A two-page letter sent by Francis Tumblety was discovered at a college in America last month. Thanks to the cooperation of Frogg Moody and Sue Parry, I'm happy to say that copies of this letter will be made available at the next Whitechapel Society meeting on Saturday evening April 4th. Whitechapel Society members can simply pick up a free copy off the table and bring it home if they want.
The letter was electronically scanned by a Public Service Coordinator at the University. I had her send it to Scott Nelson's computer and to mine. The letter has held together quite well over time and is still legible. Those who are familiar with Tumblety's literary style will quickly recognize that the wording of this letter fits very well with Tumblety's typical manner of speech.
Anyone who picks up a copy on April 4th will notice that there is a 3rd page attached. The extra page is simply a typed transcription of the letter. Robert Linford and I transcribed it, and we think we got it correct. Roger Palmer and Chris Phillips helped out with it, too. Hopefully this will make for easier reading.
If things go well, we will work out the legal stuff with the University and get the letter published in the Whitechapel Society Journal during the summer time. A one-page introduction to the letter will appear in the upcoming April 2015 issue of the journal. The introduction pretty much focuses on the recipient of Tumblety's letter. He was an accomplished man of vast wealth. We will reveal his name on this thread on April 4th. We will also provide everyone with the exact date of the letter and at which University it is deposited with.
The recipient of the letter signed Tumblety's name at the top of the paper. The University confirmed that the recipient was in the habit of categorizing the letters he received in this same manner. There are other samples in the University's collection that illustrate this. Chris led the way with this aspect of the research and it turned out well.
Appreciation goes out to Robert, Scott, Chris, Roger, and the Whitechapel Society for all their help.
Those in attendance at the Whitechapel Society meeting tonight can pick up a free copy of a letter sent by Francis Tumblety on February 24,1869. The recipient of Tumblety's letter was Gazaway Bugg Lamar. He was a successful businessman and Confederate banker.
Tumblety and Lamar were assigned the same living quarters in the Old Capitol Prison in 1865. Both men had been arrested after the assassination of President Lincoln.
Tumblety's Feb 1869 letter was discovered at the University of Georgia in the Hargrett Rare Books & Manuscript Library.
General Sherman's army tore through Georgia during the Civil War and a huge chunk of Lamar's cotton was confiscated. After the war, Lamar took his case to court and a legal battle ensued for many years. Finally in 1874, Lamar was awarded a whopping $580,000 for his troubles. It was the largest individual financial settlement against the U.S. Government of its time.
Tumblety was hoping to win a big settlement against the U.S. Government after his release from prison, too. So he sent a letter to Lamar in Feb 1869 with the hope that Lamar would respond in writing. As it turned out, Tumblety's letter to Lamar pushed the right buttons and it inspired Lamar to write back to Tumblety a week later. Tumblety took hold of Lamar's written response and printed it in his 1872 autobiography. By clicking into the web link below and then scrolling down, you'll come across Lamar's letter near the end of the autobiography.
Tumblety wanted to bolster his own civil case against the U.S. Government so it was beneficial to his goal to publish a personal letter sent to him by an influential man like Lamar. The Whitechapel Society members will get to take home a copy of the letter that encouraged Lamar's response. I hope this makes for an even more enjoyable meeting tonight.
Very interesting, but alas I'm stuck in Kansas again. Please pass along to Joe that I'd be interested in seeing it if he's got a scan he could email to me. He should still have my address. Fingers crossed.