Lily, South Dakota: Population 4

Lily, South Dakota: Population 4

According to the 2010 Census, four residents remain in Lily, South Dakota, a charming little town in Day County, about 45 miles southeast of Aberdeen. It’s in lakes country and it is a beautiful drive. There are a number of fading structures in Lily (so many in fact that I didn’t even shoot them all) including a former gas station, and a church that looks like it was converted to a shop or possibly a home.

lily3

Lily was a railroad town, served by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad until 1979. As with so many other high plains railroad communities, the end of the railroad sealed the town’s fate. Barring a boom of some type we can’t foresee, Lily is on its way to becoming a ghost town.

Lily, South Dakota

Lily, South Dakota

Hubert Humphrey, Sr. opened his first drugstore (no longer standing) in Lily, South Dakota in 1903. Humphrey met and married Kristine Sannes in Lily, and a few years later, they moved to Wallace, South Dakota. Their son, Hubert Humphrey, Jr. was born there in 1911, and he would go on to be Vice President of the United States from 1965 to 1969.

Lily, South Dakota

Lily, South Dakota

In case it’s not clear, they do not accept the Amoco credit card.

Lily, South Dakota

Lily, South Dakota

Lily, South Dakota

I visited Lily as part of a trip to several places in the area surrounding Aberdeen, including Crandall, Rockham, and Miranda. In addition, Zell, South Dakota, which was featured in our book, Churches of the High Plains, is just down the road.

Lily, South Dakota

Update: a visitor has pointed out this building was a fire hall with a bell tower, not a church. My mistake.

Lily, South Dakota

Lily, South Dakota

Lily, South Dakota

Lily, South Dakota

Lily, South Dakota

Lily, South Dakota

This is Buffalo Plains Historic Church, originally founded as Lily Lutheran in 1903. They hold services once a year here, and there’s a nice video of an annual service here.

Lily, South Dakota

Lily was featured in this video as part of a contest created by Oprah Winfrey.

Photos by Troy Larson, original content Copyright 2015 Sonic Tremor Media





96 thoughts on “Lily, South Dakota: Population 4

  1. I grew up just north, (in North Dakota and Minnesota, but ventured south occasionally. One small town that I visited often was White Rock, S D. I is now unincorporated now which means it is basically almost a ghost town. Would love to see pictures of that area.

    1. My Great, Great Grandfather Edgar Oscar Esget was the Post-Master for this town. He still holds Land Patent #SDMTAA-111207 for a 160 acre area homestead in or very near the town. I am astonished just having learned this.

      1. Hi Joshua, There was a man whose nickname was “Weasel” Esget, who I believe was a barber or had a store in Webster? He loved to fish at Enemy Swim Lake and there’s a rock inscribed with “Weasel’s Tomb” there. Not sure is this is the same person or a relative of Edgar?

        1. Mike, in the summer Weasel would come on Saturday nights and cut hair. It was to the left of the interior grocery store of Larry Fossum. I believe it was the empty space that used to be used as a frozen food locker. He cut my hair a few times.
          Keith Kruse

          1. Hi Keith, thanks for your message. I remember they had groceries and candy in their store. Did Tafe and Tootie Sichmiller own that before Fossums?

            I really like this Ghosts of North America project to help us reconnect with people who share our background growing up in Lily. It truly was a blessing to be part of that wonderful, close-knit community.

          2. Keith, my folks owned the store (Larry and Gladys). The room off the store was our store room/pool room/barber shop. I still remember when Weasel came down and gave the high school basketball boys their “mohawks”!! I was really young, but have never forgotten it. Still have the yearbooks from back then with the pictures somewhere. 🙂 Yikes….over 60 years ago! Great memories from Lily.

      2. Joshua,

        Your great great grandfather Edgar and my great great grandfather Louis Auby had to have known each other very well. Not only were they the first settlers of the area by record, but if he was the post master and Louis Auby was the mail carrier, then… VERY exciting!!

  2. My grandparents lived right beside that Lutherean church and I can still remember walking on top of those brick walls back and forth and playing on the swings nearby. We attended the Carholic church on the other side of town and the farm I lived on until about the age of 10 is 2 miles from Lily. I love driving back through and looking at all the history. Sad to see there will probably be absolutely nothing left in the near future.

  3. My husband is originally from Lily. His parents own the farm on the east end of town just before the cemetary. Beautiful pictures, I can’t wait to share them with my inlaws! Next time you venture through, stop and you can hear all about Lily from them.

  4. My Mom graduated from Lily High School in 1937. She is gone now, but as a young child, we visited many relatives in the area. I remember those rock walls very well. We were at a funeral at that church and Mom & I had to use the outside privy. Well, as we were walking, a car parked along side the church started rolling, there was nothing we could do but watch as the car slowly rolled over the edge of the brick wall! It did finally come to a stop with just the front end hanging over the edge. What a commotion as we went inside and told what we had seen!

  5. We attended the Lutheran Church, Sunday School, Confirmation Classes and Vacation Bible School. I believe our 4H Club meet somewhere in Lily. I moved from the area in 1976. Thanks for the pictures. Even though Lily has changed, the photos brought back good memories.

