1. The Man-Monster Story

On June 16, 1836, in New York City, an African American named Peter Sewally was tried for picking the pocket and stealing money from a European American, Robert Haslem, while Sewally was dressed and posing as Mary Jones, a female prostitute.

Sewally was found guilty of grand larceny and sentenced to five years in the state prison.

At Sewally's trial, at which he appeared in the dress in which he was arrested, he was asked his age, place of birth, business, and residence. Sewally answered: 

I will be thirty three Years of age on the 12th day of December next, was born in this City, and get a living by Cooking, Waiting &c and live No. 108 Greene St.

"What is your right name?" he was asked. He answered: "Peter Sewally--I am a man."

Asked "What induced you to dress yourself in Women's Clothes?" Sewally answered:

I have been in the practice of waiting upon Girls of ill fame and made up their Beds and received the Company at the door and received the money for Rooms &c and they induced me to dress in Women's Clothes, saying I looked so much better in them and I have always attended parties among the people of my own Colour dressed in this way -- and in New Orleans I always dressed in this way --

He added that he had "been in the State service". He had served perhaps as a soldier, or a cook, or waiter in the military.

A report in the New York Sun explained in Latin that Sewally, as Jones, was able to service men sexually by being “fitted with a piece of beef pierced and opened like a woman's vagina, held up with a girdle."


Map Marking 108 Greene Street, Home of Peter Sewally.