A History of STRUM
by Roy Matson
The Unity Cooperative Creamery Company

Wheat was a quick cash crop when the first furrows were turned back in the early 1870ís.
For several years it commanded a fair price but when heavy yields of better western grain
filled the markets local settlers began viewing the cow with a favorable eye.

Cattle inventories were small in those days. The first assessment for Unity in 1878 showed
a total of only 491 cloven hoofed animals. An interesting note reveals over 3700 in the
same township about 90 years later. There is good reason for this first low figure. Settlers
were breaking up new land as quickly as possible and milk for family use which was also
made into butter and cheese was the sole purpose for having a cow or two. Also, barbed
wire had yet to be introduced. There were therefore no fences and annual town meetings
always had a P. B. Williams resolution quoting a law that required a herder be with
grazing cattle and that such animals be penned securely at night. The resolution always
passed, usually unanimously. Stray cattle were a problem in those days.

Sometime during the early 1880ís when these first settlers, especially the Norwegians,
could draw a few relaxed breaths, they heard rumors regarding the sale of milk for making
cheese and the sale of cream for butter manufacturing. There were no farm magazines
available those days. News came slowly, rumors just moved. But local residents were soon
aware of this new possibility. Women of nearly every household churned butter so it was
natural that this product attracted initial interest. A private buttermaking effort had begun
in Arcadian sometime after 1883 and a couple of years later a cooperative was making
butter near Ettrick. Handling of milk, however, was a touchy business. At first cream for
making butter was
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