The Halper Family Cornell Dairy Farm story:
Simon Halper, Faith’s grandfather and original owner of the Cornell Dairy Farm in Piscataway, New Jersey, emigrated from Ukraine in the early 1910s to New York with his four(?) brothers and lived on the Lower East Side. There, Simon met his future wife, Bella Reuben, who had emigrated from a city in Poland and they married. Her grandfather was a ship builder in the port of New York but was advised to find other work due to the adverse health effects of shipbuilding. Simon and Bella moved to Perth Amboy, NJ where they operated a poultry farm until it was burned down by an anti-semitic group. The KKK also confronted the family in Piscataway due to the farm employing African-American workers until they were chased away by Bella with her gun.
The couple raised their five children on the Cornell Dairy Farm. The children worked the farm, grew crops and milked the cows. Simon prayed alone every morning as there were few Jews in the area. Bella worked on the farm and cooked for everyone, even the city relatives who often visited “the country” on a regular basis. The children, including Faith’s father, went to schools in the neighboring town of New Brunswick.
Their hard work eventually paid off. The family eventually established a milk processing plant with a bottling facility. The milk was sold to neighbors and to a creamery in New Brunswick. The family also sold milk to local stores and restaurants as the business expanded.
Two of the sons, Herbert and Norman, remained on the farm with their large families and opened retail stores that sold the farm’s products. Horseback riding and other farm-related activities were added to help increase profits as a single dairy farm in modern times was proving less profitable. The other three Halper children, Marion, Seymour and Sharon, moved away and started their own ventures.
The Halper family and Cornell Dairy Farm faced an eminent domain lawsuit from the town of Piscataway around the year 2000. The Halper’s successfully defended their farm ownership and eventually the lawsuit was settled in December 2021 but farm buildings had been demolished by the township in 2020.
Cornell Dairy Farm. circa 1950s
Cornell Dairy Farm. circa 1920s
Left: Simon Halper, owner of Cornell Dairy Farm, milking a cow.
Right: Marion Halper.
Left: Ruth and Herbert Halper on farm in front of the milk delivery truck
Right: Bella Halper with grandchildren on Cornell Dairy Farm.
Left: Cornell Dairy Farm.
Right: Three generations of the Halper family in the corn field.
Left: View of Cornell Farm from S. Washington Ave, Piscataway.
RIght: Gary Halper working with cows on Cornell Dairy Farm.