Watertown Rotary Club

Watertown Rotary Club

Established in 1976, the Clarence A. Brown Memorial Rotary Club Scholarship was created by the Watertown Rotary Club in remembrance of one of its oldest serving members. Clarence A. Brown was affiliated with the Watertown Rotarians for over 50 years.

The student who receives this award must be a Jefferson County resident and a sophomore at Jefferson Community College who shows academic achievement and some financial need.

Among the earliest settlers of Lorraine, New York, was Aaron Brown, Clarence A. Brown’s grandfather. He cleared and developed the original homestead farm in 1805 and created a place where many generations of the Brown family were reared including Clarence. Clarence was born 16 years after his grandfather passed away and 81 years after the original homestead was built. The homestead was not only a place Clarence called home. It was a place that taught him to be an entrepreneur and a place he owned and operated until his death.

Clarence A. Brown was born on February 25, 1886, the son of Henry M. and Ella Caulkins Brown. He attended public school in Lorraine and high school in Adams, New York. After completing school, he joined his father in farming and selling lumber for a living. In 1911, a new mail order paint business attracted his interest and led to his connection with A. L. Rice, an Adams businessman who manufactured paints and sanitary wall coatings. Within a short time, after making Mr. Brown’s aquaintance, Mr. Rice asked him to join his business as secretary-treasurer.

After five years of working at A. L. Rice Inc., a new pursuit motivated him. Through his association with the Lorraine Milk Co., functioning as its director and secretary from the time of its founding, he began acquiring a knowledge of dairy production and manufacture. As a result, he knew how to identify and solve dairy problems. With this experience, he moved to Watertown, New York, becoming the secretary-treasurer and plant manager of the Hygienic Dairy Co., a company that was headed and organized by his brother, Henry M. Brown.

Hygienic was among the first to use a pasteurization process for improving the quality of milk, and under Clarence Brown’s and his brother’s direction, it pioneered the idea of purifying milk.

After several years of functioning as secretary-treasurer and general manager for the company, he became president and treasurer. His direction meant tremendous growth for the company. From its original milk distributing and shipping plant on High Street, carloads of pasteurized milk and cream were sent to New York and other milk marketing areas every day. In addition to shipping milk and cream to market, the plant had the largest local milk distribution business and also dealt in other dairy products.

Although Mr. Brown and his brother started Hygienic in Watertown together and later purchased the Sauquoit Valley Dairy Co. of Utica, Mr. Brown became the sole owner of the Watertown and Cape Vincent plants. The only plant he continued to co-own with his brother was the one located in Utica.

Sale of his milk business to the Borden Co. in 1957 marked the end of his 40-year career with Hygienic, but not the end of his career in the dairy field. Realizing that his specialized knowledge of dairy production and distribution was in demand, he opened a dairy consultation service under the name of the High Street-Watertown Corp.

He was a charter member of the New York State Milk Distributors and functioned as the organization’s president and later director for years. He was director of the Marine Midland Bank Northern branch. A former director of the Farmer’s National Bank of Adams, he was first elected to the bank board January 16, 1931.

Mr. Brown was a member of the First Presbyterian Church. He was also a member of the Black River Valley Club and the Lorraine Grange, as well as the Masonic fraternity.

In 1968, Mr. Brown was presented a certificate by the New York State Milk Distributors Association during its 40th anniversary celebration. He was also cited by the Watertown Rotary Club for 50 years of membership.

Mr. Brown died September 17, 1974.

The Jefferson Community College Foundation is grateful to the Watertown Rotary Club for developing this scholarship.