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118 Years Ago: August 4, 1892 – The Borden Murders

31 Jul


Fall River Herald News Photo by Dave Souza

UPDATE:   Read this article about a special display at the Fall River Historical Society starting tomorrow, August 4th.

Fall River Herald News Photo by Sousa

UPDATE:   If you missed the Spooky Southcoast broadcast last night, I’ll be posting the podcast link when its done.  I’ve been inundated with emails about the new information revealed!

*********************

Here we go again. For 118 years not one year has gone by without some mention of the infamous 1892 Borden murders in Fall River, Massachussetts. From the very first reporting of the murders in newspapers all across the country (and often on their front pages) every succeeding year has brought a resurfacing of this compelling and enduring unsolved classic crime.

The last two decades have brought incredible technical advances in digital multi-media allowing for almost instantaneous transmittal of news in a variety of platforms. This, along also with the explosive interest in the paranormal the past 15 years serves to fuel the Bordenia juggernaut through incarnations via YouTube videos, ghost hunting/haunted houses/creepy destinations t.v. documentaries, and countless blogs and websites.

Each new generation discovers Lizzie Borden and feeds on the urban legends allowing for Lizzie Andrew Borden to fade in substance and texture from the flesh and blood woman of the Victorian era, Edwardian era, and the Jazz Age.  Instead, she has morphed into a one-dimensional persona based on an inaccurate quatrain depicted as a maniacal murderer wielding a bloody axe. Almost every caricature drawing or folk art depiction has her portrayed this way.  (Golly gee, just look at my previous post with Lizzie as a whacked out Ninja warrior).   But this is as far away from the truth as was the pear tree at 92 Second Street to “Maplecroft’s” veranda on French Street. It is urban legend.

Original artwork by Michael Lukowiak

She wasn’t always thought of or depicted as a maniacal murderer wielding a bloody axe. Fall River’s elite social strata deemed she was not to be talked about. That silence was rooted in the dictates and example set by Fall River’s 7th, 8th and 9th generation Bordens – the premiere founding family of Fall River. The whole thing was an ugly, scandalous and embarrassing business that was not good for business.   The example they set and the code of  “She was acquitted.  We don’t talk about it” held power and influence for decades.  Indeed, even 26 years after Lizzie’s death and when the town celebrated its Sesqui-Centennial (1803-1953) the Fall River Herald News dedicated only a one-column case recap (and one photo of her) in a 3-pound, 100+ page commemorative edition.

So here we go again. In a few days it will be August 4th and Borden case enthusiasts, scholars and looky-loos will be treated to all those “August 4th” historical mentions, case retrospectives, rehashing of the documentaries, etc. etc.  For those that trek to 92 Second Street’s Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum entertaining re-enactments will again be performed by the Pear Essential Player’s. Even the Fall River Historical Society is bringing into the light of day and public view a few case artifacts which have not been shown before, as well as  displaying differently and more provocatively  much of which they have.  I think this indicative of savvy promotion for their new book which, by the way, is taking three times longer to complete that the gestation period of an elephant.    ;)

So here we go again with the Timeline.  This one’s been tweaked a bit and I’ve included the Day Before the Murders.  Why?  Because it’s monumentally significant to what happened the following day.

