Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Chief Lines Trucking Company

      I received another of those wonderful emails in response, well sort of, to one of my posts. Here it is --

"Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A LOST MOMENT IN TRUCKING HISTORY -- NAVAJO Freigh...":

Hi...Great pics...somehow I got here looking for information on a large sign I acquired. It says "THE CHIEF LINES" just copy no logo. Can't tell if this was a trucking or bus line operator...the type or graphics are very early...30's 40's.
Appreciate any info if possible, thanks, Don Sayrizi."

      Of course, this email had sparked my interest --- What is this "THE CHIEF LINES" all about? A quick search on the internet returned very little information. Did this sign have something to do with rail service, was is connected somehow to the Santa Fe "CHIEF"?  Was it some sort of bus service, also possibly connected to the Sana Fe? Or, was it some unknown trucking company ( I liked this option )?

      I sent Don a request for a picture of his "sign" and got back the following --

     Hmmm, I thought, this looks  like it came from the side of a truck. So how come I can't find any info. on this company? Well actually this company is fully known as THE CHIEF FREIGHT LINES COMPANY, but even with that information I could find very little information about the company. The following is quoted from Fred Gruin's site on HANK'S ----- 

" Chief purchased Morrison Motor Freight sometime in the very late 1970s in order to expand the system eastward. At that time Chief began using "Teams" to span the system because historically, they had only operated as far North & East as KCY. In 1980, Chief was a victim of deregulation, as were so many carriers at that time. Later, the owner, Lloyd Stith (sp?), resurrected the name as C.H.I.E.F. and purchased some of the trailers from the bankruptcy court and inserted the periods on the signs. The company was technically named, Custom Highway Interstate Express Freight and was TL only. The company was based in Tulsa, Oklahoma and went bankrupt in 1980. "

    Further investigation lead to my finding a company map, part of a Christmas greeting card, showing the area covered by "THE CHIEF" ---

  Also found was the badge worn by their drivers ---

    I am sorry to say that I could only find a few pictures of their trucks, and one of them is actually a die-cast from FIRST GEAR --

   The other picture is from Fred Gruin's collection on HANK'S TRUCK PICTURES   ----

    Anyone having further information and pictures of this line, PLEASE contact me via my e-mail!!! 

UPDATE 2/7/16 -- Just found the following pic that show terminal locations --- 


  1. I drove for chief freight lines before and after morrison purchase. It was the best job I ever had. I started in jan.1977 until they closed in late 1981. the people there were great to work for. after morrison the team deal was bad. but still a good job. the owner was a good man. I had a bid run out of dallas to kansas city three times a week. good running trucks and they were set to run. i wish they were still in business. bankers charging 22% intrest. plus a change of operation did them in.

    1. I am trying to locate information on a driver for Chief back in the 1970's who was tragically killed in a Semi-Truck accident ... His name was "Don Miles" Do you know him?

    2. I am searching for the same person this Don miles is supposed to be my grandfather if you have any information please email me at alyssapetty1@gmail.com

  2. The funeral of Barney Hutson who claimed that he worked for Chief was today 26 August 2013. You can find photos of him ... and of the Chief Trucking Company that was located on North Lewis, Tulsa, OK.
    I tried to download the photo but was unsuccessful.
    My email is rccoopersr@gmail.com

  3. My dad and uncle both drove for Chief Freight Lines.. Does anyone know John or Lester Leon Graham?

  4. I was city dispatcher for Chief Lines(St. Louis terminal) until the company closed. Family run, it was a close knit company that extended at the time of it's demise from Houston to Albany, NY (including all of the Morrison Motor Freight system. If it had stayed in business, I'd have worked for Mr, Stith until they carried me out on a slab. It was a great company.


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