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Identity of Mary Jane Kelly

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  • Identity of Mary Jane Kelly

    As many of you know, I have spent much of the last 30 years trying to prove that MJK was my great aunt Elizabeth Weston-Davies or Craig as she was married to Francis Spurzheim Craig. Two additional snippets of evidence: Craig, who was editor of the East London Advertiser placed an announcement of the marriage in the ELA on 3rd January 1885 which shows that he was fully aware of the identity and antecedents of his new wife. Many people have speculated about the fact that MJK told Joe Barnett that she had been introduced to prostitution by relatives in Cardiff. On 7th July 1887 a Mary Jane Weston aged 23 appeared at Cardiff Magistrates Court charged with keeping a disorderly house at Irwin Street, Cardiff. She was jointly charged with a woman named Davies. Elizabeth's elder sisters and brother had all been born in or near Cardiff and the Weston Davieses had relatives there who included Elizabeth's first cousin Ivor Novello and his mother Clara Novello Davies (her father Jacob Davies was elder brother of Elizabeth's brother Edward's wife Margaret). I think this adds more weight to MJK actually being Elizabeth Weston Davies. Final proof will have to await DNA evidence which I hope will be forthcoming within the next 12 months.

    Prosector

  • #2
    Originally posted by Prosector View Post
    As many of you know, I have spent much of the last 30 years trying to prove that MJK was my great aunt Elizabeth Weston-Davies or Craig as she was married to Francis Spurzheim Craig. Two additional snippets of evidence: Craig, who was editor of the East London Advertiser placed an announcement of the marriage in the ELA on 3rd January 1885 which shows that he was fully aware of the identity and antecedents of his new wife. Many people have speculated about the fact that MJK told Joe Barnett that she had been introduced to prostitution by relatives in Cardiff. On 7th July 1887 a Mary Jane Weston aged 23 appeared at Cardiff Magistrates Court charged with keeping a disorderly house at Irwin Street, Cardiff. She was jointly charged with a woman named Davies. Elizabeth's elder sisters and brother had all been born in or near Cardiff and the Weston Davieses had relatives there who included Elizabeth's first cousin Ivor Novello and his mother Clara Novello Davies (her father Jacob Davies was elder brother of Elizabeth's brother Edward's wife Margaret). I think this adds more weight to MJK actually being Elizabeth Weston Davies. Final proof will have to await DNA evidence which I hope will be forthcoming within the next 12 months.

    Prosector
    Hi Prosector,

    Very interesting.

    I see an announcement had been placed in the County of Middlesex Independent in December, 1884.

    I have ancestors/family members buried at St Patrick’s. Please keep us updated with developments in connection with the exhumation.


    Gary


    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Prosector View Post
      As many of you know, I have spent much of the last 30 years trying to prove that MJK was my great aunt Elizabeth Weston-Davies or Craig as she was married to Francis Spurzheim Craig. Two additional snippets of evidence: Craig, who was editor of the East London Advertiser placed an announcement of the marriage in the ELA on 3rd January 1885 which shows that he was fully aware of the identity and antecedents of his new wife. Many people have speculated about the fact that MJK told Joe Barnett that she had been introduced to prostitution by relatives in Cardiff. On 7th July 1887 a Mary Jane Weston aged 23 appeared at Cardiff Magistrates Court charged with keeping a disorderly house at Irwin Street, Cardiff. She was jointly charged with a woman named Davies. Elizabeth's elder sisters and brother had all been born in or near Cardiff and the Weston Davieses had relatives there who included Elizabeth's first cousin Ivor Novello and his mother Clara Novello Davies (her father Jacob Davies was elder brother of Elizabeth's brother Edward's wife Margaret). I think this adds more weight to MJK actually being Elizabeth Weston Davies. Final proof will have to await DNA evidence which I hope will be forthcoming within the next 12 months.

      Prosector
      hi prosector
      welcome back. very interesting and best of luck with your research.

      now i order you to stay active on these boards as your medical expertise is direly needed! : )
      "Is all that we see or seem
      but a dream within a dream?"

      -Edgar Allan Poe


      "...the man and the peaked cap he is said to have worn
      quite tallies with the descriptions I got of him."

      -Frederick G. Abberline

      Comment


      • #4
        Surely the July, 1887 date of the Cardiff court appearance is at odds with the evidence of Kelly having been in the East End since 1885 and living with Barnett since early 1887.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post

          Hi Prosector,

          Very interesting.

          I see an announcement had been placed in the County of Middlesex Independent in December, 1884.

          I have ancestors/family members buried at St Patrick’s. Please keep us updated with developments in connection with the exhumation.


