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Tag Archives: Fall River Historical Society

Cara Robertson Donates Historical Document to Fall River Historical Society

 

 

As a follow-up to my previous post, here is the final disposition of those two documents.  THANK YOU, Cara, for ensuring they were secured for the Fall River Historical Society.

You can read about it HERE.

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Inside Lizzie Borden’s Renovated Maplecroft

UPDATE:  “MAPLECROFT” FOR SALE AGAIN.

http://www.heraldnews.com/news/20170906/lizzie-bordens-maplecroft-on-market-again

 

Created by author Rebecca Pittman – The History & Haunting of Lizzie Borden.  Enjoy.

BTW, while I think Kristee Bates has done a very good job in renovating “Maplecroft”, I still do not think this is how Lizzie had it furnished and decorated in her day.  Lizzie selected only the very best of furnishings, fixtures and equipment because she could well afford it.  Her home, which she nurtured and lovingly maintained as if it were her child, had the very best appointments.  She bought only “the very best”.   Kristee worked on a budget and it does not escape the discerning eye.  Nonetheless, it is still beautiful and representative of Victorian homes of the 1890’s.  However, one only has to go to the Fall River Historical Society  or the Easton Tea Room (1870 Alexander Dorrance Easton residence also owned by the FRHS) to see the high quality wallpaper and exceptional quality furniture donated over the years.  The difference is remarkable and unmistakable.  There one will find furniture and fixtures inside these two establishments closer to what “Miss Lizbeth” would have had in her own home.

While the precise decade (1893 to 1927)  Maplecroft’s renovated interior  is reflecting is unclear, the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum is furnished exactly as it would have been on August 4, 1892.  Aspiring and inspired detectives can play out what they know or suspect of the crimes with a full and thoroughly captivating  “stage”.   Kudos to the original “set decorators” and Kudos to General Manager Lee-ann Wilber  (since 2004)  and owner, Donald Woods,  who have not altered  its base authenticity.

And a special Kudo to Rebecca Pittman for providing us with the first ever video showing the interiors of both the Second Street and French Street homes in which Lizzie lived the entire first half and entire second half of her life, respectively.   Well done!

 

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NEW FALL RIVER HISTORICAL SOCIETY WEBSITE IS A STUNNER!

The Fall River Historical Society has just premiered their long awaited re-constructed website and it’s a stunner!  Of course the menu tab has “Lizzie Borden” but contained therein will be found thrilling to Borden case researchers.

The curating and organization are exemplary.  Outstanding all around.

 Here’s a photo sampling from the various “Collections”.  I’m not going to explain what they are or who they are because if you are reading this you need to go to the site and emerge yourself.   Here’s the LINK.

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“HISTORICAL NOTE

Mrs. George S. Brigham was an intimate friend, confidante, and staunch supporter of both Emma and Lizzie Borden and, as such, figured prominently in events following the Borden murders. She remained a lifelong friend of Emma Borden, but severed ties with Lizzie subsequent to the Borden sisters’ estrangement in 1905. Privy to a great deal of personal information pertaining to the Borden sisters, she decisively refused to discuss, either publicly or privately, her friendship with the two women, or her involvement in the case.”  -from the FRHS website – Lizzie Borden Collections – The Brigham Collection

 

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If You Could Have Only One Book on Fall River’s Lizzie Borden – This Would Be It.

Click HERE

 

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Prepare yourself – – this book is justly warranted, as well as worthy, of such a lengthy review.

Exquisitely produced, brilliantly structured, thrilling and groundbreaking in its content, Parallel Lives – A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and Her Fall River is a seven pound, 1,179 page, ten-years- in-the-making epic that had it been written as a historical novel it would be right up there with Roots, The Secret Magdelene, and Gone With The Wind. It is a book of transformation and revelation – transforming in the way it compels readers to alter their mental landscape when thinking of Lizzie Borden, and filled with stunning revelations that meticulously dissect rumors and legend long thought to be truth. It is so rich and full it would constitute several Master’s Thesis, multiple biographies, and even a few individually published books based on its title. Indeed, it is so spectacular in scope and content, all future authors who write of Lizzie Borden must incorporate information from Parallel Lives or find their work irrelevant.

The book is a treasure trove of new information about Lizzie taken from the journals, letters, cards, photographs, artifacts and remembrances of those that knew her personally, much of which was coveted by their owners who were resolved in their belief that Lizzie “could not have committed those crimes.” Their beliefs and tangible mementos were passed down to third and fourth generation descendents who continued to keep them sequestered and private until trusted relationships were established between them and the authors.

