The front page of the Fall River Herald for August 4th featured a large colored photo of Kathleen Troost-Cramer and Barbara Morrissey as Lizzie and Emma Borden on the day of the infamous murders re-enacting the news about the killing of their father and stepmother. The front page also featured a headline of the Dow down to the lowest point since 2008 and news of bacteria levels in the Taunton River. At least one of the stories was old news from 1892.
Ray Mitchell as city marshal Rufus Hilliard. Story by Deborah Allard.
The Cast for 2011
Lizzie Borden: Kathleen Troost-Cramer
Detective Seaver: Ben Rose
Abby Borden: Shelley Dziedzic (flat on the floor)
Andrew Borden: Nicole (under the sheet)
Bridget Sullivan Suzanne Rogers
Emma Borden: Barbara Morrissey
Addie Churchill: JoAnne Giovino
Alice Russell: Kristin Pepe
Uncle John: Joe Radza
Dr. Dolan: Michael Shogi
Undertaker Winward Richard Marr-Griffin
Miss Manning from the Herald: Christina Lambertson
Internationally acclaimed world reporter, Nellie Bly- Katrina Shogi
Marshall Hilliard; Ray Mitchell
Mrs. Dr. Bowen: Ellen Borden
This year the August 4th production at the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast will debut a new leading lady. She is no stranger to the part. The photos here are taken from an episode filmed last summer for the Travel Channel. Kathleen Troost-Cramer, day manager at the famous B&B in Fall River, may be remembered for performances in years past as Irish maid, Bridget Sullivan. This year, having gotten in a few practice whacks with a hatchet, Kathleen is ready to take on the legendary Lizzie Borden, probably the most difficult role of the lot as expectations are so varied and anticipated by the sold-out crowd which assembles every year on the 4th to re-live the Borden tale of mystery.
Mild-mannered mother of two, and Bible scholar, this role is quite a stretch, but anyone who has been “under the hatchet”to Kathleen can testify- she means business!
Congratulations and “break-a-leg” to Kathleen as we wait to see her unique spin on the unforgettable Lizzie Borden!
First performance on August 4th at 10:30 a.m., last performance at 3:30 p.m.
Grave of Joseph Courtemanche (Shortsleeve) His name is not on the stone.
Notre Dame Cemetery
Joseph Shortsleeve immigrated from Canada in 1876. Listed as being born in English Canada in 1847 as Joseph Courtemanche, he americanized his name to Shortsleeve as did many French Canadians in Fall River. He was trained as a carpenter and worked for Andrew Borden. On the morning of the murders he was with Jim Mather at a store near the corner of Spring and South Main putting in a new window for Jonathan Clegg, one of Andrew Borden’s commercial tenants. Mr. Borden owned the property.
Andrew had bumped into Mr. Clegg near the Granite Block on his way back home and had promised to check on the window that morning. Joseph Shortsleeve appears in the 1910 census as living at 40 Dover Street, a widower with several single daughters to support. He is still listed as a carpenter in 1910. He was 45 on the day of the murders and was questioned intently so as to fix the time of Andrew Borden’s arrival at home. From the Preliminary: *note In the preliminary and in newspapers, the name is usually plural, Shortsleeves, however in French Courtemache is singular, courtes manches being the plural form.
Q. Mr. Knowlton.) What is your full name?
A. Joseph Shortsleeve.
Q. Did you know Mr. Borden?
A. Yes Sir.
Q. Did you work for him?
A. I worked for him on different jobs, yes sir.
Q. What is your business?
Q. Were you working for him on the day that he was killed?
A. No Sir.
Q. Did you see him on that day?
A. Yes Sir.
Q. You remember the day, of course?
A. Yes Sir.
Q. Where did you see him?
A. In the building that he owns on So. Main street, No. 92.
Q. What street is that the corner of?
A. That is not exactly on the corner, sir, it is three buildings from the corner of Spring and So. Main.
Q. Spring is the next street above his house?
A. Above the store where we were working.
Q. If you were going to his house you would turn down?
A. He lives on the right hand side of the street, turned down on Second to the left.
Q. Go towards City Hall?
A. Yes Sir.
Q. It is between Spring street and the next one below it?
A. Between Borden and Spring street.
Q. Did you see him on some business that day?
A. Nothing, no particular business; he dropped in there. I supposed he was on his way home at the time. We were repairing this store for Jonathan Clegg; and he came in there.
