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Mrs Rees 1888

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  • Anna Morris
    replied
    Originally posted by Paul Williams View Post
    One aspect I am trying to follow up is the true identity of Mary Jane Hopkins. I've speculated on another thread that she, and maybe Mary Kelly, were abortion patients who stayed in service but she directly referred to herself as Doctor Hopkin's daughter on several documented occasions. I'm wondering if Hopkins kept a mistress in a second house, which would explain his marriage break-down, and then took in the children when their mother died or his relationship with her ended.

    Alternatively the 1861 census lists a foster child called Mary J Hopkins born Llangench, Carmarthenshire.
    That could go a long way to understanding MJK. If she was adopted she might have made up the family she wished she had or related factoids told to her by others, like the father John, the gaffer in wherever. Maybe she was unsure where he was supposed to have worked.

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  • Paul Williams
    replied
    One aspect I am trying to follow up is the true identity of Mary Jane Hopkins. I've speculated on another thread that she, and maybe Mary Kelly, were abortion patients who stayed in service but she directly referred to herself as Doctor Hopkin's daughter on several documented occasions. I'm wondering if Hopkins kept a mistress in a second house, which would explain his marriage break-down, and then took in the children when their mother died or his relationship with her ended.

    Alternatively the 1861 census lists a foster child called Mary J Hopkins born Llangench, Carmarthenshire.

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  • Scott Nelson
    replied
    Originally posted by R. J. Palmer View Post
    I'm a good 2-3 years behind in my reading, but I read Paul Williams' excellent article this morning. "The Welshman Who Knew Mary Kelly," Ripperologist 160, if anyone here hasn't seen it. It would be easy to dismiss the story as a case of mistaken identity, but so much depends on whether Jane Williams and John Rees are describing the same woman. There's a lot of strange angles.
    Hi RJ,

    I've read this excellent article over about half a dozen times now. Of all the leads to MJK's past, this Rees/Hopkins association seems to be the strongest. I went back to read up on this long thread as well. I'm looking forward to any additional follow-up.

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  • R. J. Palmer
    replied
    Mary Jane Florence Rees
    Attached Files

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  • Anna Morris
    replied
    Hi, R.J. A lot of young women today retake or simply use maiden names if they have come out of miserable marriages. I wonder how prevalent that was in the 1880s? Especially if property or wealth was not an issue and there were no children?

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  • R. J. Palmer
    replied
    Hi Anna. Thanks for you thoughts. I should have mentioned that, in the case of Louisa Wilson, though she is listed as a widow in 1881 (even though she's married) she also reverted back to using her maiden name, and does so in 1891, 1901, as well. It sounds like she didn't get along with her husband and didn't want to use his name, which is certainly understandable. Of course, this isn't proof of anything in regards to "Mary Kelly" or whoever she may have been. Cheers.

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  • Anna Morris
    replied
    Claiming to be a widow could cover a number of things such as out of wedlock children.

    I have always had a problem trying to sort out MJK's story, whether she was married or not. If she pretended to be a widow and Kelly was her maiden name as Joe B. said, she should have been Mrs. Kelly. If she married Davies she should have been Mrs. Davies. Being a widow would give some respectability to being an unfortunate but Mary was young and perhaps the persona of maiden had more value. Part of prostitution is fantasy.

    If Joe B. had not told us the particulars we would have little idea that Mary may have ever, possibly, maybe have been married. Or not. Mary may have claimed to have had a child (Mrs. P. information) and that might point to a fake claim of marriage.

    Now here is a thought wholly pertinent to this thread=> Joe said Mary was in an infirmary...etc. Mrs. P. said Mary claimed to have had a child. Research from 1888 to today keeps getting Mary tangled up with the Rees family abortion business. What if Mary was a client and she was ill for quite some time after a difficult abortion?

    Some women who lose children or have an abortion and regret it, speak of the lost children in present terms, like the child would be two years old, etc. Mrs. P. ascribed something like that to Mary and added she herself had never seen the child. Maybe later tales of Mary having a small boy living with her are all based on Mrs. Harvey's boy but maybe Mary told tales of having a child of her own. I also found it peculiar that Joe B. said Mary was in an infirmary for a long time, perhaps even a year, but he never said why. Even in the 1880s, up to a year in an infirmary was notable.

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  • R. J. Palmer
    replied
    Out of curiosity, I poked around a bit, looking into Louisa Elizabeth Wilson, the woman that was Mary Jane Reese's partner in crime in the abortion clinic. This was a rather far flung affair; the advertisements for their services can be found as far away as Leeds.

    Anyway, Wilson appears to be an example of a young woman in her early twenties who called herself a widow, even though she wasn't. In 1891 she is in Woking Prison; her name is right next to Mary Jane Reese's, so they may have been cell mates. Mrs. Maybrick is down the hall.

    In 1881 Wilson is in Worcester, calling herself a widow, raising a 2 year old daughter. But she isn't a widow. In 1880 she married a sailor named Gideon George White and he is still very much alive all the way into the 20th Century. His records constantly refer to him as married, but he is always living apart from his wife.

    I supposed calling oneself a widow kept a lot of unpleasant and unwanted questions from being asked; something, perhaps, to consider in regards to Mary Kelly.

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  • Paul Williams
    replied
    Hi Debs,

    I wasn't sure about the Cork marriage either.

    Am wondering if there was a marriage.

    Also looking at a possible connection with an older Julie Foley who was a rag and bone collector in Merthyr during the 1870s.

