White Clover Dairy Timeline

Since 1998 I have been passionate about researching the Fassbender family, and also the role that the family played in the cheese and dairy industry here in Wisconsin…and in the world. I have been building the story from the first cheese factory built by Peter Fassbender in Ellington Township (Outagamie), Wisconsin, to Henry Fassbender purchasing White Clover Dairy in Hollandtown (Brown) Wisconsin, and Hubert Fassbenders purchase of the South Kaukauna Dairy Company, later to become world famous as Kaukauna Club. This timeline will focus on Henry, and his company, the White Clover Dairy, and will continue to grow as new information is found.

In 2006 Arla Foods purchased White Clover, and they have deleted 100 years of Fassbender ownership from the “history” of the Hollandtown plant that they publish on their website: https://www.arlausa.com/our-dairy1/ (this link is current as of today, 5 Nov 2017).

  • 1897 – Company history states that White Clover Dairy was created by a small group of local farmers as a clearing house for the milk they were producing.
  • 18 Jan 1900 – Barbara Vander Heiden sold “A part of Lot eight (8) Section thirty four (34) Township Twenty One (21) North of Range Nineteen (19) East and clearly described as follows, to wit: Commencing on the South East (SE) Corner of said Lot 8 Township 21 Range 19 and running north Eleven and one half (11 1/2) Rods Thence at right angle West nine and one half (9 1/2) rods, thence at a right angle South Eleven and one half (11 1/2) rods to the Center of the road, thence at right angles East to the place of beginning” to The White Clover Dairy Company, for $50.00.
  • 19 Jan 1900 – Gerhard Springers, Martin Vande yacht, John Kempen signed in the articles of incorporation for the White Clover Co-Operative Dairy Company before Peter Nettekoven, Outagamie County Notary Public.
  • 7 Feb 1900 – The paperwork was filed in Brown County, and received at the state level the next day.
  • Apr 1900 – “The farmers of Dundas and Holland have formed themselves into a company for the manufacture of butter and cheese. The corporation is organized under the laws of the state, with $6,000 capital, and will be known as the White Clover Butter and Cheese company.1 
  • 5 Nov 1905 – Henry J. Fassbender purchased the Dairy, renaming it the White Clover Creamery.
  • 21 Nov 1905, the White Clover Dairy Company a stock corporation, sold the above described land, including the addition: “This Deed is intended to convey the lands and tenements as above described as well as the Creamery and Cheese factory located thereon, including all of the machinery and appliance used in connection therewith,” to Henry J. Fassbender, for the sum of $3,000.
  • 15 Aug 1911 – Henry along with 17 other expert cheese makers assisted Nicholas Simon in creating a 12,000 pound cheese in Appleton (Outagamie) Wisconsin, for the National Dairy Exposition, which was held in Chicago, October 26-November 4, 1911.
  • Aug 1914 – War breaks out in Europe
  • 2 Apr 1917 – President Wilson asks Congress to declare war on Germany.
  • 13 Nov 1919 – Henry struck oil as he was drilling for a new water well for the factory. Oil Fever ensued.
  • 1 Jul 1920 – An oil derrick had been built, and drilling operations began on this day, and continued until it became a “dead issue” in November 1920. The oil derrick was wrecked in a May 1920 thunderstorm.
  • 22 May 1922 – White Clover Dairy burns to the ground. The loss is $20,000.
  • May 1923 – Concrete roads were constructed between Wrightstown and Hollandtown. 
  • 29 Oct 1929 – Black Tuesday, the day of the Stock Market Crash.
  • 31 May 1923 – Hubert and Henry, along with 13 other men, form the Kaukauna Casein Manufacturing Company.
  • 1934 – Bernard (Butch), Harold, and Norbert (Red) Fassbender, took over the business from their father, operating as Fassbender Brothers.
    • “…Butch Fassbender went to the Forest Junction State Bank in 1934 to ask for a $2,500 loan to pay off milk supplies to his father’s foundering dairy, the bank refused him. So he asked a good friend and farmer to back up the note, and the White Clover Dairy, which had suffered during the Great Depression, was saved…”2 
