Robert McClelland, with Midnight,
the President’s Cup from the Sonoma-Marin Fair.
With a dream to live
in the land of opportunity, Robert (Bob McClelland left
his home in Northern Ireland in 1929 when he was just 19 and set out
for America to join his two sisters who already lived in the states.
Bob quickly settled in and worked as a bridge maintenance worker who helped to build the San Mateo Bridge.
In 1937, he married the woman of his dreams, Lillian Wilson. She was
the daughter of Rebecca and Walter Wilson, also Irish immigrants,
Lillian was born in the city but moved to a Marin County dairy farm
in Five Brooks, between Olema and Bolinas, when she was a toddler.
After they were first married, Bob and Lillian tried their hands at
raising chickens. Realizing this was not their future, in 1938 they
bought a milk route from a Swiss Italian man in Marin County who
milked six Brown Swiss cows. The couple soon established themselves
in Novato and began milking 18 Brown Swiss by hand, separating the
cream from the milk and bottling it under McClelland’s Dairy with
the slogan: “From She To Thee.” They sold the milk by the pint or
quart on a milk route that was driven by Bob. However, with the
pressure of running a family dairy farm and milk delivery route,
Bob's health began to decline. In 1947 they decided to
sell the cows, and Bob took a less stressful job as a cattle dealer.
this time the couple managed to raise four children. However, as
time went on they began torestock the family farm with cattle.
Their eldest son, Robert, showed great interest in the dairy, and
the herd was re-established in the early ‘50s. Robert purchased
several animals to exhibit at the fairs and was extremely active in
4-H and FFA. He showed his animals, winning numerous awards at the
local, state and national levels. In addition, he competed in other
events such as dairy cattle judging, and he was one of the first to
export cattle by plane from the area to South America.
Tragically, Robert was killed in an automobile accident at 19, the
same age his father immigrated to America. However, Bob and Lillian
continued in the dairy business with their three other children,
Rebecca, Saralee and George. In 1964 they bought property in Sonoma
County. Bob had worked on the ranch before starting in the dairy
business and had always been interested in the property for its
scenic rolling hills and cool coastal climate.
The family moved to the Sonoma County ranch, now the current home of
McClelland’s Dairy, and started milking cows November 23, 1965, when
George was just 13. At the time they were milking 120 Holstein cows
and still owned the ranch in Novato. The Marin County ranch was
eventually sold. Today, it is a housing development and remembered
only by the designation of McClelland Drive.
A young George and Dora McClelland with their family:
and Robert. Shown at their Two Rock Dairy in Sonoma
When young George was in high school he
worked on the family farm milking cows and feeding calves. In April
1971, he married his high school sweetheart, Dora. She was from a
farming family in Sonoma County and grew up on her uncle Phillip
Bordessa’s ranch. The couple had three children: Jennifer, Jana and
In the early days the family worked long hours. George did the
milking and fed calves and Dora took care of most of the crops on
about 200 acres. Bob and Lil were still very much involved
throughout their entire lives and never stopped working.
Unfortunately, Bob passed away one morning after chores in 1987 and
Lillian passed away in 1999.
Currently the dairy is still family operated with George and Dora
partnering with their daughter Jana. Their son Robert started his
own family farm in 2005 and now operates it with his wife, Jolynn,
and young son, Collin. George and Dora’s oldest daughter Jennifer
decided to branch out from the dairy industry and is an online
marketing director. The McClellands credit their success to the
strong work ethics instilled by Bob and Lil and the hard work of the
team of people on the family farm today.
We produce some of the finest
artisan organic dairy products and cattle in the beautiful rolling
hills of Sonoma County,
California. We currently milk 800 cows and farm
over 600 acres in the Two Rock Valley near Petaluma, California,
which is known for its cool coastal climate that is perfect for
raising cattle. The milking animals are grass fed on over 500 acres of pasture. Our dairy is family owned and operated
since 1938. Our roots started with hand delivered fresh milk in the
'30s. In 2000 we decided to diversify our operation, and over a three-year period we transitioned our herd to organic practices. Another hallmark in our operation began in the spring of 2009, when we started processing our own organic artisan dairy products, including European Style Organic Artisan Butter.
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