Here’s a chance to get a peek inside Andrew Jennings house; Jennings was on Lizzie Borden’s defense team at her Trial and had been a family attorney for many years.
This video was on Craigslist for Fall River rentals
The video only shows the second floor where the bedrooms and study were in Jennings time. As with so many lovely Victorians in Fall River, this one has been renovated for apartments. But I always like looking inside them and do every time I visit Fall River and rentals are available. I love the hardwood floors, intricate woodwork, tile work and stained glass windows so common to these stately homes.
I did a blog post a while back about Lizzie’s neighbors and who would have visited her, featuring this house.
The house sits on the southeast corner of French and June, just a couple blocks down from “Maplecroft”. When I look up at the stone steps leading to the front door I usually think about Marshall Hilliard and Mayor Coughlin who, arriving by carriage after the Inquest, came to inform Jennings that Lizzie Borden was to be arrested.
NEWS: I’ve started another blog and added it to my Blogroll: Insoymada. Check it out.
Architecturally speaking, Scale and Form can be utilized to transcend the historic into new visuals of beauty. But not in the case of the new court house across the street from where Lizzie Borden used to live.
In 1892, Lizzie could step out the front door of her humble but adequately furnished below-the-hill home onto the granite steps and peer directly across the street – straight ahead – to a small orchard, and from there scan left to a Chinese laundry, then fixing her eyes diagonally right to the Dr. Bowen-Southard Miller double house. All familiar. All as it should be.
Fast forward to 2010: The new grotesque Superior Court building, bounded by Second Street on the east and Main Street on west, looms over a whole city block and can be seen in this new Google ariel showing the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum right across the street. You’ll notice right off Google has the wrong location named “Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast”. (Google often gets the labeling wrong on these aerials, i.e., my own house in Payson, AZ is located at the wrong end of the horseshoe loop). Anyway, you’ll have to use the “hand grasp” thingy and move it to the right to get the proper fix, but you’ll find it easy enough – then just increase the size on the scale thingy to the left.
From the architectural rendering:
Through construction phases:
My forearm covers my eyes, pained by the penetrating brilliance of its genius design. (Hark! Is that Mssrs. Cortlandt and Enright sharing a cigar of victory behind the truck?) (I can see Howard Roark atop the crane, planting explosives, no doubt).
So there it is. In all it’s majestic splendor. There is, however, something to be said for this edifice of justice being sited almost directly in front of the town’s most infamous and compelling former resident. There’s a certain symmetry regarding the purpose of this structure and the fact her legend has loomed large for over a century – out of scale and form to the facts of the case and her character in general. That this odious structure, so out of scale and form with the neighborhood, is planted square where the crime took place is as if a gigantic concrete, chalk-coated foot stomped down to implant its not so-subliminal message: “To hell with historic preservation – let justice be served!” To those that see no symmetry but only lament about the lack of parking, you can join with me in my other concern: What if the new court building is haunted? (A current rumor has it ectoplasm wafted its way across the street and now the Court’s fourth floor is haunted by the Reverend Avery and the lobby by Lizzie). Eeeeeyaaaaaaaa.
Far cry from the look of the court house (“same court”, i.e., the State of Mass. Superior Court) in which Lizzie was tried in 1893 in New Bedford.
And it looked this way for a long time – even long after Lizzie died in 1927:
The August 4th anniversary is rapidly approaching and for those out-of-towners who trek to the annual B&B re-enactments – well, they’re sure to be impressed as they gaze upwards from those granite steps in front of 92 Second Street.
Anyway, architecturally speaking, Lizzie would not approve.
(Click on image for larger view: The home of Henry Augustus Gardner, called “Riverby” in Touisset, can be located on the very bottom left of the above map).
Across the Taunton River in South Swansea and adjacent to Mount Hope Bay in Touisset, Ma. lived a branch of Swansea’s founding Gardners who became relatives through marriage to Emma and Lizzie Borden.
