because the woman's place is wherever the woman is...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Jennie Hodgers

Jennie Hodgers was born in Ireland and moved to the U.S. like many other immigrants in the 1800's, looking for a better life.  It apparently became obvious to her at some point, however, that being a woman was going to seriously compromise her ability to do that.  So she took the name Albert Cashier, put on a pair of pants and joined the Union army.

A lot of Irish immigrants fought in the Civil War.  In fact, Union army recruiters often set up tables right on the docks to catch able-bodied Irishmen as they came off the boats.  Jennie, of course, wearing a skirt, was by-passed at the time, but she didn't let it discourage her from joining later when she got the chance.

When the war ended, after fighting in -- and living through -- more than forty battles, Hodgers/Cashier moved back to Illinois, considered her options, and decided she'd be better off staying a man.  After all, it was much easier to get a job that way and a job that made enough to live on, at that.  In addition, Cashier had considerably more freedom to move about than Hodgers would and even the right to have a bank account and vote, neither of which Hodgers could do.

By the time the government realized Cashier and Hodgers were the same person, an army pension had been paid for years, so Cashier was left alone to die and be buried in his uniform.  Some in-your-face women chose to be in-your-face men.
Note: In the photo above, Hodgers/Cashier appears (on the right) with another soldier. 

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