  6. I grew up in Lily! And actually in the house that Marie DenOuden (Hazelton) mentioned from 1997 to 2007 when I left for college…it’s a small world. My sister and I were known as the Lily girls as our last was Lily as well. Living there will be one of my greatest memories. Thanks for this great post about my little hometown.

  7. My Dad, Jim Lynch, grew up in Lily as one of the many Lynch’s who called that place home. My uncle, Carroll Herr, ran the gas station, and my aunt, Loretta Trygstad, was the postmistress. A lot of great memories in that hidden corner of South Dakota!

    1. Wow! I can still remember my grandma taking me with her to the post office. She would set me on the counter while she talked to the post mistress. I tried to go inside the post office last time I was there but it was locked. It was still fun to look in the window.

    2. I went to SDSU with the Trygstad twins-Joan and her sister. Very talented gals..now I know what their little town of Lily looks like.

    3. My grandfather was Leo Louis Lynch and my grandmother was Sylvia Mitchell Lynch. I understand they lost the farm during the Depression and moved to Detroit for work. They never brought me back to South Dakota or Michigan. I visited my grandfather in Minneapolis when I was 4. I invite people to write to me about what they know of my family. My uncle Bernard, my mother Rose and my aunt Patty were all born at the farm, along with triplets who did not survive more than a few days. debocracy at gmail com

      1. Hey Deb! Awesome information you’ve found here! Had no idea there was a family of Lynch’s from Lily.
        Thank you for the email cousin!!
        Love you, Syl

    4. I have Lynch and Mitchell ancestry. My grandfather, Leo Louis Lynch, passed in 1970 from a heart attack. Leo’s father was Jeremiah Lynch. (1) He had a brother named Aloysius. Leo and Sylvia (my grandmother) lived next door to Jeremiah and the mother. My mother’s second husband was named Clausse. She told herself that he was related to the Claussen family which made their relationship OK, by some mad logic. The Claussens were Lily neighbors from just a few houses away.

      My grandmother, Sylvia Eleanor Mitchell Lynch (2), passed in 1991. She loved me and believed in me in a way no one else has ever done.

      A friend of mine who lives part time in Missouri says that
      (1) Like another who wrote here, I recently found Jeremiah Lynch’s land grant simply by searching his name and the words South Dakota. I have been in South Dakota, but never in Lily.
      (2) Grandma became Grandma Cookie to us when she married a Mexican American WWII veteran, Harold Cook, and went to live in Watts with and his family. She was the dearest woman. I had always work to pay forward her love and kindness to her family and her special attention to me. Grandpa Harold taught me how to read when I was around 4 years old. They are responsible for my successes but not my failures. They were an unlikely match because of their differences in temperament and culture but they stayed together for more than 30 years.

      1. Deborah – Aloysus was my grandfather. He married Marion Cassin, and they had 10 children. I believe my Dad, Jim, was #5. I do remember hearing Leo and Sylvia’s names when I was younger. So nice you found this page!

  8. I also lived in the little house next to the Lutheran Church from 1952-1954 with my family. Dad was the school superintendent for 2yrs. The building that looks like a church close to downtown was the pumphouse where Dad would go for water to fill the tank for our kitchen usage. The bell might have been rung to warn of storms or to call the firemen incase there was a fire. Great memories of the train depot, great playmates..wonderful times with the entire town being our playground.

    1. Janet, I was one of your father’s students during that time. We lived on the farm a mile north of Lily and we also got our drinking water from the Lily pumphouse. Coming back from the Little 8 basketball tournament in Henry with your dad in 1953 we drove off into the ditch on HWy 25. The four of us kids riding with him were trying diligently to help guide him by trying to keep our eyes on the white road lines. It was such an intense snowstorm that none of us could see the road. We walked a short time until we spotted a farm house on a hill, silhouetted again the sky, We spent two nights there before we could drive to Webster and stayed there one night. Bill Duerre and I spent that night in the Jeff Nelson house. That farm house is still there. It is about one mile south on HWY 25 after turning from the Lily road,. What an adventure!

  9. My Father (Milton Jacobson) grew on a farm outside of Lily (between Butler & Lily). My parents settled in Webster, SD which isn’t far from Lily. I had a friend Joan Shilling (maiden name) who lived in Lily, theirs was a large family. I stayed overnight a time or two for fun when we were in high school. I just love seeing these pictures. We all graduated together from Webster, SD in 1977. I now live in Sioux Falls, SD. My parents have long since passed, and have little reason to drive there any longer. But, after seeing these wonderful pictures, I may just need to take a little drive north and see what the countryside looks like once again to rekindle some more great memories. I’m hoping Joan sees this by chance and maybe we can reconnect someday soon!

  10. Growing up our family attended St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Lily. My parents, Russell & Clara Neal were married at St. Joseph’s. My Mom, Dad, Brother Billy, and I were all Baptized at St. Joseph’s. From the fall of 1945 until April 1946 we had a grocery store, restaurant, bought cream and eggs, and lived in a 2-story building across the street from the gas station and diagonally across the street from the pump house. So sad to see a once thriving little town “fade away.”

  11. I still have the farm at Lily! Check out the homeplace just a quarter mile west of town! Our house is registered on the National Register of Historic Places. My Grandfather Charlie Barber settled in Lily and built the house. No ghosts!!

