The house on Second Street had a special weekend guest when horror-thriller actress Brinke Stevens was in town for a premiere of her latest film at Durfee High. Brinke is working on a new Borden-related film project where she will play Abby Borden. Today she visited her “namesake” at Oak Grove and had a whirlwind tour of all Borden sites and sights in the city including Maplecroft, the Fall River Historical Society and the Gray-Whitehead Fourth Street house. She went back to California tonight with plenty of reading material, leaving lots of new friends back in Fall River.
With LeeAnn back at the house
Yesterday was the 85th anniversary of Emma Borden’s death. All was quiet at sunset in Oak Grove Cemetery as the sun went down on the graves of the two sisters. Back on Second Street, the old house filled with secrets closed its shutters for another night as roses bloomed at the front door.
This past weekend the cordial society of armchair sleuths returned to #92 Second Street for the annual flocking of the Second Street Irregulars (Muttoneaters) for a jam-packed tour of many Borden-related sites around the area. Friday morning the group of 16 visited the Fall River Historical Society to bestow the yearly awards upon the recent publication by Michael Martins and Dennis Binette, Parallel Lives. The flock enjoyed a coffee hour, tour and photo session in the beautiful Victorian garden before heading off to Fairhaven for a picnic at Fort Phoenix and a city tour given by Chris Richards who was dressed to impress!
Chris fired off a vintage rifle, explained how teeth were extracted, limbs were amputated and the life and activities of a wartime barber-dentist-surgeon, a role he re-enacts in costume with a local history group at Fort Phoenix annually. Afterward the Muttoneaters toured city hall and learned about Mark Twain’s dedication speech given on the stage there, visited the locales of the homes in which Helen Brownell stayed (Emma Borden’s alibi), and visited the beautiful Millicent Library where a letterbox was found in a very special place inside. (see Atlasquest.com for clues!) The group then returned to Fall River for a pizza party and presentations on the Villisca murders of 1912 and discussions on Andrew Jennings, one of the attorneys for Lizzie whose journals they saw at the historical society earlier.
Saturday was a busy day which began with a trip to Oak Grove Cemetery to see the room in which the Bordens were autopsied on August 11, 1892, and to inspect the interior of the holding tomb used to house the coffins of the Bordens both before and after the heads were removed by Dr. Dolan.
The morning concluded with a very special visit to Maplecroft and a great tour by Mr. Bob Dube who conducted the group through every room of the three-storied home and explained what was original to Lizzie’s tenure there. This was a very special and much-appreciated opportunity as the house is currently for sale with the future owner still unknown.
After lunch the Muttoneaters visited the Animal Rescue League of Fall River, an annual stop, to bring dog and cat treats and a special 1927 newspaper detailing Lizzie and Emma Borden’s donation to this worthy cause, bequeathed in their wills.
The afternoon brought a real surprise when the group was invited to visit the cellar of the Lodowick Borden (also known as Dr. Kelly’s) home next door to the Borden house on Second Street to view the chimney and cellar where in 1848 Eliza Darling Borden threw three of her children in a cistern and then committed suicide behind the chimney. Beautiful cabinetry with little drawers and cupboards were added much later when the Kellys moved to the house in 1891 and are still intact. The room was most likely used then as Dr. Kelly’s home office.
Saturday evening concluded with a visit from the “Women’s Christian Temperence Union” with Muttoneaters dressed as Mrs. Brayton, Carrie Nation and Mother Willard, followed by a Sunday-style chicken Gospel bird dinner and many hours of animated conversation about the famous Borden case. As always, nobody wanted to leave on Sunday morning and the planning begins again for next year’s adventures.
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.
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 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.
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.
Photos and text: Shelley Dziedzic, March 2012
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/
Read Part I of The Brownells of Fairhaven at http://lizziebordenwarpsandwefts.com/brownells-of-fairhaven-pt-i/
It’s good to have an alibi and good friends who will swear to it!
Need more excitement in your life? Nothing good on T.V.?
