ROMANCE IN REAL LIFE – Considerable excitement was caused in Tenby, on the 21st ult, by the appearance of a person in male attire, who had a short time before introduced herself to several families in the town as a female and partook of their hospitality under that character. On her first visit she stated that her name was Miss Ellen Hatfield, and gave the following account of herself: – She was 19 years of age, was born at Halifax, in Nova Scotia, and was daughter of Joseph and Mary Hatfield, the former a native of Scotland, the latter of England. Joseph Hatfield was educated for the bar and afterwards ordained a clergyman of the English church, at College, at New York. He died about four years ago. Ellen Hatfield was placed by her guardian, Mr Newtown, about three years ago, in a Popish church, near Halifax. Soon after the death of her mother, about six years since, her father married again, and after his death her step-mother married her guardian, Mr Newton. She remained in the convent five months, and then returned home, and was afterwards sent to another convent, here she continued nine months, and then eloped with the Rev. Archibald Campbell, a clergyman of the English church; they were not married. They embarked in the Elizabeth, of Halifax, Captain Morris, the crew consisting of 25. The vessel ran aground on a sandbank, about four miles from the short of a small island called Hook’s Island. She and Mr Campbell were allowed by the captain to go ashore alone in the boat. Mr Campbell, in consequence of previous indisposition and over-exertion in rowing the boat, died on the beach three days after their landing. She supposed the island to be uninhabited, but at the expiration of eight days she found an old gentleman living there from disgust of the world; she lived eight days upon oranges, and knows nothing of what became of the vessel. Thence, after a stay of more than a month, she sailed in the William Hutt, of Halifax, Capt. Morris (another Captain Morris), and arrived at Swansea on the 21st October. Thence they sailed almost immediately in a vessel called the Seven Stars, Capt. Reece, to Cornwall, and wandered about in that neighbourhood for three months, during the whole of which time, since her departure from Halifax, she dressed in man’s clothes; about five weeks ago she put off her man’s costume at Pontardulais. She says her father left 15,000l to herself and two sisters; when she left home she had about 20l in cash, a check, and a will. On her last visit she was taken by the police-officer before the Mayor and one of the borough magistrates, and gave her name Albert Valentine Cavendish, but refused to give any further information. Several attempts were made to discover her sex, which failed. Mr N. Millard, surgeon, was then sent for, who stated that she was a female on which she was immediately discharged. She stands about five feet high, fair complexion, speaks rather broad, and is supposed to be from the neighbourhood of Laugharne. – Watchman
Source: The Standard, May 11 1842
A FEMALE SAILOR
On Thursday last, just as the Lady Charlotte, was about to sail from Cardiff, the attention of P. C. Perkins, was drawn to a person in a sailor’s dress, who was exhibiting money rather carelessly, and expressing great anxiety for the sailing of the packet. Perkins accosted him, and on his refusing to give any account of how he got the money, or where he came from, took him to the Station House. Mr. Superintendent Stockdale, after asking a few questions, suspected that the apparent sailor boy was a girl, and charged her with being so, which she resolutely denied. A woman was made to search her, and the young sailor turned out to be a pretty looking Welsh girl. Finding disguise to be useless, she gave an account of herself, her assumed name as the sailor was Edward Williams, but her real one is Mary Davis. She is 20 years of age. She lived with her father, who is a decayed farmer, about nine miles from Merthyr, and between that place and Neath. Having a brother away from home, she determined to go in search of him. She had received a letter lately from him enclosing £5, and it contained a request that she would come to him; this letter she had lost, and so entirely had she forgotten her brother’s address, that she did not know whether the letter came from America, Australia, or Ireland. Her purpose in the present instance was to go to Bristol, and from thence to America. She was taken every care of at the Station House, and visited by the Worthy Mayor and the Rev. T. Stacey who after hearing her statements, were convinced she was of weak mind. She was directed to be sent to the Union House, until her friends could be communicated with, and her money was left in Mr. Stockdale’s hands. Mr. Stockdale deserves great credit for his humane attention to the poor girl, who, had she been suffered to go into the town, would doubtless have been robbed of her little pittance. She has resume her feminine dress; the reason she gave for abandoning it was that she thought she could travel more safely amongst sailors as a man than as an unprotected girl. She cannot speak a word of English.
