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New York Herald
19 November 1888



Braintree, Mass., Nov. 18, 1888.-A most shocking murder was brought to light this afternoon in that portion of North Braintree known as "the Five Corner." The victim was Miss Mehitable White, aged sixty-four, who has been running a large farm in that section and who has lived with no other company than a hired man. At half-past three o'clock this afternoon Ernest W. Dennett, a nephew of the old lady, called at the farmhouse, but found all the doors locked. The neighbors had not seen his aunt about the place since Saturday night.

Young Dennett went home and returned with his father and a few neighbors. They broke into the house and found everything in confusion, the rooms having been ransacked. The searchers went to the large barn, the doors of which were also locked, and broke in. A human hand was seen protruding from a pile of hay, and the horribly mutilated body of Miss White was brought to light, lying face downward. The feet and hands were bound with hay ropes, the throat was cut from ear to ear as though by a razor, and there was an ugly wound on the head behind the right ear.

Suspicion points strongly to John Thompson, the hired man, who came to the farm only last Monday from a Nova Scotia agency on Washington street, Boston, and who is described by the neighbors as a hard look looking character. He was seen at half-past five o'clock last night driving home the cows with Miss White. About half-past seven neighbors saw him driving rapidly toward the depot with the farm team and shortly afterward return to the house. His trunk was missing. The motive was evidently money, but it is known that there was little or none in the house.


Dr. Tumblety's Queer Antics in this City - Known to the Police.

An odd character is the New Yorker Dr. Francis Tumblety, who, according to a cable dispatch, was arrested in London on suspicion of being concerned in the Whitechapel murders and held on another charge for trial under the special law passed after the "Modern Babylon" exposures.

Dr. Tumblety, who has resided in this city off and on for about twenty-five or thirty years, is a Canadian. He is about fifty-five years old, tall and rather heavy, and looks as if he painted his cheeks and dyed his hair, heavy mustache and side whiskers. He had an office in this city some years ago, and went abroad last summer. He is well off and peculiar, and is the inventor of a preparation for the cure of pimples.

Dr. Tumblety always attracted attention in the street. Some years ago he used to go about wearing jack boots, accompanied by a greyhound and followed by a manservant, who also rode after his master when he took exercise on horseback. The Doctor had offices at various times in Jersey City, Pittsburg and San Francisco.

During the war he was arrested in Washington, either in mistake for Dr. Blackburn or on the charge of being his accomplice. Dr. Blackburn, it will be recalled, was accused of attempting to spread yellow fever in the North by the introduction of infected rags. Dr. Tumblety always charged that while he was imprisoned in Washington Secretary Stanton confiscated a lot of his securities and did not return them when he was set free. The Doctor was committed to Ludlow Street Jail some years ago for refusing to pay the costs of a suit.


The Doctor used to tell a queer story about himself as if, as if he b[e]lieved it. He said he was once dead, and proceeded to explain by stating that when riding near Pittsburg one day he was thrown from his horse and carried home for dead. He claimed that he then lay dead for three days, and was only brought to life by the undertaker, who found him too long for his coffin, attempting to saw off his legs.

A gold medal the Doctor is proud of war given to him by admirers when he left Canada. He is said not to have practiced for several years, and has been a familiar figure for several seasons at the White Sulphur Springs, which he visited for some rheumatic affection. To those who know him the Doctor has always been a good deal of a puzzle.

The prisoner has been known to Inspector Byrnes for over twenty years, and has always been regarded as a suspicious and mysterious individual. Tumblety came to New York in 1864 from Nova Scotia, where he was known as Dr. Sullivan. It is claimed that Sullivan fled to the States to escape arrest for malpractice, having nearly killed a patient he had been called to attend by administering wrong medicines.

The authorities were informed of strange goings on in the 'Doctor's' office, but they were unable to get sufficient evidence against Sullivan, or Tumblety, to warrant taking him into custody.