Emma would be the one to maintain relationships – and very close ones – with her Gardner cousins after “The Trial” and her 1905 separation from her sister. Indeed, she knew all of those in the picture below. Their own children were her contemporaries and some would become helpful guides in her later life and benefit from her financial legacy after her death.
From my collection on the Gardners, here’s an old group photo. I’ve placed their names onto the photo for quick identity reference.
(Click on image for larger view)
The genealogical link that bound Emma and Lizzie to these Gardners was the marriage between Henry Augustus Gardner and Caroline Cole Mason Gardner. Caroline’s sister, Ann Frances, had married William Bradford Morse eight years previous. William Bradford Morse was the brother of Sarah Anthony Morse and John Vinnicum Morse, Lizzie and Emma’s mother and uncle.
Wedding certificate for Henry & Caroline – Married on December 11, 1864. (Emma was nearly 14 and Lizzie 4-1/2 years old when they wed; her future financial advisor, Preston, nephew of Henry & Caroline, was then a one year old baby).
Ann Frances (Mason) Morse William Bradford Morse
William married Ann, age 21, on June 8, 1856, in Excelsior, Minnesota when Emma was five years old. It would be interesting to know how Ann’s younger sister, Caroline, came to first meet (and subsequently marry) Henry Augustus Gardner whose roots were Swansea and not Excelsior.
I’ll have to add that task to my list.
I’m sorting over some old journals, photos, and newspaper articles about the Gardners of Swansea and Touisset, MA., which have recently come into my possession. These include events that Emma Borden attended after separating from Lizzie in 1906. I’ll be posting about a particular one that illustrates Emma was not so much the recluse thought to have been.
Swansea was an important part of Lizzie & Emma’s lives, not the least of which involved – give or take – the following (recycled from an earlier post):
Most scholars on the Lizzie Borden case believe she was guilty and that money was the motive. But why were the murders done in broad daylight on the very next morning after an unexpected visit from John Morse?
District Attorney Hosea Knowlton was quoted after the Trial as saying if he knew what Andrew Borden and John Morse (uncle to Lizzie and Emma) discussed the afternoon before the murders (August 3, 1892) he “would have convicted somebody.” We have Lizzie herself (in her Inquest Testimony) saying she stayed in her room all day that Wednesday because she wasn’t feeling well, and that the voices of her father and uncle “disturbed” her.
The curving staircase in the front hall affords one the ability to linger part way down and not be observed while listening to a conversation in the Sitting Room.
I’ve often said the “Rosetta Stone” to this case is what was said during that Wednesday afternoon conversation between Andrew and John.
If we assume Lizzie guilty and that money was the motive, the following exchange extracted from an old screenplay I wrote could have occurred which Lizzie, indeed, would have found extremely “disturbing”.
(Morse has shown up unexpectedly that afternoon, and after eating in the dining room, he and Andrew and Abby go into the Sitting Room and engage in conversation. Lizzie is upstairs in her bedroom.)
MORSE reaches over to a small table and picks up a newspaper.
I see in here where Carnegie is selling his yacht. Might be a good
purchase for you, Andrew.
Ha! What would I do with such a thing?
I got your letter of the 25th, Andrew, about wanting to talk to me on getting a man for the farm.
I’ll be going upstairs and lay down a while. This heat has wore me down. And that stomach sickness we told you about. I’m just a little poorly.
Abby gets up and leaves the sitting room through the door to the dining room. Andrew watches Abby leave and waits until Abby is out of hearing distance.
I didn’t want you making arrangements on a man for the farm at Swansea until I talked to you.
That’s what you wrote.
You know, John, I’ve been thinking about making a Will. When I’m gone Abby is never going to be able to live under the same roof with Lizzie and Emma. Things have gotten worse than when you were here two weeks ago. Emma took off to Fairhaven, staying over at old Moses Delano’s place. Lizzie went with her, far as New Bedford, but
came back early.
Haven’t seen Lizzie last few times here. How is she?
Sulks in her room all day. They can’t live together those three. And I won’t be around forever to keep things together.
