4 December 1888
The Supposed "Jack the Ripper" Who Was Arrested in London Arrives in New York.
FOLLOWED BY DETECTIVES.
His Curious History Full of Suspicion and Mystery.
Dr. Francis Tumblety, who was arrested by the London police on suspicion of having something to do with the Whitechapel murders, arrived in New York on Sunday.
It will be remembered that the Doctor was held in $1,500 bail by the London authorities under the special law passed after the "Modern Babylon" exposures of the Pall Mall Gazette. He jumped his bail, went to France and took passage on board La Bretagne at Havre on November 24.
Although he shipped under a false name. Chief Inspector Byrnes knew of his coming and had the arrival of the French vessel watched. Detective Sergeants Hickey and Crowley were on hand on Sunday when La Bretagne made fast to her pier. They watched a very tall, heavy man, about fifty-five years old, with a dark mustache, come down the gangplank. He wore a long English cloth ulster, without a cape, a derby hat, and carried an umbrella and two canes tied together. It was the now famous Dr. Tumblety, who got into a hack after having a small steamer trunk placed on the box. The detectives jumped into a cab and followed the Doctor to East Tenth street.
The Doctor's hack stopped at No. 79. This is a boarding house kept by Mrs. McNamara, one of the most genial of landladies.
I called yesterday to see the Doctor, but Mrs. McNamara said he was not there. She scouted the idea of his having had anything to do with the dreadful Whitechapel murders.
"Why," said this whole souled, courteous lady, "Dr. Tumblety would not harm a child. He is a perfect gentleman and always paid me punctually. He wouldn't hurt anybody. He once followed me up three flights of stairs to pay me a dollar he owed me. He left here many months ago to make a tour of Europe. He isn't in now and I don't know where he is gone."
I found that the Doctor was pretty well known in the neighborhood. The bartenders in McKenna's saloon, at the corner of Tenth street and Fourth avenue, knew him well. And it was here that I discovered an English detective on the track of the suspect. This man wore a dark mustache and side whiskers, a tweed suit, a billycock hat and very thick walking boots. He was of medium height and had very sharp eyes and a rather florid complexion. He had been hanging around the place all day and had posted himself at a window which commanded No. 79. He made some inquiries about Dr. Tumblety of the bartenders, but gave no information about himself, although it appeared he did not know much about New York. It is uncertain whether he came over in the same ship with the suspect.
Although Tumblety was so well known on that block no one could be found who had seen him since his arrival. The supposed "Jack the Ripper" is a curious man with a curious history. He has lived in New York off and on for about twenty-five or thirty years. It is said that he is a Canadian by birth, but was brought up in Rochester, N.Y.. Mr. Edward Haywood, of the Bureau of Accounts in the State Department, at Washington, said he knew him in Rochester as a boy running around the canals and that the only training he ever had for the medical profession was in a little drugstore at the back of the Arcade, kept by a "Doctor" Lispenard.
Tumblety got up a medicine for banishing pimples and made a great deal of money out of it. When in Pittsburg he called himself the "Great American Herb Doctor" and did a wonderful business. There, as elsewhere, he was eccentric. He used to appear on the streets mounted on a white horse and followed by a liveried servant. In Washington he was arrested in mistake for Dr. Blackburn or on the charge of being his accomplice. Dr. Blackburn was accused of attempting to spread yellow fever in the North by the introduction of infected rags. Tumblety always charged that while he was imprisoned in Washington Secretary Stanton confiscated a lot of his securities and did not return them to him when he was set free.
Sixteen or seventeen years ago the Doctor had a difficult with Editor Ralston, of Frank Leslie's Weekly. The result of this trouble was that certain doings of Tumblety when in Nova Scotia were fully exposed. Some days after the exposure he met Mr. Ralston in the barroom of the Fifth Avenue Hotel. The editor at the time was chatting with Supervisor Briggs and Central Office Detective T. J. Golden. Tumblety assaulted Ralston, and they had a lively fight, in which the Doctor got the worst of it. Tumblety afterward wanted Ralston to fight a duel, but the latter said he was not really worth fighting with. Detective Golden arrested Tumblety for assault, but Ralston declined to make any complaint.
Lawyer P. Burr, of No. 329 Broadway, knows him. In July, 1880, Tumblety brought a suit against a Mrs. Lyons, charging her with the larceny of $7,000 worth of bonds, and Mr. Burr defended her. The Doctor had accidentally become acquainted with her son and made him a sort of secretary in the management of his bonds, of which he had about $100,000 worth, mostly in governments, locked up in a downtown safe deposit company. In 1878 the Doctor went to Europe, and the young man, under power of attorney, had disposed of some of the bonds. When the Doctor came back young Lyons had disappeared and the mother was arrested. The case fell through, but the developments in the trial were most sensational.
Tumblety traveled a great deal in Europe. When arrested in London the English authorities telegraphed to San Francisco for samples of his handwriting to compare them with the supposed writing of "Jack the Ripper." He had always manifested a great dislike of women. Inspector Byrnes has known him for over twenty years, and has always regarded him as a suspicious and mysterious individual. The Inspector said yesterday there was no charge upon which he could arrest Tumblety, but he wanted to know simply his whereabouts.