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Category Archives: Legal & Forensics
This one begins in early 1892 through the end of the day of August 5th, the day after the murders, in 1892. The “Key” to the sources remain the same as in the previous post.
January 21, 1892 Andrew Borden, Vernon Wade, and Andrew Jennings witness Southard Miller signing his Will. (LR24)
February 12, 1892 Former President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is declared a national holiday in the United States.
April, 1892 Borden barn is broken into.
April 25, 1892 Bertha Borden is born. Daughter of Jerome C. Borden.
April, 1892 Lizzie tells dressmaker Hannah Gifford that Abby is a “mean old thing”.
May 4, 1892 Picker room fire in the Durfee Mill.
May 9, 1892 Painter John W. Grouard delivers paint to Borden house; AJB tells painter to wait for Lizzie’s approval. Lizzie goes to Grouard’s house to say color is not right. (TT1249)
May 10, 1892 Lizzie inspects paint in tubs in barn and gives approval to painter Grouard; Lizzie selects “drab” color. (LR32) & (TT1350)
May/June 1892 Andrew kills pigeons roosting in the barn. Morse visits end of June.
June 30, 1892 Morse spends one day at Bordens; takes Butcher Davis’ daughter & Emma for a ride. (CI 96)
July 10, 1892 Morse again visits Bordens. AJB asks Morse if he knows of man to run Swansea farm. (CI 96)
July 11, 1892 Union laborers in Fall River celebrate new 58-hour workweek with giant parade.
July 18, 1892 Emma and Lizzie deed back house on Ferry Street to Andrew and receive $2,500 each. (LR556)
July 19, 1892 Lizzie’s 32nd Birthday.
July 20, 1892 Grover Cleveland passes thru FR enroute to NYC for Democratic Convention. (VVII-326)
July 20, 1892 Lizzie supposedly sees a stranger at the back door when she returns from being out that evening.
July 21, 1892 Lizzie & Emma leave Fall River; Lizzie stops at New Bedford to visit Carrie Poole & her mother; Emma stopping at Fairhaven to visit the Brownell’s.
July 21, 1892 Lizzie travels on to New Bedford, staying with Mrs. Poole and her daughter at 20 Madison Street.
July 23, 1892 Lizzie went on street alone (New Bedford) to buy some dress goods (gone from rooming house 30 minutes). (WS31)
July 25, 1892 AJB writes letter to Morse telling him to wait about getting a man to run his farm. (CI98)
July 25, 1892 Lizzie visits the girls at Marion at Dr. Handy’s cottage.
July 25, 1892 FR Daily News reports on ladies in vacationing in Marion. (LR62)
July 26, 1892 Lizzie, Mrs. Poole & Mrs. Poole’s daughter ride to Westport to visit Mrs. Cyrus Tripp (Augusta, old schoolmate).
July 26, 1892 Lizzie takes train from Westport to New Bedford to connect with Fall River.
July 30, 1892 Fall River Board of Health reports 90 deaths due to extreme heat, 65 are children under age 5. (VVII-331)
July 31, 1892 Bridget prepares first serving of the infamous mutton for Sunday supper.
August 2, 1892 Andrews tells associate there is “trouble” in the Borden household.
August 2, 1892 Swordfish is served for supper and served again warmed over for dinner.
August 2, 1892 Andrew and Abby vomit during the night.
August 3, 1892 THE DAY BEFORE THE MURDERS
8:00 am Abby goes across street to Dr. Bowen; tells him she fears she’s been poisoned.
9:00 am approx Dr. Bowen crosses street to check on the Bordens; Lizzie dashes upstairs; Andrew rebuffs his unsolicited visit.
10:00-11:30 am Lizzie attempts to buy prussic acid from Eli Bence at Smith’s pharmacy on Columbia Street. (PH310)
12:00 Noon Lizzie joins Andrew and Abby for the noontime meal in the dining room.
12:35 am Uncle John Vinnicum Morse leaves by train from New Bedford. (CI98)
1:30 pm John Morse walks from train station & arrives at Borden house; Abby lets him in front door.