Never have taken to Abby, have they? Maybe they should have separate houses. How ‘bout Swansea?
No, I won’t be going over there until things get settled here. Time’s not right. Too much trouble right now.
I meant how about giving the girls the Swansea place in your Will.
I’ll not leave them any property. Abby will get this house and my property. She wants to live near her sister anyways. The Swansea place - well I’ve been thinking of maybe donating it the Old Folks Home. As for the girls, I’ve settled on $25,000 each. They can both buy their own house with that and manage to live comfortably.
Lizzie on the staircase, leaning over and listening. She has heard every word. She blanches. She is deeply shaken by what she has just heard.
CLOSE ON LIZZIE
But no property Andrew?
They can’t manage property. Made a mess on the rentals of the Ferry Street homestead. And I took a big loss on it when I bought it back of them just two weeks ago. You know that, you were here then. Remember the fuss? No, they can’t be trusted with property. They haven’t got the heads for it.
And Abby does?
Not much more. But of the three, she’s the more deserving. Besides, she’s my wife. I need the Will to make sure she gets her due. Fact is, I’ll most likely have one drawn up in a day or two.
ANGLE ON Lizzie, almost tottering on the staircase, grips her hand around the railing.
Andrew, don’t you figure this a bit unfair? These are Sarah’s daughters. And your own flesh and blood as well. Seems with the money you have the girls should get a better share. I’m only suggesting, mind you.
It’s my money.
True. Your money. Your daughters.
LIZZIE ON STAIRCASE:
(raising his voice)
MY money! Mine! To do with as I see fit!
You expect them to be happy with that?
I expect them to be grateful for whatever I choose to give them. They’ve gotten plenty from me. Plenty. There’s trouble in the house over my money and I aim to set it out, plain and solid, in a Will.
I’ve known you a long time, Andrew. I know when to end an argument with you.
(Morse rises from the chair.)
I better see about getting a rig and drive over to the farm. Expect I’ll be back before nine. I’ll get your eggs. Probably take supper at Luther’s.
INT. LIZZIE’S BEDROOM
Lizzie is pacing in her room, then sits at her desk and takes a piece of stationery and begins writing “Dear Emma”. We don’t see what else she writes, but in a few moments she crumbles up the paper and throws it in her wastebasket. She is extremely distraught. Emotionally on edge. Almost out of control, but not quite. Something inside her steels her nerves.
(quietly to herself)
Alice. I’ll go talk to Alice.
So if Lizzie *did* hear such a conversation and feared her father would write a Will favoring Abby – and that he was going to do it in the next day or two – she would have to act immediately. But the good and evil forces were at bay within her. Her forebodings of “something terrible will happen” to Alice Russell was clearly a cry for help while also setting the stage.
The next morning on August 4, 1892, at the very first opportunity Lizzie had to be alone with Abby, she killed her. An hour and a half later, at the very first opportunity Lizzie had to be alone with her father, she killed him.
Never so much a “who dunnit” as a “how dunnit” to me, the real mystery is what happened to the murder weapon and how could Lizzie be seen within 10 minutes of her father’s murder and no blood found upon her person?
“It was a terrible crime. It was an impossible crime. And yet it happened.” -Hosea Knowlton, 1893.
At age 69, on November 20, 1920, Emma Borden signed her Last Will & Testament. It would be greatly enhanced with a Codicil signed less than two years later, on June 27, 1922. Her Will and Codicil have been uploaded as a separate page to this blog. Click that selection at the top of this page to view them.
Subsequent to the Will and the Codicil, and something never written about before, is the fact that on January 14, 1925, Emma created an initial $45,000 investment Trust with the Rhode Island Hospital Trust Company that benefited – while she lived and beyond - an interesting assortment of selected individuals.
In addition to providing an income for Emma herself, the four primary recipients of 10/45th income derived quarterly from the Trust were:
A. Orrin A. Gardner (upon his death to Hamilton M. Gardner)
(It was at Orrin’s home in Touisset, known as “Riverby” that Emma was taken upon her death for her wake prior to burial in Fall River.)
