On March 10, 1931, NHMTA came into being. The first minutes were recorded and the Constitution and By-Laws were drafted of what was then called the New Hampshire Truck Owners’ Association. This first meeting took place at the Rice-Varick Hotel in Manchester NH and the first president was Fred N. Putnam.
From notes that were discovered, there were meetings earlier than 1931 and perhaps even in 1930 as officers had been elected. Minutes from these meetings have not been found.
NHMTA was born in the depths of the Great Depression. The trucking industry had proven itself during World War I, and the years following. Trucks were beginning to run between cities, rather than just deliver locally for the railroads. The rails were becoming understandably upset with their new competition and began to flex their muscles, especially in the legislature, where they had plenty of friends. Competition between the young trucking companies was also fierce, with rate-cutting running rampant. There were no tariffs, as we know them and no system of classification. The carriers charged what the traffic would bear, usually patterned after – and just under- rail rates. The highway system was woefully inadequate for intercity travel, and in Northern New Hampshire was usually closed to truck traffic in the winter and spring.
In order to join together to solve some of the problems facing them, a few farsighted individuals met one day in 1931 to solve some of the problems facing them. A Constitution and By-Laws were adopted which gave the objective of the Association as:
To promote and maintain an organization of all persons and firms who own and operate motor trucks. •To cooperate in securing rational legislation for the advancement, promotion and protection of the interests of the motor truck industry, to protect owners and users of motor trucks again unjust or unreasonable legislation and to secure the enactment of proper ordinances and regulations governing the use of motor trucks. •To promote and encourage the construction of good roads and maintenance of the same and to encourage the development of a spirit of cooperation and courtesy among users of the highways.
The object of the Association has changed little of the past 70 years, attesting to the wisdom of the founding members.
Headquarters of the Association in 1931 were in the Eagle Hotel in Concord, directly across Main Street from the Capitol Building. Secretary of the Association was Robert E. Thomas, who also was Secretary-Treasurer of the Automobile Dealers Associations Association of NH.
The first President of NHMTA was Fred N. Putnam of Nashua. Concord attorney Robert W. Upton represented the new Association in the legislature in 1931 and would continue to do so for many years.
The first annual meeting of the Association was held on October 7, 1931 at the Rice-Varick Hotel in Manchester, followed by a Board Meeting where the following officers were elected for 1931 – 32; Harry E. Ingham, President; Arthur J. Boutwell, Vice President; Harold L. Barnard, Treasurer; and Robert E. Thomas, Secretary-Manager.
There were twelve Directors elected at that First Annual Meeting :
Louis Vogel- Vogel & Hadley Manchester Albert J. Precourt – Manchester Coal and Oil Co Manchester Fred N. Putnam – Nashua Gummed & Coated Paper Nashua Harry Ingham – Law & Ingham Transp Co Nashua Arthur J. Boutwel -l Boutwell Lumber Co Concord Harold L. Barnard – Barnard’s Express Concord Seth E. Rand – S E Rand Transp Co Portsmouth George E. Dearborn – Dearborn’s Motor Express Exeter Herbert L. Capron – Holbrook Grocery Co Keene Arthur H. Todd – Todd’s Express Wilton Ed Robie – Logger Ashland Richard Shelly – Palmer Simpson Co Laconia
It is interesting to note that of the twelve members elected to the Board in 1931, six of them were private carriers, which would seem to indicate that the private carriers had just as much interest as the for-hire carriers- then as now-in the legislature and in good highways.