News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.


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Niles Eggleston, 99; Milford Benefactor, Historian, Author of “Eva Coo Murderess”

IN MEMORIAM:  Niles Eggleston, 99;

Milford Benefactor, Historian, Author

His "Eva Coo Murderess," on a celebrated 1934 murder case, is now in its second printing.
His “Eva Coo Murderess,” on a celebrated 1934 murder case, is now in its second printing.

MILFORD CENTER – Niles Ward Eggleston 99, a community benefactor, local history enthusiast and author of “Eva Coo Murderess,” passed away Tuesday Nov. 3, 2015, at his residence in Milford Center.

Niles Eggleston
Niles Eggleston

He was born at home on Eggleston Hill in the Town of Middlefield on May 27, 1916, the first of eight children born to J. Ward and Maria (Osborn) Eggleston. He graduated from Milford High School in 1935. On June 9, 1943, he married his wife of 52 years, “the prettiest girl in the school,” Georgia Anna Pelton.

In 1937, he established a mail order business, Eggleston Enterprize, in Milford to supply contest information, supplies and newsletters to contestants. At first, it was a part-time venture while he continued to work on the family farm and sell farm produce to area stores. By the early 1950s it was a full-time business with several employees.

He retired in 1982 to enjoy traveling and to devote more time to gardening, photography, writing and his favorite hobby of all, fishing.

Howard ‘Howdy’ Cornish, 92; WWII Veteran, Last Of Original Milford Macs

IN MEMORIAM: Howard ‘Howdy’ Cornish, 92;

WWII Veteran, Last Of Original Milford Macs

Howard Cornish

MILFORD – Howard “Howdy” I. Cornish, 92, a World War II veteran and last of the original Milford Macs, passed away peacefully on Tuesday April 2, 2019, at Fox Nursing Home, Oneonta.

Born Nov. 2, 1926, at the Thanksgiving Hospital in Cooperstown, Howard was the son of Horace P. and Leta (Persons) Cornish.

He graduated from Milford High School, Class of 1945. Immediately after graduation, Howard enlisted in the Army and, following basic training, was assigned to the 778th Tank Battalion. Howard was dedicated to his country and proud of his service and that of his fellow comrades in arms.

ALL ABOARD! Highlights From The 150th Anniversary of Milford Trains


Highlights From The 150th

Anniversary of Milford Trains

Bruce Hodges, president, Leatherstocking Railway Historical Society and founder Jim Loudon, invite you to join two days of fun celebrating Otsego County’s railroad history. (Ian Austin/

MILFORD – The Cooperstown-Charlotte Valley Railroad celebrates 150 years with two days of train rides, talks, ice cream, music and more Saturday – Sunday, July 13-14.

  • 9 -11 a.m. Special Postal Cancellation by Milford Postmaster Judy Kessler @ Milford Depot
  • 10 – 11:30 a.m.: Steam powered Train Ride W. Big Hook Demo to Milepost 6 ($30/adult, $28/seniors, $25/kids, under 3 free)
  • 10 a.m. – Noon: Dixieland Band performs (tent in front of Milford Depot)
Trudy Lord, 77, Milford; Ceramist With Milford, Oneonta Studios

IN MEMORIAM: Trudy Lord, 77, Milford;

Ceramist With Milford, Oneonta Studios

Gertrude Lord

MILFORD – Gertrude “Trudy” Lord, 77, an accomplished ceramist who operated studios here and in Oneonta, passed away peacefully at The Centers Nursing Home on Sunday March 3, 2019, after a four-year courageous battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Trudy was born on Sept. 20, 1942, in Patterson, N.J., the daughter of the late Samuel L. and Gertrude Margroff Mott. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by a sister Geraldine, and brothers Gary and Ronald.

‘Pine Apple’ Cheese Gives Milford Bragging Rights

‘Pine Apple’ Cheese Gives

Milford Bragging Rights

Unique Delicacy Heralded Far, Wide

Oscar Weatherly examines 18-ounce Pine Apple Cheese “large gems” in 1905 in the shellac room of his Milford cheese-making plant. (Photo courtesy Upper Susquehanna Cultural Center)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Local historian Jim Havener examines two models of Milford’s once-famous Pine Apple Cheese displayed at the Upper Susquehanna Cultural Center. (Ian Austin/

MILFORD – On the Town of Milford website lies one line of historical mystery: “Home of the Once Famous Pine Apple Cheese.”

Not pineapple-flavored cheese. Not cottage cheese with pineapple.

Pine Apple Cheese.

“Pine Apple Cheese was an aged, mild cheddar that was wrapped in a crocheted bag and sprayed with an orange shellac,” said Jim Havener, a Milford historian.  “But when you unwrapped it, it looked just like a pineapple.”

In addition to running the Green Toad Bookstore in Oneonta, Havener travels the state collecting images for The Farmers’ Museum’s Ploughline photo collection.

“In over 20,000 images, this is the only really distinctive cheese factory I’ve come across,” he said.

