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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Victims > Mary Jane Kelly

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  #1  
Old 04-22-2010, 11:07 PM
Madam Red Madam Red is offline
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Default The Davies Child? Really?

Was rereading Mary Jane Kelly's bio on here when I came across this:

Quote:
c. 1879: At the age of 16 she marries a collier named Davies. He is killed in an explosion two or three years later. There is a suggestion that there might have been a child in this marriage.
Could someone explain, please, what this suggestion is? I thought- was pretty sure- MJK never had children.

Also, if this child did exist and survived into adulthood, what would be his or her options?
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  #2  
Old 04-23-2010, 01:37 AM
Madam Red Madam Red is offline
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Finally found what that biography was referring to, after a couple of hours searching.

http://www.casebook.org/dissertations/rn-spitting.html

While I was expecting this turnout, it's interesting to think, "What if this child had existed? What kinds of difficulties would he or she face?"
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  #3  
Old 04-23-2010, 02:29 AM
Adam Went Adam Went is offline
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I'm not sure, even if it was true that MJK had a child somewhere, that they would know anything about their past or who their mother really was. They would have been very young when she was killed (I've actually read an account before which says that she had a son who was 10 years old in 1888.) Clearly he was not living with her at the time (same with all the children of the Ripper victims), so it's a reasonable assumption that they were seperated at an early age. Workhouse, perhaps? Living with relatives? No option was particularly great.

Cheers,
Adam.
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Old 04-23-2010, 06:07 AM
Madam Red Madam Red is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Went View Post
I'm not sure, even if it was true that MJK had a child somewhere, that they would know anything about their past or who their mother really was. They would have been very young when she was killed (I've actually read an account before which says that she had a son who was 10 years old in 1888.) Clearly he was not living with her at the time (same with all the children of the Ripper victims), so it's a reasonable assumption that they were seperated at an early age. Workhouse, perhaps? Living with relatives? No option was particularly great.

Cheers,
Adam.
Agreed.

While the quote says he was hanging around her right before the murders, he isn't mentioned being with her between his birth and her death. I'd take it as a sign that this story was a mere rumor.

However, if she had a small child when Davies supposedly died, and if Mary wasn't able to care for him/her, then she was faced with at least four-ok, five options:

1) Leave the child with relatives.

2) Orphanage, although only "respectable" children from "respectable" parents were allowed in.

3) Workhouse.

4) Paid Adoption, risking your offspring's life on the chance that this caregiver is a Baby Farmer.

5) Infantcide.

It's not a pleasant thought, but infantcide was a massive problem during the 19th century. A regular occurance.


On a somewhat happier note, this concept of a hidden child has inspired a story from me.
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  #5  
Old 04-23-2010, 12:25 PM
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Chris Scott Chris Scott is offline
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Hi MR
There were reports in the press in the immediate aftermath of the Millers Court murder that Kelly had a son living with her (whose alleged age ranged from 6 to 11). As with many of these early reports this rapidly changed over a period of a few days:
- there were reports that the boy had actually seen the killer
- it was alleged that when Kelly acquired a client on 9 Nov that the boy was sent to a neighbour to be looked after
- one change was that it was quickly asserted that the child was not Kelly's but that of a neighbour and she was looking after the boy

Personally I think the most damning omission in any case for Kelly having a child living her is the (almost?) complete failure of Barnett to mention such a circumstance.

There is a later and more detailed story (whose origins I do not know) that Kelly had a daughter - there was even a name put to the child but I cannot currently recall it - maybe some kind person could remind me:-)

Last edited by Chris Scott : 04-23-2010 at 12:29 PM.
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  #6  
Old 04-23-2010, 12:33 PM
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Chris Scott Chris Scott is offline
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It seems really pompous to quote myself (!) but I cannot let my statement in my last post
"Personally I think the most damning omission in any case for Kelly having a child living her is the (almost?) complete failure of Barnett to mention such a circumstance"
go unqualified.
There is one press account which seems to be saying that Barnett mentioned Kelly having a child
The best way to explain is to quote from "Will the Real Mary Kelly...?" the passage about Kelly's alleged child:



