History of Keeshin Motor Express


In the early years Keeshin had numerous subsidiaries that operating in individual states and regions of the country. Under the corporate name of Keeshin Transcontinental Freight Lines, the following companies were owned and operated:

  • Keeshin Motor Express Company, Inc ( NY)- routes in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania
  • Bernd Truck, Inc(Wisconsin)- routes in Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin
  • Dickens Motor Freight, Inc. (Mich)- routes in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio
  • Bausman Motor Express, Inc- routes in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania
  • Keeshin Cartage Company, Inc. ( Ill) – intrastate only in Chicago area
  • Keeshin Cartage Company, Inc. (Del)- local Cartage in various cities
  • Keeshin Motor Express Company, Inc. ( Ill)- routes in Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin
  • National Freight Lines, Inc. ( Iowa)- routes in Illinois, Iowa and Missouri
  • Southwestern Terminal Company, Inc- New York City area

Keeshin acquired Seaboard Freight Lines in 1935, a company that operated more than 200 trucks from Boston to Washington, DC. Interchange gateway for the two companies was at Albany, New York. This created a circuitous route with freight coming eastward from Ohio having to go through Albany to terminals in Maryland, New Jersey and New York City.

In the first half of 1935 Keeshin Motor Express Co. Inc. of Illinois was operating throughout numerous midwestern states including Ohio. The executives of Keeshin learned about the operations of another carrier named Scott Transportation Company. Scott, based in Erie Pennsylvania, had routes that extended westward to Toledo, Detroit and Chicago, southward to Pittsburgh from Akron, and eastward to Buffalo. Scott also had irregular routes as far as Syracuse and Albany. Keeshin, worked quickly and acquired Scott on August 17, 1935.

The next month Keeshin acquires Motorways Terminal, Inc. which operated a large truck terminal rented to other carriers in New York City. This would enable Keeshin to establish an eastern terminus. Keeshin tried to gain “grandfather” rights using the routes of the carriers operating from the terminal as their own but the Interstate Commerce Commission denied that request. A.D. Boone, who was president of Motorways testified to the ICC that Motorways had no equipment and performed no motor vehicle operations. It maintained a terminal for interchange of freight among the carriers using the terminal for delivery of freight among eastern US cities. All of that changed on September 2, 1935 when Keeshin requested the carriers using the Motorways terminal to find space elsewhere so that Keeshin might have all of it available for the traffic soon to be brought in. Keeshin had a plan and moved fast to have a lot of freight coming into New York City.

August 1935- The Keeshin Motor Express Company of Chicago is to become the nucleus of a nationwide freight trucking company. The new organization, with lines extending into almost every state, is to be known as Keeshin Transcontinental Freight Lines. . The Keeshin fleet has more than 300 trucks.

March 1936- opened a new terminal at 156 West Taylor Street in Chicago and leased space on two floors of the Insurance Center building at 330 South Wells Street and will establish its rates and tariffs division and traffic departments in the office building.

April 1936- Keeshin Motor Express Co. Inc. of New York City acquired Kaplan Motor Freight Corp. of Poughkeepsie, New York.

December 1936- Company received conditional ICC approval to bring six operating subsidiaries under the management of a single corporation. Under the plan Keeshin Motor Express Company, Inc. would lease the other five lines and consolidate accounting and management with an estimate savings of $50,000 a year. The lines to be included are: Keeshin Motor Express of Illinois, Keeshin Motor Express, Inc of Indiana, Keeshin Motor Express Co Inc (New York), Brenda Trux Inc, Dickinson Freight Inc, and Scott Transportation Co.

Also in December, the ICC granted approval to acquire the property and operating rights of National Freight Lines, Inc., which operated in Illinois, Iowa and Missouri.. It owned its terminal in Marshalltown, Iowa and leased the others. The financial results for National in 1934 and 1935 were:

1934-Revenues $141,528 Net Income $ 9,337

1935 Revenues $ 193,401. Net Income $11,039

John L. Keeshin quit as President of the company in late 1945.

On February 16, 1960 Toledo-Buffalo Motor Express Co. was sold to Keeshin Transportation Co. of Toledo.

August 1964- Keeshin Transport System, as it is known now, has 347 trailers, 19 terminals in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and New York

In August 1969 Keeshin Transport System, Inc. Broke ground for a new $250,000 building on Phillips Avenue in Toledo, Ohio for operations in the area. Will be moving from 3131 Douglas Road.


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