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Thompson Livestock – still in business after 122 years

Courtesy photoChar and Tommy Thompson; sweethearts, business partners and ranchers for 55 years.

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For as long as there have been livestock sale barns in operation in western South Dakota, there has likely been a Thompson on the seats buying cattle and sheep. Furthermore, if there wasn’t a Thompson buying livestock, there was probably a Thompson in ownership or employment of the salebarn. So, it could be said that they’ve been in the business for a while.

However, the Thompson family has been in the area for longer than most could imagine. In the gold rush days of 1876, Charles F. Thompson and his son, Thomas W. Thompson, arrived by saddle horse in Deadwood. They staked out a claim, struck gold and established the Clinton Lode Mine.

Besides mining interests, Charles was the first appointed Lawrence County Treasurer and owned and operated two toll roads in and out of Deadwood.



Meanwhile, not liking the way of life in Deadwood, in 1878, Thomas W. Thompson left the mining town and went about nine miles north of present day Whitewood, and filed on a homestead in Whitewood Valley at Big Bottom. In 1879, he went to Wisconsin and got married. His bride arrived in Medora, by stage, via Bismarck, and they traveled to the ranch on Big Bottom with a team and buggy.

Two children were born to Thomas and Ellen, Carrie in 1880 and Charles Frederick II in 1884.



In 1882 he brought the first registered Hereford cattle to his ranch, shipping them by rail to Pierre, SD, ferrying them across the Missouri River, then trailing them to Whitewood Creek. The trek to South Dakota from Wisconsin was quite an undertaking with those cattle. He registered the Double Circle brand at around that time.

In 1888, T.W. sold his homestead to the Kymala family and moved his family to the new town of Whitewood. In 1892 he bought the land north of Whitewood, where the present day Thompson Livestock still stands.

In the early days of Whitewood, Thompson was a busy man. He was a partner with T.O. Mitchell in a flour mill and elevator, along with farming and ranching interests. He also held interest in a creamery, and ran a freighting business, and helped to develop the townsite of Whitewood. T.W. Thompson also owned a horse ranch in the Deers Ears country in Butte County. In 1889 he bought out T.O. Mitchell’s interests in the ranching and farming enterprises.

T.W. Thompson’s son Charles F. II, continued the ranching and farming interests in Whitewood Valley. Charles was a livestock dealer and with his team and buggy, traveled around the country buying cattle, horses and sheep. His boys, T.W. II and Henry, rode along behind and gathered whatever he bought and trailed it along. Charles would go into a place and talk to the farmer or rancher. If he got something bought, he would wave at the boys, who were holding herd back down the way, and they would come and gather up whatever it was and add it to the bunch they were driving. Meanwhile, Charles went on to the next place.

When they got back to the ranch at Whitewood, they would sort the stock up, put a load together and ship them by rail to market. It was a good business, and he covered a lot of country for the day and time.

They worked together as the boys grew up and in time T.W. (II) took over the Whitewood Ranch. His brother Henry had the sheep yards north of Belle Fourche in later years, and was a well-known and respected dealer in all classes of sheep.

Carrying on the tradition of his forebearers as a diverse businessman, T.W. had the salebarn at Belle Fourche. His wife Edith ran the cafe, and as Tommy Thompson recalls, “I slept on the benches!” As Tommy grew older, his dad put him to work. “I started working in the yards as a 6th grader. I was 12 years old,” he said.

In 1944 T.W. Thompson, along with Russ Bowden, William Anderson and Max Schut, opened the Sturgis Livestock Exchange. Tommy, who was just a boy, recalls, “I rode the first horse through the ring there. It was a Shetland pony.”

T.W. also had the Rapid City Salebarn, was a stockholder in the St. Onge salebarn and on the board of directors at the sale barn at Miles City, MT.

Tommy’s dad and mother moved to Omaha in 1954, so in 1955, when Tommy married his high school sweetheart, Charlotte, they moved to Nebraska as well, where Tommy worked for a while as a buyer for Armour’s. In 1957, he started order buying with Oliver Jewett and they lived at Isabel, SD. By this time they had a family, and in 1961 they moved near Belle Fourche and took over running Thompson Livestock at Whitewood.

In 1974, the family moved back to the place at Whitewood, originally established by Tommy’s great-grandfather, Thomas Washington Thompson I.

Though not on the road buying cattle like he used to, Tommy is still very busy, as is his wife Char. He operates the Superior Livestock Video auctions, purchases and sales, while Char takes care of the books. Tommy is also a Lawrence County Commissioner, a job he enjoys a great deal. “I’ll still go to some sales if Ted needs me to, too,” says Tommy. “I’ve been buying cattle for 53 years, so far.”

Tommy and Charlotte have four children. They are all in the area, with their two sons still involved with the business. Ted is now in charge of the main operations at Thompson Livestock, while Colin is in charge of the trucking. Their daughters, Rhonda and Bob Baltezore live near Spearfish and have a daughter Ashlee (Kevin) Jaeger; and Jana Thompson is single and lives in Whitewood.

Ted and Kathy have four children. Their son Coy is in the business with them as a buyer, plus he is a professional roper. He and Michelle Alley have a home at the ranch headquarters; Katie is an attorney in Sturgis; Kelly is married to Rod Anders and they live at Elm Springs, SD, plus have a home at the Whitewood headquarters; and Tara and Scott Sexton live near Bison and have five children.

Ted has been in the business his whole life. He started working at the salebarns in Belle Fourche and St. Onge when he was 12 years old. He did many jobs there, but mostly worked the yard back, sorting alleys, and was the ringman both places through high school. Ted grins and says, “I never went to school on Fridays. Things were different then. They thought I could learn more working than I could sitting in school.”

When Ted graduated from high school, he was 17 years old and went right to work for Tony Jansma. “I thought it would be good for him to work for someone else for a while,”says Tommy. Ted was 18 when his little brother Colin was born during the big fall run. “One of the auctioneers said that it was so sad that I had a brother I had never even met,” laughs Ted. “I was so busy on the road with Tony that it was quite a while before I saw him.”

Ted and Kathy have taken over possession of the operation, and Ted is the main cattle buyer for Thompson Livestock. They also run about 400 mother cows, own or partner on about 4,500 yearlings, and are shareholders in 5F Feedlot north of Nisland, SD, and own some semi-trucks and trailers as well.

Their son Coy buys cattle full time, and daughter Kelly contracts ewes and lambs, plus some cattle and they both help with the cattle work on the ranch and in the feedlot.

Tommy’s younger son, Colin, and his wife Renee’ have a son and two daughters. He operates and owns semi cattle trucks for Thompson Livestock, dispatches about a dozen trucks, occasionally buys cattle, and is a Reserve Deputy Sheriff of Lawrence County. He’s been involved in the family business all of his adult life. Colin’s wife Renee’ handles the feedlot books.

Colin bought his first semi when he turned 18, as a senior in high school. He was already an experienced driver though, as he had been taking trucks to the washout facility at a feedlot from the time he was about 14 years old.

“He was never interested in buying cattle, just always liked trucks,” says Tommy. “His little boy Troy says he’s not going to be a truck driver when he grows up, so who knows, maybe he’ll be the cattle buyer!”

Thompson Livestock buys and sells 80,000-100,000 cattle a year, including the satellite sales through Superior. Things have changed over the years, as fewer cattle are worked at the yards at Whitewood.

Ted recalls “We used to get these calves in here from the salebarn, then spend all night working them. We had to give them their shots and then send them on to wherever they were going. It was hard on us and the cattle.” He continues, “It’s way better now, since most of the calves get their shots before they get weaned. Most of our customers want them to be pre-conditioned, and some won’t take them if they’re not.”

Yearling cattle go straight to the feedlot where they are worked, then on to grass when late spring comes. “It’s sure nice working them right at the feedlot. They’ve got that big scale that can weigh the trucks when they are loaded, so that really makes things go faster, too.” says Ted.

With the involvement of the 7th generation of the family, it is hoped that the business can continue on for many years to come. Ted states, “The ranch will continue on for a long time. With Coy here now, he will keep it going.”

The ranch on Whitewood Creek will continue to be home to Thompson Livestock, and the Double Circle brand will be put on calves again this spring, just like it’s been done for well over a century, with a Thompson handling the branding iron.

For as long as there have been livestock sale barns in operation in western South Dakota, there has likely been a Thompson on the seats buying cattle and sheep. Furthermore, if there wasn’t a Thompson buying livestock, there was probably a Thompson in ownership or employment of the salebarn. So, it could be said that they’ve been in the business for a while.

However, the Thompson family has been in the area for longer than most could imagine. In the gold rush days of 1876, Charles F. Thompson and his son, Thomas W. Thompson, arrived by saddle horse in Deadwood. They staked out a claim, struck gold and established the Clinton Lode Mine.

Besides mining interests, Charles was the first appointed Lawrence County Treasurer and owned and operated two toll roads in and out of Deadwood.

Meanwhile, not liking the way of life in Deadwood, in 1878, Thomas W. Thompson left the mining town and went about nine miles north of present day Whitewood, and filed on a homestead in Whitewood Valley at Big Bottom. In 1879, he went to Wisconsin and got married. His bride arrived in Medora, by stage, via Bismarck, and they traveled to the ranch on Big Bottom with a team and buggy.

