The Richland County – Shelby Chapter
Of The Ohio Genealogical Society

- - - INDUSTRIES - - -

Roethlisberger Transfer Company

 
 
A long - standing trucking company in Shelby began business in 1913 under the name of Roethlisberger Transfer Company. It was started by Samuel L. (Luther) Roethlisberger, who was described in the 1920 census as a drayman living with his wife Mae N. and son Kenneth at 18 Walnut Street in Shelby. Samuel was born in 1876 in Mansfield, Ohio and was a son of Ulrick and Barbara Jordi Roethlisberger. Samuel's parents were both from Switzerland and by 1880 (census) Ulrick Roethlisberger was a milkman living and working in Mansfield, Ohio.
 
 
Roethlisberger Transfer Company initially hauled groceries from Bissman Company Wholesale Grocers warehouse in Mansfield, Ohio to Shelby on a flat- bed horse drawn wagon.
 
 

Photo courtesy of Lonnie Ebersole
 
 
Sam Roethlisberger's wagon in front of Bissmans' warehouse in Mansfield c. 1914. Notice that the horse and wagon are "jack - knifed" against the loading dock. The same method used now with tractors and trailers.
 
 
 
Courtesy of Lonnie Ebersole
 
 
 
 
Samuel also hauled groceries to private homes. Customers just made a call (phone number 112) and groceries were delivered to their door. Above is a sample of the Roethlisberger letterhead used thru the 1920s.
 
 
 
Courtesy of The Shelby Daily Globe
 
 
Eventually trucks were added as horses were put out to pasture and the company continued to grow at the 18 Walnut Street location. Above is a delivery truck of the type that was used at this time.
 
 

Photo courtesy of Lonnie Ebersole
 
 
As the company grew and as new larger trucks became available they were added.
 
 

Photo courtesy of Lonnie Ebersole
 
The above picture is significant in its depiction of the type of trucks being used at this time but it's also interesting that it was taken by Joseph Devito who had just recently come to Shelby from Lorain, Ohio where he had started his first photography studio. He came to Shelby in the Fall of 1930 and started Devito Studio at 38 East Main Street. This must have been one of his first (1931) business related commercial photos.
 
 
As other trucking services in nearby towns went out of business, Sam bought their rights to do business in their localities. Services were increased from delivering groceries to include nearly all types of delivery and moving as well as storage of materials that were in transit.
 
In 1937 Samuel Roethlisberger passed away and son Kenneth (born 1904) took the reins of the business. A new terminal was constructed at 55 Mohican Street and the company grew as more trucks were added to handle additional customers and services.
 
 
 
Photo courtesy of Lonnie Ebersole
 
 
Kenneth Roethlisberger in the photo above and with some of the employees (below) outside the new terminal office on Mohican Street.
 
 
Photo courtesy of Lonnie Ebersole
 
While serving as the Mayor of Shelby in 1964, Kenneth Roethlisberger suffered a sudden heart attack and died. Mr. Roethlisberger had served 3 terms as Shelby coucilman and was elected mayor in 1961.
 
 
Photo courtesy of Lonnie Ebersole
Ruth Roethlisberger in 1964, was one of the
few women to run and operate a trucking business.
 
 
 
His wife, Ruth, then became owner and operator at which time the company fleet consisted of 33 tractors, over 90 trailers, and 43 employees. The business continued until 1974 when it merged with General Highway Company and then again in 1982 it combined with Central Transport, Inc.
 
 
Photo courtesy of Lonnie Ebersole
 
 
In 1972, just before he pulls out of the Shelby Terminal on Mohican Street, Roethlisberger driver Lawrence Wallen of Shelby, gets some last minute instructions from operations manager Lonnie Ebersole, also of Shelby.
 
 
 
Courtesy of The Shelby Daily Globe
 
 
In 1982, Central Transport moved the Shelby Terminal to Mansfield, Ohio, ending 72 years of trucking service in Shelby.
 
 
 

 
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