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Category Archives: Descendents & Relations

Genealogy, reports from descendants.

What Happened to Emma’s Stuff?

Recycled from 2011

 

Emma Borden, Lizzie’s sister, left most of her personal property to Orrin Gardner.  He, in turn, gave much to his nephew, Hamilton, son of Orrin’s brother.  Before we go further, please note I’ve written about the Gardners of Swansea many times and you should review these posts HERE and HERE.

Young Orrin Gardner

Young Hamilton Gardner, son of William Gardner

The following images of letters and notes gives us a glimpse of what happened.  Indeed, the recently discovered portraits of a young Andrew and young Sarah were donated to the Swansea Historical Society by Hamilton Gardner.   (You’ll remember those portraits, possibly done at the time they were married – a true love match.)

                 

You have to wonder if these portraits hung at Maplecroft and if Emma took them when she left Lizzie in 1905.  Anyway….as to her other stuff, read these:

So we can begin to understand how so much of it got scattered when Bailey most likely sold them in his store.

I sure would like to see that photo of Emma “with a girlfriend at church bazaar”  Maybe it’ll be in Parallel Lives).

(Scanned documents from the Swansea Historical Society)

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2013 in Descendents & Relations, Swansea

 

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Providence Journal on 120 Years Since Lizzie Borden Acquittal

It”s been 120 years since Lizzie Borden was acquitted of the hatchet murders of her father and stepmother, so it’s no surprise the media would exploit this case once again.

The Providence Journal  is doing an extensive article running six consecutive days.  This little piece is a “teaser” for the 1st installment this Sunday, June 23.

shelley3Shelley Dziedzic poses on floor between bed and dresser where Abby Borden was found with 19 blows to the head on August 4, 1892.

Until last summer, Shelley Dziedzic, whom I’ve known for many, many years was a tour guide at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum.  She is the one who used to produce those annual August 4th re-enactments at  the B&B.   Shelley has added “historian” to her credentials, and aptly so, as she is extremely well informed on the case.  Her favorite smells are the hatchet cookies made at the B&B and, of course, the ever predictable rose.

The Lifetime Movie Channel’s Lizzie Borden is sure to exploit the slash and slice aspect of the case.  I’m fairly certain the Providence Journal will not, but we will see.

Meanwhile, check out my Facebook page:    CLICK HERE

 

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Anna & Laura Tirocchi – Dressmakers to the Elite

(Recycled post)

The Prentice Mansion at 514 Broadway, Providence, site of the shop operated by sisters Anna and Laura Tirocchi from 1915 to 1947.

Anna Tirocchi

Anna & Laura Tirocchi were a famed and successful dressmaking sister team I  happened to come across because of my interest in a British t.v. series called The House of Elliot (apparently, partly based on the Tirocchis).

What a complete surprise it was to find her business was patronized by some  Braytons,  Mrs. Dwight Waring (daughter of  Lizzie’s defense attorney, Andrew Jennings) et.al. of Fall River.  And from Providence, we have Preston Gardner’s wife Mary, and daughter, Maude, all of whom received considerable money and jewelry from Emma’s Will.

Another notable from Providence is Mrs. William G. Thurber, whose husband was Vice President of  Tilden-Thurber, the store where Lizzie shoplifted two paintings on porcelain only 4 years after her acquittal.  An incident in which Preston Gardner came to the rescue and an action for which Emma Borden was eternally grateful.

Anyway, back to the Tirocchi sisters. They operated a shop in Providence from 1911 to the mid 1930’s.  The stock market crash was the beginning of   it’s demise.  Anna said that 1927 was their “best year ever.”

If you’ve already read the basic background linked above, consider their elite client list that reads like a Who’s Who of  Fall River’s and Providence’s upper crust.

When you click on Client list you can then click on a woman’s name.  You then find out who her husband was.  Then you can click on “Transactions” for what she purchased (keep in mind that a dress costing $200 had the equivalent purchasing power of nearly $2,400 in today’s money), and “Correspondence” for letters she wrote and/or received.

Tirocchi’s  clientele is addressed   HERE. (then click “The Clients”)

One notable is Jessie Brayton – John Summerfield Brayton, Sr.

It was Jessie’s husband who was the recipient of  the well known letter written on August 31, 1900 by Lizzie Borden about his  noisy bird that crowed so loudly and made her nervous.  My, my.  Talk about dress threads that bind!

Her grandson was extremely accomplished, and it was his father, John Summerfield Brayton III, who was the discoverer  of  that above mentioned letter.

Not only did Anna keep precise records of sales and who these women were married to but she had all their measurements – not surprising for a dressmaker but enlightening to Borden researchers. Here’s the one for Mrs. Elizabeth Brayton.

This entire website is a marvel to explore and a person can spend a good two hours finding out who these women were.  I was getting visions of that film “The Women” directed by George Cukor – the early scenes of the ladies in the dressing rooms ….  but I digress.

Anna Tirocchi in the Butler Exchange workroom, making the final adjustments to a dress; ca. 1914.