B. Hamilton M. Gardner (nephew of Orrin who raised him as a young boy when his own father died).
C. Maude G. Dawson (married daughter of Mary & Preston Gardner)
D. Annie C. Connor (the trained nurse and woman who would look after Emma in her last last few years of life in Newmarket, New Hampshire — and upon her death to her son, John M. Conlon). Note: Annie C. Connor died at the age of 75 on October 11, 1936 in neighboring Lee, New Hampshire.
In addition, Emma allows for 5/45th to go to Mary Kelly (employed by Emma when she lived at The Minden Apartments in Providence, RI; and upon Mary’s death, the income to her son, John).
Emma could not know she would be dead in 2-1/2 years, so why was this established at this time? Her Will & Codicil had already been written and witnessed a little more than five years previous to this Trust Fund.
Here are a few things that happened the year before the establishment of the $45,000 Trust Fund:
|1924||Helen Leighton moves from Boston to Brookline, MA.|
|February 24, 1924||1924 Woodrow Wilson dies.|
|1924||The Society for Human Rights in Chicago becomes the country’s earliest known gay rights organization.|
|1924||Machinery from the Borden controlled Fall River Iron Works to their mills in Kingsport, Tennessee marks the unofficial demise of the cotton industry in Fall River.|
|April 14, 1924||Lizzie forms a partnership with Jacob Dondis in her half share of the AJ Borden Bldg on So. Main. (LR56)|
|1924||Adolf Hitler publishes his Nazi political tract Mein Kampf (My Battle).|
|April 29, 1924||Hannah B. Reagan, former police matron, dies at the age of 73 in Fall River.|
|1924||Studies in Murder by Edmund Pearson is published. (Did Lizzie read it?)|
|1924||Decline in Fall River textile mills begins; Fall River is no longer the “Cotton King”.|
|December 4, 1924||David Anthony, Jr. dies at Truesdale Hosp from injuries from a fall from his motorbike in Somerset on 11/24/24.|
The year before, 1923, Emma boarded for the summer in Newmarket with Annie Connor and then in 1924 lived there permanently. It was, in fact, through Preston Gardner that the Emma-Connor connection was made. So it would appear Preston Gardner saw to it that Emma had a nice place to live with someone who could care for her.
The Trust Fund was undoubtedly administered by Preston Gardner, an officer and Vice President of the Rhode Island Hospital Trust Company that figures so prominently in Emma’s actual Will.
Here is the actual Trust Fund document. Click on image for larger view.
It strikes me that Emma may not have been very wise in the handling of her money in terms of investing it. Perhaps she just kept it in a bank not earning much interest. For the first 42 years of her life she never had to think about large purchases or any type of financial management involving significant sums. Maybe she never learned how. Her relationship with Charles Cook, who handled Andrew’s properties and subsequently “the girls”, does not seem to be as lasting as it was with Lizzie.
It is possible that Emma was already showing signs of senility and her cousins, Preston and/or Orrin, prompted her to invest at least some of her net worth. In any event, this Trust ensured those named individuals of receiving income prior to her death and beyond.
The Armstrong Circle Theatre was an anthology drama television series which ran from 1950 to 1957 on NBC, and then until 1963 on CBS. Considered by many to be one of the best anthology series during the “Golden Age” of television, it featured original dramas by noted writers, and its guidelines specifically called for the avoidance of violence.
Their aim was “to combine fact and drama–to arouse interest, even controversy, on important and topical subjects. Using a news story or idea was not enough: the series also had to be able to present some potential solution, some hope for your citizens to consider, to think about.”
The Legend of Murder: The Untold Story of Lizzie Borden was the premiere episode of the 12th season and aired on October 11, 1961.
The cast included:
Clarice Blackburn as Lizzie
Mary Doyle as Bridget, and
Paul McGrath as Andrew
This episode can be downloaded HERE.
Here’s a list of all the episodes from Armstrong Circle Theater.
