The Gardners of Swansea – Emma Borden’s Surrogate Family

(Recycled from 2010)

Long  before Emma Borden abandoned her sister, Lizzie, in late May of 1905, she had very close ties to many Gardners in Swansea, Ma.   But after she split from Lizzie, some of those Gardners  became a surrogate family to her.

The progenitors of those that Emma would embrace, socialize with, attend major family events, and help financially in trusts and her will, are those in the oval picture below (click it to enlarge).

The births, marriages and deaths of these people were recorded in William  Gardner’s family bible:

Why were these people and their children, and even some of their children’s children important to Emma?  Well, the  genealogical link was addressed in this blog post.

If you’re interested, study the names and who married who….there’s more to come about events she attended.

The direct line of Henry Augustus Gardner is the most important – and closest – to Emma.   Much of the information I have obtained was from his estate records and from direct descendants.

As for Lizzie, well she was pretty much written off by these Gardners around early 1897 due to two hugely embarrassing incidents to this quiet, salt of the earth, family entrenched group.

Lizzie had her servants, dogs and a few loyal friends.

But Emma had family.


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Lizzie Borden Would Not Have Liked the Digital World

Aside from taking into consideration Lizzie was a prolific reader and didn’t “do things in a hurry”, I think she would agree with my sarcasm on the following):

I’m so grateful I live in a digital world that allows me to view movies I’ve already seen or maybe not have seen because I didn’t want to buy it but now can for only $7.99. And I’m grateful that my cable company, for a moderate fee, allows me to view those movies on my 60” flat screen.

More to my happiness is the fact I can view a movie on my Galaxy wristband while traveling on Hawaiian Airlines unless I want to see one on my laptop, I-phone, I-pad, or cell phone. And my purchase of Kindle and all the cheap downloads relieve me of carrying a book or two or three inside my carry-on. And if I want to watch the in-flight movie on the seatback screen in front of me, I absolutely can for less than $20, which includes music, games and current events.

I am grateful for the fact, I check my emails on the go with my digital devices and whether I’m waiting in a theater for the movie or play to start, or just sitting in my baca lounger in front of that flat screen waiting for the HBO boxing event to start, the latter of which I’m proud to have access for an additional fee of less than $40.

I’m grateful I can have Netflix notify me anytime one of my favorite movies becomes available because of my special apps used on several of my digital devices. I’m grateful I can be on a beach sipping pina colladas knowing that what cute sayings my friends on Facebook are posting won’t go missed because of my audio alerts. I’m grateful I won’t miss any Tweets from friends or celebrities lest I miss a beat on trending topics or global events that would take hours to appear in traditional print news media.

I’m grateful my cell phone is linked to my I-Pad and can download music to my laptop. I love that I can DEMAND a movie from my cable TV provider, record it, then upload that to my digital wrist device and watch, holding it up to my ear and watching it while sitting in my seat at the cinema without people nearby knowing what I’m doing.

I’m grateful the digital devices and the monthly fees, as well as the apps costs, surpass my monthly cable bill by an amount that has yet to reach 4 rounded digits. I’m grateful most people will recognize the appropriate device on my person when I have fallen and can’t get up. And if they can not, I’m grateful I will have an abundance of digitized communicating devices from which they can use to call for additional help. I’m grateful first responders will most likely reach me in time so I don’t miss my Netflix choice to be shown on my cell phone as I recline in my hospital bed asking a nurse why I can’t upload to the mounted t.v. in my semi-private room.

I’m grateful you’ve spent so much time reading this entire “comment” when you could have been searching the Web for the next new thing in this self-indulgent digital world. But I suppose you already know there’s a app for that.


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Posted by on April 10, 2014 in Just for Laughs


“Look at me! Look at me! I’m over here.”

Isn’t it sad when the only thing you have to nurture in life is your own self image?  And isn’t it even more pathetic when that image is predicated on an infamous character of an unsolved classic crime?

“Look at me.  I’m over here.”

“Hey!  I’m in that picture but you didn’t cite my name.”

And isn’t it even sadder when you have to bellow on social media “Look at me, look at me, I’m over here”  when the response is so silent it only serves to validate what I have been posting for years, to wit:  Nobody cares.

To those who are so self-involved with nurturing the only thing that gives them self-gratification and meaning to being, I say:  Look over there.  Look over there.  A sad and aging visage bellows in the dark and endless tunnel.   A series of failures, a partner who won’t commit and another cycle of long-term unemployment.  The shriek-infested soul leaves pock-marks upon the landscape of a narrow life stuck and stagnated.  No one wants to look at that.  ;)

As an unrelated sidebar notation:  I don’t know which is the bigger mystery:  What happened to Flight MH370 or why Fall River doesn’t have a Gay Pride Parade.  You be the judge.


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Posted by on April 5, 2014 in Just for Laughs


Lizzie Borden-Fall River Rare Atlas 1883

For Sale – highly collectible.  Email me if interested.