Tune in tonight,( September 15th) at 10 p.m. for the first ever (but not the last) So you think you know Oak Grove Cemetery? Jeopardy- style online quiz.
Questions and photo identifications will be posted in rapid fire, each going up after the previous one has been correctly answered. There will be one winner, with difficult brainbusters in case of a tie. Join us at Friends of Oak Grove Fall River tonight. A prize will be awarded to the winner- and the competition will be fierce! How well do YOU know Oak Grove?
* Contestants will need a free Facebook account to post answers.
Joseph Wilmarth Carpenter, Jr. left the Borden & Almy business “under a cloud”, and with some hard feelings toward crusty Andrew Borden. That news was known about town. After Andrew Borden was murdered, Mr. Carpenter’s history with the victim made him a “person of interest.” He may have done better to stick around town and face the music. Still, he was off the hook with an air tight alibi.
Carpenter’s family monument and head stone is seen below in Oak Grove Cemetery.
(Top photo by Will Clawson)
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.
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.
The Borden house is hosting guests from the TODAY show this afternoon. The filming, which was to have taken place last Wednesday, was postponed until today. The segment is slated to air sometime in May. The crew will be filming at the house, with an interview by Barbara Borden Morrissey and will then relocate to the Fall River Historical Society to film case artifacts and to discuss the upcoming Parallel Lives. The crew picked a beautiful day to be in the city, with high temps and plenty of sunshine.
The ground fog rolled in thick from Oak Grove Avenue to the front entrance of Oak Grove last Sunday between 3 and 5 p.m. Captured in the fog are some interesting photos of the Borden plot, Cook Borden’s famous granite tree trunk, stones of Officer Wixon (he who tried out climbing over the Borden’s back fence on August 4th), and Southard Miller who built the Borden house on Second Street. Someone had visited over the holiday, and left a tribute at Lizzie’s grave. Several photos in the slideshow below, as indicated, were photographed by Will Clawson.
The Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum will be hosting its first Murder Mystery Weekend over the Valentine’s Day weekend. Characters from the past will be coming together to hear the revelation of city marshal Rufus Hilliard, who has received startling new information which leads to unveiling the identity of the REAL Borden murderer.
The action will commence with a tea on Friday afternoon, followed by a themed dinner, a murder mystery play, followed by a lively round of sleuthing, games, and off-site activities. Saturday night will feature the grand revelation of Whodunnit at the Quequechan Club banquet. Guests will try to portray their historic characters throughout the weekend, with costumes and props encouraged. The event is sold out, but hopefully will be repeated again soon! To follow the storyline of the weekend, you can read Rufus Hilliard, City Marshal’s journal at http://marshalhilliard.wordpress.com/ More details and photos of the event will be posted to W&W.
Perhaps the most frequent blooper oft-repeated in print and in documentaries is Lizzie’s name. In her inquest testimony Lizzie clearly states she was christened Lizzie Andrew Borden, but those who would rewrite history will have it be Elizabeth. Although Lizzie is a nickname for Elizabeth, Lizzie Borden opted to start calling herself Lizbeth as a whim. Perhaps she was tired of that little ditty about herself and those 40 whacks! Liz, Lizzy, Lizzie, Lizbeth, Elizabeth- but in the end, as far as history is concerned she will ever be Lizzie Andrew Borden.
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.
Abraham & Lydia P. Hart, Oak Grove Cemetery
Abraham Hart was one of the last to see Andrew Borden alive on the morning of August 4th when Andrew stopped by the bank. Mr. Hart would later tell police that Mr. Borden looked weak and feeble. Abraham Hart would be one of the pallbearers on the morning of Saturday, August 6th at the short service at #92 Second Street and procession to Oak Grove Cemetery.
