Fall River families
Durfees, Braytons, Chaces, Bordens, society families, The Hill
Here’s a fascinating newspaper clipping detailing the early days of Fall River when Main Street had to content with a monstrous outgrowth of granite called the Cleft Rock. Click on the pdf link below to learn what became of it.
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.
“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.
Although Fall River may not have enjoyed the annual Easter Parade famous to Fifth Avenue, New York, Easter Sunday morning was a grand opportunity for ladies to promenade down the aisle in their new chapeau at church, and later in the many parks in the city. Hats were de rigeur during Lizzie’s entire lifetime and she no more would have left the house without a hat on, than have left uncorseted. Hats and gloves were the mark of a lady. Lizzie even mentions that on August 4th, the day of the murders, when she returned from the barn loft looking for lead to make sinkers, she put her hat down in the diningroom before discovering her father on the sofa.
Lizzie could easily afford a personal milliner when she moved to Maplecroft. Mr. Bump, accompanied by his little daughter, would visit Maplecroft with trims and hat forms when Lizzie needed something new and stylish. She may have subscribed to The Delineator to keep up with all the styles. Fun to think of Lizzie smiling over French ribbon, Italian straw boaters, felt cloches, and boxes of silk flowers and feathers in the comfort of her beautifully-appointed home on the Hill and making her choices for the season’s head adornments.
This Monday, March 14th, will mark the birthday of Lawdwick Borden, the great -uncle of Lizzie Borden. Lawdwick is not so much remembered as his second wife, Eliza Darling, the mother of the unfortunate children who were thrown into a cistern. The story has grown over the years and been embellished. Guests to the Borden house today all want to hear about “the children in the well”. Finally the facts and the correct spelling of Lawdwick Borden can be set forth for all time. The photographs and censuses detailing the four wives of Lawdwick Borden may be viewed here. http://lizziebordenwarpsandwefts.com/the-four-wives-of-lawdwick-borden/
Happy Birthday “Uncle Lawdy”.
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:
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:
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:
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.
Sarah Bertha “Bertie” Gray Whitehead, half sister to the victim, Abby Borden, apparently got out of Fall River from time to time. In January of 1931 she crossed the border at Bridgeberg, Ontario. Going to visit her son-in-law, Charles Potter and her daughter Abbie Borden Whitehead Potter, Bertie had visited them before in November of 1929. The destination given is 512 Riverside Drive in Toronto. She lists her son George Whitehead and his wife as nearest relative living in Haverhill at 6 Flora Street and we learn the Whiteheads are Baptists. Always interesting to have these small details about the family of Abby Borden, and to know Bertie’s later life as a poor widow, contained some pleasurable experiences. Bertie’s daughter, Abbie Borden Potter would have nothing good to say about Lizzie Borden in years after.
Bertie died not long after this trip in Winnipeg, Manitoba in her 68th year, only about a year older than Lizzie lived to be herself. Bertie is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Fall River, with her daughter Abbie and husband George Whitehead, and near the graves of her mother, Jane Eldredge Gray and her father, Oliver Gray (also Abby Durfee Gray’s father).
As time grows ever closer to the release of the long-anticipated book about Lizzie, Parallel Lives, the buzz is growing in Fall River, among Borden case afficianados and in the Press. Today’s Boston Globe has this article
The countdown begins!
Tickets are on sale for the popular annual event. The Borden House will once again be participating in the event, which is only about a month away! This is one not to miss.
The last downtown “stroll” for 2010 took place Friday with Lizzie and Emma Borden’s beleagered stepmother appearing to speak up for the lot of stepmothers everywhere. Elizabeth Teixeira joins a long line of ladies who have portrayed the unfortunate Abby Borden over the years. The Stroll benefits the city and local businesses.
Fall River Herald News file photo
The Victorian Celebration of Death
The Borden Funerals
Those Victorians sure knew how to mourn and how to keep Loved Ones around for years after the funeral through Memento Mori. To find out more about the customs of the era, and the Borden funeral in particular, visit the link for October Mutton Eaters online. Why did Lizzie wish her grave “bricked over”. What is a mort-safe?
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 Funeral Service of Abby and Andrew Borden
Private funeral services for the deceased victims began at the house on Second Street at 11 a.m. on Saturday morning. The streets surrounding the house were packed with over 2500 people anxious to get a glimpse of the proceedings. Services were conducted by the Rev. A. Buck, William Adams, D.D. gave the invocation and read passages from the Bible. The bodies were each placed in a cedar coffin covered with black broadcloth and bore three silver handles on each side. The names of the deceased were engraved on a plate on the lid. On the casket of Andrew Borden was an ivy wreath, on Abby Borden’s a wreath of white roses, fern and sweet peas tied up with white satin ribbon. The bodies were exposed for viewing.
Family and neighbors attending the home service included Abby’s half-sister Sarah Whitehead, Mrs. Gray (Abby’s stepmother), Hiram Harrington (brother-in-law of Andrew Borden), Mrs. J. L. Fish (sister of Abby Borden), Dr. and Mrs. Bowen, Southard Miller and son, Mrs. Addie Churchill, Mrs. Thomas Cheetham, several cousins, neighbor Mrs. James Burt, Mrs. Rescomb Case, and Mrs. John Durfee. Over seventy-five in all were received at the home.
Miss Lizzie Borden was attired in a black lace dress with jet bead trimmings and wore a bonnet of dark material with small, high flowers. The funeral procession traveled north on Second Street, to Borden Street, on to South Main, and passed by the Andrew J. Borden Building. It continued north to Cherry Street, to Rock Street, and turned East on Prospect Street to the entry of Oak Grove Cemetery. The cortege arrived at the burial site at 12: 20 where several hundred people were assembled for the graveside services. The crowd was contained by a dozen policemen. None of the funeral party descended from their carriages except John Morse, Lizzie’s uncle, the bearers and the clergy. The tops of the graves were covered with branches of fir and the sides lined with cloth.
Pallbearers included John H. Boone, businessman, Andrew J. Borden, Merchant Manufacturing Co. (same name as the deceased), Jerome Cook Borden, cousin, Richard A. Borden, prominent businessman, George W. Dean, businessman, Abraham Hart, treasurer of Union Savings Bank, and James Osborn, a member of the Central Congregational Church. For Abby Borden: Frank Almy, John Boone, Henry Buffinton, Simeon Chace, James Eddy and Henry Wells. The bodies were not buried until after a cemetery autopsy on August 11th when both skulls were removed and a complete autopsy took place.
- information above courtesy of Leonard Rebello, Lizzie Borden Past and Present and the Fall River Daily Herald
The Preservation Society of Fall River has recently released this wonderful Youtube presentation on the mission and projects of the society. Visit their website to join at http://www.fallriverpreservation.org/index.php
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.
The following copy of the Bowen’s Wedding certificate was obtained by Ellen Borden for the recent Mutton Eaters’ meeting in April. The Bowens had a Halloween wedding, but what is interesting is the name listed for the bride’s father. Southard Miller and his wife Esther were Phoebe V. Miller’s parents but the certificate lists a “Louthar” as father of the bride. Rather than Luther, most likely the S has been mistaken for an L and the final d is illegible in Louthar. But Bowen’s mother is Leafa Claffin Bowen although she is here listed as “Sofie”.
So here is another mystery to be solved or is it a simple typing error? Inquiring Lizziephiles and Second Street Irregulars will get to the bottom of this and report in- to be sure!