Hunting, Wearing Men's Clothes, and Equal Pay for Women

Lucy explains that after George left, she "used often to go hunting to drive care and sorrow away; for when I was upon the mountain's brow, chasing the wild deer, it was exciting for me; and as times were hard, and provisions high, I was often asked by father, who had become decrepid, if I could not go and shoot some venison, as he was obliged to stop hunting". Wearing her brother's clothes and using her father's guns, Lucy hunts frequently, earning the nick name of Female Hunter of Delaware County. Her marksmanship skills were so impressive she was known as The Sure Shot.

When Lucy learns that George is returning to reclaim his family, she decides to leave and get work, making it clear she is not interested in her marriage. She explains that she must leave home in men's clothes to try to get men's work, because women are severely underpaid for their work.
I made up my mind to dress in men's attire to seek labor, as I was used to men's work. And as I might work harder at house-work, and get only a dollar per week, and I was capable of doing men's work, and getting men's wages, I resolved to try, after hearing that Mr. Slater was coming, to get work away among strangers.
After declaring that men would not be able to do women's work inside the home better than women, Lucy demands equal pay for women's work:
I feel that I can not submit to see all the bondage with which woman is oppressed… If she is willing to toil, give her wages equal of that of men…. Secure to her her rights, or permit her to wear the pants, and breathe the pure air of heaven, and you stay and be convinced at home with the children how pleasant a task it is to act the part woman must act.
Because of rigid understandings of gender in the nineteenth century, pants were understood not just as clothes for men, but as symbols of male power, privilege, and masculinity. Clothing not only identified people; it defined their sexed roles in society. Similarly, working in the public sphere to earn money was thought to be the endeavor of men.

While Lucy gives the explanation of needing to earn decent pay for wearing men's clothes, neighbors reported that Lucy was in the habit of wearing men's clothes even when not working in the woods. Frank P. Woodward states that as a boy, he observed a person he assumed to be a man coming to his house to visit with his mother and discuss a particular book. "Her clothes were exactly of the style worn by men and of fine black cloth; on her head she wore what was then called 'a stove-pipe hat.'" Lucy had also cut her hair off before this point of departure.

Somewhat prophetically, Lucy fears people will think she is crazy for leaving home in men's clothes, so she slips away without telling anyone she is leaving. In the fall of 1854, Lucy Ann Lobdell leaves Long Eddy, and in October of that same year, Joseph Israel Lobdell entered the town of Bethany, Pennsylvania and established a singing school.