Articles taken from Andover Sesquicentennial Book and a news article

From the Andover Area Community Newsletter written by Clara York in 1997

Submitted by William A. Greene  2006


     After finishing his college education at Alfred University in 1916, William M. Woodruff and Sam Helmer started a wholesale cheese business in Almond, and they made good.  In the fall of 1918, wishing to extend his business, Mr. Woodruff came to Andover and purchased the old established cheese business of Snyder & Clarke, combining it with the Almond industry.  He continued this business and in late 1920’s, he bought his first cheese factory, which was situated on Greenwood Hill.  From that time on he continued to buy and lease cheese factories in West Almond, Hedgesville, Petrolia and Conewango, also in White Creek and Black Creek.  In the beginning all cheese was trucked to Syracuse for storage and later cured in a Hygeina storage plant in Elmira where at one time Mr. Woodruff rented one complete floor.

     Mr. Woodruff inaugurated a new system for the sale of his product.  Instead of selling cheese to the jobbers, or the middleman, he established a fine trade direct with the retail merchants.  In order to better serve his patrons he started an automobile cheese express, and delivered to the merchants at their door pure whole milk Allegany County full cream cheese at the same price as sold by other dealers F. O. B. warehouse.  This saving and method of business met with hearty approval of the merchants and his business soon fast developed. Later a fleet of trucks delivered store to store in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York.  Drivers were Guy Hulin, Otto Nye and Warren Ahrens.  Much of the cheese manufactured in Andover at this time was sold to J. S. Hoffman, Armor and Company, Kraft, A & P, McCadam Cheese Company and Cuba Cheese and trading.

     William M. Woodruff died in 1939, at which time his son William V. Woodruff assumed the responsibility of the cheese business.  He also carried on the tradition that his father had started of having nothing but the best Allegany County cheese marketed thru them.

     In 1941, Bill built a cold storage plant behind his residence on Dyke St..  In 1945 he bought the old Cutlery building on Rochambeau Ave. and consolidated the Greenwood Hill and West Almond business.  From this building they manufactured cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, buttermilk, ice cream and ice-cream mix.

     During World War II, two Army Quartermaster officers lived in the Village and supervised shipment of Woodruff Cheese.  During this time, 45% of the cheese made had to be set-aside for the Armed forces.  Bill practically trained these officers since they had never had experience with cheese.  One had been buying chickens for the Army and the other was a meat cutter.  There was a mountain of paper work for these men. Every box of cheese had to be approved by them.

     The cheese went by railroad car from Andover, iced in Hornell and a carload a month was shipped to New Jersey, where they were shipped overseas to England or other places.  The cheese had to be strapped and if it was going overseas, it had to be double strapped.  Because of this demand, the local truck deliveries were stopped due to the shortage of cheese for this area.

     Woodruff Cheese Company was the forerunner in the eastern U.S. in prepackaging its cheese for distribution.  Ladies doing the packing were Mrs. Maude Goodridge, Mrs. Reta Myers and Mrs. Lettie Schoonover.

     The “Dairy Bar” was a delight to the local residents where ice cream cones, milk shakes and dairy products could be purhcased.  Some of those working there were: Judy Woodruff, Joan Baker, Rosemary Burger, Carol Grossman, Clarice Nye, Evelyn Smith and Barbara Joyce.

     Woodruff’s closed in 1959 due to a shortage of the milk supply.  Summer surplus milk was made into cheddar cheese in 1960 and 1961, with Bill’s son, William J.



      Other employees of the Woodruff Cheese Company under William V. were:  Harold Ormsby, James Martin, Lawrence Ordiway, Emerald Ordiway, Paul Ordiway, Carl Clark, Robert A. Baker, Craig Snyder, and Daniel Mullen. In the office were: Marion Cook (Guilford), Pearl Goodridge (Snyder), Anna Stevens, Bernice Williams (Marsh), Charles Loescher and Jennie Dodge (Boyer).   In 1964 the building was sold to James Gram for the Niagara Electron business. 

William Marian Woodruff


     William Marian Woodruff was born in Livonia, N.Y., August 25, 1894, son of Samuel G. and Flora Bosley Woodruff and passed from life at 6:30 Saturday morning, July 8, 1939.  After graduating from the New York State School of Agriculture at Alfred he entered the cheese business with Samuel Helmer at Almond before coming to Andover in 1919, where he established the Woodruff Cheese Company.

     Mr. Woodruff has been very successful in the management and operation of his business, building up a wholesale cheese organization, which has expanded until at present, Woodruff cheese is known throughout New York State, Pennsylvania and Ohio.