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Mrs Rees 1888

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  • #76
    Actually Debs, a Morgan Hopkins was appointed to be the 'guardian of paupers', seconded by a Mr Lees, which if it is him then gives a very plausible reckoning of girls like Mary Jane Kelly being placed in his house.
    But Sam would need to check that this is the same individual.
    What is interesting though is that some years after the dramatic court case, where he is obviously, and plainly guilty of murdering the young girl in 1884 in a botched abortion, our John Morgan Hopkins is a most welcome VIP guest at the funeral of the local archdeacon.


    • #77
      It's all the same man AP
      from the 1884 abortion case
      At yesterdays inquiry a large amount of public interest was manifested. Dr Hopkins who, it may be mentioned, is a member of the Camarthen Town Council (and by right of seniority should have been mayor some years ago)
      and a member of the Llanelly Board of Guardians, was present, accompanied by his solicitor...

      Anyway, the Aby or Margaret Kelly connection to the victim MJK has been researched before by Neal Sheldon and Bob Hinton amongst others, and apparently all daughters of this family were accounted for, so it looks like there was no connection after all.


      • #78
        Originally posted by Debra A View Post
        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

        KELLY, Dennis Head Married M 39 Dealer In Marine Stores Ireland

        KELLY, July Wife Married F 38 Dealer In Marine Stores Ireland

        KELLY, Aby Daughter F 2 Llanelly Carmarthenshire

        KELLY, Margaret Daughter F 0 (6M) Llanelly Carmarthenshire
        If the Marine Store Dealer of Llanelli was well-known in the neighbourhood as the Western Mail article claims, then his fame must have been short lived. He seems to have died before the 1871 Census was taken:

        1871 Census Return for Lesendy, Borough Hamlet, Llanelli
        Julia [Cobley crossed out] Kelly (Head), Widow, 40, b. Cork, Ireland
        Ab Kelly (Daur), 12, b. Llanelli
        Margaret (Daur), 9, b. Llanelli
        Julia (Daur), 8, b. Llanelli

        1881 Census Return for 42 Wern Road, Borough, Llanelli
        Julia Kelly (Head), Widow, 60, b. Ireland
        Abbey (Daur), Unmarried, 22, b. Llanelli
        Margaret Brewer (Daur), 20, b. Llanelli

        1891 Census Return for 42 Wern Road, Borough, Llanelli
        Robert Cox (Head), 38, Foreman Coal Miner, b. Bristol, Bath
        Julia Cox (Wife), 28, b. Llanelli
        Charles (Son), 10, b. Llanelli
        Emma (Daur), 8, b. Llanelli
        Julia (Mother-in-Law), Widow, 65, b. Ireland, Cork


        • #79
          Hi Sam
          It makes no diference really, as that's obviously who they were talking about. Richard Nunweek made reference to the encounter with Mr Rees on casebook back in 2004 in relation to Aby Kelly, so it's a well known story that has been well researched by the looks of it.


          • #80
            Chickens, hatch and counting, Debs.
            If I see a connection then I'm afraid there probably is one.


            • #81
              Originally posted by A.P. Wolf View Post
              Chickens, hatch and counting, Debs.
              If I see a connection then I'm afraid there probably is one.
              What I'm intrigued by is that "her father was a marine store dealer" bit. OK, we might dismiss the Llanelli Kelly family for various reasons, but what of the Cardiff-based Kelly, whose name was in fact Mary, and whose father had precisely the same occupation?


              • #82
                Yeah but the trouble is then Sam, we are picking and choosing bits of the story...aren't we?
                There's also a McCarthy family in Llanelly who were marine store dealers.

                I wasn't sure how much of the research into Aby Kelly and her sisters had stemmed from this llanelly story or how much was just plucking them out independently by the researchers involved.
                Richard Nunweek seems to have mentioned Mr. Rees but I can't tell if anyone else did.


                • #83
                  ...although we are told she was named Mary Jane in the story...hmmmm, you could be right Sam.
                  ...I keep spelling Llanelly differently to you, my guess is my version is the wrong one, you being a Welshman and all


                  • #84
                    Originally posted by Debra A View Post
                    ...although we are told she was named Mary Jane in the story...hmmmm, you could be right Sam.
                    Indeed. And there's that soldier brother of the Cardiff Kelly, who ends up a lunatic by 1891. Not to mention her cousin(s) living in a run-down area of Cardiff docklands. Where there's docks, there's dockers and sailors - and where there's dockers and sailors, there's plenty of opportunities for them wot wishes to lead "a bad life".
                    ...I keep spelling Llanelly differently to you, my guess is my version is the wrong one
                    Force of habit, Debs - Llanelli is the Welsh spelling. It's also now the only official spelling, but "Llanelly" was for centuries perfectly acceptable, and there's no reason to apologise


                    • #85
                      it seems well worth looking at Sam, even without the connection to the Llanelli story.


