Norfolk Weekly News-Journal, Friday, May 4, 1906, page 6.

Sixty-Six Letters in Name

The Clinton man with sixty-two letters in his name has been beaten. A sister of ex-Sheriff George W. Losey of Battle Creek has sixty-six letters in her name.

T. T. A. T. W. S. E. T. K. O. H. Lindloff of Clinton, Iowa, whose full name reads .Through Trials and Tribulations We Shall Enter the Kingdom of Heaven. claimed the longest given name in the United States.

The Lindloff claim is disputed by ex-Sheriff Losey in favor of his sister, now Mrs. Martha Virginia Beveline Elizabeth Amanda Caroline Sarah Ann Rosaline Losey Beckley of Pueblo, Col.

Mr. Losey writes to the News from Battle Creek: .Editor News: I have just read the article in the News of this date headed .Sixty-two Letters in Name.. Mr. Lindloff of Clinton, Ia., will have to guess again before he can claim the longest name even in Iowa as my only sister, who was born in

Davies county, Iowa, forty years ago, can I think go him several better so far as letters are concerned.

.I herein hand you her name in full, sixty-six letters beginning with Martha Virginia Beveline Elizabeth Amanda Caroline Sarah Ann Rosaline Losey and now Beckley by marriage.  .My sister now resides in Pueblo, Colo.

.Now this is no joke but her actual name. I can explain how she came to get all those names but refrain at this time from doing so.

.I am respectfully, Geo. W. Losey..

—–Norfolk News. Source: The Madison Star-Mail, January 17, 1908, page 1.

Norfolk, NE.

The building on upper Main Street belonging to B. Grant, and occupied in the lower story by a milliner store, was struck by lightning Sunday morning about three o’clock. The building was not set on fire, however. The lightning struck on the west side of the building about the center of it near the top, and tore a hole about six feet square, at the same time breaking the panes out of a window in a bed room occupied by Jerry Freeman, the colored bartender in Hopper & Co’s saloon. The head of Jerry’s bedstead was also torn and he slightly shocked.

There was considerable excitement in Norfolk last Sunday evening over the mysterious disappearance of little Johnny Parke and his cousin from Ponca, who was visiting him. They started down town on an errand about one o’clock and not returning to dinner the suspicions of their parents were naturally aroused. Hoping, however, that they would return soon no search was instituted by Mr. Parke until about 5 o’clock, when he took a circle of the town and inquired diligently of everyone he met, but his efforts seemed to avail him but little. One small boy had seen them going toward the river on the St. Paul railroad track, another had seen them at the Union Depot, &c. Their going toward the river was enough to excite apprehension for their safety and cause the suspicion that the little fellows might have ventured too near the water and been drowned. At this juncture neighbors were invited to participate in the search and a general reconnoiter of the surrounding country was commenced. The river was examined for straw hats or any other evidence of the whereabouts of the urchins. The railroad track was traveled for several miles, the sloughs south of town were carefully explored, farmers were awakened from their dreamy slumbers (for by this time nature had mantled herself in her black nightgown) and interviewed, the grave yard was visited and the quiet communion of the spooks and spirits disturbed. But, alas! The unsympathetic waters refused to breed straw hats, the railroad track furnished no satisfactory evidence of the truants, the sloughs knew no small boys, the farmers had seen nothing of them and the silent precincts of the departed proffered no encouragement to the searching friends. Tired feet and fallen spirits compelled searchers to return to town to find that in the meantime the boys had come home by way of the St. Paul road which they had been excursing over a foot-back to Hoskins. It was quite a picnic.

Source: Norfolk Journal, Friday June 29, 1883, page 3.

Railroad Accident

Terrible Railroad Accident
One Brakeman Killed Outright
Engineer Badly Mutilated
Engine, Tender and Five Loaded Freight Cars Completely Demolished.

