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15 July 2010

Happy Ned Taylor (? - 1887) sailor, labourer.

Elizabeth Taylor grew up to be Ned.
Although British, Happy Ned Taylor served in the Union Navy during the American Civil War, and was immortalized in a well known ballad.
“My name was Elizabeth Taylor,
But bless you I’ve long been a man;
I served in the fleet as a sailor
When the war o’ Secession began;
I fought for the North like a good un
Though I wasn’t a Yankee mysel;
And why it all ended so sudden
I’m dash’d if I ever could tell!”
At the end of his service, Ned worked in the docks at Liverpool, then as a navvy and as a farm labourer. The 'fact' that he was female-bodied was only discovered again after he died.
  • Julie Wheelwright. Amazons and Military Maids: Women who dressed as men in pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. Pandora 1989: 42.
  • “Female Sailors”, Notes and Queries. VII series, IV Dec 17, 1887: 486. Online at:

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