Lily Delorme

“Grandma” Lily Delorme of Hardscrabble [Cadyville] in the Saranac Valley was a “slight wiry mountain woman” in the words of Marjorie Lansing Porter, folksong collector from the Champlain Valley. Descended from Vermont pioneer Gideon Baker, who fought in the War of 1812, Mrs. Delorme sang Child ballads, hymns, game songs, tragedies, memorialized local events, war songs and more, learned from her grandfather, mother, uncle and aunt.

Although she recorded well over 100 songs between Marjorie Porter’s sessions with her and Marguerite Olney’s visits for the Flanders Ballad Collection in the early 1940s, it was Mrs. Porter’s feeling that “here on earth she never reached the bottom of her song barrel.” 

Grandma Delorme was also an old hand with a spinning wheel, carding and spinning wool to produce all manner of woolen goods.  Both her son, Merton Delorme of Salmon River in Clinton County, and her daughter inherited songs from her and kept the family repertoire in circulation at least through the 1950s.  Perhaps there are still singing Delormes in the upper northeast corner of the Adirondacks.

Note: Because little of her history and none of her songs have been publicly released or published  anywhere, we’ve had a difficult time securing material on Lily  Delorme. The Porter recordings of Grandma can be very hard to listen to due to poor sound quality, and many of the songs Mrs. Delorme sang for the Flanders Ballad Collection were “fragments” or partial songs.  Below we have a recording and sheet music for one full song, transcribed from recordings at the Flanders Ballad Collection, along with fragments of two other songs--without sheet music-- presented to round out the picture.