Owing to the terrible rain of last Tuesday night, the Sioux City train over the C. St. P. M. & O. railroad, due here at 7:45 P. M., laid over at Wayne, which is thirty-five miles from this place, through fear that washouts might have occurred and would not be seen in the night. On their way in on the following morning, at about half past six o’clock and when they were about five miles out from Norfolk, they ran into a culvert or small bridge which had been completely washed from under the track, yet the rails and ties were still left in position so that the damage was not noticed until too late to be avoided. The locomotive dropped directly into the opening; the tender and first freight car were completely demolished; the second car passed completely over all yet mentioned, reaching its full length upon the solid grading and then rolled upon its side into the ditch. The third car lay smashed above the engine, while the fourth and fifth were pitched right and left cross-wise of the track, each with one end in the water and the other reared high in air; both were very badly broken up. The locomotive is apparently completely destroyed.

Joseph Pheasant, the head brakeman, who at the time of the accident was riding in the cab with the engineer, was so completely buried up that his body was not recovered until about four o’clock in the afternoon. His injuries were such as would likely have caused death even had he not been held under water as he was. He was a resident of Norfolk and leaves a wife and six sons and daughters, one of whom is married.

Samuel T. Reed, engineer, was caught below one knee by some of the timbers of the floor of a car, and held in the water up to his chest until eleven o’clock when he was released. The leg below the knee was mashed to pieces, and also a portion of the foot. The left hand also sustained some injuries. During the whole time of this trying ordeal of four and a half hours duration, with one leg mashed and firmly held fast by timbers, and nearly the whole of his body under water which was very cold, Mr. Reed bore it all like a hero. The fireman, at the time was outside at work upon the engine, and was thrown into the water and hurt by something striking him on the back. He was also badly strangled, but succeeded in making his way to the bank.

Word was at once sent to this place, when the U. P. engine, which was just starting out on its regular trip to Columbus, was recalled and with two box cars dispatched to the scene of the disaster and remained there until eleven o’clock when Mr. Reed was released and brought to town. A large number of our citizens went out on the special train, and when there all who could see where their services could be of any benefit turned in and worked with a zeal that was commendable. Especially did the railroad boys exert themselves to the utmost, getting into the water frequently up to their necks, in their efforts to free the imprisoned foot of the unfortunate engineer. This, however, could not be done with all the power that could be brought to bear upon the obstruction, until the U. P. engine was backed up and hitched to the same with their cable and hooks, which had the desired effect and the poor fellow as set at liberty. A shout of joy went up from the crowd, but the recollections of the victim still undiscovered suppressed any great demonstrations. Mr. Reed was at once placed upon the train and brought to town, and in the afternoon Drs. Bear and Richards amputated the leg below the knee.

On Thursday at 12 o’clock an inquest was held by Coroner Tanner and a verdict rendered to the effect that Joseph Pheasant came to his death by being crushed about the hips and drowning.  The extent of each cause the jurors were unable to decide. Following are the names of the jurors: Herman Pasewalk, J. A. Light, D. S. Crow, Louis Sessions and J. C. Morey.

Source: Norfolk Journal, Friday May 11, 1883, page 3.


Last Tuesday night we were visited with the heaviest fall of rain which this country has experienced in several years. For about two hours and a half the rain fell in torrents, until the whole surface of the ground was literally covered with water. How many railroad washouts this will be the cause of it is hard to tell, but at this writing (Wednesday P.M.) we have the accident on the St. Paul road, of which we give an account elsewhere, and the morning train due here from Creighton, still stands on the track two miles north of town, with a washout of one hundred and fifty yards of grading which will have to be replaced. Passengers will be transferred by a special train sent up that far from the lower depot.

Later—The above mentioned break has been repaired so that trains are now making their customary runs. Source: Norfolk Journal, Friday May 11, 1883, page 3.

Charles Ransom, conductor on the wrecked train where Reed and Pheasant lost their lives, was quite sick for several days afterward from the effects of working in the water at that time. He is now out and around again, though not able to resume his place on the train.

We hear of a railroad accident which happened between Blair and Omaha last Monday which was very similar to the one between here and Wayne, of which we gave an account last week. In this case the engineer, named Getty, brother of our fellow townsman, was scalded to death.

