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Title: Oral History Interview with L. Worth Harris, June 11, 1980. Interview H-0164. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Harris, L. Worth, interviewee
Interview conducted by Tullos, Allen
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 104 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-10-24, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with L. Worth Harris, June 11, 1980. Interview H-0164. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0164)
Author: Allen Tullos
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with L. Worth Harris, June 11, 1980. Interview H-0164. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0164)
Author: L. Worth Harris
Description: 101 Mb
Description: 23 p.
Note: Interview conducted on June 11, 1980, by Allen Tullos; recorded in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Jean Houston.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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An audio file with the interview complements this electronic edition.
The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with L. Worth Harris, June 11, 1980.
Interview H-0164. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Harris, L. Worth, interviewee


Interview Participants

    L. WORTH HARRIS, interviewee
    ALLEN TULLOS, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
ALLEN TULLOS:
. . . you know about him.
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Actually, the Harrises lived in McDowell County until they moved down to Georgia for a short period of time. Then when we moved from Georgia, we moved into Forest City, North Carolina. Soon after we lived in Forest City, my father passed away at an early age.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Were the Harrises farmers as well, or what did they do?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
My father was in the lumber business all his life and also did a little farming on the side. But he was primarily in the lumber business, had a sawmill.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What about his father? Do you know what they did?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
His father was also in the lumber business in a small way. In fact, all of them were in a very small way, as far as that goes.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would it be going around setting up small sawmills?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
That's right. They set up small sawmills. In fact, that's why my family moved to Georgia, to try the mill business down there. Just small sawmills, and then move the lumber out.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And you were born in Eton.
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Eton, Georgia, in 1908.
ALLEN TULLOS:
How many brothers and sisters did you have?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
I had one brother a couple of years younger than I am, and one sister a couple of years older.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you remember anything about Georgia, or did you all move pretty soon after that to Forest City?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
I remember very little about Georgia. Actually I've been back to see the homeplace and so forth, but I remember very little about it.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What county is that in? Do you know?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
I really don't. It's not far out from Atlanta, Georgia.
ALLEN TULLOS:
In what direction?

Page 2
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Kind of northeast of Atlanta.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What did the old homeplace look like?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
It was a nice, small home. It was a three-bedroom house, and they didn't intend to stay there a long while when they moved down there. But they did find this house and bought it, and then sold it soon after we had left there.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you know why your parents left and came back to North Carolina?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
They weren't too happy in Georgia. He decided in Georgia to get completely out of the lumber business and move to Forest City, and my mother opened up a boarding house there and ran this for quite a few years.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And you say your father died when he was a young man?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Very young, yes. He died shortly after we got back to Forest City.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Could you talk a little bit about that?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
I think it was a heart attack, although they never did fully know. He wasn't in real good health and just passed away in the night.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Were your mother and father about the same age?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
My mother was a little bit younger than my father, but not much.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And you say your mother lived to be 101?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
A hundred and one and nine months. She just died this past September.
ALLEN TULLOS:
In September of '80.
L. WORTH HARRIS:
She lived in Forest City there. Then later on, when I got in business here, she moved to Charlotte and kept a boardinghouse here for a few years, and then she retired.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would your early memories be those of growing up in the boardinghouse in Forest City?

Page 3
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Yes, sir. I remember all about that, of course. And I went to high school there in Forest City.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Who would be staying in the boardinghouse, mainly?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
We had as many roomers permanently as we could take in the house, and then it was open to anyone in Forest City that wanted to go. It was just anyone that came in, actually.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would there be, say, some schoolteachers who might be living there?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
In fact, that's what she had more than anything else. The permanent people were schoolteachers, and then the other boarders just dropped in.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Maybe some salesmen coming and going?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Just various people. She ran a real nice boardinghouse there, and it was right in town, so a lot of people working in various stores and everything took their meals there regular.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did she cook the meals, too?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
She had cooks, of course, but she could; she could do anything. She did the cooking and everything else, absolutely.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Was that one of those old boardinghouses where everybody would sit down at one or two big tables and pass the food around?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
That's exactly. . . . One or two big tables, and the whole thing was there. You could just help yourself, whatever you wanted.
ALLEN TULLOS:
I imagine you enjoyed that.
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Yes, that was very nice. And then after she moved to Charlotte, I went to Kings Business College here. And she talked to the people at Kings Business College, and practically her boardinghouse setup here was just almost a hundred percent Kings Business College people. It was close to the college. And she kept that up until she retired.

