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Casebook: Jack the Ripper - Message Boards » Suspects » Stephenson, Roslyn Donston » Stephenson : The Roots Report « Previous Next »

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Howard Brown
Chief Inspector
Username: Howard

Post Number: 590
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Friday, June 17, 2005 - 5:17 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Regarding the trip to see Inspector Roots,on the day after Christmas 1888, D'onston was remembered by the Inspector as a man he had known 20 years previously. This means that the approximate time that these two had met in circumstances yet to be discovered was in 1868, around the time of RDS losing his job with the Customs House in Hull.

An important statement is made by Roots, who as we shall see in another thread that will appear shortly, that corroborates the impression that Mr. George Marsh recieved and another matter for yet another thread regarding W.T. Stead.

The statement in question is within the file that Roots wrote,regarding RDS trip to the police station. Along with stating that RDS "was a man of education and ability...major in the Italian Army [ with Garibaldi ] and a newspaper writer.."

But what is most noteworthy to us on this thread, is the statement..."a doctor of medicine upon diplomas from Paris and New York.."

Lets examine this claim. First lets look at a brief chronology of RDS from 1859 to 1868.

In 1859,at the age of 18, RDS traveled to Paris to study under Sir Bulwer/Lytton. From what we have read in the True Face, we learn that RDS studied necromancy and perhaps indulged in other scholastic endeavors.

In 1860, we are told that he met the son of Bulwer Lytton in London in the Springtime. Later that year,the 19 year old Stephenson caught the "war bug" and headed south to Italy to fight with the British Legion under Garibaldi, perhaps landing at Marsala...

In the 1861 census, the war veteran Stephenson is back home,according to the census reports [ see census,christening and registry thread ].

1862,for the moment,is a year of indeterminable activity for Sudden Death.

1863 marked the year he visited Africa,from which experiences,his stories would be re-told in the Pall Mall Gazette.
Also in this year,1863, he would return home to Hull,as the finances which supported him ran out. In this year [and not 1868 as I have erroneously mentioned as a starting date on another thread or error.] his father landed him a job at The Customs House,having sufficient pull to get his son this job. One other noteworthy incident in his life that is verifiable,is the shooting incident which happened in July and was located in a local newspaper,by Mr. Andy Aliffe. This shooting took place while RDS was on "sick leave' following the malady that may have been syphilis, overuse of drugs and alcohol or something else and caused him to take some rest....and his liason with a woman held in low repute

From 1863 up until 1868, Stephenson worked at the Customs House until he was released from his position, following the rather rough year of 1868.

It is then he headed down to London. It is quite possible that during this post-1868 period,he met with the Dean of Canterbury [see Stephenson and our Speculations thread...]. It couldn't have been after 1871,as the Dean died in that year.

So,mes ami...Does anyone see something missing here in the chronology above?

Back to Roots for a moment...

Remembering that Roots knew of him some 20 years in his past [ when Roots was anywhere from 18-22, as he,Roots, was born in 1849. To know him at 22 means that he knew him only 17 years previously,in 1871. This allows for a "ballpark figure" of 17-20 years to not be so technical.

See whats missing yet?

Back to Roots...The Inspector absolutely described RDS in several areas. He labels RDS as " linving the Bohemian life, using chloral hydrate,and drinking heavily..". The latter two attributes were spotted by the not-so-dumb George Marsh in his subsequent chats with RDS which had to have begun on or around December 9th,1888,when RDS left London Hospital. This means the ironmongerer knew him for a fortnight, as Marsh's turn to go see Roots occurred two days before RDS', therefore making it December 24th.

Lifting the suspense....whats missing are these two diplomas for medicine that Roots mentioned as prominently as the use of chloral hydrate, fighting with Garibaldi and knowing him for twenty years.

So..leaving this thread for open discussion, I'm going to initiate one on the period from 1871 to 1876,when IF RDS did recieve his diplomas for medicine,they would have had to come during this phase. A phase that may have been discussed by Cremers,as he discussed his Gold Rush experiences in the American West. Surprisingly,or maybe not so surprisingly,there is no mention of RDS being in New York to recieve a doctorate or diploma in medicine in the True Face. Likewise,a trip to the West back in the 1870's wouldn't be a stone's throw as it is now.It would have been a long journey and if RDS was a prospector,patience would have necessary and the awareness that prospecting is time consuming...

What is puzzling is that when RDS comes back from Africa and goes immediately into service with the Customs House [ thanks to dear old dad ], one has to question why,if he had two or at least one degree in medicine, he settled for a job his Dad found for him and didn't use that hard earned sheepskin to become a doctor or at least set up a practice. That is,after all, what a doctor would do.

Likewise, to get a doctorate in medicine requires time. I tried my best,but could not squeeze in a period or interval to allow for this time necessary for RDS to even get one degree.

Is it possible that he didn't have one to begin with ? Is it possible that if he did, it would have occurred after 1871 ? And if it was, which one ? The one in Paris that he could NOT have gotten in 1859....or in the States, all the while wrestling with Gold Fever out thar in them hills?

More to come....
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Howard Brown
Chief Inspector
Username: Howard

Post Number: 594
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Friday, June 17, 2005 - 6:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

One quick addition.....

In 1861,as mentioned,RDS was at home. 1862 needs to be investigated,for sure.

Even though this could be a window of opportunity for RDS to earn a degree,we are still faced with the decision he made to go to Africa,after hypothetically earning a degree within that time.

It doesn't add up that he would squander his degree by going into an area where he could have been lost,gotten sick or even worse....died.

Which may have been the best thing to happen,if he was the Ripper.


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