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08 September 2008

Frenchy Vosbaugh (1827 - 1907) bank clerk, restaurateur, ranch hand.

Katherine Vosbaugh was born in France to a well-off father who gave her an excellent business education. He died when she was twenty, but by that point she was an expert accountant and spoke four languages.

She assumed male guise when she moved to the United States with the ostensible reason of securing employment - although he stayed in the male role for the rest of his life.

After working in various cities, Frenchy settled in Joplin, Missouri where he worked for fifteen years as a bank clerk. He took a wife at this time. At least part of the reason was to save her good name for she was pregnant. However the child died after a few months.

After the child died, the couple moved to Trinidad, Colorado where they opened a restaurant.

The wife drifted off and Frenchy took a job as cook on a big sheep ranch, sleeping the same room as the other men.

At the age of 78 he contracted pneumonia and was hospitalized. The medical treatment led to the discovery that he was a woman. However he was allowed to remain in the hospital, working as a man, for what turned out to be the last two years of his life.
  • “Woman Who Posed as Man 60 Years, Dead/Born in France/Only Reason Was to Secure man’s Work”. The Trinidad Advestiser. Nov 11, 1907. In Jonathan Ned Katz. Gay/Lesbian Almanac: A New Documentary, Harper & Row Publishers, Inc. 1983, Carrol & Graf Publishers, Inc. 1994: 323-4
  • Louis Sullivan. Information for the female to male cross dresser and transsexual. Seattle: Ingersoll Gender Center. 1st Ed Janus Information Facility. 20 pp1980.2nd ed 48 pp 1985. 3rd ed.. iii, 123 pp1990: 10.

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