Los Gatos Had a Cross-Dressing Crook Captured in 1895
Apparently Charley Parkhurst (who was a biological female who presented as a male his whole adult life), a stagecoach driver discussed in this blog previously in “Surprises of the WIld West“, wasn’t the only one back in the wild west days with a secret! Charley Parkhurst, though, was an honest worker, a teamster who couldn’t have worked in his chosen profession without some deception.
In the case of Louise Elizabeth Myrtle Blaxland Murton Matson, though, it may have been work that motivated her, but not honest work. Imagine her jail mates’ surprise when she was thrown in with them in January of 1895 and they realized that the guy passing bad checks on Main Street in Los Gatos was no man at all. Apparently it was her mother who thought up the idea that if she dressed like a man, she could get away with her crime (what a family!). The judge must have been baffled as to what to do with this case.
Instead of sentencing her to serve time in the jail (perhaps there were no women’s facilities?), he released her with an order to dress like a woman.
Some would argue, both then and now, that this would be quite punishment enough.