Borden Family

Emma, Andrew, Abby and Lizzie- & "Maggie" too

  • Legal Documents of Borden Case Personalities

    So much can be learned about individuals by studying the wills, birth, marriage and death documents. Wills are particularly revealing in listing specific bequests to certain beneficiaries- and in some cases in what is not left to others. Below are thumbnails of some of the Borden case personalities’ documents. Click on thumbnail to enlarge and use ZOOM detail.

    Bridget Sullivan                    Emma Borden                    Lizzie Borden

    Sarah Morse Borden   Nance O’Neil          Edwin Porter

    Last Will & Testament of Bridget Sullivan

  • Remembering June 1st

    Under a nearly-full moon and windy night, the guests from the Lizzie Borden B&B Museum visited Lizzie’s grave on the 85th anniversary of her death at Maplecroft. A marigold had been planted along with a vase of cut flowers, several small pebbles and a geranium were at the headstone.

    Along Plymouth Avenue, Sonic Nova and Millbillyart.com have painted median flower boxes, including one decorated with a familiar lady.

     

     

  • Bridget Sullivan in Later Years

    Perhaps the most thrilling photo from Parallel Lives was that of Lizzie on her veranda at Maplecroft with her little dog. Now we have two photos of the Borden maid around the same age. Whereas Lizzie looks rested, prosperous and content in her photo, Bridget has a stern and careworn visage. Two elderly ladies- worlds apart in many ways, but sharing one extraordinary day in common- August 4, 1892.

    Photo of Lizzie and her dog courtesy of the Fall River Herald News Online as seen in Parallel Lives by Michael Martins and Dennis Binette.

    Photos reproduced here courtesy of Diana Porter, a relative of John Sullivan

    Photo of Bridget Sullivan courtesy of Diana Porter attributed as coming from the Barbara Knightly Hockaway Collection

    Marriage license courtesy of Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum

  • Bridget Sullivan – “Stern, Humorless- and mean”?

    The promised article is finally available via the Fall River Herald news http://www.heraldnews.com/news/x221044214/New-photos-surface-of-former-Lizzie-Borden-maid-after-murders

    and contains the very interesting comment pertaining to Sullivan’s personality as being humorless, stern, and even “mean.” Reading Bridget’s testimony and statements made in 1892-1893, she gives the impression of being careful with her statements, and not just a little bit nervous and afraid to say anything negative about Lizzie or the family, so this new revelation causes one to wonder if Bridget developed the stern, mean and humorless traits after the trial or did she always have such a personality?

    For decades the story has been widely circulated that Bridget had something to “get off her chest” and either died without telling “something about that Fall River business” – or else confessed it to a priest with her dying breath.  What the something was, or even if all or a part of this story is true yet remains to be proven without a doubt. People have speculated what the something could be: she knew the dress Lizzie gave to the police was not the dress Lizzie had on that morning of the murders, Bridget helped clean up blood or other evidence, she knew Lizzie was guilty but protected the family in return for a favor, etc. The list of possibilities is endless. The notion that Bridget knew something but would never tell is, however, provocative and the recent disclosure of the photos and comments by a great niece of Bridget’s husband, John Sullivan, Diana Porter, only add even more flavor to conjectures about Bridget and what she knew. No single person was in a better position to know the daily workings of the Borden household better than Bridget, and so anything about her or anything which will emerge in the future promises to be greeted with eager eyes and ears.

    Copies of the two photos will be added to Warps and Wefts as soon as the proper permissions have been granted.

  • Bridget Sullivan is news in Fall River- again

    When the phone rang at the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast several months ago, the voice at the end of the line wishing to book a room was none other than the great niece of John and Bridget Sullivan.  For years, the only photo known of the Borden’s Irish maid was the one taken at an unknown date shown below.  The relative will be a guest, in Bridget’s room of course, this summer and will be giving an interview to Borden house co-owner, Lee Ann Wilber.  There are plenty of questions to ask! Employees at the house have been excited about the photos and news for many weeks and have a list prepared. Will we now find out just where Bridget was from 1893 until she showed up in Montana in 1896?  The story will be featured in the newspaper tomorrow but has a live interview at the link below with Lee Ann and reporter Deb Allard recorded early today.  http://www.heraldnews.com/multimedia/video/x826304472/New-photos-of-Lizzie-Borden-maid 

  • The Lizzie Borden-Titanic Connection

     This year will mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City.  This year will mark the 120th anniversary of the Borden tragedy.  It would be hard to conceive any possible connection between the two-   until last month’s revelation.

