This site is the most comprehensive on the web devoted to trans history and biography. Well over 1700 persons worthy of note, both famous and obscure, are discussed in detail, and many more are mentioned in passing.

There is a detailed Index arranged by vocation, doctor, activist group etc. There is also a Place Index arranged by City etc. This is still evolving.

In addition to this most articles have one or more labels at the bottom. Click one to go to similar persons. There is a full list of labels at the bottom of the right-hand sidebar. There is also a search box at the top left. Enjoy exploring!

21 June 2024

Frank Blunt (1865 - ?) pioneer trans man, gigolo

Original version October 2011.

Initially from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Blunt had been raised as a girl named Annie Morris. The father was abusive and at age 13, Morris ran away.   Morris was accepted by a horse trader, James Blunt, and they presented Morris as his son, Frank Blunt. They traveled within the US.  Frank worked men's jobs.  For a while Frank managed a lumber camp in northern Wisconsin.   

The Blunts moved to Milwaukee and opened a saloon, a rooming house and a retail coal business.  Frank gambled in (men-only) pool-halls, voted and chased women.  He thrived as a gigolo, and was funded by several woman.  James Blunt later commented: "He was never fond of work. He felt he had done his time and that part of his life was over."

Frank married a wheat heiress, Lulu Seitz, in Fond du Lac.   The marriage was reported as "happily consummated", but after six years, he began seeing other women, and Lulu demanded a divorce. 

Later he married Gertrude Field of Eau Claire, and they started a restaurant together, but they had already separated by the time of his arrest.

In July 1893 Frank visited J G Perkins in Fond de Lac, Wisconsin, claiming to be a long-lost nephew.  After he left it was dicovered that $175 (over $6,000 today) was missing from a trunk, and an empty wallet was concealed in the chimney.  

Perkins filed a warrant and Blunt was arrested in downtown Milwaukee, and returned to Fond de Lac for trial.  During examination, it was discovered that he was female-bodied, and that he had previously been Annie Morris.  The judge asked Frank Blunt why he had chosen to live life as a man. Was this the only crime he had committed under a false identity? Frank told the judge that once he put on a man's suit, he felt like a real person for the first time. As a girl he had been scared. As a man, his life finally began: and he drank, smoked, swore and gambled as much as any other man.  This is who he felt himself to be: a man. He did not intend to return to women's clothing or a women's life, no matter what the verdict was.

A witness, a Milwaukee saloon-keeper confessed to nearly shooting Blunt dead for "paying heavy attentions to his wife." "She always dressed stylishly, mingled with men, and succeeded in having an easy time of it," he told the court. "She was always very sporty".

Another barkeeper reported Blunt had stolen away his wife and taken $450 (almost $16,000 today) He followed the couple to Chicago, Oshkosh and Milwaukee, but Blunt was "too cute for them." Reunited in Walker's Point, the saloon man fired six shots at Blunt but missed.

In January 1894, convicted of larceny, Anna Morris - not Frank Blunt - was sentenced to 12 months in the penitentiary.  

Blunt's defense costs had been provided by his second wife, Gertrude Field, and she embraced him and wept for a half-hour.  

He was released for good behavior in December 1894, and quickly disappeared, and was never heard of again.

  • " 'Anne Morris' Guilty".  Watertown Republican (Wisconsin), Nov 29, 1893.  Online
  • "He was a Woman: For Fifteen Years - She lived here for several years and was married to another woman".  The Weekly Leader, (Eau Clair), Jan 7, 1894,
  • "One Year for 'Frank Blunt' ".  Grant County Witness (Platteville, Wisconsin), Jan 10, 1894.
  • Michael Lesy: Wisconsin Death Trip. Pantheon Books, 1973, - under 1894.
  • Jonathan Katz. Gay American History: Lesbians And Gay Men In The U.S.A. New York: Crowell 1976. New York: A Discus Book.1978: 352.  Online.
  • Ria Brodell. "Frank Blunt & Gertrude Field" Butch Heroes.  Online.
  • Wisconsin LGBTQ History Project. "Frank Blunt" XTwitter, Nov 20, 2021. Online
  • Michail Takach & B J Daniels.  "The Curious Case of Frank Blunt'. In  A History of Milwaukee Drag: Seven Generations of Glamour.  The History Press, 2022: 30-2.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments that constitute non-relevant advertisements will be declined, as will those attempting to be rude. Comments from 'unknown' and anonymous will also be declined. Repeat: Comments from "unknown" will be declined, as will anonymous comments. If you don't have a Google id, I suggest that you type in a name or a pseudonym.