An undated photograph of the Wolfe Family Band, a musical group based in Lykens Township, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.
Left to Right: Larona Smink; Naomi [Smink] Straub; Carol E. [Wolfe] Ney; Robert Wolf.
Naomi [Smink] Straub provided the following story of the beginnings of the Wolfe Family Band.
I was seven years old when I got my first guitar for Christmas. I was eleven when I got the first Bretton Box Accordion I learned to play and sing. Dr. Lebo from Gratz gave me a song book and told me to learn the song he had check-marked. It was, “Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie.” He entered me in a children’s program in Harrisburg. I sang the song an won first prize and a chance to sing over the radio once a week. But, Mom put her foot down and said “No” to that. No way was her little girl going to become a “show girl,” as she put it. Imagine a little, scrawny freckle face red headed, Pennsylvania Dutch farm kid. A show girl? Ei, yi, yi!
My sister, Ada Wolfe played the Hawaiian guitar and loved to sing, but not in front of people. She would be working in the fields with her tractor and sing at the top of her lungs, not realizing that the neighbors all around could hear her.
The years flew by, we had World War II, I got married and had two children and settled down. I taught my son Terry to play guitar, and he played like a pro. My Aunt Sally Umholtz from Gratz gave me her fiddle and we would play together. Ada’s daughter, Carol Ney, got an accordion. Carol’s son, Andy, played fiddle. Ada’s son, Bobby learned to play bass guitar. His son Bruce played banjo and fiddle. His grandson and son-in-law Fred Williard and Daniel Williard played drums. we would get together in Bob and Betty’s basement and boy would we play! We were a little raw around the edges, but we had a good time. Square dances were popular and Bob learned to call a few and we loved to play those peppy pieces. Roy Neagley and Minnie Neagley had the hotel in Gratz and they (“God bless them), gave us our first chance in playing in public. It mustn’t have been too bad because from then on it took off.
The Wolfe’s were on the prowl – ha-ha! Through the years different family members had joined but always dropped out again. Fred Williard and Dan Williard, the drummers, dropped out. Carol’s son Andy played fiddle and dropped out. My son Terry was drafted, sent to Vietnam and aid the supreme sacrifice. Now were back to Ada, Bob, Carol and myself. We played for square dances, strawberry festivals, VFW, picnics, parades, reunions, in homes for the aged and churches. But, then I dropped out….
.Another photo of the Wolfe family is shown below – with a large poster honoring Ada Wolfe.
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