          Gary

          Or perhaps the DNA evidence doesn’t require an exhumation?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post

            Or perhaps the DNA evidence doesn’t require an exhumation?
            This would be the MJK exhumation that has been deemed highly improbable if not impossible by the University of Leicester team? I'd be interested to hear any alternatives that are non exhumation based, but ultimately it's the remains in the ground that matter. ( Like if someone was buried under one name, but was actually someone else entirely, say Henry Maxwell to make one up at random).

            I recall reading the Weston Davies research at the time, really interesting work and a DNA match would solve (by Ripperology standards) that identity question. Wouldn't prove who killed her though. Still, it was good sleuthing. I hope he does have something new in the future.
            I'm not going to link to it, or such....

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post
              Surely the July, 1887 date of the Cardiff court appearance is at odds with the evidence of Kelly having been in the East End since 1885 and living with Barnett since early 1887.
              Hello again MrB,

              Probably in your field, what if the offences were committed in Cardiff, hence prosecuted in Cardiff? Maybe MJK was skipping bail in Whitechapel?
              I'm not going to link to it, or such....

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi there, I haven't read your book so I can't really pass comment but I intend to read it soon, I think it will be a comforting thing to know that she was once part of a family and probably loved and happy at a time, I have always felt so dreadfully sad for her when I read about her and it would be nice to know perhaps she didn't always have a hard life.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Al Bundy's Eyes View Post

                  Hello again MrB,

                  Probably in your field, what if the offences were committed in Cardiff, hence prosecuted in Cardiff? Maybe MJK was skipping bail in Whitechapel?
                  Hi Al,



                  In November, 1888, Joe Barnett claimed he had lived with MJK for about 18 months and before that she is supposed to have spent time in the West End and then in Pennington Street and so on in the East End for some time.

                  The MJW highlighted by Prosector was sentenced to a month’s hard labour at Cardiff on 5th July, 1887 and was said to have been imprisoned for two months previously for keeping a house of ill-fame in Blackweir (Cardiff).

                  On the face of it the two stories don’t seem to match, but who knows?

                  Gary


                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hello Prosector,

                    Nice to see that you are back. I always enjoyed your posts and thought them quite informative. Please continue to stay on the boards and contribute.

                    c.d.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post

                      Hi Al,



                      In November, 1888, Joe Barnett claimed he had lived with MJK for about 18 months and before that she is supposed to have spent time in the West End and then in Pennington Street and so on in the East End for some time.

                      The MJW highlighted by Prosector was sentenced to a month’s hard labour at Cardiff on 5th July, 1887 and was said to have been imprisoned for two months previously for keeping a house of ill-fame in Blackweir (Cardiff).

                      On the face of it the two stories don’t seem to match, but who knows?

                      Gary

                      Good points there Gary. Interestingly, Elizabeth's husband tried to kill himself by cutting his throat. That'll be a code 73.
                      I'm not going to link to it, or such....

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Al Bundy's Eyes View Post

                        Good points there Gary. Interestingly, Elizabeth's husband tried to kill himself by cutting his throat. That'll be a code 73.
                        Ooh, you are awful...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post

                          Ooh, you are awful...
                          Sources mate, sources....
                          I'm not going to link to it, or such....

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Prosector, I'm really glad you've posted.

                            I was very disappointed at the UL findings that exhumation would be almost impossible. It has always been my understanding that Mary-Jane was buried in a fairly high quality casket, with metal handles and a name plate. Surely this would be highly unusual for a paupers grave?

                            Has anyone discounted the possibility of using metal detection or GPR to narrow down the location of her grave? Or is there evidence that suggests she might have been removed from her casket/reinterred?

                            I'm not usually in favour of exhumation of victims of crimes, but there are enough question marks over "MJK" that there is the very real possibility that her identity could be pivotal, either by proving or disproving your theory.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I agree that the 1887 date is a bit out of line with the dates that MJK arrived in the East End which was presumably after having been introduced to prostitution by her Cardiff relatives and was apparently in late 1886. Still the fact that Elizabeth Weston Davies had relatives of that name in Cardiff and that she (or someone else) was going under the name of Mary Jane Weston is interesting. It was also reported that Mary Jane Weston had a previous conviction for keeping a disorderly house in Cardiff and had been sentenced to two months imprisonment so that may have been some time previously.

                              In reply to Ms Weatherwax - Such evidence that there is suggests that she was not buried in a pauper's grave. Henry Wilton, the sexton of St Leonard's Shoreditch who paid for the funeral, attempted later to raise money to erect a headstone (which didn't happen) and that was not usual with a pauper's grave. We have done GPR and there appears to be a single intact casket in the grave. I am reasonably confident that it is hers and that there is a fair chance of recovering useable DNA. I too am disappointed that UL are reluctant to become involved but, having met them, this is as much because of the fear of intrusion by onlookers and unwanted spectators as not having identified the correct grave.

                              Prosector

                              Comment

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