Lizzie Borden died on June 1, 1927. Her highly publicized Will was probated for six years. We learn much from those probate proceedings. For example, Undertaker Winward charged $696.70 for her funeral arrangements. We learn that Lizzie’s two cars, which were not listed among her bequests, were subsequently given away to her chauffeur, Ernest A. Terry, and business manager, Charles C. Cook as assigned assets disposed of in the 4th and Final Probate Accounting.
Conformed Copy of the original of Lizzie Borden’s Last Will and Testament.
(Right click images for better viewing)
There were 4 Probate Hearings as follows:
|1st Accounting||June 24, 1927 –
May 1, 1929
|October 2, 1931
|2nd Accounting||May 2, 1929 –
Jan. 1, 1932
|February 17, 1933
|Jan.1, 1932 –
Nov. 28, 1932
|February 17, 1933
|Nov. 28, 1932 –
March 3, 1933
|March 24, 1933
Conformed Copy of the original probate documents as filed with the probate court in Fall River.
As executor of Lizzie’s Will, Charles C. Cook had listed his services at $10,000. That was reduced to $5,000. There was also the initially unreported sale of the Henry house (for $10,000 on April 14, 1928) adjacent to Lizzie’s that was contested by the primary “human” heirs, Grace Hartley Howe and Helen Leighton. As if the money and the “so called Baker lot” were not enough, Mr. Cook ended up with the car below. He had served Andrew Borden in his business interests and then Lizzie and her sister for the past 35 years. He had earned Lizzie’s respect and gratitude for his loyalty and discretions. Perhaps, like Lizzie, Charles had his own sense of entitlement.
The vehicles pictured below are for illustrative purposes and not the actual cars.
1923 Lincoln Sedan went to Charles C. Cook.
Charles C. Cook was born March 28, 1854, and died on September 28, 1934, only 18 months after the final probating of Lizzie’s Will.
1924 Buick Sedan went to Ernest A. Terry
Ernest A. Terry was born January 26, 1886, and died October 11, 1955.
Both these cars would have been garaged in the special structure Lizzie had built for her first automobile in 1913. It still stands on French Street but is used for storage. Robert Dube, owner of “Maplecroft” tells me that when originally constructed there was only the center doors. The doors on both ends were added years later. Dube showed me the original drawings.
Rear of Maplecroft showing the area behind the Swift residence to the right. This shows the pathway on which Lizzie wanted to have a driveway built to her garage with it facing towards Belmont Street. Due to restrictions set forth in the sale at the time, she was not able to build where she wanted.
Besides Ernest and Charles and the cars – both Grace and Helen gained from the “residuals” of the estate. In addition to the furniture, carpets, books, jewelry, silver, glassware, etc., they were given cash payouts earned from interest on properties and stock dividends earned since Lizzie’s death to the final accounting – a period of 6 years. Grace was in Fall River on March 3, 1933 to sign (along with Helen Leighton) the Fourth and Final Accounting of the Probate of Lizzie’s Will, wherein they both received $6,000. That was a chunk of change to receive in the middle of the Depression.
The very next day Grace Hartley Howe, cousin to Lizzie Borden and wife of the private secretary and chief political strategist to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was in Washington, D.C. for the inauguaration of the President of the United States of America. She and Hartley took the train.
Why she and Helen chose not to keep these cars is a puzzlement to me.