Voice of the People: Daily Life in the Antebellum Rural Delaware County New York Area

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Family and Daily Life Homepage | Letters/Diaries/Newspapers, etc   | Lucy Ann Lobdell main page | 1880 Testimony from the insanity hearing for Lucy Ann Lobdell, Delaware County Court: testimony of Ed. L. [Pettingill] M. D.


Background: Lucy Ann Lobdell was born in Westerlo, Albany County, NY in 1829.  Lured by cheap land, Lucy's family moved to Delaware County when Lucy was young.  Her father was unable to do much work.  Lucy took up hunting to provide food for her family. She felt sorry for a man by the name of George Washington Slater and married him. He mentally abused her and deserted her when their infant child was a few weeks old.  Lucy again took up hunting and spent much of the rest of her life as a man.
Ed. L [Pettingill] sworn says
I reside in Hancock NY. I am a practicing physician. I have seen Lucy Ann Slater today. Never was acquainted with her before. I have frequently heard of her as a crazy female hunter. I have examined her today. I consider her insane to the best of my judgement. I should consider her incapable of governing herself or managing her property. I think her [] for any kind of [ ].

Ed. L. [Pettingill] M.D. Subscribed & sworn to before me June 16th 1880. to me
Arthur More [Commission… ]
 

Contemporary Sources

History of Meeker County, Minnesota. Chapter: Wild Woman's History--The Slayer of Hundreds of Bears and Wild-Cats, pp. 98 -  111.  AC Smith:  1877.
Lucy Ann migrated to Minnesota from Delaware County, teaching singing school to pay her way.  She spent several years there as a man, including some months guarding a claim with a man who slept under the same blanket with her and never realized her biological identity as a female. In 1858 her female sex was accidentally discovered and she was sent back to Delaware County.
 
A Modern Romance: Strange Life of Unhappy Women. New York Times, April 8, 1877, p. 7
Lucy assumed the name of Joseph Israel  Lobdell and married Marie Wilson. They lived in caves in the woods in Monroe, Co. Pennsylvania, subsisting on berries, roots, and charity.
 
Death of a Modern Diana: the Female Hunter of Long Eddy.  New York Times , October 7, 1879,  p 2.
This obituary was premature.  Lucy Ann Lobdell died in Binghamton, NY in 1912.
1880 June 16: Excerpts from the Delaware County Court, Delhi, NY: In the matter of Lucy Ann [Lobdell] Slater a Supposed Lunatic
Testimony of John Lobdell
Testimony of Ed. L. [Pettingill] M.D.
Testimony of William Main
Testimony of Edwin Stephens
Testimony of Harry Walsh

Wise, P. M. Case of Sexual Perversion. Alienist and neurologist: A quarterly journal of scientific, clinical and forensic psychiatry and neurology 4, no.1 (1883):  87-91.


Testimony courtesy of the Delaware County Clerk's Office, Delhi, NY.

Transcribed by Kay Benjamin. Misspellings have carefully been preserved.

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