2:00-4:00 pm Morse and Andrew talk in sitting room; Lizzie hears conversation. (TT141)
4:00 pm John Morse hires horse and wagon at Kirby’s Stable and drives to Swansea in late afternoon. (CI 99)
7:00 pm Lizzie visits Alice Russell in the early evening, states her fear “something will happen”.
7:00-8:00 pm John Morse visits Frederick Eddy at Borden farm in Swansea, brings back eggs. (WS36-37)
8:45 pm Morse returns from Swansea, talks in sitting room with Andrew and Abby. (CI99)
9:00 pm Lizzie returns from Alice Russell’s, locks front door, and goes upstairs to her room without speaking to father or uncle.
9:15 pm Abby Borden retires to bed.
10:00 pm Andrew and Morse retire to bed.
August 4, 1892
THE DAY OF THE MURDERS (Note: Times given are based on various testimonies taken primarily from the Preliminary Hearing held August 25-September 1st, 1892, and are approximated as close as possible).
6:15 am Bridget goes downstairs, gets coal and wood in cellar to start fire in kitchen stove, and takes in milk.
6:20 am Morse goes downstairs to stting rm.
6:30 am Abby comes downstairs, gives orders for breakfast to Bridget
6:40-6:50 am Andrew goes downstairs, empties slops, picks up pears, and goes to barn.
6:45 am Bridget opens side (back) door for the ice man.
7:00 am Bordens and Morse have breakfast in dining room. (Lizzie is still upstairs).
7:15 am Bridget sees Morse for first time at breakfast table.
7:30 am Bridget eats her breakfast, and then clears dishes.
7:45-8:45 Morse and Andrew talk in sitting room; Abby sits with them a short while before beginning to dust.
8:30 am Morse sees Abby go into the front hall.
8:45 am Andrew lets Morse out side door, invites him back for dinner.
8:45-9:00 am Morse leaves for Post Office and then to visit a niece and nephew at Daniel Emery’s, #4 Weybosset Street. (CI101)
8:45-9:00 am Andrew goes back upstairs and returns wearing collar and tie, goes to sitting room.
8:45-9:00 am Abby tells Bridget to wash windows, inside and out.
8:45-8:50 am Lizzie comes down and enters kitchen.
8:45-9:00 am Bridget goes outside to vomit.
8:45-9:00 am Andrew leaves the house.
8:45-9:00 am Bridget returns, does not see Lizzie, sees Abby dusting in dining room, does not see Andrew.
9:00 am Abby goes up to guest room.
9:00-9:30 am Bridget cleans away breakfast dishes in kitchen.
9:00-9:30 am Bridget gets brush from cellar for washing windows
9:00-9:30 am Lizzie appears at back door as Bridget goes towards barn; Bridget tells Lizzie she need not lock door.
9:30 am Abraham G. Hart, Treasurer of Union Savings Bank, talks to Andrew at Bank.
9:15-9:45 am Morse arrives at #4 Weybosset Street to visit his niece and nephew. (WS29)
9:30-10:05 Andrew visits banks.
9:45 am John P. Burrill, Cashier, talks to Andrew at National Union Bank.
9:50-10:00 am AJB deposits Troy Mill check with Everett Cook at First Nat’l Bank; talks with William Carr. (WS29)
9:30-10:20 am Bridget washes outside windows, stops to talk to “Kelly girl” at south side fence.
9:30-10:00 am Abby Borden dies from blows to the head with a sharp instrument.
10:00-10:30 am Mrs. Churchill sees Bridget outside washing NE windows. (CI126)
10:20 am Bridget re-enters house from side door, commences to wash inside windows.
10:29 am Jonathan Clegg (fixed time by City Hall clock) stated Andrew left his shop heading home. (TT173)
10:15-10:30 am Andrew stops to talk to Jonathan Clegg, picks up old lock; Southard Miller (at Whitehead’s Market) sees AJB turn onto Spring St; Mary Gallagher sees AJB at corner of South Main & Spring; Lizzie Gray sees AJB turning north on Second Street. (WS10, 43)
10:30-10:40 am Joseph Shortsleeves sees Andrew. (PH230&WS10)
10:40 am James Mather sees Andrew leave shop (PH231)
10:30-10:40 am Mrs. Kelly observes Andrew going to his front door. (PH209)
10:30-10:40 am Andrew Borden can’t get in side door, fumbles with key at front door, and let in by Bridget.
