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Was Ernest Dowson Jack the Ripper?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by ChrisGeorge View Post
    Hello Jeff et al.

    GWU Professor Emeritus Casey Smith will make a case for an obscure poet and printer, W. J. Ibbett, as a possible Jack the Ripper suspect at RipperCon in Baltimore in April.

    CASEY SMITH—“William Joseph Ibbett (1858-1934): Poet, Printer, Piquerist, Ripper Suspect?”

    Dorset-born W. J. Ibbett was a minor poet in an era noted for minor poetry. He was also a self-taught printer who produced badly printed copies of his poems. On some copies, the words were so poorly inked and broken that he used an ink pen to write over the printing to make it more legible. At times, it appears that the paper he used was taken from his day job at London’s General Post Office. Some of his poetry was produced as handwritten manuscript books, not because of a desire to create a beautiful book, but because it was cheap.

    Ibbett’s poetry, and life story, as detailed in his autobiography The Annals of a Nobody, reveal a complicated and troubled figure, a man who might have been responsible for the 1888 Whitechapel murders in Whitechapel, although Smith admits there is no definitive proof of this. However, Smith believes that bizarre and disturbing aspects of Ibbett’s life make him a good candidate for him having been Jack the Ripper.
    Very interesting information. I tried to find out more about William Joseph Ibbett, but not a lot turns up online, although I did find library catalog records and rare book advertisements for his books. Some works seem to be available online.

    Three Letters from W.J. Ibbett to his friend H. Buxton Foreman: in praise of Venus is an intriguing title of a work available at Amazon.

    Wish I could hear the lecture.
    Pat D.
    Von Konigswald: Jack the Ripper plays shuffleboard. -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut, c.1970.


    • #32
      Originally posted by Mayerling View Post
      I have to do this slowly Simon, because the web site does seem to work against long messages. So it may appear in several parts. Sorry about that.

      I once did a bit of research into the Crackenthorpe tragedy of 1896 because the photo I saw of Hubert (by accident) looked like a younger brother not of his own brother Daryl but of Montague Druitt (at least I thought so - and still think so). His death by drowning in the Seine in 1896 seemed to oddly resemble (as they are both drownings) that of Montie in the Thames 1888. I really could not get very far in the matter - it was based on dates and timings and family connections I could not really check out. Anyone who wants to can do so.

      First the name. Hubert and Daryl were the sons (Daryl was the oldest) of Hubert Cookson, a well-known legal scholar of the 19th Century, who turned out to be luckier than he thought. The senior Cookson was approached in January 1888 by solicitors from the estate of his cousin, a gentleman named Crackenthorpe, who happened to be the last of a line of land owners to an entailed estate in the north of England that went by the Anglo-Saxon age. It was worth thousands of pounds. Cookson was the nearest male relative (the estate could only go to males) but he had to have the last name of "Crackenthorpe" to get it. Mr. Cookson decided to change the spelling of his last name (and his sons last names) from "ookson" to "rackenthorpe" by legal means. So their name was changed, and they were deeply enriched by the estate!

      Daryl was a career diplomat in the British Foreign Service, stationed in Spain. More of this later. Hubert Jr. was into literary work, and was deeply influenced by the "Naturalistic" school of fiction by Emile Zola. He wrote short stories like Zola, many set in poverty areas dealing with prostitutes and thieves. He had talent (one critic who wrote about him was Vincent Starrett of Chicago, who is better known among "Sherlockians" for his books on Holmes and Watson like "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes" and "221b: Studies in Sherlock Holmes"). Hubert Montague got married, but he got into an affair with the young Eva Le Gallienne (I believe it was her), and the affair and his marriage both collapsed.

