News: Spencer History – Express and Dray Service


Surnames: Cressy, Urich, Mason, Blaisdel, Gardiner, Cole, Fenhouse, Hermanson, Lambert, Keyes, McNeely

Source: Spencer Centennial Book (1874 – 1974)

As railroad transportation increased, so did the need for more express and delivery service. In 1881 Frank Cressy established what he called the "Knickerbocker Transfer Line" with his office in his wagon. In 1883 he sold out to Emery Urich, whose slogan was "Cash down - no grumbling." Henry Mason operated the General Transfer Line and W. F. Blaisdel called his the "Express and Dray Line."

All of these enterprising gentlemen were firm believers in the theory that advertising does pay and here are a few samples: Frank Cressy advertised thus in the Spencer Advance of September 22, 1882 - "Baggage and freight transferred in scientific principles. All trains met - orders filled on Sundays. Only line in city that gets there by day." Another favorite which he ran in many issues - "I am prepared to draw anything from a prize lottery to a carload of coal. Anyone having any draying to do will do well to call on me. Business attended to promptly."

After taking over Cressy's business, Urich continued to run the above ad and directly underneath it in the June 22, 1883, issue is Henry Mason's ad for his dray line, "I am not prepared to draw a prize in lottery, but can draw a carload of coal or anything else with safety and dispatch. Orders to be left at Gardiners Store." W. F. Blaisdel ran this one: "Commercial men will please leave their orders with the station agent or driver. I am always on deck."

Art Cole gave up his barbering for draying for reasons of health. Albert Fenhouse operated a draying business and later sold out to A1 Martin who was the drayman during World War I. He sold out to a war veteran, Elmer Lambert, who continued the business until his hunting accident and subsequent illness.
In 1924 Harry H. Hermanson made gas tank deliveries to curb pump garage dealers and in the farming area with a 1924 Ford Model T. Gas price was twelve cents a gallon. In 1926 he discontinued his gas deliveries and purchased a 1 1/2 ton Dodge Stake Truck and hauled cheese from cheese factories in a 45 mile radius. In 1933 he was transporting cheese from the Dairy Belt warehouses to Green Bay and Plymouth and had also added the moving of household goods to his business.

Mr. Hermanson purchased his first semi-trailer in 1934 and hauling had so increased that by the time he discontinued all hauling in July 1953, he owned one straight truck and truck tractor, a fleet of five semi-trailers, six truck tractors, and one straight stake truck.

Edward Keyes engaged in both local and long distance draying. His son, Robert Keyes, continued his father's dray line, hauled milk and also hauled sand and gravel from 1948 to 1962 when he sold his business to Keith McNeely, who continued the business until his accidental death in 1970.



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