2 Poems, 1 Scene & A Timeline

16 Jul

Posters over at the blog A View From Battleship Cove (see Blogroll on right) have recently commiserated about the lackluster 4th of July in Fall River this year. They’ve tripped down memory lane of how it was in the past. Reading those posts compelled me to write this little ditty:

image from

The summer nights of booming brights in skies alight

now fade away
as did the day

of booming looms and tolling bells and dinner pails

in this our town,
Fall River.

Smokestacks outlined derelick and still; no steamships sailing nor ever will

across the Mount Hope Bay

No blankets on the fresh mowed grass, as it were in summer’s past
And all these things we question Why

Of a disappointing Fourth of July
in this our town,
Fall River.


What follows will be transparent to the person I had in mind when I wrote it (smile, smile, wink, wink):

Pretenses for purposes of popularity

Like the newly fertilized rose

Can be detected by looking with clarity

To verify the smell in one’s nose.

Pretenses for purposes of popularity

No matter how adept and sustained

Will yield its ultimate transparency

To those with an eye not untrained.

A rose then admired with adulation

Remains rooted in its fertilized pit.

Though smelling so sweetly its formation

Still has origins made purely of shit.

-November, 2007


Emma Borden, the surrogate mother

The room was warm, thick, and the odor from the river drifted through the open window at 12 Ferry Street, Fall River, Massachusetts.

Nine year old Emma, her shoulders slouched, leaned against the wall in the hallway. She was worried. But that had always been her nature.

Lurana, Andrew’s sister, stepped quickly to the doctor’s orders.

Andrew rocked in a chair, in a room away from the others, contemplating the birth of a son.

It was July 19, 1860.

Sarah Anthony Morse Borden, two months shy of her 37th birthday, was about to deliver her third child: Lizzie Andrew Borden.

So once again, come this Saturday, July 19th all those “this time in history” blogs, cable news quips, newspaper articles and other notable mentions will remind us of the woman who factored in America’s most compelling and enigmatic case.

We can ponder her birth or, as I like to do, ponder significant events prior to her birth – let’s take a 10 year lead-in where events in some way relate to the case or the Borden saga in general.


Allan Pinkerton founds the Pinkerton National Detective Agency.


English author Charles Dickens writes David Copperfield.


The first issue of Harper’s magazine is published.

November 7, 1850

Melvin O. Adams is born in Ashburnham, Ma.


Fall River Population:11,170

March 1, 1851

Emma Lenora Borden is born to Andrew and Sarah Borden.

August 15, 1851

William Arthur Davis is born (son of Butcher Davis).

January 10, 1835

George Dexter Robinson is born (later becomes 3 time Governor and head of Lizzie’s defense).

January, 1852

Alice Russell is born

May 1, 1853

Mary Jane Borden (d. of Cook Borden) marries James Hartley (parents of Grace Hartley Howe).

October 13, 1853

Phebe Davenport Borden, wife of Abraham and mother of Andrew, dies at age 64.Andrew is 31 yrs old.

January 26, 1854

Lurana Borden (Andrew’s sister) marries Hiram Harrington.


Jefferson Borden organizes Metacomet Bank.


Outbreak of cholera.


Fall River incorporated.Motto:“We’ll Try”.

February 3, 1854

Abraham Borden deeds house on Ferry Street to Andrew.(LR28)

May 31, 1854

Edwin Augustus Buck is ordained as a Minister.

March 18, 1854

Charles C. Cook, long time Borden real estate manager, is born in Fall River.

April 20, 1854

William S. Borden, son of Deacon Charles L. Borden, isborn(Arnold Brown’s “illegitimate son of AJB”)

April 22, 1854

City Charter adopted for Fall River, establishing 6 Wards.

April 22, 1854

James Buffington elected first Mayor of Fall River.Southard Miller elected Alderman of City of Fall River.

Nov. 23, 1854

Abraham Borden marries second wife BeBe Wilmarth, Andrew’s stepmother.(AJB is 32 years old).


OakGroveCemetery is laid out.


Saint Mary’s Cathedral (Second and Spring) dedicated


Anti-slavery Republican party formed in United States.

May 3, 1856

Alice Esther Borden, second daughter of Andrew and Sarah, is born in Fall River.


Financial Panic of 1857, Jefferson Borden saves Iron Works financial assets.

Sept. 14, 1857

George B. Harrington, only child of Hiram and Lurana, is born.


Central Police Station built (remodeled from horse stables) on Purchase and Granite Streets.

March 28. 1858

Nathaniel B. Borden gives his inaugural address as Mayor of Fall River.

March 10, 1858

Alice Esther Borden, 2 yrs old, dies of hydrocephalus.Andrew is 36 years old.Emma is 7 years old.

May 1858

Josiah C. Blaisdell elected Mayor (and again in 1859).


Union Mill Company formed by David Anthony and Hale Remington.

April 17, 1859

Philip Harrington, later to be Captain of Fall River Police Department, is born.

Aug. 10, 1859

Patrick Doherty is born in Wareham, Mass.


Abraham Lincoln is elected as the first Republican President of the United States.


Colonel Richard Borden, richest man in town, worth $375,000, wife is head of Cong.Church sewing circle.


Southard H. Miller appointed Fire Chief (serves until 1869; also built Borden house)(ASPIII-114)


Fall River population:13,240

July 19, 1860

Lizzie Andrew Borden, born at #12 Ferry Street, Fall River.


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One response to “2 Poems, 1 Scene & A Timeline

  1. Anonymous

    December 2, 2008 at 9:19 AM

    AWSOMe i used it to copy and paste on my project :DDDDD


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