Saturday, January 18, 2014

Great Granddad was a Cheesehead

John Galway Brown, my 2nd great grandfather, was born 8 Aug 1833 in Philadelphia, Jefferson County, New York.

He was still living in Philadelphia, Jefferson County, New York during the time of his marriage to Lucy Passino (Pinsonneau) on 23 Jan 1861.

John Galloway Brown was a Cheesemaker

In 1863 -- according to the U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations -- we learn he is exempted from service because he is handicapped with poor vision (near and cross sighted -- very bad).  We also learn his trade is that of a Cheesemaker.

Sometime before 1867, he removed to Bradford, Rock County, Wisconsin (Post Office Clinton).  We know a son named Harvey was born there in 1867.

Cheesemaking in Wisconsin

Most of the earliest commercial dairy operations in Wisconsin made cheese because it kept longer than milk or butter at a time when storage and transportation was limited.

Wisconsin dairy operations experienced a revolution of industrial development between 1860 and 1890, moving out of the farmstead and into the factory, due to the increased demand for dairy products and the move from wheat to dairy.  

Factory organization of cheesemaking grew out of the conscious effort to improve the production of cheese.  Almost all of these early factory men were New Yorkers who brought their talents with them to Wisconsin (source:

On to Montana

John Galloway Brown and his wife Lucy ultimately homesteaded near their sons in Montana before 1910.  John died 28 Mar 1915 in Creston, Flathead County, Montana.

Judging from this photo of John's daughter-in-law Neva Plympton Brown the family continued to own dairy cows and engage in cheese-making.

Neva's daughter -- my grandma -- sold fruit and home packaged butter from her farm in Lewiston, Idaho until the 1930s.

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