26 June 1903
Well Known Character Expires in Charity Hospital in St. Louis.
LED AN EXCITING CAREER
After Bequests Are Paid, $73,000 Remains, for Which Relatives Are Likely to Fight.
After a life which included in its multitude of exciting incidents an arrest on the suspicion that he was London's "Jack the Ripper" and another arrest on a charge that he was implicated in a plot to infect the North with yellow fever during the Civil War, Dr. Francis J. Tumblety died several months ago in St. John's Hospital, St. Louis.
St. John's Hospital is a charitable institution maintained by the city, but that Dr. Tumblety had no need of charity is shown by the recent announcement that at the time of his death he had on depsit with the banking firm of Henry Clews & Co. $138,000 cash.
Over the disposition of this money there is likely to be much litigation, for although by his will the doctor left $45,000 to relatives, $10,000 to Cardinal Gibbons and a like sum to Archbishop Ireland, there is $73,000 left. So far the Public Administrator of St. Louis, who has received ancillary letters of administration from Surrogate Thomas, has been called to answer why his powers shall not be revoked by Michael H. Fitz Simons, who has been appointed administrator as a relative from Rochester, N.Y. There are other relatives in Rochester and in California and Liverpool, England to hear from. The hearing in the motion of Mr. Fitz Simons has been set for August 23, and in the meantime the bankers will hold the money until the proper persons to receive it have been indicated by the court.
For more than four decades, Dr. Francis Tumblety was a well known figure in New York, and almost equally well known all over the United States. Although eccentric in dress, in habits and speech he was a shrewd man, who would go to great lengths to make money. Born in Canada, his family moved to Rochester, N.Y., when he was very young. His education was scanty, and it was often said that he received his medical degree while working in a drug store on the banks of the Erie Canal.
He was in Washington at the time Secretary of War Stanton discovered a plot of a Dr. Blackburn to infect the North with yellow fever. Tumblety was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the plot, but was afterward exonerated. In 1888 he went to England. This was in the period of the mysterious Whitechapel murders, and for some reason, probably because of his outspoken hatred of women, he was arrested. He was admitted to bail and later came to this country followed by Scotland Yard men. He was also entirely cleared of this charge. Of late years he lived quietly here, spending his winters in the South.