Big Cheese 1866, The

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 7,778 imperial gallons (35 metric tonnes) of milk to make the 7,300-pound (3,311-kilogram) 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.


On the grounds of the Elm Hurst Inn & Spa, 415 Harris Street, Ingersoll

Region: Southwestern Ontario

County/District: County of Oxford

Municipality: Township of Ingersoll