Case Personalities

People and personalities in the case

  • The “Lizzie News” Round-Up

     

    So much has been happening in the Borden sphere of late that you need a program to keep up.  Not all has been happy news, but most has been cause for celebration.

    1. The Central Congregational Church: Things are looking grim for Lizzie’s old church on Rock Street with hopes high yet for a reprieve once again. http://www.heraldnews.com/news/x962233671/Fall-Rivers-former-Central-Congregational-faces-wrecking-ball

    2. HBO Mini Series  The much-anticipated four-hour series starring Chloe Sevigny and backed by Tom Hanks’ Playtone Productions is still simmering on the back burner.  Hopefully when Miss Sevigny wraps her latest project, this fresh take on the Borden saga will get cookin’!

    3. Donation of Andrew Jennings’ private notes and journal to the Fall River Historical Society was the exciting news this past weekend as the famous “hip bath collection” yielded one more treasure which was turned over to the historical society. http://www.heraldnews.com/news/x1785609188/Handwritten-journals-from-Lizzie-Borden-lawyer-donated-to-FRHS

    4. Parallel Lives is recognized at New England Book Fair http://www.heraldnews.com/news/x570348962/Parallel-Lives-book-on-Lizzie-Borden-wins-honorable-mention

    5. Coming Soon!  Fall River Revisited by Stefani Koorey.  Preorder now at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0738576840/ref=tsm_1_fb_lk

    6. The Dead Files visit in January to the Borden house should be airing March 16th at 10 p.m. on the Travel Channel.  Check the website for schedule and more on hosts, Amy and Steve. http://www.travelchannel.com/tv-shows/the-dead-files

  • Jennings Journals

    If the publication of Parallel Lives was not enough excitement, the news of the donation of Andrew Jennings’ personal papers, notes, and newspaper clippings to the Fall River Historical Society was published in the Fall River Herald News today. The Borden community was anxiously awaiting the news of ” a significant development” after being alerted late last week to the fact that something exciting was about to break.

    http://www.heraldnews.com/newsnow/x1785609188/Handwritten-journals-from-Lizzie-Borden-lawyer-donated-to-FRHS

    Some very illuminating comments and information will no doubt be forthcoming from this new treasure trove.

    Now, if we could only get the Hilliard papers published and the Robinson cache uncovered!

  • January Musings

    The temps are falling and the long quiet season has arrived.  After the  excitement of the release of Parallel Lives in November, the Victorian house tour in December and virtually a year’s worth of Lizzie suspense, we’re all looking for January adventures.  Many of us are reading the massive volume, Parallel LivesDown on Second Street, the B&B is only open weekends for overnighters although the day tours continue through the week. The B&B web site has had an overhaul.  Re-runs of last year’s paranormal sessions at #92 are in full tilt on television, no update on the Chloe Sevigny HBO mini-series has been released yet, and the historical society is closed for the winter.

    “Axed”, two one-act plays has debuted and will be running this month http://www.pressherald.com/life/go/on-the-case_2012-01-05.htm   No new ideas here, but a fresh treatment.  January is a great time for catching up on our Lizzie reading and some new entries in the historical crime arena.  W&W recommends Murder and Mayhem in Essex County by Robert Wilhelm. Murder and mischief was alive and well in Massachusetts long before Miss Lizzie! http://www.murder-in-essex.com/  If the name sounds familiar, Mr. Wilhelm also publishes the popular vintage crime blog, Murder by Gaslight and The National Nightstick, all great reading for the amateur armchair sleuth on a cold winter’s night.  http://murderbygasslight.blogspot.com/  and http://www.snakeoilgraphics.com/NightStick/  Stay tuned for reviews.  Here’s wishing you a cozy January by the fire and a good wallow in crimes of the Past.

  • 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

  • Oak Grove Facebook Quiz Tonight at 10!

    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.

  • Wade’s Market

    For students of the Borden case, the name of Wade’s Market crops up several times.  The little local grocery was located just to the south of Dr. Kelly’s house and had the number of 98 Second St.  Newspaper story stringer and newspaper vendor, John Cunningham had just exited Wade’s and was heading north on Second Street when he overheard Adelaide Churchill telling Tom Bowles of the carnage on the Borden sofa. Cunningham subsequently headed to Gorman’s paper and paint store to telephone the police station, after first informing the newspapers of the sensational story unfolding at the Borden house. 

    It wasn’t long after the discovery of Andrew Borden’s body that news of the murder was heard in Wade’s store, where the lunch hour crowd got the details of the gruesome killing while awaiting their nickel’s worth of bologna lunch meat. Above Vernon Wade’s store lived Mary and Nathan Chace. Mary Chace was the lady who had seen a man stealing pears out of the Borden back yard earlier in the day.  That man was soon run down and turned out to be an innocent party working in Crowe’s yard.  It is probable that Abby and Lizzie Borden frequented Wade’s often.

    Vernon Wade’s substantial and handsome stone is at the southernmost end of Birch Avenue very close to the Terry plot where Lizzie’s chauffeur, Ernest Terry is buried. If you stand in front of the Terry plot and look west, you will see the Wade monument.