10:30-10:40 am Bridget hears Lizzie laugh on the stairs as she says “pshaw” fumbling with inside triple locks.
10:35-10:45 am Bridget sees Lizzie go into dining room and speak “low” to her father.
10:45 am Mark Chase, residing over Wade’s store, sees man on Borden fence taking pears. (WS45)
10:45-10:55 am Lizzie puts ironing board on dining room table as Bridget finishes last window in the dining room
10:45-10:55 am Lizzie asks Bridget in kitchen if she’s going out, tells her of note to Abby & sale at Sargeant’s.
10:50-10:55 Mark Chase observes man with open buggy parked just beyond tree in front of Borden house.
August 4, 1892
10:55 am Bridget goes upstairs to her room to lie down. (CIp24)
10:55–10:58 am Bridget goes up to her room; lies down on her bed. (WS3)
10:55-11:00 am Andrew Borden dies from blows to the head with a sharp instrument.
11:00 am Bridget hears City Hall clock chime 11:00.
11:05-11:10 am Hyman Lubinsky drives his cart past the Borden house. (TT1423)
11:05-11:10 William Sullivan, clerk at Hudner’s Market notes Mrs. Churchill leaving the store. (WS10)
11:10 am APPROX. Lizzie hollers to Bridget to come down, “Someone has killed father”. (TT244)
11:10-11:12 am Lizzie sends Bridget to get Dr. Bowen. (TT245)
11:10-11:13 am Bridget rushes back across the street from Bowen’s, tells Lizzie he’s not at home. (TT245)
11:10-11:13 am Lizzie asks Bridget if she knows where Alice Russell lives and tells her to go get her. (TT245)
11:10-11:13 am Bridget grabs her hat & shawl from kitchen entry way and rushes to Alice Russell’s. (TT245)
11:10-11:13 am Mrs. Churchill observes Bridget crossing street, notices a distressed Lizzie and calls out to Lizzie who tells her “someone has murdered father.” (PH281-282)
11:13 am Mrs. John Gormely says Mrs. Churchill runs through her yelling “Mr. Borden is murdered!” (WS9)
11:10-11:14 am Mrs. Churchill goes to side door, speaks briefly to Lizzie, and then crosses street looking for a doctor. (PH283)
11:12-11:14 am John Cunningham sees Mrs. Churchill talking to others then uses phone at Gorman’s paint shop to call Police.
11:15 am Marshal Hilliard receives call from news dealer Cunningham about disturbance at Borden house.
11:15 am Marshal Hilliard orders Officer Allen to go to Borden house. (Allen notes exact time on office wall clock).
11:16 – 11:20 am Mrs. Churchill returns from giving the alarm. (PH284)
11:16 – 11:20 am Dr. Bowen pulls up in his carriage, met by his wife, rushes over to Borden’s. (PH 273)
11:16-11:20 am John Cunningham checks outside cellar door in Borden back yard, finds it locked.
11:18-11:20 am Dr. Bowen sees Andrew, asks for sheet; alone with Lizzie for approx. one minute.
11:20 am Officer Allen arrives at Bordens, met at door by Dr. Bowen. Sees Lizzie sitting alone at kitchen table.
11:20–11:21 am Allen sees Andrews’s body at same time Alice Russell and Mrs. Churchill come in. (Where was Bridget?)
11:20-11:22 am Allen checks front door and notes it bolted from inside, checks closets in dining room and kitchen.
11:20 am Morse departs Daniel Emery’s on Weybosset Street, takes a streetcar back to the Borden’s.
11-22-11:23 am Officer Allen leaves house to return to station, Bowen goes out with him. Allen has Sawyer guard back door.
