Clippings and Words of Local Cheese Factories

Clippings and Words of Local Cheese Factories
This is a photograph of the Rosedale Union Hall Cheese Factory, taken about 1910. Notice the old containers which held the farmer’s milk from which the popular cheese was made. At this time, horse drawn wagons were the only way of delivering and picking up products from the factory.— Read —The Old Union Hall Cheese Factory By Berenice McKay

Rising costs of production, fewer fanners shipping milk, and difficulty in hiring a cheese maker, were problems of the 50s, Some farmers quit the factory and sent their milk to the dairy in Almonte, but some continued and in 1959, president, Neil McIntosh said they thought they had done the proper thing by sticking with the factory. 

The year 1959 had been one of the best they ever had. The average test of milk was 3.5, and the cheese all scored Number One. It proved that good cheese could be made in a small factory.  In 1960, Mr and Mrs Drew had the highest scoring cheese in Ontario. Great Britain was the biggest buyer of cheese, and cheese brought 40 cents a pound in 1962, and whey butter was 45 cents a pound. 

Read Rosebank Cheese Factory

It was impossible to hire a cheesemaker in 1970 and so the Rosedale butter and cheese factory had to cease operations; and real estate and equipment were put up for sale. Mrs. Clifford and Mr.Clifford Thornton bought the new factory in 1972 and changed it into a home. 

In 1974, at the last factory meeting, it was decided to pay back the shares, and the balance would be divided among the patrons who had continued to ship milk until the factory ceased operation. The cheesemakers who made cheese in the new factory from 1947 to 1969 were Elwyn Gawlcy, one year George Affleck, four years, Bill Villeneuve, one year, Ken Jackson , one 1 year, James Drew and Mrs Drew, 10 years, Grant Cassel, one year, Ed Hollister, one year, and Carl Casselfnan, one year.

Photo from Gypsies Preachers and Big White Bears — Read-Some Fromage About the Hopetown Cheese Factory

For many years, the cheese boxes were made in Hopetown, Ontario from elm. The cheese boxes were round and had a round slip over the lid with a four-inch deep lip. They were rather slippery to handlle, unless you wore gloves. There were m any different types and ways of getting milk to the factory. The close farmers had round wheeled buggies or the large 8 gallon milk can.

Both cheese factories had living quarters up over the factory, but as it has been said by different cheesemakers, it was very, very warm. Mr. Albert Miller and family slept in a tent out in the yard all summer, the years he made cheese at the old Rosedale Union Hall cheese factory fro m 1910-1913. It was said also that one of the farmers, who got more whey than his share, had pigs and you could hear them squealing three miles away. They were called the squealing whey pigs, and he also fed them middlings mixed with the whey. They knew when feeding time was.

Many of the cheesemakers boarded at Mr.John Dunlop’s in the earlier years. There were many cheese factories just within a few miles of each other. Boyd’s Settlement, Clayton, Tommy Barr’s at the 8th line of Lanark, Hopetown, The IXL, “ Mississippi P ride,” (was named after a young lad y), and Fairplay.There was a fire at the Boyd Settlement cheese factory a few years ago, and Elvin McKay was asked if he would clean up the mess with the bulldozer. He went down, but what he saw he didn’t like, and changed his mind.

Some of the people that were there were sick at the look and smell of all that gooey, stringy melted and burnt and half burnt cheese, well, it was enough to make anyone sick. Some of it looked like yellow grease, about 36 inches deep. It was an impossibility to clean it up with a bulldozer. Don Gibson shoved the gooey mess o ff the cement the best he could pick it up by bucket from the tractor. It was loaded into manure spreaders, and wagons until days, and there were tons of melted cheese.

Another view of the Union Hall Cheese Factory, taken around 1910. Shown In the foreground from left to right are Charlie Dunlap, manager of the Belmonte Hotel In Almonte, Jim Somerville, Matt Somerville’s father and Albert Miller.

read-Questions on the McCreary Settlement and the IXL Cheese Factory

Did you Know Mother Goose Came from Blakeney and Union Hall ?

The Union Hall Knitter — John Morrow

Sparks are Flying at Union Hall

Some Fromage About the Hopetown Cheese Factory

Poutine Curds From the Appleton Cheese Factory?

Pakenham Cheese & Butter Factory– McCreary Blair Storey

Watson’s Corners And Vicinity 1891–Shetland Ponies and Cheese

When the Cheese Crashed Through the Floor

Say Cheese! It’s an IXL Story

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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