Jack The Ripper January 4th 1889

By early 1889, the name of Jack the Ripper had spread far and wide, and the fear of him was reaching place that were far, far away from the epicentre of the district in which the Whitechapel murders had occurred.

The Dundee Courier, in its edition of Friday 4th January 1889, published the following story in which the name by which the perpetrator of the crimes was now universally known, played a minor, though amusing, role:-



Regarding the extensive seizure of smuggling plant made in Strathoykel, Ross-shire, last week, it has transpired that the copper still that was carried away as a trophy by Mr Poole, supervisor, Tain, was the  celebrated button still, so named from the number of metal buttons with which its pin-holes had from time to time been rudely clinched to make it watertight.


It is said that for at least forty years this famous “black pot” was known to exist in that wild region, and many wonderful stories are related concerning it.

During that period many efforts have been made by successive staffs of revenue officers to capture it, and many a narrow escape it has had.

Many a gallon of whisky it has distilled, and many a conflict between its owners and would-be captors it has witnessed.


At the wind-up of its eventful career a rather amusing incident took place.

While the officers were searching, one of them, who had got isolated from the rest, noticed a girl whom he considered worth watching, as her movements, he thought, appeared to be rather suspicious.

The girl, who was not then aware that the excisemen were in the neighbourhood, looked with equal suspicion on the officer, until finally, mistrusting his ill-mannered gaze, she ran away, and waded the river.


The officer, quite naturally thinking that she was off to warn smugglers, plunged into the stream after her, whereupon she began to scream frantically, shouting in Gaelic for assistance, and that “Jack the Ripper” was after her.

On realising the situation however, the officer relinquished the chase before assistance was necessary.”


Meanwhile, as the following article, which appeared in The Bradford Daily Telegraph, made clear, the epidemic of letter writing, that had broken out in the wake of the original “Dear Boss” letter, was showing no signs of bating any day soon:-

“Yesterday the police at Windsor got a letter with the Windsor post mark, stating that “Jack the Ripper” intended to commence work in the Royal borough next week, that be intended to commit six outrages, and then go back to Whitechapel.

Very likely the letter is the work of some lunatic or practical joker.

News of it got abroad, and the inhabitants around Windsor Castle are in a state of great excitement.

It would be a good thing if the writers of these letters, and the perpetrators of practical jokes on the surfeit of these barbarous murders could be found out and smartly punished.”