Page 4
ALLEN TULLOS:
So you went to grammar school and high school in Forest City?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
In Forest City, and then took a business course.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did your mother have any kind of sayings or special sort of things she taught you about growing up, moral teachings?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
The greatest. She was a Christian lady from way back, and she held a little prayer with us each day. Then after my father passed away, I was very young, and of course we didn't have any money, but she turned over the money situation to me at a very young age. And I handled the finances, what little bit we had there, in fact as long as she lived. In her boardinghouse she handled what money she had there, but any little investments or anything else I did. And then when we finally talked her into retiring, why, the investments I had made for her I handled, and when she needed anything, of course, I started taking care of that also.
ALLEN TULLOS:
How long was it before you could finally talk her into retiring?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Had a time of doing it. She definitely did not want to retire, but I had started in business then, and it was quite a long while. I don't have those exact dates, but she kept it up for quite a long while. And finally she wasn't feeling quite as spry as she was, and she knew that we were doing all right at that time, so she finally retired and lived . . .
ALLEN TULLOS:
Was she in her sixties?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Yes, she was about sixty-four or sixty-five when she retired.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And she had run the boardinghouse all that time?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
All that time. She sure had.
ALLEN TULLOS:
How big a house was this in Charlotte?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
This house in Charlotte was a big house right close in town. It was a fifteen-room house. And she took care of an awful lot of people.
ALLEN TULLOS:
I guess it's no longer there.

Page 5
L. WORTH HARRIS:
No, it's torn down now.
ALLEN TULLOS:
In Forest City when she first started the boardinghouse, did she rent the house and then manage it?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
She rented the house, and then later on we bought a little smaller house than that, but she continued the same business there, right on.
ALLEN TULLOS:
In Forest City.
L. WORTH HARRIS:
In Forest City.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What about your brother and your sister? Did they go to high school there, too?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
My brother went to high school there and also took a business course at Kings.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What was his name?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Delbert Harris.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What is your sister's name?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Annie Sue Cole. She was married to a Cole.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did she go to high school?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
She went to high school and also to college, graduated at Wake Forest. Then she started teaching school. Taught school until she retired.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Let me get you to go back and try to recall some of the things that your mother might have said to you about how to behave or how to work or how to live?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
She said quite a few writeups(?) about that. Her greatest thing was that hard work would not hurt anyone, but worry would kill you, and that's what she was pretty well sold on, and that's the way she lived all of her life. When she decided to retire, why, she really enjoyed living. She'd worked hard all of her life, so she spent about five or six months a year in St. Petersburg, Florida, and we looked after that, rented a place for her

Page 6
down there, and she sold her home here in Charlotte. Eleven years ago she called us all together and said that she'd made arrangements to live in the North Carolina Baptist Home the rest of her life, and for us to work out the arrangements. And when I called them to talk to them, they said they didn't know how long it'd be, but they would certainly look into it. So we made a little donation up there to the home, and she lived there then until she passed away, the happiest woman, I guess, in North Carolina. She was quite a gal(?).
ALLEN TULLOS:
So you were brought up as a Baptist.
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Yes, sir.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would you all go to church and Sunday school every week?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Every single Sunday. That's one thing that was a must around me as far as I can remember. Everyone had to go to church on Sunday. No question about it.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did your mother read the Bible at home or have prayers every day?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Yes, every day she'd read the Bible. In fact, she made a statement not long before she passed away that she didn't really know how many times she'd read the Bible. Many, many times.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And she believed in hard work so much so that she just kept on working.
L. WORTH HARRIS:
That's right. She said that hard work'll never hurt anyone, and it was really difficult for us to get her to quit working.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What about your own thoughts as you were going to grade school and high school? Did you have anything in mind that you would like to be later on?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Not exactly. I made up my mind at a very young age that I was going to make money easier than my parents did somewhere along the line. Actually, when I took this business course is when I made up my mind that. . . . I really worked hard at that. That was my entire education. But I got a

