Drawing Milk to the Cheese Factory


From the book “How Dear to My Heart” by Walter Kilborn Billings


In Lyn the cheese factory was located at the foot of the Jarvis Hill, just across the creek from the tan-bark field where they used to play ball. One road led around the corner at the hotel (Stacks), down the mill hill, across a little bridge and along the ban of the creek. The other road turned at the schoolhouse, down the Jarvis hill, past the old barn and on to the factory. At first Father had made a cart with the two wheels of the old wooden horse rake, a wooden axle and long shafts running back to about the back of the wheels. A platform of boards was nailed to the shafts, and the springs taken from an old army wagon, and secured in the centre on the axle and the ends fastened underneath the shafts. For a seat an abandoned bee-hive was used, cleats were nailed on the inside and a loose board laid in. When I got groceries at the store, I could just lift up the board and drop the parcels into the box. There was room on the platform for only one large milk can, which was all that was needed at that time. The horse I was given to drive was one that was hard to make trot, for just as soon as she was stirred up a bit she would break into a canter, with the result that the shafts were bobbing up and down and your neck would get sore trying to keep your head steady.


The old Post Office on the right (white building), located on main street. At one time this was the site of the original Lyn Mill.

One morning going through the village I had my sister Lou along, and as we went past the post office the horse was doing the regular canter but with not much speed. As I came back up into the village and stopped for the mail, the constable, Tom Hudson, came over to the cart and said “My boy, if I see you going through the village as you went this morning, I will take you to jail!” So I always watched after that for Mr. Hudson.


It was fun to see the milk wagons coming along the gravel pit road, and then hurry along and up around the school-house and down the Jarvis hill, and to get in ahead of them at the factory. But one morning as I was going around that way, I saw ahead of me down near the foot of the hill another milk cart. The driver Bob King had been to the factory and unloaded his milk, and had gone up to the village for some bread, and was returning to the factory to get his whey, as he had come in on the gravel pit road. Hurrying along down the hill I yelled to the driver to get out of my way but he did not have time, and as I went by him the hub of my wheel caught the rim of his wheel and tipped his cart over on its side. I drove on down to the factory and got in line, then went back to help the lad whose cart I had tipped over. I do not think I have ever heard anyone use as many cuss words as he did that morning! I dare not go near him, but held the horse by the head while he straightened the cart up. For several days I kept out of his way.


The next year my father secured a spring wagon, took the box off and built a platform with room for three or four cans. I had been cautioned to drive carefully, as I was drawing a neighbour’s milk also. For some time I did very well, but one morning on arriving opposite the town pump a big load of milk came down the hill from Seeley’s and on to the main road ahead of me. This was too much! I stirred up my horse and caught up to the load, and was passing just before we came to the hotel on the corner when I was crowded to the sidewalk with both the front and hind wheels on the walk. As we neared the corner the road was lower and the wagon began to tip, with the result that it finally went over on its side and the cans fell to the ground. Fortunately the neighbour’s milk can went clear over and finally landed right end up, so that very little milk was lost from it. One of our own cans that had a very tight cover did the same, but the third can landed on its side and nearly all of its contents poured on to the ground.

Of course a crowd arrived on the scene at once and the wagon was righted. I watched for the constable, but he was not up yet, so I did not go to jail. However, I had to draw our neighbour’s milk nearly all summer for nothing, to pay Father for the can I had spilled.







Jarvis Street Hill leading down to the cheese factory. This is now Church St, Lyn.


Returning from the Lyn Cheese Factory (This is not a photo of Walter Billings, but an unknown driver)