August 3, 1892 THE DAY BEFORE THE MURDERS
8:00 am Abby goes across street to Dr. Bowen; tells him she fears she’s been poisoned.
9:00 am approx Dr. Bowen crosses street to check on the Bordens; Lizzie dashes upstairs; Andrew rebuffs his unsolicited visit.
10:00-11:30 am Lizzie attempts to buy prussic acid from Eli Bence at Smith’s pharmacy on Columbia Street.
12:00 Noon Lizzie joins Andrew and Abby for the noontime meal in the dining room.
12:35 am Uncle John Vinnicum Morse leaves by train from New Bedford.
1:30 pm John Morse walks from train station & arrives at Borden house; Abby lets him in front door.
2:00-4:00 pm Morse and Andrew talk in sitting room; Lizzie hears conversation CLICK
4:00 pm John Morse hires horse and wagon at Kirby’s Stable and drives to Swansea in late afternoon.
7:00 pm Lizzie visits Alice Russell in the early evening, states her fear “something will happen”.
7:00-8:00 pm John Morse visits Frederick Eddy at Borden farm in Swansea, brings back eggs.
8:45 pm Morse returns from Swansea, talks in sitting room with Andrew and Abby.                                                                                 (CI99)
9:00 pm Lizzie returns from Alice Russell’s, locks front door, and goes upstairs to her room without speaking to father or uncle.
9:15 pm Abby Borden retires to bed.
10:00 pm Andrew and Morse retire to bed.
August 4, 1892 THE DAY OF THE MURDERS (Note: Times given are based on various testimonies taken primarily from the Preliminary Hearing held August 25-September 1st, 1892, and are approximated as close as possible).
6:15 am Bridget goes downstairs, gets coal and wood in cellar to start fire in kitchen stove, and takes in milk.
6:20 am Morse goes downstairs to stting rm.
6:30 am Abby comes downstairs, gives orders for breakfast to Bridget
6:40-6:50 am Andrew goes downstairs, empties slops, picks up pears, and goes to barn.
6:45 am Bridget opens side (back) door for the ice man.
7:00 am Bordens and Morse have breakfast in dining room.  (Lizzie is still upstairs).
7:15 am Bridget sees Morse for first time at breakfast table.
7:30 am Bridget eats her breakfast, and then clears dishes.
7:45-8:45 Morse and Andrew talk in sitting room; Abby sits with them a short while before beginning to dust.
8:30 am Morse sees Abby go into the front hall.
8:45 am Andrew lets Morse out side door, invites him back for dinner.
8:45-9:00 am Morse leaves for Post Office and then to visit a niece and nephew at Daniel Emery’s, #4 Weybosset Street.
8:45-9:00 am Andrew goes back upstairs and returns wearing collar and tie, goes to sitting room.
8:45-9:00 am Abby tells Bridget to wash windows, inside and out.
8:45-8:50 am Lizzie comes down and enters kitchen.
8:45-9:00 am Bridget goes outside to vomit.
8:45-9:00 am Andrew leaves the house.
8:45-9:00 am Bridget returns, does not see Lizzie, sees Abby dusting in dining room, does not see Andrew.
9:00 am Abby goes up to guest room.
9:00-9:30 am Bridget cleans away breakfast dishes in kitchen.
9:00-9:30 am Bridget gets brush from cellar for washing windows
9:00-9:30 am Lizzie appears at back door as Bridget goes towards barn; Bridget tells Lizzie she need not lock door.
9:30 am Abraham G. Hart, Treasurer of Union Savings Bank, talks to Andrew at Bank.
9:15-9:45 am Morse arrives at #4 Weybosset Street to visit his niece and nephew.
9:30-10:05 Andrew visits banks.
9:45 am John P. Burrill, Cashier, talks to Andrew at National Union Bank.
9:50-10:00 am AJB deposits Troy Mill check with Everett Cook at First Nat’l Bank; talks with William Carr.
9:30-10:20 am Bridget washes outside windows, stops to talk to “Kelly girl” at south fence.
9:30-10:00 am Abby Borden dies from blows to the head with a sharp instrument.