    Leave a comment:


  • Debra Arif
    replied
    Originally posted by Paul Williams View Post
    If John Rees did know the family of Dennis Kelly, as claimed, then it is entirely plausible that he employed someone related to them. A cousin perhaps, newly arrived from Ireland or Cardiff? So far I have not been able to trace the background of Dennis or his wife Julia (nee Foley).
    Hi Paul, you have probably seen the Denis Kelly and Kate Foley marriage Jan 1846 -Ovens & Aglis, Cork and Ross- I wondered if that could be their marriage with Julia maybe having two forenames but haven't been able to prove it either way.

    Leave a comment:


  • Paul Williams
    replied
    If John Rees did know the family of Dennis Kelly, as claimed, then it is entirely plausible that he employed someone related to them. A cousin perhaps, newly arrived from Ireland or Cardiff? So far I have not been able to trace the background of Dennis or his wife Julia (nee Foley).

    Leave a comment:


  • Anna Morris
    replied
    This is all very peculiar and for the most part I am staying out of it because I get lost half way through when we get to "marine store dealer."

    However, research keeps leading back this direction as it did in 1888. Can this family be tied to any other Kellies, say in Cardiff or Liverpool?

    In a census you can find a female marine store dealer, maybe the name is Julia but I don't remember right now. I always thought she was part of the Halket Street Kellies, some of whom were also involved in general dealing or marine store dealing. I always wondered if the female dealer could have been MJK's sister who travelled around with an aunt, selling things. In the Halket Street Kellies, in an industrial school register, there is a stray Mary Kelly, listed just under the others, said to have been born in Liverpool. I don't think we know any more about her. Also, there was an Ellen Kelly in trouble for having a house of ill fame in Cardiff. I have no way to say she was for sure from the Halket Street tribe but there was an Ellen Kelly in that group and I think I figured the age was OK for the brothel owner to possibly be a Halket Street Kelly.

    Concerning the Halket Street Kellies it appeared there was an extended family so IMO a large amount of "brothers" could possibly include cousins. Denis Kelly was in the military. (I used to have a marvelous way of continually asking questions online till I got the answers I wanted. I once found Denis in the Scots Guards and thought I had solved it. It was some other Denis Kelly maybe even from the wrong time. I have corrected my methods.)

    So what I am wondering is if Mary Jane Kelly's background was similar enough to Margaret's that it was easy to stray, even in 1888, in tracking the story? Or if a branch of the right family was found but it was the wrong branch?

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  • R. J. Palmer
    replied
    Hi Paul. Well done. I had forgotten that bit, but rather suspected someone must have chased the family down to the bitter end. The ‘Rees’ angle seems promising, but ultimately dissolves into so much smoke.

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  • Paul Williams
    replied
    Hi all,

    I did trace Margaret Brewer, and mentioned this in an article in Ripperologist 149. She had two children in Dafen, both of whom died young. The crucial record was a burial register showing that she was there on 28 February 1888.

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  • R. J. Palmer
    replied
    Hi Howard. I noticed something tonight that will send shivers down your spine.

    Check this out. It has to be one of the strangest moments in "Ripperology."

    As, you know, I've taken an interest in John Rees, this abortionist that supposedly knew (and once employed) Mary Kelly.

    I started looking into him, not realizing that Paul Williams, Neal Sheldon, and others have already been down this path.

    Earlier today, I found an old post by Chris Scott from 2004. He decided he was going to try and trace Mary Kelly using pure logic and with only FOUR assumptions.

    At the time of her death, she really was about 25 years old, +/- 1 year.

    She really did live in Carmarthenshire.

    She really did get married when she was about 16 or 17.

    Her last name really was "Kelly."

    That's it. Taking those four assumptions, Chris started checking out census reports, records of marriage, etc.

    He came up with only one name. Margaret Kelly of LLanelli, Carmarthenshire. She is the only woman that met all four of the criteria.


    Margaret Kelly.

    I will post the link below so you can see for yourself.

    He's the punch-line and the spooky part.

    Chris Scott evidently didn't know when he traced this woman that this Margaret Kelly that he identified as Mary Kelly was the sister of Abigail Kelly, the woman that John Rees identified as the Whitechapel Murder victim back in 1888. He came up with her through an entirely different route.

    This family can be found in 1881, still living back in the village. The father, the Marine Store man, is dead, and the mother is raising three daughters on her own: Abigail, Margaret, and Julia. What is somewhat strange is that Margaret married this Brewer chap only a few months earlier, but is living apart from him and is back in the family home.

    Check it out:

    https://www.casebook.org/forum/messages/4921/11950.html

    Later in the thread Richard Nunweek and Neal Sheldon jump in, but I don't think any of them realize that Chris Scott has found this woman without knowing about the John Rees story/connection.


    So here's the even stranger part. Abigail Kelly was dismissed as the Ripper victim because she emigrated to the U.S. before 1888. She married a guy named William Muir and can be found in Pennsylvania in 1900. The ages of her children are such that she was probably pregnant in the autumn of 1888 and there is no reason to believe she returned to the UK at that time. (This is relevant because John Reese claimed he saw the Llanelli "Mary Kelly" in London in the spring of 1888).

    The younger sister Julia can also be eliminated. She married a guy named Robert Cox and she can be found in 1891, 1901, etc. Alive and well.


    The only sister of the three that cannot be traced after 1881 is Margaret Kelly (Brewer). The woman named by Chris Scott.

    I'm having no luck tracing Alexander Brewer, her husband, on either side of the pond.

    Until he and Margaret are found alive and well, I say she has to be in the mix as a possible "Mary Kelly." RP

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