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Mrs Rees 1888

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Originally posted by A.P. Wolf
    I thought this report from 'The Star', of the 10th October 1888, concerning the 'Somer's Town Murder' to contain perhaps the germ of an idea of what was going on in Mary Jane Kelly's room that night.
    Hi AP,

    You mean what might have been going on, given very long odds. I can't quite follow how an abortion in Cardiff in July 1888 could have influenced the events at a murder scene in East London in November of that year. It's especially tricky to understand, since the accused in the former case were quite possibly being investigated by police, or even awaiting trial some 200 miles away, at about the same time that Mary Kelly was being killed.

    Thanks for mining those newspaper reports, by the way, and for quoting your sources

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  • AP Wolf
    replied
    I thought this report from 'The Star', of the 10th October 1888, concerning the 'Somer's Town Murder' to contain perhaps the germ of an idea of what was going on in Mary Jane Kelly's room that night.
    (Gratefully nicked from the Casebook press reports section!)


    'A SOMERS TOWN MURDER.
    MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF A FACTORY GIRL IN HER FRIEND'S HOUSE.
    The Doctor Declares that Abortion was Procured - Her Sweetheart Protests his Innocence - The Coroner and Jury Both Complain of Perjury - Curious Mental Wanderings of the Girl.
    Coroner Westcott held an adjourned inquest last evening which lasted four hours on Emma Wakefield, aged 20, a spinster, daughter of a cabdriver, of 17, Haverstock-road, who died on 29 Sept., at 60, Aldenham-street, Somers Town. The deceased, who was described as a good-looking, well-conducted girl, worked at Mr. Homan's, shell box manufactory, 93, Charrington-street, Somers Town, where she earned 9s. per week, and was engaged to be married to Thomas Price, a young man employed at Messrs. McCorquodale's printing works, Cardington-street. With the latter's married sister, Mrs. Burrow's, the deceased lodged for six weeks prior to her death during the absence of her mother in the country. On Sunday evening, the 23rd ult., after being out with her sweetheart an hour and a half, she returned to the house of Mrs. Burrows, 60, Aldenham-street, and retired to her bedroom ill. The next night she consulted Dr. Kennedy, who treated her for a severe cough and cold, but she gradually got worse, and expired on the following Saturday. A post-mortem examination revealed that the deceased had been enceinte, and Dr. Kennedy and Dr. D. R. Jones (the latter the medical officer of Mr. Homan's factory, who had suspected the girl's condition and ceased to be consulted by her), were agreed that

    BLOOD POISONING FOLLOWING ABORTION
    caused death, and that an instrument, which inflicted wounds, had been used. - Thomas Price said he had "kept company" with the deceased five years, and they were to be married next Whitsuntide. He earned £1 per week and helped to maintain his mother. He emphatically denied that he was responsible for the deceased's condition, and added that he was wholly unaware of it until after the post-mortem examination. He had no reason to suspect that she was on terms of intimacy with any other man. - Mrs. Burrows, whose husband, an ailing man, had died, as she said, from "shock" since the opening of the inquest, was in attendance upon the girl during her illness, as were Mrs. Price, witness's mother, and a Mrs. Pite, witness's cousin.

    ALL DENIED ANY KNOWLEDGE
    of the real cause of the girl's illness or of her previous condition. Mr. Homan said the deceased borrowed 10s. of him six weeks ago, but neither her mother, who returned home before her daughter's death, nor any of her friends were aware of this, or how she spent the money. - Mrs. Wakefield was asked by the Coroner whether her daughter made anything in the nature of a dying confession. She replied "Yes; she said an angel was waiting to receive her; that she was leaving the world

    A PRUDENT, UPRIGHT GIRL,
    that she was quitting this life without a fault upon her tongue, and that she was cut down in the midst of her bloom." Then she would sing hymns. "Oh, so sweetly," said the witness. - The Coroner: Did she allude to any persons? - Witness: Yes; she said, "Look at that woman in the corner, you liar, you liar! You deceived me. Go out of this room." Mrs. Price was in the corner. Then his daughter exclaimed, "Is there a man in the room? If so, let him get up and speak for himself and answer like a man." All this was shortly before she died. Mrs. Price deposed to accompanying the deceased, at the latter's request, to Dr. Kennedy's, on Monday night, 24 Sept., but her account of what was said on the occasion differed from that of the doctor's. Just before the deceased expired she mentioned the name of some person, but the witness did not remember it. - A Juror: Was it Price: - Witness: No, it was Johnson. - Mr. Homan explained that Mr. Johnson, his brother-in-law, who was a married man 50 years old, was the foreman of the department of his factory in which the deceased worked. He had been with witness 27 years. Mrs. Price added that Mr. Johnson called with Dr. Jones to see the deceased. After they had gone the deceased mentioned Mr. Johnson's name, and said,

    "STAND UP AND FACE ME."
    Mrs. Jane Pite's version of the language used was somewhat different. She stated that while the deceased was delirious she exclaimed, "Stand up, Mr. Johnson! Father, look at him! Mrs. Price, get out of the way." Then she turned to the wall and said, "Ah! I have got you!" Presently she began singing "Yes or no before I go." She sang beautifully. Witness did not regard her talk seriously, as she was evidently delirious and called witness "a liar" more than once. Other evidence showed that the police, who searched 60, Aldenham-street, immediately after the inquest, found nothing to explain the means of the girl's death. Her father, although he owned that Price and his daughter were often out until midnight, and he had to remonstrate with them in consequence, said he did not think Price "would hurt a hair of her head." The jury having deliberated in private found that the deceased died from the effects of blood poisoning following abortion, caused by the illegal use of instruments, and they were of opinion that some person or persons at present unknown were guilty of causing her death. They expressed their dissatisfaction with the evidence of some of the witnesses, and added that they attached no suspicion to Mr. Johnson. The Coroner: Your verdict is tantamount to one of wilful murder. I think perjury has been committed. '

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Good find, Nina, however I fear that we will be left in the usual limbo when it comes to Mary Kelly. The problem with it is that I've counted thirteen Mary (Jane) Reeses in the Swansea area in the 1891 census, all about the same age as the abortionist. Whilst we know thanks to Rob that the abortionist was in prison in 1891, we can't tell whether any one of these thirteen other Marys weren't actually Doctor Hopkins' daughter! If one of them indeed were, then that would explain the apology and retraction printed in the newspaper. She, herself, might have complained.

    It should be noted that the 1891 Woking Prison convict, who is undoubtedly the same Mary Jane Florence Rees named in the newspaper article as the abortionist, gives her place of birth as Llangennech, which is about 25 miles away from Llangadock, which is where the doctor's daughter was born.

    Another difficulty arises from the fact that we don't even know if the Doctor's daughter married a man called John Rees either. In fact, there's another Mary, born in 1860 at Llangadock, Carmarthen living at 4, Caersalem Row, Llangyfelach, Swansea in 1891 - married to a labourer named David Morgans. I haven't been able to trace her maiden name, but it's possible that she could have been a Hopkins as well - it's a reasonably common name in South Wales.

    All of these riddles are frustrating enough, and we haven't even touched on placing "Mary Kelly" in Swansea yet!

    Grateful for your help in all this

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  • Nina Brown
    replied
    1881 census: Carmarthen St. Peter, Carmarthen, Wales
    RG11/5397 Folio 110, Page 26
    11 Quay Street
    John Morgan Hopkins-head-66-Widowed-b.Fownehope, Hereford, England-Physician M.D.
    Mary J.-daughter-unmarried-21-b.Llangadock, Carmarthen, Wales-no occupation
    Barbara L.-daughter-unmarried-20-b.Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales-no occupation
    Elizabeth A. Watkins-visitor-unmarried-22-b.Gloucester, England-no occupation
    Sarah Jones-servant-18-b.Llangunnor, Carmarthen, Wales-general servant

    Marriage
    1885 March quarter in Swansea
    Volume: 11A Page: 873
    Mary Jane Hopkins & John Rees

    It seems that if MJK was a servant, at age 17, in the household she would have been a servant for Dr. Hopkins not Mary. Or possibly a patient? This may be the reason that the paper retracted the article, so as not to tarnish the doctors name. However, the news report does state that MJK was in Swansea. We know that Mary Hopkins moved to Swansea sometime after the 1881 census. Did she move there alone or with her father? His death was recorded in Llanelly.

    Death
    1885 March Quarter in Llanelly
    Volume:11A Page: 557
    John Morgan Hopkins
    Age: 72

    Could Mary Hopkins/Rees possibly be the infamous cousin of Mary Jane Kelly?
    Mary Jane Florence Hopkins/Rees moved from Carmarthen to Swansea
    Mary Jane Kelly moved from Carmarthen or Carnarvon to Cardiff ?


    Tom,
    I still contribute to the Casebook by transcribing news articles.

    Nina

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Hi Robert,

    That's Penydarren Road in Garth, Merthyr Tydfil, quite a distance (in those days) from Swansea, and this Mrs Rees seems to have been a Merthyr girl all her life. I don't think this is the same lady, unfortunately, but thanks for finding her nonetheless.

