THE best play on Lizzie Borden, bar none, is Lizzie Borden Took An Axe by Garrett Heater. So I was particularly pleased to receive this information:
This video is very funny and very “inside”. I love it!
Some years ago I did my own parody – cllck below.
Scroll down to “It’s a Wonderful Life“ – when Deadwood was still on HBO.
If you ever have a chance to see Garrett’s play, BUY TICKETS IMMEDIATELY!!
NOTE: I HAD THE ORIGINAL LETTER IMAGED BELOW IN MY ‘LIZZIE BORDEN ” COLLECTION FOR YEARS. I TOOK IT ON ONE OF MY TRIPS TO FALL RIVER AND HAD THE FALL RIVER HISTORICAL SOCIETY PHOTOCOPY EACH PAGE FOR THEIR COLLECTION. EXCERPTS OF THIS LETTER NOW APPEAR IN THE FALL RIVER HISTORICAL SOCIETY’S BOOK, PARALLEL LIVES – A SOCIAL HISTORY OF LIZZIE A. BORDEN AND HER FALL RIVER.
LATER, I SOLD THE ORIGINAL LETTER ON EBAY (AND I’M STILL SMILING).
(THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON THIS BLOG PAGE OVER A DECADE AGO BUT WARRANTS A NEW ISSUE).
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″.
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)
Note: Parker Hooper (born 1877) was the son of William S. and Isabella Hooper who resided on French Street, three houses east from Lizzie.
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.
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
……and she spent that night with Marion Osborne at the other grand house: the Carr-Osborne House
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.
Findings such as this show us Lizzie Borden as a flesh and blood, three dimensional 19th Century woman with feelings – instead of that iconic caricature of a post-pubescent maniacal sociopath wielding a bloody axe.
As indicated a few days ago – here’s a restoration update. Kudos to Kristee! http://www.heraldnews.com/…/…/NEWS/150726398/0/breaking_ajax
In the original Arrest Warrant for Lizzie Borden, prepared by Marshall Hilliard, she was accused only of the murder of her father. Her Indictment was, of course, for both the murder of her father and stepmother. The interesting thing here is that the “weapon” is named as a HATCHET. A hatchet. Not an axe. Not a sharp instrument. A hatchet.
This is the Arrest Warrant that the Marshall had in his hip pocket when he and Mayor Coughlin went to the Borden house on Saturday …
Stones on Lizzie’s headstone placed today by descendents of Helen Hirsch – of the 6,000 descendents of Schindler’s Jews. Well, I don’t know that, but having seen the film again recently it occurred to me what a quirky and charming thing that would be in the “Wonderful World of Lizzie.” As August 4th comes to a close on the east coast, I bid adieu. Say Goodnight, Gracie. (image swiped from Deborah Allard Dion FB page.
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.
(Recycled from 2010)
Long before Emma Borden abandoned her sister, Lizzie, in late May of 1905, she had very close ties to many Gardners in Swansea, Ma. But after she split from Lizzie, some of those Gardners became a surrogate family to her.
The progenitors of those that Emma would embrace, socialize with, attend major family events, and help financially in trusts and her will, are those in the oval picture below (click it to enlarge).
The births, marriages and deaths of these people were recorded in William Gardner’s family bible:
Why were these people and their children, and even some of their children’s children important to Emma? Well, the genealogical link was addressed in this blog post.
If you’re interested, study the names and who married who….there’s more to come about events she attended.
The direct line of Henry Augustus Gardner is the most important – and closest – to Emma. Much of the information I have obtained was from his estate records and from direct descendants.
As for Lizzie, well she was pretty much written off by these Gardners around early 1897 due to two hugely embarrassing incidents to this quiet, salt of the earth, family entrenched group.
Lizzie had her servants, dogs and a few loyal friends.
But Emma had family.