The contents of the Tirocchi dress shop at 514 Broadway was offered to the Rhode Island School of Design Museum by sister Laura’s son, Dr. Louis Cella, Jr.   No wonder the staff, inventorying for over year,  was thrilled with what they found!!  Indeed, so was I.

And a big THANK YOU,  DR. CELLA!!!

P.S.  If Lizzie had an account there, she certainly didn’t  use her real name.

 

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Another “This belonged to Lizzie Borden” eBay Offering

“Antique Upholstered Lincoln rocking chair – chair From Lizzie Borden estate!”
More outrageous claims on eBay regarding stuff that belonged to Lizzie Borden. This “Abbie” Potter WAS a niece of Abby Borden, but Lizzie didn’t leave her ANYTHING in her Will, let alone this chair.
Here is the full item description on eBay:
“Available for you is this antique Lincoln rocking chair with an interesting history.I inherited this rocking chair from my mother several years ago. My mother inherited the rocker from Mrs. Abbie B. Potter from Providence in the 1960s. Abbie Potter was Lizzie Borden’s niece. After Ms. Borden’s death her house hold furnishings were disbursed to her family. Abbie inherited the chair herself Lizzie Borden estate. My mother came to know Abbie during World War II where she rented a room from her while my father was in the service. They became lifelong friends. When I was a child I went to Abbie’s house with my mother and I happened to see pictures that Abbie was showing my mother discreetly. I saw pictures of a skull with large holes in it. They scooted me away but I always remembered that afternoon.I cannot prove with documentation that this chair was actually from Lizzie Borden’s home but the preponderance of evidence has convinced me. I always thought of contacting the History Detective TV show but never had the time. In any event there is a terrific story about the chair, it is not haunted! The chair itself needs to be reupholstered and restored to bring it back to its prime shape it is now somewhat fragile. Usable and will display nicely. Available now Halloween is coming.”

From my blog under the category of Urban Legends, is this post about Abby Whitehead Potter with a newspaper photo of her.

This is the woman that the eBay seller asserts inherited that rocking chair from Lizzie Borden. Not likely.
 

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New Photos of Bridget Sullivan – Lizzie Borden’s housemaid

UPDATE:  According to today’s (4/9/12) follow up article written by Debbie Alard, the donator of the two Bridget Sullivan photos was her “grand niece by marriage”.  I learned this yesterday from Donald Woods, co-owner of the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast.  Well, of course by marriage…but the sad news is it is NOT one of the daughters of the 3 nieces named in Bridget’s Will.  Turns out to be a Dianna Porter and from her statements in the article she doesn’t know anymore about Bridget’s post Trial life than we do.  Oh well, so much for the pricking of our happy balloon, let alone the hot air ascendancy of Stefani Koorey’s blog post claim.  lol   Here’s the FRHN article:  CLICK HERE.  (Also, check out my Facebook page for more info.)

Until now, this was the only known photo of Bridget Sullivan:

Now, we have these two:

http://www.heraldnews.com/multimedia/video/x826304472/New-photos-of-Lizzie-Borden-maid

New-photos-of-Lizzie-Borden-maid

Just as we were all excited about looking at never before seen photos of Lizzie Borden in her 60’s, now we see Bridget Sullivan in her 70’s.  Check them out:

This is especially cool since we only have the one known photo of Bridget taken back circa 1892.  The niece who donated the pics was the major recipient in Bridget’s Will.  Bridget was blind when she died.  Whatever she knew, she took it with her.

When the niece visits, Lee-ann will have an excellent opportunity to learn first hand what, if anything, she had to say about Lizzie and the case in general.  I don’t believe the niece has ever been interviewed.

Note:  The above certificate, first page to her Will, states she was 69 at the time of writing her Will.  I have images of her complete Will if anyone wants to see it.  :

Here is Bridget’s Will in toto.  Note she cites 3 nieces as legatees:  Margaret McLeod, Mary Sullivan, and Kate Moriarity – all of Butte, Montana and all through the bloodline of her husband’s relatives.  Also note Julia O’Donnell from Anaconda, Montana as the major legatee who inherited all of Bridget’s personal effects.  So this grand-niece must be the daughter of Margaret, Mary or Kate and if she got the photographs from her mother, then Julia didn’t grab fast enough – but then again, she was an out-of-towner.  😉

(Click on images for larger view – use your little magnifying glass feature.)

 

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Emma Borden Not Such a Recluse

The following Recycled post will be of added new interest to those who purchased Parallel Lives.  Indeed, as we’ve learned from that book, Emma was no recluse.  Beginning on page 748, I believe, the writers go into depth of the Gardners from the Henry Augusta Gardner line.  Enjoy.

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One of the urban legends in the Borden case is that Emma Borden became a recluse, rarely went out, and had no family after departing from her infamous sister, Lizzie.  Not true – at least not until the final few years of her life, when she was infirm and senile.

I’ve written before of the Gardners of Swansea who became a sort of surrogate family to Emma Borden when she departed forever from her sister, Lizzie in 1905.

