Thomas Benton Hord | Inducted by 1920
Livestock and grain industry entrepreneur, businessman and community leader in Central City, Nebraska.
1850-1910 | Artist: Robert Wadsworth Grafton (1876-1936)
Impact & Accomplishments
Born in Marion, Ohio, Thomas Hord settled further west, acquiring land and establishing major beef and lamb feeder operations, first in Wyoming, and then in Nebraska.
Hord had his own method of outdoor feeding, handling mature cattle only, and he marketed more than 10,000 each of cattle, sheep, and hogs annually, sometimes much more. He had eleven separate feeding stations around Central City, Nebraska, and the Union Pacific Railroad was kept busy at his switches, sending full trainloads of livestock to Chicago.
Hord’s operations created the single largest market for grain and hay in the Midwest at the time, and the T. B. Hord Grain Company, with multiple elevators, was formed to address those interests.
Did You Know?
T.B. Hord firmly believed that the success of his businesses was directly tied to the loyalty and dedication of his many employees. To reward them he established an employee profit sharing program, a pioneering concept unknown at the time that is widely practiced by companies in many industries today. Moreover, it is said that he carried a large number of five dollar bills which he handed out to employees that he encountered doing excellent work.
Hord owned the largest grain company in the state with over fifty elevators. The company offices in Central City served as an exchange: buying. selling, and "shipping Midwest corn and grain products to all four corners of the United States and all points in between." Dennis D Madden, "The Hord Family: Merrick County Entrepreneurs," Nebraska History 70 (1989): 164-171.