• After the acquittal

    By September 10, 1893, the Borden sisters have moved into their new home on French St. and are busily unpacking and furnishing their dream house. The ladies are seen all around the city, Lizzie driving her own buggy at a fast pace around town, Emma looking thoroughly exhausted and worn out from the past year. By and large, many from church and her former neighborhood steer clear of Lizzie but a few are still true blue.

    The Holmes sisters, the Buck sisters and Caroline Borden are supportive and maintain their ties. Lizzie is planning a trip to Chicago to see the Columbian Exposition and Alice Buck and Caroline Borden opt to go with her. The ladies will stay at 250 61st St. at Miss Robey’s Ladies’ rooming house.

    Back in the old neighborhood, the Borden house has been turned back into a two-family home, just as it was when Andrew Borden moved his family there in 1872 and very soon a local grocer, Mr. A.C. Peckham and his wife will rent the first floor, and L.L. Hall, the livery stable owner across the street will rent the second floor.

    As the Boston Post, October 30, 1893 describes, life post acquittal was not quit the same for Lizzie as before the crime.

  • Henry Adams Bodman – suicide by poisoning

    The Grand Jury which brought in an indictment for Lizzie Borden (unknown which is Mr. Bodman)

    Henry A. Bodman was the foreman of the Grand Jury which indicted Lizzie Borden. A couple of months after Lizzie’s acquittal Mr. Bodman himself would be in the newspapers, a sensation after being found beneath the sheets, empty vial of poison beside him and two suicide notes written to friends. His wife, Sarah had died in 1891 and his finances were going downhill, leading to despondency. They had married in Springfield, Massachusetts on May 3, 1853

    Henry Bodman was born on September 13, 1831 to Erastus and Mary Ann Bodman in Williamsburg, Massachusetts- a farming family. He enlisted in the 73rd Infantry, Illinois on August 21, 1862 and resigned as a Second Lieutenant on March 9, 1865. By 1870 he and Sarah were living in New Bedford with two sons, Frederick and Wilmer. Henry was working in a plane factory. By 1880 he was living in Attleboro as a musical instrument dealer. He opened a music store which he sold a couple of years before his death and was water register and superintendent of water works for a time. It is believed the suicide had taken place several days before the body was found, most likely the Sunday evening after he had been seen on the street. He was reported missing and a search revealed his sad demise.

    The Fall River Daily Globe obituary

    The Boston Globe, Sept. 8, 1893

    Henry Bodman was a Mason. He left two married sons.

    Death Registry indicating suicide

    Woodlawn Cemetery, Attleboro, (photo courtesy of Find A Grave)

  • The front door of #92 Second St.

    We learn that the Borden sisters left the brass door plate on the front door with “Andrew J. Borden” on it affixed to the door until they moved to Maplecroft in September 1893. Cropping and enlarging this 1892 photo, you can see the plate clearly.

  • What’s on the Borden gate?

    Thanks to the Providence News, August 25, 1892, we now learn there was a letter “B” carved into the center motif on the top of the front gate of 92 Second St. This article also confirms the presence of a brass name plate with Andrew J. Borden on it which was on the front door of the house. It’s a little thing, but life is made up of the little details. Lizzie would also have a letter B over her front door at Maplecroft on a metal plate over the keyhole as well as etched in her back porch glass door.

  • Hoping for a tour of the Borden house- 1893 style

    People have not changed in many ways over the decades. Here is an October 21, 1893 article from the Fall River Globe about a couple determined to get a tour of the Borden house and came 2000 miles to see it! Also of note is the report on “Spooks” at #92! Some things never change. 🙂

  • June 20, 1893- Acquitted!

    130 years ago today, Lizzie is set free to return to Fall River. A welcome home party is waiting for her as she alights from the carriage at the house of her great supporters, Mr. & Mrs. Charles J. Holmes. There are refreshments and friends, even a brass band plays Auld Lang Syne at the front door. Lizzie, in a black silk dress, sits happily by the drawing room door in full view from outside and laughs with friends as they look through some funny newspaper cartoons of the trial personalities and look forward to the future. Emma and Lizzie will spend a relieved and snug night on Pine St. and return to #92 Second St. in the morning to begin the rest of their lives. Images from the Fall River Globe and Herald.

  • The Jury: 12 Men & True Series #1 George Potter

    Mr. George Potter of Westport was 55 and had been a fisherman, sailing out of New Bedford. He had been waiting for the jury selection, sitting alone while others were dismissed for about an hour until his name was called. He was the first juryman to be accepted by the defense. He said he had no bias or prejudice and was disposed to find a verdict of guilty if the evidence warranted. Mr. Potter was the son of a farmer, William Potter and mother Annie Tripp, of Westport. He died May 29, 1909 from Cerebral apoplexy at age 69 and is buried, along with Alice Russell, in Beech Grove, Westport. He was a Mason.

