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Mrs Rees 1888

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  • #61
    Thanks Robert, I play chess but everytime I try to move my horse it goes sideways.
    The hotel is on a cliff, very steep and very abrupt, with a very long way down, so I thought it might do for a Ripper conference.
    Isn't that the plural for when a lot of clowns get together?


    • #62
      Concerning the abortionists Mary and John Rees of Swansea, who allegedly had some connection Mary Kelly. This goes way back and might mean nothing, but its interesting to note that there was a John Rees, a porter at the Lock Hospital in London, which was for the treatment of venereal disease. He was from Wales, but it doesn't immediately look like the same bloke.

      1881 England Census

      Name: John Rees
      Age: 40
      Estimated Birth Year: abt 1841
      Relation: Servant
      Gender: Male
      Where born: Tenbridge, Wales

      Civil Parish: St Anne Soho
      County/Island: London
      Country: England

      Street address: 91 Dean St Lock Hospital

      Occupation: Hospital Porter Army Pensioner

      Registration district: Westminster
      Sub-registration district: St Anne Soho


      • #63
        Well done, RJP, you deserve the clap for that.


        • #64
          I thank RJP for revitalising my interest in this long lost thread.
          Three questions.
          1) Does anyone know if John Rees, husband of Mary Rees, had only one arm?
          2) Does anyone know anything about the Charlotte Street murder of 1882?
          3) Does anyone know anything more about a certain Mary Thomas, 17 in 1881, who was working a brothel in Newport?


          • #65
            Originally posted by A.P. Wolf View Post
            Second off, Mary Jane Rees, daughter of Dr. Hopkins, must have learnt her trade and craft off someone in possession of such knowledge. I would humbly suggest that the daughter, Mary Jane Hopkins, studied under her father, Dr Hopkins, who may well have carried out an abortion on Mary Jane Kelly in 1880; and then in December of 1888 when Mary Jane Kelly had been supposedly murdered in the most brutal circumstances, and Mary Jane Rees was on trial for her very life on charges of murder… the Hopkins were understandably nervous about any connecting material between the two events.
            I do see that connection though.
            Through the mists of time and brandy.

            Just going back to your thought on Dr Morgan Hopkins here AP, it was reported in the press that he was well known in the area as an abortionist , and that he had taught his daughter Mary Jane Rees, who assisted him at times. After his death she took on his role.
            There are some interesting aspects to the reported Mary Jane Kelly link, there are a few different press stories, one of them being that one of the Hopkins/Rees family did visit London and meet up with MJK again at some point. (why has this tale got a ring of the 'Uncle Jack' story about it?!)

            I think the story that was may have been disputed in the papers, that Nina mentioned in a previous post, was that Mrs Rees's husband had been having an affair with MJK while she was living with them. There is a denial about this, saying that he actually had an affair with her while living with his first wife. The story is all a bit of a mish mash when it comes to actual solid details though.
            Other interesting things reported concerning this Rees story are the mentions that MJK was the daughter of a 'marine store supplier' and was born in Llanelly. I've had a brief look into this and come up with a couple of things I'm trying to follow up on.


            • #66
              Originally posted by Debra A View Post
              Other interesting things reported concerning this Rees story are the mentions that MJK was the daughter of a 'marine store supplier' and was born in Llanelly.
              Hi Debs,

              Hmmm... a "marine store supplier", eh? Rings a bell! As you may recall, I mentioned a Mary Kelly, daughter of Marine Store Dealer, in "another place" (i.e. Casebook). I post what I found then below, augmented by some more recent research:

              1861 Census - Halket St (house number not given), Llandaf, Cardiff
              Daniel Kelly (Head), Married, 35, Marine Store Dealer, b. Ireland
              Mary (Wife), Married, 30, b. Ireland
              Elizabeth (Daur), Single, 8, Scholar, b. Ireland
              Margaret (Daur), Single, 7, Scholar, b. Ireland
              Mary (Daur), Single, 6, Scholar, b. Ireland
              Denis (Son), Single, 2, Scholar, b. Llandaf, Cardiff
              Julia (Daur), Single, 7m, b. Llandaf, Cardiff

              You'll note from the above that the head of the family is called Daniel and was a "Marine Store Dealer". So, not the foreman at ironworks that Mary mentioned, but perhaps by 1861 Mr Kelly senior had lost his job at the foundry. On the other hand, perhaps Kelly was romancing to hide a less-than-auspicious upbringing. This is particularly interesting when one considers that a “Marine Store Dealer” was a scrap metal merchant, an occupation particularly associated with “travellers” in the Late Victorian Period. From Barnett's Inquest testimony, we hear that “[Kelly] said she had one sister, who was respectable, who travelled from market place to market place”.

              Halket St was a run-down area of the Canton district of Llandaf where huge numbers of immigrant Irish families settled from the mid-19th Century onwards. Interestingly, there was a family called either "Carthy" or "M'Carthy" living a few doors away from the Kellys in Halket St, Cardiff in the 1861 Census, although this is probably little more than a coincidence.

              By 1871 the family seems to have hit hard times. It appears that the mother had died and father and children were split up:

              1871 Census - Cardiff Union School
              Mary Kelly, Inmate, 13, b. Liverpool
              Julia Kelly, Inmate, 11, b. Llandaf, Cardiff
              Bridget Kelly, Inmate, 8, b. Llandaf, Cardiff
              Ann Kelly, Inmate, 6, b. Llandaf, Cardiff

              The Union School was an establishment for paupers, for unruly children or for children of “unfit” parents. Built in 1861, an infectious disease isolation unit was later opened on the same site. It closed in 1903 and was “re-purposed” as Ely Lodge, intended to provide workhouse accommodation for adults, although it was never used to that end. The building still stands, and was featured in Griff Rhys-Jones' appearance on the BBC show “Who do you think you are?”. In that programme, it was revealed to Rhys-Jones that, after his great great grandfather's imprisonment for murder, his great grandmother was “taken in” by a Union School similar to the one in Cardiff, as her mother couldn't cope and/or was of dubious character herself.

              Griff Rhys-Jones said in a newspaper interview: “I thought, poor woman, she probably died and her children were sent to orphanages. But they weren't orphanages. They were approved schools for children running around uncontrollably and refusing to go to school. For one reason or another she was a very bad and unsuitable parent and didn't manage to cope at all.” (The Mail on Sunday, 2nd September 2007.)

              Note also that Mary's place of birth appears as "Liverpool", rather than "Ireland" as in the previous census. Perhaps the Census taker made an incorrect entry, or perhaps we really should be looking for an MJK who was born in Lancashire to a Daniel and Mary Kelly between 1855 and 1860? Alternatively, given the "Mrs Rees" story, perhaps it should be "Llanelli" ?!!!

              Whatever, I'm assuming that this inmate of Cardiff Union School is the same Mary Kelly owing to the recurrence of the names Mary, Julia and Bridget (see later) and their rough ages. I cannot find this cluster of names anywhere else in the 1871 Wales Census that would account for their absence from the widower Dan Kelly's family, shown "Mary and Julia-less" in the same Census year:

              1871 Census - 42, George St, Bedwellty
              Dan Kelly (Boarder), Widow, 46, Dealer in Wares, b. Ireland
              Denis Kelly (Boy), Single, 11, Labourer, b. Cardiff
              Elizabeth Kelly (Boarder), Single, 18, Sempstress , b. Cardiff

              (Note the "Bedwellty" connection - which seems to crop up quite often in connection with potential Kellys. All roads lead to Bedwellty, perhaps?)

              By 1881 the family seem to have reunited in Halket St, only now they seem to have been joined by some relatives from Ireland, occupying the house next door. It seems very probable that this is the same Kelly clan, as Daniel and (his brother?) John both have the same exotic occupation. It looks like the matriarch, Elizabeth, has also uprooted and moved to Wales.

