ing mud pies decorated with wildflowers. The “city girls" were on hand to bring lunch to the men in the field, to ride on the hay wagon, to watch the unloading of loose hay to the hay mow, to feed the pigs, and to see the horses drink from the water tank, There were hollyhocks on the west side of the farm house and a cellar wjriere everyone would go during a bad wind storm. Uncle “Cliffie” had rigged up a shower outside (no running water there!) with sun-warmed water in a tank. How good that felt after a warm, sticky day. Saturday nights would find all of us ready after chores for a trip to town, Granite Falls, for groceries and socializing. Aunt Hazel and Uncle Gene lived close by and we could play with cousins there and also have gooseberry sauce and chokecherry jam. A country store close by also was a gathering place for showing movies on special nights. I can remember one time drinking too much root beer and getting sick—I don't like root beer to this day. Rock Valle Lutheran Church in the country was attended by all the relatives and neighbors, another time to be “family” and socialize. With the death of their mother in 1939 both Lilly and Alice missed those yearly trips to the farm and the close contact with their mother’s family.
Lilly attended Decorah Public schools, graduating from high school in 1951, second in her class, and attended Luther College 1951-52. During these years music was an important part of her life, taking both piano and voice lessons. In high school she competed in state soprano solo and trio events, and at Luther College she sang in the Nordic Choir.
Volunteer work at church became a large part of her life—teaching Sunday School, singing in choir, taking the Bethel Series teacher trainee course, serving on the church council, working with refugee resettlement, holding several offices within women's groups and organizing the first volunteer program at Decorah Lutheran Church.
As a young girl Lilly began her “work” career as a babysitter at 10 cents an hour. Later on in high school she worked at the Decorah Hospital switchboard. After attending Luther for one year she worked at the Luther College Library. She returned to Luther in Jun of 1983 to work in the Development Office through the present time.
Lilly married Erlin Womeldorf (see separate article) 2 Apr 1954 at Decorah Lutheran Church. Erlin was attending Upper Iowa University in Fayette at the time of marriage and Lilly began working in the Registrar’s office there. Erlin taught school in Calamus, lA and then moved back to Decorah to farm. They lived on the Johnson family farm before buying a farm of their own in 1958, what is now 2214 Middle Ossian Road in Decorah Twp. Lilly and Erlin’s children are: Roger Paul, Joan Marie and Beth Ellen. (See separate articles for children.)
Womeldorf Mary Abigail (Drake)
(Carole Womeldorf Komarek)
In 1859 when my Yankee great grandmother Mary Abigail Drake married my Pennsylvania German great grandfather Michael Womeldorf, Decorah had begun to attract settlers from many differing religious and ethnic backgrounds. Generation after generation of Mary Abigail’s ancestors moved inland from the Massachusetts coast-one was Thomas Rogers of the Mayflower. They were often first purchasers or founders of communities such as Weymouth and Taunton. After the Revolution Abbie’s great grandfather Capt. Daniel Drake joined in expanding the Grafton settlement in Grafton, NH.
Mary Abigail Drake Womeldorf 1840-1875
Abbie’s mother Mary Jane Adams Drake was a descendant of the Stinson family. Her Stinson grandparents were first cousins. John Stinson was a Loyalist spy and Agnes Stinson’s father was an officer with the Revolutionary forces. John was also a nephew of General Stark. Members of the Drake and Stinson families moved west from Grafton and New London, NH. In 1850 Simeon Drake and his family, wife Mary Jane and children Simeon, Jr., Cyrilla, F. Malcom, Abbie and Elizabeth, lived in Elgin, IL.
The Decorah Republican 1899 obituary for Mary Jane Drake states that “the Drake family came to Decorah in 1856—acquiring considerable property.” Mary Jane’s cousin John Stinson and her grandmother Peggy Stinson Adams also invested in farmland in W 1/2 NW Section 1, Decorah Twp.
Shorty after her sister Cyrilla married Martin Rotner 3 Nov 1858, Abbie married Michael Womeldorf 18 May 1859. The 1860 Federal Census lists the Michael Womeldorfs in Pleasant Twp and the Simeon Drakes, with Peggy Adams, in Canoe Twp. Abbie’s brother Simeon, Jr. and brother-in-law Martin Rotner served in the Civil War. In 1864 Simeon, Jr. married Cecilia Henderson and resumed his studies at Upper Iowa University. He graduated from Chicago Medical College in 1869 and began practice in Fayette Co., IA. Elizabeth Drake married Charles Tucker 18 Apr 1872 and Fred Malcom Drake married Eleanor E. Rotner 25 Feb 1869, both in Decorah.
By 1870 Abbie and Michael were parents of 2 small
See the associated scan to compare with the published information.
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this page was last updated on Tuesday, 30 March 2021