Aunt Betsey Holmes and Her Horseless Carriage, Raleigh, N.C.

We have several postcards of what appears to be a frequent sight on Raleigh’s Fayetteville Street:  Aunt Betsey Holmes riding in her carriage.  The carriage is pulled by a bull, not a horse, and so the postcards often contain puns relating to her preferred mode of transportation:  “automobull and “horseless carriage” are the two most common.  The bull’s name was Joe, and Betsey is often shown with Uncle Bill.  It appears she became quite the institution – the postcard below lists her age as 93!

Does anyone know anything about Betsey (or is it Betsy) Holmes?

3 thoughts on “Aunt Betsey Holmes and Her Horseless Carriage, Raleigh, N.C.”

  1. You will find a photograph and description of Aunt Betsy Holmes and Uncle Billy Holmes in the Alfred Mordecai Papers, University North Carolina, Chapel Hill Library:

    Alfred Mordecai Papers [#4221]: Box 1, Folder 9, entire
    folder, 2 versions of : “Common Plants of Medicinal
    Interest on the Fort Benning Reservation. A Paper
    presented…to the Garden Section of the Women’s Club
    of Ft. Benning, GA 1934.–91.

    Mordecai dedicated his paper to the memory of Aunt Betsy and Uncle Billy. The first 2 pages deal with Aunt Besty’s folk knowledge of local plants.

    If you have other questions please feel free to contact me. Dr. Mordecai was a friend of my father in Fort benning, Georgia and he treated me for pneumonia in 1932.

    Best Regards,

    Pearl Bell Follett

  2. Has anyone in the library followed up with Ms. Follett’s reference to learn more about Aunt Betsy? If so, please continue blogging on the topic! We need local color (and memories of it) in Raleigh.

  3. Adrienne,
    Thanks for the gentle nudge. I took a look in the Mordecai papers a little while ago and hope to write a follow-up in the next day or so.

    John

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