    With the publication of BUILT FROM STONE: THE WESTERLY GRANITE STORY, the sketch  and work order for the Borden Oak Grove monument revealed the names of all the workers who worked on the main monument and the four small headstones. The headstone lettering, A.J.B. (Andrew Jackson Borden), A.D.B. (Abby Durfee Borden) for the victims, S.A.B. (Sarah Anthony Borden, Lizzie’s mother), and ALICE (Lizzie’s other sister) were cut by William J. Drew.  R&P stand for “raised and polished”on the headstones.  J.F. Murphy did the polishing of the letters.

    William John Drew and his two brothers came to America in the 1880’s from Cornwall, near Falmouth, England.  The sons of an early-widowed mother, the boys had gone to work in the famous granite quarries of Cornwall at a very young age.  Simon Drew would head to Maine but William and his brother James Vivian Drew would eventually start a marble and granite monument business in Greenport, Long Island, N.Y.  William’s first wife, Louisa, died in 1894 and for a time William J. Drew lived in Westerly, and did some work for Smith’s Granite Company, easily the most prestigious monument company in the Northeast.  Orders came in from all over the country for the Westerly blue, red, and rose granite which had a fine grain. The blue was especially easy to carve. Smith’s was the most-desired company to fill the order.  Lizzie and Emma Borden placed their order through the Smith’s Providence branch.

    William Drew soon found a new love in Elizabeth Brines of Westerly, and on June 24, 1903, they were married.  With the Greenport business now growing, the two brothers and their wives found a home together. James Vivian Drew married Mary Louise (Lulu) Thorne Christian and they all settled happily into married life and work at the new business on the harbor in Greenport. William’s son by his first wife had died in 1898, and when his new bride of only a year gave birth to a son on March 30, 1904 life was looking hopeful.  The child was called Marshall Brines Drew.  About three weeks after his birth, Mrs. William Drew (Elizabeth), died, leaving Marshall motherless and William Drew yet again, without a wife.

    His brother James V. Drew and his wife Lulu took the infant in to raise. They had lost their only son Harold not long before so Marshall seemed a godsend.

    James Vivian Drew

    Marshall at 7

    In October of 1911, James, Lulu and little Marshall decided to go back to Cornwall to visit Grandmother Priscilla Drew.  They sailed on the sister of the R.M.S. TITANIC, the OLYMPIC, making them among the very few who ever sailed on both. In April, 1912, Marshall, now aged 8, boarded TITANIC in second class with his aunt and uncle. On the night of April 14, the ship hit the iceberg and sank on the morning of April 15th about 2:20 a.m.  Uncle Jim had bundled Lulu and Marshall into lifeboat #11 and both were saved.  Jim never had a chance.  His body was not found.  Back in Greenport, his brother William was devastated at the news and hastened with Lulu’s father to meet the rescue ship, CARPATHIA, in New York harbor, only to find the worst was true.  Jim was gone.  William Drew carved this monument, a cenotaph, to his late brother Jim out of Westerly blue granite.  The brothers were famous for their carved lilies and roses.  It is in Oak Grove Cemetery– but not Oak Grove in Fall River- in Ashaway, Rhode Island where Aunt Lu and Marshall lived after Aunt Lu remarried Mr. Richard Opie.

    William Drew also carved the stone for his first wife Louisa in River Bend Cemetery, Westerly and is buried there with both wives, and both sons.

    William Drew died of tuberculosis in 1917 in Greenport, L.I. His son lived to be 82, and died in June of 1986.  His stone was designed by this site’s administrator and funded by Titanic International Society,  It is made of Westerly blue granite and carved by one of the last of the old Westerly granite men, Donald Bonner.