In 1903, businessman Oscar Weatherly and his son-in-law, Stuart Haight, purchased the building between the Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad and what is now the Cooperstown Brewing Company, and dubbed it the Haight Cheese Company.

“It was already a butter factory owned by David Wilber,” Havener said. “So not only was he very involved in establishing banking and funding for these projects, he was also instrumental in building the railroad that they used.”

The “Pine Apple Cheese” factory stood between the Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley RR depot and today’s Cooperstown Brewing Co. It burned in 1950.

It was a community effort. In addition to employing the men of Milford in the factory, Weatherly and Haight used the railroad next door to bring in milk from the local dairy farmers.

And they hired women to crochet the bags that gave the cheese its distinctive pineapple-patterned look before the railroad was then used to ship the cheeses to market.

“It was really a community-based business,” said Havener. “It was the heyday of dairy, so farmers would bring their milk to be processed, and I imagine a woman could knit a couple dozen bags a day,”

And she would have to.  At its peak, the plant produced 500 cheeses a day, in sizes ranging from “Little Gem” to the 18-ounce “Large Gem” to “Family Sized,” but all of them were labelled “fancy.”

Two of those bags – wrapped around prop cheeses – are on display at the Upper Susquehanna Cultural Center, home of the Milford Historical Society, along with interior and exterior photos of the plant.

Word of the “Princess of Cheeses,” as it was called, spread. One 1907 photo shows a room of more than 100 hanging cheeses ready for shipping. “This is only a few of the cheese,” the caption says, “but you get the idea of it.”

“Milford soldiers stationed overseas in World War I reported that they would open their rations and find a Pine Apple Cheese,” said Havener. “How it got to the trenches of France is a really interesting aspect to the story.”

In addition to the Pine Apple Cheese, Haight also made cream cheese, Neufchatel and American cheese, as well as selling “grated cheese in bottles,” according to one advertisement.

A fire burned the factory in 1922, but it was soon rebuilt, and remained in operation until 1950. “It was a family-run business,” said Havener. “The Weatherlys were becoming elderly, and they couldn’t find anyone to run the business.”

The building was demolished sometime later. “It wasn’t here when I arrived in 1980,” said Havener.

But as he crosses the state looking for photographs of rural life, he still finds new photos of Milford’s cheese-making heyday.

“I’ve found a couple pictures of the Haight Pine Apple Cheese company,” he said. “There were hundreds of cheese factories across New York, but none like the Pine Apple Cheese.”

Nancy Kiser Feola, 66; Milford Woman Fought Cancer 19 Months

IN MEMORIAM: Nancy Kiser Feola, 66;

Milford Woman Fought Cancer 19 Months

MILFORD  –  Nancy Feola (nee Kiser) of Milford, who retired from a 30-year career with the Otsego County Attorney’s Office, lost her gallant 19-month struggle with cancer Monday evening Oct. 5, 2015, at Bassett Hospital.  She was 66.

Born April 1, 1949, she was the oldest daughter among six children of Arthur Sr. and Helen (Platt) Kiser. She attended the one-room Westville School from 1954 to 1961, then attended and graduated from Milford Central School, Class of 1967.  She earned AAS degree in Secretarial Science in 1970 from Herkimer County Community College.

A life-long Milford/Cooperstown resident, she lived with her husband at their State Highway 166 residence.

Up From The Ashes2 Years After Fire, Milford Methodist Anticipating ‘Starkly Beautiful’ Church

Up From The Ashes

2 Years After Fire, Milford Methodist

Anticipating ‘Starkly Beautiful’ Church

Doug Hallberg, the Oneonta stained-glass designer, installs the “Christ at Gethsemane” window in the new Milford Methodist Church. The window was salvaged from the church that burned on March 12, 2017.  (Ian Austin/

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs, 3:5-6

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Lola Rathbone, who chaired Milford Methodist Church’s building committee, is flanked by Pastor Sylvia Barrett and Rathbone’s husband Tom, who volunteered as clerk of the works on the job.  (Jim Kevlin/

MILFORD – It was about 4 a.m. on March 13, 2013.

The 1930 Milford Methodist Church had burned down the night before in a raging fire that was seen for miles, and tearful and forlorn congregation members gathered in Bob and Glenda Moore’s kitchen on East Main Street.

“What are we going to do?” asked Pam Dubreuil, the Moores’ daughter, an aide at Milford Central School.  Her dad, the retired town justice, chaired the church’s Board of Trustees.

“We just have to build another church,” said Pastor Sylvia Barrett, who had been with the congregation since 2013.

Two years and three months later, that’s almost been accomplished.

Pending a final building inspection and Certificate of Occupancy, the congregation will soon be worshiping in a modern building, accommodating 95 in the sanctuary (with room in the narthex for another 44), with in-floor radiant heating, wooden beams (non-weight-bearing), and a skylight above the altar.