10:00-10:30 am Mrs. Churchill sees Bridget outside washing NE windows.
10:20 am Bridget re-enters house from side door, commences to wash inside windows.
10:29 am Jonathan Clegg (fixed time by City Hall clock) stated Andrew left his shop heading home.
10:15-10:30 am Andrew stops to talk to Jonathan Clegg, picks up old lock; Southard Miller (at Whitehead’s Market) sees AJB turn onto Spring St; Mary Gallagher sees AJB at corner of South Main & Spring; Lizzie Gray sees AJB turning north on Second Street.
10:30-10:40 am Joseph Shortsleeves sees Andrew.
10:40 am James Mather sees Andrew leave shop
10:30-10:40 am Mrs. Kelly observes Andrew going to his front door.
10:30-10:40 am Andrew Borden can’t get in side door, fumbles with key at front door, and let in by Bridget.
10:30-10:40 am Bridget hears Lizzie laugh on the stairs as she says “pshaw” fumbling with inside triple locks.
10:35-10:45 am Bridget sees Lizzie go into dining room and speak “low” to her father.
10:45 am Mark Chase, residing over Wade’s store, sees man on Borden fence taking pears.
10:45-10:55 am Lizzie puts ironing board on dining room table as Bridget finishes last window in the dining room
10:45-10:55 am Lizzie asks Bridget in kitchen if she’s going out, tells her of note to Abby & sale at Sargeant’s.
10:50-10:55 Mark Chase observes man with open buggy parked just beyond tree in front of Borden house.
10:55 am Bridget goes upstairs to her room to lie down.
10:55–10:58 am Bridget goes up to her room; lies down on her bed.
10:55-11:00 am Andrew Borden dies from blows to the head with a sharp instrument.
11:00 am Bridget hears City Hall clock chime 11:00.
11:05-11:10 am Hyman Lubinsky drives his cart past the Borden house.
11:05-11:10 William Sullivan, clerk at Hudner’s Market notes Mrs. Churchill leaving the store.
11:10 am  APPROX. Lizzie hollers to Bridget to come down, “Someone has killed father”.
11:10-11:12 am Lizzie sends Bridget to get Dr. Bowen.
11:10-11:13 am Bridget rushes back across treet from Bowen’s, tells Lizzie he’s not home.
11:10-11:13 am Lizzie asks Bridget if she knows where Alice Russell lives and tells her to go get her.
11:10-11:13 am Bridget grabs her hat & shawl from kitchen entry way and rushes to Alice Russell’s.
11:10-11:13 am Mrs. Churchill observes Bridget crossing street, notices a distressed Lizzie and calls out to Lizzie who tells her “someone has murdered father.”
11:13 am Mrs. John Gormely says Mrs. Churchill runs through her yelling “Mr. Borden is murdered!”
11:10-11:14 am Mrs. Churchill goes to side door, speaks briefly to Lizzie, and then crosses street looking for a doctor.
11:12-11:14 am John Cunningham sees Mrs. Churchill talking to others then uses phone at Gorman’s paint shop to call Police.
11:15 am Marshal Hilliard receives call from news dealer Cunningham about disturbance at Borden house.
11:15 am Marshal Hilliard orders Officer Allen to go to Borden house. (Allen notes exact time on office wall clock).
11:16 – 11:20 am Mrs. Churchill returns from giving the alarm.
11:16 – 11:20 am Dr. Bowen pulls up in his carriage, met by his wife, rushes over to Borden’s.
11:16-11:20 am John Cunningham checks outside cellar door in Borden back yard, finds it locked.
11:18-11:20 am Dr. Bowen sees Andrew, asks for sheet; alone with Lizzie for approx. one minute.
11:20 am Officer Allen arrives at Bordens, met at door by Dr. Bowen.  Sees Lizzie sitting alone at kitchen table.
11:20–11:21 am Allen sees Andrews’s body at same time Alice Russell and Mrs. Churchill come in.  (Where was Bridget?)
11:20-11:22 am Allen checks front door and notes it bolted from inside, checks closets in dining room and kitchen.
