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August 11th Autopsies

It was on this day in 1892, 127 years ago, that the bodies of Abby and Andrew Borden were removed from the holding tomb where they had reposed for a full week, and transported to the Ladies Comfort Station just inside the gates of Oak Grove Cemetery. It was here that the heads of the victims were removed from the bodies.

The holding tomb was a fixture in all cemeteries in the North where extreme winters made gravedigging impossible until the Spring thaw.

The Ladies Comfort Station, which is now a break room for the cemetery grounds staff, consisted of two rooms, one white-tiled with sinks and lavatories, the other paneled in dark wood wainscotting.

Andrew Borden:  Aged 69 years. Autopsy performed by W. A. Dolan, Medical Examiner, assisted by Dr. F. W. Draper. Witnesses F. W. Draper of Boston and John W. Leary of Fall River. Clerk D. E. Cone of Fall River. Time of Autopsy 11.15 A.M. August 11th, 1892, one week after death.

Abby D. Borden, aged 64 years. Thursday August 11, 1892. at 12.35 P.M. One week after death.The Autopsy was performed by W. A. Dolan, Medical Examiner, assisted by Dr. F. W. Draper, and witnessed by F. W. Draper of Boston, and J. H. Leary of Fall River. Clerk of Autopsy D. E. Cone of Fall River.

Preliminary Testimony by Dr, Dolan describing the skull removal.

Q. He told you to remove the skulls?

A. Yes Sir.

Q. The Attorney General?

A. The Attorney General of this state, yes sir.

Q. I do not assume the Attorney General of any other state has anything to do with this case. You did so?

A. Yes Sir.

Q. What did you do with them?

A. I cleaned them.

Q. You cleaned them?

A. Yes Sir.

Q. Do you mean to say these bodies are now buried without the heads?

A. Yes Sir.

Q. Where are these skulls?

A. In my possession.

Q. Where?

A. At my office.

Q. Has it been said to any member of this family, or any friend, that these people were buried without their heads?

A. I do not know.

Q. Have you said it, or caused it to be said?

A. No Sir.

Q. Did you photograph them, or cause them to be photographed?

A. Yes Sir.

One Comment

  • Lorraine Gregoire

    Thank you for posting a picture of the comfort station. I was never sure if this was the right building.

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