Female Sailors, Cont.

Fortunately, Captain Sullivan was sympathetic. He didn’t want to punish Miss Johnson, but he insisted that she stop working and leave the ship as soon as possible. To make her attire more feminine, he provided her with calico and cotton which he had on board for trading, and then sent her ashore. She was taken directly to the nearest American Consulate in Paita, Peru. Eventually she was sent back to the States as a passenger on a returning whale ship, the Nantucket, captained by Benjamin C. Gardner. Ann "Shorty" Johnson went on to have other colorful adventures. It’s been said that she seemed more like a young man dressed up in female clothing than a regular girl.

Other female adventurers may not have been as fortunate. Another woman who dressed like a man to join a whaling crew was Georgiana Leonard. In 1862 she signed on as George Wheldon with the whaling bark, America, under Captain John Luce. Because this was during the Civil War, whaling hands were difficult to find and few questions were asked of the tall, strong and sturdy twenty year old.

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