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Odell, Emery A. / Swiss cheese industry in Green County Wisconsin

Wife of early colonist no doubt first cheesemaker,   pp. 5-9 PDF (1.1 MB)

Page 8

which was in 1850, he bought five cows and made butter and cheese,
and branched out into grain and stock raising. He died in 1855
leaving a widow and five children. The youngest was Adam
Blumer, who succeeded his brother-in-law, Jacob Hefty, in the
brewery business in Monroe. The son married March 23, 1865, and
located on the old homestead. He began making limburger cheese
in 1868, keeping at that time 20 cows. He continued the manufac-
ture of cheese and in 1884 had 75 cows, which was more than other
farmers of that day thought of keeping. The farm was increased
to 476 acres and as many as 80 to 100 cows were milked in later
years, when he had as high as 150 cattle on the farm.
Known as First Cheesemaker
Rudolph Benkert, who came to Monroe in 1867, was known in
after years as the first cheesemaker in Green county. He went
to work the same year he came on the Martin Zumbrunnen farm
in Washington township. He started experimental limburger mak-
ing in a small building and the cheese was taken to the cellar of the
home for curing. Cheesemaking up to that time had been carried
on in a haphazard sort of way in the homes without commonly prac-
ticed methods and no thought of uniform shaping.
Mr. Benkert was born in Canton Berne, Switzerland, May 22,
1841. H[e was the son of John Benkert and when he came to this
country with his parents in 1851 they settled in Oneida county, New
York, where limburger was first made in this country. He learned
something about it there and when he came here he began making
limburger with moulds in the form of the small bricks. This work
was carried on by him in a small way in 1867 and it earned for him
the reputation of being the first cheesemakex in Green county.
Also Made American Cheese
When he was married to Catherine Zimmerman, of Washington
township, Feb. 17, 1871, they moved onto a farm in Monroe town-
ship where he built a factory and made cheese from the milk of his
own cows and milk delivexed by several farmers. He did not buy
the milk but they made it up as a company. He made cheese fot
20 years or more, making both limburger and American.     The
American cheese he sold to grocery stores at Freeport at 8 cents a
pound and the limburger only brought 6 cnts. When limburger
was up to 10 cents he thought he was making money.
He retired from farming in 1905 and moved to Monroe, where
he died Feb. 20, 1918.
While living in New York he enlisted in 1863 in the 1st New
York Mounted Rifles, under General Butler. He served to the close
of the war. He was a dispatch carrier for six months. Although

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