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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Suspects > Stephenson, Robert Donston

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Old 01-31-2009, 12:14 PM
Stewart P Evans Stewart P Evans is offline
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Default Early D'Onston Notes

Although much has been written of D'Onston as a suspect over recent years, I thought that these early notes about him would be of interest. More to follow.

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Old 02-24-2009, 04:56 PM
Mike Covell Mike Covell is offline
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Thanks for posting this Stewart, I missed this post when you first posted it, and only found it when searching for something I had posted months ago.

I would love to know when the apostrophy worked it's way into Donston, thus making it D'Onston, as it wasn't present on birth or baptismal records.
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Old 02-24-2009, 08:37 PM
Stewart P Evans Stewart P Evans is offline
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Default D'Onston

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Originally Posted by Mike Covell View Post
Thanks for posting this Stewart, I missed this post when you first posted it, and only found it when searching for something I had posted months ago.
I would love to know when the apostrophy worked it's way into Donston, thus making it D'Onston, as it wasn't present on birth or baptismal records.
It was affected by D'Onston himself, at least as early as the time of the murders.
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Old 02-25-2009, 04:53 PM
John Savage John Savage is offline
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Hi Stewart,

The affectaion of Donston to D'Onston seems to go back at least until 1868 and the report of the Flamborough shooting in the Bridlington Quay Observer 16.t. July 1868. I think it also appears in at least one of the Trade Directories of Hull which lists Custom Hopuse staff, but as I am away from home today I am unable to access all my notes.


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Old 02-25-2009, 05:05 PM
Mike Covell Mike Covell is offline
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Default These might help

1867 White’s Trade Directory lists, Robert D Stephenson, Chief Clerk Customs House.
1868 July 11th Monday Bridlington Free Press carries story relating to the shooting of Robert D’Onston Stephenson.

SERIOUS GUN ACCIDENT
On Tuesday last, Mr Stephenson of the Custom House, Hull, engaged a yacht at the Quay, and with a friend left the harbour for a days shooting at Flamboro’ From some cause the lock of his friends gun hung fire and while examining it to ascertain the gun went off and lodged its contents in in the thigh of Mr Stephenson. Although greatly alarmed and much affected by the accident his friend, who from experience was able to tender all possible assistance, brought him to shore and had him conveyed to the Black Lion Hotel, Bridlington, where surgical aid was promptly obtained and several of the shot extracted. We are happy to say he is progressing very favourably and it is hoped he will soon be able to get about again.

1868 July 11th Monday Bridlington Free Press carries a piece showing who is staying at the Black Lion Hotel, among the names is Robert D’Onston Stephenson.

BRIDLINGTON
Black Lion
Fowler. A. Esq Hull
Stephenson D.O. Esq Hull
Richardson Mrs S Hull
Richardson Miss Hull
Parker. J. Esq Sheff
Wardell….Esq Grantham
Snowdon. Mr. Snainton
Bennet. Mr. Lincoln

1868 July Monday 13th The Eastern Morning News and Hull Advertiser, [third edition]

SERIOUS ACCIDENT TO A HULL GENTLEMAN
On Tuesday afternoon last Mr. R.D.O. Stephenson of Her Majesty’s Customs at this port, while cruising off Flamborough, on board the yacht Flying Scud, met with a serious accident. The party on board were shooting seabirds and Mr. Stephenson was standing just abaft the mast, waiting for a shot when a boatman belonging to the yacht, who was behind him, took up one of the guns to fire and managed to explode prematurely, sending the whole charge into the back part of Mr. Stephenson’s thigh.
The heavy charge (1.1/2ozs of No2 shot) at a distance of about two yards tore a jagged hole, about 1.1/2inches wide and the same depth, and lodged itself in a lump near the bone, which, however it miraculously failed to injure. Fortunately a gentleman was on board who had some surgical experience, and immediately applied temporary bandages. The unfortunate gentleman was landed at Flamborough as soon as possible, and carried to the top of the cliff by a stalwart young fisherman. The only available conveyance being a fish cart, belonging to the landlord of the inn, it was filled with clean straw, and the patient conveyed to Bridlington; where under the skilful hands of Drs. Brett and Mackay, the greater part of the shot were removed. We are informed by eyewitnesses that the sang-froid with which the sufferer treated his terrible and painful wound was something remarkable, and excited the warmest admiration and sympathy in the bystanders. We understand that there is every hope of saving the limb. Provided that neither erysipelas nor gangrene (the two great dangers in gunshot wounds) make their appearance. Mr. Edwin Gray timber merchant, Hull, very kindly superintended the landing at Flamborough.

