12 March 2021

Lawson Goat Dairy (1954 - 1960)

A year after their marriage in 1937, Thurman and Mary Lawson moved to a 4-acre homestead on North Willow Road in Hillsborough. It was there that they raised a family that eventually grew to include three daughters, several cats, and 65 dairy goats.

9 September 1957 Courier News

Thurman Lawson had no notion of dairy goats when he moved to Hillsborough. A mechanic by trade, and a World War II veteran, he worked for more than a decade after the war as the chief mechanic at the Belle Mead Supply Depot. In 1952, in order to supplement his family's milk supply, he bought a pair of goats. In the normal course of events, as nature dictates, he soon had a couple dozen. In 1954 the Lawsons decided to make a business of it. And in 1955 he was able to quit his day job.

9 September 1957 Courier News

At the peak of operations around 1957, the Lawson herd was comprised of 34 milkers, 4 bucks, and 26 kids (not including their own!). Theirs was one of only two certified goat farms in Somerset County at that time. The other was Muntener's Forest Hill Goat Dairy in Belle Mead. Forest Hill's operation included a processing plant - and the Lawsons delivered about 100 quarts of milk a day to Forest Hill to be processed and bottled for sale. 

9 August 1957 Courier News

All three of the Lawson girls - June, Louise, and Mary Ann - helped with the chores and raised goats of their own that took many ribbons at 4-H competitions and other shows. They were especially interested in contradicting the negative publicity surrounding goats by helping people to learn about their true nature. Their goats were calm. graceful, and smart - each responding to its own name when called for milking.

And then as quickly as it began it was all over. The Lawsons quietly folded their dairy operation in 1960.

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