He’s A Lady?

Nebraska-4

1901

Bert Martin was sentenced for stealing a horse in Keya Paha County. At the prison, Bert worked in the broom factory. One day, Bert’s cellmate of 11 months told the prison authorities a secret: Bert was really a woman named Lena Martin. In sparsely settled Keya Paha County, Lena’s masculine appearance allowed her to find work as a cowboy. Prison records show Martin was transferred to the women’s division on Sept. 22, 1901. When Martin was sentenced, a woman, believed to be Martin’s wife stood beside him. Martin was sentenced to two years. The Governor of Nebraska Ezra P. Savage said of her: “a sexual monstrosity, unfit for association with men or women even in a penal institution, and on the solemn promise of its aged mother to care for it and guard it, and that prison morals imperatively demanded its removal, sentence was commuted to one year, six months, Feb. 3, 1902.”

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