Two children were born to Thomas and Ellen, Carrie in 1880 and Charles Frederick II in 1884.

In 1882 he brought the first registered Hereford cattle to his ranch, shipping them by rail to Pierre, SD, ferrying them across the Missouri River, then trailing them to Whitewood Creek. The trek to South Dakota from Wisconsin was quite an undertaking with those cattle. He registered the Double Circle brand at around that time.

In 1888, T.W. sold his homestead to the Kymala family and moved his family to the new town of Whitewood. In 1892 he bought the land north of Whitewood, where the present day Thompson Livestock still stands.

In the early days of Whitewood, Thompson was a busy man. He was a partner with T.O. Mitchell in a flour mill and elevator, along with farming and ranching interests. He also held interest in a creamery, and ran a freighting business, and helped to develop the townsite of Whitewood. T.W. Thompson also owned a horse ranch in the Deers Ears country in Butte County. In 1889 he bought out T.O. Mitchell’s interests in the ranching and farming enterprises.

T.W. Thompson’s son Charles F. II, continued the ranching and farming interests in Whitewood Valley. Charles was a livestock dealer and with his team and buggy, traveled around the country buying cattle, horses and sheep. His boys, T.W. II and Henry, rode along behind and gathered whatever he bought and trailed it along. Charles would go into a place and talk to the farmer or rancher. If he got something bought, he would wave at the boys, who were holding herd back down the way, and they would come and gather up whatever it was and add it to the bunch they were driving. Meanwhile, Charles went on to the next place.

When they got back to the ranch at Whitewood, they would sort the stock up, put a load together and ship them by rail to market. It was a good business, and he covered a lot of country for the day and time.

They worked together as the boys grew up and in time T.W. (II) took over the Whitewood Ranch. His brother Henry had the sheep yards north of Belle Fourche in later years, and was a well-known and respected dealer in all classes of sheep.

Carrying on the tradition of his forebearers as a diverse businessman, T.W. had the salebarn at Belle Fourche. His wife Edith ran the cafe, and as Tommy Thompson recalls, “I slept on the benches!” As Tommy grew older, his dad put him to work. “I started working in the yards as a 6th grader. I was 12 years old,” he said.

In 1944 T.W. Thompson, along with Russ Bowden, William Anderson and Max Schut, opened the Sturgis Livestock Exchange. Tommy, who was just a boy, recalls, “I rode the first horse through the ring there. It was a Shetland pony.”

T.W. also had the Rapid City Salebarn, was a stockholder in the St. Onge salebarn and on the board of directors at the sale barn at Miles City, MT.

Tommy’s dad and mother moved to Omaha in 1954, so in 1955, when Tommy married his high school sweetheart, Charlotte, they moved to Nebraska as well, where Tommy worked for a while as a buyer for Armour’s. In 1957, he started order buying with Oliver Jewett and they lived at Isabel, SD. By this time they had a family, and in 1961 they moved near Belle Fourche and took over running Thompson Livestock at Whitewood.

In 1974, the family moved back to the place at Whitewood, originally established by Tommy’s great-grandfather, Thomas Washington Thompson I.

Though not on the road buying cattle like he used to, Tommy is still very busy, as is his wife Char. He operates the Superior Livestock Video auctions, purchases and sales, while Char takes care of the books. Tommy is also a Lawrence County Commissioner, a job he enjoys a great deal. “I’ll still go to some sales if Ted needs me to, too,” says Tommy. “I’ve been buying cattle for 53 years, so far.”

Tommy and Charlotte have four children. They are all in the area, with their two sons still involved with the business. Ted is now in charge of the main operations at Thompson Livestock, while Colin is in charge of the trucking. Their daughters, Rhonda and Bob Baltezore live near Spearfish and have a daughter Ashlee (Kevin) Jaeger; and Jana Thompson is single and lives in Whitewood.

Ted and Kathy have four children. Their son Coy is in the business with them as a buyer, plus he is a professional roper. He and Michelle Alley have a home at the ranch headquarters; Katie is an attorney in Sturgis; Kelly is married to Rod Anders and they live at Elm Springs, SD, plus have a home at the Whitewood headquarters; and Tara and Scott Sexton live near Bison and have five children.

Ted has been in the business his whole life. He started working at the salebarns in Belle Fourche and St. Onge when he was 12 years old. He did many jobs there, but mostly worked the yard back, sorting alleys, and was the ringman both places through high school. Ted grins and says, “I never went to school on Fridays. Things were different then. They thought I could learn more working than I could sitting in school.”

When Ted graduated from high school, he was 17 years old and went right to work for Tony Jansma. “I thought it would be good for him to work for someone else for a while,”says Tommy. Ted was 18 when his little brother Colin was born during the big fall run. “One of the auctioneers said that it was so sad that I had a brother I had never even met,” laughs Ted. “I was so busy on the road with Tony that it was quite a while before I saw him.”

Ted and Kathy have taken over possession of the operation, and Ted is the main cattle buyer for Thompson Livestock. They also run about 400 mother cows, own or partner on about 4,500 yearlings, and are shareholders in 5F Feedlot north of Nisland, SD, and own some semi-trucks and trailers as well.

Their son Coy buys cattle full time, and daughter Kelly contracts ewes and lambs, plus some cattle and they both help with the cattle work on the ranch and in the feedlot.

Tommy’s younger son, Colin, and his wife Renee’ have a son and two daughters. He operates and owns semi cattle trucks for Thompson Livestock, dispatches about a dozen trucks, occasionally buys cattle, and is a Reserve Deputy Sheriff of Lawrence County. He’s been involved in the family business all of his adult life. Colin’s wife Renee’ handles the feedlot books.

Colin bought his first semi when he turned 18, as a senior in high school. He was already an experienced driver though, as he had been taking trucks to the washout facility at a feedlot from the time he was about 14 years old.

“He was never interested in buying cattle, just always liked trucks,” says Tommy. “His little boy Troy says he’s not going to be a truck driver when he grows up, so who knows, maybe he’ll be the cattle buyer!”

Thompson Livestock buys and sells 80,000-100,000 cattle a year, including the satellite sales through Superior. Things have changed over the years, as fewer cattle are worked at the yards at Whitewood.

Ted recalls “We used to get these calves in here from the salebarn, then spend all night working them. We had to give them their shots and then send them on to wherever they were going. It was hard on us and the cattle.” He continues, “It’s way better now, since most of the calves get their shots before they get weaned. Most of our customers want them to be pre-conditioned, and some won’t take them if they’re not.”

Yearling cattle go straight to the feedlot where they are worked, then on to grass when late spring comes. “It’s sure nice working them right at the feedlot. They’ve got that big scale that can weigh the trucks when they are loaded, so that really makes things go faster, too.” says Ted.

With the involvement of the 7th generation of the family, it is hoped that the business can continue on for many years to come. Ted states, “The ranch will continue on for a long time. With Coy here now, he will keep it going.”

The ranch on Whitewood Creek will continue to be home to Thompson Livestock, and the Double Circle brand will be put on calves again this spring, just like it’s been done for well over a century, with a Thompson handling the branding iron.

For as long as there have been livestock sale barns in operation in western South Dakota, there has likely been a Thompson on the seats buying cattle and sheep. Furthermore, if there wasn’t a Thompson buying livestock, there was probably a Thompson in ownership or employment of the salebarn. So, it could be said that they’ve been in the business for a while.

However, the Thompson family has been in the area for longer than most could imagine. In the gold rush days of 1876, Charles F. Thompson and his son, Thomas W. Thompson, arrived by saddle horse in Deadwood. They staked out a claim, struck gold and established the Clinton Lode Mine.

Besides mining interests, Charles was the first appointed Lawrence County Treasurer and owned and operated two toll roads in and out of Deadwood.

Meanwhile, not liking the way of life in Deadwood, in 1878, Thomas W. Thompson left the mining town and went about nine miles north of present day Whitewood, and filed on a homestead in Whitewood Valley at Big Bottom. In 1879, he went to Wisconsin and got married. His bride arrived in Medora, by stage, via Bismarck, and they traveled to the ranch on Big Bottom with a team and buggy.

Two children were born to Thomas and Ellen, Carrie in 1880 and Charles Frederick II in 1884.

In 1882 he brought the first registered Hereford cattle to his ranch, shipping them by rail to Pierre, SD, ferrying them across the Missouri River, then trailing them to Whitewood Creek. The trek to South Dakota from Wisconsin was quite an undertaking with those cattle. He registered the Double Circle brand at around that time.

In 1888, T.W. sold his homestead to the Kymala family and moved his family to the new town of Whitewood. In 1892 he bought the land north of Whitewood, where the present day Thompson Livestock still stands.

In the early days of Whitewood, Thompson was a busy man. He was a partner with T.O. Mitchell in a flour mill and elevator, along with farming and ranching interests. He also held interest in a creamery, and ran a freighting business, and helped to develop the townsite of Whitewood. T.W. Thompson also owned a horse ranch in the Deers Ears country in Butte County. In 1889 he bought out T.O. Mitchell’s interests in the ranching and farming enterprises.

