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Hennis Freight Lines trucks at Whitaker Park, 1962.

Hennis Freight Lines trucks at Whitaker Park, 1962.

Hennis Freight Lines trucks at Whitaker Park, 1962. The trucks are lined up at the front entrance on the left, with the fountains and pool at the right.

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  1. My great grandfather,Sam Hennis, was the founder of Hennis Freight Lines. I remember going to his granite house in Mt. Airy and visiting when I was a little girl . Papa and Mama Hennis were fun to visit. Mama Hennis was blind and had been since a young woman but she knew us all by our steps and voices. What wonderful memories of them and that beautiful Mt. Airy granite house, driveway and retaining wall. I am 57 and am planning a trip to go there this summer to see it all again.

  2. I am Todd Mendenhall my daddy Hal worked at Hennis for 18 yrs. he was there when it closed. he passed away in June 2013. Something that may be of interest. We had a yard sale today & a man came driving up in a chevy s10 with a Hennis license plate on front of it. His name was Bill Edmondson he is about 84 yrs. old now. Bill was on the silver bridge that callapsed on december 15 1967 he was one of only a handful of survivors. his partner was sleeping in the bunk at the time and he died in the accident. I had never herd of this till today but my mother said she remembered when it happened. My dad went on after Hennis closed and stayed in trucking an retired with another unionized company. I followed in his footsteps and have 20 plus yrs. in with ups in Winston Salem. Ups is right up the hill from where Hennis used to be I remember going there as a kid. I also remember picket lines when they went on strike. Any how I enjoyed meeting Bill edmondson today. Thought you might like that bit of history. Unfortunately I do not know any one in picture.

  3. I worked in the claims department at Hennis while in college (1962 – 1966) and recall that Mr. Shirley Mitchell was the president. I do not recognize those who are in this photo but do remember Larry May and Don Sebastian in claims.

  4. my father drove for hennis freight lines untill it became spector red ball when i saw him cry for the first time he drove for them my whole life when they closed their doors on gilchrist rd in akron ohio he had 35 yrs safe driving awards for the company he then went on to owning and operating denham trucking untill he retired with a no accident driving record in 1996 thank you hennis freight lines for the life i live i wear his key chain to this day lol william john denham jr

  5. I worked in the genl office in Winston for 15 years..along with Max Mckinnon in the Claims Dept..many thought that Mr Mitchell was a hard man to deal with..

  6. I do remember Tony at Hennis. Some folks recall me by my first name “Max”.

  7. I really like what is happening here…one of the original intents of Digital Forsyth was to spark comments and conversations about our past…thank you all for your contributions…

  8. My father, A.C. “Red” Jackson worked for Hennis from 1957 until 1961. He was Director of Sales. My sister-in-law, Sybil Rhodes, worked in the printing department. Hennis printed all their own supplies. We lived in Lake Hills before moving back to Chicago.

  9. I was in the army in 1962-63 with Jimmy J. Collins, we were good buddies and he used to talk about working at Hennis, I believe he was a dispatcher. I often wondered what became of him. He used to call everybody “Hoss”.

  10. My Dad used Hennis Trucking for shipping mostly in the 1960’s during his employment at The Suffolk Peanut Company (Suffolk, VA). Mr. Hennis allowed our family use of his rock house in The Meadows of Dan for 2 weeks in the summer for several years. Our family was always appreciative of his gesture. I visited it about 15 years ago. The current owners gave my wife and me a tour. Excellent memories, thanks to his generosity.

  11. Very interesting. I am a truck historian. Familiar with Hennis but only acquainted with some of the people that worked there. did Shirley Mitchell its owner at one time or an appointed President. First time I ever heard the name Sam Hennis. Altough always wondered how Mitchell became President of a company named Hennis. Was’tthere a Ken ? that was later with Carolina after Hennis closed. THink he passed away just a few years ago.

  12. My father, Henry Varner was a corporate pilot for Hennis. We had some wonderful times in the mountains at the Rock House on Mr. Mitchell’s farm. My first experience with a square dance. We would ride my Dad’s motorcycle up in the warm days and freeze to death riding back to W-S in the evening. We also spent some weekends at the Company Beach Houses in Cherry Grove. At that time there was only a couple more houses north and then just empty beach as far as you could see. I was 15 then, that is now 50 years ago. My Dad had a lot of good friends at Hennis. Sadly my Dad passed in 1984 at 55 years young.

