The First Car in Town

The first automobile in Ashpole was owned by Francis C. Jones, conductor for the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad which ran through town. It was a one-cylinder International and was likely purchased sometime in 1905 or 1906. Of course this horseless carriage was a novelty and everyone wanted to get a look at it.

Here are the two photographs that I have of the vehicle.

2009 0820 06

(L/R) Ed Carmichael, Francis Jones, A. L. McDaniel (behind Jones), A. L. Jones, unidentified, Dr. Forest Stephens, C. A. Floyd. Photo credit: Times-Messenger archive, used with permission.


2011 0607 01

Downtown, about 1906. Photo credit: Times-Messenger archive, used with permission.


Wright Jones, son of Francis, told an interesting story about this vehicle and his dad. The car began to run sporadically, sputtering, backfiring and generally not working properly. Since there were no mechanics in the area, Jones had to contact the dealer representative in Wilmington to arrange for someone to come work on it. The problem turned out to be that the spark plug needed cleaning. It was a simple, five-minute fix, but it cost Jones $1.00 per hour for the travel time to and from Wilmington. That was when he taught himself to work on automobiles.


The contents of this site are copyrighted by Curtis McGirt, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020©. All rights reserved.