As it says in the Suspects Section with regard to McKenzie:
"Little is known of Alice McKenzie's early years and upbringing, except that she was born sometime around 1849 and was said to have been raised in Peterborough."
Till now this was all I had seen about McKenzie. She, and McCormack, have proved impervious to any research of which I am aware. Even though the Barnett account of Kelly's life has proved frustrating, it did provide some leads to investigate. For McKenzie there was nothing.
I was therefore very pleased to find the article below, which not only gives some alleged details about McKenzie which I had certainly not seen before, but even some about McCormack himself.
Let's see where these lead!
Illustrated Police News
27 July 1889
The Deceased's Antedecents
M'Cormack told an interviewer on Thursday that he first knew the deceased woman in London about seven years ago. She had not a friend in this city, but he believed she had a son, probably in America. Before he became acquainted with her she lived with a blind man who played a concertina in the streets for a living. M'Cormack "took up" with her because she was homeless, and appeared to be a hardworking woman. He had often heard her say she was the last of her family, and had often heard her speak of her father, who was a postman in Liverpool. M'Cormack never saw any of her relations. For several years he served in the army, and took part in the Crimean war, after which he was invalided, and received a pension for eighteen months.
The first thought that struck me was whether there could be any connection between the blind boy, George Dixon, and the blind concertina player with whom McKenzie allegedly lived
Last edited by Chris Scott : 09-09-2008 at 10:18 PM.
Just a thought - if McCormack served in the Crimean War (1854-67) then he must have been appreciably older than McKenzie, if she was been about 1848. Even if he enlisted very young (i.e. about 14 years old) he would have been born about 1840.
If his being invalided was as a result of the Crimean War - which is the impression the article gives me - then he'd be even older, for he would have served in the army for several years, i.e. more than two years. I suppose he could have been invalided in some other action after the Crimean War, but I feel that they meant he was invalided during the Crimean War.
Great work, Chris. Clay Pipe is one that's always been of interest to me too, not least because the site of her murder is so accessible to this day and, of course, the facade of the wash house next to the site still stands.
However, we know that the IPN wasn't to be taken too seriously and the mention of the blind man she lived with did also strike me as possibly - just possibly - being an incorrect reference to George Dixon and thus an indication of the reliability of the piece.
__________________ Tour guides do it loudly in front of a crowd.
Glad it was of use and I also am interested by McKenzie as she is even more of an enigma than Kelly, if that is possible!
I agree that the main research tool with any account like this is a large pinch of salt!
However, I will do a bit of digging around and see if anything comes up. Some of the mentions seem so specific - like her father being a postman in Liverpool - that it makes me wonder if there may be some grains of truth in it
But of course the Barnett account is an object lesson in not getting hopes up too high