T.W. Thompson’s son Charles F. II, continued the ranching and farming interests in Whitewood Valley. Charles was a livestock dealer and with his team and buggy, traveled around the country buying cattle, horses and sheep. His boys, T.W. II and Henry, rode along behind and gathered whatever he bought and trailed it along. Charles would go into a place and talk to the farmer or rancher. If he got something bought, he would wave at the boys, who were holding herd back down the way, and they would come and gather up whatever it was and add it to the bunch they were driving. Meanwhile, Charles went on to the next place.

When they got back to the ranch at Whitewood, they would sort the stock up, put a load together and ship them by rail to market. It was a good business, and he covered a lot of country for the day and time.

They worked together as the boys grew up and in time T.W. (II) took over the Whitewood Ranch. His brother Henry had the sheep yards north of Belle Fourche in later years, and was a well-known and respected dealer in all classes of sheep.

Carrying on the tradition of his forebearers as a diverse businessman, T.W. had the salebarn at Belle Fourche. His wife Edith ran the cafe, and as Tommy Thompson recalls, “I slept on the benches!” As Tommy grew older, his dad put him to work. “I started working in the yards as a 6th grader. I was 12 years old,” he said.

In 1944 T.W. Thompson, along with Russ Bowden, William Anderson and Max Schut, opened the Sturgis Livestock Exchange. Tommy, who was just a boy, recalls, “I rode the first horse through the ring there. It was a Shetland pony.”

T.W. also had the Rapid City Salebarn, was a stockholder in the St. Onge salebarn and on the board of directors at the sale barn at Miles City, MT.

Tommy’s dad and mother moved to Omaha in 1954, so in 1955, when Tommy married his high school sweetheart, Charlotte, they moved to Nebraska as well, where Tommy worked for a while as a buyer for Armour’s. In 1957, he started order buying with Oliver Jewett and they lived at Isabel, SD. By this time they had a family, and in 1961 they moved near Belle Fourche and took over running Thompson Livestock at Whitewood.

In 1974, the family moved back to the place at Whitewood, originally established by Tommy’s great-grandfather, Thomas Washington Thompson I.

Though not on the road buying cattle like he used to, Tommy is still very busy, as is his wife Char. He operates the Superior Livestock Video auctions, purchases and sales, while Char takes care of the books. Tommy is also a Lawrence County Commissioner, a job he enjoys a great deal. “I’ll still go to some sales if Ted needs me to, too,” says Tommy. “I’ve been buying cattle for 53 years, so far.”

Tommy and Charlotte have four children. They are all in the area, with their two sons still involved with the business. Ted is now in charge of the main operations at Thompson Livestock, while Colin is in charge of the trucking. Their daughters, Rhonda and Bob Baltezore live near Spearfish and have a daughter Ashlee (Kevin) Jaeger; and Jana Thompson is single and lives in Whitewood.

Ted and Kathy have four children. Their son Coy is in the business with them as a buyer, plus he is a professional roper. He and Michelle Alley have a home at the ranch headquarters; Katie is an attorney in Sturgis; Kelly is married to Rod Anders and they live at Elm Springs, SD, plus have a home at the Whitewood headquarters; and Tara and Scott Sexton live near Bison and have five children.

Ted has been in the business his whole life. He started working at the salebarns in Belle Fourche and St. Onge when he was 12 years old. He did many jobs there, but mostly worked the yard back, sorting alleys, and was the ringman both places through high school. Ted grins and says, “I never went to school on Fridays. Things were different then. They thought I could learn more working than I could sitting in school.”

When Ted graduated from high school, he was 17 years old and went right to work for Tony Jansma. “I thought it would be good for him to work for someone else for a while,”says Tommy. Ted was 18 when his little brother Colin was born during the big fall run. “One of the auctioneers said that it was so sad that I had a brother I had never even met,” laughs Ted. “I was so busy on the road with Tony that it was quite a while before I saw him.”

Ted and Kathy have taken over possession of the operation, and Ted is the main cattle buyer for Thompson Livestock. They also run about 400 mother cows, own or partner on about 4,500 yearlings, and are shareholders in 5F Feedlot north of Nisland, SD, and own some semi-trucks and trailers as well.

Their son Coy buys cattle full time, and daughter Kelly contracts ewes and lambs, plus some cattle and they both help with the cattle work on the ranch and in the feedlot.

Tommy’s younger son, Colin, and his wife Renee’ have a son and two daughters. He operates and owns semi cattle trucks for Thompson Livestock, dispatches about a dozen trucks, occasionally buys cattle, and is a Reserve Deputy Sheriff of Lawrence County. He’s been involved in the family business all of his adult life. Colin’s wife Renee’ handles the feedlot books.

Colin bought his first semi when he turned 18, as a senior in high school. He was already an experienced driver though, as he had been taking trucks to the washout facility at a feedlot from the time he was about 14 years old.

“He was never interested in buying cattle, just always liked trucks,” says Tommy. “His little boy Troy says he’s not going to be a truck driver when he grows up, so who knows, maybe he’ll be the cattle buyer!”

Thompson Livestock buys and sells 80,000-100,000 cattle a year, including the satellite sales through Superior. Things have changed over the years, as fewer cattle are worked at the yards at Whitewood.

Ted recalls “We used to get these calves in here from the salebarn, then spend all night working them. We had to give them their shots and then send them on to wherever they were going. It was hard on us and the cattle.” He continues, “It’s way better now, since most of the calves get their shots before they get weaned. Most of our customers want them to be pre-conditioned, and some won’t take them if they’re not.”

Yearling cattle go straight to the feedlot where they are worked, then on to grass when late spring comes. “It’s sure nice working them right at the feedlot. They’ve got that big scale that can weigh the trucks when they are loaded, so that really makes things go faster, too.” says Ted.

With the involvement of the 7th generation of the family, it is hoped that the business can continue on for many years to come. Ted states, “The ranch will continue on for a long time. With Coy here now, he will keep it going.”

The ranch on Whitewood Creek will continue to be home to Thompson Livestock, and the Double Circle brand will be put on calves again this spring, just like it’s been done for well over a century, with a Thompson handling the branding iron.

For as long as there have been livestock sale barns in operation in western South Dakota, there has likely been a Thompson on the seats buying cattle and sheep. Furthermore, if there wasn’t a Thompson buying livestock, there was probably a Thompson in ownership or employment of the salebarn. So, it could be said that they’ve been in the business for a while.

However, the Thompson family has been in the area for longer than most could imagine. In the gold rush days of 1876, Charles F. Thompson and his son, Thomas W. Thompson, arrived by saddle horse in Deadwood. They staked out a claim, struck gold and established the Clinton Lode Mine.

Besides mining interests, Charles was the first appointed Lawrence County Treasurer and owned and operated two toll roads in and out of Deadwood.

Meanwhile, not liking the way of life in Deadwood, in 1878, Thomas W. Thompson left the mining town and went about nine miles north of present day Whitewood, and filed on a homestead in Whitewood Valley at Big Bottom. In 1879, he went to Wisconsin and got married. His bride arrived in Medora, by stage, via Bismarck, and they traveled to the ranch on Big Bottom with a team and buggy.

Two children were born to Thomas and Ellen, Carrie in 1880 and Charles Frederick II in 1884.

In 1882 he brought the first registered Hereford cattle to his ranch, shipping them by rail to Pierre, SD, ferrying them across the Missouri River, then trailing them to Whitewood Creek. The trek to South Dakota from Wisconsin was quite an undertaking with those cattle. He registered the Double Circle brand at around that time.

In 1888, T.W. sold his homestead to the Kymala family and moved his family to the new town of Whitewood. In 1892 he bought the land north of Whitewood, where the present day Thompson Livestock still stands.

In the early days of Whitewood, Thompson was a busy man. He was a partner with T.O. Mitchell in a flour mill and elevator, along with farming and ranching interests. He also held interest in a creamery, and ran a freighting business, and helped to develop the townsite of Whitewood. T.W. Thompson also owned a horse ranch in the Deers Ears country in Butte County. In 1889 he bought out T.O. Mitchell’s interests in the ranching and farming enterprises.

T.W. Thompson’s son Charles F. II, continued the ranching and farming interests in Whitewood Valley. Charles was a livestock dealer and with his team and buggy, traveled around the country buying cattle, horses and sheep. His boys, T.W. II and Henry, rode along behind and gathered whatever he bought and trailed it along. Charles would go into a place and talk to the farmer or rancher. If he got something bought, he would wave at the boys, who were holding herd back down the way, and they would come and gather up whatever it was and add it to the bunch they were driving. Meanwhile, Charles went on to the next place.

When they got back to the ranch at Whitewood, they would sort the stock up, put a load together and ship them by rail to market. It was a good business, and he covered a lot of country for the day and time.

They worked together as the boys grew up and in time T.W. (II) took over the Whitewood Ranch. His brother Henry had the sheep yards north of Belle Fourche in later years, and was a well-known and respected dealer in all classes of sheep.

