Tammany Hall politician Murray Hall lived a hard drinking, poker playing man for decades without his gender being questioned. Following Hall’s death, however, the New York Times reported that Hall’s “true sex” was revealed by the doctor as biologically female.
Hall was born Mary Anderson in Scotland and around age 16 began dressing as a male, taking the name John Anderson. Anderson married young, but had a roving eye and a jealous wife who disclosed Anderson’s gender to the police. Fearing arrest, Anderson fled to America in 1870 and assumed the name Murray H. Hall.
In 1872, Hall married Cecilia Lowe, a schoolteacher, and by 1874 Hall had established an employment agency, a Bail Bondsman business and had an active political career.
But on January 16, 1901 upon Heads death, the 30+ year secret was discovered:
New York Times, January 18, 1901:
WOMAN LONG POSED AS A MAN
Murray Hall Had Conducted an Employment Agency-Sex Revealed at Death
A peculiar case was brought to light yesterday when Dr. William C. Gallagher of 302 West Twelfth Street reported to the Coroner’s office the death of Murray Hall, sixty years old, who kept an employment agency at 145 Sixth Avenue. Death was caused by cancer of the breast. Although Murray Hall had passed for a man for a number of years it now turns out that the person was a woman.
Neighbors who were asked last night said that although Hall had always been considered a little peculiar, there was no thought that the person was other than a man. A woman who was understood to be Hall’s wife, died about two years ago. The only other member of the family is an adopted daughter. She refused to see any callers last night.
The New York Times said Hall had suffered from breast cancer for several years, and speculated that he had not sought medical advice due to fears of his secret becoming known.
He had, however, amassed a collection of medical books which he used to treat himself.
When Hall did consult a doctor, he only had a few days left to live.
After his death, every private moment, real or perceived, was twisted and turned and held up to the light, but in the end Murray Hall told no stories of his own but he shall be remembered.