Samuel T. Reed, the unfortunate engineer on the smashup of the St. Paul train last week, died on Friday night at half-past ten and was buried on Saturday. He leaves a mother and several children, his wife having died in Iowa a few years ago. He was about thirty-three years of age.

Markets—Wheat, No. 2, 80c., No. 3, 70c; Rye, 35c; Corn 30c; Oats, 30c; Hogs $6.00 Butter, 10c; Eggs, 12c; Flour (straight), $3.25; Coal. Wyoming, $7.00; Anthracite, $14.00.

Source: Norfolk Journal, Friday May 18, 1883, page 3.


Card of Thanks

The undersigned respectfully takes this method of expressing her sincere thanks to friends, neighbors and citizens for their kindness, sympathy and aid in the time of affliction. Mrs. Joseph Pheasant.                                                                                                  Source: Norfolk Journal, Friday May 18, 1883, page 3.

Card of Thanks

A card of thanks is most heartily rendered by the family of S. T. Reed to all those who assisted and sympathize with us over our grief and great loss. The memory of them will ever be cherished in the hearts of the remaining members of his household. M. J. Reed.                                                                                                                            Source: Norfolk Journal, Friday May 18, 1883, page 3.

Cane from train wreck

Ed Feather has a cane made from the recently wrecked engine on the St. Paul road. The body of the cane is made from the black walnut moulding of the cab and the handle was the metallic handle to the head-light. Ed had it made as a memento of the sad catastrophe. Louis Sessions put the cane up.                                                              Source: Norfolk Journal, Friday June 8, 1883, page 3.


Best Cemetery Mortuary Records

Mortuary Records from Norfolk, Madison Co. Nebraska 1887 — 1904

Home for Funerals Records of Burials at Best Cemetery

Date                  Deceased           Age            Resided            Ordered By

21 Feb 1887  Gertrude Ommerman 8 mo.                        A. Ommerman

11 Jan 1888    Child                  4 mo.                                John Ray

3 Feb 1890    Wm. Craig         79                                     John R. Craig

7 Feb 1890   Saml. V. Lowe                                            Alvin Lowe

9 Apr 1891  Geo. Deuel         1 mo.                                Frank Deuel

8 Dec 1891  James Buffington 25                                    L. J. Lowe

29 Dec 1891  Etta Wiltse        21                                     Joe Martin

12 Jul 1892   Infant Girl                                                  Al Ommerman

3 Feb 1893   Jane Best    30             8 mi. East          Gene Best

9 Feb 1893  Lloyd Deuel    8              7 mi. West        Frank Deuel

13 Mar 1894  Surilda Carrabini             Norfolk              Owen Carrabini

28 Sept 1894   Mrs. Anna Craig   24                               Adrian Craig

10 May 1895  Chas. Miller    88          6 mi. North        Robert McKibbon

20 Aug 1897  Frank Lulow   13          6 ½ mi. NW       Henry Lulow

22 Dec 1897  Mother of Mrs. Hattie Craig 91      Penn.     John Craig

28 Dec 1897   Otto Buffington                                          W. Lowe

22 Jan 1898   A. C. Buffington   69       St. Paul, Ne.    John Buffington

4 Jul 1898     Chas. Fitch      56                                   Wm. Fitch

17 Jul 1899    Hattie Best    25                                    Eugene Best

4 Mar 1901  Frank M. Holbrook   3 mo. Ommerman farm   Al Holbrook

14 Apr 1901   John Best Sr.                  Oklahoma       Madison Best

19 Sept 1901   Infant Girl     2 day         Valley Prec.     A. B. McKibbon

Best Cemetery History

Best Cemetery is located at T 24 N, R 2 W Section 23.  It is located 1/2 mile north of  Hwy. 275 on 61st St., 1 mile west and 1/2 mile north.  It is located on a hilltop and is quite visible with a new sign and flagpole.

History of Best Cemetery by Cleo Deuel

A brief history of the Best Cemetery, as told to me by my father Erwin Deuel and as I remember it during my life time which so far has been 87 years.

It was organized in 1891. There had been people buried there before that. My grandparents Frank and Cyntha Deuel lost 3 children before that and a 7 year old son in the 1890s. The story goes, I don’t know the date, that a man traveling through the county on horseback stayed over night at someone’s place and died during the night and I guess he must have been the first person to be buried there but I’m sure no one knows just where.

