Sanborn 1905 Fire Insurance Map
Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division, Sanborn Maps Collection
Greenbrier Creamery Company
1886 – 1898
The 1898 Sanborn fire map shows that a 25' lane ran from the end of Lafayette Street, past the Worsham Stable on lots 13 and 14 (The white house there was moved in 2018 from where the Montwell Commons recycle shed is now located.), and up the hill to Lee St. The Greenbrier Creamery was at the bottom of the hill, just below the flour mill. The map indicates there was an unused 8 HP steam engine in the former Creamery building, and the Greenbrier Independent reports that Aquilla Lipps purchased it in 1899. Water came from the nearby Beirne spring, ice came from the Greenbrier River, and the waste materials undoubtedly ended up in the sinkhole.
A great deal of information has been gathered from the Greenbrier Independent weekly newspaper archives, deeds, and other referenced sources and some is presented in the following pages. This gives an indication of the role that the Greenbrier Creamery Company played in the town and the Greenbrier Valley during the late 19th century. Additional news clippings and deed excerpts can be read by clicking here.
September 2, 1886
John Estill, John Lutz, and J.M. McWhorter of Lewisburg and two others each purchased 20 shares of stock at $50 per share ($1800 per share in today's dollars) and agreed “to become a corporation by the name of The Greenbrier Creamery Company, for the purpose of manufacturing butter and other products of milk”. The incorporation documents were certified by Henry S. Walker, Secretary of State of the State of West Virginia on September 2, 1886.
December 27, 1888
Cox and Hodson convey for $400 ($14,000 in today's dollars) the part of their Mill Lot to the Greenbrier Creamery where the creamery building had already been built: “. . . we convey to said Greenbrier Creamery company all that part of the mill lot lying West of the East wall of the Creamery building beginning at the South east corner of said lot conveyed . . . We also convey the right to said Creamery Company to lay the necessary piping to carry water from the spring or from a tank to be erected at the end of the water trough to the Creamery building for use at said Creamery . . . and we hereby grant unto the said Creamery Company a sufficient amount of the waste water running from the spring to supply said Creamery. . . “ Deed 40-97
June 21, 1888
The Greenbrier Creamery Editor, Greenbrier Independent:
Let me call the attention of the farmers of Greenbrier specially to the new enterprise of the Greenbrier Creamery Co. This is certainly a paying one to the farmer, much more so than raising young cattle. The Creamery Company propose working on two systems, viz.: 1) Farmers haul the milk and get so much per hundred pounds at the Creamery; and, 2) on the Farmlamb system of settling milk and letting the Creamery Co. send for and only buy the cream. This saves the farmer the trouble and expense of hauling and allows him to keep the skimmed milk at home for his calves and hogs. . . This Company is now making the first-class butter and have made a contract to furnish The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs with their butter. Greenbrier Independent vol 23 no. 3
March 14, 1889
The new machinery for the Greenbrier Creamery has arrived in Lewisburg and is now being placed in the new building. The Company now has much larger machinery, both engine and separator, and are determined to be ready for their increased patronage. Greenbrier Independent vol 23 no 41
May 23, 1889
The Greenbrier creamery now receives on an average over three tons of milk per day. (This would be about 150 5-gallon milk cans.) Greenbrier Independent vol 23 no 51
January 9, 1890
Local Matters Mr. Aquilla Lipps now has his staving machine in operation, and is putting up butter tubs for the Greenbrier Creamery. (A tub of butter typically weighed 84 lbs.) Greenbrier Independent vol 24 no. 32
February 27, 1890
Water was reported two feet deep in the Creamery ice-house yesterday morning, caused by the recent heavy rains, and the sink hole becoming clogged up. Greenbrier Independent vol 24 no. 39
March 13, 1890
Last Friday morning was the coldest of the winter, 2 degrees above zero. The Creamery Co. secured 42 wagon loads of ice from an inch and a half to three and a half inches thick.
Yesterday Constable Cabell, under direction of our town council opened the sink-hole near the Creamery, which will prevent the gathering and standing of a large pond in that hollow. - The hands in digging down came across an old stone wall which some one had built around the sink many years ago. Greenbrier Independent vol 24 no. 41
November 8, 1894
On account of the long protracted drought that has prevailed here, and which cut the grass short, thereby decreasing the supply of milk, the Greenbrier Creamery has been compelled to close down for a couple of months. It will likely start up again about the first or last of January. Greenbrier Independent vol 29 no. 24
February 11, 1897
Mr. Wm. M. Bell, proprietor of the Greenbrier Creamery, lost a good portion of his ice that he had stored away in the ice-house last Saturday, caused by high water, the sink in the hollow near the Creamery, being frozen up. A hog in a pen near by was drowned. He saved the butter by moving it out. Greenbrier Independent vol 30 no. 38
February 23, 1899
Last Friday morning, the 17th, about 6 o'clock, the Lewisburg Roller Mill belonging to Dunbar & Alderson was discovered to be on fire. . . The building with all its costly machinery and contents, including about 1,500 bushels of grain, together with the Creamery building, immediately adjoining, was soon a mass of ruins, bringing to the owners of the mill a loss of between four and five thousand dollars, and to the owners of the Creamery building, Messrs. William and Ernest Echols – a loss of about $400. They succeeded in saving all the Creamery machinery except the churn . . . Greenbrier Independent Vol 33 no. 33 p.3
May 25, 1899
Having bought the Creamery eight-horse engine and a new French Burr corn-mill, I am prepared to grind the best of table meal and all kinds of feed. Will keep meal on hand to exchange for corn, at my shop. Aquilla Lipps Greenbrier Independent Vol 34 #1
The Greenbrier Independent newspaper was researched at the Greenbrier County Historical Society archives at the North House Museum, Lewisburg, WV, where a digitized version is available.
Deeds are identified by (book no. – page no.) and are on file in the County Clerk's office at the Greenbrier County Courthouse.