The year 2022 marked Heavy Duty Trucking’s 100th year of covering trucking. As the year wraps up, in conjunction with that anniversary, we asked our readers to submit stories about their trucking companies that also have stood the test of time. Here are three of these family fleets, which recently celebrated at least 70 years of trucking:
In 1950, Leonard Schuetze started Schuetze Livestock Transportation in West Point, Nebraska, with his wife LaVanda. He had served as a truck driver in the Army during World War II and was able to put those driving skills to use in civilian life.
Over the years, Leonard drove their truck across Nebraska and surrounding states while LaVanda answered the phone and dispatched loads.
Together they raised four sons, who all learned to drive truck. Two sons followed Leonard into the business. Leonard hauled cattle into his early 80’s and then supervised his sons until his passing at age 93 in 2014.
Sons David and Gary still serve their trucking customers, continuing this business into its 72nd year. Today they run three cattle trucks.
A newspaper clipping from 1989 notes that 50 years previously, in 1939, "Lloyd Penrose, accompanied by Walter Kotz left Parkers Prairie, Minnesota] on Saturday for St. Paul, where he took possession of a new Ford V-8 tank wagon.
"From there he left for Kansas City, Kansas, where he loaded the truck with gasoline and was back in Parkers Prairie at 10:30 Tuesday night. Penrose, Kotz, Roy Geithman and Don Lyons will haul three loads of gasoline each week with the truck, which holds 3,750 gallons. The round trip is something over 1,200 miles."
Today, the fourth generation of Penroses is running the business, which operates five power units under Penrose Transport.
In 1939, with three used tractors, Henry, Eddie, and Roy Barnes started Barnes Truck Line. The company thrived and became one of the largest trucking companies on the East Coast before it was sold to Old Dominion Freight Lines in the late 1970s. At the time of the sale, Barnes Truck Line was operating over 500 tractors. Louis Barnes, Henry’s son, continued to run the company for Old Dominion after the sale, until 1980.
Louis decided to start his own operation and founded a new company, which quickly grew from 18 tractors to over 250 and was sold in 1991. Louis’ sons, Keith, Scott, and Patrick, have all been in the trucking business since graduating from school. All three have worked at both their grandfather’s and father’s companies.
After Louis sold his business, the three sons formed Barnes Transportation Services Inc. with three used tractors … just as their elders had done.
Today, Barnes Transportation, Wilson, North Carolina, with its fourth generation now working for the company, is operating approximately 285 tractors. It added a brokerage firm, Barnes Solutions, in 1996, which presently handles an additional $2 million of freight per year. In 2017 Barnes added the Heavy Haul and Specialized Division and in 2020, the company grew again by adding Barnes Hauling; a Dump Truck division.