Q. That was the store Clegg was to move into?
A. Yes Sir, he is moving in some of the stuff now.
Q. You were working in that store?
A. Yes Sir.
Q. Did you have some talk with him?
A. Yes Sir.
Q. Who was there with you?
A. My friend James Mather.
Q. How long did he stay there?
A. Between three and four minutes I should judge.
Q. Did you see which way he went when he left your place?
A. I could not swear which way he went, but he disappeared in a very short minute, but he was heading towards So. Main, towards Spring street.
Q. What time was that?
A. It was between half past ten and quarter to eleven.
Q. After half past ten?
A. Yes sir after half past ten.
Q. How do you fix that fact?
A. My friend there stepped out on to the sidewalk, and he looked down to the town clock, we can see the town clock very plain from where we were, and it was twenty minutes to eleven then.
Q. Was that before or after he had left?
A. It was just after he had left.
Q. You did not see him again after that?
A. No sir we did not.
As posted yesterday, Miss Lizzie is coming home for two performances August 5th and 6th at the Nagle Auditorium at B.M.C. Durfee High School in a production by the Covey Theatre Company of Syracuse, N.Y., according to the Fall River Herald News http://www.heraldnews.com/entertainment/x2108626470/Latest-Lizzie-Borden-play-to-be-staged-Aug-5-6-in-Fall-River
For reviews of the play and some color stills, visit this link http://www.thecoveytheatrecompany.com/production-archives.html
Tickets may be purchased online at the link and word is out that this new treatment of the case promises to satisfy the most ardent Bordenite. Snag a ticket early!
In addition to anticipating the upcoming release of the historical society’s Parallel Lives, August will welcome a new play about the famous case. The Herald News reports:
A new play, “Lizzie Borden Took an Axe,” depicting the well known Lizzie Borden case will be staged in Fall River for the 119th anniversary of the hatchet murders of Andrew and Abby Borden.
There will be two performances on Aug. 5 and 6 at the Nagle Auditorium at B.M.C. Durfee High School by the Covey Theatre Company of Syracuse, N.Y.
Fresh from winning two Syracuse Area Live Theatre awards for Best Original Play and Best Costumes, as well as the Gloria Peter Playwright competition from Aurora, NY, “Lizzie Borden Took an Axe” left critics enthralled and Bordenophiles raving.
“Lizzie Borden Took an Axe” will be staged Friday and Saturday, Aug. 5 and 6 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased by calling 315-420-3729 or online at” www.thecoveytheatrecompany.com.
The annual costumed recreation of August 4th will take place as usual at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast on the 4th, which this year, will be a Thursday, just as it was in 1892.
Plenty of Lizzie on the way for August!
“HON. ANDREW JACKSON JENNINGS, lawyer and district attorney for the Southern District of Massachusetts, was descended from one of the oldest familes of Tiverton, R. I. He was a grandson of Isaac Jennings, of Tiverton, and the third son of Andrew M. Jennings, who was born in Fall River, Mass., in January, 1808, and died in 1882, having been for some thirty five years the foreman of the machine shop of Hawes, Marvel & Davol. Their children were Thomas J., who died in 1872; Susan, Elizabeth E., Andrew, and Elizabeth, all of whom died in infancy; Andrew J. George F., superintendent of Bowen’s coal yard, of Fall River; and Annie P. (Mrs. J. Densmore Brown), of Milford, Conn.
