Elizabeth Adkins was a prominent figure in London's underworld during the early 18th century as a prostitute, pickpocket and thief whose aliases included "Mary"' or "Maria Godson," although she is best known as Moll King. It has been speculated that she, among others, was the basis for the main character in Daniel Defoe's novel Moll Flanders.
In 1718, she was apprehended stealing a gold watch from a gentlewoman at St. Anne's Church, Soho and sentenced to seven years' transportation. She was caught while attempting to sneak back into the country from the American colonies and sentenced to death. However, while she later won a reprieve, she remained imprisoned in Newgate Prison throughout the autumn of 1721 where she may have met Daniel Defoe who had been visiting his friend journalist Nathaniel Mist.
- Defoe, Daniel and George A. Starr. The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-19-283403-7 (pg. xiii)