    Charles Irving Richards, well-to-do jewelry manufacturer and realtor. He married Harriet Amy (there is a typo in the newspaper obit) from Stonington, CT. which explains why he is buried there. He died in 1909 of pneumonia. Even his obituary has to lead with Lizzie Borden. He was the jury foreman for the trial in 1893 and is buried in Stonington Cemetery on Rt. 1- also known as Evergreen Cemetery. His massive granite marker is found a short way in on the entry path, to the left – a plot which contains all of his wife, Harriet’s, Amy relatives.

  • Who were the men of Lizzie Borden’s jury?

    As we approach the 130th anniversary of the Trial of the Century, we are taking a good look at the 12 men who acquitted Lizzie Borden. Who were they- what did they do for a living- did they have daughters at home like Lizzie? Each day we will be adding a new juror to this posting, or you can follow our updates daily on the Lizzie Borden Warps & Wefts Facebook page. It is interesting to note that thus far, every obituary for each juror makes a point to announce the fact that they were once jurors on the famous trial in New Bedford in 1893.

  • Revisiting the Eagle 2008

    In 2008 the Donovans, father and son Jerry & Chris, restored the old Eagle restaurant and event venue to its former glory. The oval room was designed by Maude Darling Parlin to look like an old Fall River steamboat. Actress and playwright, Jill Dalton, had her Fall River premiere of her one-woman play, LIZZIE BORDEN LIVE at the Eagle. The Pear Essential Players assisted, in character as Lizzie’s friends and neighbors, serving drinks and appetizers as they mingled with the audience , chatting about Lizzie. The play was a roaring success and made repeat engagements. Such wonderful times, with wonderful friends who enjoyed bringing the Past to life for the pleasure of so many.

  • Tea & Murder April 23 at 7 p.m. on YouTube

    Kimbra and I are delighted to announce our Tea & Murder guest for Sunday evening, April 23d at 7 p.m.! Many here will know Danielle Cabral from her many years at #92 as a tour guide and August 4th re-enactor. Danielle will be sharing memories about those years as well as her new position as archivist at the Fall River Historical Society which houses the world’s largest Borden collection. Save the date!

  • The Winter of 2007 at #92

    In the winter of 2007 the house had all of the woodwork, doors and trim painted. Chips were filled, color samples were examined to get a good match, and there were miles of blue painter’s tape everywhere. It was odd to see the windows bare. We had to do a photoshoot in the house and you will see actress Jill Dalton in one frame. Jill had written a one-woman play called Lizzie Borden Live. How eerie the mannequin looked standing there in the winter light.

  • Captain Patrick H. Doherty FRPD

    When Patrick  H. Doherty joined the Fall River Police Department in 1885, he might have been astounded to learn that he would be involved one day in two notorious murder cases- both involving hatchets and axes. 

    Patrick Doherty was born in Peoria, Illinois on August 10, 1859 to John and Mary Walsh Doherty.  Later the family moved east to Fall River, and we find Patrick Doherty living at 104 Columbia St. (off South Main) and working as a laborer for a time employed by Fall River Iron Works and the Fall River Line steamboat company.  He married Honora (Nora) E. Coughlin on April 25, 1887 at the age of 28, when he was employed at the Fall River Police Department as a patrolman.  The couple would have seven children:  Charles T., Frank., Grace, Robert, Helene, Margaret (called Marguerite), and John.

    Doherty, (as were several other patrolmen), was promoted to the rank of captain after their work in the case of the century, the Borden Murders of 1892.  Doherty had arrived at #92 after George Allen on the morning of the murders, and was very quickly in the thick of the action, questioning Lizzie upstairs, looking at the bodies with Dr. Dolan, running down to Smith’s pharmacy with Officer Harrington  to question Eli Bence, prowling the cellar for weapons with Medley, Fleet and Dr. Bowen, and making note of Lizzie’s dress.  Doherty stayed on the job on watch at the Borden house until he was relieved at 9 p.m.  When it came time for the inquest, it was Doherty who slipped down to 95 Division St. to collect Bridget, who had been staying with her cousin, Patrick Harrington after the murders.  He would testify at the Preliminary and the 1893 trial in New Bedford.

    In the midst of the excitement in New Bedford as Lizzie’s trial was about to get underway, yet another hatchet killing took over the front page, the murder of Bertha Manchester on May 30th.  It was a brutal attack to rival the Borden’s with the weapon being most likely a short-handled axe or possibly a hatchet. Doherty went out to the Manchester place with Marshal Hilliard, Captains Desmond, and Connors and Inspector Perron  on June 6th with the  suspect, Jose Correa de Mello, who revealed his hiding place for the stolen  watch taken from the victim and her purse at that time.  De Mello served time and then was sent back to the Azores, banned from stepping upon U.S. soil again.

