Author Archives: phayemuss

About phayemuss

If you've stumbled across this blog, I hope you will enjoy in the musings, images, and perspectives as much as I enjoy sharing them. As a writer, scholar and collector of the infamous Lizzie Borden case of Fall River, MA (1892), I have spent over 40 years collecting rare books, journals, letters, photographs and memorabilia on this most compelling case. I like to say: "Some people play golf - I do Lizzie." My first read on the case was Victoria Lincoln's A Private Disgrace, and my first visit inside 92 Second Street(when it was numbered 230)was in 1978. For the next 15 years, I traveled to Fall River doing research and meeting with long time residents. In 1992, I was a presenter at the Lizzie Borden Centennial Conference in Fall River. Since 1998, I have stayed at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast two to three times a year, often serving as tour guide and night manager. I've lectured at University campuses, women's groups, genealogical societies, civic clubs and fraternal organizations, and libraries conducting multi-media presentations on Lizzie Borden and Fall River's history. I am the creator of the Lizzie Borden board game: "Journey to Maplecroft" and have produced several research and reference materials in both print and CD formats, some of which are available at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast. My personal images are copyrighted and not intended for other blogs or internet sites or print publications or any commercial use without permission, however, please feel free to copy them for your own personal collection. Also, feel free to email email me at -Faye Musselman Cypress, California

328 French Street Being Sold – Michael Brimbaugh and Stefani Koorey Move Out





This image shows a side view of “Maplecroft’s” garage, not often seen.

The property next door to “Maplecroft” (as shown above) owned by Michael Brimbaugh, has been on the market for over two months.  Brimbaugh and girlfriend, Stefani Koorey, have moved out after making improvements and prepping the property.  Brimbaugh is building a new home in Westport.

Read Herald News article HERE with photos of interior.

This house was once owned by Lizzie Borden, indirectly. She had
instructed her business manager, Charles Cook, to purchase the home in
his name in 1926 the year before she died. When she passed away in
1927, this house was part of her estate.

“According to Len Rebello, in Lizzie Borden Past & Present (1999), “Charles Cook
sold the Henry property (house and land next to Maplecroft) to Mary K.
Buxton on March 14, 1928, for $10,000 but did not record the sale to
Lizzie’s estate. The property was purchased in December 1926, for
$12,000 with Lizzie’s money. However, the deed was in Mr. Cook’s name.
Lizzie had purchased other property and deeded it with Mr. Cook’s name
as trustee for her. This was a practice to avoid publicity. Lizzie paid the
taxes on the property and all repairs. Mr. Cook claimed it was Lizzie’s
intent that he have the Henry property when she died. Grace Howe and
Helen Leighton contested. They wanted the proceeds back in Lizzie’s
estate. The Probate Court ruled in their favor. The proceeds were placed
in Lizzie’s estate at a 6% interest rate. The decision of Probate Court was
appealed and heard at the state Supreme Court in Boston in 1932. Mr.
Cook claimed that the “Bristol Court had no right, while considering his
accounts as executor, to hear evidence as to the ownership of the
property.” (“Borden Case Before the Full Bench,” Taunton Daily Gazette,
April 8, 1932: 2) The Supreme Court agreed with the ruling of Probate
Court.”  from Every House Has a Story

Meanwhile, “Maplecroft” owner, Kristee Bates, still struggles with bringing her property up to compliance with various codes in accordance with permit processing and issuance –  a costly endeavor.  Also, the once announced Leonard Rebello and Bill Pavao as co-curators have long disappeared from the scene due to differences of opinion in the renovations (more on that later).   But at least Kristee will no longer have that invasive “hawkeye” peering from her now vacated neighbor.


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Lizzie Borden Salem Exhibit & the Bleeder-Readers

Tattered Fabric: Fall River's Lizzie Borden

UPDATE:  The Salem Exhibit not only lost its lawsuit with the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast but closed down after 1 year.  The following RECYCLED post shows the enttire exhibit via the photos I took when visiting Salem.

I’ve posted before about the Lizzie Borden “True Story” exhibit in Salem and now, I give you some overall glimpses of most of the exhibit.

I’ve written before on this subject and those posts can be found HERE


The facility is 3,500 square feet of which 3,000 feet is exhibit space.  It is brand, spanking new, extremely well organized with the spacial layouts of the storyboards which are very well done with a clear, readable font.  It seems more thought and planning went into the storyboards than the actual floor displays.


