Lizzie Borden’s Will left money to four of her relatives: her second cousin Grace Hartley Howe, and three of the four Robinson brothers. The Robinson brothers have such a thin bloodline link to Lizzie that I’m just not sure how to state them as cousins. (Grace was, of course, a second cousin as both she and Lizzie had grandfathers who were brothers).
Lizzie’s 21st, 22nd, and 23rd bequests are stated as follows:
“21. To my cousin George E. Robinson, of Swansea, Massachusetts, the sum of one thousand dollars.
22. To my cousin Edson M. Robinson, of said Swansea, the sum of one thousand dollars.
23. To my cousin, Percy V. Robinson, of said Swansea, the sum of two thousand dollars.”
I found the connection while researching the Vinnicum files at the Swansea Library in the small back room where the Swansea Historical Society keeps their archives.
On December 31, 1945, Mabel L. Vinnicum penned a multi page handwritten letter to the then curator of the Swansea Historical Society, the formidable Marion Riley who passed away several years ago. Mabel had given the Swansea Historical Society a photo album of the Vinnicum-Morse families in October of that year and was now writing about their genealogy. I found two specific pages relevant to identifying the lineage of the Robinson brothers and that can be seen by clicking here——> JohnVin1st and here —–>Vinnicum-Robinson
Okay, I’ll try and sort this out and keep it simple. Remember, we’re addressing the Vinnicums and Masons of Swansea, Mass:
Susannah (aka Susan) Vinnicum (b. March 1807, died August 29, 1895) and Sally Vinnicum (born March 14, 1809, died March 16, 1888) were sisters. Their parents were John Vinnicum the 2nd and Bethany Kinnicutt (his second wife) who married on January 11, 1805.
Susannah married Zephaniah Mason and they produced 3 children:
Caroline Cole Mason, Ann Francis Mason and William Mason. Caroline Cole Mason married Henry Augustus Gardner (they produced Orrin, Frank and William). Caroline’s sister, Ann Francis married William Morse who was brother to Lizzie & Emma’s uncle John Vinnicum Morse who was himself brother to Sarah Anthony Morse who was, of course, to marry the doomed Andrew Jackson Borden. Anyway, Ann Francis Mason Morse and William Morse, by their marriage, contributed to the Vinnicum-Mason-Gardner-Morse-Borden connection and then moved to Minnesota where they lived all their lives. Whew. I’m tired already.
So now we turn to Susannah’s sister Sally Vinnicum. Sally married a man named Benjamin Mason, son of Job Mason on March 25, 1830. Before Benjamin died on March 10, 1878, they produced Edson, Lemura, and Hannah Francis. Okay, now we’re gettin’ somewhere. The youngest daughter, Hannah Francis Mason married Rufus Robinson. Hannah and Rufus had the following children:
George Ernst Robinson, born November 22, 1872, died November, 1944.
Edson Mason Robinson, born May 19, 1874.
Charles Luther & Clara Wheaton Robinson (twins) born April 5, 1876. (Clara died on August 16, 1876).
Percy Vinnicum Robinson, born September 25, 1878.
So there’s the lineage of the Robinson brothers. Why brother Charles was not mentioned in Lizzie’s bequests can only be speculated upon. Perhaps he died before Lizzie wrote her Will. Perhaps he displeased her. Who knows. But apparently the other brothers George, Edson and Percy did not. Percy received $2,000 whereas his brothers only received $1,000. Perhaps Lizzie favored the youngest. Who knows. But why these cousins and not the Gardner cousins? And why did Emma favor the Gardner cousins and not these cousins? Who knows. (Am I getting redundant?) Who cares.
At the time of the Borden murders George was 19, Edson was 17, and Percy was 14. At Lizzie’s death, George was 55, Edson was 53, and Percy was 49. See how time flies?
And for what it’s worth, which probably aint much, none of the three brothers ever married.
These three Robinson brothers lived at the farmhouse on Birch Swamp Road in Warren, Rhode Island, just as their parents had, and just as *their* parents had. (Perhaps when Lizzie took long drives into the countryside she visited these three bachelor cousins).
P.S. You may have caught the name Tripp in the genealogy. Tripp was the maiden name of Susanna who married John Vinnicum the 1st. It might turn out that the Tripps whom Lizzie visited just a few days before the 1892 murders were relations as well! So much breeding. So few surnames. Circle of life.