San Francisco History

Woman Arrested for Wearing Pants

RELEASED.-- Judge Dwinelle yesterday released Mrs. DeWolf from confinement in the County Jail, on a write of habeas corpus. He decided that the Board of Supervisors had no right to pass an ordinance prescribing any particular kind of dress, nor had the Legislature any constitutional right to confer powers on the Board for which they did not possess themselves.

Source: Daily Evening Bulletin, 8 August 1866, page 3.


Mrs. Eliza De Wolf, resting uneasy in the County Jail, on being remanded there on Monday by Judge Cowles, after a vain attempt to get released under the habeas corpus, got out another to-day, returnable before Judge Dwinelle at 4 P. M. At that hour the woman, clad in her green sack and pants, made her appearance in Court, accompanied by her husband, who sported a linen "duster." A lawyer, named Barr, appeared for the petitioner, and Assistant District Louderback for the people. The same arguments adduced before were reiterated. Judge Dwinelle almost immediately released the prisoner, on the ground that she had committed no infraction of the laws. The Legislature had no power to enact any annuling law conferring powers on a municipal body which the Legislature itself did not possess. There was nothing in the municipal order, so counsel for the petitioner contended, that could or was meant to affect the costume worn by his client. The woman, on being released, took the arm of her male protector, and walked down Merchant street, ridiculed by every body, but molested by none.

Source: Daily Alta California, 8 August 1866, page 1.


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