© New York Public Library
© New York Public Library
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Battle Annie

Annie Walsh


Criminal, The Gopher Gang

Criminal, Lady Gophers

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Battle Annie was the leader of the Lady Gophers, an all-women gang and sister gang to the Gophers. They were officially called the Battle Row Ladies’ Social and Athletic Club, which is, of course, absolute perfection. The Lady Gophers were based at Mallet Murphy’s Battle Row saloon in Hell’s Kitchen. Asbury says Battle Annie was “the sweetheart of practically the entire Gopher gang” and stayed leader for a while. 

She could put together a reserve battalion of up to 50 women for a brutal fight, profiting by supplying fighters for both businesses and labor unions.

In gang battles, Asbury says “it was the women who inflicted the most tortures.” The female fighters were known to stab men with butcher knives, rip out eyes and tongues, and even set some on fire after dousing them in oil. As the leader of the Lady Gophers, Battle Annie was “particularly gifted in the art of mayhem.”  After more than six years as the leader of the Lady Gophers, that Battle Annie officially became known as the “Queen of Hell’s Kitchen.”


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