Turkey Day King & Queen Announced
William Thompson of Clifton, Texas, pioneer turkey grower of Ellsworth,
and Mrs. Thompson have been chosen to reign as King and Queen for Ellsworth's
fifth annual Turkey Day to be held September 8. They were chosen
by the King and Queen Committee while Mr. and Mrs. Thompson were in Ellsworth
recently and connected to return from Clifton for the event.
With "Progress" the theme for Turkey Day this year, the growth of
the industry follows closely the history of the Thompson Hatchery, from
the year 1929 when Bill raised his first flock of 50 turkeys on the home
farm located one mile east of Ellsworth; through 1930 with close to 1,000
raised an increase each year until 1935, when Ray Thopson joined his brother
in the expanding program carried on at the farm.
As other local farmers began buying poults from Bill and Ray, the
demand became so great that the Thompson Hatchery was formed in 1937, with
the first town unit being located in the building now owned by the Skartvedt
The company also included Burnice Holt, formerly of Ellsworth but
now of Clifton, Texas, where the company bought farm land. The Bill
Thompson and the Holts moved to Clifton in order to produce earlier eggs
from which to obtain an earlier bird to be marketed when prices were at
the top level.
The story of "progress" in the community also includes the establishment
here of a second turkey hatchery owned by Don Thoreson and manages by E.
G. Peterson. Don is an Ellsworth man and has had valuable experience
in raising and marketing turkeys and is also a flock owner. The Ellsworth
Hatchery has made splendid progress since its opening two years ago.
A high point in "progress" was reached with the forming of the Central
Producers of Ellsworth in 1945, designed to process and market close
to 2,000,000 pounds of New York dressed turkeys that year, following the
completion of the plant on October 12. As the demand for New
York dressed birds loosened, an eviscerating plant was added in 1952.
This year the plant plans to process 5,000,000 pounds with 100% eviscerated.
The choice of Bill Thompson and his wife as King and Queen and their
decision to travel from Texas to reign on this day is a mutual tribute
to the pioneers in the industry and to the community as a whole.