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Category Archives: Descendents & Relations

Genealogy, reports from descendants.

The Impact of “The Greater and Lesser Bordens” on Andrew and Lizzie

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AbrahamBordenAbraham Borden – first born son of Richard Borden and Patty Bowen Borden
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“In 1860, Colonel Richard Borden was deemed the richest man in town, worth $375,000, (the equivalent of $8,122,011 in 2006). His wife was head of Central Congregational Church sewing circle.” -Spinner Magazine
Just pause and think about that fact for a moment (which most people won’t get).  It’s the year Lizzie is born, 1860.    Andrew is still living on Ferry Street in one half of that double house his father owns.  His own sister and her husband live there too,  And he has this relative…this uncle of his own father.  The man who persuaded his paternal grandmother to give up her water rights and that mill…the man who influenced the court – the man who got her to settle for much less.  Consider that Andrew, at age 38, living next to his father, HAD to know the story and was keenly aware.  So keenly aware he had already vowed he would not be a poor relation as his father was.  So keenly aware he was already well on his path of accumulating money. 
Andrew was only 2 years old when his grandfather, Richard, died, but he must have smarted in his early years growing up, reading, seeing, hearing about all his wealthier relatives and how some of them got that way.  Bitter?  I think so.  .  Determined.  You bet.
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Young Andrew Borden fell in love with Sarah Anthony Morse of Swansea and they married on Christmas Day, 1845.  Before he began to make money in his later partnership with William Almy, Andrew worked as a carpenter.  At the age of 23, he helped Southard Miller build the Charles Trafton House located at 92 Second Street.  Twenty seven years later, in 1872, Andrew would buy that house for $10,000 and move in with his two daughters and second wife, Abby.
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Main-Almy-BordenBorden and Almy furniture business on Main Street near Anawan.

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And Emma surely knew and if Andrew didn’t pass the knowledge on to her then Emma did.  But they knew.  They knew what it meant to be a Borden and that they should have been a RICH Borden.  And then to know they WERE rich but didn’t LIVE rich.  Lizzie bitter?  You bet.  Yeah, that Colonel Richard Borden…he was something all right, and yet he is written in the annals of Fall River history as  a glorified kingpin of its mercantile growth and prominence. 
Oh yes, how Andrew must have smarted.  And THAT attribute WAS passed on to his youngest daughter.

 

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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Emma Borden’s Death & Wake at Riverby

(Repost from March, 2013)

Emma Borden died in the early morning hours 9 days after her sister, Lizzie.  Members of her surrogate family saw to her funeral/burial wishes.  Her wake was held at Henry and Caroline Gardner’s home. Unlike Lizzie, family and friends gathered to pay their respects and the details of how things were handled was published in these papers.  (Click for larger views).

Seated left is Henry Augustus Gardner and his son Orrin to the right.  In the back is Hamilton Gardner (raised by Orrin since he was about 10 years old) and his best friend “Buck”.  These 3 Gardners, and many more, were at her Wake.

Where we read that Emma had made her wishes known to “Mrs. Gardner”, that would be Caroline Cole Mason Gardner who died in 1918, just seven years after celebrating her 50th Wedding Anniversary with Henry, an event which Emma attended.  (Henry would go on to live until 1931).  It was Caroline’s sister, Susan Francis Mason who had married Sarah Morse Borden’s brother, William Bradford Morse (they moved to Minnesota and lived all their lives there).  That marriage began the bloodline connection to Lizzie between the Morses and the Gardners and the Bordens (still with me here?).

In the article below it states Emma’s wishes were to be buried by her father and stepmother.  She is, in fact, buried right along side her sister which can  be seen in the image of the family plot at the end of this post.   It’s somewhat curious that Emma did not specify “beside my mother”.  Emma had been informed of Lizzie’s death by Orrin Gardner but due to her weakened condition did not attend her burial.  Unless the sisters spoke of the exact placements of their own future graves prior to Emma’s 1905 departure from Lizzie, Emma would not know of this layout.   (Note:  Lizzie, in her funeral instructions, requested to be buried at her father’s feet).

