Was there a Will in the Wind?
Middletown Daily News August 18, 1892 (Middletown, N.Y.)
Did Lizzie know that her father was seriously thinking about making a will? She seemed to know a great deal about her father’s real estate holdings. Here is her inquest statement about knowledge of a will:
Q. Do you know something about his real estate?
A About what?
Q. His real estate.
A I know what real estate he owned; part of it. I don’t know whether or not I know it all or not.
Q. Tell me what you know of.
A He owns two farms in Swansea, the place on Second Street and the A. J. Borden Building and corner and the land on South Main Street where McMannus is and then a short time ago, he bought some real estate up further south that formerly, he said, belonged to a Mr. Birch. .
Q. Did you know of your father making a will?
A. No sir, except I heard somebody say once that there was one several years ago. That is all I ever heard.
Q. Who did you hear say so?
A. I think it was Mr. Morse.
Q. What Morse?
A. Uncle John V. Morse.
Q. How long ago?
A. How long ago I heard him say it? I have not any idea.
Q. What did he say about it?
A. Nothing except just that.
Was Lizzie lying in her testimony? Had she overhead Andrew and her Uncle the night before the murders discussing such details about a will? Andrew was nearly 70 years old, perhaps he had decided to put something in writing and was making an inventory of his assets. A good many people seemed to think a will favoring a hefty settlement on his spouse provided a good motive for murder.