Page 7
job at a brick company keeping books for twenty-five dollars a week. After a month or so, we had a colored fellow that was hauling the brick uptown, making all the deliveries, and we started having a lot of trouble with him. So I asked the man in charge of it if I could take over the brick hauling. He talked to his people and said that'd be all right as long as it didn't interfere with my work. In fact, it was right along with my work there anyway. So I hauled the brick here in Charlotte for a couple of years.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What was the name of that company?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
That was Palmetto Brick Sales Corporation.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What kind of a vehicle did you have then?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Had old-model; I bought used trucks, solid-tired flat bottom trucks. We loaded it. They'd ship it in here by rail, and we took it out of the cars and delivered it to the jobs, wherever they were. So we stayed in that for a couple of years and did exceptionally well. They were selling a lot of big jobs here, and we thought we were going to be real wealthy people right quick. A little before '33 we actually got into the freight business locally, and in 1933 we decided to go into New York City, for we had looked into it and found out some good accounts that we could get up there. So actually we opened a little office in New York in 1933.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What was your organization called then?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Then it was Harris Motor Lines.
ALLEN TULLOS:
There are several questions here I'd like to ask about all this. You left the brick company to start your own company in 1929?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
I started in '29. It must have been '31 that I left the brick company and got into the other completely.
ALLEN TULLOS:
But you were doing some of both, then, for a while.

Page 8
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Doing some of both for quite a . . .
ALLEN TULLOS:
Until you had built up . . .
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Till I had built up. I held onto that until I had built up this over-the-road setup.
ALLEN TULLOS:
How did you make that leap into hauling other kind of freight? What were some of the first other things you [unknown] ?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
We contacted a few local people here that had to have a local carrier to pick up their freight at the railroad and deliver it here and there and at their warehouses. So we just got into it, and that started growing until we decided then to go over the road.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Who would some of those people have been?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
One of our pretty good-sized accounts was the A & P Tea Company at that time. They had a lot of local deliveries around town that we got into. In fact, later on, even when I sold my company, we were doing 100 percent of their hauling from New York, New Jersey into the two Carolinas.
ALLEN TULLOS:
But at this time you would be taking things from the railroad around.
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Just local.
ALLEN TULLOS:
So you had managed to buy your own truck, or two or three trucks?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
We had managed to buy some small local trucks. Then, of course, when we started into New York, we bought three tractors and three trailers.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Where did you get those from?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
We bought those here in town. We had accumulated a little money then, so we financed them and bought our first brand-new trucks.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What were they?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
It was a straight-cab tractor at that time. They didn't have any sleeper cabs. We started out with a straight-cab Chevrolet and Fruehof trailers, and we later got into Internationals and so on. But the very

Page 9
beginning, that was a little straight-tractor Chevrolet and a trailer.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Were there other people in this area about that same time that started along with you in the business?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Yes, in 1933, in fact, half a dozen of my close friends. Akers Motor Lines started about that time; McLean Trucking Company started about that time. In fact, he started into New York exactly when we did, 1933.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Was your brother involved in this business?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
He wasn't for a while, but when we got going early—I don't remember the exact year—he started in with us then and was with us all the way through till we sold out.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you start to work for the brick company while you were still going to business college, or that was after you finished?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
That's after I graduated. I did not work any during that time.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And you studied accounting.
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Accounting. Right.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Your brother, what . . .
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Business administration. And my brother had the same course that I had.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That was early in the Depression, which was a pretty hard time to start things, wasn't it?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Yes, sir, there wasn't but one way to go at that time, and that was go up. It was just about as bad as it could get, I guess. In fact, when the banks closed, I called our people together, the employees we had, and told them the situation we were in. We didn't have much money up there, but what little bit we had was tied up, and that we had two alternatives: either to quit, or they was going to have to work a while till we could get it straightened out. And each one of them—we didn't have that many—said

