Uly Tanner and the Case of Mistaken Identity

This story is part of an interview with Grace Lucile Eaddy Tanner Baxley, by her nephew, Joseph Marion Eaddy Jr. in 1979. 


Lucile and Uly Benjamin Tanner and their children, Winnie and Hermon were living near Johnsonville about 1928 or so. Uly worked at a local grocery store. Lucile's niece, Oleta Spiers, thought Uly was a most handsome man with a smooth face so they decided to dress Uly as a woman!

They put women's clothes on him, fixed his hair and put a bonnet on him. They creamed, powdered, and rouged his face and put him in the car between them in the front seat. Winnie and Hermon were little kids who were in the back seat , riding with heads down and feet on the ceiling.

They rode over to Johnsonville to visit her nephew and his girlfriend and her sister. The three of them were completely fooled by that masquerade. The next day the nephew's girlfriend came to Lucile's and wanted to plan a party for their new friend. While at work that same day, Uly told Sam Poston about dressing up as a woman. Sam convinced Uly to get dressed up as a woman again and to let them take a ride to Johnsonville that evening. Sam introduced Uly as a new friend to someone who wanted to take her for a ride. Uly had to identify himself when the "loving started". The man was highly offended but Uly won him over by agreeing to come back and introduce " her" to someone else.

This kept on until quite a sizeable crowd of men had gathered. They laughed and howled so loud they could be heard several blocks away. Then someone went to the boarding house and woke the local police officer, originally from Lake City. He was offered the opportunity to go to ride with the "girl" and was also surprised by the identity.

The next day the chief jokingly told the policeman, "a fine fellow he was, hired to protect the people and he go and do something like that and get trapped". This so embarrassed the officer that he resigned and left town. Word of this masquerade swept the state. Many who came to Johnsonville wanted to know if this was the place the man dressed up as a woman and fooled so many men!

Uly Tanner and the Case of Mistaken Identity