Front Cover Charles F Borden house Inside Title page Lumber Yard Cook Borden Pleasant St. TH Borden houss Title Page Wards 3,5,7,8




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Quite an ambitious endeavor here – doubt its fundraiser will yield the $100,000 goal. The skulls pictured are NOT those of Andrew and Abby Borden, but were on display at the short-lived “40 Whacks Museum” in Salem. I suspect the merchandise comes from that failed operation. However, if this project were to become a reality, I certainly would attend a performance.

Click HERE for the full story.


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Declining Property Values in Lizzie Borden’s Hometown

Click on this page link and play around with the GPS imagery.

Property values have declined steadily in the past 20+ years in Fall River.  This property, next door to “Maplecroft” (Lizzie Borden’s post-Trial home) on French Street, was assessed at $258,500 in 2013.

The declining property values  are a result of Fall River’s declining economy and has put many homeowners “underwater” in their loans, i.e., they owe the bank more on their mortgage than the property is worth.

The hot topic in Fall River today concerns a possible mega resort/casino proposed by Foxwoods and the positive or negative effect it will have on the economy; those for it scream “we need the jobs”, those opposed yell “property value will decline”.  The mere mention of a casino being built in Fall River has the Bank of America sending out “heads up” letters that – from their POV -, the property that is the subject of this letter is worth only $222,491 in 2014.  In any event, it has some people waiving the letters and hollaring: “The sky is falling!  The sky is falling!  Stop the casino!”

Frankly, Fall River is on a path to being a sister city of Detroit if it doesn’t do something soon.


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Posted by on March 19, 2014 in Fall River, MA, Maplecroft


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Images of Old Fall River

Here’s more old pictures of Fall River first posted here in 2008 and then Recycled again in August of 2009.  Time to “revisit”.  ;)  If you have trouble reading the colored type, just highlight over it and it turns black.  :)

More images -

Notre Dame Church

Bank Street (north side)

Prospect and Highland

McWhirr’s on South Main

Belmont Street

Belmont looking West

Back of Durfee Mill 1911

1911 Flint Mill

1911 King Mill spinners

1911 Postal Messengers

1916 Chace Mill

1916 King Philip carding room

1916 Merhants Mill

I’ve added more old photos of Fall River. These mostly have to do with the mills and the child labor used to profit the owners…not often addressed but fortunately preserved by noted photographers.

Boys Club on Anawan Street – 1916

I love old photos of Fall River – some found on the internet, some sold on eBay, some from archival institutions and private collections.  Here are some random photos of Fall River and some of its people in the past:

SladeFerryBridge1905 Slade Ferry Bridge 1905

BordenFamCar “Borden” family in 1911 Cotton Centennial Parade

Dr.Dubois office 1908Dr. Dubois office – 1908.

1916millGirlsSewingMaplewood Mills – girls packing – 1916.

O'Neil's SpaO’Neil’s spa

LaFleurs pool room 1910LeFleuers pool room – 1910

Durfee1929-1973Durfee Theatre lobby (1929-1973)

Durfee-StageDurfee Theatre Stage

Library WomenLibrary women at a gathering.

Diving at Globe WharfDiving at Globe Wharf

TemperanceBarTemperance Bar

MainLookingNorthMain Street looking North


PianoTeacherPiano teacher

Azab Grotto Band Azab Grotto Band

buffingtonMayor Buffinton

HouseFireSceneHouse fire scene.

RockStRock Street

Truesdale Hospitl 1905Truesdale Hospital – 1905

130 Rock Street130 Rock Street

1915-EaglePool-318NoMainEagle pool room 318 N. Main – 1915

Alderman-SleighAlderman’s sleigh

Attorney BlinnAttorney Blinn

HorseBuggy1808Horse and buggy – 1908

LincolnAveLincoln Avenue 1900′s

City Hall after fire of 1886City Hall – after fire of 1886

drugstoreDrug Store

MillBoys1912Mill boys – 1910

SteepBrook school 1910Steep Brook school – 1910

clerkClerk – unknown date

Hotel WilburHotel Wilbur

1stCottonMill1st Cotton mill – 1811





The “Welcome” (also called “Victory”) Arch erected on South Main Street between the City Hall and the Granite Block for the July 4th, 1919 celebration welcoming home veterans returning from service during World War 1.


From a real photo post card found in an old Highland Avenue home which, according to the back, shows “The Holmes sisters in their father’s new Reo machine Aug. 1907.” Also written on the back is “Ella- 21 Hanover St. F. R.”


Another real photo post card from an old Highland Avenue estate. Labeled on back- “N.Y. & Boston Express Co. last money wagon in Fall River. 1910 driven by Thomas Fitzpatrick.”  Although likely not armored, the wagon appears to have been made of metal with a rear opening door. It was used to transport currency from the railroad station and steamship wharves to local banks and to provide security for weekly payrolls going to the many city mills.


Durfee Theatre exterior – 1960′s

Ariel view 1960'sAerial view – 1960′s – during construction of Braga Bridge



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