  • 1934 – Butch is named General Manager of Fassbender Brothers, he is 22 years of age.
  • 1934 – The Fassbender Brothers began by producing cheddar.
  • 1936 – Henry purchases a plant in Oconto County, Wisconsin.
  • 1939 – Small amounts of round Edams were produced.
  • 1940 – Gjetost production was begun.
  • 7 Dec 1941 – The Japanese attack Pearl Harbor.
  • World War II: The U.S. Government directs all cheese factories to concentrate on producing Cheddar, so as to provide large supplies for the armed forces, and for the “lend-lease” program. Along with making Cheddar, the company continues to produce Gjetost, an un-rationed cheese.
  • 1944 – Production of Gjetost had reached 300,000 pounds.3 
  • 1944 – Baby Goudas, Loaf Edams, Holland Spice Cheese, and Nøkkelost were added to the production line.
  • 24 Dec 1946 – Butch, Harold and Norbert incorporate as the White Clover Dairy Company, Inc. with 1,000 shares at $100 per share, to “manufacture and sell cheese and dairy products.4 
  • 1948 – Production of Gjetost was discontinued.
  • 8 Oct 1948 – White Clover announces its plan to expand its building for the “purpose of handling Grade-A milk for the Chicago Market.”5 
  • 28 Jan 1955 – Henry passes away at the age of 75.
  • 1957 – Production of Lactose began.
  • 1971 – White Clover purchases the Passini Cheese Company in Plymouth (Sheboygan) Wisconsin, a manufacturer of Italian Cheese. The plant was ready for operation 8 Dec 1971.
  • 11 Apr 1974 – White Clover has an open house to celebrate the completion of the new $500,000 building, which is “1/2 a football field at each level.”
  • 1974 – White Clover expands its production of processed spreads.
  • 1 Oct 1976 – Both the Hollandtown and Plymouth plants are sold to Gerber International Foods, a subsidiary of the Nestle Co. (Nestle USA). The plant became a division of Gerber International, continuing to produce Gouda and Edam under the White Clover label, and private labels. Butch retained his position as Vice-President and General Manager.
  • Dec 1977 – Butch Fassbender retires at age 65 as Vice-President and General Manager.
  • Dec 1980 – White Clover was purchased from Nestle by family and local investors, and renamed White Clover Dairy, Inc. Butch took the position of president, and Richard Eiting was named vice-president and general manager. The board of directors included: Butch Fassbender, chairman, Gary Fassbender, Norman Vanderloop, Betty Hensel, Earl Gilling and Gail Janssen.
  • 1981 – White Clover began making liquid veal feed.
  • 4 Feb 1981 – Butch was recognized and honored as a pioneer in the Wisconsin Gift Cheese industry, for service and contributions to the Wisconsin Gift Cheese Association during the years 1951 to 1981.6 
  • 1982 – Liquid Veal Feed was developed and began production.
  • Oct 1985 – White Clover makes the Wisconsin 100 list, ranking number 70.7 
  • 1989 – The plant in Sherwood was purchased
  • 1992 – State of the art block former equipment was purchased
  • 1995 – Automated Gouda towers were purchased and installed.
  • 1996 – Building expansion
  • 1997 – Through an agreement with MD Foods (now Arla USA) Harvarti production was begun.

Sources

  1. “Will Not Accept,” The Oshkosh Northwestern, 10 Apr 1900, Tuesday, p. 4, col. 3; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 22 Nov 2017).
  2. Jennifer Church Post-Crescent correspondent, “100 years and counting at the White Clover Dairy,” The Post-Crescent, 4 May 1997, Sunday, p. H-1, col. 2; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 13 Oct 2017).
  3. “Hollandtown Dairy Plans Expansion,” The Kaukauna Times, 8 Oct 1949, preserved newspaper clipping.
  4. “Incoporation Papers Filed,” The Green Bay Press-Gazette, 24 Dec 1946, Tuesday, p. 21, col. 1; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 21 Aug 2016).
  5. “Hollandtown Dairy Plans Expansion.”
  6. “Honored at State Event,” personal newspaper clipping, along with a certificate of recognition.
  7. “Four area private firms make ‘Wisconsin 100,'” The Post-Crescent,  8 Oct 1985, Tuesday, p. A-8; personal newspaper clipping.