11:23-11:33 am Dr. Bowen returns home, checks rail timetable, goes to telegram Emma, and stops at Baker’s Drug store. Telegram is time stamped at 11:32. (PH274)
11:25 am Off. Patrick Doherty, at Bedford & Second, notes City Hall clock time enroute to Station. (T589)
11:23-11:30 am Lizzie asks to check for Mrs. Borden; Bridget & Mrs. Churchill go upstairs, discover body. (PH29-30)
11:32 am Officers Doherty & Wixon leaves police station for Borden house. Reporter Manning on rear steps, Sawyer inside at screen door. (Bridget in s/e corner near sink) (PH329)
11:34 am Bridget fetches Doctor Bowen’s wife, Phoebe. (T250)
11:35 George Petty, former resident of 92 Second Street, enters the Borden house with Dr. Bowen. (WS21)
11:40 am Bowen returns to Borden house. Churchill tells him they’ve discovered Abby upstairs. (TT322)
11:35-11:40 am Officer Patrick Doherty & Deputy Sheriff Wixon arrive at house; see Manning sitting on steps, met at back door by Dr. Bowen, who lets them in. (T447)
11:35-11:40 am Francis Wixon and Dr. Bowen check Andrew’s pockets and remove watch.
11:35-11:40 Officer Doherty questions Lizzie who tells him she heard a “scraping” noise.
11:35-11:40 am Officer Doherty views Abby’s body with Dr. Bowen pulls bed out to view her better. (PH330)
11:35-11:45 am Morse arrives at Borden house, first going to back yard.
11:37 am Officer Mullaly arrives.
11:39-11:40 am Officer Medley arrives at 92 Second Street. (TT686)
11:44 am Doherty runs to Undertaker Gorman’s shop around corner and phones Marshal Hilliard. (PH331)
11:45 Dr. Bowen shows Doherty Andrew, then Abby. Pulls bed out 3 feet. (PH330)
11:45 am Doherty returns; Officers Mullaly. Allen, Denny, and Medley arrive.
11:45 am Dr. Dolan arrives, sees bodies.
11:45 am Morse talks to Sawyer at side door, later testifies he heard of murders from Bridget.
11:45-11:50 am Morse sees Andrew’s body, then goes upstairs and sees Abby’s body.
11:50 am Morse speaks to Lizzie as she lays on lounge in dining room.
11:50 am-Noon Asst. Marshal Fleet arrives; sees bodies; talks to Lizzie in her room w/Rev. Buck, says “…she’s not my mother, she’s my stepmother” (PH354)
11:50 am Morse goes out to back yard and stays outside most of the afternoon.
11:50 am –Noon Deputy Sheriff Wixon climbs back fence and talks to workmen sawing wood in Chagnon yard. (TT452)
11:50-Noon Doherty, Fleet and Medley accompany Bridget to cellar where she shows them hatchet in box on shelf. (WS6)
12:15-12:20 am Officer Harrington arrives at the Borden house.
12:25 am Officer Harrington interviews Lizzie in her bedroom (she wears pink wrapper).
12:45 am Marshal Hillliard & Officers Doherty & Connors drive carriage to Andrew’s upper farm in Swansea.
2:00 pm Dr. Dedrick arrives at Borden house.
3:00-4:00 pm Crime scene photographs are taken of Andrew & Abby. (PH160)
3:40 pm Emma leaves on New Bedford train for Weir Junction to return to Fall River. (CI107)
4:30 pm Stomachs of Andrew and Abby removed and sealed.
5:00 pm Emma arrives in Fall River. (TT1550)
5:00-5:30 pm State Detective George F. Seaver arrives from Taunton. (PH453)
5:30 pm Dr. Dolan “delivers” bodies of Andrew and Abby to Undertaker James Winward. (PH388)
5:35 pm Winward & assistant remove sofa from house and store it in a room at his building. (BG8-5-92)
6:00 pm Alice leaves 92 Second St. to return home for supper. (CI149)
8:30 pm Mrs. Charles Holmes leaves the Borden girls and returns to her home on Pine.
8:45 pm Officer Joseph Hyde, observing from a northwest outside window, sees Lizzie & Alice go down cellar.
9:00 pm Officer Hyde observes Lizzie in basement alone.
August 5, 1892
6:00 am Off. FL Edson arrives at Borden house, sees Morse in kitchen; goes with Harrington to cellar and retrieves 2 axes and 1 hatchet, and returns to Police Station
6:30 am Morse comes to side door and speaks to officer on duty. (WS9)
8:30 am Morse leaves house and crosses street to Southard Miller’s house to get Bridget. (WS9)
8:30 am Morse goes to Post Office and sends letter “in haste” to Wm. A. Davis in South Dartmouth.
