ICON | Florence Lowe "Pancho" Barnes

Florence learned the spectrum of hunting, fishing, and camping skills from her father. She is even known to have gone horseback riding with the young George S. Patton, Jr. across the Alhambra plains. However, her upper-class upbringing and her mother's fears about her wild tendencies and tomboy-like attitude led to a 1919 marriage to Reverend C. Rankin Barnes of South Pasadena. The peaceful life of a clergyman's wife was not for Florence. After inheriting the family fortune, she abandoned her family, disguised herself as a man, and stowed away on a freighter bound for Mexico, joining a banana boat crew once there. In San Blas, Mexico, she jumped ship with a fellow crewmember and began to roam the Mexican countryside with him on a donkey's back—reminding her male companion of the character he erroneously called "Pancho", this is when Florence Barnes first became known by her nickname of Pancho. She was known by it for the rest of her life.


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Amy L said...

There are some great Pancho Barnes anecdotes in "Yeager", the autobiography of the man who broke the sound barrier (which is a great read in its own right!).