THE DAILY JOURNAL: FREEPOBT, ILLINOIS,. SEPTEMBER 3, 188o.
A VIRGINIA SENSATION HAS A STARTLING
Two Alleged Girls Who Are Supposed To
Be Masculines —The Adventures of
the Feminines of the
WASHINGTON CITY, Sept 8—Rebecca Payne, of Winchester, Va., startled that quiet community, some months ago, by suddenly appearing in male habiliments, and with a doctor’s certificate of her right to wear masculine attire, applied to the county court for a marriage license in the name of Lawrence R. Payne. The license was granted, and in short order Lawrence, late Rebecca, was duly married to a Miss Hilton, for some time previously his assistant on his farm and at his store. These are familiar facts, for the story of the remarkable sexual transformation was published all over the country at the time. It is recalled now by the discovery that a sister of Lawrence Payne has recently developed similar personal peculiarities. The Paynes are said to be an old Virginia family, but that they have been among the foremost families of the better class is a mistake. They are well known it their own neighborhood, but are plain hard-working people. They have had little means, but have never ranked among the old "K F. V." set. Old Jane Payne, who lives on a farm in Berkeley county, West Virginia, where she has live for sixty years, is the oldest member of the family living, being 85 years old.
The discovery was made public when Hugh M. Merritt, brother-in-law of the Payne girls (or boys), upon losing his wife, sent his daughter Bessie to her supposed aunts to be taken care of. These aunts were Rebecca, Leila and Bessie. Rebecca is the hero of the first sensation and little Bessie was staying with her Aunts (?) Leila and Bessie. Merritt’s suspicions became aroused and he wanted his daughter, when the aunts (?) refused to deliver her. He thereupon brought suit for possession and it has been developed that Aunt Leila has admitted that she (?) is a man.
Lelia is the youngest of the family and Bessie next to the eldest Mr. Merritt’e lawyers say they will produce in evidence a statement based on an examination signed by Dr. McGuire, the same physician on whose certificate Rebecca, now Lawrence, Payne procured a marriage license last year, that Miss Lelia is more of a man than a woman, in the popular mind. Miss Bessie, next to the eldest in age, is accused of the same heresy as Miss Lelia, but up to the present there is no testimony of a like character, and she does not strike a casual observer with an impression of her guilt. Lawrence, who was Rebecca, besides being a farmer, runs a country store called "The Rest, probably because it is a stopping place between Winchester and Martinsburg, being about half way between the two towns, but business is hardly as good at the store as it used to be. Lawrence, the husband, is not as much in favor with "the boys" of the county as Rebecca, the village maiden, used to be. For years it bad been believed and conceded by many of the neighbors that Rebecca was entitled by natural endowments and business tact, as they say, to "wear the breeches" Rebecca herself thought so, and b’amed the family for having kept her (?) in petticoats so long. Nevertheless, the transformation created a great sensation.