When Aquilla Wilson Mack settled in our area in 1854 in the homestead still known as Mack Farm, his son, Gerling Milton Mack, was 16 years old. Gerling was wounded in the Civil War before returning home to marry Laura Louisa Ann Gilbreath. Of their 7 children, their daughter Lou De Anna Mack married Luther E. Massey. Luther Massey began a dairy business named Mack Farm Dairy in 1928 when refrigeration was nonexistent and deliveries were house to house, twice a day after the cows were hand milked.
Ten years later, Gene Mack Massey, Luther’s son, ran the business, which grew from a single delivery truck to multiple trucks running dozens of delivery routes in nine counties.
The Mack Farm Dairy processing plant on Main Street opened in 1946. This marks the first recorded time milk was formally tested in an on-site laboratory before shipment.
When Gene Massey passed away, his wife, Mrs. Emma Massey, headed the business from 1969 to 1981. At its peak in the 1970s, Mack Farm Dairy employed 40 people and produced 900,000 gallons of milk annually.
Ms. Betty Barnett and Ms. Julia Nail, descendants from this long line of Independence County founders, have supplied Old Independence Regional Museum’s “A Taste of Home” exhibit with dozens of artifacts relating to their family’s dairy business. We will begin showcasing these artifacts in January 2024 when the “A Taste of Community” exhibit, which is a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution, formally opens.
November is a time to give thanks, and the Mack, Massey, Barnett, and Nail families have blessed OIRM with their talents, time, stories, ideas, and countless donations. We wish to give thanks to all the Mack family descendants.