Sixteen or seventeen years since Tumblety had some difficulty with Editor Ralston, of Frank Leslie's Weekly. The outcome of this trouble was a full exposure of his doings in Nova Scotia and also in this city. Some days after this exposure the Doctor met Editor Ralston in the barroom of the Fifth Avenue Hotel. Mr. Ralston was at the time chatting with Supervisor Briggs and Central Office Detective Timothy J. Golden. Tumblety assaulted Ralston and a lively fight was the result, in which the editor came off first best. Tumblety afterward wanted Mr. Ralston to fight a duel, but the latter said that the fellow was really not worth fighting with. Detective Golden arrested Tumblety for assault, but Ralston declined to make any complaint and the prisoner was let go. This occurred about 1872.

Of late years Tumblety transferred his "pimple banishing" business to London, but during the year he always made a couple of trips across the Atlantic to this city. He appeared to be well supplied with money, but the police were unable to discover the source of his secret revenue.

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       Official Documents: The Littlechild Letter 
       Press Reports: Arkansas Gazette - 16 April 1891 
       Press Reports: Arkansas Gazette - 19 April 1891 
       Press Reports: Atchison Daily Globe - 15 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Atlanta Constitution - 21 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Boston Medical and Surgical Journal 
       Press Reports: Brandon Mail - 22 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Brooklyn Daily Eagle - 10 May 1864 
       Press Reports: Brooklyn Daily Eagle - 10 May 1865 
       Press Reports: Brooklyn Daily Eagle - 18 November 1890 
       Press Reports: Brooklyn Daily Eagle - 19 June 1865 
       Press Reports: Brooklyn Daily Eagle - 2 February 1889 
       Press Reports: Brooklyn Daily Eagle - 27 April 1890 
       Press Reports: Brooklyn Daily Eagle - 28 January 1889 
       Press Reports: Brooklyn Daily Eagle - 4 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Brooklyn Daily Eagle - 4 May 1865 
       Press Reports: Brooklyn Daily Eagle - 6 May 1864 
       Press Reports: Brooklyn Daily Eagle - 8 May 1865 
       Press Reports: Bucks County Gazette - 13 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Bucks County Gazette - 20 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Burlington Weekly Hawkeye - 6 May 1865 
       Press Reports: Chicago Tribune - 22 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Chicago Tribune - 22 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Chicago Tribune - 6 May 1865 
       Press Reports: Courier du Canada - 4 November 1857 
       Press Reports: Courier du Canada - 6 November 1857 
       Press Reports: Daily Alta California - 23 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily Examiner - 20 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily Examiner - 23 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily Sun - 22 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Decatur Daily Herald - 26 June 1889 
       Press Reports: Decatur Review - 19 November 1890 
       Press Reports: Evening Star - 11 May 1865 
       Press Reports: Evening Star - 17 April 1862 
       Press Reports: Evening Star - 19 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening Star - 2 June 1865 
       Press Reports: Evening Star - 20 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening Star - 21 April 1862 
       Press Reports: Evening Star - 21 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening Star - 27 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening Star - 3 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening Star - 30 June 1862 
       Press Reports: Evening Star - 4 December 1861 
       Press Reports: Fort Wayne Weekly Sentinel - 18 November 1890 
       Press Reports: Fort Wayne Weekly Sentinel - 19 November 1890 
       Press Reports: Frederick News - 20 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Frederick News - 4 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Frederick News - 5 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Galveston Daily News - 7 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Hamilton Evening Times - 29 May 1865 
       Press Reports: Hamilton Evening Times - 8 May 1865 
       Press Reports: Hornesville Weekly Tribune - 21 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Irish Canadian - 12 October 1875 
       Press Reports: Manitoba Daily Free Press - 29 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Manitoba Daily Free Press - 4 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Montreal Pilot - 14 September 1857 