  12. My brother Gene and sister Arlyus graduated from Lily high school. I attended 1st and 2nd grade there. If I remember correctly, the down stairs of the school was divided into two sections with grades 1-4 on one side and 5-8 on the other. High school was up stairs. We had an out door bathroom. One winter it stormed so bad, my sis and I had to stay in town with the minister’s family. Although my parents belonged to the Butler Lutheran Church, my youngest sister, Gayle, was baptized at the pictured Lily Lutheran Church. Several years ago, Arlyus and I were visiting there and bought the last gas the station had that day. We were lucky to get back to Webster. What fun memories this site has brought.

  13. I was one of the lucky ones to grow up in Lily in the 1960’s and 70’s. We lived on the north side of town, across the street to the east of the Lily school. The school was one-room K-6 with about 3 kids in each grade by then and closed after I finished second grade, then we were bussed to Bristol. We attended the Lily Lutheran Church for many years. There were so many kind, friendly and generous people in Lily, and it’s nice to reconnect with friends from childhood. My brother still farms just south of Lily, so we drive through town every time we are back in the area, stopping at the cemetery where my parents and grandparents are buried. To this day, it still feels like home when we go back…

    1. MIKE, LET’S BRING BACK SOME MORE MEMORIES. DO YOU REMEMBER THAT WE HAD MOVIES ON TOP OF DRUG STORE OF GRIMES? DO YO REMEMBER WE HAD OUT DOOR MOVIES, MY SISTER DOLLY SOLBERG, LIVED ON THE FARM WEST OF LILY, THEY PARKED THEIR CAR EARLY SO THEY WOULD HAVE A GOOD SEAT. YOUR DAD BUD DELIVERED MAIL IN A CAR, I BELIEVE IT RESEMBLE A JEEP, TO FARMS OUT SIDE OF LILY. I KNEW PETE BERG, HE HAD A INTERNATION HARVESTER TRACTOR SALES, ALSO CARL HERR HAD THE SHOP NEXT TO YOUR GRAND PA’S. MY BROTHER DON HAULED GAS TO FARMS AROUND. DO YOU REMEMBER LILY BEATING WEBSTER IN BASKETBALL? I COULD GO ON AND ON. ONE MORE THING, EARL GRIMES AND IDNA GAVE US BASKETBALL PLAYERS A MILK SHAKE AFTER EACH WIN. THEY GAVE ALOT OF MILK SHAKES.
      VERCEL OR ROY

      1. You are correct Roy, my Dad was the rural mail carrier for Lily for many years. I’m not sure exactly when he was appointed to this, but I believe it was in the late 1950’s or early 1960’s, retiring in 1987. Prior to that he was in business with his dad Pete, “Peter Berg and Son Implement”, selling IH equipment, service, and parts to farmers in the area. Their bookkeeper was Norvald Kvernes and he lived right next to Pete and Grace east of their home. At one point Everett Fisk worked on IH equipment for the area farmers.

        The U.S. Postal Service restructured in the early 70’s, and Dad picked up the Webster route as well. He always had a 4-wheel drive vehicle for making his rounds in the winter, including an International Harvestor Scout (which looked like a Jeep), and later an IH 4WD pickup. When there was no school because of snowstorms, he would take one of us 3 sons with him to help shovel in case he got stuck.

        The Lily School was just across the road from our house on the northeast corner of town. Some of our neighbors in that part of town were Bob and Doris Dale, Kay and Henry/Hank Gabur, Henry and Gladys Grimes, Ralph and Irene Fossum, Vern and Ina Eggabratten, Harold and Hazel Parquet, Clare and Alma Corbin, and farther south, Larry and Gladys Fossum. Gary and Maxine Youell lived in Larry and Gladys’s home after they left. There was also a family by the name of Halverson that lived east between Henry and Gladys Grimes and Ralph and Irene Fossum.

        My family attended church at the Lily Lutheran Church, at that time the American Lutheran Church, and there was a Catholic church downtown, St. Joseph’s I believe. The LLC Parsonage was home to Pastor Nelson when I was young, later Pastor Einar Lenander, and after him there was Pastor Steven and his wife Johnanna Clark.

        Downtown, Tafe and Tootie Sichmiller operated the general store/grocery store on Main Street after Larry and Gladys sold it. Larry later had a job carrying bags of mail to other towns around Lily. Roy Grimes ran the grain elevators, and Marlene his wife ran the Drug Store, aka the Beer Joint. They lived just south of the Drug Store, and Roy’s mother Andrene Grimes lived across the street to the east of their house.

        I believe there were a couple of brothers who lived across the street to the south of Andrene Grimes, but I cannot recall their names except that one was perhaps “Ted”. Al and Marion Lynch lived south of Roy and Marlene, and around the curve on the south side of town were Marcus and Kelly Anderson and their family, near the Catholic church. There was also a gentleman by the name of Tom Anderson but I’m not sure where he lived.

        Clara Galland and her brother lived south of the gas station, as did Ray Butts, George Bolton, and Carroll and Veronica Herr. I’m not sure who lived in that house before Herrs. There was a family with the last name Hejnoski (?) in that area as well, south of Herrs.