Carrying on the tradition of his forebearers as a diverse businessman, T.W. had the salebarn at Belle Fourche. His wife Edith ran the cafe, and as Tommy Thompson recalls, “I slept on the benches!” As Tommy grew older, his dad put him to work. “I started working in the yards as a 6th grader. I was 12 years old,” he said.

In 1944 T.W. Thompson, along with Russ Bowden, William Anderson and Max Schut, opened the Sturgis Livestock Exchange. Tommy, who was just a boy, recalls, “I rode the first horse through the ring there. It was a Shetland pony.”

T.W. also had the Rapid City Salebarn, was a stockholder in the St. Onge salebarn and on the board of directors at the sale barn at Miles City, MT.

Tommy’s dad and mother moved to Omaha in 1954, so in 1955, when Tommy married his high school sweetheart, Charlotte, they moved to Nebraska as well, where Tommy worked for a while as a buyer for Armour’s. In 1957, he started order buying with Oliver Jewett and they lived at Isabel, SD. By this time they had a family, and in 1961 they moved near Belle Fourche and took over running Thompson Livestock at Whitewood.

In 1974, the family moved back to the place at Whitewood, originally established by Tommy’s great-grandfather, Thomas Washington Thompson I.

Though not on the road buying cattle like he used to, Tommy is still very busy, as is his wife Char. He operates the Superior Livestock Video auctions, purchases and sales, while Char takes care of the books. Tommy is also a Lawrence County Commissioner, a job he enjoys a great deal. “I’ll still go to some sales if Ted needs me to, too,” says Tommy. “I’ve been buying cattle for 53 years, so far.”

Tommy and Charlotte have four children. They are all in the area, with their two sons still involved with the business. Ted is now in charge of the main operations at Thompson Livestock, while Colin is in charge of the trucking. Their daughters, Rhonda and Bob Baltezore live near Spearfish and have a daughter Ashlee (Kevin) Jaeger; and Jana Thompson is single and lives in Whitewood.

Ted and Kathy have four children. Their son Coy is in the business with them as a buyer, plus he is a professional roper. He and Michelle Alley have a home at the ranch headquarters; Katie is an attorney in Sturgis; Kelly is married to Rod Anders and they live at Elm Springs, SD, plus have a home at the Whitewood headquarters; and Tara and Scott Sexton live near Bison and have five children.

Ted has been in the business his whole life. He started working at the salebarns in Belle Fourche and St. Onge when he was 12 years old. He did many jobs there, but mostly worked the yard back, sorting alleys, and was the ringman both places through high school. Ted grins and says, “I never went to school on Fridays. Things were different then. They thought I could learn more working than I could sitting in school.”

When Ted graduated from high school, he was 17 years old and went right to work for Tony Jansma. “I thought it would be good for him to work for someone else for a while,”says Tommy. Ted was 18 when his little brother Colin was born during the big fall run. “One of the auctioneers said that it was so sad that I had a brother I had never even met,” laughs Ted. “I was so busy on the road with Tony that it was quite a while before I saw him.”

Ted and Kathy have taken over possession of the operation, and Ted is the main cattle buyer for Thompson Livestock. They also run about 400 mother cows, own or partner on about 4,500 yearlings, and are shareholders in 5F Feedlot north of Nisland, SD, and own some semi-trucks and trailers as well.

Their son Coy buys cattle full time, and daughter Kelly contracts ewes and lambs, plus some cattle and they both help with the cattle work on the ranch and in the feedlot.

Tommy’s younger son, Colin, and his wife Renee’ have a son and two daughters. He operates and owns semi cattle trucks for Thompson Livestock, dispatches about a dozen trucks, occasionally buys cattle, and is a Reserve Deputy Sheriff of Lawrence County. He’s been involved in the family business all of his adult life. Colin’s wife Renee’ handles the feedlot books.

Colin bought his first semi when he turned 18, as a senior in high school. He was already an experienced driver though, as he had been taking trucks to the washout facility at a feedlot from the time he was about 14 years old.

“He was never interested in buying cattle, just always liked trucks,” says Tommy. “His little boy Troy says he’s not going to be a truck driver when he grows up, so who knows, maybe he’ll be the cattle buyer!”

Thompson Livestock buys and sells 80,000-100,000 cattle a year, including the satellite sales through Superior. Things have changed over the years, as fewer cattle are worked at the yards at Whitewood.

Ted recalls “We used to get these calves in here from the salebarn, then spend all night working them. We had to give them their shots and then send them on to wherever they were going. It was hard on us and the cattle.” He continues, “It’s way better now, since most of the calves get their shots before they get weaned. Most of our customers want them to be pre-conditioned, and some won’t take them if they’re not.”

Yearling cattle go straight to the feedlot where they are worked, then on to grass when late spring comes. “It’s sure nice working them right at the feedlot. They’ve got that big scale that can weigh the trucks when they are loaded, so that really makes things go faster, too.” says Ted.

With the involvement of the 7th generation of the family, it is hoped that the business can continue on for many years to come. Ted states, “The ranch will continue on for a long time. With Coy here now, he will keep it going.”

The ranch on Whitewood Creek will continue to be home to Thompson Livestock, and the Double Circle brand will be put on calves again this spring, just like it’s been done for well over a century, with a Thompson handling the branding iron.

For as long as there have been livestock sale barns in operation in western South Dakota, there has likely been a Thompson on the seats buying cattle and sheep. Furthermore, if there wasn’t a Thompson buying livestock, there was probably a Thompson in ownership or employment of the salebarn. So, it could be said that they’ve been in the business for a while.

However, the Thompson family has been in the area for longer than most could imagine. In the gold rush days of 1876, Charles F. Thompson and his son, Thomas W. Thompson, arrived by saddle horse in Deadwood. They staked out a claim, struck gold and established the Clinton Lode Mine.

Besides mining interests, Charles was the first appointed Lawrence County Treasurer and owned and operated two toll roads in and out of Deadwood.

Meanwhile, not liking the way of life in Deadwood, in 1878, Thomas W. Thompson left the mining town and went about nine miles north of present day Whitewood, and filed on a homestead in Whitewood Valley at Big Bottom. In 1879, he went to Wisconsin and got married. His bride arrived in Medora, by stage, via Bismarck, and they traveled to the ranch on Big Bottom with a team and buggy.

Two children were born to Thomas and Ellen, Carrie in 1880 and Charles Frederick II in 1884.

In 1882 he brought the first registered Hereford cattle to his ranch, shipping them by rail to Pierre, SD, ferrying them across the Missouri River, then trailing them to Whitewood Creek. The trek to South Dakota from Wisconsin was quite an undertaking with those cattle. He registered the Double Circle brand at around that time.

In 1888, T.W. sold his homestead to the Kymala family and moved his family to the new town of Whitewood. In 1892 he bought the land north of Whitewood, where the present day Thompson Livestock still stands.

In the early days of Whitewood, Thompson was a busy man. He was a partner with T.O. Mitchell in a flour mill and elevator, along with farming and ranching interests. He also held interest in a creamery, and ran a freighting business, and helped to develop the townsite of Whitewood. T.W. Thompson also owned a horse ranch in the Deers Ears country in Butte County. In 1889 he bought out T.O. Mitchell’s interests in the ranching and farming enterprises.

T.W. Thompson’s son Charles F. II, continued the ranching and farming interests in Whitewood Valley. Charles was a livestock dealer and with his team and buggy, traveled around the country buying cattle, horses and sheep. His boys, T.W. II and Henry, rode along behind and gathered whatever he bought and trailed it along. Charles would go into a place and talk to the farmer or rancher. If he got something bought, he would wave at the boys, who were holding herd back down the way, and they would come and gather up whatever it was and add it to the bunch they were driving. Meanwhile, Charles went on to the next place.

When they got back to the ranch at Whitewood, they would sort the stock up, put a load together and ship them by rail to market. It was a good business, and he covered a lot of country for the day and time.

They worked together as the boys grew up and in time T.W. (II) took over the Whitewood Ranch. His brother Henry had the sheep yards north of Belle Fourche in later years, and was a well-known and respected dealer in all classes of sheep.

Carrying on the tradition of his forebearers as a diverse businessman, T.W. had the salebarn at Belle Fourche. His wife Edith ran the cafe, and as Tommy Thompson recalls, “I slept on the benches!” As Tommy grew older, his dad put him to work. “I started working in the yards as a 6th grader. I was 12 years old,” he said.

In 1944 T.W. Thompson, along with Russ Bowden, William Anderson and Max Schut, opened the Sturgis Livestock Exchange. Tommy, who was just a boy, recalls, “I rode the first horse through the ring there. It was a Shetland pony.”

T.W. also had the Rapid City Salebarn, was a stockholder in the St. Onge salebarn and on the board of directors at the sale barn at Miles City, MT.

Tommy’s dad and mother moved to Omaha in 1954, so in 1955, when Tommy married his high school sweetheart, Charlotte, they moved to Nebraska as well, where Tommy worked for a while as a buyer for Armour’s. In 1957, he started order buying with Oliver Jewett and they lived at Isabel, SD. By this time they had a family, and in 1961 they moved near Belle Fourche and took over running Thompson Livestock at Whitewood.