2) Mary Jane Kelly had a son.
The story that Kelly had a young son living with her is both very early in origin and also becomes incredibly detailed very quickly. The outline of the story is that Kelly had a young son, whose age seems to vary from seven to eleven years old, living with her. On the night of the murder a man came to her room and she sent the child to stay with a neighbour. For once we have a quoted source for the earliest occurrence of this story. On the 9th of November, the day of the murder, an account appeared in The Star which specifically says that the details were told to the Star reporter by the inhabitants of the lodging houses in Dorset Street. This includes the first mention of Kelly's child:
"But from the startled inhabitants of the lodging-houses in Dorset-street a Star man got a few details. The victim is a woman who went by the name of Mary Jane and she lived in the room in which she has been murdered, with a man and her little son - about 10 or 11 years old."
The fuller version of the story of the boy appeared in the Times of the following day, 10th November:
"Another account gives the following details: Kelly had a little boy, aged about 6 or 7 years living with her, and latterly she had been in narrow straits, so much so that she is reported to have stated to a companion that she would make away with herself, as she could not bear to see her boy starving. There are conflicting statements as to when the woman was last seen alive, but that upon which most reliance appears to be placed is that of a young woman, an associate of the deceased, who states that at about half-past 10 o'clock on Thursday night she met the murdered woman at the corner of Dorset-street, who said to her that she had no money and, if she could not get any, would never go out any more but would do away with herself. Soon afterwards they parted, and a man, who is described as respectably dressed, came up, and spoke to the murdered woman Kelly and offered her some money. The man then accompanied the woman to her lodgings, which are on the second floor, and the little boy was removed from the room and taken to a neighbour's house. Nothing more was seen of the woman until yesterday morning, when it is stated that the little boy was sent back into the house, and the report goes, he was sent out subsequently on an errand by the man who was in the house with his mother. There is no direct confirmation of this statement."

The oddest mention of Kelly having a child comes from the Star of the 10th of November. After leaving Kelly, Barnett went to live at Buller's Lodging House, 25 New Street. The Star reporter tracked Barnett down to a public house near his lodgings and interviewed him. This interview appears to quote Barnett as confirming that Kelly had a child:
"JOE BARNETT'S STATEMENT.
In a public-house close by Buller's the reporter succeeded later on in finding Barnett, who is an Irishman by parentage and a Londoner by birth. He had lived with her for a year and a half, he said, and should not have left her except for her violent habits. She was a Limerick woman by birth, he says, but had lived in Dublin for some time. She went by the name of Mary Jane, but her real name was Marie Jeanette. He knew nothing about her proceedings since he left her, except that his brother met her on the Thursday evening and spoke to her. He himself had been taken by the police down to Dorset-street, and had been kept there for two hours and a half. He saw the body by peeping through the window.
To our reporter Barnett said he and the deceased were very happy and comfortable together until another woman came to sleep in their room, to which he strongly objected. Finally, after the woman had been there two or three nights he quarrelled with the woman whom he called his wife and left her. The next day, however, he returned and gave Kelly money. He called several other days and gave her money when he had it. On Thursday night he visited her between half-past seven and eight, and told her he was sorry he had no money to give her. He saw nothing more of her. She used occasionally to go to the Elephant and Castle district to visit a friend who was in the same position of life as herself. Kelly had a little boy, aged about six or seven years, living with her."


What are we to make of this? There is no definite record of Kelly having a child. But, there again, as we have seen, there is no definite record of Kelly doing anything! In the light of Kelly's colourful past and her time spent on the streets it is by no means beyond the bounds of possibility that at some stage she had fallen pregnant or had even given birth to a child. However, there is not one shred of evidence from the inquest or any statement by a witness that Kelly had a child living with her at the time of her death or shortly before. The attribution of the statement to Barnett that this had been the case could be the result of some creative journalism, appending a supposed item of information which had appeared in the press to Barnett's words to give them a spurious legitimacy.

Last edited by Chris Scott : 04-23-2010 at 12:39 PM.
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  #7  
Old 04-23-2010, 12:39 PM
Graham Graham is offline
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Allan E Jones writing in Ripperana, date unknown, mentioned an oral tradition in Cardiff that Mary Kelly had a daughter called Agnes Mary, born 1881, who lived in Cardiff until 1908 and then moved to Bristol where she lived until 1942. Who Allan Jones is/was I have no idea, nor do I have a clue as to where he obtained his information.

The above is from the A-Z.

Cheers,

Graham
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Old 04-23-2010, 12:41 PM
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Chris Scott Chris Scott is offline
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Many thanks Graham
That is the story I was referring to
Regards
Chris
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  #9  
Old 04-23-2010, 12:57 PM
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I must admit I've never looked into this story of a daughter.
However, there was an Agnes Mary Davies born in 1881.
And she was born in Carmarthen!
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  #10  
Old 04-23-2010, 01:25 PM
Graham Graham is offline
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Good work, Chris!

You never know - you might be on the right track here.

Apart from the Allen Jones story, I never heard any memory, legend or myth of MJK having any children at all, apart from the little boy supposedly living with her (which I've always believed is a result of crossed wires somewhere).

Cheers,

Graham
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