From Ohio History Central
The Ward Transfer Line is the oldest, continuously-operating African-American business in the United States. William S. Ward founded the business in 1881 as a moving company. It originally employed three people and had only a single wagon to carry items. Ward established the company in Columbus, Ohio.
The company has undergone a number of changes over the years, but it has remained in the Ward family throughout its history. In 1899, the company became known as the E.E. Ward Transfer & Storage Company. In 1914, the company began to use trucks to conduct its business, although the firm also continued to use horses until 1921. Originally, it transported items from railroad stations to people's homes and businesses. From 1903 to 1959, the firm had a contract to deliver Steinway pianos in the Central Ohio area. According to the company, approximately 900,000 pianos were moved during that period. In the twenty-first century, the company specializes in local moves for businesses.