On December 11, 1914, Henry Augustus Gardner (the patriarch of the family) and his wife, Caroline Cole Mason Gardner, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at their home “Riverby” in Touisset.  They had put together this little commemorative booklet (from my collection) for each of their guests which included Emma Borden as she attended and received such a booklet.

(Click on all images below for larger views)



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Emma attended this event and her signature can be seen 4th down on the left side.  Little Hamilton Gardner, son of William, left his “mark” on the bottom of the right side.  At the top you see Doris Gardner’s name and her mark.  Having parallel lives, she and Hamilton ended up husband and wife.  More on her later.

William Wilson Gardner and son, Hamilton

(and was he a little cutie or what?)

When Hamilton’s father died, he was raised by his uncle, Orrin Gardner.  Emma was particularly fond of and close to Orrin.  And from evidence of her including him in an income trust and mentions elsewhere, she was also fond of Hamilton, who was a teenager when Emma died.

Emma, in fact, attended birthday parties, clam boils, weddings, funerals, and holidays with many of the people and their children shown in the oval picture below.  If you study the names and compare it to the guest signatures above, you’ll note most of them attended this event, as well as many of their offspring.

Father William Gardner (standing), Grandfather Henry Augustus Gardner, and Grandson Hamilton Gardner

“Riverby” about 1914

Here is a full account of the event as reported in the newspaper.

The quote of Henry Augustus speaking of how the area was when he first moved there to the “present” (i.e. 1914) is particularly interesting.

As stated above, this was not the only Gardner family event Emma attended.  My collection includes other documentation of Emma’s surrogate family and travels.  She spent a lot of time with Preston Gardner’s wife, Mary and their daughter, Maude, all of whom she favored in income trusts and her will.

 

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Did She or Didn’t She? Emma Borden and the Boston Sunday Post Interview

Click on image for larger view

Emma Lenora Borden, sister to our gal Lizzie, has long been cited as the subject of an interview in the Boston Sunday Post of April 13, 1913.  The by-lined reporter, one Edwin Joseph McGuire, however, has never been confirmed as a reporter, let alone the validity of the interview itself.  The interview came just one week after an extensive article by Gertrude Stevenson of the Boston Sunday Herald who wrote of what life was like for Lizzie twenty years after the crimes.  It has been speculated *that* article encouraged Emma to come forward from her self-imposed exile and speak for the very first time, ever, publicly – and “Lucky” McGuire got the gig.

Reference to this astonishing interview with Emma was, however, flatly denied by her through the “Buck family”.   The Buck family (once headed by that revered Reverend Edwin Augustus Buck who had died a decade before on March 9, 1903) was apparently now led by his spinster daughters, including Alice Buck, who was the closest to Emma.

Click on image for larger view and to read inserted article.

We don’t know for certain if it was Alice Buck who was the member of the Buck family who said the McGuire article was “not authentic”, though it very well could have been.  But the point is this:  McGuire’s article is mentioned in so many books of the “first generation” authors and so little is mention, even with contemporary authors on the case, as to the subsequent denial of its authenticity.

Why in the world would Emma agree to such an interview after more than 2 decades of silence?   Were there events before or close in time to the interview that influenced or motivated her?  Let’s check.  Let’s go back to a little more than one year previous:

March 1, 1912 John Vinnicum Morse dies in Hastings, Iowa at the age of 79.
April 15, 1912 White Star liner Titanic sinks on her maiden voyage after hitting an iceberg; 1,500 die.
June 10, 1912 Grisly axe murders of 2 adults and 6 children, all while they sleep, in Villisca, Iowa.
July 19, 1912 A meteorite with a mass of 19,000 kg landed in the town of Holbrook, Navajo County, Arizona.
July 29, 1912 Lizzie writes letter to Stomell & Co. requesting “B” be engraved on her suitcase “toilet items”.
December 30, 1912 Rufus B. Hilliard (FR Chief of Police) dies.
1913 Woodrow Wilson is President of the United States.
1913 Ford develops first moving assembly line.
1913 Alice Paul and Lucy Burns form the Congressional Union to work toward the passage of a federal amendment to give women the vote. The group is later renamed the National Women’s Party.
March 10, 1913 Harriet Tubman dies of pneumonia in Auburn New York.
1913 Louis McHenry Howe becomes Chief of Staff to FDR who is appointed Asst. Secretary to the Navy.
April 6, 1913 Boston Sunday Herald special edition: “Lizzie Borden 20 Years After the Tragedy” by Gertrude Stevenson.
April 13, 1913 Boston Sunday Post publishes interview with Emma Borden by reporter Edwin Joseph McGuire.   (Was this a hoax?

The little article above about McGuire’s article not being “authentic” was included in a packet of material on the case from Orrin Augustus Gardner.  Contents of the packet can be found in the Swansea Historical Society’s research nook at the Swansea Library.  Orrin Gardner was a close to Emma all her life and was a major legatee in her Will.

This image shows Orrin Gardner far left, wearing hat, on outing with school boys and was taken about the time he donated that package.

 

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