  13. Worked in payroll in Winston-Salem in 1962. Moved
    to Charlotte later that year. Transferred to Ruby,
    S C (old Griggs Trucking)in payroll/office. Made it to dispatcher later on…really loved that job. Shirley Mitchell had his own plane with
    a private airstrip somewhere in the Caribbean. He would ride around the W/S terminal in the back of
    his chauffer driven Cadillac. Some of the drivers let me go on the road with them and get behind the wheel(that was a No No)…What A Thrill!! The new Mack F600 V8 Diesel was fun to drive…lot’s of power. Great memories of Hennis! Left in late ’65 for the Marines…

  14. I am curious about this trucking company as I found a keychain with a cointype medal attached to it.. on the back was a number24063 and a message that says to drop it in a mailbox and postage guaranteed. If the company no longer is there,, is this worth anything? Just curious

  15. I worked in the maint. dept as maint. records clerk, parts manager, purchasing agent,for Hennis from Sept. 1954.until merger with Spector in 1975 and then was assigned to the parts div. of Spector called Speedy Equipment until March of 1982 about a month before they shut down the operation. I enjoyed working with many of the Hennis employees over the years. I especially remember J.L.Phipps, Dewey Ferguson, L.J. Brown, Dusty Rhodes, Don Michaels, Bob Young, Hubert Mustin, Charlie Posey, Don Benton, Barney White, Shorty Moore who ran the Furniture Div.,Hank Tyson,Burton Whitsett, and many others. Some of these left Hennis after the people from McLean came to Hennis and some left after the merger with Spector. Many of these including myself endend up working for Builders Transport in Camden,S.C. Thanks for allowing me to put this on your site

  16. …enjoyed reading the posts regarding Hennis. I worked for McLean for 10 years (70’s) and immediately loved the friendly competition amongst the NC based LTL freight lines. Just recently, it occurred to me that there is no museum (that I know of) that serves as a testimony to these–and other great LTL carriers that have gone out of business or, been absorbed into others. I am interested in the possibility of forming such a museum if the support and financial structure could be amassed. Is there any interest among readers. Any contact, encouragement or interest would be wonderful. I can be contacted at [email protected]

  17. My dad, Jesse Wright, drove for Hennis starting in early 1950’s until the doors closed for Spector. I have wonderful memories of my dad being a truck driver. Some of his many friends that I recall are Ray Lawson, from the dock, drivers: George Sargent, Howard Foster, Jim Day, Jay Tilley,and so many more. I remember well the incident of the bridge collapse over Ohio river and couple of Hennis drivers went into the water. Daddy was out on a trip and we were so worried until we heard from him.

  18. I am James Jordan in Asheville. I bought a 1960
    H Model Mack Truck. According to records it was bought new by Byrd Motor Lines of Lexington, NC.
    While restoring the truck, I found a Hennis Freight Lines fuel receipt from Parson’s Truck Stop, Hwy 17 in Winfield, WVA. It was for tractor #1616.
    The driver was Sam Badgett? Do you know how Hennis
    Freight Lines acquired this tractor. Thanks, James Jordan 828/667-2219 or [email protected]

  19. My father, Elwood (Dusty) Rhodes worked for Hennis for about 25+ years. In fact until they closed the doors. He worked in the Maintenance Department, and enjoyed his many years there. I have fond memories of the Christmas parties, the Circle M Zoo. I particularly remember the switchboard operator Andi Anderson (sic) and Edda Davis, Don Brewer, who worked with my Dad.

  20. My grandfather Herbert “Hub” Groseclose drove for Hennis for many years until he was forced to stop trucking due to health reasons in 1968. I would love to find out more about this company as sadly he has passed. My brother has followed in his footsteps and I am a truckers wife. We know the sacrifices made daily my those in this noble profession.

  21. my dad, james donald(don) anderson worked in the parts department in the 60’s. he passed away december 24th 2015. he was 83. he told stories and shared memories of those days up until his death.

