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The Big Cheese, 1866

The Big Cheese, 1866

Photos and transcription by contributor Kevin Howard - Posted November, 2016

The Big Cheese, 1866

Plaque Location

The County of Oxford
The Town of Ingersoll
At the Elm Hurst Inn off Road 119
first exit north of Highway 401

Coordinates: N 43 01.792 W 80 51.393


Click here for a larger map

Plaque Text

Lydia Chase Ranney and her assistant Robert Facey began making cheese locally in the mid-19th century. Ranney shared her knowledge of cheese making with her son-in-law James Harris, and in 1865 he established Ingersoll's first co-operative cheese factory on this property. To stimulate international interest, specifically in the lucrative British market, local cheese factory owners and entrepreneurs created the Ingersoll Cheese Manufacturing Company of Oxford to produce a mammoth wheel of cheddar cheese, here in 1866. Facey, the head cheesemaker, used 35 tonnes of milk to make the 3,311 kg round of cheese. It was made in eight days and cured for three months in a specially built shed. In August 1866, the 'Big Cheese', was transported on a modified wagon by six horses to the train station in Ingersoll. It was exhibited at the New York State Fair in Saratoga and then shipped to England where it was bought by a Liverpool merchant. The 'Big Cheese' helped establish Oxford County as the birthplace of Canada's commercial cheese industry.

Related Ontario plaques
First Cheese Factory
J.L. Kraft 1874-1953



Ingersoll Plaques

Here are the visitors' comments for this page.

> Posted August 24, 2017
Hello. Does anyone have a picture of the large 3 storeys high frame cheese factory of Robert Facey of Harrietsville? It was said to be the largest in the world at that time and had private living quarters for the family on the second floor. It lasted just a few years and then was torn down and was replaced by a white brick one which was run by his son, SE "Ed" Facey. Robert was my great grandfather and SE was my grandfather. Does anyone have a pic of the large frame factory of Robert Facey? Does anyone have a picture of Robert Facey? Does anyone have a picture of SE Facey who took over the factory after his father, Robert, died in 1897?
Jean Facey Spearin spearin1@icloud.com

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