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 Edgar SHELDON started the first cheese factory in southwestern Iowa in 1858, and continued it until he was elected to a county office.

In 1884, Briggs WILBUR, a farmer residing in Liberty Township, started a creamery near Liberty Center. He continued for several years until around 1895 when he sold it out to a cooperative company of farmers who changed it into a cheese factory. The cheese was made from whole milk. They did a rushing business for a while and then cream buyers came in the small towns, and farmers could make more from their cream than for cheese, so they quit and broke up.

There was a creamery in the 1890's at Kellerton, but it went the way of all creameries.

A cooperative creamery was built in Mount Ayr in the spring of 1914. About June 1, they were ready for business with an engine and other fixtures, churn, tester, and scales set in operation by the manager, Mr. POHL, with A. R. SHRIMPLIN as bookkeeper. Later W. W. STEWART was hired as assistant and A. R. SHIRMPLIN gladly handed over to him the bookkeeping. The first payment for butterfat was made on June 13, 1914, which netted the farmers 24-cents against 22-cents and 23-cents at the stations in other towns. They supplied the town with butter, ice cream, and buttermilk.

The Mount Ayr Cooperative was very prosperious until after the War [World War I] broke out and left the farmers without help and other departments of the farming was thought better money makers, so cream output fell off and the company was forced to close down in 1918. Officers were: G. S. ALLYN, president; H. H. WILSON, vice-president; Bert TEALE, treasurer; H. H. FULLER, secretary; and directors: Alex MAXWELL, A. R. SHRIMPLIN, C. H. ROBINSON, H. S. TERRELL, and Jim W. SHIELDS.

LESAN, Mrs. B. M. Early History of Ringgold County: 1844 - 1937 p. 51. Blair Pub. House. Lamoni IA. 1937.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, May of 2010


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