Tuesday, 20 November 1888
San Francisco Lets in Light on the Whitechapel Murders.
Captain Lees' Doubts.
Physicians Who Knew the Man Arrested in London - He May be Innocent.
Dr. Tumblety, alias Sullivan, has played an engagement around the world. He did not make the trip in eight days, however, as did Phileas Fogg, but he has struck a more serious obstacle than did that famous tourist. A dispatch from London, published in the EXAMINER yesterday, announced the fact that Dr. Francis Tumblety had been arrested and held on suspicion of being the Whitechapel murderer. He is held on some charge which has been placed against him in order to secure his detention. The dispatch gave his peculiarities and stated that he was well known in New York, Pittsburg and San Francisco.
An investigation made by an EXAMINER reporter revealed the fact that he is the same genius who resided in this city in 1871. He played but a short engagement here and went East under compulsion, it is generally stated.
"Dr. Tumblety?" remarked the Captain when asked about him. "Oh, yes, I knew him. When I read the dispatch I felt sure that it was the same fellow. About sixteen years ago he was a conspicuous character here. He paraded the streets, as he did in New York, with a negro behind him, who led a greyhound. The same apparel was worn by him then as given in the dispatches. The description answers very well."
"What is your theory, Captain, in regard to the correctness of the suspicions of the London authorities?" was asked.
"Why, that fellow was only a crank, or a man who, like the 'King of Pain,' lived solely upon his eccentricities. I have no idea that he would ever commit such crimes."
"Was he ever arrested or under surveillance while in this city?"
"No. He did not remain here long. There was nothing vicious about him that ever came to the knowledge of the police. He left here all right so far as I know."
An investigation of the City Directories for twenty-five years back was ordered by the Captain, but the name of Francis Tumblety could not be found.
"I remember him," exclaimed Dr C. C. O'Donnell, when interviewed. "He had an office on Washington street, next to the Old City Hall, just below Kearny. He came here from Australia, had no diploma, and was one of those fellows who would do anything for money.
"He came here in 1871, when a great row was being made about unlicensed physicians. He was hauled up, and, having no diploma, was compelled to leave the town. He sold out his stuff at auction, but there was not much but empty bottles to dispose of. He was a humbug and I remember the negro and the dogs well, as he was to be seen on Kearny street every afternoon, just like the Unknown."
A dozen reputable physicians were interviewed, but none of them knew or remembered having seen Tumblety. The records do not show that he was ever a reputable physician in this city. Dr. J. J. Clarke, who is an Englishman and ex-police surgeon of this city, scouts the idea of such a man having committed the Whitechapel atrocities. "London is the safest place in the world to do that kind of thing in," he remarked. "The man who is doing that work will, if he chooses, continue it for years, and probably may never be caught. I scarcely believe that the fellow is a physician. It looks like the work of a man who had a grievance against the opposite sex."