8:30 am Morse wants to hire someone to bury bloodstained clothes. (ES8/6)
9:00-9:30 am Winward at the Borden house, bodies in caskets; notified not to bury them. (Did AJB have on clean Prince Albert?) (PH388)
August 5, 1892 State Detective Seaver and Marshal Hilliard question Lizzie at her home.
August 5, 1892 Evening Standard reports Emma & Lizzie notify newspapers of $5,000 reward for capture of assassin.
August 5, 1892 Clothing from Andrew & Abby taken from washtub in cellar and buried in yard behind barn.
August 5, 1892 John Morse goes to Post Office followed by a large crowd.
The hatchet murders of Andrew and Abby Borden in their Fall River, Mass. home in broad daylight on August 4, 1892 is the most compelling and mystifying case in the annals of classic, unsolved murders. Although 32 year old Lizzie, the younger daughter, was brought to Trial, she was acquitted and no one else was ever charged. After 121 years, the case still fascinates people all over the world. Why is that?
Every time there is a new book, documentary, news article, etc. about the case, the inevitable question comes up: “Why has this case endured?” The answers are usually speculative responses referring to the Victorian era, the possibility of incest, lack of blood on the accused, lack of a murder weapon, the time between the two murders, the accused being a virginal Sunday school teacher, the accused being a “Borden” when Bordens were the power elite in the town, the gruesomeness of the hatchet blows, the theme of the hated stepmother, etc., etc. But that’s not it. The following is.
A single statement made by the Prosecuting Attorney and the Defense Attorney best encapsulates forever exactly WHY THIS CASE ENDURES:
The Preliminary Hearing was held on August 25, 1892 at the Second District Courthouse in Fall River. During their Opening Address, Prosecutor Knowton and Defense Attorney Jennings made the following statements.
“It was an incredible crime. It was an impossible crime. And yet it happened.”
-District Attorney Hosea Morrill Knowlton
“She is either the most maligned creature on earth or she possesses a heart as black as hell itself. Does she look it?”
-Defense Attorney Andrew Jackson Jennings
After almost 121 years, these statements remain relevant on two levels: Knowlton’s statement is the reason it has compelled three generations to study and speculate how it could have been done. Jennings statement remains as a premise for those who believe she didn’t do it, and those who believe she did.
These simple, one sentence statements best encapsulates forever exactly WHY THIS CASE ENDURES.
(Recycled from March, 2009)
The first book to be published on the Lizzie Borden case was right after her Trial in 1893 by Edwin Porter, a reporter for the Fall River Globe and a chum of some of the police officers who provided some inside information.
The first edition, the original, is not easily found and when it does appear, such as on eBay, usually sells for $300 or more. Some antique book dealers list it as high as $2,000. The book itself is really not all that rare. I addressed this issue in detail in a previous blog which can be found by clicking HERE.
Lizzie’s lawyer, Andrew Jennings, on behalf of the Borden sisters and John Morse, threatened Porter and the publisher with legal action if any pictures of “the family” appeared. Well, pictures of the “dead family” appeared and no suit followed.
When the book was first published, it was sold on subscription, and one of the “Lizzie Legends” is that Lizzie bought out the printer and had the copies burned. Not true. A goodly number were purchased – and to some Fall River notables at that. The one found AT THIS SITE was owned by Charlotte Brayton and she donated it to the Harvard Library. The Braytons were one of the prominent founding families of Fall River.
By clicking to advance the pages , you will immediately see the handwritten inscription on the inside cover: “Israel Brayton”. This particular Israel Brayton* was born in 1874 and died in 1961. He married Ethel Moison Chace (1880-1960), and they had three children, including Charlotte Brayton (1913 to 1994). Charlotte never married. For whatever reasons, Charlotte preferred to donate her father’s copy of The Fall River Tragedy to Harvard rather than the Fall River Historical Society. Lucky thing for us she did.
