Borden here, Borden there, Bordens, Bordens EVERYWHERE!

03 Feb


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 Drew Barrymore connection to:

Descendents of the Bordens

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


I came across your blog from the article in today’s Boston Herald. Very interesting! Last year I starting doing family research because my Mom always told stories of how her mom (my grandmother) would play in Lizzie’s house. My grandmother, Marion Haywood b. 1893, mother was Flora A. Borden. Anyways…traced it back to Lizzie’s G G Grandfather John Borden b. 1640 is my G G G G G G  Grandfather. Not sure how you would say we were related, but we were.Anyways…great web-site enjoyed it alot!


After reading Arnold R. Brown’s book regarding Lizzie Borden, I became interested in the aspect of the murder being done by William S. Borden, with the possible help of William Lewis Bassett.  I began researching these two people.  One thing of interest I found is that William Lewis Bassett left Fall River, Bristol, Massachusetts after 1900 and ended up across the country in Sunnyside, Yakima County, Washington, where he died after 1910!  After William S. Borden’s murder or suicide in 1901, it looks like William Bassett wanted to get as far as possible from Fall River.William Lewis Bassett’s mother, Peace, was the second wife of Charles Lott Borden.  Charles Lott Borden’s first wife was Phebe Hathaway, the mother of William S. Borden.It is probable that Ellen Eagan’s story of seeing William S. Borden coming out of the Andrew Borden house at 11;00 a.m. the morning of the murders is true.  My theory is that he and William L. Bassett went there that morning, between 10:15 and 11:00, to ask for money from Andrew Borden.  When Andrew refused, he was murdered by William S. Borden, a dangerous lunatic.  Abby Borden was probably murdered shortly before, between 10:30 and 10:45.

So, when I read the newspaper account of Pete Peterson’s story on your website, I wanted to see the whole newspaper account.

Sincerely, Patricia

Note:  “Slides” above from presentation to womens group at ASU 5 years ago.  There are letters I will post pending permission where applicable.


7 responses to “Borden here, Borden there, Bordens, Bordens EVERYWHERE!

  1. randal Marcoux

    February 15, 2009 at 4:06 PM

    I heard that the police commissioner during the Lizzie Borden trial was Issie LaPlant. Is this true?

  2. Christine Laplante

    June 24, 2009 at 10:00 AM

    As I understand it, you are correct. That was my husband’s Great Grandfather.

  3. hunter

    December 14, 2012 at 7:21 AM

    actually the muder was William L Bassett get ur facts right people look it up if dont believe me he admitted to the murder too. suck on that ……

    • dennis hursey

      August 6, 2017 at 8:24 AM

      when and where did he admit to the murders? with whom didhe admitt it to?

      • phayemuss

        August 6, 2017 at 11:30 AM

        William Bassett wrote a letter to Marshall Hilliard admitting to the crime. Bogus.

  4. Amanda

    August 15, 2017 at 7:30 AM

    Hi Lizzy, I have come across what I am told is a real charcoal drawing of Lizzie from the 1800’s and also a separate portrait of an unidentified man. Do you mind taking a look at it? I wanted to take it to an appraiser but wanted your opinion first. Please email me and I will send you pics

    • Amanda

      August 15, 2017 at 7:31 AM

      I called you Lizzy – ahh where is my head at. LizzIE – just kidding. Sorry I meant Faye. Long night trying to do research.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: