Domenic Casassa, a young Italian, had a dream that led him to sail for the United States at the age of twenty-seven. The Casassa Dairy Farm, Incorporated was located in Posey Township, Clay County, on State Road 340, and started business in 1914—the realization of the dream!
Domenic was born in Turin, Italy, on August 24, 1872, the son of Nicholas and Caterina Tessine Casassa. He farmed there, but the journey by boat brought him to this country with many miners, who immigrated to work in the coal mines of Indiana. He, too, worked in the mines to save money to buy his farm and settled in Perth, Indiana.
In 1911, he rented his first farm in Dick Johnson Township. Domenic and his wife, Margherita Rosatto, daughter of, James and Caterina Bovera Rosatto, raised four sons and two daughters, and with this family, started milking a herd of ten cattle.
During 1914, they started selling milk in the streets of Brazil. Milk was delivered by a horse-drawn milk wagon and sold from ten-gallon cans with a spigot at the bottom. A bell rang to signal the housewives that the wagon was in the neighborhood. The ladies would go out to the wagon with their crocks to be filled with milk.
In 1923 Domenic purchased a three hundred twenty-five-acre farm from the Tiefel family, where they and their children built a complex of homes on the farm acreage and continued the dairy and farming.
At the age of seventy-seven, in 1949, Domenic passed away, but not before he realized his dream of a flourishing dairy business. His beloved Margherita died in 1963, at the age of ninety-one. Their three remaining sons and grandsons continued to operate the dairy farm. Instead of a horse-drawn wagon, they operated refrigerated trucks, and delivery was to local grocery stores and all Clay County schools.
As the demand for milk became greater than the herd of cattle could accommodate, the dairy discontinued manufacturing its own by-products, purchasing them under the Casassa name. It is interesting to note, that while the dairy packaged its own milk in plastic, paper and glass, most of their home delivery customers request the glass bottles.
Many independent dairies were forced out of business by cooperative dairies, but the Casassa Dairy flourished in Clay County. Perhaps, one of the best stories that relates how local people felt about the dairy was revealed when they celebrated their fiftieth anniversary, in 1966. They had ordered new glass bottles with the commemorative date imprinted on each, within a few months, they had to order a new supply with the old imprint, as the householders had kept the anniversary bottles as keepsakes or souvenirs.
This was basically a family operation, they continued to milk one-hundred and fifty dairy cattle and added more farm land, plus a peach and apple orchard.
Domenic and Margherita Casassa had six children: Dom, b. 1897, James, b. 1899, Jesse, b. 1901, Katherine, b. 1905, Justino, b. 1909 and Christina, b. 1913.
Source: Clay County Indiana History 1884 - 1984 Submitted by: Jo Ann Pell, Clay County Genealogy Library