William Christopher Kachele operated his dairy in Bethel for 37 years but why are his milk bottles surprisingly rare? Before we try to answer this question, let’s first furnish you with a little background about this local dairyman. William  Kachele was born in South Britain, Ct in 1868. According to the Danbury NewsTimes, “in his younger days,” he took part in the civic and fraternal life of the town.

William’s father was George Kachele, Mary his mother. We don’t know when William moved to Bethel but Danbury City Directories for the 1910s tell us that William lived on Wooster St in Bethel and he operated a dairy business from this location.  Records suggest William was married twice. His first wife Katie died unexpectedly in the 1920s.  Aspects of William’s second marriage are unknown. . Finally, after 37 Years in the dairy business, William retired and a few years later,  on June 19th 1948 he died at home he was 80 years old. William’s career as a milk dealer was quite lengthy. Why then is this successful dairyman’s bottles so rare? After research, we developed this theory.  It’s likely  Kachele  bottles are rare because of a common consumer practice. Area dealers like Danbury Creamery, Rider Dairy and Beaver Brook Creamery sold their products in the market, in addition, to making home deliveries.  Milk sold in stores was sometimes labeled or embossed “store bottle.” It was much harder for store bottles to be reused by the dealer because costumers had a tendency to throw them out. Even though firms offered a deposit. The milk industry developed strategies to combat this loss but its effectiveness is unknown. We believe  Kachele,   likely did not sell milk at groceries or did so on a limited basis. Instead of customers tossing  Kachele bottles into the trash dumps behind their houses, they left the empties on the door stoop because of convenience.   Kachele returned the next morning gathered the empties,  and left fresh milk for that morning’s breakfast.  In other words,  because Kachele relied so heavily on home delivery as part of his business he likely ended up with most of his bottles when he retired.   What happened to all these Kachele bottles is unknown.  Finally, not only are Kachele milks rare but other small family run milk dealer bottles from the Danbury area are also extremely rare.  Probably for the reason we mentioned.   We’d love to know more about William Kachele’s life so if you have any information on this Bethel milk dealer let us know at




BETHEL DAIRYMAN: F. E. LARSON has such limited information on F. E. Larson it almost wasn’t worth a write-up. This is what is known, however: When Frank E. Larson died a year after WWII  he had lived in the USA for over 60 years with a good portion of his life spent in the small town of Bethel. The Danbury NewsTimes’ August 2nd, 1946 obituary for Frank reports he was born in Sweden on August 29, 1879.  When he was three, he came to America with his parents. It appears  Frank spent most of his adult life running his farm, the Highcroft Dairy, on Hoyt’s Hill not far from the center of Bethel.  Another source for information on Frank are Danbury City Directories and they tell us two things: Frank was married to a lady named Anna and toward the end of his life, the couple lived on Andrews St in Bethel. Frank died at age 66 after an illness. If anyone has information on this Bethel milk dealer we’d like to hear from you so feel free to contact us.





Ironically, one of the most common milks in the Hat City Diggers’ collection belongs to a dairy so enigmatic next to nothing is known about the enterprise. For years Hat City Diggers have wanted to do a story on the Sycamore Farm Dairy, but the only concrete evidence the firm ever existed are the dozens of bottles, like the one pictured, Hat City Diggers have recovered and a story from an aging Bethel politician.  Although we don’t have much to go on Hat City Diggers feels a story on the firm needs telling.  “These bottles have been sitting on our shelves collecting dust for years,” said the diggers, “and it’s time we did a write up we think we can put enough spin into it to give the readers a story they can enjoy” Here is what Hat City knows: According to Robert Burke former First Selectman of Bethel, Ct. the Sycamore Farm Dairy was located off Reservoir St. in a location where several farms once existed.  The exact location of the dairy is unknown but Mr. Burke places it somewhere between Reservoir St. and the site of the former O’Donnell’s gas station.




Hat City Diggers believe the mysterious Sycamore Farm Dairy may have gotten its name because of its proximity to the 600-year-old sycamore tree at the intersection of Greenwood Ave. and Grassy Plain St. in Bethel.  This huge tree is not far from Reservoir St. and just across the road from the site of the O’Donnell gas station. The tree is one of the biggest sycamores in the state.





Hat City Diggers did research on the firm both at Bethel Town Hall, Danbury City Hall and Danbury Historical Society (home to Danbury and Bethel city directories) and turned up nothing.   The name on the bottles is a clue that has also lead to a dead end. “ Smith is a common name,” said Hat City Diggers, “so it’s very hard to determine who the Smith brothers were. Without any direct evidence such as occupation, we can’t be sure if the Smiths we discovered in the directories are associated with the Sycamore Farm Dairy.” Besides a missing paper trail, Hat City Diggers say time itself is the enemy. “The dairy was probably in business nearly 100 years ago and everybody who knew of it or was associated with the firm is dead.”   The history of the firm may be lost forever but the bottles keep the memory of this allusive dairy alive today for collectors of Bethel bottles.  Hat City Diggers will continue its research on The Sycamore Farm Dairy updating this store as they learn more.






Alexander Twiss was born in Ontario Canada in 1858 little did he know that 12 years later he’d be orphaned and 4 years subsequently he’d make the long journey to Connecticut in search of his uncle and uncle he’d never find.


Alexander’s parents came from England. When Alexander was one years old, his mother died leaving his father to care for him and his four siblings. However, stability in Alexander’s childhood lasted only a few years by 1870 he had lost his father. Sources tell us nothing of Alexander’s life as an orphan in Canada and the heartache he must have felt for the loss of his father during these formative years, nevertheless, we learn that young Alex at 12 years old was forced to quit school and find employment at the same store his father had worked.  Alexander, however, did not work in the Butter and Egg department as his father had instead as fate would have it Alexander found himself in a section of the store that years later would have an impact on his life- the Drug Department. During his tenure at the store Alexander’s “thoughts often turned toward the United States so at age 16 Alexander left Canada and traveled to New Haven, Ct. in search of his uncle. Alex had saved $100 to make the trip an astonishing amount of money for a poor 19th-century lad. Unfortunately, Alexander couldn’t find his uncle when he reached Connecticut and he became “quite discouraged over his prospects.” Sources tell us nothing of this bleak time, however, we learn that Alexander eventually “fell into good hands” and was helped by a Mr. Williams and a railway conductor. They told him about a drug store that was being opened in South Norwalk, Ct. by a Mr. Hoyt. Twiss honed his skills at Hoyt’s pharmacy and in 1879 Alexander moved to Bethel, Ct and took a position with S.S. Dunning. In 1880 Alexander settled at Fountain Place (P.T. Barnum Square) and in 1882 he married Sarah B Starr the couple had three children. Sadly in the winter of 1888  Hattie the couples 6 month died of pneumonia.



Little is known about Twiss’ life after his move to Bethel. Directories tell us nothing and by the 1910s Twiss is no longer listed. He may have moved from Bethel or died. By the 1910s Twiss would have been sixty years old. The average life span by 1910 was 48. We dug the A. W. Twiss pharmacy (above) from a dump near Main St in Danbury proof Twiss’ potions made it outside P.T. Barnum’s hometown.



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