Just North of Rome, NY, the modern cheese industry was born in 1851. Jesse Williams was a successful farmer and cheese maker but believed by working together as cooperative dairies, farmers could maximize their profits. This led him to start the first cheese factory in the United States, a move that revolutionized agriculture not only locally, but across the nation.
Jesse Williams died in 1864 at age 67. At that time Oneida County was making over eight million pounds of cheese per year. Williams never patented his cheese-making inventions but gave them to the agricultural world.
Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site will host the first of their Third Thursday Winter Lecture series on January 20th, featuring a virtual discussion on Jesse Williams and the Cheese Factory System with Patrick Reynolds from the Oneida County History Center in Utica.
Patrick Reynolds is Director of Public Programs at the Oneida County History Center. He is a graduate of the Cooperstown Program in Museum Studies. He has worked in museums throughout the United States including Hanford Mills Museum, Berks County Historical Society, Rome Historical Society, and The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation.
This program will begin at 7 pm and is free and open to the public. No registration is required. A link to the WebEx can be found on the Schoharie Crossing Facebook or by contacting the site directly. For more information about these programs, call the Visitor Center at (518) 829-7516, email SchoharieCrossing@parks.ny.gov, or visit their Facebook page.
Illustration of Williams original cheese factory provided.