Andrew Jackson Jennings was born in Fall River, Mass., August 2, 1849, and attended the public and. high schools of his native city until 1867, when he entered Mowry & Goff’s Classical School at Providence, R. I., from which he was graduated in June, 1868. He then entered Brown University and was graduated from that institution with special honors in 1872. While there be was active and prominent in all athletic sports, being captain of the class and university nines. He was principal of the Warren (R. I) High School from 1872 to 1874, and in July of the latter year began the study of law in the office of Hon. James M. Morton, of Fall River. In January, 1875, he entered Boston University Law School, from which he was graduated with the, degree of LL. B. in May, 1876, and was at once admitted to the bar in Bristol county. On June 1, 1876. he formed a law partnership with his preceptor, Mr. Morton, which continued until 1890, when the latter was appointed a justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. The firm of Morton & Jennings took a foremost place at the Bristol bar. Mr. Jennings was afterward associated in practice with John S. Brayton, jr., under the style of Jennings & Brayton, for a short time, and in July, 1894, formed a copartnership with James M. Morton, Jr., which still continues under the firm name of Jennings & Morton.
Mr. Jennings achieved prominence at the bar, and was everywhere recognized as an able, painstaking, and energetic lawyer and advocate. He was a member of the Fall River School Board for three years, and served as a member of the House of Representatives in 1878 and 1879 and as State senator in 1882. During his three years in the House and Senate he was an influential member of the judiciary committee and chairman of the joint committee on the removal of Judge Day by address in 1882. He was active in securing the passage of the civil damage law in the House and the introduction of the school house liquor law in the Senate. He was a natural orator, eloquent and pleasing in address, and a public spirited citizen. On the day of General Grant’s funeral he was selected to deliver the memorial oration for the city of Fall River, and on other occasions he was called upon to make important and fitting speeches. Mr. Jennings had been for several years a trustee of Brown University and clerk of the Second Baptist Society of Fall River, and was president of the Brown Alumni in 1891 and 1892. As a lawyer he conducted a number of important cases. He was counsel for the defendant in the Lizzie A. Borden trial for homicide in 1893. from the outset. In November, 1894, he was elected district attorney for the Southern District of Massachusetts to fill a vacancy, and in 1895 he was re elected for a full term of three years. He served as president of the Young Men’s Christian Association of Fall River since 1893, and is a director of the Merchants’ Mill, the Globe Yarn Mill, and the Sanford Spinning Company, and a trustee of the Union Savings Bank.
December 25, 1879, Mr. Jennings married Miss Marion G., only daughter of Capt. Seth and Nancy J. (Bosworth) Saunders, of Warren, R. I. They had two children: Oliver Saunders and Marion.”
* Mr. Jennings also pitched for the TROY baseball team.
Our county and its people
A descriptive and biographical history of
Bristol County, Massachusetts
Prepaired and published under the auspices of
The Fall River News and The Taunton Gazette
With assistance of Hon. Alanson Borden
The Boston History Company, Publishers, 1899.
Oak Grove Cemetery, Fall River
The young lady in the newspaper sketch looks to be a very young girl, but is actually the nineteen year old daughter of Georgianna Verrault and Dr. Pierre Collet. Sometimes her name is spelled Lucy, and the last name in various ways. Lucie Collet was born in Canada Jan 29, 1874 and died June 5 of phthisis Pulmonalis, ( tuberculosis) in1900 at the age of 26. She was buried immediately on June 6th in Notre Dame Cemetery.