    Marshall Drew was a much-beloved figure around Westerly.  He had taught art and was acclaimed for his photography.The epitaph is his own, the name copied from his own german fractur handwriting.

    Below is the work order showing William Drew’s name.   History is full of strange coincidences and unlikely links. It is hard to know if William Drew was familiar with the notorious case of Lizzie Borden, or that his work would find its way to the heads of two of crime history’s most famous victims.

    Work order  from Smith Granite Co, archives containing William Drew’s name as carver of the four headstones, courtesy of Linda Smith Chafee, Babcock-Smith Museum, Westerly.

    Photos and text: Shelley Dziedzic, March 2012

  • The Borden Monument Work Order

    The Borden Monument

    By Shelley Dziedzic (all rights reserved, February 2012)

     

    Click on the photo of the worksheet above to use enlargement ZOOM tool

    Not surprisingly the Borden plot is the most visited site in Oak Grove Cemetery.  On the day of the funeral of Abby and Andrew Borden, only grass and many trees surrounded the open graves lined with pine branches.  Of course the Bordens were not buried on the date of their joint funeral, August 6, 1892, but instead lingered in a holding tomb at the cemetery awaiting a full autopsy on August 11th and burial at last on August 17th.  It would not be until January 1895 that the stately Westerly blue granite monument would be set in place, along with the rectangular headstones bearing the initials of the victims.

    With Fall River being famous for granite, especially rose granite, one wonders why Emma and Lizzie Borden did not shop for a fitting monument in their own home town.  The fact was that Smith’s Granite Company of Westerly, Rhode Island was the most prestigious monument supplier of its day, with offices in many major American cities.  Providence would have been the nearest branch to Fall River. Smith’s could claim orders from all of the finest old families as well as being in demand to supply important statues and civic monuments and memorial stones across the country. Emma and Lizzie chose the very best to mark the site of their eternal rest.

    The stone was ordered on July 2, 1894, almost two years from the date of the burial of Abby and Andrew Borden.  The stone is nine feet in height and is divided into five separate segments.  The cost of the labor and materials is carefully noted in the order book, and the date of each stage of the work is listed when completed at the top of the page by stone numbers 1-5.  The stone was crated and shipped by rail on January 4, 1895. The base is Stone #1, #2 is the section containing A.J. Borden in raised and polished letters, #3 is the panel stone where names and dates are inscribed, #4 is the most intricately carved by master carver, Mr. L. Galli who was paid $230.79 and #5 is the cap stone.  At the bottom of the page appears the order for the small headstones.  There are four of them with the lettering and polishing done by William Drew and J.F. Murphy.  The four are AJB,(Andrew Jackson Borden) ADB, (Abby Durfee Borden) SAB (Sarah Anthony Borden) and the full name Alice, the sister who died very young.  No doubt the matching headstones of Lizzie and Emma were added at a much later date, and also the inscription on the panel of the main marker added in 1927 or later.

    It is interesting to note on this order sheet that the panel engraving had to be done twice due to an error.  Many have remarked that there is an “S” added to Lizzie’s name and wondered if this was an order left by Lizzie to be completed after her death or merely an error on the part of the carver, who may have thought Andrews was a surname and that Andrew was an unlikely middle name for a woman.  Lizzie had, herself, opted to change her name unofficially to Lizbeth, but is not known to have added an “S” to her middle name of Andrew.

    It is unknown exactly when the names of Emma and Lizzie, and their dates of birth and death were added to the panel, or whether either sister ever actually saw the panel with their names on it.  It is not uncommon to have names and dates of birth engraved on a stone while the person is still alive, with the death date added after the fact.  This may or may not have been done at the time of the creation of this monument. As particular as Lizzie was known to be, it would be easy to make the case that she never saw the panel in life to catch the error.

