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25 February 2009

George Wilson (18??-18??) sailor.

Born in England, George Wilson adopted a male identity and went to sea, crossing the Atlantic several times.

In 1836 he was arrested in Baltimore for horse-stealing. The prison authorities, decided that he was a woman, and were quite appalled to find that he knew nothing of women's work - he could sew a button on his trousers, but he could not sew as a woman would.

The authorities decided that he should dress and behave as a woman, and declared him intransigent when - dressed in trousers, 'as muscular as a pugilist', tall and answering only to 'George' - he would not perform as a woman. For this they flogged him, they put him into solitary confinement, they put him on bread and water, they flogged him again and again.

*Not any of the cricketers or footballers, nor the Pittsburg mayor, nor the chemist.
  • Julie Wheelwright. Amazons and Military Maids: Women who dressed as men in pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. Pandora 1989: 86.

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