    Plugging away!

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  • Robert Linford
    replied
    Hi Gareth

    A search of all countries all censuses for Mary Jane Florence Rees will bring up the convict in Woking prison in 1891. A search of the 81 Welsh census for Mary Jane Rees born 1860 plus or minus 5 will bring up the only one such married to a John. Ancestry transcribe the address as Penydarren Rd.

    Robert
    Attached Files

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Originally posted by Robert Linford
    RG12/556 Folio 140 Page 9

    This could well be her in 1881. Penny Something Rd
    RG11/5316
    Folio 120 Page 7
    Rob,

    Any chance you could point me to that specific record? It's a minefield trying to find a specific Mary Rees otherwise - and I can't pinpoint this lady on Ancestry.com. However, if I can decipher what that "Penysomething" really was I can search by street name.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Originally posted by Tom_Wescott
    But it seems that what's being denied is Kelly having worked for Mrs. Rees, not her having availed herself of the abortionist's services.
    It might also have been because the late Dr Hopkins' family objected to their daughter being identified with the Mrs Rees (abortionist) in question, Tom.

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  • AP Wolf
    replied
    Nicely done, Nina
    but what makes me hesitate is the wording of the report:
    'We have been asked to say...'
    Whom by?
    The family of Mrs Rees perhaps?
    One must not forget that the 'Western Mail' of Cardiff was also the champion of 'Fairy Fay' - November 10th 1888 - who was but fairy dust.
    I still believe that the fact that Mary Kelly was supposedly murdered in November of 1888, and then Mary Rees sentenced to ten years in December of 1888 for murder, to show a reflection of their previous knowledge of each other.

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  • Tom_Wescott
    replied
    Nina,

    Good to see you. Seems like forever since I've ran into you on the boards. I take it you no longer contribute to the Casebook?
    Thanks for posting that from Chris. That inded puts a spin on it. But it seems that what's being denied is Kelly having worked for Mrs. Rees, not her having availed herself of the abortionist's services.

    Yours truly,

    Tom Wescott

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  • Robert Linford
    replied
    Gareth, I found a death entry for a Mary Jane F Rees :

    Mary Jane F Rees
    abt 1860
    1901
    Jul-Aug-Sep
    Swansea
    Glamorgan, West Glamorgan


    Using the age to check back, there was a Mary Jane Florence Rees in prison in 1891, just as she should have been - but in prison in England!

    RG12/556 Folio 140 Page 9


    This could well be her in 1881. Penny Something Rd
    RG11/5316
    Folio 120 Page 7


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  • Nina Brown
    replied
    Tom,

    Chris Scott did mention Mrs. Rees once on Casebook.

    http://www.casebook.org/forum/messages/4921/20123.html
    Posted by Chris Scott on March 15, 2005
    "It appears from inquiries made at Carmarthen and Swansea, that after leaving the former place for the latter, Kelly, who was then only 17 years of age, entered the service of a Mrs. Rees, who stands committed to the next assizes on a charge of procuring abortion, and who is the daughter of a medical man formerly resident at Carmarthen."
    This would indeed be a useful lead to follow, but sadly this rumour was quashed the very same day in a press account in the Cambria Daily Leader, which reads as follows:
    “It is stated in the 'Western Mail' that the murdered woman Kelly was at one
    time a servant with Mrs. Rees (daughter of the late Dr. Hopkins), in
    Trafalgar Terrace, Swansea. We are asked to say that this is not true.”

    Nina

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  • SirRobertAnderson
    replied
    Originally posted by Sam Flynn
    (I still think the Kelly-as-abortionist idea is a tad beyond the zinc bath, though, Mr Wolf )
    I agree, but I laud folks daring to think outside the box.

    Let's not forget Dew also saw her parading around as a prostitute.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Originally posted by Tom_Wescott
    Was this brought up in Chris Scott's book?
    It wasn't, Tom, and I don't recall Mrs Rees being mentioned elsewhere, so kudos to AP for homing in on her. (I still think the Kelly-as-abortionist idea is a tad beyond the zinc bath, though, Mr Wolf )

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  • Tom_Wescott
    replied
    I went last night and looked up the Star article that AP mentioned. I feel like a fool now because that's a very popular report and a source for a lot of our info about Kelly. However, I don't recall anyone else discussing the 'Mrs. Rees' connection until AP isolated it here. How weird is that? Was this brought up in Chris Scott's book? If it were I feel even more foolish because I read that book through, enjoyed it, and continue to refer to it for sourcing.

    Yours truly,

    Tom Wescott

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