Checker Motor Company: Manufacturer of Checker Cabs

This Checker Cab is typical of the cars manufactured by the Checker Motor Company which went out of business last month but hadn't manufactured a car since 1982.

The Checker Motor Company which manufactured Checker Cabs no longer exists after folding in January. The company was founded in 1922 and manufactured cars for commercial and consumer use with the Checker Cab its most recognizable vehicle.

I can still remember the cabs waiting for busses to unload at the Continental Trailways Bus Station on Jackson Street in Alexandria, Louisiana.

A Checker Cab pictured in the glory days of the Checker Cab company.

There was a taxicab war in Chicago which is evident in these reports:

At that time Chicago’s Teamsters, Chauffeurs and Helpers Union was vying for control of the unrelated Checker Taxi association, and on June 6, 1923 union organizer Frank Sexton was shot and killed by gunmen opposed to unionization. The United Press wire reported:


“Affair Apparently Outcome of Clash Among Taxi Drivers

Chicago. June 7, 1923 (UP) – Frank Sexton, declared by police to be connected with a labor union, was shot to death early today by two taxicab drivers in a pool room on West Division street. Authorities said the murder was apparently the outgrowth of a war between independent and union drivers on “Checker” taxis. About a dozen drivers were arrested for questioning.”

The following day Morris Markin’s home was bombed as reported by the Associated Press:



“Two Factions of “Checker” Drivers Fighting for Control—Attempt to Wreck Home of Head of Taxi Company.

“CHICAGO, June 8, 1923 (AP) – An alleged Checker taxi taxicab driver’s war blamed by police for the slaying Friday of Frank Sexton, ‘union slugger’ resumed today in bombing of the home of Morris Markin, president of the Checker Taxicab Manufacturing company. The residence was partially wrecked and Markin and his family thrown from their beds.

“Two factions of the “Checker” drivers are fighting for control of the manufacture of the taxis which involve a cooperative scheme, according to Markin. Two men arrested for the Sexton shooting also gave police this reason for the ‘war.’”

Agents representing the State’s Attorney General rounded up Jack Rose, Sexton’s alleged shooter, and thirty other suspects, all believed to be involved in the conflict. Markin believed he was targeted as he had refused to “play ball” with the Teamsters and their violent criminal elements.

During one of Rose’s preliminary court hearings, Patrick Sexton, Frank Sexton’s father, shot and killed Rose as he was being led from the courtroom:

This website gives more details about the taxicab war plus has a fine collection of photos of Checker Cabs over the years.


Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

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