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Category Archives: Maplecroft

Lizzie Borden – For Brevity’s Sake

Sometimes we just need to chuckle about it all.

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 Artist Charles George Deviantart.com) does a variation on a theme.

 

 

 

 

Here’s a couple more of his clever illustrations:

Lizzie swoons in court when skulls of her father and stepmother are presented by Prosecutor Knowlton.

A forlorn and depressed Lizzie stares out a window in an attic room at her home on 92 Second Street – or is it Maplecroft?

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Could Edmund Pearson Have Hastened Lizzie Borden’s Death?

(I originally wrote this post back in 2010)

Edmund Lester Pearson (1880-1937)

 

Edmund Lester Pearson

He was a noted librarian and prolific writer on true crime.  In 1924 he began a correspondence with Frank W. Knowlton, son of Hosea Knowlton, the district attorney who prosecuted Lizzie Borden in her 1893 trial.   Known as the “Knowlton-Pearson Correspondence” it is a remarkable assemblage – rich in content it clearly shows the eagerness with which Frank accommodated Edmund’s request.  They were contemporaries, and Frank provided the author with “open sesame” to Lizzie’s contemporaries and others still living who knew her and/or were involved in the case.   Pearson had access to all of Hosea Knowlton’s papers on the case, and also the preliminary hearing and Trial transcript. (Knowlton was unsuccessful, however, in tracking down Bridget Sullivan’s inquest testimony – a document still missing after all these decades).

In any event, Pearson’s investigative research resulted in Studies in Murder, first published in 1924, three years before Lizzie’s death.  The book was a series of essays on notable cases, the first and expanded essay was on the Borden case.  This would be the first of many writings in subsequent books by Pearson on Fall River’s most notorious citizen.  But this first book was published while Lizzie still lived.

It is fairly certain that Lizzie Borden had read the very first book on the case published in 1893:  Fall River Tragedy by Edward H. Porter.  I think it further fairly certain she had read Studies in Murder. In the twilight of her years she was at least relieved of the awful annual editorials in the Fall River Globe commemorating the infamous crimes with their consistent innuendos that she had gotten away with the double murders.

Her life had been lived quietly and with the refinement and deportment that were her hallmarks of character.  Her closest associates were her servants and a few loyal friends and relatives.  But now came this publication.  It must have been the talk of the town when it came out.  Knowledge of Pearson’s meetings and inquiries with Lizzie’s contemporaries had proceeded the book itself, and those that assisted Pearson must have discussed it with their own associates.  Perhaps it had been talked about in hushed circles long before its publication and perhaps Lizzie had heard as well through reports of who was talking to whom.  The long essay left no doubt in the minds of the reader that the deed must have been done by Lizzie and only Lizzie.

Think for a moment how this must have affected her.  Guilty or innocent, it must have been a devastating event to have this book circulating in Fall River, the region and all over the country, stirring up painful memories of a horrible time while also serving to provide  interest to a whole new generation.   Lizzie had been described as nervous and depressed, unhappy with her decision to have lived all the rest of her life in Fall River – and now, this.

Could the book have hastened her demise?  Stress, nervous anxiety, depression.  Lizzie had always wanted to be accepted by her peers.  She lived her life kind to others and animals, generously giving and always thoughtful of the needs of others.  And now, this.   It must have played upon her mind and heart, a heart already long burdened and weakened by worry.    Not long after the book’s success and wide readership, Lizzie would be hospitalized for gall bladder surgery and never fully recover.

Hosea Morrill Knowlton

 

Knowlton, Hosea M., white, b. May 1847, 53 yr., b. Maine
Sylvia B. Wife, Jan. 1850, b. Mass.
John W. son, March 1874, 26 b. Mass.
Abby A. dau, mar. 1876, 24, mass.
Frank W., son Aug 1878, 22, Mass.
Edward A., son April 1883, 17, b. mas.
Helen S., dau. Aug. 1884, 14, b. mass.
Sylvia P, dau. may 1890, 10, Mass.
Benjamin H., son, Jun 1892, 8 yr, b. mass.

SYLVIA BASSETT, b. New Bedford, MA, 20 Jan 1852; d. Watertown, MA, 31 Mar 1937; m. New Bedford, 22 May 1873, HOSEA MORRILL KNOWLTON, b. Durham, ME, 20 May 1847; d. Marion, MA, 18 Dec 1902; son of Isaac Case and Mary Smith (Wellington) Knowlton.