In 1974, the family moved back to the place at Whitewood, originally established by Tommy’s great-grandfather, Thomas Washington Thompson I.

Though not on the road buying cattle like he used to, Tommy is still very busy, as is his wife Char. He operates the Superior Livestock Video auctions, purchases and sales, while Char takes care of the books. Tommy is also a Lawrence County Commissioner, a job he enjoys a great deal. “I’ll still go to some sales if Ted needs me to, too,” says Tommy. “I’ve been buying cattle for 53 years, so far.”

Tommy and Charlotte have four children. They are all in the area, with their two sons still involved with the business. Ted is now in charge of the main operations at Thompson Livestock, while Colin is in charge of the trucking. Their daughters, Rhonda and Bob Baltezore live near Spearfish and have a daughter Ashlee (Kevin) Jaeger; and Jana Thompson is single and lives in Whitewood.

Ted and Kathy have four children. Their son Coy is in the business with them as a buyer, plus he is a professional roper. He and Michelle Alley have a home at the ranch headquarters; Katie is an attorney in Sturgis; Kelly is married to Rod Anders and they live at Elm Springs, SD, plus have a home at the Whitewood headquarters; and Tara and Scott Sexton live near Bison and have five children.

Ted has been in the business his whole life. He started working at the salebarns in Belle Fourche and St. Onge when he was 12 years old. He did many jobs there, but mostly worked the yard back, sorting alleys, and was the ringman both places through high school. Ted grins and says, “I never went to school on Fridays. Things were different then. They thought I could learn more working than I could sitting in school.”

When Ted graduated from high school, he was 17 years old and went right to work for Tony Jansma. “I thought it would be good for him to work for someone else for a while,”says Tommy. Ted was 18 when his little brother Colin was born during the big fall run. “One of the auctioneers said that it was so sad that I had a brother I had never even met,” laughs Ted. “I was so busy on the road with Tony that it was quite a while before I saw him.”

Ted and Kathy have taken over possession of the operation, and Ted is the main cattle buyer for Thompson Livestock. They also run about 400 mother cows, own or partner on about 4,500 yearlings, and are shareholders in 5F Feedlot north of Nisland, SD, and own some semi-trucks and trailers as well.

Their son Coy buys cattle full time, and daughter Kelly contracts ewes and lambs, plus some cattle and they both help with the cattle work on the ranch and in the feedlot.

Tommy’s younger son, Colin, and his wife Renee’ have a son and two daughters. He operates and owns semi cattle trucks for Thompson Livestock, dispatches about a dozen trucks, occasionally buys cattle, and is a Reserve Deputy Sheriff of Lawrence County. He’s been involved in the family business all of his adult life. Colin’s wife Renee’ handles the feedlot books.

Colin bought his first semi when he turned 18, as a senior in high school. He was already an experienced driver though, as he had been taking trucks to the washout facility at a feedlot from the time he was about 14 years old.

“He was never interested in buying cattle, just always liked trucks,” says Tommy. “His little boy Troy says he’s not going to be a truck driver when he grows up, so who knows, maybe he’ll be the cattle buyer!”

Thompson Livestock buys and sells 80,000-100,000 cattle a year, including the satellite sales through Superior. Things have changed over the years, as fewer cattle are worked at the yards at Whitewood.

Ted recalls “We used to get these calves in here from the salebarn, then spend all night working them. We had to give them their shots and then send them on to wherever they were going. It was hard on us and the cattle.” He continues, “It’s way better now, since most of the calves get their shots before they get weaned. Most of our customers want them to be pre-conditioned, and some won’t take them if they’re not.”

Yearling cattle go straight to the feedlot where they are worked, then on to grass when late spring comes. “It’s sure nice working them right at the feedlot. They’ve got that big scale that can weigh the trucks when they are loaded, so that really makes things go faster, too.” says Ted.

With the involvement of the 7th generation of the family, it is hoped that the business can continue on for many years to come. Ted states, “The ranch will continue on for a long time. With Coy here now, he will keep it going.”

The ranch on Whitewood Creek will continue to be home to Thompson Livestock, and the Double Circle brand will be put on calves again this spring, just like it’s been done for well over a century, with a Thompson handling the branding iron.

For as long as there have been livestock sale barns in operation in western South Dakota, there has likely been a Thompson on the seats buying cattle and sheep. Furthermore, if there wasn’t a Thompson buying livestock, there was probably a Thompson in ownership or employment of the salebarn. So, it could be said that they’ve been in the business for a while.

However, the Thompson family has been in the area for longer than most could imagine. In the gold rush days of 1876, Charles F. Thompson and his son, Thomas W. Thompson, arrived by saddle horse in Deadwood. They staked out a claim, struck gold and established the Clinton Lode Mine.

Besides mining interests, Charles was the first appointed Lawrence County Treasurer and owned and operated two toll roads in and out of Deadwood.

Meanwhile, not liking the way of life in Deadwood, in 1878, Thomas W. Thompson left the mining town and went about nine miles north of present day Whitewood, and filed on a homestead in Whitewood Valley at Big Bottom. In 1879, he went to Wisconsin and got married. His bride arrived in Medora, by stage, via Bismarck, and they traveled to the ranch on Big Bottom with a team and buggy.

Two children were born to Thomas and Ellen, Carrie in 1880 and Charles Frederick II in 1884.

In 1882 he brought the first registered Hereford cattle to his ranch, shipping them by rail to Pierre, SD, ferrying them across the Missouri River, then trailing them to Whitewood Creek. The trek to South Dakota from Wisconsin was quite an undertaking with those cattle. He registered the Double Circle brand at around that time.

In 1888, T.W. sold his homestead to the Kymala family and moved his family to the new town of Whitewood. In 1892 he bought the land north of Whitewood, where the present day Thompson Livestock still stands.

In the early days of Whitewood, Thompson was a busy man. He was a partner with T.O. Mitchell in a flour mill and elevator, along with farming and ranching interests. He also held interest in a creamery, and ran a freighting business, and helped to develop the townsite of Whitewood. T.W. Thompson also owned a horse ranch in the Deers Ears country in Butte County. In 1889 he bought out T.O. Mitchell’s interests in the ranching and farming enterprises.

T.W. Thompson’s son Charles F. II, continued the ranching and farming interests in Whitewood Valley. Charles was a livestock dealer and with his team and buggy, traveled around the country buying cattle, horses and sheep. His boys, T.W. II and Henry, rode along behind and gathered whatever he bought and trailed it along. Charles would go into a place and talk to the farmer or rancher. If he got something bought, he would wave at the boys, who were holding herd back down the way, and they would come and gather up whatever it was and add it to the bunch they were driving. Meanwhile, Charles went on to the next place.

When they got back to the ranch at Whitewood, they would sort the stock up, put a load together and ship them by rail to market. It was a good business, and he covered a lot of country for the day and time.

They worked together as the boys grew up and in time T.W. (II) took over the Whitewood Ranch. His brother Henry had the sheep yards north of Belle Fourche in later years, and was a well-known and respected dealer in all classes of sheep.

Carrying on the tradition of his forebearers as a diverse businessman, T.W. had the salebarn at Belle Fourche. His wife Edith ran the cafe, and as Tommy Thompson recalls, “I slept on the benches!” As Tommy grew older, his dad put him to work. “I started working in the yards as a 6th grader. I was 12 years old,” he said.

In 1944 T.W. Thompson, along with Russ Bowden, William Anderson and Max Schut, opened the Sturgis Livestock Exchange. Tommy, who was just a boy, recalls, “I rode the first horse through the ring there. It was a Shetland pony.”

T.W. also had the Rapid City Salebarn, was a stockholder in the St. Onge salebarn and on the board of directors at the sale barn at Miles City, MT.

Tommy’s dad and mother moved to Omaha in 1954, so in 1955, when Tommy married his high school sweetheart, Charlotte, they moved to Nebraska as well, where Tommy worked for a while as a buyer for Armour’s. In 1957, he started order buying with Oliver Jewett and they lived at Isabel, SD. By this time they had a family, and in 1961 they moved near Belle Fourche and took over running Thompson Livestock at Whitewood.

In 1974, the family moved back to the place at Whitewood, originally established by Tommy’s great-grandfather, Thomas Washington Thompson I.

Though not on the road buying cattle like he used to, Tommy is still very busy, as is his wife Char. He operates the Superior Livestock Video auctions, purchases and sales, while Char takes care of the books. Tommy is also a Lawrence County Commissioner, a job he enjoys a great deal. “I’ll still go to some sales if Ted needs me to, too,” says Tommy. “I’ve been buying cattle for 53 years, so far.”

Tommy and Charlotte have four children. They are all in the area, with their two sons still involved with the business. Ted is now in charge of the main operations at Thompson Livestock, while Colin is in charge of the trucking. Their daughters, Rhonda and Bob Baltezore live near Spearfish and have a daughter Ashlee (Kevin) Jaeger; and Jana Thompson is single and lives in Whitewood.

Ted and Kathy have four children. Their son Coy is in the business with them as a buyer, plus he is a professional roper. He and Michelle Alley have a home at the ranch headquarters; Katie is an attorney in Sturgis; Kelly is married to Rod Anders and they live at Elm Springs, SD, plus have a home at the Whitewood headquarters; and Tara and Scott Sexton live near Bison and have five children.

