Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Registered as Girl, Marietta Man Must Prove "She Is Me"

Marietta Daily Times, September 11, 1917

Down in El Paso, Texas, there's a former Marietta resident named Henry S. Stephenson who has been protesting since last Tuesday that he is not a woman. He convinced Probate Judge A. A. Schramm and Clerk of Courts A. L. Savage. But it cost him $5.25 in telegraph tolls.

And now, in his efforts to get a passport, he's facing a task even more difficult. When he goes before customs officials with evidence tending to show that a nice little pink and white baby girl born here on June 9, 1868, in less than 50 years evoluted into a coarse, bewhiskered man, 'tis then he will need to be rid of the conversation handicap prevailing between Marietta and El Paso. No one of sound judgment would volunteer to support a contention such as that, with words costing a nickel each. 

This man Stephenson telegraphed a week ago to Clerk of Courts Savage:  "Need birth certificate to secure passport. I was born at Marietta on June 9, 1868. Please advise if I am registered, answer collect here."  The telegram was turned over to Judge Schramm. He investigated records in the probate court and found that on the date specified a baby named Stephenson had been registered. But it was listed under the head of "females." The child's name did not appear, though names of its father and mother, Henry Stephenson and Rebecca Sheets Stephenson, were appended. 

In a reply to his wire the interesting news was conveyed to Stephenson at El Paso. Next day there came another telegram from Stephenson. "She is me," he said in effort. "I am Henry Stephenson to whom reference is made. Am certain there has been a mistake. Please prepare certificate acknowledging same under your seal and forward to me here, care Toltec club, with bill attached. I will remit immediately. Urgent."

Judge Schramm couldn't send the original certificate. Likewise he couldn't change the record showing that Stephenson was at one time a nice little baby girl. There was a delay of a day or two, and into the court house came another telegram from Stephenson. "Have you mailed birth certificate? Very important. Please answer," it said.

Late Monday Judge Schramm mailed him a transcript from the record. There was no alteration made. It shows him to be a female, and it's up to him to prove it if he isn't. A letter accompanying the transcript, in which the judge calls attention to the probability of the entry's having been an error, may help the El Paso man.

The error in the entry was made during the incumbency of Luman W. Chamberlain as probate judge. He served from 1864 until 1870.

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