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Fun & Useful Trivia: Andrew Jackson’s Big Block of Cheese

Now, I say fun – because if love a long story that is nearly 100% trivia, here ya go … and of course, if you would like to prattle on about a totally trivia story – if you speak slow enough and drag it – you can probably clear a room with this tale.  🙂

The people loved Jackson. Jackson loved cheese. What better way to celebrate Jacksonian democracy than by sending Old Hickory himself an enormous wheel of cheese? Dairy farmer Colonel Thomas S. Meacham of Sandy Creek, NY, hit on this notion in 1835, and he had the know-how to craft a titanic cheddar. The fruit of Meacham’s labor was a wheel that was four feet in diameter and two feet thick, weighed nearly 1400 pounds, and was wrapped in a giant belt that bore patriotic inscriptions like, “The Union, it must be Preserved.”

This cheese was actually the crown jewel of a larger collection of ten cheeses that appeared at an 1835 patriotic celebration in Oswego, NY. After the locals all got a good look at the cheese and felt themselves well up with national pride, the wheel was loaded onto a schooner and set sail for its new home on Pennsylvania Avenue. Meacham sent off two other 750-pound wheels in the same shipment, one to Vice President Martin Van Buren and one to New York Governor William L. Marcy.

Perhaps this is the beginning of the phrase of being the BIG CHEESE. 🙂


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14 March 2012 History 5 Comments


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