Page 10
they didn't have any place to go, and as long as they could eat they'd be right there working. So we did not lose any of our people.
ALLEN TULLOS:
How did the idea occur to make this New York connection?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
We just decided that we could have a better future if we started hauling long-haul freight. Along with that, we kept up our local work here until we really got into the long haul heavier.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you know other people at that time here who were doing long-haul freight runs?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Yes, several of us had talked about it with some of my competitors that were getting into it. Yes, the Fredrickson Motor Express is probably the oldest one in North Carolina, I guess. Charlie Fredrickson, the founder of that company, was a real personal friend of mine. He's probably responsible for me getting in the over-the-road. He started in it, Not into New York; they never did operate except in North Carolina, but he was hauling all over North Carolina.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Back then, I guess, it was considered long-haul if you were operating . . .
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Just hauling from here to Asheville was a long haul. That's true. And Fredrickson started out pretty well covering North Carolina, and got bigger and bigger.
ALLEN TULLOS:
When you all came into New York, did you have to have union drivers to get into New York?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Yes, I went to New York and talked to a union man and worked out a deal with him. Then, of course, it wasn't nearly as strict as it is now. But he was union, and . . .
ALLEN TULLOS:
It was the Teamsters then?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
It was the Teamsters. And I worked out an agreement with him. I told him that he'd have to do everything there: unload the truck, load the

Page 11
truck. My drivers would help him, but he'd be in charge of it. So he did a lot of things at that time that you couldn't do later on, but he was the whole works up there. He answered the telephone and did everything.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And he was on your payroll.
L. WORTH HARRIS:
He was on our payroll on a straight salary.
ALLEN TULLOS:
But if you hadn't done that, then you wouldn't have been allowed in.
L. WORTH HARRIS:
We definitely would not. We couldn't let our drivers go in and out of New York; it's just be nothing but trouble, because a lot of the customers we had wanted to see if the boys had union cards. New our over-the-road boys were definitely non-union and were not for many, many years. But this man up there let them come on in and deliver and pick up, but he went with them. They could go out and help him, but we did not try to do anything without letting him know it, letting him in on it. But later on he saw we was treating him all right, and he was treating us well, so he let them on the way back go pick up whatever they wanted to without him going, but he was the boss.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What was his name?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Leonard Lemarn. Leonard was the first man I hired, and he was the whole chief at that time. He was still with my company and retired just a short while before I sold it, and as good a friend as I ever had as well as a loyal employee.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Were you the only company then running from Charlotte to New York?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
No, there was lots of them did. The companies that were running to New York and doing a great job also were two of the biggest companies in the South. There was Horton Motor Lines; Buddy Horton was a very personal friend of mine, and he gave me a lot of information and talked to me a lot about opening up New York before I opened up. Bob Barnwell was president of Barnwell Brothers Trucking Company, and they were operating into New York.

