Hoy Sylvester Russell was born on May 9, 1886 in Grand Forks, Dakota Territory and the only child of William and Ida (Padelford) Russell, both of Minnesota. He lived there until 1899 when he moved with his mother and father to Dickinson, ND where his father and his business partners started Dickinson Clay and Pressed Brick Company. The younger Russell continued his schooling in Dickinson and later at North Dakota Agricultural College (now North Dakota State University) in Fargo.
On June 22, 1909 he married Cora Walton, the daughter of western Dakota pioneers in Dickinson and the oldest of seven children. They lived for some years in Dickinson, Miles City, MT and Butte, MT where he worked in the produce business.
In the fall of 1913 they moved to Glen Ullin, ND where he was employed by the Hess Creamery Company, which at that time was one of the largest North Dakota creameries. Hoy believed the dairy business was a developing industry and that North Dakota was destined to become a principal area for the industry.
He began looking for a likely location to establish a dairy and produce business. Mandan, he concluded, was a logical location. It was a large town and the farming around Mandan was well diversified. In addition, it was a division point for the Northern Pacific Railroad which provided good transportation in all directions. In 1914 he came to Mandan and interested W. H. Lanterman, a local banker, and other Mandan businessmen in participating in the establishment of a creamery, poultry and egg processing operation. After several meetings, financing was secured and a corporation was formed.
The Mandan Creamery and Produce Company commenced operation on February 15, 1915 in the two-story Ronco building on the corner of 4th Avenue and West Main Street. Hoy and his friend, Henry Schulte, moved their families from Glen Ullin to Mandan to manage and supervise the operations.
In 1923, Hoy and Cora Russell purchased the Stuart Dunlap home on the corner of 1st Street and 7th Avenue where they lived and raised their family until the death of Cora in 1972.
Eventually, the Mandan Creamery and Produce Company, through the foresight and guidance of Hoy Russell became one of the largest butter manufacturers and turkey processors in the United States. Mandan butter and Mandan turkeys were shipped to and were known coast to coast.
Crated Turkeys Awaiting Shipment at Mandan Rail Depot c.1926
With growth in dairy and poultry increasing, plants were established at Dickinson, Minot, Hettinger, Garrison, and Bismarck and Miles City, MT. Around 30,000 pounds of butter was the average year round daily production of the Mandan and Minot plants with peak production of 60,000 pounds daily being reached during the summer months. Milk was pasteurized and ice cream were produced at the Dickinson plant and delivered locally by the creamery for many years.
Mandan Creamery and Produce Company employed well over 200 employees by way of its several plants. The success of the company depended on the many dairy production farms which shipped their cream to the company from east of Jamestown to as far west as Billings, Montana and from the northern parts of South Dakota to the northern border of North Dakota. As a result of the success of the business, Hoy became nationally recognized as a leader in the field of butter, poultry and egg production.
That changes were coming in agriculture became obvious in the 1940s. After World War II there was a steady decline in poultry and dairy production. As a result the Mandan brand turkey production was discontinued after the war when commercial growers took over the raising and processing of the birds. Combined with other changes in the industry, the company chose to focused on premium pork products and recast its corporate image. Today H.S. Russell's legacy of the Mandan Creamery and Produce Company continues as Cloverdale Foods Company.
Hoy and Cora had three children: sons William R. and Walton S. and daughter Mary. Hoy Russell died on January 11, 1958 from injuries resulting from a motor vehicle accident on (old) US Highway 10 while enroute to his 4-Square Ranch located 3-miles west of Mandan. He and his wife Cora are buried in Union Cemetery, Mandan.
The Society would like to thank Hoy Russell's grandson Walton Russell for sharing this information with us.
The MHSoc's museum and office is located at 3102 37th St; PO Box 98; Mandan, ND 58554 Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org