On the morning of the Borden murders, Lucie had been sent over to Third St. from their house at 22 Borden St. near Third to intercept the daily patients of Dr. Jean B. V. Chagnon. Dr. Chagnon lived in the house on Third St. behind and slightly north of the Borden barn. Dr. Chagnon was unable to be at home that morning and Lucie was the choice to fill the need when the telephone call came from Dr. Collet’s pharmacy clerk, Jean Normand who was relaying the message from Dr. Chagnon. When she arrived at the house at 10:50 a.m., it was locked so she sat on a bench watching for patients to arrive until noon, venturing once to the front yard to look for a hammock. After a great deal of questioning as to what Lucie might have seen of the Borden’s back yard and the positions of fences, outbuildings and doors, the following preliminary testimony reveals Lucy not to have been such an important witness as originally thought. She had her back to the north end Chagnon driveway and was conversing with two patients who came up to her over the course of the first half hour, thus diverting her attention from anyone trying to sneak into the Borden’s back yard by way of the Chagnon back yard north end. She does have a good view of the grove of trees and Crowe’s yard on the south end of the house and states this was the part of the Chagnon yard of which she viewed.
Q. You were sitting with your face turned towards the other yard, to the south, were you not?
A. Yes, I was.
Q. So if anybody came over that fence at the back yard there, and down the carriage drive, you would not have seen them, would you, unless they had made a noise?
A. I would not have seen them, but I would have heard the noise.
Q. How do you know you would?
A. I might, and I might not.
Q. You might, and you might not; is that so?
A. Yes Sir.
Q. Unless there was some noise, made, you would not have seen them, would you, unless it caused you to look around? You would not have seen them unless you had looked around?
A. No Sir.
The Defense was not about to give up on the point that someone could have slipped by Lucie.
Q. Now Miss Collet, you would not want to say that a man could not have come down that driveway and gone off, without your knowing it; while you were sitting there?
A. No, I would not say it, but I did not see anybody.
Q. You would not be apt to with your back to him, would you unless he made a noise?
A. No Sir.
Lucie Collet would later marry the pharmacy clerk, Jean Napoleon Normand (himself a widower). Normand became a respected doctor for over 30 years in Fall River. Lucie was his second wife, and after she died childless in June of 1900, Normand would remarry. (passport application below with photo of Dr. Normand)
Jean Napoleon Normand
Birth: 24 MAY 1871 in St.Pascal, Quebec, Canada
Death: 4 MAY 1950 in Fall River, Bristol County, Massachusetts
Father: Charles Francois Clovis Normand b: 18 DEC 1835 in St.Pascal, Quebec, Canada(Woodbridge)
Mother: Celina D. Dionne b: 8 OCT 1844 in St.Pascal, Quebec, Canada
Marriage 1 Celina Fafard b: 1881 in Canada
Marriage 2 Lucie Collet b: 29 JAN 1874 in Canada
Marriage 3 Emilie D. Lussier b: 24 MAR 1862 in Canada
Lucie is buried with the other two wives in Notre Dame Cemetery in Fall River, off Stafford Road. The large granite cross is very near the grave of Andrew Borden’s barber, Pierre LeDuc.
W&W is a little late getting this one posted. Shawna Waldron’s 93 minute Lizzie feature can be downloaded here: http://www.musicmovieshare.com/thriller/lizzie-2011/
You can see more on the Facebook page, including photos. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lizzie-the-Movie/378802895590?ref=mf&sk=wall#!/pages/Lizzie-the-Movie/378802895590?sk=wall
The Best Actor Award was a tie this year- for the first time. Will Clawson and Ray Mitchell, both employees of the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast Museum are also Pear Essential Players and last August 4th, on the anniversary of the murders, took up the roles of Officer Harrington and City Marshal Rufus B. Hilliard. The Second Street Irregulars (the “Muttoneaters”), award the golden statuette yearly for best performance in a Borden case-related role.
Will Clawson as the popular and well-beloved Phil Harrington (the man who described Lizzie’s wrapper in such detail and died tragically on his honeymoon the year Lizzie was acquitted)
Ray Mitchell as City Marshal Rufus Hilliard
The best actress award this year went to Kristin Pepe for her sympathetic portrayal of long-time Borden friend, and former neighbor, Alice Russell. Kristin played the role of Bridget Sullivan in 2009 and 2010 was her first time in the role of the lady who saw Lizzie burn the dress in the woodstove and who was the recipient of the exciting news divulged by Lizzie on the night before the murders that “something is going to happen, Father has an enemy. . .” Kristin was also a Lens of Sherlock recipient several years ago when she tracked down Emma Borden’s alma mater, Wheaton Female Seminary. Congratulations, all!