    The Dohertys moved to 1007 Rock St. in 1897 and Patrick was pleased to walk his daughter Margaret (Marguerite) down the aisle in 1913.

    Patrick Doherty retired from the force in 1915 and succumbed to interstitial nephritis on June 28, 1915.. He, and some of his children are buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Fall River.

    Resources: Ancestry.com, Parallel Lives,: A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and her Fall River, Find-a-Grave.com. and Yesterday in Old Fall River: A Lizzie Borden Companion

    Fall River Globe June 28, 1915

  • Leonard Rebello 1946-2023

    It is with the greatest sadness we announce the passing of Len Rebello, long known for his valuable research into the Borden case and his important publication of 1999, Lizzie Borden: Past and Present. Len passed away Monday evening at the age of 76 and will be sorely missed by his many friends. His book and research on the Borden case remain the gold standard among Borden case researchers. R.I.P., old friend.


  • It’s Alice Russell Weekend Feb. 3-5

    Be sure to stop by our Facebook page as we take a deep dive into the life of Alice M. Russell this weekend. Alice came in #1 on a poll of all the personalities in the Borden case of whom we would most like to interview! This photo is cropped from one of Alice at Adams House on Highland Avenue in Fall River where Miss Russell spent her last days. Thanks to Artificial Intelligence and colorizing software, Miss Alice has been brought to life once more.


  • Two of a Kind

    This weekend as we look at the life of Southard Miller on our Facebook page, it’s no surprise that the two men were friends. They had a lot in common. Southard H. Miller, a little more than a decade older than Andrew, was also trained as a carpenter and through hard work and ambition, built himself an empire within the city of Fall River. Neither man came from money and both understood the value of a dollar and a strong work ethic. Both could turn a hand to more than one thing if needs be. Andrew farmed, did carpentry, had a furniture business, invested in real estate and development, and took in supplying funeral needs on the side, – just as his own father found ways to make a dollar. At the end of their lives, both men had accumulated a comfortable retirement and the esteem of their peers. We know that Southard Miller not only built the Borden home for Charles Trafton, but had built his own home at 217 Second St. (formerly #91)

    Bowen- Miller house at #91 Second St. built by Southard Miller, later renumbered #217.

    Miller came to Fall River from Middleboro, Massachusetts when he was only 18 and went straight to work. He and Andrew Borden worked on the old City Hall together. Mr. Miller went into business with Mr. Ford and were soon building, doing carpentry and contracting. The duo had a thriving business located at the SW corner of Borden & Second St. They built the U.S. Marine hospital in Portland, ME, an almshouse in Bridgewater, worked at building many of the local mills, (Union, Tecumseh, Davis, Mechanics and Granite) and the entire contracting for Laurel Lake Mills. The Baptist Temple, and many other private residences in the city were constructed by Miller & Ford.

    Mr. Miller was a representative to the General Court in 1851, a city alderman in 1857, a member of the Legislature in 1875 and Chief Engineer 1866-1870 in the local fire department in which he took great interest. He served as director of Massasoit Bank as well as director of two mills (Laurel Lake and Mechanics). You will immediately see the similarities in his civic positions to those of Andrew Borden. Southard Miller died 3 years after Andrew Borden was murdered, after a lengthy period of illnesses and infirmities. He is buried at Oak Grove Cemetery.

  • One who grieved for Andrew Borden

    Southard Harrison Miller 1811-1895 : photo Massachusetts State Archives

    For all of the negative comments about the thriftiness of Andrew Borden and his seeming lack of joviality, there was one elderly gentleman who was very sorry to see the brutal end of his old friend and fellow carpenter on August 4, 1892. He stood helplessly, much distressed, in the Borden driveway, but declining to go inside the Borden house to see his old friend. Southard Harrison Miller lived diagonally across the street from the Bordens and had known the Borden family for many years. He had three children, Reuben, Franklin and Phoebe. Phoebe would marry Dr. Seabury Bowen and live in the large, rambling house with her parents on one side of the structure.

    Son Franklin Harrison Miller studied art in Boston and Paris and worked with the distinguished Fall River School of Art artist, Robert Spear Dunning, noted for still life portraits of fruit and landscapes.

    Franklin Harrison Miller 1843-1911 : photo, Ask Art artist image

    An oil painting by F. Miller in the Fall River School of Art style.

    Mr. Miller had a long and distinguished career as a carpenter and a contractor. It is said that he and Andrew Borden at one time worked together on the building of City Hall. His obituary below indicates the esteem in which Southard Miller was held by his fellow citizens. He is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery directly across from Lawdwick Borden and his family, whose story of his children being drowned in a cistern by his second wife Eliza is well-known.

    S.H. Miller Chief Engineer 1866-1870

    This weekend, on our Facebook page Lizzie Borden Warps and Wefts, we will be featuring more on the Southard Miller family.