Bedell is a long time Freeport area family name that dates back to some of the original settlers of the village and its surrounding area on the south shore of Long Island.
The Atlantic Dairy apparently had it’s roots in the Long Island farm of Charles Bedell and the Bedell Brothers named on the bottle were likely two of his three sons, Treadwell and Archer (sometimes referred to as Archie).
According to his obituary in the November 27, 1908 issue of the Nassau County Review, Charles Bedell was a lifetime resident and farmer on the south shore of Long Island. He was born in the neighboring village of Baldwin and moved to Freeport in the late 1880’s.
The funeral services of Charles Bedell, an old and well respected resident of this place, were held Monday afternoon at his late home, where he died on Saturday from paralysis. He resided in Freeport twenty years, was a farmer by occupation, was born at Baldwin and lived at that place and Freeport all his life. He was eighty years of age. Deceased was survived by five children: Henry Bedell, of Merrick; Mrs. Thomas Baldwin, of Baldwin, Catherine, Treadwell and Archie Bedell, of this place.
As best I can tell, the Freeport farm, where he spent the last 20 years of his life was located along what is now Atlantic Avenue between Bayview Avenue to the east and Milburn Creek to the west.
Charles’s three sons, Henry, Treadwell, and Archer all worked on the farm at one time or another. The 1900 census records and the 1901-1902 Freeport directory listed the oldest, Henry, with the occupation milkman living on Bayview Avenue. The 1900 census listed both Treadwell and Archer as farm laborers, also living on Bayview Avenue. There’s no mention of Bedell Brothers or Atlantic Dairy in the 1901-1902 directory.
According to an article in the December 18, 1908 issue of the Long Island Farmer, when Charles died on November 21, 1908, his two younger sons, Treadwell and Archer, were allowed use of the estate, which I assume included the farm, for the next five years.
The will of Charles Henry Bedell, of Freeport, leaving an estate of $38,000 was offered for probate on Tuesday. Treadwell and Archer Bedell, sons, were given the use of the estate for five years. At the expiration of that time the estate is to be divided equally among five children.
The 1910 census records confirmed the above story. Both lived at the same location on Atlantic Avenue and both listed their occupation as milk dealers. Around this time, Bedell Brothers also appeared in the limited directory information I can find. The Freeport section of the 1913 Montauk Business Directory of Long Island listed Bedell Brothers as milk dealers located on Atlantic Avenue and the 1914-1915 Freeport Directory listed both Treadwell and Archie Bedell individually as dairymen. Their address was given as Atlantic Avenue near (Millburn) creek. By 1910, Henry had moved to Merrick and did not list milk or dairy as an occupation in the census records.
So it looks like the dairy farm was in operation beginning in the 1880’s and that sons, Treadwell and Archer became more involved in the early 1900’s, as Charles got older. It makes sense that the name Bedell Brothers started around this time.
The dairy probably lasted into the early 1920’s. Treadwell is still listed at the Atlantic Avenue location in 1920 census records along with Henry’s son, Edgar. Treadwell listed his occupation as a truck farmer while Edgar listed his as a milkman. By 1930 I can’t find any Bedell’s on Atlantic Avenue in Freeport.
The bottle I found is a machine-made quart. It exhibits some sun-purple coloring indicating the presence of manganese dioxide which was predominantly used as a decolorizing agent prior to 1920. This supports a manufacture date right around the mid-teens when Treadwell and Archer were both located on Atlantic Avenue following their father’s death.