1890s organ donated to Olney Heritage Museum

1890s organ donated to Olney Heritage Museum

The Olney Heritage Museum recently acquired an antique pump organ believed to date back to the late 1800s. The instrument was generously donated by the executor of a Wichita Falls family’s estate. The donation occurred as the result of a chance encounter between executor Teresa Roberts and Preston Crow of the House of Mercy.

Manufactured by the Charles F. Netzow Manufacturing Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the pump organ holds historical significance. Charles F. Netzow began his business in 1883 as a distributor of pianos, organs, stoves, sewing machines, wagons, and various other products. The company quickly transitioned to manufacturing and officially incorporated as the Charles F. Netzow Manufacturing Company in 1890. Netzow gained recognition as a pioneer in piano manufacturing in Milwaukee, known for producing high-quality instruments. During the early 20th century, the Netzow factory also manu- factured pianos for other companies. Their product line expanded to include uprights, player pianos, and coin-operated nickelodeons.

However, the Great Depression led to the liquidation of the company in 1931, after which it shifted its focus to retail operations.

“The pump organ donated to the Olney Heritage Museum has a fascinating history tied to its previous owners, Jackie Lynn Payne and his late wife, Patsy Sutterfield Payne,” estate executor Teresa Roberts said. “Patsy inherited the organ from either her mother Vesta Sutterfield (nee Garner) of Burkburnett or her grandmother, Emma Doris Garner (nee Harris) of Dickens, TX adding a personal connection to its historical value. All three were musically inclined and played both the piano and organ.”

“Coincidentally, Jackie Lynn Payne or just ‘Jack’ as he was known, grew up in Young County, specifically Graham and lived for a time in Fort Worth while managing a T G & Y dime store,” she added. “His father, Terrell Payne Sr., was born and raised in the South Bend area of Young County in 1880.”

Jack eventually moved his family, including two daughters Penny and Merom to Wichita Falls in 1965 to pursue a new venture in the oil business with his father- in-law Howard Sutterfield, she said. Jack passed away in 2021 in Wichita Falls at age 90. He was preceded in death by his wife Patsy and daughter Penny. He is survived by his daughter Merom Cobb who is the sole surviving family member of the Payne/Sutterfield family, she said. Ms. Roberts, also of Wichita Falls, is the executor of Jackie Lynn Payne’s estate and facilitated the donation of the pump organ to the Olney Heritage Museum. Recognizing the historical significance of the organ, she was determined to locate someone that would appreciate it and that it would not end up in a landfill. When attempts to donate the organ and a Wurlitzer piano to the family’s Wichita Falls church were unsuccessful, Ms. Roberts was talking to a friend and casually mentioned the dilemma and her resulting frustration and disappointment in not being able to locate someone to take it and be just as appreciative of its historical significance. Unfortunately, due to time, fading memories and those that are no longer with us, it is impossible to know specific details regarding the full history or how it came to be in the Payne/Sutterfield Family, she said. It was down to the midnight hour, so to speak, as the Payne Family home where the organ had sat for 60 years had been sold with the closing just days away. The organ was the only property that remained in the house and had to be removed before the closing and new owners took possession of the property, she said.

That friend sought assistance from Preston Crow, who also recognized the historical significance of the instrument. Mr. Crow arranged for its collection and subsequent display at the Olney Heritage Museum. An appraiser she sought out in Wichita Falls estimated the organ to have been manufactured between 1850 and 1900, further solidifying its historical value.

“It is a beautiful piece of history,” Ms. Roberts said. “Mr. and Mrs. Payne would be so thrilled to know that somebody is going to appreciate it for what it is. I like to think Mr. or Mrs. Payne may have played a role in that chance encounter with Preston Crow and that of all places, it ended up in Young County where the Payne Family began.”