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Category Archives: Descendents & Relations

Genealogy, reports from descendants.

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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Yearbooks & Obituaries – Fall River Notables

Although Lizzie Borden never attended BMC Durfee High School (built when she was 27 years old), we can search through the yearbooks and find plenty of contemporaries and decendents of those who factored in her life.

The original structure of BMC Durfee High School was built as a donation from Mrs. Mary B. Young to the people of the City of Fall River, in memory of her son Bradford Matthew Chaloner Durfee, who had died at a young age in 1872.

Image by Marcfoto on Flicker

The Yearbooks of BMC Durfee H.S. can be found online through the Ambrose F. Keeley library.   I’ve been to this library (and online site) many times over the years and it’s resources are wonderful for studying the history of Fall River.

Ambrose F. Keeley Library at BMC Durfee

If, like me, you enjoy looking over very old yearbooks you will love looking at the ones for BMC Durfee.

The 1922 Yearbook had Victoria Endicott Lincoln Lowe as it’s editor. “Vicky” was the author of  A Private Disgrace, Lizzie Borden by Daylight. Her father was Jonathan Thayer Lincoln who wrote City of the Dinner Pail, and her grandfather was Leontine Lincoln, a very prominent member of the Fall River community.

Leontine Lincoln

The 1927 Yearbook was dedicated to teacher Gertrude Baker.  It was probably in the hands of the graduating students before they (and Gertrude) learned Lizzie Borden had died on June 1, 1927.  A founding member of the fall River Animal Rescue League, Gertrude received $1,000 in Lizzie’s Will.

A listing of the yearbooks can be found HERE. But the most interesting one is this one 1914 Durfee Record.

Several pages have newspaper clippings of the obituaries of these graduates.  From those we learn who their parents were, what they pursued as a career, where they may have moved to, how they died and where they are buried.  Obits are always facinating and a great research resource, but you don’t often find them inside a Yearbook.  Here, one moment you are reading a high school blurb written of those born in the Edwardian age and the next moment you’re reading of their death in the 1970’s and 80’s.

In this yearbook we find Dr. William Dolan’s daughter, Mary, and 3rd generation funeral director James Edward Sullivan, Delmar Alexander Milne, grandson of the publishing magnate, etc. etc.  And of course a Durfee was class President.

It’s a fun trip so enjoy!

Shout out to Roy Nickerson:  Check out page 40.

 

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Florence Borden and the Masquerade Party

(NOTETHIS LETTER WILL APPEAR IN THE FALL RIVER HISTORICAL SOCIETY’S BOOK, PARALLEL LIVES):

When Lizzie Borden was in her teens and early 20’s she did attend parties with her contemporaries. She may have attended a party not unlike the one described in the handwritten letter below by Florence Borden, daughter of Spencer Borden. Flushed with the excitement of the evening’s events, the 15 year old Florence wrote “November 30, 1896″ at the top of the letter, but the postmark shows when it was mailed the next day, “December 1, 1895″.

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Shortly after acquiring this letter for my collection, I took it with me on my next visit to Fall River and left a photocopy for Fall River Historical Society Curator Michael Martins to help me identify those named within the letter. He wrote a 9-page response and I include the first two pages here to save me time (and space) in providing background and identification particulars of a few mentioned:  (Click on all images for larger view)


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Page1 Page2

Page3 Page4

Note:  Parker Hooper (born 1877) was the son of  William S. and Isabella Hooper who resided on French Street, three houses east from Lizzie.

Page5

Page6 Page7

Bertha Borden (born 1882) was the 15 year old daughter of Jerome Cook Borden & Emma Borden.  Jerome was Lizzie’s cousin who supported her during her Trial.

Page8 Page9

Page10

Page11 Page12

Young Florence is clearly thrilled with the costumes and those attending.  Her letter reflects an almost giddiness in her descriptions.  She lived in one of the two grandest homes in Fall River:  Interlachen

interlaken

……and she spent that night with Marion Osborne at the other grand house:   the Carr-Osborne House

C-OHouse

One generation behind Lizzie, these young ladies and gentlemen were the sons and daughters of Fall River’s elite society on “The Hill”.  And while they were only around 8-12 years old when the Borden murder case exploded upon the Fall River scene, they would know of Lizzie all their lives.   (Most would live long enough to have read Edmund Pearson, Edward Radin and even a fellow B.M.C. Durfee High School graduate, Victoria Lincoln.)

It would be less than two years after this party that Lizzie would be trumpeted again on the front pages:   the Tilden-Thurber shoplifting incident.   An oh, how these fine, cultured young people must have gossiped about that at other parties.

Note:  Florence doesn’t tell us if any of the ladies came dressed as Lizzie Borden with a hatchet sewed onto their skirt.  That would have been shockingly inappropriate.  Never would have happened.  But today?  Hell yes.

 

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Lizzie Borden Link to JFK and Harry Truman

And there she is, the link – well, sort of a link:   Grace Hartley Howe, cousin to Lizzie Borden, sitting behind John F. Kennedy and Harry S. Truman.   1st Row: Governor Paul Dever, JFK, Truman, Eddie Doolan; 2nd Row: Tom Kitchen, Mary Kane, Grace, City Councilor John Arruda, and David Talbot.  This photograph was taken in Fall River in 1952 during JFK’s campaign for the Senate and is on display in the dining room cabinet at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast/Museum.  Grace died in 1955, three years after this photograph was taken.

Grace lived her last years at this cottage on Martha Street in Fall River.

It has a lovely view of the Taunton River, which would have been even more exposed in her time there.

When a boy, Fall River author Leonard Rebello (Lizzie Borden Past & Present) used to deliver papers to Grace here.  He never knew her connection to Lizzie Borden until he was doing research for his book.

Oak Grove Cemetery grave site of Cook and Mary Borden – Grace Borden Hartley Howe’s maternal grandparents.  (Right click for larger image)

Grace’s grandfather, Cook Borden, was a brother of Abraham Borden – Andrew Borden’s father.  Grace’s mother, Mary Borden Hartley, was named after Grace’s grandmother (Cook Borden’s wife).  Grace’s own daughter, Mary Hartley Baker, who died many years before Grace, was also named after *her* grandmother.  Mary’s son, (Grace’s grandson) Robert Baker, inherited family property in Westport and also much of Lizzie’s personal property – as did Grace’s own son, Hartley, which Grace had inherited from Lizzie.  When Hartley died in 1996, some of what *he* had was left to his wife, Rosella Hartley Howe.

Grace is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery with her husband, Louis McHenry Howe (d.1936)

 

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