Masterfully woven within the new information are expanded stories of known individuals and events (some prominent, some little or previously unknown) that had an impact on Fall River’s history and society.  The authors have beautifully crafted the world in which Lizzie Borden lived (from her birth in 1860 to her death in 1927). And while the crimes of August 4, 1892 are presented, allusions to or fresh insights on whether or not Lizzie was guilty are not presented. In fact, the murders and who did them become almost inconsequential to the broader tapestry presented throughout the chapters with its more than 500 photographs and other images, including 5 new images of Lizzie never seen before. Who committed the crimes or the case itself, are overshadowed by the depth and breadth of all that which deals with the people and stories within.

The book progresses almost chronologically in terms of events of each decade. People are often introduced in chapters with no mention of Lizzie but later re-introduced in the decade in which they factored into her life. The chapters are so beautifully written and the photographs so beautifully reproduced within the book that we can almost feel the silk and lace as we read their wonderfully detailed descriptions. We can rub our finger across the image of a pocket watch and feel the grooved indentations, or one of Lizzie’s traveling suitcases and feel the contrast of the brass to the leather. We can smell and see the wedding flowers and the sparkle of jewelry at the Assemblies and grand parties. The meticulous effort in the use of adjectives is remarkable. It is fairly obvious the authors wanted to be as accurate and precise as possible when applying descriptors to people, places and things.

The “reveals” of new information and closure of legends are bountiful and thoroughly engaging. We learn so much of Mary Ella Sheen (Mrs. George S. Brigham) and her sister, Anne Eliza Sheen (Mrs. William Lindsey, Jr.), two sisters whose lives took very different trajectories. Mary was Lizzie’s friend since girlhood and the future mother-in-law of Florence Cook Brigham, but Anne had been her friend as well for most of their lives. Anne was a “Grand Dame” and lived the kind of life that Lizzie most probably would have wanted for herself. We also learn that not only was Grace Hartley Howe such a close and devoted second cousin to Lizzie, we discover that Helen’s mother had a friendship that also was life lasting with Lizzie.The reveal of the true identity of “Todd Lunday” would have been anticlimactic had it not been for the intriguing story associated with it, or the story of Officer Phillip Harrington and police reporter Edwin Porter who penned the Fall River Tragedy and why Porter may have left Fall River so soon after its publication. Nor have we read anywhere the connection of reporter McHenry and City Marshall Hilliard. (I suspect that many “reveals” were derived from the so called “Hilliard Papers” which have been in the Society’s hands for 22 years).

We learn certain elitist members of the seven “first” families did a fine job in two-facing Lizzie after the Trial; they “cut” her quite severely and most obviously spoke of her “guilt”- handing down their opinions to their children who maintained those opinions and passed them down to their children. On the other hand, those that kept friendships and believed Lizzie was not and “could not” be guilty passed that info down to their children. The difference was that many of those who believed in her guilt spoke out, influenced by a biased press and the embryonic beginnings of misinformation that would grow with a sinister sustainability. Between those that “cut” (socially banished) her and the relentless and continuous newspaper coverage, the damage had been done. She endured that damage throughout her post-Trial life, and it subsequently served to give us a Lizzie Borden that is so grossly mis-characterized in contemporary pop culture.

dennis-michale

Mr. Martins and Mr. Binette have stated it was only when they explained the kind of book they were writing and, more importantly, after a solid basis of trust was established, that the possessions and remembrances were revealed. I strongly suspect much of what may have been was done so with soft-spoken caveats or perhaps some asserted caveats along the lines of:“Well, you may use these journals (or photos, or letters, or cards, or remembrances) but I trust you will present Auntie Borden (or Lizzie) in a good light because she never could have done those murders.”And/or:”I would consider it a great injustice to finally make this information known if it were used to give a poor impression of this wonderful woman or lend any credibility to the horrible reputation she endured during and after her life.”For decades, the curators of the FRHS have been meticulous in documenting the “drop in” visits or phone calls from people – many descendents of the principals – as to what they had to say and when. These “notes to file”, so to speak, have been preserved in their respective file folders and filed with the relative topics. These contain more of the “reveals”, some as surprising as finding out JR getting shot was only a dream, or Scarlett realizing she loved Rhett all along, or Edward glistening out of the cloud bank. As stated, the revelations are thrilling and and transforming.

The authors were literary craftsmen in the way they told these stories, presenting the information from the journals or letters, and in detailing information about the people involved without trumpeting a new path but sufficient to give you pause. The book is peppered with phrases such as: “Is it possible that…”, or “Although we can never know for certain, could it be that…”, or “Would it seem likely that…” and we pause on the page and hearing ourselves utter “hmmmm” and suddenly realize we are thinking things differently.