      In April 1896 the weather in Paris was quite damp - a great deal of heavy rain. As a result the Seine River was overflowing it's normal banks. Hubert Montague Crackenthorpe was seen early in the month near the river, and we still don't know if it was an accidental drowning, a suicide, or even a murder. Many drowning deaths occurred at the time. The collapse of both marriage and affair may have led to a suicidal frame of mind, but we just don't know. Still it became a matter of concern to his family, especially Daryl.
      Fascinating stuff - I hope you're going to add more. Some mentions of Crackenthorpe in Jad Adams' book on Ernest Dowson, which I'm recommending as it's really good, though doesn't mention JtR. I wonder if drink/drugs were a factor for HC?


      • #33
        Originally posted by Simon Webb View Post
        Fascinating stuff - I hope you're going to add more. Some mentions of Crackenthorpe in Jad Adams' book on Ernest Dowson, which I'm recommending as it's really good, though doesn't mention JtR. I wonder if drink/drugs were a factor for HC?
        Thanks Simon (and thanks Chris). This is part II of the information I garnered.

        There is a book by the grandson of Daryl Crackenthorpe (also named Daryl Crakenthorpe) about the tragedy of Hubert's shortened life, and about Daryl I.
        If you can get it it's worth reading. Hubert's writings (mostly short stories) were the subject of study and comment by the Chicago based writer-critic Vincent Starrett (best recalled for his "Sherlockian" studies, "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes" and "221B: Studies in Sherlock Holmes".


        • #34
          Part II A:

          Daryl was able to convince the British Foreign Office that Hubert died from an accident, not from suicide (despite issues about Hubert's homelife at the time).
          As a result Daryl eventually became the Minister to the Five Central American Republics (then one unit for diplomatic purposes in Britain) in the 1920s.

          He would marry Isa Sickels in 1897 in Madrid. She was the daughter of a Spanish aristocrat and the ex-Minister of the United States to Spain from 1869 to 1873, Civil War hero General Daniel Sickels (who lost a leg at Gettysburg in 1863). But Sickels had shot and killed Philip Barton Keys (the District Attorney of Washington D.C.) in 1859, when he discovered that the then Mrs. Sickels was having an affair with Keys, a notorious woman's man. Sickels was defended at his murder trial by Edward M. Stanton, who later was Buchanan's Attorney General and Secretary of War for Lincoln. Sickels won acquittal when Stanton introduced the so-called "unwritten law" against adulterers. He lost public approval when he forgave his "erring wife" and accepted her back to his bosom (they felt she should have been kicked out of the house). The first Mrs. Sickels died in 1867. By the way, Sickels adherence to anti-adulterous individuals like Keys did not extend to his own behavior with other ladies while married (but he had demonstrated he knew how to use a gun). A good account of the affair of 1859 is Nat Brandt's "The Congressman Who Got Away With Murder".

          [Chris, you probably know this, but Keys was the son of the author of "The Star-Spangled Banner", Francis Scott Keys (who was also a lawyer, and the man who prosecuted Richard Lawrence in 1835 for attempting to kill President Andrew Jackson). Philip Keys was also nephew of Roger Brooke Taney, former U.S. Attorney General (and member of Jackson's "Kitchen Cabinet" of advisors) and Chief Justice of the U.S. from 1835 (he succeeded John Marshall) to 1864 (when he was succeeded by former Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase). Taney has been pilloried for his writing the notoriously bad "Dred Scott" decision of 1857 against African-American equality and supporting slavery (Taney was a slave owner, like Andrew Jackson was), but in his career he authored other opinions that were quite good. In 1837 he wrote "The Charles River Bridge" decision which showed that there were areas of interstate commerce that the states and the Federal government had to share power in, and in the American Civil War Taney distinguished the close of his career by a fight with President Lincoln over habeas corpus (the honors here are with Taney, but Lincoln actually had some grounds for treading against the right to make sure the North's war efforts weren't hurt.]

          Last edited by Mayerling; 11-28-2017, 09:54 AM.


          • #35
            Thanks in part to help and encouragement from people on this thread my book 'Absinthe Jack' about Dowson as the Ripper is now available via Amazon UK:


            and Amazon US:


            Thanks folks!