Page 12
Not big, but it had been going for quite a while, so I had half a dozen conferences with Bob Barnwell. So I knew a lot about it through those fellows, and it so happened that we got to be real good friends and were after we were competitors. So there's where I really made up my mind for going as heavy as I did — of course, that was very small, but getting into it— was those two companies.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Were you doing any of the driving or travelling on these trips yourself?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Yes, I used to back when I got into the local freight business. I drove a truck in the morning and then went home and took a shower and then solicited freight in the afternoons. And the only over-the-road driving I did, for a few years I'd take weekend trips from here to Norfolk or from here to Baltimore or Washington, pull a tractor and trailer up there where I could go in and unload it on Sunday and come back. I'd take those weekend trips a lot, but never regular over-the-road. Now my brother was an over-the-road driver for quite a few years, along with the other drivers.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Before we get back to some of this other material, let me ask you a little bit about how you met your wife and when you all were married and a little bit about her family background.
L. WORTH HARRIS:
She lived in Forest City all of her life.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What's her name?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Ruth Doggett Harris. She went through the grammar grades and high school in Forest City.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
L. WORTH HARRIS:
In fact, we are going to her 1927 class reunion this weekend in

Page 13
Forest City. She went to college at Asheville Normal in Asheville, North Carolina, and after she graduated there she taught school near Forest City for a couple of years before we were married.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you know her in high school?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
I started dating her barefooted, riding a bicycle, when I was just a young boy, and we dated off and on all that time. She had other boyfriends and I had other girlfriends, but we kept seeing each other constantly until we were married in 1933.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What did her parents do?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Her parents were also in the lumber business. He was in the lumber business in Forest City, had a lumber plant all of his life. He retired not too long before he passed away. He was in it just about all his life.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And you all have three children?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
We have three children. I have two sons and one daughter.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you still go to the Baptist church?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Yes, sir, go to the Myers Park Baptist Church and have since that church was organized. We used to go to the First Baptist Church here in Charlotte, and then they opened up the Myers Park Baptist, so I've been out there ever since.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That's a well known church.
L. WORTH HARRIS:
A well known church. Yes, we've had three fine ministers since I've been there.
ALLEN TULLOS:
I was reading about one of them the other night, the Rev. . . .
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Carlyle Marney. Yes, he was the greatest. Dr. Heaton's great, and then Gene Owens was just as great. We've been very fortunate.
[interruption]
L. WORTH HARRIS:
[unknown] Baptist church.

Page 14
ALLEN TULLOS:
Let me get you back on the trucking a minute, and you have to talk as if you're talking to me, who doesn't know anything much about all this, and some of the questions I ask may not make much sense to you, but they're going to help me understand some things.
What about the relationship between the trucking and the railroads in this earlier period? In other words, why was it that you all could make a place for yourselves beginning a trucking industry? Why couldn't the railroads have just carried this freight that you all were hauling from New York?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
First place, the railroads just could not give the service that we would give. For instance, we could pick up a freight here on a Wednesday morning, we'll say, and Friday morning we would assure the people that it would be delivered to their door in New York City or anywhere up in that territory. And the railroads just could not give that kind of service, so we started getting railroad freight. There's no question about it. Service is what made the trucking industry for long-haul freight.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What were you all hauling to New York then?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
North-bound, the biggest thing we'd haul was textiles from North and South Carolina. In fact, my company didn't go any further south than South Carolina. But mostly textiles, some tires. McLean Rubber Company was a real good customer of ours, and they shipped everywhere. But textiles, mainly, going north, and coming south we kept a real good—had to—balanced operation. But just about everything come south; we hauled just about everything you can think of, south-bound.
ALLEN TULLOS:
There would be a lot of finished goods, more than unprocessed things?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Coming south, the biggest things that we hauled was, oh, just say almost anything you think of: batteries and canned goods. We hauled everything A & P shipped from the New York-New Jersey area to the South Carolina places. Proctor and Gamble was a big customer of ours.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What were the textile companies that you hauled for back then?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
We hauled for just about all of them. Our biggest customer was Celanese Corporation. We handled an awful lot of freight from Celanese from all of their plants in South Carolina and North Carolina going east. Burlington Mills was a good customer of ours.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you meet any of the people who were in charge of the southern operations of Celanese and Burlington?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Yes, sir. The general traffic manager of Celanese Corporation was a real good friend of mine.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What's his name?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Bill Summerville. And he was in charge of traffic for the whole company. Now they also operated some trucks of their own, but that was a small percentage of what they gave to other people. I didn't haul, couldn't have hauled, all of their freight, really, but that was our number one account.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What about at Burlington? Did you meet . . .
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Yes, sir, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Spencer Love, their top man, one of the smartest men I think I've ever known. Played a little golf with him later on in Florida when he had a home in Florida that he spent a little time. But that's the hardest working man I've ever seen.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Could you talk a little bit about meeting him and what you remember about that?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Yes, sir, I sure can. The first time I met him, actually, was in Florida. A real good friend of mine was a friend of his and asked me to play golf with him one day, and I said I'd love to. I'd been wanting to meet him, I'd heard so much about him. So he said, "Well, I'll let you