Kristin (center) with Barbara Morrissey (Emma, on the left) and Lorraine Gregoire (Lizzie on the right) on August 4, 2011.
Denise Noe has compiled a fascinating array of facts in this recently released online article for Men’s News Daily about the Fall River Police force, focusing on the men in charge during the 1892 Borden case. City Marshal Rufus Hilliard and Fleet are prominently featured. The article first appear in a 2009 issue of The Hatchet.
Axe or hatchet? – Most likely a hatchet or a short-handled axe.
Top Ten List of Most Often-Quoted Borden Case Errors
1. Lizzie was found guilty by jury of the murders of her mother and father.
Actually Lizzie was acquitted on all three counts, the murder of her father, her stepmother and both at the trial in New Bedford, June 1893.
2. Lizzie Borden was a redhead.
According to her passport she had light brown hair.
3. Lizzie’s father cut off the heads of Lizzie’s pet pigeons with a hatchet.
Andrew Borden did kill the pigeons, but by wringing their necks, according to Lizzie’s inquest statement.
4. Lizzie decapitated Abby Borden’s tabby kitten.
We have only the interview of Abby Borden’s niece, Abbie Whitehead Potter stating that Lizzie killed a kitten. The Whitehead family, with reason, had very little sympathy towards Lizzie, and this tale cannot be validated.
5. Lizzie Borden was a big, mannish woman.
Lizzie was 5 ft. 3 inches tall according to her passport, average for the times. She had put on weight during the ten months she was incarcerated in Taunton jail. Her face did have a heavy lower jaw and was described by one newspaper as a face with attributes very common to the region.
6. Lizzie and her sister sold the house where the murders took place on Second Street after Lizzie was acquitted in 1893.
The sisters held on to the property until 1918.
7. Lizzie was a kleptomaniac.
Legend has it that she shoplifted at local Main St. stores and that the bill for what she had pilfered would be sent to her father to pay. Shoplifting was surprisingly not uncommon among ladies of the period. There is no documentation at present in existence that Lizzie was a kleptomaniac and that Andrew paid the bills. The only corroborating bit of evidence is of a documented thievery of a porcelain wall ornament which went “missing” from the Tilden and Thurber jewelry store in Providence. When the item was taken back to the store for a repair, the owner was questioned about its provenance only to be told Lizzie Borden had been the gift giver. This matter was eventually settled privately. It is possible that Lizzie was a shoplifter in younger years, but not proven so.
8. Andrew Borden was a mortician.
Andrew Borden was trained as a carpenter and then went into business as a furniture and household goods retailer. He invested wisely in real estate, including two small farms, all of which would bring him a good financial return, and as a sideline, he was an undertaker. Undertaker in 1890 parlance meant a person who would supply items needed for a funeral. He was neither a funeral director, embalmer, nor mortician. An invoice has been found for his services and for a casket, signed by Borden. It was not uncommon for furniture retailers to supply wooden coffins and caskets and have a showroom or warehouse facility containing these items.
9. Lizzie committed the two murders in the nude.
Thanks to the 1975 film starring Elizabeth Montgomery as Lizzie, the nude murderess scenario has its supporters. In 1890, the thought was put forth that the killer must be saturated with blood, and it should have been impossible to hide or escape without the telltale blood evidence being detected. In fact, the killer need not have been covered from head to toe with blood, or could have worn, then later destroyed a protective covering garment. It would be unusual for a lady in the era of corsets and petticoats to have stripped bare twice on a sunny morning and walked around the house in broad daylight , then to clean up in between in a large tin basin in the cellar. Not impossible- just unlikely.
