When Jerome grew to be a lively mining camp during the 1890's, Charles Willard started the Alamo Dairy at his Cottonwood ranch and began delivering milk to the prosperous community.
The United Verde Copper Company in Jerome was leased by Senator William A. Clark during 1888. Senator Clark sent Joseph Giroux from Butte, Montana, to Jerome to do some prospecting. "As a result, the United Verde Copper mine was developed and Jerome grew to a lively mining town," Charles Willard said. "I started up a dairy at my home [at Cottonwood] and peddled milk in Jerome for about 5 years." (Pioneer Stories of Arizona's Verde Valley; 1933, 1954; pages 150-151.)
Charles Willard was born in California and spent part of his childhood in the town of Los Angeles. He grew up speaking Spanish. The Spanish word for "cottonwood" is "alamo." Later, other Cottonwood businesses would also incorporate the word "alamo" into their business names.
Charles D. Willard continued to operate his Alamo Dairy, but hired other men to do the milking and deliver the milk.
1901: "Independent of the other brothers, Charles D. Willard began a dairy business in a small way, and as he prospered, and things came his way, the business was necessarily broadened, and he now owns 200 acres of land near Cottonwood Station, a few miles from Jerome. An ideal dairy farm is the result of the arduous labors of Mr. Willard, and his land is well adapted for the purpose intended, being well watered and prolific of vegetation."
"About 60 head of cattle are the average fed, and these supply a large portion of Jerome with rich milk. A specialty is made of bottled milk and cream, and the excellence of the material furnished ensures a large patronage."
"On his farm Mr. Willard has made many improvements, and is continually striving after better results. To this end he studies the habits of his cattle and the wishes of his patrons, and has arrived at a satisfactory understanding of both. Nor has he had entirely smooth sailing, for setbacks have appeared from time to time, but have not impaired the perseverance of this industrious dairyman."
(Portrait and Biographical Record of Arizona, 1901; Chapman Publishing Company, Chicago; pages 468, 471.)
1909: ALAMO DAIRY, owned and operated by Charles D. Willard, is one of the businesses in Cottonwood. (Businesses, Manufacturers, Merchants and Tradesmen, 1909.)
Charles D. Willard said, "I bought the Jerome Dairy and operated it for about 10 years. It still retains the name of Jerome Dairy." (Pioneer Stories of Arizona's Verde Valley; 1933, 1954; page 151.)
Charles D. Willard bought a half interest in the Jerome Dairy, owned by J. F. Dwyer. Then, in 1904, "J. F. Dwyer sold his interest in the Dwyer-Willard Dairy to C. D. Willard, and after today the business will be in charge of Mr. Willard. Hereafter milk will be delivered in bottles instead of cans." (Jerome Mining News; Thursday, September 15, 1904; page 3.)
Mr. Willard leased the Jerome Dairy, including land, buildings, and cows to various dairymen, including Fred Mickle, who eventually sub-leased to others.