Friday, 23 November 1888
The London Detectives Ask Chief Crowley About Him.
STORIES TOLD OF HIM.
He Was an Abortionist in New York and Served a Year in the Tombs.
Dr. Francis Tumblety, the suspect arrested at London in connection with the Whitechapel murders, is still held by the police of that city, and a good deal of importance seems to be attached to his apprehension. All facts in relation to the suspected "doctor" are being carefully collected, and, as Tumblety was once in this city, there has been considerable telegraphing between the Police Departments of San Francisco and London. Chief of Police Crowley has succeeded in gaining some further information about Tumblety, who came to this city in 1870 and opened an account at the Hibernia Bank.
C. F. Smythe, one of the officers of the bank, remembers the man distinctly. He first met him at Toronto, Canada, in 1858, when Tumblety was practicing medicine. In the spring of 1870 Tumblety was living at the Occidental Hotel in this city. He rented an office at 30 Montgomery street.
He then had quite a large amount of money, an deposited with the Hibernia Bank a very considerable sum. He remained in the city only a few months, and after his departure carried on a correspondence with the bank upon business matters. He never withdrew his account from the institution, and to-day there is a good sum of money to his credit ther. When the Chief of Police learned these facts, and that the bank still had several letters written by Tumblety, he telegraphed to the Superintendent of Police of London that he could, if desired, furnish specimens of Tumblety's handwriting. The dispatch was sent on the 19th instant, and yesterday this answer was received:
"P. Crowley, Chief of Police, San Francisco, Cal.: Thanks. Send handwriting and all details you can of Tumblety.
Chief Crowley will have Tumblety's letters to the bank photographed and will forward copies to London.
Talking of the affair yesterday he said: "There may be more in the arrest than (sic) was at first supposed. This man Tumblety is evidently a crank. His course with the bank here does not indicate that he was a man of good business instincts, and in New York his behavior was that of a man of (sic) who had no liking for women. However, I do not believe, as does Captain Lees, that he was a man who used to walk about the streets here, followed by a servant and two dogs. That man, I am convinced, was a Dr. Stanley. He was in the city for a considerable time, whereas Tumblety was only here a few months. There are plenty of people here who remember Stanley."
Chief Crowley will continue his investigation and promptly forward all significant facts to London.
Francis Tumblety, according to the Vallejo Chronicle, lived in Vallejo about thirteen years ago and was an uncle of the late John Hayes. Many old residents remember him and say that he answers exactly to the description given by the London papers - "about fifty-five years old, tall and rather heavy, and looks as if he painted his cheeks and dyed his hair. He has a heavy mustache and side whiskers."
"Dr." Tumblety was well off and eccentric. He made quite a little fortune out of his invention of a remedy for pimples.
Fred Hart, the well-known newspaper man, also knew Tumblety.
"In 1856," said he, "I was residing in Thirteenth street, New York. A notorious character who went by the name of 'Dr. Tumblety' had an office on the next block, just east of Sixth avenue. He was a quack doctor and malpractitioner and was in the hands of the police for issuing obscene and suggestive circulars and pamphlets and for other offenses. From the description in the press dispatches of the man arrested in London I feel sure that he must be the same 'Dr. Tumblety,' but he must be quite old now. His correct name was often made public in the newspapers in their reports of his arrest, but I have forgotten it.
"I was then a young man of twenty-one, just out of school, when I made the acquaintance of Tumblety. I had a chum, the stepson of a Presbyterian minister, whose church was on 'our block,' and who has since become famous and will go down into history as the author of Blaine's ruin with his three 'R's.' Young Burchard was wild, erratic and brilliant, and wrote rhymes with great facility.
"On the corner of Sixth avenue and Thirteenth street was a drug store kept by a man named Giles, who had incurred the enmity of Tumblety, and to 'get even' on him, Tumblety proposed to my chum and myself that we write a scurrilous and obscene rhyme. He offered liberal pay for the work. My chum was 'hard up, notwithstanding that he had an income from his father's estate and would fall into a handsome legacy on attaining his majority, which would be in a few months. His father, at the time of his death, was one of the leading shipping merchants and shipowners of the city. He accepted Tumblety's offer, though I refused to work with him, and with the doctor's help ground out a string of filthy verses on Giles. Tumblety had the doggerel printed and sent a copy inclosed in an envelope to every house in the Ninth Ward. Tumblety was immediatel suspected of the outrage and promptly arrested. He at once 'squealed' on my friend as the author, but he, getting wind that a warrant was out for him, fled to Connecticut, where he had relatives, and remained there. The storm blew over. Dr. Tumblety got a year in the Tombs. I came to California the next year and never heard of 'Dr.' Tumblety from that time until I saw his name in the dispatches. He may or may not be the Whitechapel fiend, but that he was a fiend thirty odd years ago I know, and from what Mr. Pinkerton says of the fearful, indecent crimes he has committed, I know he is fully capable of committing the murders in Whitechapel."
Regarding the identity of Dr. Francis Tumblety, who has been arrested in London on suspicion of having committed the Whitechapel murders, the following facts have been ascertained from a gentleman, who stated that he was acquainted with him during his stay in this city:
"I first saw him," said the gentleman, "in Toronto, Canada, about the latter part of July, 1858. As usual he was then accompanied by his greyhound, and, to my judgment, was the finest specimen of physical manhood I ever looked upon. He stood about six feet two inches in height, was of faultless physique, had coal black hair and mustache, florid complexion, dressed in a semi-military style and wore a large gold medal on his breast. Twelve years later, about the last of March, 1870, he registered at the Occidental Hotel as 'Francis Tumblety, M.D.' Immediately afterward he opened an office at 20 Montgomery street, where he continued to practice medicine from April 6 to September 8, 1870, after which he departed, presumably for Rochester, N.Y., whence he came. While here he stated to me that his stay in this city would be governed by an arrangement he was trying to effect with the Bulletin about advertising.
"From my knowledge of him it appeared to be his all-absorbing ambition to attract attention in a harmless way."