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George Hutchinson (American)

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  • George Hutchinson (American)

    I have read the few very small press articles about the American George Hutchinson who killed and mutilated a Chicago prostitute but very little is available about him. Anyone got anything detailed about this man?

    Best regards,

    Best regards,

    "They assumed Kelly was the last... they assumed wrong" - Me

  • #2
    The Man Who Never Was

    Hi All,

    Two days after George Hutchinson appeared in the UK and US press another story appeared in half-a-dozen or so American and Canadian newspapers, and in January 1889 found its way into the Pall Mall Gazette.

    The story originated in Elgin, Illinois—

    New York Herald, 16 November 1888


    George Hutchinson Murdered a Woman in Whitechapel Style

    Chicago, Nov. 15, 1888:

    "A dispatch from Elgin, Illinois, says that seven or eight years ago a man named George Hutchinson, an inmate of the asylum there, delighted to visit the hospital slaughter house, making many peculiar toys from bones. He was an expert with the knife. After escaping from Elgin he was captured at Kankakee and placed in the insane asylum there.

    "He escaped from that place and afterward murdered a disreputable woman in Chicago, mutilating her body in a way similar to the Whitechapel cases. He was returned to Kankakee, but afterward escaped, and has been at large three or four years. It is thought by some that he may be the Whitechapel fiend.

    "The police here do not remember him."

    The Elgin police not remembering him is easy to explain. George Hutchinson did not exist. Between 1870 and 1890 nobody with that name [a] murdered a disreputable woman in Chicago in "Whitechapel Style", or [b] served time at Kankakee.

    But the following story had appeared six months earlier in the New York Times of 16th May 1888—


    Joliet, Illinois, May 15th:—

    "Billy Hutchinson, one of the worst desperadoes that Chicago has yet turned out, made his escape from the Kankakee Asylum yesterday morning. Hutchinson has been an habitual criminal for 20 years past. He has served three terms at Joliet Prison for such crimes as burglary, robbery, and murder. In June 1885, he slaughtered his mistress, an Iowa girl named Kitty Hall, in their rooms in a house on Pacific Avenue, Chicago. He escaped with a sentence of 17 years at Joliet. He became insane soon after, and was taken to the asylum at Kankakee. Hutchinson is subject to epilepsy, and while in his fits will commit murder. He is a dangerous criminal to be at large, and every effort is being made for his recapture."

    The details were similar: the slaughter of a Chicago woman; being sent to, and escaping from, Kankakee Asylum. Could Billy Hutchinson have been on the run for four years? Could he have been the George Hutchinson who was thought by the US press to be the Whitechapel Fiend?

    The following day, 17th May 1888, this story appeared in the Chicago Daily Tribune—

    An Escaped Murderer Arrested in Chicago and Returned to Kankakee.

    Joliet, Illinois, May 16.—[Special]—

    "Billy Hutchinson, the Chicago convict and murderer who escaped from the Kankakee asylum last Monday, was recaptured in Chicago today and returned to the asylum.

    "[Billy Hutchinson, an escaped lunatic from Kankakee, was captured about 1 o'clock yesterday afternoon by Lieut. Backus of the Harrison Street Police Station in a saloon on Clark Street near Harrison. The lunatic was locked in a cell and immediately made an attempt to hang himself to the bars with his suspenders. His position was discovered in time by the lock-up keeper and a close watch was kept on him. He made two more efforts to end his life, and was finally sent to the lunatic department of the jail. Hutchinson, about two years ago, murdered his paramour, Kittie Hall, in a disreputable house at No. 126½ Pacific Avenue. He was captured and sentenced to seventeen years in Joliet. Soon after his arrival at the penitentiary he gave unmistakable signs of insanity and was sent to the asylum at Kankakee. He escaped a few days ago and made his way to Chicago, it is supposed on foot. Billy was taciturn and refused to say how and when he arrived in the city.]"