        There was also a hardware store a short distance east of your Mom and Dad’s home on Main Street, owned by August and Theresa Jeske, who lived just west of the Lutheran Church. Vince Fossum lived next to them as did Nellie Schultz with her grandkids Katie, Guy George, Jr., and Frank Bock. Guy George Bock, Sr. had a garage and did car repair, just west of the Corbin place.

        Residents on the south/southwest side of Lily included Jack and Anna Schoenbeck, Bill and Ginna Pippert, Martha Dean, John and Elaine Solberg, and Connie and BL Saylor.

        Let me know if any of this is incorrect. I have older siblings who may have more info if you would like to know more. Look forward to hearing from you.

        1. You mentioned the name Fossum. The first school teacher was a Miss Fossum in Lily. Was her first name Helen?

          1. I will ask my inlaws. They are the Fossums that still live in Lily. Ralph is my husband’s grandfather. 🙂

        2. Roy Grimes mothers name was Edna (she was a Matthews)
          Andrene Grimes was Horace Grimes wife, they lived a block
          East of Irl & Edna. Carrol & Veronica Herr later lived in their house
          Ted Haugen lived across the street south of Irl & Edna
          Tom Anderson lived on a farm northwest of Lily
          Jack & Anna Schoenbeck lived between Lily and my grandpa
          Barber’s farm just west of Lily
          I have many fond memories of Lily from the 50’s & 60’s

  14. my family is from that area my grandpa George Guy Bock Sr. used to run Bock Repair the picture of the blackish wooden house was my grandpa old shop. my mom and uncles grew up there. my mom was even married in that church that was shown. I have many fond memories of that place from when I was a child. seeing those pictures brought back memories. I miss my grandpa god rest his sole. lily was a staple of my childhood

    1. Hi Justin. I was friends with George Jr. and Frank. Can you help me get in touch with them? Thanks. Mike Berg

  15. This is a post from my Aunt Rose Dearborn-Russell:

    My Mother, Martha Schily was born in Lily, SD in 1907. When she was a child, Jack Schily and his brother, John Schiley moved their families west to Chance, SD. We don’t know why my Grandfather moved from eastern South Dakota or why he changed the spelling of his last name.

    If anyone knows this family it would be interesting to hear from you.

    1. When I wrote my comment and mentioned being friends with Joan Schilling, I later realized that I didn’t remember her last name correctly. I’m so glad you wrote…as I was able to remember her last name was Schiley. I think, maybe, her dad was John that you mention above. I’m sure Joan married, and I have no idea of her last name now. If you know anything, it would be fantastic to reconnect a little bit with Joan! Thank you!

      1. Joan Schiley use to babysit me and my brothers and sister. Her parents are Dick and Alberta and she had 2 brothers, Jeff and John and a sister Jane. I have johns wife on my Facebook, Michelle Schiley. You could maybe contact her and ask about Joan?

        1. I’m pretty sure Joan’s last name is Ewalt and she lives in/by Britton, SD

          I love doing family history and have quite a bit of stuff on the Schiley family. I’ve visited with Rose Russell a few times (via internet/phone). Wonderful lady with a great memory!!

          1. Joan’s last name is Friedrichsen, she’s the older daughter. Jaynes last name is Ewalt. 😃 That would be my mom and aunt

  16. I was reminded by my cousin, that my grandmother Clara (Anderson) Jacobson’s homestead was just outside of Lily (between Butler & Lily & not far from Bristol). Her husband was Mike Jacobson (Michael), together they had many children, grandchildren and great grandchildren who are very familiar with the area. Bristol and Butler are still tiny, vibrant towns. I would LOVE TO KNOW which gravel road was like a ROLLERCOASTER outside of Bristol and it ran north and south. My father loved driving on that fantastic road and making me giggle, because it just made my tummy flip, each and every time. Simple times, best memories!!!

  17. My Mother, Beryl Roseth, was born in lily 1921. She had many good memories ! Hopping the train to the next town and then catching the one back to Lily in time for dinner. The family moved to California when times got real bad. Her father, Bill Roseth, had the barber shop/pool hall. Her mother was Gertrude.

  18. I have so enjoyed looking at these pictures and reading the comments already left. Born in 1949 I grew up on the farm my dad (Arthur “Art” Hanson) built two miles east of Lily. Been through the town a few times over the years. Always stopping in at the Lutheran Church & Cemetery. Last time back was in 2006. Visited the museum that some one has done a great job on. My brother David managed to get the keys for the farm house so we got to see the inside after so many years. It’s changed a lot but still standing. I have a lot of good memories, some sad but still a lot of good ones..

    1. Hi Diane
      This is Craig Saylor. I haven’t seen you since 8th grade. I own part of grandpa Barbers farm, so I get back to Lily often. This spring Gary Fossum and me ate in Webster and Ed Gebur and Gloria Berg were there so half our class was together. Just saw Larry Lynch at Memorial Day services.
      I haven’t seen Patty or Betty for years

      1. Betty Parquet Weber lives in WY; was at high school reunion in Bristol this summer. Hope she ran into many of you! our oldest sister Lois passed away in 1987, younger brother Tom (Thomas) Parquet lives @ Midland, SD; youngest brother Chuck (Charles) Parquet lives in Jackson Hole, WY (by younger sister, Mary Parquet Larson of Black Hills, SD). we lived next to the Lutheran Church from 1956 or 1958 to Nov. 1968. many great memories!