In this next article we note that Jerome C. Borden and his family attended the wake.  Jerome, of course, was the son of Cook Borden who was Andrew’s uncle.  Andrew’s father, Abraham, and Cook were brothers.  Jerome, Andrew’s nephew, had several daughters several years younger than the previously departed Lizbeth of Maplecroft.  Two of those daughters were close cousins withGrace Hartley Howe, Jerome’s sister’s daughter and thereby his niece.  (No mention if Grace was present at the wake though I doubt it as her husband,Louis McHenry Howe was absorbed in pursuits to get Franklin Delano Roosevelt elected President).  (I wonder if Jerome thought maybe Emma might have left him some money or property since Lizzie left plenty to his niece Grace as shown in her will which had been printed in the papers just that week).   But she didn’t leave anything to Jerome who had been a staunch supporter of Lizzie during the Trial.  She left plenty for the Gardners, though whereas Lizzie left them nothing.

The State of New Hampshire’s Record of Death for the year ended December 31, 1927, has a July 1, 1927 entry recording her death on June 10, 1927 and internment on June 13th at Oak Grove Cemetery.  The cause of death is “chronic nephritis” and “duration 2 years”.  Indicated as the cause is “senility” and “unknown duration”.  No mention of any fall.  Note that under “Occupation” is written “Retired”.   Indeed.

George H. Towle was the physician who pronounced her dead and reported the death.


Then in 1992, comes this record of death from the State of Massachussetts showing the causing of death as both Chronic Nephritis and senility with no indication of the duration of either.


Below:  Riverby (pronounced River”bye”) as it looked in the late 1920’s.

Then:                                                                                  Now:

This property was originally in Caroline’s family but she and Henry lived there most of their lives operating it as a successful farm.  It passed on to Orrin then to Hamilton Gardner and was sold and subdivided in the 1950’s.  Few of the extra out-buildings remain.  The current owner of Riverby has partitioned off several rooms, making them into apartments although the neighborhood is not zoned for that.  An artist lives on the first floor, a couple on the second and a musician on the 3rd floor attic rooms.


Lizzie is foot-to-foot with her father; Emma is foot to foot with her mother, Sarah.  Abby is next to Andrew on the outside.  The overall layout has a certain symmetry that seems almost poetic.




 
 

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What Happened to Emma’s Stuff?

Recycled from 2011

 

Emma Borden, Lizzie’s sister, left most of her personal property to Orrin Gardner.  He, in turn, gave much to his nephew, Hamilton, son of Orrin’s brother.  Before we go further, please note I’ve written about the Gardners of Swansea many times and you should review these posts HERE and HERE.

Young Orrin Gardner

Young Hamilton Gardner, son of William Gardner

The following images of letters and notes gives us a glimpse of what happened.  Indeed, the recently discovered portraits of a young Andrew and young Sarah were donated to the Swansea Historical Society by Hamilton Gardner.   (You’ll remember those portraits, possibly done at the time they were married – a true love match.)

                 

You have to wonder if these portraits hung at Maplecroft and if Emma took them when she left Lizzie in 1905.  Anyway….as to her other stuff, read these:

So we can begin to understand how so much of it got scattered when Bailey most likely sold them in his store.

I sure would like to see that photo of Emma “with a girlfriend at church bazaar”  Maybe it’ll be in Parallel Lives).

(Scanned documents from the Swansea Historical Society)

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2013 in Descendents & Relations, Swansea

 

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Providence Journal on 120 Years Since Lizzie Borden Acquittal

It”s been 120 years since Lizzie Borden was acquitted of the hatchet murders of her father and stepmother, so it’s no surprise the media would exploit this case once again.

The Providence Journal  is doing an extensive article running six consecutive days.  This little piece is a “teaser” for the 1st installment this Sunday, June 23.

shelley3Shelley Dziedzic poses on floor between bed and dresser where Abby Borden was found with 19 blows to the head on August 4, 1892.

Until last summer, Shelley Dziedzic, whom I’ve known for many, many years was a tour guide at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum.  She is the one who used to produce those annual August 4th re-enactments at  the B&B.   Shelley has added “historian” to her credentials, and aptly so, as she is extremely well informed on the case.  Her favorite smells are the hatchet cookies made at the B&B and, of course, the ever predictable rose.

The Lifetime Movie Channel’s Lizzie Borden is sure to exploit the slash and slice aspect of the case.  I’m fairly certain the Providence Journal will not, but we will see.

Meanwhile, check out my Facebook page:    CLICK HERE

 

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Anna & Laura Tirocchi – Dressmakers to the Elite

(Recycled post)

The Prentice Mansion at 514 Broadway, Providence, site of the shop operated by sisters Anna and Laura Tirocchi from 1915 to 1947.