Ted has been in the business his whole life. He started working at the salebarns in Belle Fourche and St. Onge when he was 12 years old. He did many jobs there, but mostly worked the yard back, sorting alleys, and was the ringman both places through high school. Ted grins and says, “I never went to school on Fridays. Things were different then. They thought I could learn more working than I could sitting in school.”

When Ted graduated from high school, he was 17 years old and went right to work for Tony Jansma. “I thought it would be good for him to work for someone else for a while,”says Tommy. Ted was 18 when his little brother Colin was born during the big fall run. “One of the auctioneers said that it was so sad that I had a brother I had never even met,” laughs Ted. “I was so busy on the road with Tony that it was quite a while before I saw him.”

Ted and Kathy have taken over possession of the operation, and Ted is the main cattle buyer for Thompson Livestock. They also run about 400 mother cows, own or partner on about 4,500 yearlings, and are shareholders in 5F Feedlot north of Nisland, SD, and own some semi-trucks and trailers as well.

Their son Coy buys cattle full time, and daughter Kelly contracts ewes and lambs, plus some cattle and they both help with the cattle work on the ranch and in the feedlot.

Tommy’s younger son, Colin, and his wife Renee’ have a son and two daughters. He operates and owns semi cattle trucks for Thompson Livestock, dispatches about a dozen trucks, occasionally buys cattle, and is a Reserve Deputy Sheriff of Lawrence County. He’s been involved in the family business all of his adult life. Colin’s wife Renee’ handles the feedlot books.

Colin bought his first semi when he turned 18, as a senior in high school. He was already an experienced driver though, as he had been taking trucks to the washout facility at a feedlot from the time he was about 14 years old.

“He was never interested in buying cattle, just always liked trucks,” says Tommy. “His little boy Troy says he’s not going to be a truck driver when he grows up, so who knows, maybe he’ll be the cattle buyer!”

Thompson Livestock buys and sells 80,000-100,000 cattle a year, including the satellite sales through Superior. Things have changed over the years, as fewer cattle are worked at the yards at Whitewood.

Ted recalls “We used to get these calves in here from the salebarn, then spend all night working them. We had to give them their shots and then send them on to wherever they were going. It was hard on us and the cattle.” He continues, “It’s way better now, since most of the calves get their shots before they get weaned. Most of our customers want them to be pre-conditioned, and some won’t take them if they’re not.”

Yearling cattle go straight to the feedlot where they are worked, then on to grass when late spring comes. “It’s sure nice working them right at the feedlot. They’ve got that big scale that can weigh the trucks when they are loaded, so that really makes things go faster, too.” says Ted.

With the involvement of the 7th generation of the family, it is hoped that the business can continue on for many years to come. Ted states, “The ranch will continue on for a long time. With Coy here now, he will keep it going.”

The ranch on Whitewood Creek will continue to be home to Thompson Livestock, and the Double Circle brand will be put on calves again this spring, just like it’s been done for well over a century, with a Thompson handling the branding iron.

For as long as there have been livestock sale barns in operation in western South Dakota, there has likely been a Thompson on the seats buying cattle and sheep. Furthermore, if there wasn’t a Thompson buying livestock, there was probably a Thompson in ownership or employment of the salebarn. So, it could be said that they’ve been in the business for a while.

However, the Thompson family has been in the area for longer than most could imagine. In the gold rush days of 1876, Charles F. Thompson and his son, Thomas W. Thompson, arrived by saddle horse in Deadwood. They staked out a claim, struck gold and established the Clinton Lode Mine.

Besides mining interests, Charles was the first appointed Lawrence County Treasurer and owned and operated two toll roads in and out of Deadwood.

Meanwhile, not liking the way of life in Deadwood, in 1878, Thomas W. Thompson left the mining town and went about nine miles north of present day Whitewood, and filed on a homestead in Whitewood Valley at Big Bottom. In 1879, he went to Wisconsin and got married. His bride arrived in Medora, by stage, via Bismarck, and they traveled to the ranch on Big Bottom with a team and buggy.

Two children were born to Thomas and Ellen, Carrie in 1880 and Charles Frederick II in 1884.

In 1882 he brought the first registered Hereford cattle to his ranch, shipping them by rail to Pierre, SD, ferrying them across the Missouri River, then trailing them to Whitewood Creek. The trek to South Dakota from Wisconsin was quite an undertaking with those cattle. He registered the Double Circle brand at around that time.

In 1888, T.W. sold his homestead to the Kymala family and moved his family to the new town of Whitewood. In 1892 he bought the land north of Whitewood, where the present day Thompson Livestock still stands.

In the early days of Whitewood, Thompson was a busy man. He was a partner with T.O. Mitchell in a flour mill and elevator, along with farming and ranching interests. He also held interest in a creamery, and ran a freighting business, and helped to develop the townsite of Whitewood. T.W. Thompson also owned a horse ranch in the Deers Ears country in Butte County. In 1889 he bought out T.O. Mitchell’s interests in the ranching and farming enterprises.

T.W. Thompson’s son Charles F. II, continued the ranching and farming interests in Whitewood Valley. Charles was a livestock dealer and with his team and buggy, traveled around the country buying cattle, horses and sheep. His boys, T.W. II and Henry, rode along behind and gathered whatever he bought and trailed it along. Charles would go into a place and talk to the farmer or rancher. If he got something bought, he would wave at the boys, who were holding herd back down the way, and they would come and gather up whatever it was and add it to the bunch they were driving. Meanwhile, Charles went on to the next place.

When they got back to the ranch at Whitewood, they would sort the stock up, put a load together and ship them by rail to market. It was a good business, and he covered a lot of country for the day and time.

They worked together as the boys grew up and in time T.W. (II) took over the Whitewood Ranch. His brother Henry had the sheep yards north of Belle Fourche in later years, and was a well-known and respected dealer in all classes of sheep.

Carrying on the tradition of his forebearers as a diverse businessman, T.W. had the salebarn at Belle Fourche. His wife Edith ran the cafe, and as Tommy Thompson recalls, “I slept on the benches!” As Tommy grew older, his dad put him to work. “I started working in the yards as a 6th grader. I was 12 years old,” he said.

In 1944 T.W. Thompson, along with Russ Bowden, William Anderson and Max Schut, opened the Sturgis Livestock Exchange. Tommy, who was just a boy, recalls, “I rode the first horse through the ring there. It was a Shetland pony.”

T.W. also had the Rapid City Salebarn, was a stockholder in the St. Onge salebarn and on the board of directors at the sale barn at Miles City, MT.

Tommy’s dad and mother moved to Omaha in 1954, so in 1955, when Tommy married his high school sweetheart, Charlotte, they moved to Nebraska as well, where Tommy worked for a while as a buyer for Armour’s. In 1957, he started order buying with Oliver Jewett and they lived at Isabel, SD. By this time they had a family, and in 1961 they moved near Belle Fourche and took over running Thompson Livestock at Whitewood.

In 1974, the family moved back to the place at Whitewood, originally established by Tommy’s great-grandfather, Thomas Washington Thompson I.

Though not on the road buying cattle like he used to, Tommy is still very busy, as is his wife Char. He operates the Superior Livestock Video auctions, purchases and sales, while Char takes care of the books. Tommy is also a Lawrence County Commissioner, a job he enjoys a great deal. “I’ll still go to some sales if Ted needs me to, too,” says Tommy. “I’ve been buying cattle for 53 years, so far.”

Tommy and Charlotte have four children. They are all in the area, with their two sons still involved with the business. Ted is now in charge of the main operations at Thompson Livestock, while Colin is in charge of the trucking. Their daughters, Rhonda and Bob Baltezore live near Spearfish and have a daughter Ashlee (Kevin) Jaeger; and Jana Thompson is single and lives in Whitewood.

Ted and Kathy have four children. Their son Coy is in the business with them as a buyer, plus he is a professional roper. He and Michelle Alley have a home at the ranch headquarters; Katie is an attorney in Sturgis; Kelly is married to Rod Anders and they live at Elm Springs, SD, plus have a home at the Whitewood headquarters; and Tara and Scott Sexton live near Bison and have five children.

Ted has been in the business his whole life. He started working at the salebarns in Belle Fourche and St. Onge when he was 12 years old. He did many jobs there, but mostly worked the yard back, sorting alleys, and was the ringman both places through high school. Ted grins and says, “I never went to school on Fridays. Things were different then. They thought I could learn more working than I could sitting in school.”

When Ted graduated from high school, he was 17 years old and went right to work for Tony Jansma. “I thought it would be good for him to work for someone else for a while,”says Tommy. Ted was 18 when his little brother Colin was born during the big fall run. “One of the auctioneers said that it was so sad that I had a brother I had never even met,” laughs Ted. “I was so busy on the road with Tony that it was quite a while before I saw him.”

Ted and Kathy have taken over possession of the operation, and Ted is the main cattle buyer for Thompson Livestock. They also run about 400 mother cows, own or partner on about 4,500 yearlings, and are shareholders in 5F Feedlot north of Nisland, SD, and own some semi-trucks and trailers as well.