Page 16
drive the cart. He can ride with you." So he had a little pad and a pencil, and we were talking and I saw he wasn't paying a bit of attention to what I was saying. He was making notes all during the golf match, and of course I finally caught on and let him do that. Although he'd quit. Had a nice conversation. Then later on this friend of mine invited me to take a little trip with him one Sunday on his yacht down there. So we did, and he had a couple of secretaries on board ship, and you didn't see him; he just worked the whole time. But he did speak, and that's about it. He let his guests have a good time, but he worked all during the time. A really hard worker. So I was real happy to know him. And then one time I went to his office in New York and had a little conference with him, but we mostly was (?with) some of the people down the ladder.
ALLEN TULLOS:
We've collected a number of stories about Spencer Love in the last couple of years.
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Yes, he was one of the greatest, no question about it.
ALLEN TULLOS:
But it does seem like he couldn't really ever enjoy himself or relax.
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Just couldn't. He couldn't. He was still playing tennis, though. Kept himself in good shape. Quite a guy.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Tell me a little bit about the growth of the company in the 1930's, in terms of the number of trucks or however you all measured that.
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Later on we kept adding trucks as we could. We went through the War; we were still a small company, but at that time I guess we had. . . . You define a tractor and trailer as two pieces of equipment. Our tractors, trailers, pickups, and trucks, I guess we got up to 300 and some pieces.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That was by about the time of World War II?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
That was just before the end of World War II. We were real busy all during the War and worked awfully hard. The first nice vacation

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I had in my life was just immediately after the War. I went to Europe for about three months. I had a well-trained crew of executives, and business went on just as well as it did when I was here. But later on I found out that we had to really and truly merge. This is the first thought I had about merging. In fact, I had been approached by one company that I liked an awful lot. It had reached the point that I had to do some merging, or I had to go in debt an awful lot for my company. So we got talking about it, and my oldest son had graduated from college and he had been with the company about five or six years. I had him in New York—that was more problems than any other place—for about a year. But he finally decided that that wasn't the career for him for the rest of his life. He never could have owned the company. So I had an Annheuser-Busch distributorship in Raleigh, North Carolina. I've had it thirty years, so that was way back then, and my manager was eighty-one years of age. And my son, Larry, wanted to know if he couldn't go down and manage that. So we, of course, let him do it. I'm a great believer, if you're not happy in your work, well, you're not going to do well at it anyway. But he worked his heart out. He was real interested in it. But he wanted a business that he could own someday. So I got to studying about it, and really and truly, I was the first company that sold. Back then you couldn't hardly buy a trucking company. Everybody wanted to get in the trucking business, and the trucking business was doing well. So I decided that since my other son had already told me that he wasn't interested in the trucking business, why should I stay with it if they weren't going to be interested in it later on? So I decided to sell it, and of course didn't have any problem, sold it real quick. But I had made up my mind that I had to get out of it or borrow an awful lot of money and expand myself, or do a lot of merging, so I just . . .

