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.
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.
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.
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.
MILFORD – Mickey Ryan, 87, of Milford, a past state commander of the American Legion, passed away Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 13, 2017, at the state Veterans’ Home at Oxford, where he was given compassionate care while struggling with Alzheimer’s.
Mickey loved life and people, worked hard and played even harder.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
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.
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.
By LIBBY CUDMORE & JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
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.)
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 – 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.
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.