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Gunn [née Fubister], Isabel [alias John Fubister] (1780–1861), sailor and cross-dresser, was born in Orkney, on 1 August 1780, the daughter of John Fubister and Girzal Allan, and was baptized Isabel Fubister on 7 August in St Andrew's parish, Orkney. Few details are known about her life until she signed on with ...

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John Nicol (1755–1825) by William Home Lizars, pubd 1822 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Nicol, John (1755–1825), sailor, was born at Currie, near Edinburgh, the third of five children. His father was a cooper who died about 1780, and his mother died in childbirth when he was very young. Both his parents were Scottish. His father appears to have tried to give all his children a good education but ...

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Selkirk, Alexander (1676–1721), mariner, castaway, and probable source of inspiration for the character Robinson Crusoe, was born in Lower Largo, Fife, the seventh son of John Selcraig, shoemaker, and Euphan Mackie. He received schooling in Largo. His wilful nature manifested itself at an early age in his determination to go to sea against his father's wishes. In August 1695 a summons by the kirk session for ‘indecent carriage’ in church precipitated his departure. He had left for sea by 27 August, before he could be dealt with, and he did not reappear in ...