Over two hundred years ago the New England Milk and Cream Dairy traveled only a short distance from the cow to the table. In the hundred years between 1860 and 1960, people moved away from farms and cows, and dairying changed from women’s work at home into a mechanized industry. A delivery person — the milkman — brought dairy products to villages, towns, and cities. At first, milk route men, and occasionally women, came in wagons with milk cans and dippers. Later, the wagons were replaced by fleets of trucks rattling with glass bottles. Without milkmen, generations of families in cities and towns would not have had fresh milk in their coffee, cream on their cereal, or pudding for dessert. Infants would not have had cows’ milk to fill their bottles.

In the same time period, dairying and the milk delivery system had to adapt to change. New processes and government regulation made commercial milk from far away dairies safe to drink, and science and mass advertising persuaded homemakers of milk’s nutritional value. By the 1960s, social, economic, and industrial changes caused milk delivery to shift to the self-service supermarket, and platoons of home delivery milkmen said goodbye,  but not in Paragould. 

Cover of a promotional booklet for H. P. Hood and Sons, circa 1953.  Courtesy of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities


The day the milkman stopped delivery?

When we moved to Paragould in 1966, I ask the Foremost Dairy here in Paragould for home deliver of milk.  I was quite surprised to find out that they did not do home delivery.  So, to answer your question, Foremost quit delivering milk in the early 1960’s.  We had had milk delivered in Kentucky before moving to Paragould, and we wanted the service to continue, so I called their competitor, Sealtest, and success!  They had a route man who would deliver milk and other products to our home.  So from the time we moved to our home on  Highland Street we had a milkman named Bud Mann.  A man named Bud, Bud Cloyce, that is, delivered our mail.  Now we were set up for the next 25 years, with “Bud”, as both made their delivers, one Bud six day of the week and another Bud three times a week.  We had four children and we used seven gallons of milk and three gallon of orange juice each week while they were all home.  It did dwindle down to a smaller amount after Marilyn died and I only had one child at home.  In the early 1990’s we were the only family in Paragould that had milk delivered to our home.  The day that we stopped the delivery of milk to our home was August 31, 1994.  All the children were gone from home.


The History of Coleman Dairy