This week I recorded the second part of my podcast on the Rees/Hopkins family. This all began with John Rees, the only contemporary who supported the claim that the Jack the Ripper victim Mary Kelly lived in Wales. He identified her as the daughter of a marine store dealer from Llanelly who once worked for him before going to Swansea and Cardiff. She drank in the Unity. Jane Williams, landlady at the Unity, said it was Abigael Kelly who married a man called Muir and lived in Kansas City with two children. There was a marine store dealer in Llanelly, Dennis Kelly (c.1824-66), who had three daughters including Alice known as Abby who married William Muir in 1881 and moved to America where her second child was born in 1884.
It seems to be a case of mistaken identity but looking at the evidence again I made two new observations. The first is that Jane Williams received information from Abigael Kelly in 1884 or later. It might have been a letter, a personal visit, or via a third party. John Rees claimed to have met Kelly in London in early 1888.
Secondly my original reading was that Kelly drank in the Unity Inn, Swansea after moving to the city. I now realise that the Unity Inn, Swansea was actually in Pontardulais and closer to Llanelly than the centre of Swansea. It was also less than half-a-mile from the brickworks which John Rees was said to own. If Kelly was living in Llanelly when she drank at the Unity then potentially this brings forward the chronology.
Paul Williams is a writer best known for his study of the Jack the Ripper suspects. His article in Ripperologist 160 discusses the Rees story in more detail and you can hear part one of the podcast here.