Source: Welshman, 23 September 1842
LOOK TO YOUR POCKETS – The following description of a person who is going about the neighbourhood of Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, obtaining money under false pretences, was sent to us yesterday. The party (supposed to be a woman, though in male attire) is apparently about seventeen or eighteen years of age, dressed in a black lapelled coat, red striped waistcoat, and grey trowsers; round red face, flat nose, as if had been injured, very small hands and feet. He (or she) was a Handsworth on Thursday, where he represented himself to be son of the Earl of Lichfield, and obtained £2 from Mr Horton and Mr Daws. He has also represented himself as the son of a clergyman, and speaks very much of his mamma, who, he says, live near Carmarthen. He had obtained money by representing that he would destroy himself if not relived. Birmingham Journal
Source: Berrow’s Worcester Journal, May 25 1843
GAITIES AND GRAVITIES Two or three years ago there was a great run on female sailors. Every newspaper had its paragraph announcing the discovery of a female sailor. The result was a thorough conviction in the public mind that all sailors were female sailors—that there were no other sailors than female sailors in disguise; and now the curiosity would be the discovery of a male sailor, if such a phenomenon could be well authenticated.
Source: Welshman, March 31 1843
Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889) an English poet and Jesuit priest is born on 28 July. He studied at St Beuno’s College, near St Asaph (Denbighshire) and it has been argued that some of Hopkins’s poems embody homoerotic themes.
Amy Dillwyn (1845–1935) Swansea born novelist, businesswoman, and social benefactor. Her six novels include themes of sexual and gender fluidity and she considered herself married to “her wife” Olive Talbot.
On Tuesday last, a groom was riding a pony in the streets, at Cardigan, with a side-saddle, and dressed in female attire. He was stopped in High-street by P.C. Lyon, and made to dismount and undress. It appears that he was riding the horse for the purpose of training him for a lady’s riding. We believe a communication has been made to the chief constable on the subject, to know whether the policeman did not exceed his duty.
Source: Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser, August 7 1846
A FEMALE SAILOR On Wednesday a woman was charged at the Newport police-office, Monmouthshire, with walking about in male attire. The defendant, who wore seamen’s clothes, in her appearance, gait, and gestures appeared to be every inch a sailor; and in boldness of conduct presented a striking contract to the quiet-looking seaman, her husband, who stood beside her. It seemed that for no less than ten years she has scorned her proper clothing and devoted herself to hard and incessant toil. In various capacities she has voyaged to Quebec, Bombay, and other distant places, and at time has shipped in coasters, never, shrinking from her share of duty, but loading and unloading the cargoes with the crew. On one occasion, it is said, she carried between the vessel and the shire, in a day, no less than 70 sacks of flour; while at the winch her courage never flagged and her strength never failed. During two of the ten years spoken of, however, she did a little duty on land, working as a navvy upon the railway to Exeter. Yet her sex was never suspected. Her last voyage was from Truro, as an able bodied seaman at 2l 5s per month. She arrived at Newport a short time ago, but her sex became by some means revealed; and, as she continued to remain here and dress as usual, the sergeant of the dock police preferred the charge. The defendant said she was married on the 12th of July last, and shipped as cook and steward from Truro about three months ago, in order to support her husband, who had met with a misfortune. The woman was discharged, and left the court, obtaining the protection of an omnibus, however, to prevent being mobbed.
Source: The Era, May 23 1847
DEATHS. Lately, in the Forest of Dean, aged 83 years, Sally Collins who, for a great number of years, daily resorted to Monmouth, with coal. Her masculine appearance, grotesque attire and her blunt manner, stamped an originality upon her which caused her to be known within many miles of her own neighbourhood, and was the means of introducing her name in the published pages of many a tourist.
Source: Monmouthshire Merlin, March 25 1848