Velmaine Solomon was born in Hiawatha on June 18, 1919 the daughter of Charles H. and Clarissa Solomon. She was a life resident of Hiawatha.
Velmaine was best known around Hiawatha for being a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Hiawatha. She took over this position when her father died in 1957. Her father C.H. Solomon began weather watching in 1939. After her father’s death her mother Clarissa, helped her until her death in 1976.
Velmaine was known around town to be quite the character as well as an entrepreneur.
Story found in the July 14, 1942 Hiawatha Daily World: Her Pet Lamb
Several weeks ago the story of Velmaine Solomon, her pet lamb, Betty, whose wool has put the young Hiawatha girl thru school, appeared in The World. Since that time people all over the United States have been noticing Hiawatha’s Mother Goose-like pair. Velmaine has received clippings about her pet from unknown fans everywhere. One newspaper went so far as to have a poem written about Betty. Velmaine; this paper was St. Louis Globe-Tribune. In an odds, end column the following paragraph appeared; “Velmaine Solomon, of Hiawatha, Kans. is financing her way thru school with shearing from a pet lamb Mother Goose will be glad to hear that lamb which gambled after Mary is at last justifying its existence.” Notice was followed with the poem; “Mary had a little lamb which followed her to school. Velmaine has a baa baa, too, Velamina’s not a fool. She clips its fleece to pay her way, gets returns most fair. Instead of following her to school, it pays expenses there.”
Velmaine Solomon died Thursday, March 13, 1980 (she did the March 13th weather report which appears in The Hiawatha Daily World), at Hiawatha Community Hospital. Miss Solomon was the meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Hiawatha. For the past 21 years she had provided the daily weather repot for the front page of the Daily World. Virginia Regier, Advertising Manager for The Daily World, said Friday morning, “Velmaine was a sincere person who was well liked. She would help out anyone if she were asked. She was a lovely person.”
Miss Solomon began weather watching in 1957 when her father, CH. Solomon passed away. Mr. Solomon was the first meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Hiawatha. He began weather watching in 1939. After her father’s death, Miss Solomon and her mother continued his work. Miss Solomon’s mother died in 1976. Velmaine continues the work alone after that.
In 1978 Miss Solomon won the John Campanius Award. The award was created by the National Weather Service in 1959 and is presented to honor outstanding volunteer weather observers. The award is named after John Campanius, a Lutheran minister who was the first person known to have taken systematic weather observations in the American colonies.
Miss Solomon said in 1978 that she enjoyed her work, although it was often thankless and there was no pay for the work.
Miss Solomon was 60 years of age and lived at 206 Kickapoo Street.
She had been a patient at Hiawatha Community Hospital since March 4.
She was born in Hiawatha on June 18, 1919, the daughter of Charles H. and Clarissa Solomon and had been a life resident of Hiawatha.
Upon graduating from Hiawatha High School, she started working as a switchboard operator for the United Telephone Company of Hiawatha. That was in July of 1944. She received her 35 year service award in 1979.
She was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Hiawatha, a member of the Communications Workers Assn., and a member of societies within the church.
Survivors include two uncles, James Solomon of Magalia, Calif., and George Solomon of Hiawatha, and a cousin, Mrs. Rebecca Prater of Hiawatha.
Funeral Service will be at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 15, at the Casselman-Meek Funeral Home with the Rev. Phyllis Garrett and the Rev. Guy B. Casey officiating. Interment will be at the Mounty Hope Cemetery. ~~ The Hiawatha Daily World, March 14, 1980.
The reason for picking Velmaine for my article this quarter was a donation the society received late this summer. Chuck McSpadden brought in a hand carved box that contained a set of toy silverware that was marked Germany. The box is 3 pieces (as shown in pictures) in the bottom of the box is a hand written note saying the box was made for Velmaine by her grandfather O.M. Solomon. Chuck purchased this from her estate auction. It is still in pristine condition. It is definitely a piece of Hiawatha history. When Velmaine was alive everyone in Hiawatha knew who she was. She didn’t know a stranger.
My Two Cents Worth……
By: Penny Milroy, librarian
Brown County Genealogical Society
In October of last year Jill Frese gave a very interesting program on DNA. At that time my mom and I had convinced her brother to give up his DNA for us to have analyzed by Ancestry.com. The results were pretty much as we expected they would be A LOT of German with a few other things in mixed in but not much. We (my mom and I) have done extensive research on both sides of her family line and we knew we would find mostly German but were hoping maybe we would get a little something else to go on. We have had a number of people contact us and we have pieced together a few missing things from this.
After the meeting in October I really wanted to get my DNA done. I am an only child of an only child and I have very few family members remaining on my father’s side of the family. My paternal grandmother was VERY tight lipped about her family; she was the daughter of a tobacco farmer in Iatan, Missouri. She was orphaned at the age of 5 and was passed from family member to family member until she ran away at 13.
I have so many more questions than I do answers when it comes to my father’s family.
For my birthday in November my mom bought me a DNA kit from MyHeritage.com. I have been anxiously waiting for the last few weeks to see what my DNA would provide.
On the next to the last day of the year I got an email saying my DNA I was ready. I was so excited. I signed in and I was a little bit shocked. I am still shaking my head a little today.
I asked my mom if they found me under a rock. My DNA says I am 84.2% English, 10.7% Scandinavian and 5.1% Irish, Scottish and Welsh.
The Irish, Scottish and Welsh is the only part that is maybe a little bit of my mom.
Instead of getting answers I now have a million questions.
My two cents? Was it worth it to get my DNA done??? I’ll have to let you know.