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Superintendent Charles Henry Cutbush & Thomas Cutbush NOT related?

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  • Superintendent Charles Henry Cutbush & Thomas Cutbush NOT related?

    Like a lot of us, I have a certain interest in genealogy. As such I subscribe to the LostCousins newsletter. The new one is on line at http://www.lostcousins.com/newsletters/lateoct11news.htm
    There is an interesting little article towards the end, under the heading More Ripper Coincidences where the editor cites correspondence from a relative of Superintendent Charles Henry Cutbush. This relative has stated that there is no evidence that the two Cutbushs are Uncle and Nephew and also that she has emailed 'several people (presumably ripperologists) to point out their mistake'
    I have to admit that I always took the relationship as a given.
    Does anyone know its provenance?
    Has anyone been contacted by 'Mary' with her evidence to the contrary?

  • #2
    Hi Roger,

    There are a couple of Casebook threads devoted to this subject, and it's been known for a while that a relationship between the Cutbushes is impossible to establish - so that's not terribly new.

    As for "not one of the people I have written to has even replied", well, imagine. I can't understand why it's considered necessary for people to respond to every unsolicited email they receive - even the ones which,
    potentially, are telling you things you already know. Incidentally, I'm not one of the people who was written to, but it does make one wonder.

    Regards,

    Mark
    I bet your Ripper feels better now.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hey, this Lost Cousins site could supply some goodies.

      What other JTR stuff is on there?
      Itsnotrocketsurgery

      Comment


      • #4
        Well, the first reference to this uncle-nephew relationship that I know of, came from none other than Sir Melville Macnaghten in his memorandum. Where he got it from, I do not know. But it is true that Thomas Cutbush and Supt Charles Cutbush were not related as uncle and nephew.

        Comment


        • #5
          Cutbush and Cutbush Redux

          What an extraordinary, and appalling mistake by Macnaghten, the only source to claim that the retired policeman and the incarcerated jobbing lunatic are related.

          All they do is share the same surname.

          This error is in both versions of Mac's 'Report'.

          Here is the official version:

          'Cutbush was the nephew of the late Supt. Executive.' (I do not have access to the full version of 'Aberconway', but my understanding is that the wording of this point is very similar.)

          Perhaps by 'late' Mac even means deceased, another error, as the retried cop would not take his own life until 1896.

          Let's give Macnaghten the benefit of the doubt, and that he just means 'ex-' by 'late', though he hardly seems to deserve our indulgence since he makes a number of critical errors about the trio of unlikely Ripper suspects, who are at least better than Cutbush's mad nephew -- who isn't his nephew!

          They are better because they did not last until 1891, with their faculties mostly intact, as the fiend who turned Millers Ct. into a charnel house could not possibly function as a normal person, or even appear to be a normal person.

          Thus 'M J Druitt', who killed himself perhaps on the same morning as the murder, 'Kosminksi' who was sectioned four months or so later, and 'Michael Ostrog' who was also incarcerated some time after the 'final' murder, all qualify as better suspects because none were out and about as late as 1891! (The sectioning of the Polish Jew was still a quite lengthy four months later, but he may have just been indulging himself in 'soliatry vices' all that time -- thus barely compos).

          But Druitt killed himself three weeks later -- and seems to have been functioning quite well in court -- and Ostrog was banged up in a French asylum at the time of the murders, and Aaron Kosminski was at large up until early 1891!?

          By his own 'awful glut' criteria the trio Mac offers are just as innocent as Cutbush. More so, since Druitt, unlike Cutbush, had no record of harming women, and neither did Kosminski -- while Ostrog was literally an impossiblity to have been the murderer as he had an iron-clad alibi.

          That Macnaghten was talking out of his hat when it came to the Ripper case is nothing new, as it has been the conventional wisdom about this police chief for decades now.

          Yet his startling incompetence with this document, and the other version which is so different and arguably even more incompetent (Druitt the barrister-teacher is definitely a doctor; 'Kosminski' may have been seen by a beat cop with the fourth victim; Ostrog carried surgical knives) jars with the primary sources about this police official.

          A number of sources show Macnaghten to be competent, diligent, efficient, charming, humane, discreet, and hands-on with infamous cases -- and many of his contemporaries remarked on his formidably retentive memory. That it was a sort of, well, marvel.

          Not when it comes to the Ripper, where he is a blunderer and a slanderer!

          How could he have committed, to an official document, that a proven maniac, who was getting threatening tabloid attention -- albeit un-named -- was related to a retired Scotland Yard worthy? You would think that it would be the one detail Mac would get right, because he would not want it to be true.

