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26 September 2010

Anastasius Lagrantinus Rosenstengel (1694 - 1721) button maker, prophet, soldier.

Catharina Margaretha Linck (or Lincken) was born, after her father's death, at Glaucha, Halle, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. After fourteen years in the orphanage, she had learnt the trades of button-making and of printing cotton. 

To preserve her chastity she started dressing in men's clothes, and was considering leading a holy life. He joined a group of Radical Pietists, and took the name of Anstasius Lagrantinus Rosenstengel. For two years Anastasius travelled with the Pietists as a prophet. 

After losing his gift, he joined the Hanoverian troops as a musketeer using the name of Anastasius Beuerlein. After three years he deserted at Brabant, but was apprehended at Antwerp and condemned to be hung. He got out of this by revealing that he was female. This was supported by a letter from Professor Franken of Halle. 

Some time later he joined the Volunteer Company of Royal Prussian Troops in Soest, again using the name of Beuerlein. After he had been in the company for about a year, Professor Franken wrote to the company priest and Beuerlein was sent away. As Catharina, she returned to Halle and stayed one summer. 

Then Anastasius went to Wittenberg and joined the royal Polish troops as a musketeer with the name of Peter (or Lagrantinus) Wannich. On being captured by the French in a campaign near Brussels he ran away. He then served for a year with the Hessian troops in Rheinfels in Major Briden's Volunteers as Cornelius Hubsch, but ran away when after a fight he was to have run a gauntlet. 

During these period of military service, he had alternated between Catholicism and Lutheranism as circumstances dictated. He was also something of a woman chaser. Then again as Catharina she returned to Halle and made flannel, and spun and printed cotton. She stayed at this for almost four years, sometimes dressing as male, sometimes as female. Once in Halle she was arrested by soldiers, but because of Professor Franken and his disclosure of her sex, she was let go. 

On this occasion she was taken to the Rathaus to truly determine her sex. After this inspection he reverted to male. He got a job with a French stockingmaker in Halberstadt, and became acquainted with a Fraulein Muehlhahn, also called Catharina Margaretha. They wed despite the antagonism of Catharina’s mother. However Anastasius beat Catharina because she did not earn anything, and sold her goods. They lived as itinerant beggars, and converted back and forth between Catholicism and Lutheranism for Christening gifts as much as 25 reichstalers. 

His mother-in-law, assisted by a woman called Peterson, attacked him with a sword, ripped open his trousers, and detached the leather instrument that was attached to his groin. Catharina was charged with wearing men’s clothes, going with the Pietists, frequent desertions and perjuries, sodomizing her wife, stealing from her wife and converting for monetary gain. 

After a legal dispute about which method of execution was most appropriate, Anastasius was beheaded, and Catherina Margaretha was imprisoned.
  • The Prussian State Archives, Halberstadt, 13 October 1721.
  • F.C. Müller.  “Ein weiterer Fall von conträrer Sexualempfindung”  in Friedreich’s Blätter für gerichtliche Medizin und Sanitätspolizei. Heft 4. 1891.
  • Brigitte Erikksson (translation From The German). “A Lesbian Execution In Germany, 1721: The Trial Records”.   Journal of Homosexuality.  Vol 6(1/2) Fall/Winter 1980/81.  Reprinted in Salvatore J. Licata, & Robert P. Peterson (eds). Historical Perspectives On Homosexuality. 1981 
  • Angelika Steidele. In Männerkleidern. Das verwegene Leben der Catharina Margaretha Linck alias Anastasius Rosenstengel, hingerichtet 1721. Biografie und Dokumentation. Böhlau: Wien 2004.
DE.Wikipedia. ___________________________________________________________________________________

First contray sexual-feeling and then lesbian.  None of the commentaries propose FTM or trans man.  The de.wikipedia page was originally called "Anastasius Lagrantinus Rosenstengel" (see the URL) but has been renamed to “Catharina Margaretha Linck” which is going in the wrong direction.

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