Ingenious reasoning, Claire - but that then begs the question: where did the other Joseph Flem(m)ing, son of the impoverished Bethnal Green silk-weavers and born in the same year as "Joe the Plasterer", get to?
Yes, indeed. I'm not really suggesting that the two *are* the same, but just that it was possible for one individual to be counted twice. However, it is possible for people to just drop off the census altogether, for obvious reasons. I think I am just wearily attracted to the idea of a more richly textured Fleming than the mostly blank canvas we have now
"I think I am just wearily attracted to the idea of a more richly textured Fleming than the mostly blank canvas we have now"
Welcome to the club, Claire ...!
Myself, I am having all sorts of trouble to accept that the Joe Fleming we find incarcerated in Stone Asylum (Oh, the games the gods are playing with us poor Rippperologists; plasterer - mason - masom - stone ...!) is the same Joe that used to date Kelly.
Why have we not heard from anybody of this giant? Why was it not mentioned by Mrs Carthy that her tenant needed two beds to sleep in?
And all the other questions that knock on the door: If Joe called himself James Evans - how did Henrietta Fleming find her way to the asylum? And when did she do so? Is the curiosity that he was named both Evans and Fleming in the records reminiscent of the fact that he had spent a longish time incarcerated as Evans before Mrs Fleming made her entrance? And what happened back in 1732, or thereabouts - the approximate start of the madness running in Flemings family?
It is agonizing, Claire, it really is. Keeping a cool head, though, we can of course easily find plausible answers to most of the riddles. Maybe somebody who knew Joe from his past simply saw him at the asylum, and told his mother about it. Maybe the staff just kept calling Joe by the name of Evans for simplicity´s sake, and to be able to keep a clear line in their paperwork. And maybe the origin of the family madness was easy to tie to a historical event, like, for instance, somebody burning down a well-known building or parttaking in a famous crime or something that was fixed very firmly in time.
Still, somehow it feels as if Ockhams razor may result in some nasty cuts in this case. We really need to know more.