Anna Tirocchi

Anna & Laura Tirocchi were a famed and successful dressmaking sister team I  happened to come across because of my interest in a British t.v. series called The House of Elliot (apparently, partly based on the Tirocchis).

What a complete surprise it was to find her business was patronized by some  Braytons,  Mrs. Dwight Waring (daughter of  Lizzie’s defense attorney, Andrew Jennings) et.al. of Fall River.  And from Providence, we have Preston Gardner’s wife Mary, and daughter, Maude, all of whom received considerable money and jewelry from Emma’s Will.

Another notable from Providence is Mrs. William G. Thurber, whose husband was Vice President of  Tilden-Thurber, the store where Lizzie shoplifted two paintings on porcelain only 4 years after her acquittal.  An incident in which Preston Gardner came to the rescue and an action for which Emma Borden was eternally grateful.

Anyway, back to the Tirocchi sisters. They operated a shop in Providence from 1911 to the mid 1930’s.  The stock market crash was the beginning of   it’s demise.  Anna said that 1927 was their “best year ever.”

If you’ve already read the basic background linked above, consider their elite client list that reads like a Who’s Who of  Fall River’s and Providence’s upper crust.

When you click on Client list you can then click on a woman’s name.  You then find out who her husband was.  Then you can click on “Transactions” for what she purchased (keep in mind that a dress costing $200 had the equivalent purchasing power of nearly $2,400 in today’s money), and “Correspondence” for letters she wrote and/or received.

Tirocchi’s  clientele is addressed   HERE. (then click “The Clients”)

One notable is Jessie Brayton – John Summerfield Brayton, Sr.

It was Jessie’s husband who was the recipient of  the well known letter written on August 31, 1900 by Lizzie Borden about his  noisy bird that crowed so loudly and made her nervous.  My, my.  Talk about dress threads that bind!

Her grandson was extremely accomplished, and it was his father, John Summerfield Brayton III, who was the discoverer  of  that above mentioned letter.

Not only did Anna keep precise records of sales and who these women were married to but she had all their measurements – not surprising for a dressmaker but enlightening to Borden researchers. Here’s the one for Mrs. Elizabeth Brayton.

This entire website is a marvel to explore and a person can spend a good two hours finding out who these women were.  I was getting visions of that film “The Women” directed by George Cukor – the early scenes of the ladies in the dressing rooms ….  but I digress.

Anna Tirocchi in the Butler Exchange workroom, making the final adjustments to a dress; ca. 1914.

The contents of the Tirocchi dress shop at 514 Broadway was offered to the Rhode Island School of Design Museum by sister Laura’s son, Dr. Louis Cella, Jr.   No wonder the staff, inventorying for over year,  was thrilled with what they found!!  Indeed, so was I.

And a big THANK YOU,  DR. CELLA!!!

P.S.  If Lizzie had an account there, she certainly didn’t  use her real name.

 

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Another “This belonged to Lizzie Borden” eBay Offering

“Antique Upholstered Lincoln rocking chair – chair From Lizzie Borden estate!”
More outrageous claims on eBay regarding stuff that belonged to Lizzie Borden. This “Abbie” Potter WAS a niece of Abby Borden, but Lizzie didn’t leave her ANYTHING in her Will, let alone this chair.
Here is the full item description on eBay:
“Available for you is this antique Lincoln rocking chair with an interesting history.I inherited this rocking chair from my mother several years ago. My mother inherited the rocker from Mrs. Abbie B. Potter from Providence in the 1960s. Abbie Potter was Lizzie Borden’s niece. After Ms. Borden’s death her house hold furnishings were disbursed to her family. Abbie inherited the chair herself Lizzie Borden estate. My mother came to know Abbie during World War II where she rented a room from her while my father was in the service. They became lifelong friends. When I was a child I went to Abbie’s house with my mother and I happened to see pictures that Abbie was showing my mother discreetly. I saw pictures of a skull with large holes in it. They scooted me away but I always remembered that afternoon.I cannot prove with documentation that this chair was actually from Lizzie Borden’s home but the preponderance of evidence has convinced me. I always thought of contacting the History Detective TV show but never had the time. In any event there is a terrific story about the chair, it is not haunted! The chair itself needs to be reupholstered and restored to bring it back to its prime shape it is now somewhat fragile. Usable and will display nicely. Available now Halloween is coming.”

From my blog under the category of Urban Legends, is this post about Abby Whitehead Potter with a newspaper photo of her.

This is the woman that the eBay seller asserts inherited that rocking chair from Lizzie Borden. Not likely.
 

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