    Newspapers printed that on the day of the stone’s installation, Lizzie and Emma went out to inspect the work.  It was reported that Lizzie only gave a cursory glance and then went back to her carriage.  Emma is said to have made a careful inspection.  The cost today of the stock and labor for this monument would be many times the figure on this work order.

    A list of artisans who worked on the Borden monument:

    Pat Holliday, Jas. Brown, Mike Burke, Jas. Dower, Tom Holliday, George Rae, P. Craddick, F. Polletti, J.D. Craddick, Joe Frasier, L. Galli, Dan Kelleher, James Blake, Ira Norman, George Dunn, William Frances, Frank Roads, John Moore, J.F. Murphy and William Drew.

    • Alexander Lawson, a Scottish-born stone carver from Aberdeen, who immigrated in the great Scottish wave which came to America lived and worked in Westerly, Rhode Island before moving to Fall River to open his own granite works and monument business on Prospect Street, just outside the gates of Oak Grove Cemetery.  The family lived on Robeson Street for many years, and the business was inherited by Frederick Lawson, Alexander’s son and prospered for many years. Alexander Lawson is credited with the carving of the 1873 arch at Oak Grove.

    The diagram and details for this article were furnished by the Smith-Babcock House Museum on Granite Street in Westerly, R.I. The diagram is reproduced with permission.  Additional information on Smith’s and the granite industry in Westerly may be found in the excellent publication, Built From Stone: The Westerly Granite Story by Linda Smith Chafee, John B. Coduri, and Dr. Ellen L. Madison. Copies may be purchased at Other Tiger Bookstore on High Street in Westerly or at this link http://www.builtfromstone.com/

    Visit the Smith-Babcock House Museum, which is the premier repository of archived materials relating to the granite industry in Westerly. http://www.babcock-smithhouse.com/

  • Tatyana’s Graphic Design

     

    Tatyana Jula, a Philadelphia graphic designer and illustrator made a visit to the Borden house in October, opting for the day tour, but not quite brave enough to spend the night. She has captured her unique vision of Miss Lizzie as a hospitable  “innkeeper” of a bed and breakfast, a mix of gracious charm with wicked intent! (images used with permission)

    To see how these designs were created step by step, and to order a poster visit these links http://tatyanahjula.com/post-itsngs/lizzie-borden-bed-breakfast/ To order on paper or canvas http://society6.com/tatjula/Lizzie-Borden-Bed-amp-Breakfast_Print

    Visit Tatyana’s web site for more travel posters, postcard and travel art. http://tatyanahjula.com/

  • A Red Letter Day in Fall River

    Christmas came early this year for those who enjoy Fall River history and have an interest in the Borden case and the enigmatic Miss Lizzie.  Parallel Lives was released this morning to the public. By 11: 30 a.m. a long line snaked its way down the pavement toward Maple Street and there was a feeling of restless expectation in the air as the noon hour approached. .  A man came around the corner bearing two copies of the coveted tome as heads swiveled to catch a glimpse.  A spontaneous outburst of appreciation went up from the crowd followed by many comments as to the  SIZE of the massive tome.

    No preview copies were released for reviewing to anyone, so it was with enormous excitement today’s release was anticipated.  Beginning on Friday, the benefactors of the publication enjoyed a special gathering, followed by Saturday night’s annual Christmas Open House for members, and capping off an extraordinary weekend with today’s public release of the book, viewing of a special exhibit of materials featured in the book (cards, letters, gifts Lizzie presented to friends, etc.) and a tour of the Christmas decorations, always an annual treat.

    The authors held court in the front parlor at a beautifully decorated table with a red rose Christmas arrangement, signing autographs and having photographs taken with visitors.  On the lawn, on the stairs, and anywhere one could sit, people clutched their volume, looking eagerly through the pages. From all corners came appreciative little shrieks of excitement as never-before-seen photos were discovered, especially those showing Lizzie herself. Even those who vowed not to ruin the surprise until they could sit at leisure soon gave way to overwhelming curiosity and were soon leafing furiously through the pages. Some had driven hours to pick up their copies.

