Schoharie Crossing will be hosting the first of their Third Thursday Winter Lecture series on January 20th at 7pm via the online platform WebEx. Patrick Reynolds from the Oneida County Historical Center will discuss Jesse Williams and the Cheese Factory System.
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.
On the 100th anniversary of Jesse’s cheese factory, John H. Kraft, president of Kraft Foods, proclaimed that “pioneers like Jesse Williams… [fathered] the ideas and tools that have made America great.” This man, Kraft said, “exemplified the spirit which has made the dairy industry the largest agricultural industry in America.”
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.
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 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, please call the Visitor Center at (518) 829-7516, email SchoharieCrossing@parks.ny.gov, or visit our Facebook page.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 individual state parks, historic sites, golf courses, boat launches and recreational trails, which are visited by 78 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.nysparks.com, connect on Facebook, or follow on Twitter