Wiltsie Ladies Aid celebrates its 100th year of ministry this year. Among activities will be its annual sale at Warren Mall Oct. 12-13. The women gathered after the Wiltsie Community Church service on Sept. 30 to mark its 100th anniversary with cookies and punch.
Wiltsie Ladies Aid began in April 1912 when the "God fearing" and hard working women of Wiltsie started meeting in the homes of Anna Lindquist and Mary Osberg and others to help each other with household chores like darning socks, mending, anything the person needed done. Hettie Way was the first president. For years the women gathered to make quilts, tying some by hand and quilting others. Most of the quilts were simple-cut squares of whatever material was available, and the quilts were given to whoever needed them. A time also was set aside for devotions on topics such as temperance, faith, hope and charity.
The group held Fourth of July and Halloween parties each year and two of the quilts were raffled. Then, the church pews were not anchored so they were arranged so there was a big open area in the middle for a cake walk and games. Two pews were fixed so a piece of plywood would be put on top for a table.
From left are Wiltsie Ladies Aid members Becky Linder, Bee Wiltsie, Shirley Olson,
Janet Henderson, Stephanie Williams, Jan Lundmark, Mollie Lundmark and Barb Shaw
in front and Trina Haskins, Faye Hoard and Diane Moss in back.
The Fourth of July party was a big community event and a homecoming for relatives and people who had moved away. Verna Venman was famous for the lemonade she made for the celebration. Doris Trumbull said she remembers Commie Venman bringing the lemonade to church in a milk can.
Later, the women hosted chicken and biscuit dinners at Akeley Grange, and area residents supported it well. The women were known as good cooks and bakers. Any leftover pies were quickly sold.
The church, Wiltsie Community Church, was originally a one-room schoolhouse. The parish members added to its building, and the men no longer had to fill the woodshed with wood. There were inside bathrooms; no more trips outdoors, and a well was drilled so there was running water.
The Ladies Aid stopped making quilts and started making rag rugs to sell at Jamestown Sidewalk Sale Days then at Warren Mall when it opened and they have been going there ever since. At the time, there were many other churches and groups that sold their goods, but Ladies Aid is the only left at the fall sale. Local residents have faithfully supported the sale.
In 1976, group members made a centennial quilt, and each woman quilted a square for the finished product. Elva Carlstrom assembled the quilt and embroidered a picture of the church and the names of all the charter members in the center square.
These days, the Ladies Aid meets on the last Wednesday of each month to work on projects for their fall sale at Warren Mall. they make the famous "scrubbies," dishcloths, rag rugs, kitchen towels, baked goods, greeting cards and more.
The group's profits go to various areas. They put together gift boxes for shut-ins at Christmastime and hand deliver each one. Also, they give to the Wiltsie camp fund, the building fund and missions.
"Wiltsie Ladies Aid has contributed in many ways to the church, community and missionaries," according to a group spokesperson. "God has been faithful and so good to preserve the work for 100 years."
The Ladies Aid sale will be from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, in front of Kmart and Goodwill at Warren Mall.