  19. Oh the memories! I grew up on the farm 2 miles N of Lily that Marie refers to. Marie is my niece. I would bicycle into town to play with my friend whose folks ran the grocery store. We too got drinking water from the pump house.
    We would come to town on Saturday night for movies that they would show on the side of a building & we would sit on blankets on the ground to watch the show.. Main Street would be lined with cars. My Dad would come to town often to play whist with the hometown guys in the pool hall. The pool hall had other names such as beer joint and drug store. My brother still lives on the farm N of town. He is the 5th generation to live there. One of my great-grandfathers built a hotel in Lily. There was a gas station, grocery store, implement sales, a garage where a mechanic fixed cars, a blacksmith, post office, etc. There was also a man that raised goats. I don’t remember his given name but we always called him the goat man. He was always happy guy!

    1. Hi LaVonne. I believe the person you describe as raising goats was George Boulton (or Bolton, not sure of the spelling). He was an interesting fellow, and also shoed horses and trimmed their hooves for people in the area. I believe there are still remains of the house there, although it is quite dilapidated.

      1. George was born east of our farm and was dropped on his head. He suffered a brain injury. His mother and he lived in the house. He wove rugs with rags and was the dray( garbage) man. He had a neat team of horses to do that. His mother died and he became a hoarder. Mom acted as his guardian as he aged and went to live in home in Bristol although he could find a way home. He had a neuce and family who visited at our house. He had a bath and changed clothes twice a year. He shaved then also. He would bring chokecherries for us to make jelly from. One holiday he just showed up not realizing it was a special day. Ma invited him to dine at the lace tablecloth in a place of honor which was just black.

  20. Reading all these comments brings back so many memories. My Dad and Mom Sam and Blanch Fryett bought the restaurant my cousin Dorothy Wiederhold mentions from her parents in 1946 the year I started high school that fall. Basketball was of course the town’s pass time.

    I’ve lost contact with so many former classmates and other friends and wonder if anyone knows anything about Donald Deck. Will watch for any response. Thanks.

  21. I spent the first five years of my life North of Lily on the Jorgenson farm. Then left my grandparents with parents to Vilas then off to Howard. Since Howard I have been many places in my life and right now reside in Alaska. Lily holds a special place in my memory of family and childhood. It would be a shame if Lily no longer exists.

  22. My daughter Lily was born in Kansas in 1992 and on a trip to Wyoming and Montana in 1996 we drove back thru South Dakota and sought out her namesake town. We saw a sign to a museum promoting Buffalo and Lily on a nearby farm and purchased hats and shirts with those names from a congenial resident who said the articles were from a recent centennial celebration I believe. I still have the hat saved for my unappreciative daughter!

  23. The store where the originator is standing outside was one of the grocery stores when I lived in Lily, SD. It was run by a guy named Olsen and he had a daughter name Sheila Olsen. As info Weasel Esget did have a barber shop on main street in Webster, SD a couple of blocks north of the Railroad tracks on the west side of the street.
    I married a girl from St. Louis, Mo in 1955. The last time I was in Lily was when my oldest brother (Clare) died and it was a very cold day in March I think. Brother Fritz would know that date. When I landed in Watertown at the Kompeska Airport I did not have clothing warm enough to wear so Fritz took me to Webster because we had to see a Lawyer there because brother Clare did not have a Last Will and Testament and brother Fritz was appointed as the distributor of his estate. And I purchased a warm coat at the Gambles Store in Webster. All of the pictures that I saw in this article brings back a lot of memories. I am glad that you displayed the Corbin House, which is the house directly north of the Lutheran Church. Most of the trees that exist there now are the one I planted. I don’t remember the year. I would like to hear from Lester Ewalt, I believe Joan Ewalt is Lesters daughter. But if she is not his daughter then it is his sister. I left Lily in 1955 when I met this girl on a Wednesday, then married her on Saturday in the same week three day after we met. She died on May 27, 1996. I am now 81 years old. I could write much much more but I know space is limited, To pass the time now, I write books. Like all kinds of Novels about many different subjects. I write using name of P. ARDEN CORBIN. I invite everyone to check me out, because I think you will be very surprised.

    1. My mom, Leila Nash (Larson) and her family had a farm about two miles from Lily. It stayed in the family until it was sold three years ago. My Grandparents were Gil and Lulu Corbin Nash. We have visited Lily a few times and love walking through town, visiting the Corbin house, the church, and cemetery. I have a picture of my mother and her brothers and sisters outside the church on the day they were baptized (probably in the 1940’s). In 2014 we had a family reunion in Bradley and had family and several of the friends our parents grew up with come as well. Sad to think that this little community is fading away. I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to visit several times.

