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Rev. MacNeill's story about Annie's sister's letter

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  • Rev. MacNeill's story about Annie's sister's letter

    I was wondering what the current understanding was of the letter from AC's sister as mentioned by reverend John MacNeill in 1889?

    The story was published in several papers and periodicals, here it is from The Friend, July 1889:
    AC sister.jpg

    A transcription and better version from Pall Mall Gazette, May 1st, was posted by Erobitha on Casebook.

    Other details about John MacNeill - apparently a well-known preacher mostly active in Australia - can be read here.

    Rubenhold apparently references this story as a letter from AC's sister Miriam to the Pall Mall Gazette, while it seems clear that it is merely a claim made by John MacNeill that HE received a letter from AC's sister.

    Now, the question I was wondering about was, how likely is the letter to actually be from AC's sister? I cannot find it discussed elsewhere, if there are older threads on it please point them out.

    But the letter seems to contain some rather accurate information that was not, perhaps, commonly available? The main pieces of information were certainly mentioned during her inquest - i.e. that she was married, had children, one of them a cripple, and that her husband had died few years previously.

    It's inaccurate in the number of sisters that AC had, I believe, stating two sisters total - should be four? (AC included). But of course, the articles are summarizing MacNeill's presentation of the letter, he may have been mistaken and of course exaggerating in the general message (that the smell of alcohol alone can lead to a person's downfall).

    The letter, if it did exist, would have been received by John MacNeill Sunday 28th of april 1889.
    As said, it would have been possible to find every piece of verifiable information in the papers from six months previously. There are online and elsewhere references to AC's sister Mirium or Miriam claiming that AC had eight children, five stillborn because of her alcoholic ways. I haven't found any source for that, can someone point me in the right direction?

    Does that claim have anything to do with the purported letter, besides both blaming her misfortune on her alcoholism? Or is the letterwriter considered to be Miriam rather than one of the other sisters, because Miriam made that other claim?

    Finally, I wonder which "home for inebriates" AC might have gone to for a year? which institutions could be described in that way - and do any of them have extant records?

    Sorry of all this has been discussed before.


  • #2
    There's a biography of MacNeil, "John MacNeil, A Memoir by His Wife, London, 1897" which might have info.

    Screen Shot 2022-04-30 at 8.38.52 am.png

    Thanks for your time,
    dusty miller

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Dusty Miller View Post
      There's a biography of MacNeil, "John MacNeil, A Memoir by His Wife, London, 1897" which might have info.

      Screen Shot 2022-04-30 at 8.38.52 am.png
      ‘Yours true till the Glory’? Only on loan then.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Dusty Miller View Post
        There's a biography of MacNeil, "John MacNeil, A Memoir by His Wife, London, 1897" which might have info.
        Thank you Dusty. I troede looking for MacNeill’s personal papers, I think he died down under? So perhaps his nachlass could reside in a nearby archive, an Australian ripperologist could look for AC’s sister’s letter

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        • #5
          I've done some checking and it seems the Australian John MacNeil was here in Melbourne in 1889, so probably not the right man. I've found another Rev John MacNeil who seems to be a far better bet,
          https://www.tellingthetruth.info/fou...neill_john.php

          Thanks for your time,
          dusty miller

          Comment


          • #6
            This new MacNeil is almost certainly the right man. The "letter" articles talk about him giving sermons at the "tabernacle".

            Screen Shot 2022-05-01 at 1.12.08 pm.png

            Ross-shire Journal - Friday 14 December 1888

            Thanks for your time,
            dusty miller

            Comment


            • #7
              Thank you Dusty, that looks right.

              He was at regent Square presbyterian church in 1889, their records are held at LMA but do not appear to have any correspondance left.

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