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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
George I. Koehnlein

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[This information is from Vol. IV, pp. 133-134 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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George I. Koehnlein, manager of the Grocers & Kings Milk Company of Fort Plain, came to Fort Plain in 1923 to take over the management of this well known local milk bottling and pasteurizing plant. He is a man well qualified by training and experience to assume the responsibility of conducting an establishment of this nature. Born in Deerfield, Oneida county, May 4, 1887, he is the son of George F. and Margaret (Hawthorne) Koehnlein, natives of that place. His father was a manufacturer of wagons in Deerfield and Utica, New York, for fifty-four years, continuing actively in this business until death brought his labors to an end in November of 1921. The mother passed away in April, 1919.

After obtaining a good general education in the schools of Deerfield and Utica, George I. Koehnlein went to work for the American Express Company, by whom he was employed for eight years. He left the express company to enter the employ of N. A. Van Son, who is engaged in the milk business, and was stationed at various dairy centers in this state until August 1, 1923, when he came to Fort Plain. The firm with which he has been so long connected operates a good many plants in various parts of New York state and Vermont and has its headquarters in New York city, where it markets vast quantities of milk every day. One gains some idea of the immense industry required to furnish a great metropolis with its milk when one stops to consider that a plant such as the one Mr. Koehnlein operates in Fort Plain is but a single unit in a great system that gathers up milk from faraway farms, pasteurizes it and transports it to the-city to be delivered bottled at the consumer's door. Every day one hundred and forty farmers from Vanhornesville, Starkville and the immediate vicinity of Fort Plain deliver their milk at the Grocers & Kings Milk Company plant here. This is pasteurized and shipped in forty-quart cans at the rate of three hundred and seventy-five cans a day. It requires about a dozen people to operate the plant and handle all the milk that passes through it on the way to America's greatest city.

In April, 1911, Mr. Koehnlein was married to Miss Gertrude MacDonald, daughter of Alexander and Catherine (MacDonald) MacDonald, Canadians by birth and natives of Ontario. Mrs. MacDonald died in 1916 and is survived by her husband, who is retired from active life and resides in Watertown, at the age of seventy-seven. Mr. Koehnlein is a thirty-second degree Mason and a Shriner, his affiliations being with Faxton Lodge, F. & A. M., of Utica; and Ziyara Temple of the same city. Politically he votes independent of party affiliations, deeming that the best way to serve his country is by exercising his rights of franchise. Mr. and Mrs. Koehnlein have made a wide circle of friends since coming to Fort Plain and are welcomed into the village social life, where they are highly regarded for their many excellent qualities.

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