                      • #86
                        I haven't read all the foregoing, so forgve me if I am repeating what has already been said.

                        On 12 and 13 November 1888 the Swansea reporter of the Western Mail published a statement by the a Mr John Rees to the effect that when married to his first wife he had employed Mary Jane Kelly as a servant. Kelly's father had been a marine store dealer who was very friendly with a Carmarthen doctor named John Morgan Hopkins whose daughter, Mary Jane Florence, had become John Rees's second wife.

                        Now, an irrelevant sidebar is that in June 1888 Mary Jane Florence Rees had been charged with attempting to perform an illegal abortion and in December was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in prison. John Rees was also tried, but found innocent.

                        Back to Mary Jane Kelly: according to John Rees, he'd employed Kelly when living in Llanelli, where Rees was known as 'John Rees the Stepney' - the Stepney was a hotel. He said that on leaving his employment Kelly had gone to Sansea, where she frequented the Unity Inn, and had gone from Swansea to Cardiff and then to London.

                        On 15 November the Western Mail published a letter from Mrs Jane Williams, the landlady of the Unity Inn, who said that nobody named Mary Jane Kelly had frequented her inn, although an Abigail Kelly had been an occasional patron. This Abigail Kelly had lived in Llanelli and had married a Scottish stonemason named Muir and emigratedto Kansas City.

                        On the same date, 15 November, The Llanelly and County Guardian reported that investigations had failed to associate Mary Jane Kelly with the town and suggested: 'No doubt the statement was made with reference to the Kelly family on the Wern, but all the girls are accountable for, two having left for America while the other lives with her husband near Cardiff.

                        The 1861 census shows that a Kelly family lived at 42 Wern Road, Llanelli. The father was a marine store dealer named Dennis. His wife was named Julia. One of his daughters, at that time aged only 2, was Abigail. In April 1881 Abigail Kelly married William Muir at St Mary's Catholic Church, Llanelli.

                        There can be little doubt that John Rees did not employ May Jane Kelly, but employed Abigail Kelly.


                        In the Western Mail on 13 November John Rees stated that when in London some six months earlier he had met Kelly. She had run across the street to him and spoken to him in Welsh. Now, Abigail Kelly was in Kansas City, so, if John Rees was telling the truth, who did he meet in London?

                        One can speculate and, of course, the most exciting speculation is that Abigail Kelly also called herself Mary Jane Kelly and that she didn't emigrate to Kansas City. However, research in the Kansas City records might identify Abigail Muir and flesh out her life there, scotching the idea that she might be identified with Mary Jane.


                        • #87
                          Thank you for filling in the details of the rest of the story, Paul.
                          The crucial piece we didn't have was the link made by the landlady between Abigail Kelly and the 'Mary Jane Kelly' being talked about.


                          • #88
                            I don't know, Paul.
                            There are a couple of points you do not raise which I think should be.
                            The Lees/Hopkins connection still needs further fleshing out, as it appears that it was Lees who seconded Hopkins to his council position overseeing the paupers of the district.
                            I think it not correct to describe the 1888 High Court trial of Mrs Rees as a 'sidebar', more like a 'sidewinder' I reckon. It is well known that Mrs Lees was well known for aborting young girls who had got themselves into 'trouble'; and there is, and was, persistant speculation that Mary Jane Kelly got herself into 'trouble' while in Wales.
                            Then there is the young girl 'Mary Evans' who gives evidence at the trial, resident with the Lees. Could this be the same Mary Jane Evans who found herself in a local court in May of 1884 for 'concealing the birth of a male child'? And could it be the same Mary Evans who was in a local court four years earlier for exactly the same offence when her infant was found locked in a drawer? And could it be the same Mary Evans who appeared in court on charges of wounding in 1882?
                            Could Mary Jane Evans be Mary Jane Kelly?
                            And is it not true that Mr Lees was dismissed on a technicality?
                            I must read the case again.


                            • #89
                              Interesting avenues for investigation, A.P., but as far as the Kelly employed by Rees is concerned, I think its clear that Rees was describing Abigail Kelly and that she and all her sisters were accounted for (although research might reveal that that was not in fact the case). But if Rees was telling the truth about meting the girl in London, and if that girl was not Abigail Kelly, then she could have been some other 'Mary Jane' or 'Kelly' known to him and possibly could have been the 'Mary Jane Kelly.


                              • #90
                                Thanks Paul
                                do we know the reason for John Rees to be in London around July of 1888?
                                Another girl in 'trouble'?
                                From the case I posted earlier it seems that young girls were prepared to travel considerable distance to avail themselves of the services offered by the Rees household. Perhaps they did house calls as well?