Many of the episodes from the Armstrong Circle Theatre can be found at the Museum of Broadcast Communications Archives. Just log in for a free account, then click TV Drama and enter series search “Armstrong Broadcast Theatre” and the list of episodes will come up. Select an episode and play it immediately online for free. Click HERE.
EXPANDED UPDATE – SEE BELOW
UPDATE: According to this USA Today’s AP report, Mr. Pickel is planning to open up his alleged “True Story” of Lizzie Borden this weekend. CLICK HERE
Mr. Pickel continues to be under the erroneous assumption that most people don’t know what state, let alone what city, in which the Borden case took place. To that I say: “Mr. Pickel – just ask the Fall River Historical Society how many decades people have flocked there ONLY to see the Borden case exhibits. Inquire at Oak Grove cemetery how many people traversed their grounds solely to find Lizzie Borden’s grave until they finally painted footprints on the pavement guiding folks to the Andrew J. Borden family plot. Ask Robert Dube and the Silvia’s how many people have come on to their property or stopped to photograph “Maplecroft” for the past 40 years.
Most importantly, people have been flocking to 92 Second Street since Day One. Indeed, within days of the murders wagon and carriage drivers would transport disembarking passengers from steamers of the Fall River Line coming from New York and Boston requesting to be taken to the “Lizzie Borden house.” This was reported in the local papers shortly after the crime and continued when Lizzie moved to French Street. Visitors to Fall River for the past 116 years have continued to drive by 92 Second Street just to get a gander of the famous structure.
For 116 years local, regional and national papers have continued to write articles about the case. Dozens of books have been published, several documentaries have been made on “Fall River’s” Lizzie Borden. The #1 best selling book on the case, Victoria Lincoln’s A Private Disgrace, has had over a dozen printings and is still in print. Royalties continue to be paid out to her daughters, Priscilla Williams and Louise Lowe Kittredge. This book, written by native of Fall River who emphasized “Fall River’s” close-knit families, left no doubt in the reader’s minds WHERE this crime took place. People who have read only one book on the case, most always have read this one.
And when 92 Second Street was opened up to the public for the first time as the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast/Museum in 1996, it put Fall River on the map as a tourist destination for all those interested in unsolved murders and the Lizzie Borden case.
The Lizzie Borden case is as iconic to Fall River as the JFK assassination is to Dallas.
If you can’t even quote the truth about the general public’s awareness of where these crimes took place, what confidence can one have in your ability to present the “true story” of Lizzie Borden at your Salem “exhibit”?
Get a clue, Lenny. Get a grip on the “true” story. ;)
“The True Story of Lizzie Borden” is what Leonard Pickel proposes to reveal to $10 ticket holders ($8 if you use his online $2 discount coupon) at his EXHIBIT, EXHIBIT, EXHIBIT (get it?) in Salem, MA. The “True” story??? Just how does he know what is true?
First and foremost: Lizzie Borden was acquitted on June 20, 1893 in that sensational Trial held at the New Bedford Superior Court. No one else was ever brought to Trial. The Who, How and Why continues to be a major mystery in this most compelling unsolved classic crime. Indeed, from books, blogs and bumper stickers we repeatedly see the phrase: “Lizzie Borden – Did she or didn’t she?” It is absolutely presumptuous of anyone to state – be it in a book, blog, bumper sticker, lecture, Youtube video, or anything else – that they can reveal or know the “true” story. Nobody does.
2005 photo of Leonard Pickel from his Haunted Times magazine website
The person with the most means, motive and opportunity certainly was Lizzie, but it was never conclusively proven and no one knows for certain if she did it. The good money says of course she did, but no one can prove or show that is true.
So I have to wonder just what TRUTH to the Lizzie Borden story Mr. Pickel will impart to his visitors? Is the “true” story going to reveal that Lizzie alone committed the murders? Even the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum and the Fall River Historical Society do not and never have been so presumptuous as to state whether or not Lizzie did it. Nor have they ever claimed to know the truth about Lizzie. Too many questions remain. Far too many.
