Lizzy Borden Story
Lizzie Borden took an ax
Gave her mother forty whacks;
When she saw what she had done
She gave her father forty-one!
Odds are that you have heard this school yard rhyme. This rhyme was
created after the gruesome murders of Lizzie Borden's father and
Lizzie Drew Borden was born 19 July 1860 in Fall River, Massachusetts.
The second daughter of Andrew Borden and Sarah J. Morse. Sarah died
when little Lizzie was two. Andrew Borden, an affluent businessman, was
only interested in money. He was worth $500,000 in gold but refused to
install plumbing in his home. He was strict with others and tight with
his money. Andrew married spinster Abby Durfee Gray, 38 in 1865, when
Lizzie was three and Emma was 12.
Lizzie never dated; she was well liked and active in civic and
charitable work. She taught Sunday school at Central Congregational,
was an officer of the Christian Endeavor Society, and member of the
Women's Christian Temperance Union. Emma 42, rarely went anywhere
except to visit another nearby spinster, Alice Russell.
The girls were both upset with their father, for announcing that he was
withdrawing their portions of inheritance and leaving it all to his
wife Abby. There was a tremendous amount of turmoil in the home.
Lizzie lead a
fairly unremarkable life. She was a
in social circles and a Sunday School teacher. That is until the
fateful day of August 4, 1892, that is the day Lizzie became infamous.
The day is stiflingly
hot, over one hundred degrees, even though it is
not yet noon. The elderly man, still in his heavy morning coat,
reclines on a mohair-covered sofa, his boots on the floor so as not to
soil the upholstery. As he naps in the August heat, his wife is on the
floor of the guestroom upstairs, dead for the past hour and a half,
killed by the same hand, with the same weapon, that is about to strike
him, as he sleeps.
"... one of the most
dastardly and diabolical crimes that was ever
committed in Massachusetts... Who could have done such an act? In the
quiet of the home, in the broad daylight of an August day, on the
street of a popular city, with houses within a stone's throw, nay,
almost touching, who could have done it?"
of the victims discloses that
had been slain by
the use of some sharp and terrible instrument, inflicting upon her head
eighteen blows, thirteen of them crushing through the skull; and below
stairs, lying upon the sofa, was Mr. Borden's dead and mutilated body,
with eleven strokes upon the head, four of them crushing the skull."
(From the closing arguments for the defense of Lizzie Borden, made by
her principal attorney, George D. Robinson.)
The Lizzie Borden case has mystified and fascinated those interested in
crime for over one hundred years. Very few cases in American history
have attracted as much attention as the hatchet murders of Andrew J.
Borden and his wife, Abby Borden. The bloodiness of the acts in an
otherwise respectable late nineteenth century domestic setting is
startling. Along with the gruesome nature of the crimes is the
unexpected character of the accused, not a hatchet-wielding maniac, but
a church-going, Sunday-school-teaching, respectable, spinster-daughter,
charged with parricide, the murder of parents, a crime worthy of
Classical Greek tragedy. This is a murder case in which the accused is
found not guilty for the violent and bloody murders of two people.
There were the unusual circumstances considering that it was an era of
swift justice, of vast newspaper coverage, evidence that
entirely circumstantial, passionately divided public opinion as to the
guilt or innocence of the accused, incompetent prosecution, and
acquittal. Lizzie Borden murders
The Haunting of the Lizzie
In the years since the
murders and the trial, the
house has gone
become the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast Museum, a time capsule of
the era when the murders took place and a quaint inn. Guests come from
all over the country to be able to sleep in the room where Abby Borden
was killed, but not all of them sleep peacefully -- and not all of the
spirits here rest in peace.
Guests and staff members alike have had their share of strange
experiences in the house. Some have reported the sounds of a woman
weeping and others claim to have seen a woman in Victorian era clothing
dusting the furniture and straightening the covers on the beds.
Occasionally, this even happens when the guests are still in the bed!
Others have heard the sounds of footsteps going up and down the stairs
and crossing back and forth on the floor above, even when they know the
house is empty. Doors open and close as well and often, muffled
conversation can be heard coming from inside of otherwise vacant rooms.
One man, who had little interest in ghosts, claimed that he accompanied
his wife to the inn one night and took their luggage upstairs. The room
had been perfectly made up when he entered, the bed smooth and
everything put in its place. Over the course of a few minutes of
unpacking, he happened to look over to the bed again and saw that it
was now rumpled, even though he was in the room alone and had not been
near it. With a start, he also noticed that the folds of the comforter
had been moved so that they corresponded to the curves of a human body.
On the pillow, there was an indentation in the shape of a human head!
His wife found him a few minutes later sitting in the downstairs
sitting room. His face was very pale and he seemed quite nervous. When
she asked him what was wrong, he took her back upstairs to show her the
strange appearance of the bed. However when he opened the door, the
pillow had been plumped and the comforter looked just as it did when he
first entered the room -- the room where Abby Borden had been murdered!
Lizzie Borden murders
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