       Press Reports: Montreal Pilot - 16 September 1857 
       Press Reports: Montreal Pilot - 23 September 1857 
       Press Reports: Montreal Pilot - 24 September 1857 
       Press Reports: Montreal Pilot - 25 September 1857 
       Press Reports: Montreal Pilot - 26 September 1857 
       Press Reports: Montreal Pilot - 28 September 1857 
       Press Reports: Montreal Pilot - 30 September 1857 
       Press Reports: Morning Freeman - 10 July 1860 
       Press Reports: Morning Freeman - 11 August 1860 
       Press Reports: Morning Freeman - 13 September 1860 
       Press Reports: Morning Freeman - 14 August 1860 
       Press Reports: Morning Freeman - 16 October 1860 
       Press Reports: Morning Freeman - 27 September 1860 
       Press Reports: Morning Freeman - 39 September 1860 
       Press Reports: New York Herald - 20 November 1888 
       Press Reports: New York Herald - 21 November 1888 
       Press Reports: New York Herald - 26 June 1903 
       Press Reports: New York Herald - 4 December 1888 
       Press Reports: New York Times - 10 June 1865 
       Press Reports: New York Times - 19 November 1888 
       Press Reports: New York Times - 23 November 1888 
       Press Reports: New York Times - 26 June 1903 
       Press Reports: New York Times - 4 December 1888 
       Press Reports: New York Times - 5 May 1865 
       Press Reports: New York Times - 7 May 1865 
       Press Reports: New York Tribune - 4 December 1888 
       Press Reports: New York World - 19 November 1888 
       Press Reports: New York World - 2 December 1888 
       Press Reports: New York World - 4 December 1888 
       Press Reports: New York World - 5 December 1888 
       Press Reports: New York World - 6 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Newark Daily Advocate - 30 May 1903 
       Press Reports: Oakland Daily Evening Tribune - 8 December 1890 
       Press Reports: Olean Democrat - 3 January 1889 
       Press Reports: Olean Democrat - 7 February 1889 
       Press Reports: Olean Democrat - 8 August 1889 
       Press Reports: Perth Courier - 26 November 1858 
       Press Reports: Pittsburgh Daily Chronicle and Telegraph - 27 November 18... 
       Press Reports: Reno Evening Gazette - 20 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Rochester Daily Union and Advertiser - 4 April 1881 
       Press Reports: Rochester Daily Union and Advertiser - 5 April 1881 
       Press Reports: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle - 23 June 1905 
       Press Reports: Rochester Democrat and Republican - 3 December 1888 
       Press Reports: San Francisco Chronicle - 18 November 1888 
       Press Reports: San Francisco Chronicle - 20 November 1888 
       Press Reports: San Francisco Chronicle - 23 November 1888 
       Press Reports: San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin - 23 November 1888 
       Press Reports: San Francisco Daily Morning Call - 23 November 1888 
       Press Reports: San Francisco Daily Report - 21 November 1888 
       Press Reports: San Francisco Daily Report - 23 November 1888 
       Press Reports: San Francisco Examiner - 25 November 1888 
       Press Reports: San Francisco Examiner - 27 November 1888 
       Press Reports: St. Thomas Weekly Dispatch - 20 March 1862 
       Press Reports: St. Thomas Weekly Dispatch - 28 March 1861 
       Press Reports: Syracuse Herald - 30 November 1888 
       Press Reports: The Headquarters - 12 February 1862 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 1 December 1873 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 17 July 1886 
       Press Reports: Trenton Times - 19 November 1890 
       Press Reports: Trenton Times - 4 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Trenton Times - 6 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Vallejo Chronicle - 20 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Vanity Fair - 3 August 1861 
       Press Reports: Washington Post - 18 November 1890 
       Press Reports: Washington Post - 19 November 1890 
       Press Reports: Washington Post - 21 March 1905 
       Press Reports: Washington Post - 22 April 1891 
       Press Reports: Williamsport Sunday Grit - 9 December 1888 
       Ripper Media: A Few Passages in the Life of Dr. Francis Tumblety 
       Ripper Media: Dr. Francis Tumblety: A Sketch of the Life of the Gifted,... 
       Ripper Media: Jack the Ripper: A Suspect Guide - Francis Tumblety 
       Ripper Media: Jack the Ripper: First American Serial Killer 
       Ripper Media: Narrative of Dr. Tumbletyy 
       Ripper Media: The Writings of Francis Tumblety 
       Suspects: Francis Tumblety 
       Suspects: Francis Tumblety's Grave 
       Victorian London: Batty Street