Jane Toppan

Jane Toppan

About Jane Toppan

Jane Toppan (-), born Honora Kelley, was an American serial killer. She confessed to 31 murders in 1901. She is quoted as saying that her ambition was 'to have killed more people helpless people than any other man or woman who ever lived...'. Though scant records survive of Toppan's early years, it is known that her parents were Irish immigrants, and her mother, Bridget Kelley, died of tuberculosis when she was very young. Her father, Peter Kelley, was well known as an alcoholic and eccentric, nicknamed by those who knew him 'Kelley the Crack' (crack as in 'crackpot'). In later years Kelley would become the source of many local rumors concerning his supposed insanity, the most popular of which being that his madness finally drove him to sew his own eyelids closed while working as a tailor. As with all rumors and legends, the story's authenticity is dubious, but it accurately reflects the prevailing opinion of Peter Kelley as an extremely unbalanced person.

Contributions by Treybien, 70.90.131.250, and Kronnang Dunn.