          And it wasn't true. Yet there it is.

          Macnaghten surely is trying to defend the Yard's reputation and here he is needlessly and inaccurately embracing a tar-baby.

          On the other hand, this 'Home Office Report' was never sent to that dept. Nobody refers to it. Even the version referred to by Sims, Mac's crony, is the other version.

          Yes, the official version was undoubtedly written in 1894 but when it was archived is not exactly known. Presumbaly before he retired in 1913. Presumably in 1894? But it was unknown and unread.

          Therefore, the myriad errors he had written which might have got him into hot water -- for callous and self-defeating incompetence -- was never assessed by the state.

          The version seen by Griffiths and Sims which also contained the error about Cutbush and Cutbush did not matter, as they did not include this aspect in their 'scoop', plus their writings were not official, plus Macnaghten's role was left out (Sims nearly let this slip only once, in 1903, about the un-named Commissioner's allegedly definitive 'Home Office Report').

          Whereas in Mac's 1913 comments and 1914 memoirs, Cutbush, 'Kosminski', Ostrog, Druitt -- at least as a middle-aged, drowned doctor -- are all ruthlessly dropped, as is the police witness seeing a man who resembles the Polish Jew suspect (for the first time, the graffiti is now in).

          Comment


          • #6
            Hello all,

            I do believe I am correct in saying that Simon Wood has traced a family member with the family tree, which shows no relation between the two. He posted about this a short while ago on Casebook, I believe.

            kindly

            Phil
            from 1905...to 19.05..it was written in the stars

            Comment


            • #7
              The fact that Thomas and Charles were not related was established years ago.

              The only relevant question is why MM believed or at least said they were.
              Itsnotrocketsurgery

              Comment


              • #8
                It is so wildly out of character, and seemingly so dumb, that I theorise it must be a deliberate fiction, as there are numerous bits and pieces where Macnaghten can be shown to be consciously -- if harmlessly -- fibbing, to give deceit an infantile name.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks to the generosity of AP Wolf and Robert Linford, several descendants of the Cutbush family we were in touch with back in 2005 received a copy of a huge and very detailed pedigree chart, used in a legal inheritance case back in the 1890s and deposited in the National Archives.
                  This confirmed there was no relationship once and for all , although it had been known for a while before that too, mainly thanks to all Robert's work on the family tree that was posted to casebook. We even had the descendants posting Cutbush family portraits on a casebook thread not too long ago, so I have no idea who Mary is or who she contacted.

                  I'm with Stephen though. The question why Macnaghten said what he did about the family relationship needs answering.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    What I am about to say may seem nit picking but when a document such as the Macnaghten memo has been so discussed and analysed, it is important to look at what it ACTUALLY says rather than what we think it says.
                    Versions I have read quote the sentence under discussion, in the handwritten version of MM's notes, as "Cutbush was the nephew of the late Supt. Executive"
                    The transcript on Casebook says the same.
                    An earlier post on this thread quotes this as the "official" version.
                    This is NOT what the original document says.
                    Indeed the only correct transcription I have seen is that in the Ultimate Sourcebook.
                    Below is the extract in question and whatever the last word on the first line is, it is not "the." Compare the word with "the" as the third word in the extract below. The best reading - and that in the Sourcebook - is "Cutbush was A nephew of the late Supt. Executive."
                    It may seem a very small difference but I think it important, in such a quoted and much discussed document, to be entirely accurate as to what was actually written.
                    For the record, having done a little work on this myself - but nowhere near to the same extent as other researchers - I am as certain as I can be that the available material is entirely persuasive that there is no provable relationship between Thomas and Charles Cutbush, certainly not to the close familial extent as suggested by Macnaghten.
                    Attached Files

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Chris Scott View Post
                      What I am about to say may seem nit picking but when a document such as the Macnaghten memo has been so discussed and analysed, it is important to look at what it ACTUALLY says rather than what we think it says.
                      Versions I have read quote the sentence under discussion, in the handwritten version of MM's notes, as "Cutbush was the nephew of the late Supt. Executive"
                      The transcript on Casebook says the same.
                      An earlier post on this thread quotes this as the "official" version.
                      This is NOT what the original document says.
                      Indeed the only correct transcription I have seen is that in the Ultimate Sourcebook.
                      Below is the extract in question and whatever the last word on the first line is, it is not "the." Compare the word with "the" as the third word in the extract below. The best reading - and that in the Sourcebook - is "Cutbush was A nephew of the late Supt. Executive."
                      It may seem a very small difference but I think it important, in such a quoted and much discussed document, to be entirely accurate as to what was actually written.
                      For the record, having done a little work on this myself - but nowhere near to the same extent as other researchers - I am as certain as I can be that the available material is entirely persuasive that there is no provable relationship between Thomas and Charles Cutbush, certainly not to the close familial extent as suggested by Macnaghten.
                      In the vein of being nit-picky, I think the A to Z also quotes it correctly.

