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Early Milkmen!

Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!

By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Society Museum

Today if you want a glass of milk, milk in your coffee etc. you make a stop at the grocery store for a quart or two in plastic containers. In days past, the local milkman left it on your doorstep in glass bottles that had a paper cap with a little pull tab on it! In the winter, if you did not take the bottles inside soon enough, the milk would freeze and the paper cap would be pushed up and be sitting on top of a couple of inches of frozen cream. The milk was not pasteurized and the thick cream rose to the top of the bottle. Depending on the time period, from the early 1900’s to the 1960’s or so when home delivery ended, this was common practice.

Author Dorothy Laverty’s book states that Fred Clifford was possibly Millinocket’s first milk peddler. He had a small farm on the road to Stone Dam. Bert Rush had his own dairy herd out near the railroad station. From early days, with Millinocket’s lack of actual farms, milk was transported to town via the train, usually from points north. It came in large milk cans, was picked up by various milk peddlers, bottled and delivered door-to-door to customers. Names such as Jones, Keeley, Boddy and Mulroney are mentioned by Laverty as having milk routes.

A 1920’s news article says, “William J. Boddy & Leonard Farrell visited Summit Farms (in Davidson) recently to better familiar themselves with the care of stock and the most sanitary and up-to-date handling of milk.” In another article, Boddy invited the public to visit and inspect the milk-room. Another 1920’s news mention, “Horace Jones, who has been employed in the mill has left his position and purchased the milk route of his father George Jones.”

As years passed, Gerald Rush acquired the Rush farm business, joined with Mulroney and they bought the Jones and Boddy businesses and formed Sno-land Dairy. In 1962, Grant’s Dairy purchased Sno-land and all milk came in processed and bottled from Bangor.

The museum has milk/cream bottles (quart, pint, half-pint, or gil) from BF Rush, Boddy’s, Keeley’s, Mulroney’s and Sno-land Dairies. Would like more information on any of those. Still seeking a bottle from Jones’ Dairy plus information/photos of any of the above-mentioned dairies, their location and stories about the owners. The Laverty book also mentions Clowes, Gauvin and Reed as milk deliverers. Stop in or contact MHS if you can add info, photos, stories or ephemera (paper items such as advertising) to the museum’s collection!

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