Lee-ann Wilber, General Manager & co-owner of Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum
Since the opening of the B&B in 1996, the tour scripts have been written for the tour guides to give facts of the case without asserting that Lizzie or anyone else in particular did the deed. They do not purport that Lizzie did it or didn’t do it, or that Uncle John or Bridget or William Borden committed the murders, or that Lizzie had a boyfriend named David Anthony who did it, or that her sister Emma did it, or that even Phoebe Bowen did it. Nor do they state that it is true that Lizzie was a lesbian, actually strangled or cut off the head of Abby’s cat, or that she was actually a shoplifter. None of this is known to be the truth.
But Leonard Pickel, by virtue of the name of his proposed EXHIBIT and from what he’s stated in newspapers, has the audacity to assert he will exhibit The True Story of Lizzie Borden. What yellow brick road is *he* on? The true story of Lizzie Borden will never be known. Whatever it was, Lizzie took it to her grave. Maybe Mr. Pickel has visited “the other side” and knows something we don’t.
Mr. Pickel is also repeatedly quoted in interviews that Fall River has never “embraced” Lizzie nor had the support of the city. Not true. There was a Lizzie Borden symposium in 1986 of which the city and community organizations supported. But it wasn’t until the highly successful 4-day 1992 Lizzie Borden Centennial that Fall River realized money could be made and that Lizzie was a source of new revenue for tourism dollars that they fully embraced her. She’s in both Chamber and City promotional brochures, city department websites, and the “LIZZIE BORDEN MUSEUM” is a prominently displayed huge BLUE I-95 highway sign on the approach to the Braga Bridge just entering Fall River.
Here’s the August 9th Boston Herald’s report of the current litigation wherein Pickel demonstrates his lack of knowledge regarding the relationship between the City of Fall River and Lizzie Borden.
In my opinion, Mr. Pickel not only does not have his thumb on the pulse of what Lizzie means to Fall River, he doesn’t have his hand on the hatchet to exhibit the True Story of Lizzie Borden.
I’m re-posting this blog entry from September 2007 because this evening I noted an eBay seller has an original Porter listed for a “Buy it Now” price of $6,000! (Note: Seller dropped price to $3,000 on March 3rd) Only an idiot would pay that much given that antiquarian booksellers have a few available right now for less than a thousand bucks. An easy Google search will prove this out.
Check out the eBay Seller’s listing here.
More interesting to me, however, is that the Seller did a literal cut and paste from my words below. The whole point of my post is that the book is NOT AS RARE as it has been professed to be and thus, this may very well be the reason the eBay Seller did not cite my blog or provide the URL to this particular entry. Otherwise, the potential bidder/buyer would be well – less inclined to pay that much. “BUYER BEWARE!”. As a matter of fact, I’m going to offer up one of my four original Porters in my “Collectibles for Sale” page….so just be patient. :)
The more important books on the Borden case reveal an evolution of author-to-author citations as to the rarity of Edwin H. Porter’s book (the first edition), The Fall River Tragedy, Press of J. D. Munroe, 1893. It appears the legend begins in 1967 with Victoria Lincoln because even in his 1937 Trial Essay, Edmund Pearson’s “bible”, there is no mention. Since Pearson believed in Lizzie’s guilt I’d think he would have mentioned it. Edward D. Radin – who proposed that Bridget did it – made a point of NOT mentioning it.
William Masterton’s Lizzie Didn’t Do It, and Muriel Arnold’s Hands of Time had no reference to the rarity of Porter’s book. Nor did Angela Carter. (BTW, I think Muriel’s Ward 4 and Neighborhood sketches in the front of her book are far better and more encompassing than others that have been published). There are scads of reference to the “rarity”, i.e., “Lizzie bought out….” in numerous compendium books – too many to cite here. I didn’t bother with the fictional accounts of the Borden case (Hunter, Engstrom, Satterthwait) because golly gee, who the hell cares. So here are the more obvious citations to be found:
1967 – Private Disgrace – Victoria Lincoln p27 – “…bought off the printer had the books destroyed”
1967 – Private Disgrace – Lincoln p304 -”The town was further irked when Lizzie bought up The Fall River Tragedy and nobody had a chance to read it. Everyone wanted to. As I told you at the start of our story, I had to wait for the pleasure forty years before I found the first copy that I had ever seen, in the Library of Congress.”
