I regularly receive emails and letters from those interested in the Lizzie Borden case and usually because they have or believe they have a link to Lizzie herself.
As early as 1970, I began exchanging letters with people, many of whom were distant Borden relations or residents of Fall River during Lizzie’s life time, although one or two generations behind her. For the early correspondence I am indebted to Florence Brigham, past Curator Emeritus of the Fall River Historical Society, who was so accommodating and helpful with her introductions and assistance in my early years of research.
In more contemporary times, letters have given way to emails in terms in quantity and frequency. But the content seems to always have that recurring thread: the writer is related to Lizzie Borden. This isn’t surprising since we’re all only 14 degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon, why not 20 degrees of separation from Lizzie? Seriously though, with a variety of internet search engines we can instantly find countless blogs and websites on the case to learn specifics from –
Andrew’s skull as presented at trial to:
The Borden Project is one of my favorite sites because of the many photographs of Bordens. When you get to the site, click on the “Photo Gallery” at the left and by the time you get to the 3rd and 4th pages you are at the 5th, 6th and 7th generations of Bordens. When you see all those faces, the years they were born and died, the states they spread out to, is it any wonder that Bordens are everywhere? And though the bloodline thins with each generation, the linkage is still there.
My mother’s family were Bordens from Fall River, MA. What is interesting is that my family lineage were all male descendents, so the surname remained Borden until my mother. Your friend indicated that you were also a Borden and had done a lot of Borden genealogy and also that you knew quite a bit about Lizzie. Between a third cousin, Stephen Borden in Fall River, and my aunt, most of our family’s Borden genealogy is current.
Why I have contacted you is mainly to see how we might be related and also to ask you a question or two on Lizzie Borden. There was a grocer by the name of Edmund Whitehead located on 102 South Main Street during this period of Lizzie and the murder of her parents. Edmund Whitehead had married a Borden, Silvia L. Borden, oldest daughter of Stephen and Sarah Potter (Brayton) Borden. Silvia was the older sister of my great grandfather, Charles Edgar Borden. Anyway, Edmund was called as a witness at Lizzie’s trial in regards to the movement of Andrew Borden that morning. I am attaching a summary of Andrew Borden’s movements that morning and you can see the reference to Whitehead.
What has peaked my interest, and you may be able to offer an answer, is the half-sister of Lizzie’s stepmother, Abby. The half sister’s married name was Whitehead. I can’t find my reference at this moment, but I think her first name was Mary. My question: Was Abby’s half sister married to one of Edmund’s brothers? The Whitehead family came to Fall River in 1856, so I don’t think the town was full of Whitehead’s. Lizzie would be my fifth cousin, three times remove according to my cousin, Stephen Borden. But I would be interested in finding out if there is a connection with the Whitehead family.
I hope this email hasn’t confused the daylights out of you, I am open to any questions you may have on my family’s history. My great great grandfather, Stephen Borden, and the next two generations of male Bordens were all carriage painters by trade. So you can see I am not directly related to any of the Borden shakers and movers.
I hope to hear back from you,
Mary Clemens in Florida
So, when I read the newspaper account of Pete Peterson’s story on your website, I wanted to see the whole newspaper account.