    Three years earlier, on 16th June 1885, the Chicago Daily Tribune ran an article on Billy Hutchinson—

    "Billy Hutchinson, the murderer of Kitty Hall at Chicago Sunday evening, has a peculiar record on the books at Joliet Prison. He had the name of being a professional footpad and desperate thief—well known to the police of Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City. He was sent to the Missouri Penitentiary previous to 1875 for a daring robbery in St. Louis. He was twice convicted of robbery in Chicago. [On] Dec 9th 1875 he was sent down for five years, and was released in 1879. In less than four weeks he was again holding up victims. His former pals began to shun him after his first term at Joliet, alleging that he was subject to fits and spells of insanity, and was not considered a safe man to do crime with. In May 1880 he was again sent to Joliet on a three-year term for robbing a stockman named Bibler, of Rochester, Indiana. Bibler was on his way to the Lake Shore depot when Hutchinson knocked him down with a sandbag, and robbed him of his watch and money. Hutchinson was captured with the proceeds on his person, and 'settled' for his second term of three years.

    "Shortly after entering the prison he was declared to be insane by the prison physician, and was ordered transferred to the Elgin Insane Asylum, from which place he effected his escape in February 1882, but was recaptured in Chicago some months later and returned to the asylum. In July 1882 Dr. Kilbourne, of the asylum, came to the conclusion that Hutchinson was no longer insane, and sent him back to the prison as being of sound mind. Hutchinson completed his sentence and was released in November 1882.

    "The victim, Kitty Hall, was known among the crooks as a 'panel-worker [a prostitute who works in a brothel with two-way mirrors for peep shows] and shoplifter'. She served but one term at Joliet—was sent down March 9, 1882, for two years, for fleecing an unlucky caller while she was a 'boarder' at Ruby Bell's place."

    So far we have no account of how Billy Hutchinson killed Kitty Hall. Did he kill/murder/slaughter her in true "Whitechapel Style"? Was he an "expert with the knife" who made "many peculiar toys from bones"?

    Chicago Daily Tribune, June 15th 1885—

    Shooting of a Depraved Woman by her Paramour

    "The life of Kittie Hall, twenty of whose forty years had been depraved, was ended at 5 o'clock yesterday afternoon by a single shot supposed to have been fired by Billie Hutchinson, for thirteen years her paramour, and an ex-soldier and ex-convict. The life-taking was enacted in a small room of the one-storey frame hovel No. 126½ Pacific Avenue, a disreputable house kept by Lizzie Smith, of which the dead woman was an inmate . . .

    [The gunshot] " . . . awakened the proprietress of the house who had been asleep in a back room. She smelled the powder, and, knocking at the door of the room where she knew Kittie Hall was, she called to her.

    Hutchinson replied: 'It's me.'

    "'What did you do?' asked the Smith woman.

    "'O, I killed her!' was the answer. 'Get an officer,' he continued. 'I'll stay here till he comes; I'll hang for it' . . .

    " . . . [Hutchinson] is a rather good-looking fellow of about 35 years. [Kitty Hall] was repulsive-looking. The pistol was found under the pillow upon which her head was lying. The woman's body was left at the house and will be buried by the proprietress and inmates."

    Billy Hutchinson's one and only murder was committed with a gun which tends to rule out his modus operandi changing to the knife, assuming of course that he crossed the Atlantic prior to 31st August 1888. But after May 1888 there is no further record of him escaping from Kankakee Asylum or Joliet Prison; nor in 1902 of him being released at the end of his seventeen year sentence at the age of about 52. Perhaps he died in prison.

    From the foregoing I think we can safely assume that the "US Escaped Lunatic George Hutchinson" story was prompted by the appearance of Abberline's post-inquest witness and can be blamed on an imaginative US pressman with a scant regard for the facts.


    Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.


    • #3
      Fascinating Simon-

      Sadly I don't reckon it was Georgie boy (sadly)- great research though!

      'Would you like to see my African curiosities?'


      • #4
        Thanks Simon! So I guess the door is still open a crack for Mr. Hutchinson II.

        Was this story mentioned in the old Barlow and Watt TV series? I remember something about Chicago in there but I can't recall quite what.
        This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.

        Stan Reid


        • #5
          Hi Stan,

          Sorry, can't help you with Barlow and Watt. I have enough trouble remembering what I saw on TV last week.


          Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.


          • #6
            We're desperate for any Ripper connection here in IL. This, Cream/double and Mudgett are about the best we can do.
            This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.

            Stan Reid