1868 July 14th Bridlington Quay Observer Carries the story.

SERIOUS ACCIDENT TO A HULL GENTLEMAN
On Tuesday afternoon last Mr. R.D.O. Stephenson of Her Majesty’s Customs at this port, while cruising off Flamborough, on board the yacht Flying Scud, met with a serious accident. The party on board were shooting seabirds and Mr. Stephenson was standing just abaft the mast, waiting for a shot when a boatman belonging to the yacht, who was behind him, took up one of the guns to fire and managed to explode prematurely, sending the whole charge into the back part of Mr. Stephenson’s thigh.
The heavy charge (1.1/2ozs of No2 shot) at a distance of about two yards tore a jagged hole, about 1.1/2inches wide and the same depth, and lodged itself in a lump near the bone, which, however it miraculously failed to injure. Fortunately a gentleman was on board who had some surgical experience, and immediately applied temporary bandages. The unfortunate gentleman was landed at Flamborough as soon as possible, and carried to the top of the cliff by a stalwart young fisherman. The only available conveyance being a fish cart, belonging to the landlord of the inn, it was filled with clean straw, and the patient conveyed to Bridlington; where under the skilful hands of Drs. Brett and Mackay, the greater part of the shot were removed. We are informed by eyewitnesses that the sang-froid with which the sufferer treated his terrible and painful wound was something remarkable, and excited the warmest admiration and sympathy in the bystanders. We understand that there is every hope of saving the limb. Provided that neither erysipelas nor gangrene (the two great dangers in gunshot wounds) make their appearance. Mr. Edwin Gray timber merchant, Hull, very kindly superintended the landing at Flamborough.

1868 July 17th Hull Packet carries the story.

DANGEROUS ACCIDENT TO A HULL CUSTOMS OFFICER
The following circumstances are reported to us,
Mr R.D.Stephenson of the Customs House at Hull and a friend engaged a small yacht, in which they went to Flamborough for a weeks shooting. While thus engaged on Tuesday last week, a fisherman on board, who was standing behind Mr. Stephenson took up a ready charged gun and fired, lodging the charge (above an ounce of number 2 shot) in that gentleman’s thigh. A portion of the trousers as large as a crown piece, was cleanly punched out and driven to the bottom of the wound, which was nearly a couple of inches in depth. The sufferer was landed as speedily as possible, and removed in a cart to Bridlington where the services of Dr Brett, of the coast guard, and Dr Mc’Kay, were secured.
The majority of the shot were cut out the next morning and it was found that the thigh bone had most providentially escaped. The medical gentlemen entertain strong hopes of saving the leg, and should the wound continue to progress as favourably as at present, no danger to life is apprehended. Fortunately for Mr Stephenson, his companion possessed some surgical knowledge, and the bandage he applied undoubtedly prevented a fatal loss of blood.

1868 July 18th Hull and North Lincolnshire Times carries the story.

DANGEROUS ACCIDENT TO A HULL CUSTOMS OFFICER
The following circumstances are reported to us,
Mr R.D.Stephenson of the Customs House at Hull and a friend engaged a small yacht, in which they went to Flamborough for a weeks shooting. While thus engaged on Tuesday last week, a fisherman on board, who was standing behind Mr. Stephenson took up a ready charged gun and fired, lodging the charge (above an ounce of number 2 shot) in that gentleman’s thigh. A portion of the trousers as large as a crown piece, was cleanly punched out and driven to the bottom of the wound, which was nearly a couple of inches in depth. The sufferer was landed as speedily as possible, and removed in a cart to Bridlington where the services of Dr Brett, of the coast guard, and Dr Mc’Kay, were secured.
The majority of the shot were cut out the next morning and it was found that the thigh bone had most providentially escaped. The medical gentlemen entertain strong hopes of saving the leg, and should the wound continue to progress as favourably as at present, no danger to life is apprehended. Fortunately for Mr Stephenson, his companion possessed some surgical knowledge, and the bandage he applied undoubtedly prevented a fatal loss of blood.

1868 Dec Name of ship: Eleanor Alice, registration number: 10620 - ref. WDB/122 Registered Beaumaris, 1857, Owner, Master, Date, Documents, Robert Dawber, Owen Roberts, Dec 1868, 2 crew list(s)

1869 Mercer and Crocker’s Directory and General Gazetteer of Hull lists, Customs House, Whitefriargate, Clerks, R. D’Ouston Stephenson.
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Old 02-25-2009, 07:20 PM
John Savage John Savage is offline
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Thanks Mike,

Mercer & Crockers 1869 directory was the one. Although a little later than the newspaper reports, and after Donston had left the Customs employ it is still worth citeing.
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Old 02-26-2009, 12:16 PM
Mike Covell Mike Covell is offline
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Hi John, I gather the information in the 1869 Crockers Directory was gathered in 1868, as I checked this at Local Studies after it conflicted with the "Customs House File".
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