"Lizzie Folks"

  • 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.

  • Old City Hall Eagle

    The early 1960’s heralded a time of great demolition and restructuring in the heart of Fall River. The Quequechan river was filled in in some places, redirected and channeled in other places to make route 195 a possibility.  Down came the wonderful old city hall with its clock tower and fabulous golden eagle perched at the very top. Down came many other brick and granite and mortar buildings nearby. At the time it seemed like progress, in retrospect, many today rue the day when the grand old edifices came down and the new government center, which some claim was designed in the “Brutalist” style went up with route 195 passing directly beneath it.  The golden eagle was saved, as was the magnificent paneling inside and two of the tall granite columns on the front facade.  The eagle is on display at government center and the Second Street Irregulars were treated to a fascinating tale by Chris Donovan  about the day the eagle came down during a stop the Second Street Irregulars made to meet the mayor last week.

    (video by Chris Striker Bound)

     

    (Eagle looking very small atop the old City Hall)

  • Today Show visits Second Street

    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.

    MSNBC and NBC reporter Amy Robach is shooting the feature.

  • 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.

  • Author Rich Lindberg visits Fall River

     

    (Rich Lindberg with Ellen Smith and Jack Faria at the Fall River Art Association)

    Among the special guests at the recent Second Street Irregulars’ annual reunion was Chicago history writer Rich Lindberg.  Mr. Lindberg , a newcomer to the Borden case, has a new book coming out in May on serial killers in the heartland, notably the infamous black widow, Belle Gunness and Johann Hoch.  The “Muttoneaters” enjoyed an evening of hearing about the new book from the author and the author learned a lot about Lizzie Borden as he toured Fall River, Swansea, New Bedford, Marion and Fairhaven and stayed four days at #92 Second Street.  Mr. Lindberg will be bringing the Borden case to Chicago in a lecture format in the near future.  http://richardlindberg.net/index.htm

  • Nance O’Neil 1904

     

    A new page has been added on the site today featuring excerpts from The Critic- a theatrical publication which printed reviews by authors on various productions and performers.  This excerpt is from 1904, the year in which Lizzie and Nance crossed paths and underlines the celebrity Nance is enjoying in Boston at the time. 

    http://lizziebordenwarpsandwefts.com/nance-oneil/

    During the short interval in which Lizzie and Nance were friends, Nance was often on the road and much in demand.  The opportunities in which the two ladies could have enjoyed leisure time together must have been few and far between.  Lizzie made a visit to Nance’s estate in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts and no doubt enjoyed the menagerie to be found there, both house pets and farm animals.  Nance, at least on one occasion enjoyed hospitality at Maplecroft, along with some of her troupe.  Whether or not this friendship was the cause of Emma’s unhappy departure from Maplecroft and her sister’s company has been the source of speculation since the rift occured.

  • Lizzie & Nance- A Passion for Animals

    From the January 1911 American Primary Teacher Actresses and Their Pets by Grace Agnes Thompson (excerpt).

    “Miss Nance O’Neil is another actress who has made friends with animals under unusual circumstances, and she has, perhaps, more pets at any one time, and of a greater variety, than any other actress.

    On one occasion when Miss O’Neil was playing in Denver, where Magdalena, a very favorite cat, had just died, and thereby deeply grieved her mistress, she returned from the theatre late in the evening and found a very pretty, woe-begone stray Angora kitten cuddling for refuge from the icy cold and falling snow against her door. The sight of the draggled gray fur and the sound of the pitiful mewing went straight to Miss O’Neil’s heart, and from that moment pussy had a good home. Miss O’Neil tried in vain to find out whose lost pet the little creature was, and decided to keep it herself.

    Among the more interesting of her other pets have been the Turquoise donkey, which used to carry her about so cheerfully in Egypt; Teazle, the white Angora cat, which now lives in Bedford street, London; Jim, the orang-outang, which,, though delightful company at any time, was so big and bothersome to journey about with one on a tour, that he had to be given away; and the Manling (named from one of the Jungle Tales), one of the only two black cockatoos ever brought north across the equator, and now to be seen in the London zoo, to which he was sold about four years ago. The other of these two black cockatoos is kept at the Berlin zoo. Miss O’Neil has also a specimen of the white cockatoo, the more common variety, in Binkie, now kept at her beautiful country home in Tyngsboro, Mass. Binkie is rather a traveled bird, for he has crossed the equator twenty times, and journeyed all the way around the earth in the company of his mistress.

    On the Tyngsboro estate also live Kintaro, a big yellow coon cat, found once upon a time in Lawrence; and Tom and Jerry, the famous driving span of horses; and a small multitude of chickens, sheep, pigs, cats, canaries, dogs, and fine cows. Miss O’Neil’s farm contains two hundred and sixty splendidly cultivated acres, with a large and very charming country house, which she is able to visit for scarcely more than two weeks out of each year, but leaves in charge of capable caretakers during her absence.

    Togo and Nogi, two handsome dogs, named for the distinguished Japanese admiral and general, are Miss O’Neil’s latest favorites, and they have been her companions during the last few months of her tour. Their Japanese names are accounted for by the fact that Miss O’Neil, through her liking for Oriental philosophy and peoples, is attended always by a dear little Japanese maid, called Toto, who says she has “a awful fond to animals,” and who is constantly in charge of all the pets.—Our Dumb Animals.”

    Perhaps the great friendship between Lizzie Borden and Nance O’Neil was prompted by a mutual love of animals.

