SHERIDAN — The Wyoming Homemakers will celebrate 100 years of service in 2014.
One of the original clubs in the state was the Piney Club of Sheridan County. It formed in 1914, along with a club in Laramie County, after the Smith Lever Act created university extension services, which was and remains a supporter of the groups.
Though the Piney Club closed in recent years due to lack of members, there are three other homemaker clubs in Sheridan County, the Banner Woman’s Club, the Story Woman’s Club and the Hill and Dale Club.
“The Piney Club started as a social club in the early 1900s for women who lived in the Ucross and Piney neighborhoods,” said Ina Mitchell, a member of the Hill and Dale Club. “As a social club, members met to sew carpet rags and do quilting. The Piney Club was also the first ‘Home Demonstration Club’ in Wyoming. Over the years, members have had many programs from canning, cheese making, hat molding and furniture upholstering.”
Mitchell said the groups were often the main source of social activity in the early 1900s for women who lived on remote farms or ranches.
“I had a Parkman woman years ago who told me the only time she got to see and visit with another woman was when she went to a homemakers meeting!” Mitchell said. “That was in the 1920s.”
The clubs are still associated with the UW Extension Service, which provides educational and other resources for the groups.
Though the Piney Club had to withdraw from the larger organization after 98 years, two longtime members, Enid Krezlock and Margaret Ellenwood, continue to meet once a month for lunch with other former members. Krezlock and Ellenwood now reside at Sugarland Ridge and served in the club for 53 and 56 years respectively.
“It dissolved after 98 years mainly because of the age of the members,” Mitchell said. “They didn’t quite make 100 years but we are very enthusiastic about them because they were the first club in Sheridan County.”
Mitchell said the groups remain active in various community activities and the Banner and Story clubs also maintain buildings that are used extensively for community dinners and events. She said all the clubs welcome new women members. Anyone interested in joining a club or learning more, can contact the UW Extension Service office at 674-2980.