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Earl L and Lillian Mae Nelson Kipp - The Iowa / South Dakota / Texas / Wyoming Kipps

Sixth American Generation

The Iowa / South Dakota / Texas / Wyoming Kipps

Earl Lloyd and Lillian Mae (Nelson) Kipp

Johann Heinrich Kipp -- John George Kipp – George Kipp – George William Kipp Jr. – John Wilbert Kipp – Earl Lloyd Kipp


Earl Lloyd Kipp was born in Lester, Lyon County, Iowa on August 3, 1896 as the youngest of the six children of John Wilbert and Susan (Bauman) Kipp. John Wilbert, Earl’s dad, sold the family farm north of Lester in 1913 and the family moved to South Dakota.


Lillian Mae Nelson was born in Flandreau, Moody County, South Dakota on July 6, 1899, the first of three children of Anton Nickolai and Margaret May (Wilcox) Nelson. Lily had one brother, Arnold Henry Nelson who was born on March 8, 1901. He contacted diphtheria and died on October 1, 1907 in Duluth, Saint Louis, Minnesota. Lily had one sister, Laura Belle, who was born on December 10, 1903.

Lily had polio when she was about 12 years old. It was most likely a severe debilitating form called paralytic polio. While most people with the other forms of Polio make a full recovery, paralytic polio can cause muscle paralysis. The complication for Lily was that she was not able to put her heel on the ground. She would live with this condition the rest of her life.

President Woodrow Wilson outlined his case to declare war on Germany on April 2, 1917, and declared war on April 6, 1917. Earl, like many young men, responded to the declaration of war and enlisted immediately. Earl’s enlistment date was April 4, 1917. His enlistment was short lived however as he had lied about his age and was discharged on July 31, 1917.

While Earl lived in Flandreau he met Lillian Mae Nelson. They married on Saturday, December 1, 1917 in Sioux Falls, Minnehaha County, South Dakota.


Soon after they were married Earl and Lily relocated to McAllen, Hidalgo County, Texas with Earl’s parents. They  Earl and Lily (Nelson) Kipp lived there for about four years. Lily’s parents, Anton Nickolai and Margaret May (Wilcox) Nelson and her sister Laura relocated to Bay, Texas soon afterwards. Bay, Texas is about 150 miles from McAllen. The 1920 census records indicate that Earl was a farmer. The occupation of John Wilbert Kipp was listed as “none”. Anton’s occupation was listed in the 1920 census as a car repairman for the BM Railroad. While living in Texas, Earl and Lily became new parents with the birth of Clinton (1918), and later Adrian (1920). They were the first two children toward Lily’s lifelong dream of having twelve children.


Earl and Lily returned to Sioux Falls, South Dakota about 1922. While living in Sioux Falls, Earl worked in a meat packing plant and later worked for the Chicago, Milwaukee & St Paul Railroad as a coach cleaner and car repairman. During this time there were four new additions to the family with the birth of Colleen (1922), Wayne (1923), Margaret (1925), and Eugene (1926).


In late August 1926, Earl, Lily and their young family visited Lily’s folks, who had previously moved to Sundance, Crook County, Wyoming. Earl returned to Sioux Falls after a few days and Lily stayed a few more days to visit. Soon after that they relocated to Sundance as did Lily’s sister Laura. Earl worked for the railroad so they received free passage from Sioux Falls to Spearfish, SD. They then caught a ride with the mail carrier from Spearfish to Sundance. The mail route was at that time operated by Fred Schloredt. The family made this relocation in two groups. Memories vary on who came to Sundance first and who came with whom.

Laura started a Millinery and Gift Shop soon after her arrival in Sundance. There are ads in the October and November 1926 issues of the Sundance Times saying she will “remodel your hat up to comply with current styles”. Laura had considerable millinery training and experience in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1926 Laura became known as Mrs. Bill Schloredt. The Schloredt family was among the earlier settlers of Sundance.

When they initially moved to Sundance they stayed in the home currently (2008)  Kipp Family Home owned by Evelyn Sisson. Soon afterwards they moved into the second floor of the Sundance Shoe and Harness Shop. The shop was owned by Lily’s parents, Anton and Margaret Nelson, and was located on the north side of Main Street between 2nd and 3rd Street. In 1934 they purchased a house on the north end of 4th Street for $200. By this time the family had grown by two more children, Iris (1928) and Sandy (1930), for a total eight. Four more children were born at their new home bringing the total to twelve. They were Patricia (1934), Tobylea (1936), Earlene (1938), and Michael (1941). The house is estimated to have been about 788 square feet when purchased. Soon after purchase of the home, two bedrooms were added to the back of the house to bring the square footage to about 1,160 square feet. The old photo of house shows how it appeared in the early 1890s. A 20 X 28 warehouse was added to the property in the spring of 1946. It included a small bedroom to provide additional sleeping quarters. The house on 4th Street remained under the ownership of the Kipp family until 1973. All twelve children attended and graduated from Sundance Schools.

