Russell-Miller Milling Company Russell-Milling company, whose operations became part of the Peavey Company in 1953, began in Valley city, North Dakota. In 1879, a milling pioneer named Hiram Walker built a small water powered mill on the Sheyenne River at Valley City. Flour milRussell-Miller Milling Company Russell-Milling company, whose operations became part of the Peavey Company in 1953, began in Valley city, North Dakota. In 1879, a milling pioneer named Hiram Walker built a small water powered mill on the Sheyenne River at Valley City. Flour milling as an industry was beginning to establish it importance in this area, and with more extensive railroad lines in the north and west, the great spring wheat of the Red River Valley in North and South Dakota was gaining in importance. John Russell, a native of New York brought his family to Southern Minnesota in 1855, and after farming in Fillmore County for several years, engaged in grain business at Rushford in 1862. As an outgrowth of his interest in the grain business, the firm of Russell, Jones & Honstine was formed in the 1870’s for the purpose of milling wheat flour. Russell, known familiarly as “Uncle John”, set the highest possible standards in everything he did, and tried to exceed his mark. He did not readily accept the usual way of doing things, but was constantly on the alert for new and better methods. In 1879 the call of the West lured John Russell to Valley city, North Dakota, following the building of the Northern Pacific Railway west from Fargo. He invested in farm land, served the fast developing community by shipping many carloads of horses and mules, and with two or three others, helped to organized the first bank in the country _ later to become the First National Bank of Valley City. Mr. Russell as president of the bank until his death in 1907. “Uncle John’s “ arrival in Valley City found another pioneer, Hiram Walker, operating a little saw mill on the Sheyenne River, cutting timber that fringed its bank and hewing logs with which to build a flour mill. In 1882, Mr. Russell invited his son-in-law, Arthur Miller, to form a partnership in operating the mill acquired from Walker. Miller, who had gained his milling experience from England, accepted responsibility as superintendent of the mill’s operations. An interest in a quality product and utilizing the best milling processes lead Mr. Miller to promptly replace old stone burrs with roller in the first improvement to the water powered plant. Next, the old water wheel was replaced with a steam engine. These alterations enable the mill to produce 175 barrels of hard wheat flour per day. In 1886 Russell and Miller took the first step in a series of expansions which would eventually make the company the fourth largest milling firm in the nation. This was the purchase of a second mill at Jamestown, North Dakota. Subsequently, the partnership was incorporated as Russell & Miller Milling Company. The brand name “Occident”, meaning “out of the West” was selected because milling operations were situated in what was then the extreme western area of wheat production. As the company’s milling capacity grew, its allied interest progressed. Increased milling meant more need for grain and thus, proper storage facilities. The Russell & Miller Milling company built its first grain elevator in the years between 1882 and 1892. Mr. Miller studied varieties of wheat and experimented continuously with blends and processes for separation and purification. The company produced such a superior flour that it was sought throughout the North Dakota Region. The firm of Russell & Miller Milling Company was reorganized again in 1897 this time as Russell-Miller Milling Company and E. P. Wells joined the firm as president in rapid succession mills were acquired as Russell-Miller rose in prominence in the milling industry. During the period that Mr. Wells headed the firm, research increased with the start of an experimental bakery for quality control and the development of new methods of bakery production. A research kitchen for product development and test was also established to operate jointly with the bakery. By 1906 Russell-Miller’s capacity was 8,000 hundred weights (cwts). It had experienced fires both in Jamestown and Valley City, rebuilding these mills and constructing a new mill at Minot, North Dakota. In 1907 the company’s headquarters moved to Minneapolis where it built a major mill to take advantage of the tremendous stock of select wheat. This move further assured the high quality of “Occident” flour. The company continued to grow; 100 cwt mills were erected at Sidney and billing, Montana, and the Missouri Valley Milling Company was purchased with mills in Bismarck, Mandan and Dickinson, North Dakota. A second mille was built in Valley City and a production record for that era was established there when the two units produced 56,284 barrels of four in one month. The grain facilities were expanded by acquiring properties of the Lyon Elevator Company and Ireys Elevator Company. Harry S. Helm became the third president of Russell-Miller Milling Company in 1918. During this time the Valley City “Occident” mills ran for 61 consecutive days – full 24 hours _ without a minute’s shutdown; and 116 consecutive days with a total shutdown of only 17 hours and 30 minutes. Another company record was established when the Minot, North Dakota mill operated 318 consecutive 24 hour days in one calendar year. A line of country elevators was built in the billings areas during this time, while at Grand Forks, North Dakota, a frame mill was torn down and replaced with a new brick mill in 29 days. This was also the era when trucks replaced horse drawn wagons for flour delivery. In 1919 the Minneapolis milling operation were increased to a capacity of 11,000cwts. The firm moved eastward out