I think the name Best Cemetery came from the people owning the land at that time. There are quite of number of Bests buried there, some just recently.

Shortly after World War II my father and others purchased extra land on the east and south so there could be a road all the way around. The fence was moved and replaced and I think some grading done on the south side. There also was a tool shed and two outhouses in the south west corner. My grandpa Hunter and some other old fellows tore these buildings down as they were no longer needed like they were in the horse and buggy days. The tool shed had contained shovels, scythes and push lawn mowers, the reel type. For years no one bothered these things, then they started to come up missing. One sad thing happened when grandpa and the others were working on the buildings. One old fellow fell and was hurt. He later died from his injuries.

There had been cedar trees and pine trees planted about the cemetery. The cedars have been dying off. Bob Groninger and I planted a row of pines on the north and east side. All but a very few have survived.

Several years ago my late wife Lurene said we needed a sign with the name of the cemetery. We looked into and discarded the idea of a metal sign over the entry gate. We heard of a fellow who made white letters from cement and were mounted on a metal frame. We looked into it and it seemed to be what we needed. Several people donated to the cost. Dan Flanigan, my daughter’s husband, built a frame and he and others poured a cement platform. I purchased a flag pole and flag. Bob Groninger and I installed it. We fly it during Memorial Day weekend and also during a funeral.

We have seven Civil War veterans, all Union vets, one Spanish American war veteran, two World War I, six World War II, one Korean War, and one Vietnam war veteran buried here.

We have an annual meeting in the Spring before Memorial Day. We have investments drawing interest and receive donations from time to time. We also have a cemetery board. It varies in number. I have been president for some time. Bob and Shirley Groninger take care of the finances and Bob also looks after the mowing. I have also been putting flags on Veteran’s graves for Memorial Day weekend. The half mile county road leading to the cemetery is now shared by two households and a bunch of trucks hauling clay from south of the cemetery.

I remember as a child we had annual meetings in the Born Schoolhouse on Decoration Day as it was known then. There was always a large crowd. If someone could make it up the hill to the cemetery without having to change gears from high they really bragged about their car. Al Ommerman usually ran the meeting, we sang songs and someone might give a talk. Also Clyde Best played the piano. At least one meeting I remember three Civil War soldiers were up on the stage. After World War II the meetings sort of petered out.

I was always a little surprised my grandpa Deuel was not one of the original board members, as he was one of the early school teachers in Madison County. They lived one half mile west of the north end of the cemetery. It is a section line but no road was ever opened. Also one half mile east of the cemetery a farm owned by Duane Sellin was homesteaded by Martin Brubaker. His wife was grandpa Deuel’s sister.

There had been a lot of volunteer cedars growing in the fence around the cemetery. No one had taken the time to take them out. Someone came up to the cemetery and they were all gone. Ernest Sellin, Dwain’s father and some of his grandsons had come up from their farm just east of the cemetery and had cut and removed them.

Cemetery Board, June 20, 1891: Robert McKibbon, John Ray, Joseph Foak, Alvin Low, John S. Craig, D. A. Ommerman, Marisee Best, David Best, Martin Brubaker.

Some of the Veterans buried here are: Bill Craig, WW II, Joann Craig, Legion Auxiliary, Francis Henderson 1861-1865, William Low, War of the Republic, William Moxley, WW I, John Wessel, WW II, Valma Light, Cuba-Spanish American, Joseph Light, Civil War 1861-1865, John Ray, WW II, Harold Groninger, WW II, Frank Best, WW I, Robert McKibbon 1861-1865, John Wollert, 1861-1865, Charles Fitch, 1861-1865, John Flennken, 1861-1865, Reuben Best, WW II, Jack E. Best, Korean War?, and Leonard Houfek, ?, and Floyd “Bud” Ray, WW II.

I have a list of the original board members and also a list of the names of all of the veterans. There are thirty people buried at the Best Cemetery that are of my blood relations. There are at least one or two burials a year.