The Indefatigable Aunt Abby

Aunt Abby HouseAll this month we’re bringing you stories from North Carolina women’s history. Check back here each week day for a new tidbit on the women of our state’s past.

Abby House, known widely as “Aunt Abby,” was born around 1796 and lived much of her life near Franklinton.  Described as being stooped, grim-looking and often smoking a corn cob pipe, House carried one or two canes at all times, reputedly both to help her walk and to help her make points. Honoring her promise to nurse, and bring home to bury if necessary, her eight nephews during the Civil War, House traveled rails and walked roads to care for the boys.  It was not long before she saw that her services were needed by more than just her kinfolk, and she began to help other Confederate soldiers in need.  She was frequently within close proximity to battles. Described by Governor Zebulon Vance as “the ubiquitous, indefatigable and inevitable Mrs. House,” House often paid visits to various leaders of the Confederacy, including Jefferson Davis.  In 1877, she took an honored place on the platform at Vance’s inauguration. When Vance proclaimed “I will, so help me God,” Aunt Abby was heard saying “That you will honey, that you will.”

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