of its traditional territory in 1924, building a 3,600 cwt mill in Buffalo, New York. The older half of the Minneapolis mill was then closed as were the mils in Jamestown, Bismarck and Dickinson, as the remaining mills were enlarged. Russell-Miller acquired Everett, Aughenbugh & Company in 1925 and while the mills of this old western Minnesota business were never operated, the E-A company brands were retained. In 1932 a feed plant was opened to manufacture some 40 types of commercial feed for livestock and poultry. These feeds – made from Montana grains and some 30 other materials from other sections of the United States – were distributed throughout Central Montana and northern Wyoming. C. G. Ireys became the company’s fourth president in 1939. Until 1941 Russell-Miller had concentrated its operation in the spring wheat area; with the acquisition of Stanard-Tilton Milling Company of St. Louis, Missouri. In 1942 Leslie F. Miller (son of Arthur Miller) became the fifth president of Russell-Miller. Fire destroyed the mill at Alton, Illinois, which was later rebuilt to be the largest of the Russell-Miller mills. The company’s services were further expanded when an insecticide plant was built in 1948 to produce dusts for spraying. When liquid chemicals began replacing the dust, the plant was rebuilt and in 1951 was ready to handle the processing of seeds. While the four side of Russell-Miller’s business was growing, the company was also developing its country and terminal elevator division which purchased millions of bushels of wheat from North Dakota farmers, primarily as a source of supply to the mills. By 1953 Russell-Miller had 143 country elevators, some of which had expanded to include coal, lumber, and gasoline supplies for the farmers whose grain they took in Montana and North Dakota. The division had also begun operation of a seed house in North Dakota and two feed merchandising plants in North Dakota and Montana. The elevator divisions were operating large terminals to facilitate the movement of grain in Minneapolis and Buffalo, New York. In 1954, control of Russell-Miller Company was acquired by Peavey Company, and George W. P. Heffelfinger became Russell-Miller’s sixth president. Russell-Miller was the first milling company in the country to depart from the norm of packaging flour in white bags. In 1955, the company began packing their four in a newly designed orange bag. In 1960, Russell-Miller became a Peavey division under the name of Russell-Miller-King Midas Mills, and in 1963 the division name was again changed to Peavey Company Flour Mills. These milling operation were all a part of Peavey’s Industrial Food Group. Peavey was one of the country’s largest flour millers and a leading producer of durum products for the pasta industry. In addition to bakery flour, the company had Occident, King Midas and Hungarian brands available for the consumer. To read me, take time to read these links. http://www.flickr.com/photos/23711298@N07/sets/72157625363229411/ http://foodcompanycookbooks.blogspot.com/2006/12/occident-flour-milling.html http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/ConAgra-Inc-Company-History.html ling as an industry was beginning to establish it importance in this area, and with more extensive railroad lines in the north and west, the great spring wheat of the Red River Valley in North and South Dakota was gaining in importance. John Russell, a native of New York brought his family to Southern Minnesota in 1855, and after farming in Fillmore County for several years, engaged in grain business at Rushford in 1862. As an outgrowth of his interest in the grain business, the firm of Russell, Jones & Honstine was formed in the 1870’s for the purpose of milling wheat flour. Russell, known familiarly as “Uncle John”, set the highest possible standards in everything he did, and tried to exceed his mark. He did not readily accept the usual way of doing things, but was constantly on the alert for new and better methods. In 1879 the call of the West lured John Russell to Valley city, North Dakota, following the building of the Northern Pacific Railway west from Fargo. He invested in farm land, served the fast developing community by shipping many carloads of horses and mules, and with two or three others, helped to organized the first bank in the country _ later to become the First National Bank of Valley City. Mr. Russell as president of the bank until his death in 1907. “Uncle John’s “ arrival in Valley City found another pioneer, Hiram Walker, operating a little saw mill on the Sheyenne River, cutting timber that fringed its bank and hewing logs with which to build a flour mill. In 1882, Mr. Russell invited his son-in-law, Arthur Miller, to form a partnership in operating the mill acquired from Walker. Miller, who had gained his milling experience from England, accepted responsibility as superintendent of the mill’s operations. An interest in a quality product and utilizing the best milling processes lead Mr. Miller to promptly replace old stone burrs with roller in the first improvement to the water powered plant. Next, the old water wheel was replaced with a steam engine. These alterations enable the mill to produce 175 barrels of hard wheat flour per day. In 1886 Russell and Miller took the first step in a series of expansions which would eventually make the company the fourth largest milling firm in the nation. This was the purchase of a second mill at Jamestown, North Dakota. Subsequently, the partnership was incorporated as Russell & Miller Milling Company. The brand name “Occident”, meaning “out of the West” was selected because milling operations were situated in what was then the extreme western area of wheat production. As the company’s milling capacity grew, its allied interest progressed. Increased milling meant more need for