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ALLEN TULLOS:
What were the conditions in the industry that brought that about?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
We just found out that we couldn't compete with these great big carriers. I just was convinced in the early stages that these big carriers. . . . For instance, carriers like Associated Transport at that time, merged from Horton Motor Lines, could pick up freight in New York going just everywhere, Chicago, anywhere else. And ours was limited to North and South Carolina and New York. So we just decided we couldn't compete with them unless we got an awful lot bigger, and we'd have to open up also in the Chicago territory to take care of a lot of big customers. So we decided then at that time, in place of merging. . . . Of course, our family owned all the stock, and my company never was any outstanding stock, so we decided we'd rather sell as to get tangled up with some other company.
ALLEN TULLOS:
When was that?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
That was '65 when I sold out.
[interruption]
L. WORTH HARRIS:
It could have been '64; '64 or '65.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Let me go back, since we're really primarily interested in this period before World War II, and see if I can ask the right sort of questions that might cause you to remember some other things.
Can you speculate at all about why it was that Charlotte became sort of a center for trucking during this time?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Yes, sir. It was hard for people to believe all over the country, but Charlotte was the spot for the trucking industry, and even, I think, the largest, really, at one time. There was just everything in the world hauled north- and south-bound, and, of course, as I said before, this has to be a balanced operation. So I made up my mind to begin with, when I started that little local business, that Charlotte was the place for the

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trucking industry.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Why was that?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
I guess the textile industry here had an awful lot to do with it, but just because there's so much industry in this area.
ALLEN TULLOS:
It would look like some people would have moved, say, down to Greenville, South Carolina. What kept things from developing there?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
It was just not as good, but real good there. I'm talking about this area. Of course, we had a terminal in Greenville, South Carolina, just the same as we had here in Charlotte. And the Greenville area was a great area for us, because I guess we pulled more freight north-bound out of that area than we did out of the Charlotte area, really. Textiles, I'm sure that's right.
ALLEN TULLOS:
How early was it that you had a terminal in Greenville?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
We opened up a terminal in Greenville just a very short while after we started. The first terminal was in New York. The second terminal was in Greenville; I'm sure it was. And then we opened a terminal in Baltimore, because we were getting right much freight there; one in Philadelphia; one over in New Jersey. Greenville, though, was one of the first ones. Then we finally opened a terminal in Burlington. So our traffic was mostly between Greenville and Boston. Now we did not operate into Boston, no further than New York, but we had connections in New York that picked up our trailers and took them right on in to Interline.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Were there any sort of state laws or advantages in being in North Carolina as opposed to South Carolina, to have your headquarters operation? Would that have entered into it at all to make people come to Charlotte?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
I don't think so. We could have had our headquarters in Greenville, I guess, as well as Charlotte. We really wouldn't have thought

Page 20
about that, because Charlotte had so many different accounts south-bound and everything else; this was the place. But talking about the law, we started in business over-the-road in '33, and 1935 is when the trucking industry was regulated. And we filed our application to operate in the territory that we'd been operating in, and had no difficulty getting it. In fact, the grandfather rights is how the trucking industry got their operating authority. And now, of course, there's a great big squabble about deregulation, but the operating authority for the trucking companies is what made the trucking industry. And I'd hate to think about it when it's not regulated.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Yes, Mr. Outlaw had that same feeling about it all. In the late twenties there was a governor here from Charlotte, Cameron Morrison, who was known for building lots of roads, among other things. Would that have had any effect upon the emergence soon after that of the trucking industry, the fact that there had been this good roads movement here, and there wasn't one yet in, say, South Carolina or other states?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Good roads certainly had a lot to do with it; there's no question about that. The governor was a mighty fine man; I knew him, of course.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Do you know enough about him at that time to know why he got interested in that particular sort of a project?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
I didn't really know him real well. When he was campaigning, he was running against a very personal friend of mine, Bob Reynolds. Bob Reynolds was my real good friend, so we were on opposite sides of the fence, but I got along swell with him. Bob was elected and was a personal friend of mine as long as he lived.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Maybe you could say a little bit about the [North Carolina] Motor