      1. Gil and Lulu Nash were our neighbors, Clifford and Mildred Bjerke were my parents, I went to the country school with Marilou and Cathy Nash. I was confirmed and married in the Lily Lutheran church. My sister Joan married Wallace Fegert from Lily, I remember his team with their Mohawks , there won many games, both my sisters Joan and Phyllis went to high school there til it was closed In 1956

    2. P.ARDEN, I DON’T KNOW IF YOU REMEMBER ME BUT ANYWAY I REMEMBER YOU, NICE TO HEAR FROM YOU, I LIVE IN ALABAMA NOW, I AM THE SAME AGE YOU ARE MAYBE A YEAR OLDER. I BELIEVE YOU SAW MY BROTHER-IN-LAW , HOWARD (BUD) FRYETT. HE MARRIED MY SISTER JOYCE AND LIVE IN SPOKANE, I BELIEVE HE SAID YOU LIVED IN SEATTLE, I MAY BE WRONG. LOTS OF MEMORIES. DO YOU REMEMBER ME,SONNY,JERRY AND GLEN BJERKE WITH YOU PLAYING THE GUITAR DID A NUMBER AT SOME KIND OF EVENT IN LILY GYM. WE DIDN’T EVEN REMEMBER THE LYRICS EXCEPT YOU.
      VERCEL

    3. My name is Orlyn, the baby of the Huwe family. We lived on a farm near your farm. I’m 83. I remember you as being about the same age as me. Sorry to hear about Clare’s death. I remember his name and also Fritz.

      1. Sometime around 1942 the Huwe family moved into the Corbin House in Lily. I think my dad, Art, bought it. It was a large house between the Lutheran church and the Lily school. We moved to Omaha, Nebraska in 1945.

    4. Philip, I’m a Berg from Lily, Marvin and Dolores daughter. I married an Ewalt ( John) a twin to Joan. Their brother is Lester and he lives here in Webster where John n I do. He lives on the road to fairgrounds here in town. Don’t know the address off hand. But you could google him, I’m sure.

  24. Just as an FYI the Cream, Green and Red house pictured has always been known to me as “The Corbin Place”. It was owned by Clare Corbin (see Philip A Corbin’s post from January 2016). My mom and dad painted and roofed that house after Clare passed and they have some very funny stories about their time spent there. My mom, Verda (Pierce) Pitzl, is actually a Corbin decedent and grew up in Day County just outside of Waubay. My Uncle, her brother, Robert Pierce still lives on the old family homestead.

    Thank you for showcasing this quaint little town that holds so many wonderful memories for so many.

  25. My great great grandfather, Louis Auby, his second wife Clara Sjolie Auby, my great grandparents Henry Auby and Cora Clapp Auby, and my grandfather Kenneth Auby all lived in Lily before the Dust Bowl caused them to move West to Washington State. Louis was the postman for Lily township for a long time, making runs from Lily to Webster.

    I don’t know how many of you could remember, but I just thought it was great that other descendants of the townspeople of Lily were here! They were oddly counted in Oak Gulch, York, and Lily in different years- I am not sure that the borders changed. I would be very happy to talk to any of you as this past of my family has been lost for a long time now 🙁

  26. Ohh, I had found this a few years ago, and thought it would be nice to leave it here (note the E. O. Esget):

    YORK TOWNSHIP, SOUTH DAKOTA. Dates and settlement of homesteaders: 1883: S. L. and D. E. Potter, A. S. Beeney, E. O. Esget, Ross E. Parks , Miss Lily Parks, L. M. Hazelton, J. B. Johnson, Joe Bell, J. W. an d E. J. LaBaron, Moegling Brothers, Fritz Higland, LOUIS AUBY, Romeo Ault, W. W. King, Chas. Anderson, Dan and James McClaren, A. Peckham.

  27. MY PARENTS, JOHN AND MEADY AADSON LIVED IN THE HOUSE ON MAIN STREET, IT WAS AFTER MY TIME IN LILY. WENT TO SCHOOL FROM 8TH GRADE AND GRADUATED IN 1953. I GOT IN CONTACT WITH SONNY CLAUSEN, MISSED MY TEAMMATES, SONNY, JERRY LYNCH, GENE NYGAARD, JOINED THE AIRFORCE IN 54 AND RETIRED IN 75. I GOT MARRIED IN THE LUTHERN CHURCH IN 1955. VISITED IN 2014. MANY KNEW MY SISTER LAVONNE AND BROTHER-IN-LAW BUD SOLBERG WHICH HE OWNED THE GAS STATION FOR MANY YEARS AND I WORKED THERE AFTER SCHOOL. MY NAME IS VERCEL BUT GOES BY ROY.

    1. Thanks for your message Roy. My name is Mike Berg, son of Marvin and Dolores Berg of Lily. We lived very close to Bud and LaVonne, and I frequently partook of the wonderful apples they had when I was a kid. They were very good friends of my Mom and Dad, and they were also my Godparents. I have many wonderful memories of going to Bud’s gas station for a bottle of pop with my friends and to listen to the men talk. My Grandpa, Peter Berg, always bought 6-packs of Canada Dry Wink at Bud’s. It was the gathering place for great conversation. I am very familiar with the house next to the Post Office that your folks lived in. Pete and Grace Berg lived right across Main Street from them. I went to 1st and 2nd grade at the Lily School, then went to Bristol, where I graduated in 1978. I get back to Lily at least once a year. I remember Dwight, but I’m not sure how you are related. He was a couple years older than me.

  28. My Grandfather Bert Nygaad Lived in the Lily / Clark area. Several of his siblings are buried in the Lily Cemetry. I am looking for directions to get to the cemetary.

