GenMassachusetts-L ArchivesArchiver > GenMassachusetts > 2011-11 > 1320578857
From: Ms Betty Fredericks <>
Subject: [GENMASSACHUSETTS] Miss TOPPAN, .mass murderer. ~1900 (KELLEY)
Date: Sun, 6 Nov 2011 03:27:37 -0800 (PST)
In last Sunday's "The Lowell Sun" there was a front-page article about a story from 1900-1902. The headline started: "Seven Murders" then "For 10 years 'Jolly Jane' poured her poison." It was about Miss Jane TOPPAN, who was born in Lowell in 1857, but not with that name. She was born Honora KELLEY, with Irish-iummigrant parents: Peter and Bridget KELLEY. Bridget died of TB, when their 2 daughters were 8 and 6, and Peter took them to the .Boston Female Orphans Asylum. In 1865, "Nora" was sent to Lowell to be an indentured servant for a TOPPAN family.
This is not a pleasant story to read. But, if I had been able to tell you about it last Sunday, it would have been a "Halloween story" - of sorts. (We lost electricity last Sat. night, and didn't get it back until Thurs.)
The on-line article doesn't show that it was a front-page article, and it continued on p.4 with a full-page.
"Jolly Jane" was convicted of 31 murders, but she later admitted it might have been up to 100 people murdered. In addition to the gory details about how she poisoned so many people, including her years of being a nurse, there are many names mentioned in the article - of the people she murdered. So, if you are wondering how a relative died in the late 1800's and up to 1901, they could have been murdered by this woman. She was finally arrested in 1901 and sent to Taunton State Hospital. She died there in 1938.
Just an FYI for you.
Betty (near Lowell, MA)
Another FYI is that the Boston Female Orphans Asylum is where my maternal grandmother was sent in 1899 when she was 10 yrs. old. That was ~35 yrs. after "Nora" was sent there at Age 6.
And, I've mentioned the FITZGERALD family I tried to create a family-tree for. Around 1915, Michael FITZGERALD and his wife separated, and she remarried to Thomas J. KELLEY and had more children. Last month I was able to find the KELLEY gravestone at the .Cambridge Cemetery. Someone in the family must be still alive as someone is maintaining the stone. (And, I can't remembered whether I've mentioned that I .finally. found the missing "Michael." During 1950's he and his 2nd wife moved to Bourne, MA, and remained there until their deaths. Michael never had more children - even though his wife was 30 yrs. younger than he was.
|[GENMASSACHUSETTS] Miss TOPPAN, .mass murderer. ~1900 (KELLEY) by Ms Betty Fredericks <>|