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Carriers' Association. Did you become associated with that pretty soon after Mr. Outlaw was going around trying to sign people up?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Yes, we did from the very beginning. We were irregular common carriers at that time, and I was very active in the Irregular Common Carriers, in fact spent a lot of time in Washington at meetings various places during the War and so forth. Then we got in the North Carolina Motor Carriers at a very early date. I don't remember the exact date, but we hadn't been in business long until we joined the North Carolina Motor Carriers. And that has been one of the most active clubs in the country anywhere. The best managed, too, I'll guarantee. I can't say enough about Tom Outlaw.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That's another term you'll have to explain, "irregular carrier", just what that means.
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Irregular carriers supposedly didn't have to run on a daily schedule. In other words, we could pick up a load of freight here and carry it into Pittsburgh or wherever we wanted to, and it might be a month or six months, maybe, before we'd go back to that territory. But a regular route carrier had to operate regular, just to hold out for service any day they wanted it(?).
ALLEN TULLOS:
Can you think of the Motor Carriers in any way as a kind of lobbying group in terms of trying to effect legislative changes? Is that how it's defined in North Carolina, or what?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Yes, sirree. They work together better than any industry I have ever heard of. We would go out in the daytime and fight each other for traffic, but I'll tell you, when we got together at a meeting, we worked together. And the ATA, of course, is very powerful, and we all then belonged to the ATA as well as the North Carolina Motor Carriers' Association. And I've just never heard of a group that stuck together any better.

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ALLEN TULLOS:
What were the purposes of the Motor Carriers in terms of dealing with the legislature in North Carolina back in the thirties? What kind of things would you be wanting to get changed or wanting to get done?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Back in the thirties we realized that we had to have heavier weights as the trucks were beginning to get longer and longer and we could pull more. So it wasn't an individual trying to get this; we had to as a group stay together, and did. And that's very important. And any laws that come up, which is something all the time, it looks like, affecting the trucking industry, why, every one of them was in it together, and they really stuck together and still do, a hundred percent.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Let me ask you one further question. You mentioned early the involvement with the union when you were going into New York. Were there any North and South Carolina members of, say, the Teamsters before World War II that you know of?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Oh, yes. We were one of the very last companies joining the union over-the-road. I don't remember the exact year. It finally got so rough—they were abusing our drivers up and down the road—we actually asked them to join the union, because it was getting dangerous and the union was awful powerful in the North at that time. But we operated non-union except in New York City, as I said; we hired. . . . And later in Baltimore, Philadelphia, we worked out agreements the same way. But our over-the-road people stayed out of the union till the very latest. But some of the carriers that were bigger, of course, got in the union right away. They were big enough, like Associated (at that time, Horton) and Barnwell; and, of course, they were in it because they were too big to stay out of it.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And that would have applied to all of their drivers?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Yes, sirree. They were one hundred percent union.
ALLEN TULLOS:
That would have been in the 1930's?

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L. WORTH HARRIS:
Yes, I'd say they were positively a hundred percent in the union in the very early thirties. I don't know the exact time, but they were in years and years and years before we did, because we just simply weren't big enough to attract a lot of people, I guess.
ALLEN TULLOS:
So they would have had locals in North Carolina with presidents and elected officers?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Yes, sirree. They were in half a dozen or more locals everywhere.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Were there any particular spokesmen for the Teamsters in North and South Carolina in that time period that you remember as being well known?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
After I got in the union, sure, we got together with [unknown] . And John Akers was chairman of that group for quite a few years. He spent an awful lot of time on it.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Of which group?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
For all the truckers. We elected him chairman, so [unknown] . For instance, when a union contract was coming up, why, he handled it for us for a long time.
ALLEN TULLOS:
He represented you all.
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Right. Along with Mr. Outlaw, of course, who was in on all of them also. North Carolina Motor Carriers.
END OF INTERVIEW