The book is rich in photos of key players not found in other books and includes the old “Ferry Street” homestead, the house Andrew deeded to the girls over the Whitehead fiasco. Well, that house was practically a prototype of the home he purchased in 1872 at 92 Second Street. Greek revival, two-family home. Andrew was worth a small fortune by 1872 but he didn’t exactly move “up”. Anyway, here’s a picture of both houses:
Virtually, the same house. Two stories and an attic built for 2 families with identical floor plans on the first and second floors. Lizzie was 12 when they moved and she could not have been too impressed. The only difference was after a short while they had “the whole house”. So that was different.
Thanks to the Harvard Library, and thanks to Charlotte Brayton, you can now READ, AND PRINT OUT THE ENTIRE BOOK FOR FREE – AND AS IT WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED. NO WORD DOCUMENT HERE. HERE YOU CAN ENJOY IT JUST AS IT WAS LAID OUT – NOT RETYPED IN WORD FORMAT AND UPLOADED TO A FORUM SITE WITHOUT ANY IMAGES. HERE YOU GET THE REAL DEAL. ENJOY! IT’S FREE!
CLICK HERE —> FALL RIVER TRAGEDY
*Source: The Braytons of Somerset and Fall River by Roswell Brayton, page 34. (Note: Charlotte is pictured with several generations of Braytons in this book; also pictured are her father and mother.)
(Recycled from March 2008)
James E. Windward, “funeral director to the stars” or at least to all the best Fall River families (translation: Bordens, Braytons, Durfees, Chaces, etc.) during Lizzie’s time, was at the Borden house with his assistant around 4:00 pm on August 4, 1892. As Doctor Dolan testified, it was Undertaker Winward who removed the money from Andrew’s clothing and gave it over to him.
Winward had to wait until the in-situ crime scene photographs were taken and preliminary autopsies were concluded before he could claim possession of the bodies for preparation for Saturday’s funeral services. Could it be that Lizzie told him directly or had it conveyed to him as a discreet request by another (Alice? Uncle John?) that she wished her father to be “laid out” in his Prince Albert coat because it was such a signature garment to all those that knew him? The same Prince Albert coat that was photographed crumbled up under his head on the sofa. The same Prince Albert coat that his usual custom was to hang on a hook when switching to his more comfortable coat in which he wore in death? The same Prince Albert coat that is not on the list of clothing buried nor presented at Trial. The same Prince Albert coat that magically disappears like socks in the dryer. The same Prince Albert coat that District Attorney Knowlton alluded to as a possible shield against the assailant’s own clothing during his Trial summation? The same coat that had it been laid out and studied would have had telling blood splatters and not just a large stain from the seeping wounds of the ten hatchet blows to his head.
Let us assume that the Prince Albert coat was indeed removed from the premises by Undertaker Winward at Lizzie’s request. Let us further assume it was subsequently cleaned, pressed and put back upon the corpse of Andrew Borden. It would seem such an appropriate thing to do that his open coffin next to Abby’s in the Sitting Room would warrant narry a comment pertaining to evidence. “How peaceful he looks with his head on the side, and isn’t it natural that he should be wearing that oh so familiar coat?”, one might have commented to another.
Fast Forward – Oak Grove Cemetery:
The mortal remains of Andrew Jackson Borden lay crushed from a collapsed coffin, wood fragments embedded in the decomposed and tattered fabric of a certain Prince Albert coat. A high school ring dangles from his skeletal finger and his skeletal foot stretches out to just inches above Lizzie’s head. Each day at the stroke of 11:00 am, he shoves his foot against her head and in a muffled but strident voice only the dead can hear he speaks out to her: “Bad girl, Lizzie. Bad, bad, girl.” Thus, every day throughout eternity she hears those words at the stroke of Eleven – Lizzie’s own hellish, eternal doom.
I’d be willing to bet if Andrew’s grave were dug up, the collapsed coffin opened, there we would find the mortal remains of Andrew Borden. His head would be detached and displaced but he’d be dressed in that Prince Albert coat.
Clever girl, Lizzie. Clever, clever girl.
Really good job here by Oj Sheridan, tour guide at the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast Museum. (Side note: The oldest child of Eliza Borden managed to escape her mother’s attempt to push her into the well and went on to live out a long life all in Fall River).