Their son Coy buys cattle full time, and daughter Kelly contracts ewes and lambs, plus some cattle and they both help with the cattle work on the ranch and in the feedlot.

Tommy’s younger son, Colin, and his wife Renee’ have a son and two daughters. He operates and owns semi cattle trucks for Thompson Livestock, dispatches about a dozen trucks, occasionally buys cattle, and is a Reserve Deputy Sheriff of Lawrence County. He’s been involved in the family business all of his adult life. Colin’s wife Renee’ handles the feedlot books.

Colin bought his first semi when he turned 18, as a senior in high school. He was already an experienced driver though, as he had been taking trucks to the washout facility at a feedlot from the time he was about 14 years old.

“He was never interested in buying cattle, just always liked trucks,” says Tommy. “His little boy Troy says he’s not going to be a truck driver when he grows up, so who knows, maybe he’ll be the cattle buyer!”

Thompson Livestock buys and sells 80,000-100,000 cattle a year, including the satellite sales through Superior. Things have changed over the years, as fewer cattle are worked at the yards at Whitewood.

Ted recalls “We used to get these calves in here from the salebarn, then spend all night working them. We had to give them their shots and then send them on to wherever they were going. It was hard on us and the cattle.” He continues, “It’s way better now, since most of the calves get their shots before they get weaned. Most of our customers want them to be pre-conditioned, and some won’t take them if they’re not.”

Yearling cattle go straight to the feedlot where they are worked, then on to grass when late spring comes. “It’s sure nice working them right at the feedlot. They’ve got that big scale that can weigh the trucks when they are loaded, so that really makes things go faster, too.” says Ted.

With the involvement of the 7th generation of the family, it is hoped that the business can continue on for many years to come. Ted states, “The ranch will continue on for a long time. With Coy here now, he will keep it going.”

The ranch on Whitewood Creek will continue to be home to Thompson Livestock, and the Double Circle brand will be put on calves again this spring, just like it’s been done for well over a century, with a Thompson handling the branding iron.

For as long as there have been livestock sale barns in operation in western South Dakota, there has likely been a Thompson on the seats buying cattle and sheep. Furthermore, if there wasn’t a Thompson buying livestock, there was probably a Thompson in ownership or employment of the salebarn. So, it could be said that they’ve been in the business for a while.

However, the Thompson family has been in the area for longer than most could imagine. In the gold rush days of 1876, Charles F. Thompson and his son, Thomas W. Thompson, arrived by saddle horse in Deadwood. They staked out a claim, struck gold and established the Clinton Lode Mine.

Besides mining interests, Charles was the first appointed Lawrence County Treasurer and owned and operated two toll roads in and out of Deadwood.

Meanwhile, not liking the way of life in Deadwood, in 1878, Thomas W. Thompson left the mining town and went about nine miles north of present day Whitewood, and filed on a homestead in Whitewood Valley at Big Bottom. In 1879, he went to Wisconsin and got married. His bride arrived in Medora, by stage, via Bismarck, and they traveled to the ranch on Big Bottom with a team and buggy.

Two children were born to Thomas and Ellen, Carrie in 1880 and Charles Frederick II in 1884.

In 1882 he brought the first registered Hereford cattle to his ranch, shipping them by rail to Pierre, SD, ferrying them across the Missouri River, then trailing them to Whitewood Creek. The trek to South Dakota from Wisconsin was quite an undertaking with those cattle. He registered the Double Circle brand at around that time.

In 1888, T.W. sold his homestead to the Kymala family and moved his family to the new town of Whitewood. In 1892 he bought the land north of Whitewood, where the present day Thompson Livestock still stands.

In the early days of Whitewood, Thompson was a busy man. He was a partner with T.O. Mitchell in a flour mill and elevator, along with farming and ranching interests. He also held interest in a creamery, and ran a freighting business, and helped to develop the townsite of Whitewood. T.W. Thompson also owned a horse ranch in the Deers Ears country in Butte County. In 1889 he bought out T.O. Mitchell’s interests in the ranching and farming enterprises.

T.W. Thompson’s son Charles F. II, continued the ranching and farming interests in Whitewood Valley. Charles was a livestock dealer and with his team and buggy, traveled around the country buying cattle, horses and sheep. His boys, T.W. II and Henry, rode along behind and gathered whatever he bought and trailed it along. Charles would go into a place and talk to the farmer or rancher. If he got something bought, he would wave at the boys, who were holding herd back down the way, and they would come and gather up whatever it was and add it to the bunch they were driving. Meanwhile, Charles went on to the next place.

When they got back to the ranch at Whitewood, they would sort the stock up, put a load together and ship them by rail to market. It was a good business, and he covered a lot of country for the day and time.

They worked together as the boys grew up and in time T.W. (II) took over the Whitewood Ranch. His brother Henry had the sheep yards north of Belle Fourche in later years, and was a well-known and respected dealer in all classes of sheep.

Carrying on the tradition of his forebearers as a diverse businessman, T.W. had the salebarn at Belle Fourche. His wife Edith ran the cafe, and as Tommy Thompson recalls, “I slept on the benches!” As Tommy grew older, his dad put him to work. “I started working in the yards as a 6th grader. I was 12 years old,” he said.

In 1944 T.W. Thompson, along with Russ Bowden, William Anderson and Max Schut, opened the Sturgis Livestock Exchange. Tommy, who was just a boy, recalls, “I rode the first horse through the ring there. It was a Shetland pony.”

T.W. also had the Rapid City Salebarn, was a stockholder in the St. Onge salebarn and on the board of directors at the sale barn at Miles City, MT.

Tommy’s dad and mother moved to Omaha in 1954, so in 1955, when Tommy married his high school sweetheart, Charlotte, they moved to Nebraska as well, where Tommy worked for a while as a buyer for Armour’s. In 1957, he started order buying with Oliver Jewett and they lived at Isabel, SD. By this time they had a family, and in 1961 they moved near Belle Fourche and took over running Thompson Livestock at Whitewood.

In 1974, the family moved back to the place at Whitewood, originally established by Tommy’s great-grandfather, Thomas Washington Thompson I.

Though not on the road buying cattle like he used to, Tommy is still very busy, as is his wife Char. He operates the Superior Livestock Video auctions, purchases and sales, while Char takes care of the books. Tommy is also a Lawrence County Commissioner, a job he enjoys a great deal. “I’ll still go to some sales if Ted needs me to, too,” says Tommy. “I’ve been buying cattle for 53 years, so far.”

Tommy and Charlotte have four children. They are all in the area, with their two sons still involved with the business. Ted is now in charge of the main operations at Thompson Livestock, while Colin is in charge of the trucking. Their daughters, Rhonda and Bob Baltezore live near Spearfish and have a daughter Ashlee (Kevin) Jaeger; and Jana Thompson is single and lives in Whitewood.

Ted and Kathy have four children. Their son Coy is in the business with them as a buyer, plus he is a professional roper. He and Michelle Alley have a home at the ranch headquarters; Katie is an attorney in Sturgis; Kelly is married to Rod Anders and they live at Elm Springs, SD, plus have a home at the Whitewood headquarters; and Tara and Scott Sexton live near Bison and have five children.

Ted has been in the business his whole life. He started working at the salebarns in Belle Fourche and St. Onge when he was 12 years old. He did many jobs there, but mostly worked the yard back, sorting alleys, and was the ringman both places through high school. Ted grins and says, “I never went to school on Fridays. Things were different then. They thought I could learn more working than I could sitting in school.”

When Ted graduated from high school, he was 17 years old and went right to work for Tony Jansma. “I thought it would be good for him to work for someone else for a while,”says Tommy. Ted was 18 when his little brother Colin was born during the big fall run. “One of the auctioneers said that it was so sad that I had a brother I had never even met,” laughs Ted. “I was so busy on the road with Tony that it was quite a while before I saw him.”

Ted and Kathy have taken over possession of the operation, and Ted is the main cattle buyer for Thompson Livestock. They also run about 400 mother cows, own or partner on about 4,500 yearlings, and are shareholders in 5F Feedlot north of Nisland, SD, and own some semi-trucks and trailers as well.

Their son Coy buys cattle full time, and daughter Kelly contracts ewes and lambs, plus some cattle and they both help with the cattle work on the ranch and in the feedlot.

Tommy’s younger son, Colin, and his wife Renee’ have a son and two daughters. He operates and owns semi cattle trucks for Thompson Livestock, dispatches about a dozen trucks, occasionally buys cattle, and is a Reserve Deputy Sheriff of Lawrence County. He’s been involved in the family business all of his adult life. Colin’s wife Renee’ handles the feedlot books.

Colin bought his first semi when he turned 18, as a senior in high school. He was already an experienced driver though, as he had been taking trucks to the washout facility at a feedlot from the time he was about 14 years old.

“He was never interested in buying cattle, just always liked trucks,” says Tommy. “His little boy Troy says he’s not going to be a truck driver when he grows up, so who knows, maybe he’ll be the cattle buyer!”