                      Jonathan: I think it probable to the point of certainty that Macnaghten was using the term 'late' in the sense of former rather than deceased.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Point taken Paul and I should have looked there - many thanks for the note
                        Chris

                        Originally posted by Paul View Post
                        In the vein of being nit-picky, I think the A to Z also quotes it correctly.

                        Jonathan: I think it probable to the point of certainty that Macnaghten was using the term 'late' in the sense of former rather than deceased.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Chris Scott View Post
                          Point taken Paul and I should have looked there - many thanks for the note
                          Chris
                          Any opportunity to mention the A to Z is gratefully seized.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            To Chris

                            Thanks for that clarification as I was relying on Casebook when I should have consulted my latest edition of 'A to Z', by the Big Three of Begg, Fido, and Skinner.

                            Anybody who hasn't got this reference work must do so --immediately!

                            Chris, you called the official version of Macnaghten's so-called 'Home Office Report' a 'memo'. Actually, that is what the unofficial version calls itself, not the one which was archived (so I am reliably informed) which is the one under discussion here.

                            Just in the spirit of exactitude, of course.

                            To Paul

                            Can you let us know, if it is all hunky dory and not harum scarum, what the wording is in the 'Aberconway' version -- regarding Cutbush and Cutbush.

                            If not that's fine.

                            To Debra

                            As you know, I [provisionally] believe that Macnaghten engaged in deceit when it suited him, with the excuse of an innacurate memory always ready at hand -- at least with people unware that he had astonishing powers of recall.

                            For example, in the preface of his 1914 memoirs he pre-emtively apologies for any inaccuracies which may have crept in, due to a total reliance on memory as he claims to have never used a notebook.

                            In fact the new and indispensible 'A to Z' has a picture, in the Macnaghten section, of a document he published prior ro his memoirs about his beloved days at Eton. So, he had that document to buttress chapter two. Of course we have 'Aberconway', which Mac heavily adapted for chapter four of the same book.

                            Yet he frequently claims to be relying only on his memory, as with his account of the Camp murder and the -- maybe -- death of a [composite] suspect in a madhouse.

                            Sound familiar?

                            The very fact that there are two versions of the same 'Report' which are so different, whether one is a draft or backdated rewrite hardl matters. the official version misleads the government into believeing that Druitt is a minor, hearsay suspect, so minor the police did not even bother toascertain if he was a doctor or not.

                            Except, that nobody saw this document. Macnaghten was never held accountable for it's content -- it's lies and distortitions -- by anybody in authority.

                            A nephew.

                            I think the 'a' as opposed to the 'the' is significant. That it is the classic dissembler's or tall story teller's careful escape clause. eg. No, no, not that nephew, and no, not that nephew either -- another nephew, you know, the one locked up in the nuthouse.

                            Oh, that nephew ...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              A Nephew

                              Maybe Tom Cutbush called Charles Cutbush "Uncle."

                              Melville Macnaghten got the part wrong about Tom Cutbush's father having died. He didn't die. He left when the child was young and went abroad, a fact that was in the Sun articles. Also the papers Down Under picked up on it. So in this case, Macnaghten was 100% wrong. Debs clued me in to that.

                              I also asked Debs her opinion of, in 1894 when the Sun articles came out, how did people know it was Thomas Cutbush being referred to, without naming him? And she replied that even at the time of his 1891 escapades, the connection to the Ripper crimes was bandied about. Both the prosecution and defense lawyers wondered aloud that very thing as we read in articles.

                              Melville Macnaghten would have known about the 1891 incident. He would have known about Inspector Race's suspicions. And so forth. Did he get the information about "a nephew" from Race and the L Division crew? Did their information include that Tom called Charles Cutbush "Uncle?"

                              In fact, it makes you wonder. When the real life jobbings story hit in 1891, did people connect the accused, Tom Cutbush with Police Superintendant Charles Cutbush then. They were neighbors, after all. Along with Insp Race.

                              Because think of these two items. One, the mistake about the father dying, is totally wrong. But does it matter? Not really. The other, "a nephew" is different. There's more at stake. Just because the one is wrong does not mean the other is too. Unless you just wanna say the errors increase exponentially.

                              Roy

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