While Lily was raising a rapidly growing family, Earl worked in Sundance as a carpenter, painter, and on construction of the road from Sundance to Beulah. The 1930 census lists his occupation as a carpenter in the housing industry. In 1932 he started to drive the Star Mail Route between Sundance and Spearfish. The mail route still remains within the Kipp family. With the mail route, Earl started to deliver cream from the local ranchers to the creamery in Spearfish. Several ads appeared in the Sundance Times at that time telling people to drop off their cream at the Shoe Shop for the best price. He later added the delivery of bread to local grocery stores. In 1934 he started a freight line, Kipp’s Transfer, between Sundance and Deadwood, South Dakota.  Gene on Truck The photo shows Gene on the hood of a 1934 Chevrolet truck. Earl applied for a Certificate of Public Conveyance from the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1938. The certificate was awarded on July 23, 1941. The freight line expanded over the years to serve communities in Crook County including Hulett, Moorcroft, Oshoto, Devils Tower, and Carlile. Kipp’s Transfer was the major means for transporting items to the communities: groceries to meat, tires to toys, clothes to liquor, and many other staples and necessities. Kipp’s Transfer was sold to Gene and Vivian Kipp in 1968 and they continued to operate it until 1972 when it was sold to Salt Creek Freightways.

Earl also leased the Commercial Theatre building and purchased the movie equipment from the Commercial Club in 1943. He operated the theatre on a continual basis until he closed it in 1963, just months before his death. Earl also contracted with the school district to transport students that lived on Highway 585 to and from school. The first school bus was a 1942 Chevrolet Sedan. In later years a Chevrolet Suburban was used. The seats were removed and replaced with two wooden benches that ran along the sides of the suburban. A Sept. 21, 1944 Sundance Times note said “Earl Kipp, bus driver for District #27 had six passengers this year”. Transporting of students started in the early 1940s and continued into the 1950s.

With twelve children, Earl and Lily had a ready labor pool. All of the family members worked in the theatre selling tickets, running the projectors, janitorial duties, shoveling snow, or whatever needed done. All the sons worked on the freight line with Wayne driving truck in the early years. Gene drove for over 30 years beginning in about 1946. Many of the Kipp kids carried the mail. Lily also carried the mail and handled the paperwork associated with the businesses. Adrian, Wayne, and Eugene, also drove the school bus. Earl served on the Sundance City Council from 1939-47. He was elected by a landslide margin in the 1939 election for city council by winning 67% of the vote. Through an entrepreneur spirit and hard work Earl and Lily managed to survive the depression, create several businesses, raise a large family and become an integral and respected part of the community.

Earl died at his home on September 21, 1963 and is buried at Mt. Moriah Cemetery in Sundance. Lily continued to live in Sundance for several years after his death. She did spend some time in Phoenix, Arizona with a daughter but later returned to Sundance. She later moved to Jesup, Georgia and lived near another daughter. After suffering a stroke, she then moved to the Dorsett Home in Spearfish, South Dakota. She died at the Dorsett Home on June 6, 1995. She is buried at Mt. Moriah Cemetery beside Earl.

Laura and Bill Schloredt continued to live in Sundance for several years but also lived on a ranch in Rozet, Campbell County, Wyoming.  Laura ID Welder 
Badge During World War II they moved to the Portland, Oregon area where they both worked as welders in the ship yards as a part of the war effort. After the war they returned to Upton, Weston County, Wyoming where they operated a theatre and a motel. Bill died on July 22, 1959 in Upton. He is buried in Mt Moriah Cemetery in Sundance. Laura stayed in Upton and ran the motel for a few years but eventually moved to Murray, Idaho where she married Carl Paul Carlson in about 1961. Carl died on October 9, 1974 and is buried in Fairmount Memorial Park, Spokane, Spokane County, Washington. Laura continued to live in Idaho, and also in Apache Junction, Arizona. She returned to Spearfish, South Dakota in the 1990s where she died on November 17, 2001. She is buried in Spokane next to her second husband Carl.


1920 Census

The 1920 Census for Bay City, Matagorda County, Texas lists Laura as age 16 and living with her parents, Anton and Margaret Nelson.

1920 Census for McAllen, Hidalgo County, Texas lists Earl as age 23, Lily as age 20, and Clinton as age 1. It states Earl’s occupation as a farmer on a farm on which he was the employer. The farm was noted as Farm Schedule Number 65.

1930 Census

The 1930 Census for Sundance, Crook County, Wyoming lists Earl’s age as 33, Lily as 30, Clinton 11, Adrian 9, Colleen 7, Wayne 6, Margaret 5, Eugene 4, and Iris 2. Earl’s occupation is stated as being a carpenter in building houses. He was a veteran in World War I. It is noted they rent a home at $5 per month and that they had a “radio set”.

1940 Census

Census data for 1940 and on has not been released.

Copyright 2009 by E. Michael Kipp, All Rights Reserved


The Sundance Times, Sundance, Wyoming (various dates)

Rock Rapids Review, Rock Rapids, Iowa

Death Certificates (Earl L. Kipp, Lillian Mae Nelson, Laura Belle Nelson, William F. Schloredt, Carl P. Carlson)

Obituary (Earl L. Kipp, Lillian M. Nelson, Laura B. Nelson)

Family Records

Social Security Records

US Federal Census of 1920, McAllen, Hidalgo County, Texas

US Federal Census of 1920, Bay City, Matagorda County, Texas

US Federal Census of 1930, Sundance, Crook County, Wyoming

Linked toKipp Earl Lloyd; Nelson Lillian Mae

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