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The Western Star, April 30, 1970.


Chris Nielsen, 76, of Wilmore died of a heart attack Sunday evening, April 19, 1970, on the farm north of Wilmore.

Funeral services were held on Wednesday, April 22, 1970, at 2 p.m. at the Hatfield Funeral Home in Coldwater, kans., with Rev. Aljoe Watters officiating.

Mrs. Frank Webber sang "Old Rugged Cross" and "Abide With Me" accompanied by the organist, Mrs. Frances Ridge.

Pallbearers were Ed Baker, Rod Baker, Ben Kile, Carl Snyder, Gary Trummel, Harlow Peaster, Fred Booth, and Louis Helm.

Interment was in Crown Hill Cemetery, Coldwater, Kans.


Chris Nielsen was born to Lars and Anna Nicholson Nielsen on March 30, 1894 at Wilmore, Kans.

Chris was born on the homestead of his parents and at an early age started a farming and stock raising program on the same homestead with his brother, Frank and this partnership continued for several years.

He was united in marriage with Jessie Nevada Day on May 18, 1921 in Coldwater, Kans.

He spent his entire life in the Wilmore community devoting his entire energy and interests to his family and his farm.

Chris departed this life on his farm, which he loved so much and leaves a grateful family who cannot express their love for him and their appreciation for his constant efforts and considerations in their behalf.

He spoke only good of those he knew and leaves a host of friends who will long remember him for his honesty, integrity, and good will for all.

Preceding him in death were two sisters, Grace May and Mary Matticks, and a brother, Frank Nielsen.

Survivors are his wife, Jessie Nielsen, of the home; a daughter, and son-in-law, Fritz and Lavon "Bonnie" Jehle of Santa Barbara, Calif.; two sons and daughters-in-law, Wayne and Diane Nielsen of Boulder, Colo., and Verne and Eleanor Nielson, Bennett, Colo.; Anna Nielson and Ellen Gillet of Coldwater and Mabel Upton, Joplin, Mo.; four brothers, Lester, Wilmore; Emery, Denver, Colo.; Charles, Coldwater and Lewis of Marion, Ill.; eight grandchildren, Fritz Jehle III, Wichita; Shirley Jehle Hagood, Council Bluffs, Iowa; Ronald Jehle, San Francisco, Calif.; Mary Jo Jehle, and Richard Jehle; Santa Barbara, Calif.; Sandra Nielsen, Patricia Nielsen and Chris Alan Nielsen, Bennett, Colo.; and four great grandchildren, Richard, Terri and Russell Hagood of Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Fritzie Jehle IV of Wichita, Kans.

(Note: In the above obituary, his name was given as Chris Nielson; however, multiple sources give the spelling as Nielsen, including a note from a grandson of Chris Nielsen which may be seen at the bottom of this page.)

The Western Star, 18 March 1955.


Tractor Turns Over Backwards, Pinning Him

While Chris Nielsen was working on his farm near Wilmore making a pond last Saturday afternoon, his tractor turned over backward, pinng the driver beneath it. Wendel Ferrin, who was working with Chris with a bulldozer, was able to lift the tractor a little with the dozer, and when Chris regained consciousness, he was able to extricate himself.

He was taken to the Hardtner hospital where, according to reports, he was found to have a broken pelvis, a broken leg and head injuries.


by Wendel G. Ferrin, written about 1989.

In the late 1940's , Buck and I bought an Allis Chalmer "M" dozer. It was between the size of a D-2 and a D-4 "Cat". We used it to repair terraces, build small dams and for general earth work on the farm. Buck never liked to run any mechanical equipment so, as I enjoyed it, I was the one who did most of it. It was another outside source of income to supplement the farm income.

In April of '55, I was helping Chris Nielsen build a dam about a mile north of Wilmore. He was using a F-30 International "Farmall-type" tractor and a "tumblebug" (earth moving scoop which was dragged behind a tractor) to move dirt. The tumblebug was reasonably safe to use, but this one had a safety catch broken. He was taking dirt from what was to be the bottom of the pond up to the top of the dam. I figured out later that the broken latch had caused his tumblebug to dig in suddenly and that this caused the tractor to overturn backwards.

I was working approximately 50 yds. away on the spillway. I glanced up and saw the tractor was upside down on the tumblebug. Hoping that he had jumped or fallen free, I ran to the scene to find him pinned between the tractor and scraper. The steering wheel (all metal at the time) was across his pelvis and the gas cap was in his mouth. It had split his mouth considerably, but luckily he had his false teeth in his overall pocket.

My first thought was that I must go to town for help but then I realized that if he was alive then he wouldn't be by the time I went to town and back. I ran back and got the dozer and came and pushed forward and up on the left wheel until the tractor rolled partway up on the right rear wheel. I had the tractor off of him, but had no way to get him out from under it. The clutch on the dozer was malfunctioning and would not snap in, and the brakes would not lock. Had I gone far enough forward to turn his tractor on its side I would have run over him with the tracks of my dozer. I called to him and somehow he was still conscious. He crawled out , and I shut the dozer off and brought his pickup as near as possible. He was a huge man - approximately 280 lbs. at the time - and at that time I had not had back surgery and my back was in bad shape but adrenelin will do a lot for you when you need it. I didn't really notice his weight when I picked him up like a baby and set him in the seat of his pickup. I took him to his home in Wilmore and transferred him to his car.

I wanted to take him to Coldwater Hospital but he wanted to go to Dr. Yasuda (a Japanese Dr. who was very good and very popular in that area) in Hartner, which was about 65 miles away. He stayed conscious all the way and would not let me drive over 60 miles an hour.

When we finally got there, the emergency crew took him inside and up on the examining table. He said "Everything is going black" and we (including the Dr. ) thought that he has dying. That was not the case. He had slipped into unconsciousness and would remain so for 3 months. The Dr. X-rayed him and showed Jessie, Chris' wife, and I the X-rays. His pelvis bone looked like an egg shell that someone had crushed in their hand. Dr. Yasuda said that in his opinion there was no possible way that Chris could live, but he sent the X-rays to a bone specialist in Wichita. The specialist replied in a few days that he assumed the patient was dead by this time but, if not, all they could do was to keep him as comfortable as possible until he died.

Doctors, like others, can be wrong. Chris got out of the hospital about 6 months later and in 3 more months was walking with a cane. He later threw the cane away and was back to doing his own work in approximately a year. Chris died about 20 years later, but not from the effects of that accident.

Just a small lesson: don't ever challenge how tough a person can be if they set their mind to it.

The above story by my dad was originally posted on a RootsWeb message board. On 16 April 1999, the following message was posted in response to it. -- Jerry Ferrin.

Thank you for the information about our Grandfather Chris Nielsen. We were aware of the story of his tractor accident, but not with that level of detail. If Mr. Wendel Ferrin is still alive we would like to thank him for saving my Grandfather's life. Rich was last in Wilmore in the early 1970's when Chris's wife, Jessie, Rich's grandmother, passed away. We hope to return someday to the area to show our young daughter where our family lived. If anyone has any other information we would really appreciate it.

Rich and Linda Jehle

Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!

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