Melton Truck Lines had a humble beginning in 1954 when Bert and Gladys Melton purchased a small piece of operating authority and a couple of trucks and began operations in Crossett, Arkansas. Business began with a plan to haul lumber and roofing materials in the states of Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Bert purchased two brand new diesel “B Series” Mack tractors within a few years, which gave him a total of six trucks and twenty-three trailers. In late 1957, Bert met with an untimely death, leaving the business in his wife’s hands.
In 1958, William Duncan McRae purchased the company. In respect for Bert Melton’s memory, the name Melton was retained for the truck line. From the beginning, the newly incorporated company had a family atmosphere. The company was small, and many of the employees were husband and wives. Through the years, this unique atmosphere grew stronger, and whole families – mothers, fathers, sons and daughters would become part of the “Melton Family.”
The McRae’s became known affectionately as Mr. Mac and Mrs. Mac. Mr. Mac eventually approached his son, Duncan (Dunc) McRae, Jr., with the idea of joining him in the company. Because of Dunc’s experience with IBM, he recognized a potential benefit if Melton began using computers. At the time, there were few programs designed for trucking companies, so Duncan wrote his own, which put Melton out in front of the competition.
In 1980, Melton was approved as a bonded carrier with the customs service, which marked the start of the Mexican “through-trailer” service, another pioneering move. Through the years, Melton’s fleet grew to 600 trucks and utilized both box vans and flatbed trailers.
Meanwhile, in 1989, Bob Peterson formed a new company called GlasTran, whose focus was exclusively on the needs of flatbed shippers, and located it in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The first customers were primarily glass companies, and the company started up with 30 leased tractors, 36 trailers, and six people in the office.
In 1991, Duncan McRae, Jr., retired by selling Melton Truck Lines, Inc. to Bob Peterson. At the time of the sale, Melton’s operation consisted of 340 trucks, 700 trailers and 12 terminals. Mr. Peterson decided to relocate the headquarters to Tulsa, OK, merging GlasTran and Melton together. Melton family members describe the period before the merger as “Old Melton” and the subsequent years as “New Melton.” Melton has grown to be a strong industry leader, employing over 1,000 of the best professional drivers available.
The company continues to convey an attitude and feeling of family. The gleaming fleet of new, blue Kenworth trucks proudly serves customers from coast-to-coast, and strives to remain ahead of the competition with top-notch drivers, customer service, and safety programs, as well as state-of-the-art equipment and communications techniques.