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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 Harry Walsh


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.
Harry Walsh sworn says


I reside in Hancock N.Y. and have for about 22 years[last] past and have been more or less acquainted with Lucy Ann Slater for the past 20 or 25 years. Have met her a good many times and have seen her travelling along the road. The first that I discovered anything about Lucy which led me to believe she was insane was about 20 or 25 years ago when she was in her fathers saw mill sawing or attempting to saw. She was then dressed in mens clothes & particularly attracted my attention [ ] [ ] was with me. We stopped [ ] [ ] and from her appearance and [ ] at that time we both came to the conclusion that she was crazy.
Some years ago I met her at [Mr] David [Kill…] in Wayne Co Pennsylvannia. I was satisfied then that she was crazy. She was dressed in mens clothes and had a gun and pretended to be hunting. After that I saw her in company with another woman travelling along the road. That woman was crazy. They both claimed that they were man and wife and pretended to love each other and that they could not bear to be separated. They then came to my brothers. He said they frequently came there together in that way and wanted to be together and sleep together. I saw her once at Hancock with her husband at [ ] [ ]. She was in the far room [ ] the men singing to her husband. There can be no mistake but that she was then insane. I cannot swear positively that it was her husband with her. Have seen her at other times and think she is insane without doubt and incapable of governing herself or of managing her property.

Harry [Henry] Walsh


Subscribed and sworn to before me June 16 1880
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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