Obits & Death Certificates

  • Legal Documents of Borden Case Personalities

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

    Bridget Sullivan                    Emma Borden                    Lizzie Borden

    Sarah Morse Borden   Nance O’Neil          Edwin Porter

    Last Will & Testament of Bridget Sullivan

  • 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.

  • August 6th Funeral of Abby & Andrew Borden

    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
  • Remembering John Fleet

    Died May 10, 1916 (photo courtesy FRPD)

    On May 10, 1916, John Fleet, former city marshal died of heart failure following several months of poor health. On May 9th he had been well enough to visit his daughter Harriet Isherwood and showed no signs at that time that death was imminent. He was stricken after midnight at his home at 85 Park St. and succumbed quickly. He was 69 years old.

    Fleet was born at Ashton-Under-Lyne in Lancashire, England March 29, 1848.  He had been in America for over 50 years at the time of his death, and had begun his working career in the American Linen mills. At the age of 16 in 1864 he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served until the end of the Civil War, taking part in many engagements under Admiral Farragut including the siege of Mobile and the battle against a Spanish fort. Fleet sustained a fractured arm on the same day Lincoln was assassinated when Fleet’s ship was blown up.

    Returning to Fall River after the war, Fleet, who was rated as a “landsman” in the Navy, went back to work in the mills.  He worked at the Fall River Boiler Company on Water St., then began a new career direction as a house painter and decorator until he was appointed to the police force on February 27, 1877 at the age of 29.  His career would maintain a steady rise in this line of work, being promoted to sergeant on March 2, 1883, assistant city marshal on December 22, 1886 and city marshal on November 8, 1909. He retired on half pay May 31, 1915, when Medley, another officer involved in the Borden case became Fall River’s first Chief of Police, replacing the title City Marshal held by Fleet at retirement.

    John Fleet was known as an efficient officer and was held in high esteem by fellow officers and citizens alike. He was the husband of Lydia Wallace Fleet, the father of four sons and a daughter and was also survived by two brothers and two sisters. His daughter was Harriet Isherwood, and sons  were John W. of Seattle, Frank W., the manager of the Westport telephone exchange, Walter R., assistant superintendent of Borden City mills, and Arthur J., a designer. Surviving brothers and sisters were Richard and Samuel Fleet, Mrs. Fannie Lewis and Mrs. Ann Thackery. A third sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Meyers predeceased her brother a month before in Providence.

    Fleet was a member of Richard Borden Post 46 G.A.R. , Mt. Hope Lodge of Masons, Odd Fellows and Puritan Lodge, K.P. 

    Chief Medley ordered the flag at half-mast at all stations and sent the following statement:

    “ . . . His record shows clearly to the members of this department what can be accomplished by persistent effort and fidelity to duty.  In his death the department loses a friend and the community a valued citizen.  The funeral will take place Saturday afternoon, at which time I trust that as many members as can possibly make it convenient will attend.  I have this day forwarded to Mrs. Fleet and members of the family a message of condolence from the department.  As a token of respect the department will forward a floral emblem. “ W. H. Medley, Chief of Police

    The funeral service was conducted from the home at 85 Park St. at 1:30 and was conducted by the Rev. Albert R. Parker of St. John’s Episcopal Church for immediate family and friends.  The body was taken to St. John’s where Fleet had been a member for many years.  The traditional Episcopal  requiem was conducted and “Lead Kindly Light”, “Nearer My God to Thee”, and  “Heart Be Still”were among the musical selections. A large number of police officers were in attendance including Chief Medley and Captain Dennis Desmond who had worked with Fleet on the Borden case in 1892. Following the service, interment took place at Oak Grove where at the grave the ritual for Grand Army members was carried out by Post 46. The Massachusetts Police Association sent a large floral tribute in the form of a policeman’s badge. R.I.P.

    (sources:  Fall River Evening News May 13, 1916, Fall River Globe May 10, 1916)

  • The Mutton Eaters Online

    Warps & Wefts is pleased to announce a new feature for this site.  Beginning this month, articles and photos of the exploits of the Second Street Irregulars will appear.  The S.S.I. or “”Mutton Eaters” is an informal group of armchair sleuths from all over America who like to go “On the Road” whenever possible to chivvy out obscure and fascinating facts about the many individuals involved in the Lizzie Borden case. When the game’s a’foot there’s no telling what will happen or what they may find-and getting there is half the fun.  This month the spotlight is on William Medley, one of the observant policemen on the scene of the crime August 4th.  Our articles will remain for six months and are for private use only.  To access this month’s feature, click on the tab Mutton Eaters Online Article above or this link  You will feel as if you were riding right alongside!

    For more about the Second Street Irregulars visit