22 Jan

Note: See added paragraphs at bottom of this post taken from an email I sent to my fellow Geocacher and author Joe Carlson, who’s new book, The Unfortunate Dr. Webster is now available.


Sarah Anthony Morse was born in Somerset, MA on September 19, 1823, and married Andrew Jackson Borden, who was born in Fall River, MA on September 13, 1822. They were married on Christmas Day, 1845 in Fall River. They were the biological parents of Lizzie Andrew Borden.

On December 17, 2007, I posted about Andrew’s newly discovered portrait (shown above) which had been laying dormant for decades at the Swansea Historical Society, and included my letter requesting the portrait remain in their care, custody, and ownership. I am happy to report that it now appears that it will be. 🙂

But even more exciting is the news that they have found “the other” portrait that was left to the SHS when Andrew’s was delivered decades ago. When I saw Andrew’s portrait during a visit to Fall River last year, I felt at the get-go that the portrait of him was of an Andrew in his early 20’s and remarked when the “other” portrait was located it would more than likely be of his first wife, Sarah. It has now been located and is indeed Lizzie and Emma’s mother, most likely taken near the time she and Andrew were married – 153 years ago! Both portraits share the same type ornate framing. Also found within the structure of Luther’s Museum, is a small framed photograph that may be Sarah’s mother, which they are looking into.

The picture above of Sarah is NOT the portrait – I’m awaiting an email of some digital photos but will have to wait until I’m next in Fall River to see Sarah’s portrait – the companion piece to Andrew’s – up-close and personal.

Oh, how I would love to see both these portraits hanging at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast at 92 Second Street. Perhaps Donald Woods and Lee-ann Wilber, co-owners, can arrange temporary loans for “special showings” in the future such as the anniversary of the murders – August 4th – when hundreds flock to “Mecca”.

The portraits would have still been Andrew’s property when Sarah died and the family lived on Ferry Street. They probably hung there. When Andrew married Abby, seems to me they would have been taken down and stored, maybe eventually at the Swansea farmhouse when that was purchased. I would think Emma, who so loved and remembered her own mother, would have been upset about the portraits being removed. It would not have been appropriate for the portraits to hang at 92 Second Street. Andrew was the boss of the household….why keep a wedding portrait of your first wife in the home you share with your second wife? No, I think the portraits were stored at Swansea for all these years…maybe boxed up in the barn loft, who knows.

On the other hand, when Andrew died, and after the Trial and purchase of “Maplecroft” and the sisters’ visits to Swansea, Emma may have remembered,found and retrieved them and had them hung somewhere (her room?) at Maplecroft. When she moved out in 1905, she may have taken them with her. She may have kept them with her until her death when Orrin Gardner (see extract of Emma’s Will below) inherited most of her stuff and he would have stored them at Swansea where they probably sat dormant until donated to the Swansea Historical Society.

“FIFTH: I give and bequeath to my cousin, Orrin A. Gardner, of Touisset, Massachusetts, the sum of Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000), and all of my household furniture and furnishings, including all books, pictures, ornaments and personal effects not otherwise disposed of in this will, if he shall survive me.”


Posted by on January 22, 2008 in Swansea, The Borden Family



  1. lizzy

    October 24, 2008 at 4:13 PM

    i’m lizzy bording and i’m going to hant you for talking about me! i mean it

  2. Anonymous

    May 25, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    well come on


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