Dr. Kelly’s wife, Mary Caroline Cantwell Kelly was the last (but one) to see Andrew Borden alive as he entered his front door moments before his murder. Mrs. Kelly was expecting a baby at the time and was on her way to the dentist. Mrs. Kelly’s second child, Mary Philomena married the grandson of Abraham Hart, Bertrand K. Hart. Both are buried in the Gifford/Hart plot at Oak Grove, directly across from the Rev. Augustus Buck, Lizzie’s minister and champion throughout her ordeal. All are together for eternity in a fascinating entertwining of personalities who had Lizzie Borden in common.
Below: The mossy stone of Rev. Buck.
Dr. Seabury Warren Bowen was the focus for last month’s Mutton Eaters Annual Meeting at the Borden home in Fall River. Facts were pooled by members over the year and shared at the gathering. The fruits of the research are featured in this month’s Mutton Eaters Online for May http://lizziebordenwarpsandwefts.com/2996-2/ or accessed at the tab at the top of this page. Also of interest is Dr. Bowen’s tesitimony, also found at the top of the web site home page. Thanks to all the Mutton Eaters, the Worcester Historical Museum, Lauren Hewes, Robyn Christensen, Lorraine Gregoire, Lee Ann Wilber and all who made this article possible.
Officer Harrington of the Fall River Police Department had some serious doubts about Lizzie Borden from the very hour after Andrew Borden’s death. Called to give testimony on a number of observations he had made on August 4th- none brought so much reaction from Lizzie as Harrington’s precise description of what she was wearing when she changed her clothing up in her room shortly after the body of Abby Borden had been found in the guest room by neighbor, Addie Churchill.
“It was a house wrap, striped with pink and light stripes, alternately. Pink was the predominate color. In the light stripe was a diagonal formed by lighter stripes, some parallel and others bias. It was fitted to the form in a tailor-made manner. It had a standing collar. It was closely shirred, gathered closely at the front. From the waist to the neck it was puffed with a number of folds. On either side, directly over the hips, was a narrow red ribbon. This was brought around in front and tied in a bowknot. It was cut with a demi-train or bell skirt which the ladies were in the habit of wearing last year.”
Newspapers reported that Lizzie smiled broadly at this unusually detailed report issuing from a male, and actually laughed softly and turned around in her seat to see what the crowd which was packed into the small courtroom thought about it all.
Trial Testimony of Officer Phillip Harrington, June 8, 1893.
Phillip Harrington was born on April 17, 1859, making him just one year older than Lizzie Borden. The son of Irish immigrants, James and Mary Harrington, Phillip was one of four children born to the couple in Fall River. He was appointed to the police force on March 2, 1883. He was well-liked by his associates and very popular in Irish and Catholic social circles in the city. On February 10, 1893 he was appointed Captain and went on to duty at the central station first as a night officer, then on to daytime duty. His marriage to Kate Connell, daughter of John Connell, ticket taker for Old Colony Steamboat Company, was quite an event in fashionable Catholic circles and was performed at St. Mary’s , right across the street from the Borden house. Capt. Harrington had not been well for some time but was feeling better the day of his nuptials. Stopping off in Newport before taking the night boat to New York to commence his honeymoon, Harrington was taken violently ill and could not continue. He lingered some days in excruciating pain, nursed faithfully by his bride. He passed away on October 28th at the home of Councilman McCormack, who had been one of the wedding ushers. The wake held on Whipple Street continued right up until the hour of the Requiem Mass- 6,000 passed by the coffin. The funeral on Halloween was one of the largest seen at St. Mary’s, with the city marshal, police force and friends packing the church to capacity. A thousand more stood outside the church and joined in the procession to St. Mary’s Cemetery on Amity St. Harrington lived long enough to see Lizzie Borden acquitted. He was 34 at the time of death. As far as his knowledge of ladies’ clothing- he had lived with his sister Mary before his marriage, and no doubt learned much about the topic from her.
On his birthday Saturday, April 17th, the Second Street Irregulars will be visiting the grave of Capt. Harrington to leave a pillow of white carnations, the floral tribute given by his bride.
Fall River Globe, Oct. 31, 1893