Borden Spaces and Places

The House That Started It All

whitehead-house.jpg While it scarcely looks like the Amityville Horror House, the little two-family Gray homestead on Fourth Street set off a firestorm of ill will among Emma and Lizzie and their stepmother Abby Durfee Gray Borden. Abby’s half sister Sarah Whitehead and her family (including daughter Little Abbie) lived in one half of the house while Abby Borden’s stepmother, Jane Gray (second wife of Abby’s father Oliver Gray) had the other side. When Jane Gray decided to move out, Andrew Borden bought out the other half of his wife’s family home and put it in her name without telling Emma and Lizzie. When the girls found out, they were none too pleased and made it clear to their father he would have to make things even, which he did by giving them the old Ferry Street  house to manage.   The girls ended up selling it back to their father, but the seeds of distrust and animosity were sown, and the Whiteheads were none-too-welcome at Second Street.  Lizzie began calling Abby “Mrs. Borden” whereas she had been called “Mother” before. Women can be  – unforgiving.               

The Gray Family Plot at Oak Grove: Oliver, Jane, Sarah Gray (first wife) (c)2007


Grave of Sarah Whitehead’s little girl, Abbie Whitehead Potter, who grew up with decided views about Lizzie Borden



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