soon after the Motor Carrier Act of 1935 was implemented there were two ways for a trucking company to obtain operating authority. If you were an established company and could show proof that you were operating between two or more areas, then the so called “grandfather clause” would enable a certificate to be issued by the Interstate Commerce Commission. Usually bills of lading, or receipts showing that you were consistently providing freight service between two or more points was all that would be required. As long as you were providing trucking service prior to June 1, 1935 and could show proof then you were “grandfathered” in. Many times when applying for a certificate of authority you could pick the cities you wanted to continue to serve and which highways you wanted to use. There was a time period to file to be considered for an application continuing service to an established carrier under the “grandfather clause”.
If you wanted to start a new trucking company you could still apply for authority as long as you could show a need for service in the areas you wanted to provide service to. It was made a little harder in that established trucking companies already providing service in the applicants proposed area of service could protest the new application and appear in an ICC hearing to present their case.
In early 1936 several individuals in Delaware filed Common Carrier Applications with the Interstate Commerce Commission. Most of the applicants were from rural Sussex County, Delaware. The largest town in the county was Seaford, which only had a population of two thousand five hundred persons.
From Volume 1 Page 336 of Interstate Commerce Commission Motor Carrier Reports, published in 1937, I found the first transcript of the ICC hearings from the first of 12 hearings from the Delaware applications mentioned above. This one was filed by the applicant Edward T. Merritt on April 28, 1936. It was submitted for action on October 30, 1936 and was decided on December 14 the same year. It was denied and you will find it interesting as to what caused the denial.
Merritt applied to serve points in Delaware, Maryland, Vitginia, North Caolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York And the District of Columbia. He stated in the hearing that he had been in the trucking business for the last 13 years, but failed to file application under the “grandfather” clause because he was under the impression that the act exempts from regulation those who are principally engaged in the transportation of agriculture commodities. He further stated because “hauling has been getting so bad in the last few years that it did not look like it was much use to have a permit.”
Approximately 90 percent of the applicants traffic consists of agricultural commodities, 50 percent originates in Delaware, 25 percent in Maryland, 10 percent in Virginia and 5 percent in North Carolina, and all shipments are destined to points in PA, NJ, NY, MA, CT, RI and DC.
Protesting concerns show that there are some 1,400 trucking companies and numerous railroad and railway-express services available between points in the territory included in the application. For example, the Victor Lynn Transportation Company ( later known as Victor Lynn Lines) provides daily common-carrier motor vehicle service between points in the Delmarva Oeninsula, from Cape Charles, Vurginia to Wilmington, Delaware and to points in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Maryland and Dustrict of Columbia.
The application was denied because adequate service was already being provided to the areas being applied for.
The second application of interest was submitted by Linden E. Marvel of Seaford, Delaware. In his application he wanted to provide service further south to North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, in addition to the Mid-Atlantic and New England states. Marvel said he had been in the trucking business for the last six years and could have filed an application sooner but neglected to do so because he “waited too long and let it slip my mind.” His application was denied on January 25, 1937 for the same reasons as the first one, and Victor Lynn was mentioned again as already providing daily service.
Ten additional applications went to ICC hearings in early 1936 and each were denied and in each hearing Victor Lynn protested the applications and won each time! All were listed in Volume 1 and below is a list of applicants:
John Thomas Merritt of Seaford, DE page 431
James D. Rawlings if Seaford, DE page 434
Edward C. Hill of Seaford, DE page 449
James W. Truitt page 452
Norman Church Hodges of Laurel, DE page 495
Frank W. Barker of Delmar, DE page 498
Thomas E. Flanders of Milford, DE page 503
Floyd A. Till of Sussex County, DE page 506
Edward S. Humphreys of Crisfield, DE page 512
Victor Lynn Lines was later acquired in the 1960s by Eastern Freightways.