              1881 Census - 38 Halket St, Llandaf, Cardiff
              John Kelly (Head), Married, 45, Marine Store Dealer, b. Ireland
              Mary (Wife), Married, 45, b. Ireland
              Denis (Son), Single, 19, Labourer, b. Cardiff
              John (Son), Single, 12, Scholar, b. Cardiff
              Daniel (Son), Single, 11, Scholar, b. Cardiff

              1881 Census - 39 Halket St, Llandaf, Cardiff
              Elizabeth Kelly (Head), Widow, 84, Pauper , b. Cork, Ireland
              Daniel Kelly (Son), Widow, 55, Marine Store Dealer, b. Cork, Ireland
              Julia (Granddaughter), Single, 20, Marine Store Dealer, b. Cardiff
              Bridget (Granddaughter), Single, 17, Domestic Servant, b. Cardiff

              The same group of children's names crop up again, albeit split between the two households and with the addition of probably the same Bridget we saw at the poor school in 1871. The ages are close enough (allowing for "Census error") to suggest that we have the same family. However, you may note that we're missing Margaret, Elizabeth and - interestingly - Mary seems to have moved on as well. It's also interesting that we seem to have brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts and grandparents all mixed up, and living in adjacent houses. Recall again from Barnett's testimony that “After her husband's death deceased went to Cardiff to a cousin”.

              I have discovered what happened to Denis Kelly, son of Daniel and, depending on which Census entry you believe, brother of Mary, who appears in the next Census. Given that he was apparently a jobbing labourer in 1881, and joined the army sometime thereafter, it'd be fascinating to know what caused his breakdown in the 10 years between then and this census entry:

              1891 Census - Glamorgan District Asylum
              Denis Kelly, Single, 28, Soldier (Lunatic) , b. Cardiff


              • #67
                Hi Sam
                Actually I do recall you posting these details now, I didn't pay attention to the marine store dealer part at the time though. Interesting stuff!
                I'll have to have a good re-read of all your findings later on.
                Thanks Sam


                • #68
                  Thanks for all that, Debs and Sam.
                  You see folks should really listen to my alcoholic ravings sometimes.
                  They sort of make sense when you sober up.


                  • #69
                    I'm not sure what newspaper reports have been posted before on the Kelly/Rees reported link, but here are a couple of transcriptions I have just done of some of the main bits of the story.

                    Here are some fuller details of the denial that Mary Jane Kelly had worked for Mary Jane Rees. It seems that although there was a denial as to that portion of the story, there was an admittance that Mr Rees, husband of Mary Jane Rees had known Kelly.

                    Cardiff Western Mail November 1888
                    Our Swansea reporter wrote on Monday night as follows:-
                    The rumour to which I gave publicity yesterday as to the deceased
                    woman Kelly's connection with Carmarthen and Swansea proved
                    to be in the main true. There is, however, one point in which I
                    was inadvertantly led into error, and as I might, in the opinion of some
                    (although I hardly think so myself), be calculated to prejudice the mind of the public against Mrs Rees, who was stated to be the mistress of the deceased, I gladly take this opportunity of correcting it. It appears that Mr. Rees had been married before he led the daughter of Dr. Hopkins to the altar. I had no knowledge of this fact. It was while he was living with his first wife that the woman Kelly was in his service. The present Mrs. Rees therefore, had no connection whatever in this way with the deceased.

                    This is what Mr. Rees had to say about Mary Jane Kelly. Here Dr. Hopkins is mentioned as knowing MJK's father too.

                    Mr Rees says that Kelly was born at Llanelly and not Limerick. her father
                    was a marine store dealer, and was a remarkably well informed man. He was well known throughout the whole district from Camarthen to Llanelly, and many people living there would be able to call him to mind. He was of an argumentative turn of mind; and Mr. Rees says that his discussions with the late Dr. Hopkins were often quite a treat to hear. His daughter Mary Jane, was a remarkably fine girl. She left his service and went to Swansea, where she remained for some time. She will probably be remembered at the Unity, which she used to frequent. She seemed to have gone on the loose at Swansea and to have removed to Cardiff from whence she eventually went to London. Mr Rees was in London about 6 months ago, and met the deceased. She ran across the street to him and addressed him in Welsh. There were little signs of dissipation upon her, and her appearance was calculated to create admiration on the part of anyone who saw her.

