The First Cars in Williamson County

Narratives from the Georgetown's Yesteryears Book

A special thanks to The Georgetown Heritage Society and Martha Mitten Allen for letting the us post these wonderful first person stories.

See Foreword and Preface

Automobiles made their first appearance in Georgetown in about 1906 and provided lots of excitement for the horse and buggy crowd.

Tillman Barron - Mark Graves, Interviewer
I can remember when we'd run a block to see an automobile: the city marshall, Mr. C. J. Brady had a little one-cylinder automobile called a Brush. It was chain driven. He had an automobile, and there was an English tailor, a Mr. Cowley, who had one. It was not a chain-driven car, but it was a putt-putt-putt. It might have been a two-cylinder. But we'd run a block to get to see that automobile go by.

MY FATHER'S FIRST CAR / Lois A. Burkhart
Caroline Jones, Interviewer
My daddy, the doctor in Florence, had the first car in Williamson County. It was a little red Ford, and it had brass trim, and then, on the back of it, there was a little gasoline tank. Course there was just one front seat, didn't have any curtains or enclosure at all. But, then, over the gasoline tank was a little seat, but it didn't have a back, just a little seat. My sister got to ride out there. She was four-and-a-half years older than I was, but they wouldn't let me. By the time I had gotten big enough to ride back there, Dad had gotten a new car.

They didn't have any way to heat a car in those days. Mama used to heat bricks by the fireplace and wrap them in little blankets and things like that and put it in the car at Dad's feet, so his feet wouldn't get so cold, because sometimes he was gone, when the flu was so bad, we didn't know where he was half of the time. People then didn't have telephones in the country. He couldn't call and tell us where he'd be.

He always bought two cars. We had Studebakers first. They had little jump seats in them—I liked that. Then we had Fords and Chevrolets, but before he passed away, he was driving a Buick.

They went off one time and left both cars there. We had a long driveway, and I backed that car out and went somewhere. I had to go to Briggs before I could turn around. I knew where a filling station was in Briggs, so I went all the way to Briggs. I knew I could go to that filling station on the corner and turn around.

Erna V. Richter - Marilyn Lane, Interviewer
The first time I ever rode in one was in 1910. Adolph Miller, son of the lady that raised Daddy, bought a Moon car, and it just had doors in the back. The front didn't have any doors; it was open. He took us all out riding when he bought that car.

Then there was a doctor that lived in Weir, and he drove one of the little carts as they use for golf now. There were two seats in front, two little old seats, and one in the back, so one could only ride in it. When we called the doctor, why, he came out with that thing. . . . That was when I was ten.

Later on, when I was twelve, Daddy bought his first car. It was a Studebaker, but they called it the "E.M.F." People always joked about it, that it was "Every Morning Fixed." Then, cars didn't run as they do now. They didn't have a starter; you had to crank them. And they had car-bide lights, and you had that carbide tank on the fender. When you turned that on, then you went with a match and lit the lamps in front. It was a big four-door car. It had front doors. It was a big car.

Henry's daddy bought one, then, a seven-passenger. I believe that was in 1916. It had two small seats between the front seat and the back seat, and they folded into the floorboard, and you pick them up and set them there, and two of you could set there. That's the car that we drove, Henry.

Emil Ischy - Gregory S. Brown, Interviewer
People would make those tires last just as long as there was a thread that would hold. Put boots in them, you know. Take an old tire and peel the rubber all off of it, then you would have that fabric deal and make a boot. You knock a hole in the tire; you put that in there, glue it in there, so it would hold the tube, and go again. Course your wheels would bounce and jump.

When I was courting her [his wife, Tullia] in Florence, all we had was gravel roads and dirt roads. Those Model T tires didn't last long. Sometimes I'd have to fix two flats going to Florence, maybe three. Kept a good supply of patching, boots, and tools. Take a tire off and fix it—get all dirty and dusty.