  22. My dads name was Jack Baynes I don’t know how long he worked for Hennis, he was killed in a auto accident in 1972 I was 7 yrs old it would be great to hear from anyone who may have knew him

  23. My dad was a auto mechanic for hennis freight line in 1960’s. While working for this company my father lossed his driving a truck that was defunctional. He was a dedicated employee to this company. My father died in 1967. I just a baby born in 1965. I never got to know my father to this day. I do has a relationship with his brother and sisters, to see the relationship they with their children. I feel so deprived of this part of my life. I will never know. I continue to this day long for that relationship that will happen in this life.

  24. McClearen Harrison was his name, they called him Mac at Hennis freight line on Airport Rd. In Greenville, SC

  25. My father McClearen Harrison (Mac) i never got to here stories of hennis freight line. which think i would have enjoyed.

  26. My dad was GEORGE EVERETT KEATON. He died in a truck accident while driving for Hennis in 1955. The accident happened near Pearisburg, Virginia near Walkers’s Creek. I wonder if anyone remembers him?

  27. My dad, Robert Reynolds, drove for Hennis /Spector for many years. He loved both companies and the Teamsters. He 1st drove out of Ruby, sc then Spartanburg, SC. His teamsters Co workers still met every Tuesday morning for breakfast until he passed 3 years ago. Thanks for all of the memories.

  28. Found this posted at http://www.wvculture.org/history/disasters/silverbridge04.html …regarding Todd Mendenhall’s comment.

    ‘Now I Know What It’s Like to Drown’
    Truck Driver Survives Tragedy

    By Sandra Grant
    Staff Writer

    POINT PLEASANT – “Now I know what it’s like to drown. I expected to die,” said Bill Needham, a 27-year-old truck driver from Kernersville, N. C.

    Needham was one of the survivors of the tragic plunge of the “Silver Bridge” into the Ohio River Friday at Point Pleasant carrying untold numbers of hapless motorists to their deaths.

    A patient in Pleasant Valley Hospital here with a broken back, Needham thinks his truck driving partner is dead.

    “He was in the sleeping berth in the rear of the cab,” Needham said from his hospital bed, “and I think he had strapped himself in. He had no chance. The cab went all the way to the bottom.”

    Neadhani said he was still pinned inside the cab when it went under water and ”was running out of breath when I noticed a little crack in the window and finally forced it down – I managed to grab a box and hang on.”

    How[a]rd Boggs, 24, of Gallipolis, Ohio, also a patient in the same hospital with cuts and bruises, fears he lost his wife, Marjorie and 17-month- old daughter in the plunge.

    Boggs said he and his small family were returning to their home after visiting relatives in West Virginia when they became stalled in traffic on the bridge.

    “My wife noticed the bridge was quivering,” he related tearfully, “and asked what would we do if this thing broke. Then, suddenly it broke and we went down.”

    Boggs said he and his wife had just finished buying Christmas presents for the little girl.

    Bill Edmondson, a 38-year- old Hennis Freight Lines driver from King, N. C., said he apparently also lost his partner to the water.

    “The thing went down so fast I don’t know how I got out of the cab,” recalled Edmondson who was admitted to the same hospital with a broken right arm and head cuts.

    “I was starting down the Ohio side of the bridge when it suddenly started falling sideways. I didn’t hear any noise or anything.

    “When I got in the water I got hold of a seat and that was all that kept me up until they pulled me out.”

    Edmondson, who figures he was in the water at “least 10 minutes before he was pulled into a motorboat, said he looked into his rear mirror as he inched across the span and saw the bridge “loaded bumper to bumper with traffic as far back as I could see.”

    After he surfaced, Edmondson said, he could see only one other person swimming in the water.

    Other survivors at this small, overworked hospital were either too dazed to recall what happened or under heavy sedation.

    One man, Frank Wamsley of Point Pleasant, just shook his head when approached for comment.

    Another of the injured, who was pulled from the water by a passing tow boat was Paul Scott of Ohio. He likewise had no comment.

  29. Wow,I was just googling my dad’s old work when I found this. My dad ‘Sonny’ Thomas Donaldson drove for Tennis until Spector Redball. His work location was actually in Atlanta off chatahochee Blvd. He passed in 2005

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