Marston Bus Company Celebrates
1930s there was no bus transportation to bring children to
school in Pittsfield. Youth in the outer reaches of town had to
fend for themselves, walk long distances, be driven by parents,
or catch a ride with neighbors.
Conjecture would have it
that when Samuel W. Marston’s children graduated from South
Pittsfield’s one-room school house, he began to drive them to
the high school Academy Building in town. He lived on Webster
Mills Road and eventually began picking up other children on the
In 1937 he rigged up what might be called a “school
bus.” He simply took an old farm truck chassis and built a
wooden box on the back. It was held on by a chain and binder,
had benches on each side, and steps that were hinged and dropped
down to the ground by loosening or tightening a rope. After the
children were seated, probably not too comfortably, the rope
would be pulled and the stairs secured back in place. The door
was then closed and off they would go.
Among the families of
the children he picked up were the Kimballs, Morrills, Bartons,
and Wheelers in Epsom, Warrens and Frosts in Chichester, and
numerous children in the South Pittsfield-Webster Mills Road
By 1941 business was so good that Mr. Marston and his
wife flew to Syracuse, New York and picked up a new, modern,
factory-made school bus. The purchase was arranged through
Pelissier’s Garage. The Marstons drove the Ford bus with its
Bender Body back to Pittsfield and began a regular route in the
South Pittsfield-Catamount Mountain Area.
That year Sam’s
son Harvey graduated from high school and he began driving the
bus. About 1948, “old Sam,” as he was later called when a
grandson was named after him, purchased a new and bigger bus.
Again it was a Ford and held 48 passengers instead of 36 carried
by the earlier bus. During the 1960s Harvey purchased the
company from his father.
In the meantime the school district
purchased buses and hired drivers to bring children from other
outlying parts of town. Harvey’s son Sam A. Marston began
driving in 1970 and son Tom in 1971. About 1977 the school
district wanted to get out of the bus business. Gordon Weldon,
School Board chair, approached Harvey in his driveway on Webster
Mills Road and asked if he would take over the whole operation.
Arrangements were made, Harvey paying $1.00 for three town-owned
buses, and from that date forward students in Pittsfield have
been bused by the H. A. Marston Company.
At that time there
were four routes. One covered South Pittsfield, Leavitt Road and
Concord Road. The second covered Mountain Road, Berry Pond Road,
Jenness Pond, Clough Road, and Tilton Hill. The third covered
Route #107, Shaw Road, Lyford Hill, Eaton Road, and Upper City.
The fourth covered Loudon Road, Ring Road, and Ingalls Road.
Later, new buses were added, increasing the size with each
purchase, from the earlier 48 passenger bus, to one carrying 65,
to those carrying 71, and finally to those carrying 77.
in 1977, the Marston Company began supplying special education
buses for Pittsfield’s children. Initially, there was one
in-town bus and several out-of-town vans. Presently there are
two small buses and one van serving in-town, and two buses and
four vans carrying students out of district. By 2010 the Company
was supplying two special education buses and one van for
Barnstead’s children, and about 2015 began supplying a small bus
for Chichester’s special needs children.
In 1981 the
business was incorporated and the Marstons expanded their
operation to Barnstead. Five new buses were purchased from
Huckin’s Garage and more drivers hired. The Company ceased
serving Barnstead around 1992.
Unfortunately, Harvey passed
away in 1983 and his wife, Frances, assumed responsibility for
the Company. About 1985 she purchased the Chichester bus
contract and began transporting children from that community to
Chichester Elementary School and Pembroke Academy.
after the new Pittsfield Elementary School was built in 1989,
there was an attempted kidnapping of a young child and the
School Board decided to bus these students as well as the
out-of-towners. As a result the Marstons developed an in-town
route for morning pick-ups and noon drop-offs.
taking over the bus routes in Pittsfield the Company has
regularly transported students to sports events and field trips
near and far. Among them have been to the Woods Hole
Oceanographic Institution, the Museum of Science, the Museum of
Fine Arts, the New England Aquarium, and the USS Constitution in
Boston, ball games at Fenway Park, and the Squam Lake Natural
Science Center in Holderness.
Today, the Company is a
thriving business. It has had four generations serving the
children of Pittsfield. Mrs. Marston, at the age of 92,
continues to run it as a family business today. Her
father-in-law Sam started the business, her husband Harvey then
took over, and presently her two sons, Tom and Sam,
daughter-in-law Lynne, and grandson, Jack, are drivers.
Four Generations of the Marston Bus Company
First Factory Made School Bus in Pittsfield With Several
Students Front Row: Corine Kimball, Robert Rothwell, Sam A.
Marston. Second Row: Loraine Kimball Charles Morrill, Samuel W.
Marston. Third Row: Sandra Rothwell, Betty Marston
Samuel W. Marston
Samuel A. Marston
Current owner Frances Marston