                    And this is a ittle on Dr. John Morgan Hopkins role as an abortionist (he was on trial for it in 1884) The mention of Mary Jane Rees advertising in the papers is interesting.

                    Cardiff Western Mail July 1888
                    She [Mary Jane Rees] is the daughter of the late Dr. Hopkins of Carmarthen, who previous to his death, two or three years ago had become notorious in the town for the shady kind of skill now attributed to his daughter. At the death of the doctor, Miss Hopkins-who became the wife of Mr. John Rees-removed to Swansea where she practiced very openly as a kind of ladies doctress or accoucher.She inserted advertisments in the papers, and , it is stated, did a verylarge business-the newspapers of course
                    having no proof of any conduct on her part.

                    Sorry if these have all been posted before but it's so hard to keep track on things with so many newspaper reports being posted.


                    • #70
                      Here's one of Mary Jane Rees's adverts from the Cardiff western Mail April 23 1887

                      M J R daughter of late Dr. Hopkins M.D. Carmarthen, attends on lady patients- Goltre House Trafalgar Terrace Swansea

                      Wording said to be used by her and other abortionists advertising in the press also apparently went along the lines of:

                      "valuable information to ladies married or about to be married"
                      and requesting stamps for returning information.
                      Throughout the whole of 1888, one Cardiff woman was advertising twice weekly in the Bristol Mercury using a similar phrase, under the heading MEDICAL


                      • #71
                        Nicely done, Debs, and I have certainly not come across those particular press reports before... they seem somehow to give Mary Jane Kelly her flesh back; and it is certainly all entirely plausible and a lot more realistic than other accounts of her life we have been spoon fed with.
                        What a shame that Mrs Rees was not tried at the actual Old Bailey, but rather at the Welsh version, otherwise we could have read the entire transcript of her trial.
                        Who knows? Mary Jane Kelly might have been called as a witness in the trial?
                        Hence her death?


                        • #72
                          It's all very intriguing AP, and I'm glad you brought our attention to it all again. Maybe the story of MJK's connection to these people was written off by us all prematurely? The denial reports we previously had don't seem to have mentioned the connection to Mr. Rees and his first wife, only that MJK had not worked for Mary Jane Rees.
                          If there are fuller versions of the story that completely discount it and anyone knows of them, or any other reasons why the story can't be so, it would be good to see them on here.


                          • #73
                            Thanks for the kind words, Debs.
                            At the time I posted the original details of the trial I did say that I found it very difficult to believe that two people whose paths crossed in 1880, Mary Jane and Mary Jane, would again cross in the winter of 1888 in such dramatic circumstance without there being some kind of connection, in 1888.


                            • #74
                              Debs, this is one of the Hopkins' cases from the 'Western Mail', July 1884.
                              Note the 'Mary Evans'.
                              I followed this through and it appears that Hopkins had some local influence which helped him to escape the charges on a technicality aided by the judge.
                              It was a plain case of murder.


                              • #75
                                Thanks AP, I believe he was on the town council and was in line to be mayor at one point.

                                Just going back to the Llanelly Kelly who's father was a marine store dealer, this is the Abby Kelly story isn't it? I'll have to read the casebook archives to see how this panned out.

                                1861 census transcription details for: Upper Wern, Llanelly
                                National Archive Reference:
                                RG number: RG09 Piece: 4112 Folio: 58 Page: 62

                                Reg. District: Llanelly Sub District: 2 Llanelly
                                Enum. District: 6 Ecclesiastical District:
                                Parish: Llanelly City/Municipal Borough:

                                Address: Upper Wern, Llanelly
                                County: Carmarthenshire

                                Name Relationship to
                                Head of H'hold Condition Sex Age Profession/Occupation,
                                Disability Where Born

                                KELLY, Dennis Head Married M 39 Dealer In Marine Stores

                                KELLY, July Wife Married F 38 Dealer In Marine Stores

                                KELLY, Aby Daughter F 2

                                KELLY, Margaret Daughter F 0 (6M)