  • Reunion of the Second Street Irregulars

    The annual banquet for the Second Street Irregulars was held at the Quequechan Club Saturday evening. This year, among the awards given, the first Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to long-time Borden case historian, Ed Thibault of Somerset, Massachusetts.  The original Irregulars joined Ed and his wife Eleanor at the head of the table.  Barbara MacDonald, Deborah Shannon Valentine, Shelley Dziedzic, and Leonard Rebello enjoyed getting the old gang together once more.  Ken Souza was unable to be contacted to round out the original six members. 

     Ed Thibault traces his interest in the Borden case to the age of 14, and has researched and shared his discoveries for many years with local civic groups, schools and visitors to the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast where he and his wife Eleanor have worked for many years.  Congratulations- and thanks, Eddie!

    Ed “assumes the position” one  more time back at the Second St. house.

  • “Muttoneaters” visit Lizzie’s Dogs

    This weekend’s annual gathering of the Second Street Irregulars, “Muttoneaters” included a visit on April 1st to Pine Ridge Animal Shelter to visit the three Boston bull terrier dogs belonging to Lizzie Borden which are buried in the pet cemetery there.   A bouquet was left for Laddie Miller, Royal Nelson and Donald Stuart.

     

    (photo credit:  Barbara Morrissey)

    The weather was sunnier the following day when the group visited the Faxon Shelter on Durfee Street to deliver a basket of puppy and kitten treats and to pose for the shelter newsletter with a few four-legged friends.

    Both Borden sisters left generous cash gifts to the shelter in their wills.  Photographs of the Misses Emma and Lizzie Borden can be seen on the wall at the shelter.  It was a busy day for adopting pets.

     

     

    (photo credit:  Jack Faria)  “Lizzie & Emma Come to Call” Shelley Dziedzic & JoAnne Giovino

    http://www.animalrescueleaguefr.org/  Donate Today!

  • The Buzz is Global on HBO project

    Chances are if you Goggle Lizzie Borden under the “News” heading, you will find several pages of stories on the Chloe Sevigny HBO project for a four hour mini-series, including stories in Polish, French, Russian and Italian!  And if you live in Connecticut, Rhode Island or Massachusetts, tonight at 6 p.m., Channel 10 news jumped on the promotion band wagon.  With all of the very positive buzz and excitement, it is hard to believe Tom Hanks and Playtone would change their mind about producing the four -hour series.  To view the Channel 10 clip, http://www2.turnto10.com/entertainment/2011/mar/17/sevigny-may-play-lizzie-borden-miniseries-ar-426649/

    The casting of Miss Sevigny as Lizzie is spot-on.  She has all the right physical attributes, right down to the mesmerizing and unsettling eyes, and is of the right age to pull it off.  She is also a better-than-good actress.  It will be very interesting to see who will be cast in the major roles.   Maybe Uncle John Morse will be included this time around.

     Due to street noise and the encroachment of modern living, and many other factors, the house on Second Street will not be a likely candidate for the  filming venue.  The 1975 Elizabeth Montgomery attempt did a pretty fair job of recreating Borden house interiors on stage sets. 

    There are very high hopes in Fall River, among the Borden house bed and breakfast employees, and students of the Borden case and Fall River history that this version will get the facts right and do the story justice.  Playtone and Hanks are synonymous with quality productions, so the end result holds very great promise.  It is surprising that it has taken so long to revisit the case and Lizzie Borden as the topic has been building momentum and interest since the Borden house opened for business in 1996.

    The buzz about the upcoming  Fall River Historical Society’s Parallel Lives, detailing Lizzie’s life and Fall River has been the hot topic around Fall River for many months as it promises revelations about Miss Borden which will open a few eyes.  The date of publication has not yet been announced but the long-awaited tome is in final proofing and chances are  it will be published by late Spring.  The nearly thousand -page volume will feature over 500 photographs, including some new views of Lizzie herself, and will disspell some commonly -held notions about her. It will be a must-read for Miss Sevigny and should have some major impact on her characterization of the enigmatic Lizzie. The series will probably have an early 2012 air date according to some sources.

     In any event, Lizzie is bigger now than ever, and the upcoming series will be a boon to the city as well as book sales of Parallel Lives.  It will be a very exciting year ahead.

    http://screenrant.com/hbo-chloe-sevigny-lizzie-borden-miniseries-yman-106311/

  • Lawdwick Borden and the Children in the Well

    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”.

  • Busy days for Lizzie Borden & Co.

     

    The snows did fall and the wind did blow, but the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast had a busy winter and the month of March is jammed- packed with activities too.  The first Murder Mystery Weekend was held over the Valentine’s Day weekend, followed by the Dead of Winter paranormal event with Chris Moon.  The news, posted here earlier, detailing  B&B visitor Chloe Sevigny’s proposed upcoming project of an HBO mini-series about the Borden case filming this summer was icing on the cake.

    Last week, those who work at the house were thrilled to learn the TODAY show will be making a visit the end of the month to shoot a special on the fascination with the case.  The timing could not have been better for the release of the eagerly-awaited Parallel Lives from the Fall River Historical Society.  The authors will also be appearing on the morning televison special segment.  The Second Street Irregulars will be descending on the 31st for a jammed-packed 3 days at the house and on the road, with some special guests and stops along the way. It looks like 2011 will be another banner year for Lizzie & Co.

  • Nance O’Neil’s Lux Soap Ad

    Lizzie never lived long enough to see Nance’s winsome smile and 1932 endorsement for a bar of Lux soap and its magical properties for maintaining youthful complexions!

         Nance’s autograph and personal stationery monogram