11:20 am Morse departs Daniel Emery’s on Weybosset Street, takes a streetcar back to the Borden’s.
11-22-11:23 am Officer Allen leaves house to return to station, Bowen goes out with him.  Allen has Sawyer guard back door.
11:23-11:33 am Dr. Bowen returns home, checks rail timetable, goes to telegram Emma, and stops at Baker’s Drug store. Telegram is time stamped at 11:32.
11:25 am Off. Patrick Doherty, at Bedford & Second, notes City Hall clock time enroute to Station.
11:23-11:30 am Lizzie asks to check for Mrs. Borden; Bridget & Mrs. Churchill go upstairs, discover body.
11:32 am Officers Doherty & Wixon leaves police station for Borden house.  Reporter Manning on rear steps, Sawyer inside at screen door. (Bridget in s/e corner near sink)
11:34 am Bridget fetches Doctor Bowen’s wife, Phoebe.
11:35 George Petty, former resident of 92 Second Street, enters the Borden house with Dr. Bowen.
11:40 am Bowen returns to Borden house.   Churchill tells him they’ve discovered Abby upstairs.
11:35-11:40 am Officer Patrick Doherty & Deputy Sheriff Wixon arrive at house; see Manning sitting on steps, met at back door by Dr. Bowen, who lets them in.
11:35-11:40 am Francis Wixon and Dr. Bowen check Andrew’s pockets and remove watch.
11:35-11:40 Officer Doherty questions Lizzie who tells him she heard a “scraping” noise.
11:35-11:40 am Doherty views Abby’s body with Dr. Bowen pulls bed out to view her better.
11:35-11:45 am Morse arrives at Borden house, first going to back yard.
11:37 am Officer Mullaly arrives.
11:39-11:40 am Officer Medley arrives at 92 Second Street.
11:44 am Doherty runs to  Gorman’s shop around corner and phones Marshal Hilliard.
11:45 Dr. Bowen shows Doherty Andrew, then Abby.  Pulls bed out 3 feet.
11:45 am Doherty returns; Officers Mullaly. Allen, Denny, and Medley arrive.
11:45 am Dr. Dolan arrives, sees bodies.
11:45 am Morse talks to Sawyer at side door, later testifies he heard of murders from Bridget.
11:45-11:50 am Morse sees Andrew’s body, then goes upstairs and sees Abby’s body.
11:50 am Morse speaks to Lizzie as she lays on lounge in dining room.
11:50 am-Noon Asst. Marshal Fleet arrives; sees bodies; talks to Lizzie in her room w/Rev. Buck, says “…she’s not my mother, she’s my  stepmother”
11:50 am Morse goes out to back yard and stays outside most of the afternoon.
11:50 am –Noon Deputy Sheriff Wixon climbs back fence and talks to workmen sawing wood in Chagnon yard.
11:50-Noon Doherty, Fleet and Medley accompany Bridget to cellar where she shows them hatchet in box on shelf.
12:15-12:20 am Officer Harrington arrives at the Borden house.
12:25 am Officer Harrington interviews Lizzie in her bedroom (she wears pink wrapper).
12:45 am Marshal Hillliard & Officers Doherty & Connors drive carriage to Andrew’s upper farm in Swansea.
2:00 pm Dr. Dedrick arrives at Borden house.
3:00-4:00 pm Crime scene photographs are taken of Andrew & Abby.
3:40 pm Emma leaves on New Bedford train for Weir Junction to return to Fall River.
4:30 pm Stomachs of Andrew and Abby removed and sealed.
5:00 pm Emma arrives in Fall River.
5:00-5:30 pm State Detective George F. Seaver arrives from Taunton.
5:30 pm Dr. Dolan “delivers” bodies of Andrew and Abby to Undertaker James Winward.
5:35 pm Winward & assistant remove sofa from house and store it in a room at his building.
6:00 pm Alice leaves 92 Second St. to return home for supper.
8:30 pm Mrs. Charles Holmes leaves the Borden girls and returns to her home.
8:45 pm Officer Joseph Hyde, observing from a northwest outside window, sees Lizzie & Alice go down cellar.
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Posted by on July 31, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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