Thompson Livestock buys and sells 80,000-100,000 cattle a year, including the satellite sales through Superior. Things have changed over the years, as fewer cattle are worked at the yards at Whitewood.

Ted recalls “We used to get these calves in here from the salebarn, then spend all night working them. We had to give them their shots and then send them on to wherever they were going. It was hard on us and the cattle.” He continues, “It’s way better now, since most of the calves get their shots before they get weaned. Most of our customers want them to be pre-conditioned, and some won’t take them if they’re not.”

Yearling cattle go straight to the feedlot where they are worked, then on to grass when late spring comes. “It’s sure nice working them right at the feedlot. They’ve got that big scale that can weigh the trucks when they are loaded, so that really makes things go faster, too.” says Ted.

With the involvement of the 7th generation of the family, it is hoped that the business can continue on for many years to come. Ted states, “The ranch will continue on for a long time. With Coy here now, he will keep it going.”

The ranch on Whitewood Creek will continue to be home to Thompson Livestock, and the Double Circle brand will be put on calves again this spring, just like it’s been done for well over a century, with a Thompson handling the branding iron.

For as long as there have been livestock sale barns in operation in western South Dakota, there has likely been a Thompson on the seats buying cattle and sheep. Furthermore, if there wasn’t a Thompson buying livestock, there was probably a Thompson in ownership or employment of the salebarn. So, it could be said that they’ve been in the business for a while.

However, the Thompson family has been in the area for longer than most could imagine. In the gold rush days of 1876, Charles F. Thompson and his son, Thomas W. Thompson, arrived by saddle horse in Deadwood. They staked out a claim, struck gold and established the Clinton Lode Mine.

Besides mining interests, Charles was the first appointed Lawrence County Treasurer and owned and operated two toll roads in and out of Deadwood.

Meanwhile, not liking the way of life in Deadwood, in 1878, Thomas W. Thompson left the mining town and went about nine miles north of present day Whitewood, and filed on a homestead in Whitewood Valley at Big Bottom. In 1879, he went to Wisconsin and got married. His bride arrived in Medora, by stage, via Bismarck, and they traveled to the ranch on Big Bottom with a team and buggy.

Two children were born to Thomas and Ellen, Carrie in 1880 and Charles Frederick II in 1884.

In 1882 he brought the first registered Hereford cattle to his ranch, shipping them by rail to Pierre, SD, ferrying them across the Missouri River, then trailing them to Whitewood Creek. The trek to South Dakota from Wisconsin was quite an undertaking with those cattle. He registered the Double Circle brand at around that time.

In 1888, T.W. sold his homestead to the Kymala family and moved his family to the new town of Whitewood. In 1892 he bought the land north of Whitewood, where the present day Thompson Livestock still stands.

In the early days of Whitewood, Thompson was a busy man. He was a partner with T.O. Mitchell in a flour mill and elevator, along with farming and ranching interests. He also held interest in a creamery, and ran a freighting business, and helped to develop the townsite of Whitewood. T.W. Thompson also owned a horse ranch in the Deers Ears country in Butte County. In 1889 he bought out T.O. Mitchell’s interests in the ranching and farming enterprises.

T.W. Thompson’s son Charles F. II, continued the ranching and farming interests in Whitewood Valley. Charles was a livestock dealer and with his team and buggy, traveled around the country buying cattle, horses and sheep. His boys, T.W. II and Henry, rode along behind and gathered whatever he bought and trailed it along. Charles would go into a place and talk to the farmer or rancher. If he got something bought, he would wave at the boys, who were holding herd back down the way, and they would come and gather up whatever it was and add it to the bunch they were driving. Meanwhile, Charles went on to the next place.

When they got back to the ranch at Whitewood, they would sort the stock up, put a load together and ship them by rail to market. It was a good business, and he covered a lot of country for the day and time.

They worked together as the boys grew up and in time T.W. (II) took over the Whitewood Ranch. His brother Henry had the sheep yards north of Belle Fourche in later years, and was a well-known and respected dealer in all classes of sheep.

Carrying on the tradition of his forebearers as a diverse businessman, T.W. had the salebarn at Belle Fourche. His wife Edith ran the cafe, and as Tommy Thompson recalls, “I slept on the benches!” As Tommy grew older, his dad put him to work. “I started working in the yards as a 6th grader. I was 12 years old,” he said.

In 1944 T.W. Thompson, along with Russ Bowden, William Anderson and Max Schut, opened the Sturgis Livestock Exchange. Tommy, who was just a boy, recalls, “I rode the first horse through the ring there. It was a Shetland pony.”

T.W. also had the Rapid City Salebarn, was a stockholder in the St. Onge salebarn and on the board of directors at the sale barn at Miles City, MT.

Tommy’s dad and mother moved to Omaha in 1954, so in 1955, when Tommy married his high school sweetheart, Charlotte, they moved to Nebraska as well, where Tommy worked for a while as a buyer for Armour’s. In 1957, he started order buying with Oliver Jewett and they lived at Isabel, SD. By this time they had a family, and in 1961 they moved near Belle Fourche and took over running Thompson Livestock at Whitewood.

In 1974, the family moved back to the place at Whitewood, originally established by Tommy’s great-grandfather, Thomas Washington Thompson I.

Though not on the road buying cattle like he used to, Tommy is still very busy, as is his wife Char. He operates the Superior Livestock Video auctions, purchases and sales, while Char takes care of the books. Tommy is also a Lawrence County Commissioner, a job he enjoys a great deal. “I’ll still go to some sales if Ted needs me to, too,” says Tommy. “I’ve been buying cattle for 53 years, so far.”

Tommy and Charlotte have four children. They are all in the area, with their two sons still involved with the business. Ted is now in charge of the main operations at Thompson Livestock, while Colin is in charge of the trucking. Their daughters, Rhonda and Bob Baltezore live near Spearfish and have a daughter Ashlee (Kevin) Jaeger; and Jana Thompson is single and lives in Whitewood.

Ted and Kathy have four children. Their son Coy is in the business with them as a buyer, plus he is a professional roper. He and Michelle Alley have a home at the ranch headquarters; Katie is an attorney in Sturgis; Kelly is married to Rod Anders and they live at Elm Springs, SD, plus have a home at the Whitewood headquarters; and Tara and Scott Sexton live near Bison and have five children.

Ted has been in the business his whole life. He started working at the salebarns in Belle Fourche and St. Onge when he was 12 years old. He did many jobs there, but mostly worked the yard back, sorting alleys, and was the ringman both places through high school. Ted grins and says, “I never went to school on Fridays. Things were different then. They thought I could learn more working than I could sitting in school.”

When Ted graduated from high school, he was 17 years old and went right to work for Tony Jansma. “I thought it would be good for him to work for someone else for a while,”says Tommy. Ted was 18 when his little brother Colin was born during the big fall run. “One of the auctioneers said that it was so sad that I had a brother I had never even met,” laughs Ted. “I was so busy on the road with Tony that it was quite a while before I saw him.”

Ted and Kathy have taken over possession of the operation, and Ted is the main cattle buyer for Thompson Livestock. They also run about 400 mother cows, own or partner on about 4,500 yearlings, and are shareholders in 5F Feedlot north of Nisland, SD, and own some semi-trucks and trailers as well.

Their son Coy buys cattle full time, and daughter Kelly contracts ewes and lambs, plus some cattle and they both help with the cattle work on the ranch and in the feedlot.

Tommy’s younger son, Colin, and his wife Renee’ have a son and two daughters. He operates and owns semi cattle trucks for Thompson Livestock, dispatches about a dozen trucks, occasionally buys cattle, and is a Reserve Deputy Sheriff of Lawrence County. He’s been involved in the family business all of his adult life. Colin’s wife Renee’ handles the feedlot books.

Colin bought his first semi when he turned 18, as a senior in high school. He was already an experienced driver though, as he had been taking trucks to the washout facility at a feedlot from the time he was about 14 years old.

“He was never interested in buying cattle, just always liked trucks,” says Tommy. “His little boy Troy says he’s not going to be a truck driver when he grows up, so who knows, maybe he’ll be the cattle buyer!”

Thompson Livestock buys and sells 80,000-100,000 cattle a year, including the satellite sales through Superior. Things have changed over the years, as fewer cattle are worked at the yards at Whitewood.

Ted recalls “We used to get these calves in here from the salebarn, then spend all night working them. We had to give them their shots and then send them on to wherever they were going. It was hard on us and the cattle.” He continues, “It’s way better now, since most of the calves get their shots before they get weaned. Most of our customers want them to be pre-conditioned, and some won’t take them if they’re not.”

Yearling cattle go straight to the feedlot where they are worked, then on to grass when late spring comes. “It’s sure nice working them right at the feedlot. They’ve got that big scale that can weigh the trucks when they are loaded, so that really makes things go faster, too.” says Ted.

With the involvement of the 7th generation of the family, it is hoped that the business can continue on for many years to come. Ted states, “The ranch will continue on for a long time. With Coy here now, he will keep it going.”

The ranch on Whitewood Creek will continue to be home to Thompson Livestock, and the Double Circle brand will be put on calves again this spring, just like it’s been done for well over a century, with a Thompson handling the branding iron.


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