10 Things About the Borden Case that Will Keep you Up All Night

A 19th century story illustration of a lady sitting in a chair with her head and hand draped over the back. Taken from a story in the English Illustrated Magazine of 1892

There are so many questions and things to ponder when considering the Borden case in its entirety, but let’s just think about August 4th until just a few days prior to the Inquest.  Inquiring minds want to know:

  1. Lizzie was alone in the house at the time of Abby’s murder and saw no other person coming in or going out of the house although she was in the kitchen by the side door most of the time. Bridget was outside washing windows. There are witnesses who saw her washing them.
  2. Bridget came in to fetch supplies and says the screen door was open and did not say she saw Lizzie in the kitchen. Where was Lizzie?
  3. Bridget will say that Lizzie laughed softly from the top of the stairs when she let Mr. Borden in the front door. Bridget will forget all about that 10 months later.
  4. Lizzie sees her father when he comes home around 10:45, and tells him Abby had a note and was gone out which stops him from looking for her. No note is ever found or the writer of the note. Lizzie suggests Bridget might want to go up to North Main St. to a dress goods sale. Bridget declines and goes up to the third floor to lie down. Lizzie is again alone downstairs with Andrew.
  5. Lizzie has admitted to the girls in Marion that she has a sharp hatchet she will bring with her Monday on her fishing trip. Her job will be chopping kindling for the stove.
  6. Lizzie claims to be in the hayloft at the time Andrew is murdered. She has to be out of the house. There is a dead body on the second floor, the dead body of Andrew on the first floor and Bridget is on the third floor napping with both other rooms locked up there. Lizzie gives different reasons for being in the loft and the length of time she says she is up there does not fit the timeline.
  7. Lizzie is in control of the alarm-sounding. Bridget is sent out of the house to fetch help, Lizzie never makes a move to get out of the house where a killer could be lurking. She has time to hide a weapon and tidy up before Mrs. Churchill makes a brief appearance and hurries off to get help.
  8. Lizzie goes upstairs after the body of Abby is found and changes into a pink and white striped wrapper and spends the day upstairs, frequently left alone. She will make two trips to the cellar that night. One is with Alice Russell, a friend staying in the house to help, who tags along, the other right after Alice goes to her room and she can return to the cellar alone.
  9. On August 6th she is told by the mayor that she is a suspect, late in the day after the funerals. On the morning of August 7th, alone in the kitchen for the moment, she tears up and burns a dress in the stove but is discovered by Alice Russell who walks in and Emma who steps out of the sink room to see what is happening. Where had that dress been the day of the search?
  10. Officer Medley, Edson, Desmond and others go back to the Borden house at 10 a.m. Monday, August 8th to resume looking in the cellar. Medley finds a handless hatchet with a short stub of freshly broken handle . It appears to have been recently washed and is coated with dust. Nobody saw this on the main search of the house Saturday.

One Comment

  • Kate Lavender

    Ah, yes, the handless hatchet, freshly broken. So surprising that no one saw it as a red herring planted by Lizzie to confuse the FRPD and to stop them from looking elsewhere. The heaving pounding on wood heard by the neighbors the night before at 11 pm… that’s when she broke the hatchet on the chopping block. And according to Cara Robertson’s new book, Lizzie changed into another different blue dress before she changed into the pink wrapper later on. I have others, so when they say there isn’t anything new to add to the case it simply isn’t true. Much love to you, Miss Shelley.

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