    It would be presumptuous to attempt any sort of review of this major work until the whole was digested, therefore the Warps & Wefts review will be forthcoming in the near future.  Suffice it to say, Parallel Lives is as plummy a Christmas pudding as anyone could ever wish for, chock full of juicy morsels, delicious facts and photos, fascinating history, surprises and many hours of enthralled reading.  To reveal too much would be to ruin your own Christmas surprise- so-

    Just spring to your sleigh, to your team give a whistle,

    To Rock Street fly like the down of a thistle.

    Parallel Lives is the gift sure to please, so take heed,

    Happy holidays to all, and to all a good read!

  • Come and Get It!

    Put on your best bonnet and race to the corner of Rock and Maple Streets on Sunday, November 20th between noon and 3 p.m

      It’s Here!

    Have your copy of Parallel Lives autographed. Pre-ordered your copy? Not to worry, pick it up Sunday at the Fall River Historical Society Book Signing!  Don’t let your friends beat you to the punch!  1000 pages and over 500 photos.  You just may have to take your vacation next week! Come back over the holidays to see a very special exhibit of ephemera and other items discovered while researching for the book: notes, cards, letters and more from Lizzie’s own hand.  Who could ask for anything more?

  • Lizzie Reigns in October

    October  has always been a 4 star month for all things Lizzie, but this year as Halloween draws nearer, the case is everywhere. Tonight Ghost Adventures showcases their investigation at Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum (Friday,Oct 21) at 9pm and Saturday Oct.22 12am or midnight on the 21st. The crew from CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood visited Lizzie’s last weekend (the same day Aron Houdini (relative of the famous Harry) came to entertain staff and guests.  That segment will air on October 30th at 9 a.m.

    But most thrilling of all, the long-awaited tome published by the Fall River Historical Society which will feature amazing new facts about Lizzie and her times is now launched and can be pre- ordered on the site.(November 21st availability).  The anticipation for this thick volume, chocked-full of photos(over 500), some new ones of Lizzie, is going to fly off the shelves.  Visit the website for all the latest information and content and order form.  It’s going to be an exciting time ahead for all of us!  http://lizziebordenparallellives.com/welcome/

    Also visit the Facebook site https://www.facebook.com/pages/Parallel-Lives-A-Social-History-of-Lizzie-A-Borden-and-Her-Fall-River/217117611686628

  • Paranormal Week at Lizzie’s August 21-30

     

     

    “Abby & Lizzie” on the sofa during the filming for Ghost Adventures

    The spirits were restless last week at the Borden house!  My Ghost Story crew checked in on Sunday the 21st. This is a program featured on the Biography Channel. http://myghoststory.com/ Monday- Thursday morning, the well-known crew from Ghost Adventures were in residence with equipment for their “lock down”.  Fans of  host,  Zack,  knocked on the door of #92 and looked longingly through the windows hoping for a glimpse of the handsome host.  Word has it that some interesting EVPs were captured by the team.  This weekend, as hurricane Irene blasted the Northeast, Jeff Belanger, lecturer and author of paranormal books camped out for the weekend.  http://www.jeffbelanger.com/ All in all, the old house on Second Street had an exciting time of it and weathered the hurricane without  incident.  Air dates for these programs featuring the Borden house have yet to be announced.

     

  • Bad news day

    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.

  • Taking a Whack at Lizzie

    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.

  • Mr. Shortsleeve fixes the time

    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?

    A. Carpenter.

    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.

  • Coming July 19th- A Guide to Oak Grove

    Just in time for Lizzie’s birthday:  the guide to Borden-related graves in Oak Grove Cemetery.  The booklet contains maps, biographies of people connected with the case who are buried at Oak Grove, three walking tours with maps of how to locate both minor and major personalities in the Borden story, a history of the cemetery, fun facts and trivia, who is NOT buried at Oak Grove connected to the Borden case, and articles on the Victorian celebration of death, symbolism on funerary statuary and much more!  Designed in a black and white “Edward Goreyesque” style, the publication will go on sale July 19th. Pricing and outlets which will stock the guide will be finalized and announced here on July 15th.

  • Get your Tickets Now !

     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!