Aunt Betsy and Her “Automobull”

December, 17, 2008, by Ladye Jane

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The more you walk around downtown, the more you get to know the permanent fixtures that always seem to be hanging out on Fayetteville Street. There’s Dan who sells his drawings of buildings, Sherman who stands by the post office and sells jewelry, the hotdog lady on the corner of Martin, and who could forget, the “Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal Savior” guy (if you’ve ever walked up and down Fayetteville during lunchtime, you know exactly who I’m talking about).

Aunt Betsy was the fixture of Fayetteville Street in her day (photo is c.1913). Best known for her feisty attitude and the fact that she rode around town in a bull-drawn carriage instead of one drawn by horse, Betsy Holmes and her bull, Joe, were a favorite. Don’t think anyone has lived up to her high attention-grabbing standards since.

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Olde Raleigh, Other posts by Ladye Jane.


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  • RaleighRob
    12/18 09:46 AM


    Good thing they didn’t have Red Lights back then.  Yikes.

  • Barden
    12/18 10:25 AM

    YES!!!! I LOVE IT!

  • Betsy
    12/18 10:28 AM

    It’s an ox; bulls aren’t manageable that way. 

    Nevertheless, the get-up still shows a hell of a lot of panache.  Great picture!

  • WiseOne
    12/18 11:10 AM


    A bull is a male member of many types of animals (e.g. bovines) and an ox is cattle trained to transport stuff. So, this could be a bull and an ox…and btw most oxen are castrated so maybe we could comprimise on automosteer.

  • Betsy
    12/18 12:17 PM

    Your statement is slightly awry.  An ox is a bull that’s been castrated.  It can then be fattened more easily (as a steer); and may be tractable enough to be trained as a draft animal (ox or bullock).

  • Micah
    12/18 02:09 PM

    It has GOT to be an ox.

  • roi
    12/19 07:05 PM

    It looks like a bull-ox to me!Was this a 1900 ox-bullmobile?

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