Marriage and Living in the Woods

Around 1860, Joe entered the County Poor House in Delhi, New York, and remained depressed until a year later, when Marie Louise Perry, a young woman who had run away from her well-to-do father, was brought to the same institution. A year later, they escaped and were married by a Justice of the Peace in Wayne County, Pennsylvania. In 1862, they made their way to Whitman, Massachusetts where the couple lived in a small house on Marie's father's estate. Joe worked on Marie's uncle's farm for a number of years doing odd jobs. Eventually, someone in the family became suspicious of Joe's sex and had him arrested. Joe was tried again for impersonating a man, but Marie's eloquent petitions to the judges and authorities gained his release.

Around 1865, Joe and Marie fled to the woods in Wayne County, PA. and surrounding counties, where they lived in the wilderness for nearly fifteen years. Through Joe's wilderness survival skills, hunting prowess, and ability to trade pelts and meat for necessities, the couple survived extreme poverty. They lived in caves or small huts that Joe built and sometimes Joe preached in the very rural areas.

Eventually, Joe's original identity was discovered and connected to his fame as the Female Hunter, which ruined any chance of anonymity he might have had. Once people knew Lobdell had a female body, he was harassed for gender nonconformity and frequently arrested if he got too close to towns. Marie, always feminine and lady-like, was rarely arrested on the same charge, even though she lived with Joe, so the social disciplining of a gender outlaw was obvious. Joe was housed a number of times in the old stone jailhouse in Honesdale, PA.

Joe was frequently harassed when the couple entered town, and on at least one occasion, Marie wrote an eloquent petition that gained her husband's release from jail. The two earned a little money picking berries and doing odd jobs, and lived in utter poverty, but immense freedom – except for the occasional jail stay – as they were able to form the type of relationship they wanted with one another. Joe and Marie viewed themselves as husband and wife, and referred to one another as husband and wife. Locally they were often known as the Female Hunter and her wife, Marie, and many local people used the name "Joe" when referring to Lobdell. While some people accepted the pair for who they were, many, more vocal people did not. Some called Lobdell a foul, insane, unsexed woman who they held responsible for the corruption of the obviously confused Marie.