James Maybrick

James Maybrick was a Liverpool businessman, born October 24, 1838 to William and Susannah.

The Maybricks were an old Liverpool family. Of James' six brothers, two died in childhood. Of the four remaining brothers, William became a carpenter and gilder's apprentice. Thomas, born in 1846, and Edwin, born in 1851, went into commerce and the cotton business. One brother achieved some fame and success as a composer of popular music - Michael Maybrick, born in 1841, wrote such songs as "The Holy City", "Nancy Lee", and "A Warrior Bold" using the stage name Stephen Adams. He retired to the Isle of White and became Lord Mayor of Ryde.

It is likely James was 'married' to a Sarah Ann Robertson who lived near Whitechapel - the location of the Ripper murders. But by 1873 he was 'unmarried' according to official records, and started a cotton trading company with his brother Edwin. In 1874 he sailed for Norfolk, in USA, to establish a branch office. Whilst in Norfolk, Maybrick contracted Malaria and was prescribed arsenic and strychnine. Arsenic is addictive, and the evidence suggests Maybrick continued with this habit up to his death (possibly causing his death). On a ship home to England in 1880 Maybrick met 18-years old Florence Chandler and they were married, in London, in 1881.

They returned to England in 1884, moving to Liverpool, and following business decline and continued substance abuse, despite the birth of 2 children, by 1887 their marriage was in difficulties. Florence had found out about another woman (Sarah Ann Robertson?) and she probably had an affair with Alfred Brierly, a busines and family friend.

About March of 1888, the Maybrick's moved to Battlecrease House in Aigburth, Liverpool. Despite their new home, the Maybrick's marital discord continued. James continued with his arsenic habit, hypochondria and hot temper. Violence erupted on the night of March 29, 1989, which resulted in a black eye for Florie. About a month later on April 24th, Florie purchased a dozen fly papers, ostensibly for a complexion preparation. Also that day, James obtained another one of his strange prescriptions as his health continued to fail. More 'medicine' arrived by package on the 26th, and the following day James Maybrick was seriously ill, apparently from an overdose of these substances.

Hearing the worst, brother Michael journeyed from London as his brother's health rapidly declined. At 8:40 p.m. on May 11, 1889, James Maybrick died. Michael took charge of family matters, virtually imprisoning the ill Florence who was suspected of poisoning him. Although these suspicions lacked substance and based primarily upon rumor, Florie was formally charged with the crime on the 14th. After a 7-day trial Florence was found guilty and sentenced to death - later commuted after a public outcry. She died in 1941 in Connecticut, USA.

In 1992, under still unclear circumstances, a diary came to light, appearing to be authored by James Maybrick, and if its contents bear any semblance of truth he is the killer 'Jack the Ripper'.

A number of strange suggestions and coincidences arise from the diary: the police established some links with Liverpool; ... the police also thought there were links with America; ... the chalked "Jewes" may really have been "James"; .. the inverted 'V' cuts on Catherine Eddowes when 'linked' indicate "M" - Maybrick; .. there were no killings in October - Maybrick was ill then; .. on the wall behind Mary Kelly's death bead is supposed to be scrawled "FM" - Florence Maybrick; ... another modern 'suspect' is James Kenneth Stephen, who was the son of the judge at Maybrick's wife's trial and it is thought J.K. Stephen knew M.D. Druitt - yet another suspect (favoured by Macnaghten).

Finally, the Maybrick family motto is "Tempus Omnia Revelat"
Time Reveals All !

 Ripper or not, the Maybrick saga is a ripping yarn in its own right.

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Last updated 23/12/99