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 William W. Main


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.
William W Main sworn says:
I reside in the town of Hancock Del. Co. I am about fifty years old. I am acquainted with Lucy Ann Slater and have known her for about twenty years. On one subject her mind is not sound but on other matters have heard her talk quite sensibly. I have never had an intimate acquaintance with her habits and customs. I know that she sometimes dresses in mens clothes and it is on that subject that I think her of unsound mind. I have lived in this vicinity about [ ] years and during that time she has been away most [ ] except about one or two years.

WW Main Subscribed & sworn to before me on June 16 1880
Arthur More [ ]

 

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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