    1. Hi Rhonda, it’s awesome that you are going to visit Lily. Lily is 17 miles southwest of Webster. If you are in Webster, go south about 10 miles on Highway 25 and you’ll see the sign for Lily. Turn west on Highway 36 and Lily is about 7 miles west of Highway 25. You will reach the cemetery on the north side of Highway 36 about 1/2 mile before you get to Lily.

  29. Hi, my name is Andrew Grimes. My father, Wayne Grimes, grew up in Lily, SD and was Irl and Edna Grimes’ youngest son. His siblings were Margreet, Mary, Roy, Bill, Imelda, Irlene and Lois. My grandparents, owned and the drug store/ pool hall/ beer joint in town. I remember having some coins from the store with my grandfather’s name on them. I guess they were used as currency for purchasing items in the store. My father always marveled at playing in Lily’s only football game and winning. Reading the posts, I recognized some of the names my father used to always talk about. I never had the privilege to grow up in Lily. I was raised in Germany and Nebraska. I did visit my Uncle Joe and Aunt Irlene Schiley at the farm on numerous occasions. I have gone to Lily a few times, the last being during a family reunion back in 2004 or 2005. Can’t quite remember the year. My father did donate some items to the town museum, which used to be the Post Office. I think it was his Letter Sweater and some other trinkets. I was baptized in the Lutheran Church in Lily in 1966.

    1. HI ANDREW, MY NAME IS VERCEL AADSON, YOUR FATHER CAME BY IN ALABAMA TO SEE ME, WE HAD A NICE VISIT, TALKING OVER OLD TIMES. IRL AND EDNA ALWAYS GAVE US BASKETBALL PLAYERS A MALT WHEN WINNING A GAME. MY GRANDFATHER AND GRANDMOTHER LIVED ACROSSTHE STREET FROM YOUR GRANDPARENTS. I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT LILY. MY DAUGHTER WAS BORN IN FRANCE AND MY SON WAS BORN IN CALIFORNIA. THEY ARE IN THE SAME BOAT AS YOU. ALL THEY KNEW ABOUT OUR LILY WAS WHAT WE TOLD THEM. I KNEW ROY, HE WAS A LITTLE OLDER THAN I BUT HE HAULDED CATTLE FROM THE YOUELL WHEN I LIVED THERE ON THE FARM. I HAVE BEEN BACK QUITE A FEW TIMES AND ALWAYS WENT TO LIL Y TO VISIT. I HAVE A LOT OF MEMORIES, WITH THE FILLING STATION, I MISS THE OLD TIMES BUT TIME GOES BY. WHEN YOU SEE YOUR FATHER, TELL HIM HI FROM ME.

    2. Hello Andrew, my name is Michael Lynch. My dad, Jim Lynch and your dad were close friends way back then, my mom died in 1961 and I remember your dad coming out to Denver and staying with us for a bit ti help out my dad, My brother Terry and I called Him Uncle Wayne. Your Grandparents lived just south (I think it was south,I was always lost without the mountains west of Denver) , I do remember your Grandma somewhat and frolicking around town with Marla and Terry (your cousins I,m guessing). To a couple of city kids Lily was like a new playground, Deep and cherished memories it will always hold for me.

  30. Hi there, i am a grandson of Irwin “Roy” Grimes and Marlene Grimes. I remember visting the town alot when i was younger. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who is posting stories of the past. Ive always been interested in learning about the people and the History of this town. Please continue to share memories and keep this town alive. Thank You

  31. Things we did as a kid when visiting Lily with my parents: go to the pump house to get water for grandma Lynch,…Going ‘Uptown’ (Grimes drugstore) and Hoping Aunt Veronica might buy us kids an ice cream cone or a soda. … walking up to the old schoolhouse to slide down on the fire escape(without cutting ourselves)…
    hitting a softball around in the weedy old ball diamond, having bottle rocket wars across the highway in front of the drugstore and the old town hall,riding on the tractor with grandpa, peddling into town from the Trygstads on the girls bike(I was a pretty small kid) and thinking it was miles away, but I could always see the grain elevator…..Most everybody drinking Grainbelt beer uptown on Sundays after church out on the bench ….sneaking into the town hall on square dance nights and pilfering a few bottles of 7up…
    but best of all was supper at grandmas with the uncles, cousins and farmhands. It was a smorgasbord from heaven of the best eats ever! Lily thrives in the hearts and minds of all who were lucky enough to be a apart of it.
    I’m sure there’s about 10 square blocks in Heaven called Lily South Dakota.

  32. My name is Bernard Schmit My family moved to Lily from Andover SD about 1938/39 I graduated from Lily High School in 1948 part of a huge class of 5 girls and 4 boys.

    I worked for Morris Nelson in the pictured gas station Dates unknown to me at this time.(sometime between 1944 and 48) The building pictured with the bell tower on top was is the city firehouse and the community well. Lily had no water system and the residents without their own well carried water from this city well. Lily was located in Day County not Lake County as stated. I joined the US Air Force in 1948 never to go back to Lily except many visits to family, some who live in the area to this day (2017) When the Roy Grimes grain elevator burned in about 1947 I got a job to help with the clean up. This job gained me my lifetime social security number. This post and the many comments brought many memories to this 86 year old ancient one.(Parden my hunt-peck-and-miss typing)

    1. You may have known my mother, Rose Iva Lynch. She would have been a 1949 graduate, I think. My family never took me back to Lily to visit, so I know very little about the town. I am glad for the information I get here. There were only 9 of you in that class? Interesting. My father grew up on Catalina Island, where his class was a whole 12 people. I guess they had that in common. My SDak family moved to Michigan, and then California in the late 40s. My mother never finished high school in CA. It must have been the large class sizes that intimidated her.