  • Congratulations to the Cast of 2011

    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

  • 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.

  • The Distinguished Mr. Jennings

    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.

    From:
    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

  • Lucie Collet

    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.

  • Sylvia Bassett Knowlton

    Sylvia Bassett Knowlton 1852-1937

    Portrait painted in 1930 (courtesy Sippican Historical Society)

    The portrayal of Mrs. Hosea Knowlton in the 1975 film version of the Borden case starring Elizabeth Montgomery was far from the mark of the actual Mrs. Sophia Knowlton.  Bonnie Bartlett, who played Sylvia Knowlton in the film bemoans the heaviness of a “woman’s skirts” in a man’s world of 1892 and plays a domestic and submisive woman in the mindset of the period.

    Bonnie Bartlett

    The real Mrs. Knowlton, born in 1852 in New Bedford, became a teacher after graduating from Bridgewater Normal School. She taught in Westport, Massachusetts (a short distance from Fall River) before her marriage in 1873 to Knowlton.  Knowlton’s New Bedford law practice broadened her circle of acquaintances to that city where she became an energetic organizer in public endeavors and president of the New Bedford Women’s Club where she once introduced Winston Churchill as a guest speaker.  At the time of the trial, she and Hosea had a summer rental in Marion at 294 Front Street.  In 1900, the couple built a summer house at283 Front Street, where he died in December of 1902; known as Knowlton House, the building now serves as a dormitory for Tabor Academy. Daggett House (275 Front Street), also a Tabor dorm, was built in 1913 as a permanent residence for the then-widowed Mrs. Knowlton.

    She is buried in New Bedford.  Hosea Knowlton’s remains were cremated in Boston and scattered over the fishing harbor in Marion.

  • Lambie Awards for 2011

    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.

  • Andrew Borden’s Barber, Pierre LeDuc

    photos courtesy of JoAnne Giovino

    Andrew Borden’s final morning, leading up to the time of his murder was witnessed by many people as he made his usual rounds around the city.  A creature of habit, his daily pattern of barber, post office, banks, and check-in at properties he owned on South Main Street were predictable. He was noted by Abram G.Hart at the bank, encountered by store renter Jonathan Clegg on the street across from old City Hall, engaged in conversation by Mathers and Shortsleeves while checking on a window near the corner of Spring St. and South Main, and observed around 10:45 a.m. by neighbor Caroline Kelly coming around the corner of his house and going up his front steps, attempting to gain entry. Mrs. Kelly would be the last non-family member to see him alive.

    Pierre LeDuc is listed as a “hairdresser” along with his partner Joseph LeDoux in the 1891-2 city directory, with their establishment on the second level over Wood and Hall’s shop, which was a furniture store that also had a side line in undertaking, a common practice at the time, supplying things for a funeral and offering wooden coffins for sale in their showroom.

    Born of an English father (according to one source) and a French Canadian mother in May of 1864, the family came to America in 1870.  The stone marker in Notre Dame Cemetery does not list Pierre’s date of birth, only his death date. The 1900 census has his birthday as May 1864, but the marker has him aged 68 in 1928 which would have made his birth year 1860, the same as Lizzie Borden’s. On April 14, 1890 he married Marie at Saint Anne’s.

    Below: City directory entries:

    Pierre Leduc  1889-1891 City Directory
    Location 1: 8 Pleasant
    Location 2: boards 2 Sixth-and-a-half
    Occupation: hairdresser
    Year:

    1889

    City: Fall River
    State: MA
    Pierre Leduc
    Location 1: 5 Main
    Location 2: boards 2 Sixth-and-a-half
    Business Name: Leduc & Ledoux
    Occupation: hairdresser
    Year:

    1890

    City: Fall River
    State: MA
    Pierre Leduc
    Location 1: 5 Main
    Location 2: boards 2 Sixth-and-a-half
    Business Name: Leduc & Ledoux
    Occupation: hairdresser
    Year:

    1891

    City: Fall River
    State: MA

    (click on image above to enlarge to full size) The 1910 census shows Pierre and Marie now living at 160 Robeson Street and they have adopted a daughter, Catherine.  With no children appearing since their wedding at St. Anne’s in 1890, twenty years later adoption completed the family. Catherine was born in Massachusetts. Pierre is listed as a barber. Interesting to note that while Pierre’s speaking language is English, Marie’s is listed as French.  In other census listings, Pierre and Marie Americanize their names to Peter and Mary LeDuc.  And what happened to Pierre’s partner, Joseph LeDoux?  In 1930 he is still barbering as an old man and living on Spring Street.  If you are fortunate enough to have a copy of Judith A. Boss’ book, Fall River. A Pictoral History (1982 and available on Amazon), you will see a young Pierre LeDuc posing in a jaunty boater hat and crisp white barbering smock in front of Whitehead’s grocery store. He is young and slender.  There is only the Fall River Globe’s account that Pierre gave Andrew Borden his last shave and trim the day of the murders.  LeDuc probably never thought this is what he would be remembered for in the future.