Their children, all born in New Bedford were:

John Wellington Knowlton born February 28, 1874.
Abby Almy Knowlton born March 30, 1876
Frank Warren Knowlton born August 1, 1878
Edward Allen Knowlton born April16, 1883

The younger siblings were:

Helen Sophia Knowlton; August 1, 1885
August I. Knowlton;
Sylvia Prescott Knowlton born Ma7 29, 1890
Benjamin Almy Knowlton born June 13, 1892

Frank Warren Knowlton


Attorney General Herbert Parker is not only included in this correspondence but was also one of Pearson’s primary sources for his last essay in his book, Studies in Murder, titled “The Hunting Knife” concerning Mabel Page.

Herbert Parker, a very handsome man

Frank Warren Knowlton, Jr. donated his grandfather’s papers to the Fall River Historical Society in 1989.  (He died in October 11, 2002).

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Maplecroft Update: Updated Details & Code Requirements

 

Here’s an awesome article in the Fall River Herald  News with lots of new photos.

Also take note of the short video showing Manager, Ryan Woods.    Click HERE

and HERE

You won’t find short cuts on expenditures here –  but that is the way of owner Donald Woods.  He has spared no expense in his updates and maintenance  to the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast Museum either.  And THAT prime Fall River tourist attraction has been exceptionally well managed for the past 14 years by Lee-ann Wilber.

The two Maple trees removed mentioned in the article create more enhanced spring and summer site lines for the easterly neighbors who remain vigilantly perched to criticize and spread misinformation.

Some photos have been shown before but click through them anyway.  A feast to the eyes..

 

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Maplecroft Opening Delayed

 

It’s been a harsh winter for Fall River.   Severe snow storms have prevented new owner, Donald Woods (also owns the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast) from proceeding with electrical and plumbing repairs and upgrades for an early April opening.

Read HERE.

Be sure to click thru the many interior photos by Dave Souza of the Fall River Herald News and previous articles written by that intrepid “all things Lizzie,” reporter, Deborah Allard – all of which will bring you up to date.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update on “Maplecroft” Opening Prep with Ryan Woods

Here’s another update on status of opening Lizzie’s home to the public.

Click HERE.

In the Comments section at the end of the article, I make a few suggestions.

 

Fall River Herald Photo

 

Lizzie Borden’s Maplecroft to Open to Public by April

Pictured is Ryan Woods.  Photo credit Jack Foley, Herald News

 

The Fall River Herald News ran this story today.

Just think of it – visitors will be able to tour both homes where Lizzie lived all but 12 years of her life.  She was born on Ferry Street in Fall River in 1860, but in 1872 Andrew purchased the home at 92 Second Street.  Indeed, from age 12 to 32 she continued to live under the auspices of her father, Andrew J. Borden.  Then, shortly after her 1893 Acquittal, she lived the remaining 33 years of her life at “Maplecroft” in The Highlands.  The contrast is astonishing.

She loved her home on French Street and coveted it as if  it were her child, nurturing it with nothing but the best.   (Paranormal enthusiasts take note:  If the spirits of Andrew and Abby Borden reside at 92 Second Street,  the spirit of Lizzie Borden resides at Maplecroft.)

I look forward to the inevitable videos, documentaries, travelogs, social media input, (and perhaps even a film on the second half of her life) etc.,  that will be forthcoming on the interior of Maplecroft for the multitudes interested in Lizzie.

Not only past and repeat visitors to the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast will be flooding back to Fall River for a brand new experience related to their most compelling icon, but completely NEW visitors to Fall River will come for a look-see.  These new visitors, who may just want to stay at a Victorian B&B on their way to Newport may take a look around at development opportunities and……well, who knows.

Again, I say HUZZAH to the new owners.  And again, it was the only purchase that made sense.

 

 

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3D Tour of Maplecroft – Puts You Right Inside

 

From Sotheby’s International Realty’s listing of 306 French Street, aka “Maplecroft” here is a wonderful 3-D tour of the inside.  I especially like utilizing the blue circle to guide me up, down, sideways, close-up, around corners, through doorways, etc.,  to see virtually every bit of the home, –  its furnishings, paintings, portraits, photographs, ornamental items, original doors, doorknobs, tin ceilings, servant stairways, servants’ rooms, etc.

You can pause and zoom and take your time.  Making use of the blue circle – moving it to enlarge or reduce – really makes you feel you are walking around inside.  And truly gives you a better appreciation for the quality and detail Kristee Bates put into restoring this home.

Except for the stove and fire sprinklers – it is truly a turn-key operation for new owner, Donald Woods and his son, Ryan, who will be the Manager.  Huzzahs!

Click the link HERE and scroll down to the 2 images of Maplecroft and click the box on the right hand side to walk around inside Maplecroft.

Note:  The first time I was inside this home the dining room still had Lizzie’s original drapes.

 

 

 

 

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