Hackney Name Synonymous with Transportation

Southern Produce Wagon

A print of the Southern Produce Wagon produced by the Hackney Wagon Company. Image from the Wilson County Public Library.

On January 26, 1823, Willis Napoleon Hackney was born in Nash County.

Although an obituary reported that he began life with no money, Hackney would eventually enter the wagon manufacturing business in Wilson and launch a family dynasty that became synonymous with transportation in North Carolina for nearly a century.

Although his origins are largely unrecorded, sometime around 1854 Hackney became a partner of a Wilson carriage shop with C. L. Parker. He later developed his own business which was taken over in 1903 by his sons George and W. D. and incorporated as Hackney Wagon Company.

A portrait of Hackney. Image from State Library.

The Hackneys manufactured wagons and carriages from the days of wooden plank roads in the 19th century to the development of paved highways in the 20th. They supplied thousands of wagons to the U.S. military during World War I and would go on to manufacture school buses, refrigerated transportation equipment and a variety of parts.

Hackney’s sons and his grandson Thomas were involved in transportation manufacturing enterprises in Wilson and Washington, N.C., that would carry on the Hackney name in various incarnations.

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