The End Notes are extraordinary and I found them thrilling to read. When reading, one says: “Where did they get that from?” and we go to the End Notes which are flush with information. Our eyes don’t just stay on the sight bite but naturally scroll downward until we know where most all the information for that chapter came from. The End Notes tell us more about relationships and just who had what information and for how long. The End Notes help us identify what came from FRHS “notes to file” as opposed to who held on to what for decades and allows us to identify from where the bulk of new information came.

Lizzie Borden has long been encapsulated in pop culture based on an inaccurate quatrain characterizing her as a one dimensional psychopath wielding a bloody axe. Parallel Lives has irrevocably transformed and revealed Lizzie Borden to be a three dimensional flesh and blood human being with heart, spirit and soul. Indisputably, this is the new “go to” book which researches and scholars studying the history of Fall River during its rise and decline, as well as the woman herself, will discover impossible to find anything more definitive or comprehensive, more exciting or enlightening.

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Parallel Lives is a monumental achievement and a body of work to make the entire Fall River Historical Society proud. It is representative of that level of excellence consistent in all endeavors of Messrs. Martins and Binette. It is truly a remarkable and unique work – the likes of which we shall not see again.

 
 

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New Letter Revealed Written by Lizzie Borden

Another letter written by Lizzie Borden was pictured and posted in the Frances Willard House and Museum website  today.  The letter is written to “Frances Willard and Lady Henry” according to the website.

Lizzie-Borden-Letter-656x324

The letter appears to be written July 23, 1893 (Lizzie was acquitted on June 20, 1893).

“Frances Willard was a radical social progressive who stood out against gender inequality and fought to give a voice to society’s disenfranchised.  She exposed the inherent hypocrisies of the status quo and forever changed accepted societal norms.

Willard forged a prototype for community organization and social reform that transformed our cultural landscape. The basis of our modern social welfare policies can be found in the initiatives fomented by Willard. Her life’s work is an example of what can be done when one is devoted to a cause.  Her ability to work hard and to mobilize others to work hard is a model of personal determination and amazing leadership skills.  To this day, Frances Willard continues to be “re-discovered” as the prototype of the modern, forward-thinking woman.”

This could be a letter expressing her gratitude for her  support.  It would seem Frances Willard may have championed Lizzie’s cause much as Mary A. Livermore, American journalist and womens’ rights advocate had done.  If simply a thank you letter, I find it interesting it is rather lengthy.

Four days earlier, Lizzie had turned 33 on July 19th, the same day the Fall River Weekly News reported Lizzie won a trip to the Chicago World’s Fair via a coupon write-in from the public.  (Lizzie kindly rejected the award.)   On the same date as the letter, July 23, 1893, and as reported in the Chicago Daily Tribune, Lizzie Borden was escorted to church by Dr. Bowen and Mrs. Holmes.

In any event, let us hope the Museum will sell – and the Fall River Historical Society will buy – this letter as they are the most logical and appropriate repository to archive this document with her other known letters.

 (Update 1/10/2016 – The following statement was included in the email I received

“As the letter is part of the very large “Papers of Frances E. Willard” collection, we have no intention of deaccessioning any part of the collection.”
Thank you,
Glen Madeja
Executive Director

 

 

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June 1893 Timeline of Lizzie Borden’s Trial

Mayor

Above image is from my CD “Threads That Bind”.

BOOKMARKS3

I used to sell the bookmarks shown in the above image.

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HISTORIC TIMELINE
LIZZIE BORDEN – FALL RIVER, MA
1612 – 2005

1998-2005 Faye Musselman – All Rights Reserved

Inclusive dates of the Superior Court Trial – held in New Bedford – composed from extracts of my Historic Timeline.

June 5, 1893-June 20, 1893
THE TRIAL OF LIZZIE BORDEN

June 5, 1893 Monday
1st Day: Court convened at 11:28 am. 111 were questioned before the 12 were selected. Charles I. Richards selected as jury foreman.

June 6, 1893Tuesday
2nd Day: Indictment is read; William Moody opens for the Prosecution. Lizzie faints and is revived.

June 6, 1893Tuesday
Civil Engr. Thomas Kieran called, gives measurements, testifies man could have hid in front entry closet.

June 6, 1893Tuesday
Jurors travel to Fall River; visit Kelly’s house, Wade’s store, Crowe’s stone yard, Chagnon’s house, Kirby’s yard, Alice Russell’s house, Gorman’s store, Clegg’s store and banks. Tour finished at 4:00 pm.

June 6, 1893Tuesday
Jurors taken to Mellen House, Franklin & North Main Street where they spend the night.

June 7, 1893 Wednesday
3rd Day: James A. Walsh, photographer testifies as to the accuracy of the pictures he had made of the victims and the house on the day of the killing.

