Friday, March 31, 2006
Manly Missouri Cross-Dressers: Was Jesse James a real Jesse?
Jesse James, gun slinger and hoodlum, is probably the epitome of macho in most people’s mind but the old gunslinger was prone to wear woman’s cloths. Nothing untoward and all in the line of duty, of course. Jesse James during the Civil War rode with a band of guerrillas and sought out Northern Troops to kill them. In Independence there was a brothel used by officers of the Federal garrison. Jesse was chosen to reconnoiter the place and because he had a smooth baby face, blue eyes and blooming cheeks he was sent in dressed in coquettish female apparel with the pink ribbons of a garish bonnet. The ruthless killer looked the image of a bashful country girl not yet acquainted with vice but interested to learn. In drag Jesse James, rode side saddle to the door of the house and spoke to the mistress in the voice and manner of a girl. He told her he lived not far away and was a girl fond of adventure and wanted to come to the house that night with two or three female friends of like mind to have a good time. The mistress laughed and was delighted at the thought of new girls to her brothel. She patted Jesse’s knee and gleefully ogled the guerrilla’s smiling mouth and girlish features. He must of sounded convincing because the madam consented and immediately sent word to the fort that four new girls had joined the bordello. Mission accomplished Jesse returned to his group and the officers duly came whereupon the guerrillas killed them. The female disguise was a common deception used by both Union and Confederate combatants on covert operation.
They came to be known as the Civil War's Manly Missouri Cross-Dressers. The only indication the soldiers were on duty was under their dress they wore cavalry boots to signify they were engaged in a stratagem as opposed to an alternative lifestyle choice.