The Murder of Bessie Barclay’s Venturesome Spirit

The dangers of being a mentally ill woman in Edwardian America, who preferred to wear male attire

Heather Monroe
8 min readNov 23, 2019

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Bessie Barclay, AKA Jean Thurnherr mugshots. Public Domain Photographs

Jeanne Miriam “Bessie” Barclay was born November 2, 1888, in West Virginia. Attorney Henry Augustus Barcley and his wife, aspiring painter and socialite Lily Adele Ward, adopted the little girl at 11 months old. The…

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Heather Monroe

Welcome readers! Heather Monroe is a genealogist and writer who resides in California with her partner and their nine children. •True Crime• History• Memoir•