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Posted by on October 15, 2016 in Uncategorized


Lizzie Borden and an Unhappy Family

Tattered Fabric: Fall River's Lizzie Borden

(Recycled from 2008)

The period immediately after the crime up through the end of the Preliminary Hearing has always been of more interest to me than the Trial itself. So many clues into the twisted fabric of this enigmatic case can be found in that span of time.

This particular New York Times article of August 24, 1892 has always been one of the most interesting to me because it is so generously sprinkled with the seeds from which grew so many speculative theories on this case. First, read the article about Lizzie’s letter.

While Lizzie testified to writing such a letter to Emma, it embellishes beyond that to which she actually testified at the Coroner’s Inquest held August 9th thru 11th, 1892. The day following the NYT article, the Preliminary Hearing began and, of course, Lizzie did not testify nor Emma. Keep in mind that it was the day…

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Posted by on September 22, 2016 in Uncategorized


Emma Borden’s Death & Wake at Riverby

Tattered Fabric: Fall River's Lizzie Borden

(Repost from March, 2013)

Emma Borden died in the early morning hours 9 days after her sister, Lizzie.  Members of her surrogate family saw to her funeral/burial wishes.  Her wake was held at Henry and Caroline Gardner’s home. Unlike Lizzie, family and friends gathered to pay their respects and the details of how things were handled was published in these papers.  (Click for larger views).

Seated left is Henry Augustus Gardner and his son Orrin to the right.  In the back is Hamilton Gardner (raised by Orrin since he was about 10 years old) and his best friend “Buck”.  These 3 Gardners, and many more, were at her Wake.

Where we read that Emma had made her wishes known to “Mrs. Gardner”, that would be Caroline Cole Mason Gardner who died in 1918, just seven years after celebrating her 50th Wedding Anniversary with Henry, an event which Emma attended. …

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Posted by on September 18, 2016 in Uncategorized





Unlike certain TV documentaries, this one has an expanded cast including Uncle John Morse and Nance O’Neil – real life characters.  This “Spindle City.…” musical takes into account the mill workers – something most often ignored in prior plays and T.V. documentaries on the case itself.  This is the second musical I’ve heard, the first being “LIzzie Borden the Rock Musical” which has enjoyed a good measure of success.

JohnMorse-olderUncle John Morse

Nance O'Neil

Nance O’Neil

Judging by this casting call, artistic license once again will run rampant.  As with so many TV depictions of the case, there are many fictional characters  However,  I’m looking forward to the singing and dancing.  It is, after all, a musical – –  not some 10 part PBS Documentary by Ken Burns or a major theatrical release directed by Martin Scorcese.   (sigh)

I’ve been to the Secret Rose Theater in North Hollywood before.  Its very small.  Can’t imagine the dancing on that small stage but we’ll see.  Maybe they go into the audience.

I still maintain that the VERY  BEST PLAY on Lizzie Borden is “Lizzie Borden Took An Axe” by Garrett A. Heater, which premiered at the Covey Theate Company in Syracuse, NY, played at BMC Durfee H.S., and continues to be produced in New England.  But that was a drama with age appropriate actors.


Blood Relations by Sharon Pollock continues to be the most produced of all Borden-related plays.

I’ll write a review in after seeing Katrina Wood’s production.

Meanwhile, I await Rebecca Pittman’s new book.






Maplecroft Update

The photos say it all but I’ll elaborate in a follow-up post later today or tomorrow.

Update on Maplecroft



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Posted by on September 12, 2016 in Kristee Bates, Maplecroft


New Lizzie Borden Letter Discovered

Tattered Fabric: Fall River's Lizzie Borden

The next best thing to finding a new photo of Lizzie is finding letters she had written. Well, readers, you are all in for a treat in the very near future.

Some months ago, my friend and author David Rehak brought to my attention a letter never before seen or published written by Lizzie. Since he was working on a re-write of his book Did Lizzie Borden Axe For It?, I encouraged him to include the letter in his new edition. The provenance has been established and I myself have been in contact with those who factor in the “trail of possession”. I have also carefully scrutinized my copy of this letter and there is no doubt in my mind it is written by Lizzie. Additionally, two other Lizzie experts have confirmed that it is, indeed, written by Lizzie. Not wanting to spoil it for Dave and its premiere…

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Posted by on September 8, 2016 in Uncategorized