Earl Of Euston Or His Brother?

Posted: May 27, 2009 in Other Ripper Research
Euston, "Earl For a Day," Is Scorned by Nobility; To Be Buried As Plebeian

Provincial Grand Lodge of Northamptonshire           From the Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Earl or no earl, the body of the old man who died in a dingy attic at 19 Hick’s st., last week is going to the cemetery, to be given the "Christian burial" he wanted, bearing the same name by which he was known to his landlady – plain American Edward Euston.
His posthumous prominence lasted one day. Already it has faded. Unless he did it through an ironic sense of humor, he never sought the eminence. If the people chose to regard a clipping recounting some of the family history of the Duke of Grafton, descendant of King Charles II of England, and his heir, the Earl of Euston, as indication that he was an errant member of the family, perhaps a lost Earl of Euston himself, the blame cannot be laid to him. All he did was to die; the police did the rest.
The cables and queries the officials sent out to ascertain the exclusive old dock watchman’s true identity, have failed to produce anything to substantiate the theory. On the contrary, the whole idea has begun to totter.
The British Consulate, which was notified of the police belief in old man Euston’s reputed blue blood, placed no credence in it at all. Scotland Yard has flashed back no cable ordering the body shipped to England for appropriate ceremonies. As for Burke’s Peerage, the history of the Fitzroy family and its head, the Duke of Grafton, is complete and satisfactory. A ne’er-do-well son would fit nowhere in it.
A little more of his life was learned at the offices of the Prudential Life Insurance Company in Newark, but only a little more. On his application for an industrial insurance policy in 1897 he gave his birth as having taken place April 20, 1860, which would dispose of the theory that he was the present Duke of Grafton’s older brother. The present Duke was born in 1848. Also Edward Euston gave his birthplace as New York City. No question of his parentage was asked.
At the time he took out this 10-cent-a-week policy he was living at 772 3d ave., a one story building, now occupied by a store. It is as unprepossessing looking now as it was then. Subsequently he moved to 993 Rogers ave., to live as a boarder with a family named Huber. In June 1919, he moved to a lodging house at 72 Middagh st. On July 4, 1921, he moved to 195 Moscow st. He never notified the company when he moved to 19 Hicks st., about two years ago. He did not permit the company’s collectors to come to his homes; he always called at the Prudential office at 32 Court st. and paid his premium, usually about ten weeks in advance.
The policy originally called for an expiration value of $108, but Euston, by continuing payments, had run it up to $132. The public administrator notified James McGuire, the Morgue keeper, today, that about $100 would be used in giving Edward Euston – not the Earl of Euston – a Christian burial, very likely in Evergreens Cemetery.
Circumstances of an unusual nature served to promote old man Euston’s body to the peerage. In the first place he was too reticent for his neighbors to understand. He worked on the docks in the night time and he stayed in his rooms and slept of days. He permitted no one, not even his landlady, Mrs. Mattie Morris, to invade this privacy.
He was locked in this room when he died. They had to break the door down to get in to his body. And then, when they were getting ready to bury him a detective found a picture of a young man, about 24, under the mattress, and also a clipping of the Duke of Grafton’s family tree. In addition there was an uncommon kind of Masonic apron and a photograph of the duke. The flurry of excitement that these finds aroused has subsided. Nothing to corroborate them has come to notice.

Source: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, New York, Thursday July 20, 1922

His Past A Mystery

Ridicules Idea of Recluse Being Heir To Dukedom

Countess Cassilis in London Scoffs at N.Y. Dispatches on Night Watchman’s Death

LONDON, July 20. – The Countess of Cassilis, sister-in-law of the present Duke of Grafton, today described as preposterous the theory of investigators in New York that Edward Euston, the eccentric old night watchman found dead in a Brooklyn rooming house, might have been Earl Euston, the duke’s elder brother and onetime heir to the dukedom.
Referring to dispatches from New York setting forth that records there showed only that Earl Euston had died in 1912, without naming the month, day or place of death, the countess said that the late earl, otherwise known as Henry James Fitzroy, had died childless in Wakefield Lodge, Stony Startford, England, on May 5, 1921. He was the eldest of four brothers, one of whom, Alfred William Maitland Fitzroy, became the eighth Duke of Grafton upon the death of his father in 1918.
Edward Euston, who died on July 12, at 19 Hicks Street, Brooklyn, will be buried today from the King’s County Morgue, since no one has come forward to claim his body. His only effects were photographs and newspaper clippings indicating that he might be related to the Fitzroy family, whose head is the Duke of Grafton.

Source: New York Tribune, Friday July 21, 1922

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