      1. I knew many of the Al Lynch family but rose doesn’t ring any bells. Veronica. Theresa and Kelly three names I remember.

        1. Thank you, Bernard. That was very helpful. I now know she left there before that year. The people you mentioned would have been Al Lynch’s siblings. Rose was Al’s nephew and Leo’s older daughter. Really, that’s all I know about their lives in Lily.

          1. Hello Deborah,
            I am a granddaughter of Al and Marion Lynch, my parents are Arthur and Alice Lynch and we lived just west and south of Lily.

  33. Interesting articles and good memories of life at an earlier day when life didn’t seem to be so hurried!
    I am brother of Glen, Gene, Lois, Marlys, and Wesley Bjerke, attended first 3 yrs of high school there and then the high school closed in 1956. We had some great teachers and even had some fun playing hoops.
    I believe the Wildcats should be in the record books for a perfect football record,
    Played 1 game against Conde and won it. I think they must have retired their rented uniforms after that one and only game in school history.🤗🤗

    1. HI SONNY, MY NAME IS VERCEL AADSON, BROTHER TO MAYNARD WHICH I BELIEVE YOU KNOW HIM. I WENT TO SCHOOL WITH YOUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS, AS A MATTER OF FACT I HAD COFFEE WITH MARLYS A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO IN WEBSTER. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I MET HER SINCE 1953 AND IT WAS A NICE VISIT. I GOT IN CONTACT WITH LOIS AND SONNY CLAUSEN AND THEY UPDATED ME . ON THEIR LIFE. I HAVEN’T SEE THEM SINCE 1953 ALSO. WAYNE GRIMES CAME BY AND VISIT WITH ME AND HE MENTION FOOTBALL AS DOES MAYNARD. I LIVE IN ALABAMA AND I DON’T GET TO GET BACK TO LILY IF YOU SEE LOIS,SONNY AND MARLYS, GIVE THEM MY LOVE.

      1. Hi Vercel,
        This is Keith Kruse a freshman when you were a senior. Lived a mile north of the school. I go to Lily/Webster area a couple of times a year. Always the desire to return “home.” I you drive up there again, stop in St. Louis and spend a night before moving north (or south).
        Keith

  34. Jim Anderson has compiled facts and figures as a history of lily in print. He is the son of Marcus and Kelly. He lives in Webster. I always think the memories of how we lived are frosting to the facts. It would be good to actually add these comments to his book.

    1. Fun to read all the Lily comments. I grew up 3 E and1&1/4 N. of Lily. Remember the Sat njght movies
      on a sheet hung on the side of the N side of the truck shed. Also been told my grandpa Joseph Pesall laid the stone foundation for St. Josephs church and that my dad Bernard sr. picked many of the stones. I’m currently in Brookings SD

  35. I know this might not be the right avenue for this, but I don’t know how to notify people that my father knew. My father, Wayne Grimes, died this past Sunday, 12 February 2017, of complications associated with dementia and Parkinson’s disease. He was born and raised in Lily and talked about it often. Unfortunately, I did not know or meet many of the people that he grew up with or even knew for that matter that were from Lily. He will be cremated in Florida and I hope that someday, he will have the chance to be laid to rest in the place he loved the most.

    1. I’m sorry for your loss, Andrew. I live in Bristol and would be happy to share on my Facebook page. Is there a link to an obituary I could share?

    2. Hi Andrew,
      So sorry for your loss. I posted this on the Al and Marion Lynch Family Group page on FB. Is there an obituary link that I could post to that site. I know many in my family knew your father. I will repost it onto my family’s private site.

    3. Hello Andrew:
      I posted this on my Lynch Family Website and here are a few of the messages that I received back:
      Pat (Anderson) Robey: So sorry to ear. I remember that smile well. I was an Anderson.

      Michael Lynch: I knew your dad well when I was a kid, after my mother passed away Wayne stayed with my dad a while in Denver and helped with my brother and I around 1961 or thereabouts. We called him Uncle Wayne. Sorry and saddened to hear about him Love and prayers to you and your family.
      I don’t know how else to put you in touch with these people.

    4. Hello Andrew:
      I posted this on my Lynch Family Website and here are a few of the messages that I received back:
      Pat (Anderson) Robey: So sorry to hear. I remember that smile well. I was an Anderson.

      Michael Lynch: I knew your dad well when I was a kid, after my mother passed away Wayne stayed with my dad a while in Denver and helped with my brother and I around 1961 or thereabouts. We called him Uncle Wayne. Sorry and saddened to hear about him Love and prayers to you and your family.

  36. For Andrew:
    SORRY TO HEAR THIS 🙁 I HAD SOME FUN TIMES WITH YOUR DAD .. HE WAS A LIFE MEMBER OF THE LILY AMERICAN LEGION POST 0156 . LARRY LYNCH- POST ADJUTANT .

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