IN MEMORIAM: Dorothy Marie Smith Weir, 97; Organist For Milford Church


Dorothy Marie Smith Weir, 97;

67-Year Organist At Milford 

Dorothy Weir

MILFORD – Dorothy Marie Smith Weir, 97, the organist for 67 years at the Milford United Methodist Church, passed peacefully into the arms of the Lord Monday, Feb. 12, surrounded by her loving family after a short illness.

Dorothy was born in Bethany, Pa., the daughter of Methodist Reverend Joseph H. Smith and Marie E. Albertson.  She attended various schools prior to moving to Oneonta. Dorothy graduated from Oneonta High School in the Class of 1939. After graduation, she attended Syracuse University, majoring in Music and Fine Arts with a minor in organ.

Ann Eckler, 66, Milford; Worked For Her Family’s Oasis Restaurant

IN MEMORIAM: Ann Eckler, 66, Milford;

Worked At Her Family’s Oasis Restaurant

Ann M. Eckler

MILFORD – Ann M. Eckler, 66, a waitress at her family’s Oasis Restaurant in Oneonta and later a correctional officer, passed away peacefully on April 5, 2019, at Bassett Hospital.

She was born Nov. 8, 1952, in Oneonta, the daughter of Joseph Gerald and Betty Elizabeth (Banner) Monser.

Ann graduated from Oneonta High School, Class of 1970.  She married Donald L. Eckler on Nov. 15, 1970 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Oneonta.

Fire At Milford United Methodist Church





Flames push out from under the front gable of the Milford United Methodist Church, which is on fire at this hour. The fire began in the rear, where the dining hall and church offices are located. (Jim Kevlin/

Fire Began In Dining Hall

At Rear, Spreads Throughout


MILFORD – Almost a dozen fire crews at this hour are battling a blaze at the Milford United Methodist Church at 89 Main St.

The crews, including Milford, Oneonta, Cooperstown, Mount Vision, Schenevus and several others appeared to have the blaze under control, but it was burning too hot to be extinguished.  It appeared likely the building will be a total loss.

Efforts are concentrating on the belltower at this hour (10 p.m.)

Elinor ‘Jane’ Montgomery, 84; Organist At Milford Church For Many Years

IN MEMORIAM: Elinor ‘Jane’ Montgomery, 84;

Organist At Milford Church For Many Years

Jane Montgomers

MARYLAND – Elinor “Jane” Montgomery, 84, who played organ at Milford Center Community Bible Church for many years, passed away Jan. 5, 2019, at Fox Nursing Home in Oneonta.

She was born May 15, 1934, in Treadwell, the daughter of Vernon and Gladys (Diihr) Townsend.

Elinor was married to Millard D. “Zip” Montgomery for 40 years, prior to his passing on July 6, 2008.

IN MEMORIAM: Richard J. Young, 74, Milford; Xerox Retiree

IN MEMORIAM:  Richard J. Young, 74, Milford; Xerox Retiree

MILFORD – Richard J. Young, 74, of Milford, who travelled throughout the East Coast and Puerto Rico as a service manager for Xerox and an avid fisherman in his retirement, passed away Thursday, May 29, 2014, at his home after a long illness.

Cooperstown, Milford Boosters Raise $3,100 For Cancer Fight

Cooperstown, Milford Boosters

Raise $3,100 For Cancer Fight

CCS' girls basketball team, and girls and boys teams in Cooperstown and Milford, helped raise $3,100 for the Bassett Cancer Institute over the weekend.
CCS’ girls basketball team, and girls and boys teams in Cooperstown and Milford, helped raise $3,100 for the Bassett Cancer Institute over the weekend.  (Mike Perrino photo)

COOPERSTOWN – The Cooperstown Sports Booster Club, in combination with the Milford Central School Sports Booster Club, raised $3,100 for The Bassett Cancer Institute, the Cooperstown boosters announced today.

The “Homestand Against Cancer” event on Saturday was organized by the Cooperstown club and highlighted cancer awareness and research.

Catherine ‘Kitty’ Elliott, 85; Co-Owner Of Milford Market, Captain At Otesaga

Catherine ‘Kitty’ Elliott, 85; Co-Owner

Of Milford Market, Captain At Otesaga

Kitty Elliott
Kitty Elliott

MILFORD – Selfless mother, grandmother and great grandmother Catherine T. “Kitty” Elliott, former co-proprietor of the Milford Market, completed her 85-year-journey, surrounded by her loving family and friends Monday, Feb. 8, 2016.

Kitty joined the world with her twin sister on May 21, 1930, in Wilmington, Del. She was one of eight children born to the late Antonio and Mary (Uzzo) Mazzio.

She began her hard-working career at a young age, leaving academic pursuits to help care for her siblings.

On Aug. 7, 1954, she wed the late Robert F. Elliott, who served in the Navy. In 1970, she and her husband moved to Upstate New York, settling in Milford. There, Kitty raised her three children with exceptional love and devotion of which she took great pride in. This was by far her favorite and most rewarding profession. In return, each is eternally grateful for all she taught and provided to and for them.

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