10. Lizzie Borden killed her stepmother and father.
So often assumed as fact , – in fact, nobody will ever have the final answer to this one. Based on the evidence given to the jury then, and in re-examinations of the trial evidence now, Lizzie is acquitted. Her inquest testimony, prussic acid evidence, and dress-burning evidence were not allowed at the trial. The fact that a side door remained open for almost an hour, and that an intruder could have entered the house and concealed himself, allows for reasonable doubt. And therein lies the fascination with this case.
Got a favorite oft-quoted but unsubstantiated Borden case statement to share? Please leave a comment!
Tonight the popular Travel Channel program, Mysteries at the Museum, which features unusual artifacts from around the country, presented a segment on the handle-less hatchet found in the Borden cellar. The segment filmed at the Fall River Historical Society and the house on Second Street and showed excellent close-up footage of the hatchet head and break on the handle stub. The seven-minute portion was well-done and worth a look. It airs again tomorrow, December 1st at 3 p.m.
Chances are you have not heard of the Garst Museum in Greenville, Ohio unless you are a fan of Greenville- born world traveller and TV star Lowell Thomas whose adventures enthralled millions on radio and later television. Or perhaps sharpshooter Annie Oakley, about whom the Garst has produced a world-class exhibit about her life.
As part of their autumn lecture series, another famous lady will be featured as subject of a one-woman show as Christy Igo takes on Lizzie Borden- no sharp-shooting pistol, but a hatchet just as deadly.
(photo of Ms. Igo from http://www.lizzieborden.info/_wsn/page2.html)
“Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 2:00 p.m., Christy Igo’s program “Lizzie Borden: A Life” is coming to the Garst. It is full of laughter, mystery, and horror as she brings Lizzie Borden to life to tell HER STORY of the murder of her beloved father and step mother. This crime is one of the bloodiest, most notorious and mysterious crimes of the 19th century!
In 1892 Lizzie Borden was found NOT guilty by a jury of her peers. Most of the towns folk of Falls River, Massachusetts DISAGREED. The trial received worldwide media attention. Lizzie became a celebrity. The gruesome details played out in the daily newspapers.
Did she or didn’t she? Modern law students still argue the case. You be the judge.
Christy Igo trained at Ohio University’s Professional Actor Training Program as well as at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. She has worked professionally all over the North Eastern United States. She has worked in film, commercials and documentaries. She formed HerStory productions in 1999 to produce and perform original one woman shows about inspirational women from history.The Garst Lecture Series are free to the public, thanks to a grant from the HOPE Foundation and the Harry D. Stephens Memorial Trust. This lecture may be more suitable for mature audiences. For more information please call 937-548-5250 or online at www.garstmuseum.org.”
If you neglected to clip and save this for your Lizzie Borden Centennial Collection, Yankee Magazine now has it in the archive, also available in pdf format, complete with photos to print out. Arnie Brown and Professor Starrs are featured.
The latest in the series of “Mutton Eater” short articles is available for the month of September. It is a tale of sisters- Abby Borden and her two siblings Priscilla and Bertie in one corner versus the Borden sisters Emma and Lizzie in another! As in most lives, the Gray girls had their share of tragedy, hard work and joy, but they, unlike Emma and Lizzie enjoyed motherhood and grandchildren. In the Borden case, where nearly all the main players are women, here are two more stories to add to the potent mix which ended in the events of August 4th 1892.
The Fall River Spirit just published a very interesting article about the current exhibit of Bordenalia at the Fall River Historical Society. If you have not seen this- hurry on down as the special exhibit has an expiration date of October 15th!
Assistant curator Dennis Binnette has commented in the article on the surprising amount of blood on the shams and coverlet which were in the guest room of the Borden house on Second St. For the article follow this link http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100812/PUB03/8120358
(photo credit: Dave Souza, Fall River Herald)