1968 – Untold Story – Edward Radin p16 -The Fall River Tragedy, by Edwin H. Porter, a Fall River police reporter, who stoutly defended Fall River police for arresting Lizzie Borden. This book, published in Fall River, had a limited sale and circulation. “
1974 – Goodbye Lizzie Borden – Sullivan p142 -”…virtually all copies were purchased and destroyed by Lizzie.”
1984 – Lizzie – Frank Spiering p36 – His footnote:”The Fall River Tragedy by Edwin H. Porter, printed privately in 1893, was the first book published about the murders. Only four copies are known to exist. A copy which was originally in the Library of Congress has vanished, one is kept at the State House in Boston, one is in the archives of the Fall River Historical Society and one is in my possession. Lizzie bought off the printer and had all the other copies destroyed before they reached the bookshops.”
1991 – Legend of Lizzie Borden – Arnold Brown p89-90 -”It is not known how many copies of The Fall River Tragedy were printed, but it had to be several hundred if not several thousand. Fifty years ago only two copies were known to exist, and one other copy was rumored. Mrs. Brigham at the Fall River Historical Society has reported that four copies are now held by the society, and she knows of one other held privately. Even the copy that should be held by the Library of Congress is missing. The overwhelming majority of the press run simply disappeared the day it was published. Miss Lizzie, the legend says, acting on the advice of Andrew Jennings, bought up and destroyed every copy she could. If Lizzie did not do that, someone did.”
1992 – Forty Whacks – David Kent xiv -”Knowledge of what Porter had done was unwittingly obscured when Lizzie, learning of the publication, was rumored to have bought up all but about 25 subscription copies and had them destroyed. Thus, only a few ever saw what Porter had written and were unaware of his distortions. But scholars ferreted out the half-dozen copies held in public libraries and other institutions and these became the sourcebooks for all research. Fortunately for historians, Porter’s book was rescued from limbo in 1985 and reprinted by King Philip Publishing Company of Portland, Maine. “
At the 1992 Lizzie Borden Centennial Conference held at Bristol Community College in Fall River, Patterson Smith of New Jersey gave a presentation on this very topic. He stated that Porter’s book is not that “rare” after all, as many were sold on subscription – perhaps over 500. I, myself, have handled at least 20 of these first editions in the past 25 years and have 4 original Porters in my collection, but one of my collector associates actually has FIVE in his collection!
Of the four original Porters I have, one has hand-written notes from a minister who knew Lizzie and Emma and he wrote periodically about seeing them from time to time, i.e., at the Swansea farm with “the horses”, the rumors around town, when they parted, when Lizzie died, etc. His marginal notes and the two pages of typewritten notes inside the book, only enhance its value, IMHO. My fourth and most recent copy was purchased in Fall River just this past August from a private party to whom I was introduced.
In 1992, I took one of my Porters to the Conference and sold it for over $1,000 right there to an eager buyer, who I long have suspected was a shill for Patterson Smith because he was peeking around the corner of the building at the time. Too funny! Perhaps he “financed” the eager buyer?
In the last several years, I’ve noted at least 6 original Porter’s sold on eBay (not counting those I’ve sold on eBay myself). In addition, just this past year two of my close friends have obtained copies for less than $300 from booksellers, and another person I know traded several rare true crime books with a noted author for his copy of an original Porter.
Obviously, the dollar value of any book is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay. But as to the rarity of “an original Porter”, this long, literary legend of Lizzie (nice alliteration, eh?) is simply that – a legend. :)
Both Lizzie Borden and her sister Emma left monies for “perpetual care” of their father’s family plot in their Wills. In fact, is was the #1 item in Lizzie’s itemized bequests:
“1. To the City of Fall River the sum of five hundred dollars, the income derived there from to be used for the perpetual care of my father’s lot in the Oak Grove Cemetery in said Fall River.”
