Thomas Conway

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Former common-law husband of Catherine Eddowes.

Also known as Thomas Quinn.

Born c.1837 in Kilgever, Louisburgh in County Mayo, Ireland. Joined the 1st Battalion of the 18th Irish regiment in October 1857 as Private No.350. He spent two years and eighty-two days serving in Bombay and Madras, earning one good conduct badge. The conditions led to serious illness, apparently owing to the heat. Other illness brought about his discharge in October 1861.

The medical report read:

"This man is recommended for discharge in consequence of physical debility, and constitutional infirmity, the result of former illness principally rheumatism and chronic bronchitis. Had been invalided from India with disease of the heart, which he has suffered since his arrival at this station. The disease is partially if not entirely attributable to military service and climate, not to intemperance or other vice".

Upon his discharge, he was described as aged 24, 5ft 5ins tall with a fresh complexion, grey eyes and light brown hair. His trade was given as labourer and he intended to live in Beverley, Yorkshire.

By the time Conway met Eddowes (c.1862), he was earning a living as a hawker of self-penned chap-books, but was also drawing a pension from his regiment. Their first child, Catherine Ann (Annie) was born on 18th April 1863 at Yarmouth Workhouse in Norfolk. Bt 1868, they were living in Westminster, London and it is around this time that their son Thomas was born. Catherine's sister Emma saw her occasionally at this time and was alerted to her drink problem.

The family had settled at 1 Queen Street, Southwark by 1871 (as Conway)- Catherine was registered as a laundress and Thomas as a pedlar. Their last child, George, was born on 15th August 1873 at St George's Workhouse, Mint Street, St Saviour's.

By 1881, the family had moved to 71 Lower George Street, Chelsea, but it appears that their 'marriage' broke up soon after. Daughter Catherine (Annie) claimed it was due to her mother's behaviour, whereas Eddowes' sister Elizabeth Fisher blamed Conway's violence for the separation. Thomas took the two sons with him and Catherine seems to have followed her older sister Eliza Gold to Spitalfields where she met John Kelly that year. For various reasons, Thomas kept the whereabouts of the two sons from Catherine.

In 1887, Conway went to live briefly with his daughter at 15 Anchor Street, Southwark, but left on bad terms.

After the death of Catherine and subsequent inquest, Thomas came forward with his two sons in order to eliminate any suspicions towards him. Living at York Street, Westminster, he had seen Catherine in the streets on numerable occasions, but chose to avoid her whenever he could. He was also aware of Catherine's relationship with John Kelly at that time.

Thomas Conway/Quinn died on 31st July 1908 at St Olave's Workhouse, Bermondsey, suffering from senility and dementia.[1]


  1. The Victims of Jack the Ripper, Neal Stubbings Shelden (Inklings Press 2007)