June 7, 1893 Wednesday
John Vinnicum Morse examination conducted by Moody, not different from that as the preliminary hearing. Lizzie smiled as her uncle tried to calculate her age and shook her head vigorously when he came out as 33.

June 7, 1893 Wednesday
Abram G. Hart, treasurer of Union Savings Bank, testifies as to Borden’s movements on morning of the 8/4.

June 9, 1893Friday
John Minnehan, patrolman assigned to follow John Morse on August 5, 1892, dies at age 48 in Fall River.

June 12, 1893 Monday
Lizzie’s Inquest Testimony ruled inadmissible.

June 13, 1893Tuesday
AG Pillsbury arrives by train from Boston, consults with Knowlton & Moody & returns same evening. (ES)

June 13, 1893Tuesday
Skulls of Andrew and Abby are presented in court, Lizzie leaves the courtroom.

June 14, 1893 Wednesday
John T. Burrill, cashier of the Union National Bank, Everett M. Cook, cashier of the First National Bank, Jonathan Clegg, a hat dealer, Joseph Shortsleeves, a carpenter, and John Maher, a carpenter

June 14, 1893 Tuesday
Judges ruling excludes Eli Bence’s prussic acid testimony .

June 14, 1893
At Knowlton’s request during Dr. Draper’s testimony, Dr. Dolan brings in the skulls of Andrew & Abby. Lizzie is allowed to retire from the courtroom. (TT1046)

June 14, 1893 Wednesday
9th Day: C. C. Potter’s son (Freddy) finds hatchet w/gilt on roof of Crowe’s barn. Carpenter Carl McDonnel claims it is his hatchet; prussic acid testimony (Eli Bence) ruled inadmissible.

June 15, 1893
FR Evening News reports hatchet found on roof of John Crowe’s barn. ( FREN18)

June 15, 1893 Wednesday
Opening statements by Defense are given by Andrew Jennings.

June 15, 1893 Wednesday
Opening statements by Andrew Jennings.

June 16, 1893 Wednesday
Emma Borden testifies.

June 16, 1893
Governor Robinson reads from Bridget’s Inquest Testimony (a missing document) (TT)

June 19, 1893 Wednesday
Governor Robinson gives closing arguments; Knowlton begins his closing.

June 16, 1893 Wednesday
Emma Borden testifies.

June 20, 1893 Tuesday
13th Day:

3:24 pm
The Jury retires to deliberate.

4:32 pm
The Jury returns. Lizzie Borden pronounced “Not Guilty” at 4:35 pm. (TT1928) )

June 20, 1893

8:15 pm
Lizzie & Emma arrive by coach w/Mrs. Holmes at 67 Pine St. in FR; small reception follows. Lizzie spends night there. Large crowd gathered at 92 Second St. (CaseBook228)

June 22, 1893
Reupholstered sofa is delivered back to the house on Second Street.

June 23, 1893
Lizzie visits the Wm. Covell’s in Newport, RI, has classic picture of her “standing behind the chair” taken.

June 23, 1893
Morse attempts to get mileage reimbursement from Iowa to New Bedford from Co. Treasurer. (FRHN)

June 27, 1893
Lizzie & Emma go to Taunton to visit Sheriff Wright’s wife.

July 3, 1893
Lizzie and Emma purchase house on French Street.

July 19, 1893
Lizzie’s 33rd Birthday.

July 19, 1893
FR Weekly News reports Lizzie won trip to Chicago World’s Fair via coupon write-in from public.

July 23, 1893
Lizzie escorted to CC Church by Dr. Bowen & Mr. Holmes. (Chicago Daily Tribune 7/24/1893)

August 4, 1893
First of annual articles about crime appears in The Globe.

August 10, 1893
Deed recorded for purchase of French Street house by Lizzie & Emma. (LR556)

August 12, 1893
New Bedford Standard prints Lizzie’s Inquest Testimony.

August 13, 1893
Lizzie & Emma transfer their deed for ½ interest of Whitehead house (Abby’s share) to Sarah & George.

August 14, 1893
Reporter Joseph Howard publishes his criticism of Judge Dewey’s charge to jury.

August 17, 1893
Lizzie and Emma sold for $1 the ½ house on 4h St. to Sarah whitehead & Priscilla Fish. (LR556)

August 21, 1893
FR Police announce case is closed.

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2014 in Investigations & The Trial

 

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Lizzie Borden-Fall River Rare Atlas 1883

For Sale – highly collectible.  Email me if interested.  phaye@outlook.com

 

Front Cover Charles F Borden house Inside Title page Lumber Yard Cook Borden Pleasant St. TH Borden houss Title Page Wards 3,5,7,8

 

 

 

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