Emma Borden’s second bequest in her Will states:
“SECOND: I give and bequeath to the Treasurer of the City of Fall River, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the sum of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000), the same to be held by said City of Fall River, IN TRUST, the income thereof to be used and applied for the perpetual care and improvement of the family burial lot, and the monuments and stones thereon, in Oak Grove Cemetery, which was owned by my father, Andrew J. Borden, at the time of his death.”
Emma signed her Will on November 20, 1920 (and a Codicil to that Will on June 22, 1922). Lizzie signed her Will January 30, 1926.
Being curious of just what “perpetual care” meant in the 21st Century relative to the Borden plot, I contacted Tom Eaton, Director of Cemeteries with the Fall River Department of Recreational Facilities, Cemeteries and Trees.
Oak Grove Cemetery encompasses over 100 acres of land which was donated to the City of Fall River in the 1840′s. There are several cemeteries in Fall River, but only two are maintained by the City: Oak Grove and North Burial Ground on North Main Street. Many remains and tombstones were removed from the latter cemetery to Oak Grove in the past two centuries, including that of the tragic Sarah Cornell.
(Some other interesting and Borden case-related graves can be found at Find A Grave.)
Back to “perpetual care”:
Operations and Maintenance of Oak Grove Cemetery is primarily funded by “perpetual care” monies, although the City of Fall River does contribute some budgetary funding. “Perpetual care” is mandatory (in Lizzie’s day it was not) for anyone now buried in Oak Grove. For example, if a person purchased a two plot burial site, it would cost $1,000, of which $500 would go into the perpetual care fund. This is a pooled fund from all perpetual care revenue, so the $500 assessment is not exclusive or designated for a specific plot, but rather placed in the fund for general use of operations and maintenance of the entire Cemetery.
The O&M costs primarily covered by “perpetual care” monies include salaries and administrative overhead as well as for weeding and other maintenance activities on the burial plot itself. This includes cemetery maintenance needs such as care of the roads, pathways, fencing, locks, utility costs for the office, the cutting and caring of trees, painting, mowing, debris clean up, etc.
As would be expected, time, nature and vandalism have taken a toll on Oak Grove. The perpetual care fund is insufficient to do more than minimal maintenance, let alone planting of new and replacement trees. The “Friends of Oak Grove Cemetery” is an excellent blog site with beautiful photos of Oak Grove and provides information on how locals and others can help with maintenance and tree planting. (Mary Ann Wordell, president of the Fall River Street Tree Planting Program and a resident of the Highlands donated a tree to be planted in Oak Grove in the spring in memory of her family.)
The $500 and $1,000 that Lizzie and Emma set forth in their Wills for perpetual care has long been depleted according to Tom Eaton. Any maintenance done to the Andrew Borden plot now is from the pooled fund.
In a way, the phrase “Perpetual care” for grave sites and family plots spread over 100 acres seems an oxymoron given the current funding constraints. But in Lizzie & Emma’s time maybe people took it literally – thinking whatever they bequeathed guaranteed maintenance into perpetuity.
The Andrew Jackson Borden family plot is the most visited and photographed of all the grave sites in the Cemetery. It is fortunate that occasionally a visitor will trim the grass around the headstones, clean off the stones, weed the walkways and so forth. While there may be a shortage of “perpetual care” funds for a higher standard of maintenance throughout the Cemetery, continuation of “perpetual visitors” to the Borden family historic grave site seems guaranteed ….and here it comes…..you guessed it…..into perpetuity. ;)
Here is a map of the layout of Oak Grove Cemetery.
”Live life liberated! Better to be direct and honest than false and phoney. Image and reputation are transient perceptions of what other people think, not what they know.”
The following is from an Amazon.com book review done nearly 8 years ago. I still haven’t changed my mind, but it is worthy of purchase for hard core collectors.