grain and thus, proper storage facilities. The Russell & Miller Milling company built its first grain elevator in the years between 1882 and 1892. Mr. Miller studied varieties of wheat and experimented continuously with blends and processes for separation and purification. The company produced such a superior flour that it was sought throughout the North Dakota Region. The firm of Russell & Miller Milling Company was reorganized again in 1897 this time as Russell-Miller Milling Company and E. P. Wells joined the firm as president in rapid succession mills were acquired as Russell-Miller rose in prominence in the milling industry. During the period that Mr. Wells headed the firm, research increased with the start of an experimental bakery for quality control and the development of new methods of bakery production. A research kitchen for product development and test was also established to operate jointly with the bakery. By 1906 Russell-Miller’s capacity was 8,000 hundred weights (cwts). It had experienced fires both in Jamestown and Valley City, rebuilding these mills and constructing a new mill at Minot, North Dakota. In 1907 the company’s headquarters moved to Minneapolis where it built a major mill to take advantage of the tremendous stock of select wheat. This move further assured the high quality of “Occident” flour. The company continued to grow; 100 cwt mills were erected at Sidney and billing, Montana, and the Missouri Valley Milling Company was purchased with mills in Bismarck, Mandan and Dickinson, North Dakota. A second mille was built in Valley City and a production record for that era was established there when the two units produced 56,284 barrels of four in one month. The grain facilities were expanded by acquiring properties of the Lyon Elevator Company and Ireys Elevator Company. Harry S. Helm became the third president of Russell-Miller Milling Company in 1918. During this time the Valley City “Occident” mills ran for 61 consecutive days – full 24 hours _ without a minute’s shutdown; and 116 consecutive days with a total shutdown of only 17 hours and 30 minutes. Another company record was established when the Minot, North Dakota mill operated 318 consecutive 24 hour days in one calendar year. A line of country elevators was built in the billings areas during this time, while at Grand Forks, North Dakota, a frame mill was torn down and replaced with a new brick mill in 29 days. This was also the era when trucks replaced horse drawn wagons for flour delivery. In 1919 the Minneapolis milling operation were increased to a capacity of 11,000cwts. The firm moved eastward out of its traditional territory in 1924, building a 3,600 cwt mill in Buffalo, New York. The older half of the Minneapolis mill was then closed as were the mils in Jamestown, Bismarck and Dickinson, as the remaining mills were enlarged. Russell-Miller acquired Everett, Aughenbugh & Company in 1925 and while the mills of this old western Minnesota business were never operated, the E-A company brands were retained. In 1932 a feed plant was opened to manufacture some 40 types of commercial feed for livestock and poultry. These feeds – made from Montana grains and some 30 other materials from other sections of the United States – were distributed throughout Central Montana and northern Wyoming. C. G. Ireys became the company’s fourth president in 1939. Until 1941 Russell-Miller had concentrated its operation in the spring wheat area; with the acquisition of Stanard-Tilton Milling Company of St. Louis, Missouri. In 1942 Leslie F. Miller (son of Arthur Miller) became the fifth president of Russell-Miller. Fire destroyed the mill at Alton, Illinois, which was later rebuilt to be the largest of the Russell-Miller mills. The company’s services were further expanded when an insecticide plant was built in 1948 to produce dusts for spraying. When liquid chemicals began replacing the dust, the plant was rebuilt and in 1951 was ready to handle the processing of seeds. While the four side of Russell-Miller’s business was growing, the company was also developing its country and terminal elevator division which purchased millions of bushels of wheat from North Dakota farmers, primarily as a source of supply to the mills. By 1953 Russell-Miller had 143 country elevators, some of which had expanded to include coal, lumber, and gasoline supplies for the farmers whose grain they took in Montana and North Dakota. The division had also begun operation of a seed house in North Dakota and two feed merchandising plants in North Dakota and Montana. The elevator divisions were operating large terminals to facilitate the movement of grain in Minneapolis and Buffalo, New York. In 1954, control of Russell-Miller Company was acquired by Peavey Company, and George W. P. Heffelfinger became Russell-Miller’s sixth president. Russell-Miller was the first milling company in the country to depart from the norm of packaging flour in white bags. In 1955, the company began packing their four in a newly designed orange bag. In 1960, Russell-Miller became a Peavey division under the name of Russell-Miller-King Midas Mills, and in 1963 the division name was again changed to Peavey Company Flour Mills. These milling operation were all a part of Peavey’s Industrial Food Group. Peavey was one of the country’s largest flour millers and a leading producer of durum products for the pasta industry. In addition to bakery flour, the company had Occident, King Midas and Hungarian brands available for the consumer. To read me, take time to read these links. http://www.flickr.com/photos/23711298@N07/sets/72157625363229411/ http://foodcompanycookbooks.blogspot.com/2006/12/occident-flour-milling.html http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/ConAgra-Inc-Company-History.html

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