On October 16, 1900, the Fall River Daily Herald reported an incident at Maplecroft. Lizzie took a tumble from a step ladder while adjusting a picture on the wall. Dr. Stephen Masury Gordon set the broken wrist. Dr. Gordon lived at 165 Rock St. and was a Harvard graduate. One has to wonder why Lizzie did not have one of the servants or her handy man doing the chore.
There was big excitement in late Spring of 1980s when the Silvias, who had owned Maplecroft since 1948 decided to sell. Lt. Col. Kraft and his brother had plans to buy the property priced at $80,000 but financing fell through. (Boston Globe, June 14, 1980).
It would appear the City Council entertained the notion of buying Maplecroft as well. Perhaps it might have been a house museum open to the public today. (Boston Globe April 24, 1980).
Here’s a great article form the Boston Globe dated dated April 30, 1980 with an interview with John McGinn who owned Second St. #92.
Well here is a nice bedtime story about chubby Mrs. Miland who fell through the floor of her ramshackle backyard shed and found – a hatchet wrapped in bloody newspaper. Her house fronted Spring Street, which is very close to the Borden home. You can guess what happened next! St. Louis Dispatch, June 7, 1903. It was a sensation!
The Boston Post also ran the hatchet story on June 1, 1903.
Shelley M. Dziedzic
Many years ago Warps & Wefts published the story of Eliza Darling Borden who threw her young children down the cellar cistern at #96 Second Street. The two youngest, Holder and Eliza Ann drowned. Maria, the oldest child managed to survive a terrible fate while her mother used a straight razor to end her own life.
Eliza was married to the brother of Abraham Borden, Andrew’s father, whose name was Lawdwick Borden. For years his name has seen any number of spellings but Lawdwick seems to be the correct one as it appears in numerous records, including the city directories. Lawdwick would have been Lizzie Borden’s great-uncle.
Lawdwick worked for a good part of life in a planing mill, not surprising as his brother Cook Borden owned a lumber business. He was born March 14, 1812 to Richard and Martha “Patty” Borden. Lawdwick married Maria “Mary Jane” Briggs on September 8, 1833 in Dartmouth. The marriage ended tragically with Maria’s death on January 5, 1838 . After only five years of marriage and the deaths of their two infants, Maria (born and died in 1834) and Matthew (born and died in 1836) . Mrs. Maria Borden is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery.
Lawdwick found himself a young widower. But not for long.
His second wife, Eliza Darling (1811-1848) is the woman from whom all the interest stems. We know about her because of Lizzie Borden’s trial. The topic of her horrific suicide by straight razor after casting her children in the cistern on May 10, 1848 arose as the defense was looking at Lizzie’s possible mental competency, citing the sad tale of Eliza Borden, who may have suffered what today is termed postpartum depression. It was soon pointed out that Eliza, Lizzie’s great-aunt, was only a Borden by marriage – not a blood relation.
Fall River Daily Evening News May 17, 1848
Son Holder S. Borden 1847-1848
Daughter Eliza Ann 1846-1848
Maria Borden (1844-1909) was spared and went on to marry twice and have children of her own in the city of Fall River, as was reported during the time of Lizzie’s trial. Maria first married Samuel Bond Hinckley (1832-1918). Sam was from Machias, Maine and the couple were wed on October 2, 1866. It appears the couple did not have children and that there was a divorce involved as Captain Samuel Bond Hinckley is buried in Riverside, California with his second wife, Julia and had attained the rank of Captain.
Maria Borden Hinkley’s second husband was John B. Chace. They were married on November 27, 1873 in Somerset, MA. It was the first marriage for John B. Chase.
The couple had two children, Lawdwick Chase who died on March 2, 1875 from severe lung congestion and Emma Lou Chase. The 1880 census shows Maria and John with daughter Emma Lou living in the Lawdwick Borden house at #96 Second Street. By that time, Andrew, Abby, Lizzie and Emma had been living next door at #92 for eight years.
Maria Borden Hinckley Chase died at her home at 517 Middle Street on June 17, 1909. Here is her obituary from the Fall River Herald, June 18, 1909.
Maria’s daughter Emma Lou would marry Harry F. Goulding at her father’s home in April of 1912. Her mother did not live to see her daughter and only surviving child’s wedding. Their son, Borden Chase Goulding born on September 27, 1914 became a design engineer for Rolling Mills and lived in Worcester MA.
So what became of Lizzie’s great-uncle Lawdwick? Why he married twice more after the tragedy with wife #2. His third wife was another Eliza – Eliza Tripp!
After her death, Lawdwick married yet again. Wife #4 was Ruhama Crocker who outlasted Lawdwick who died on October 6, 1874. Ruhama died in June of 1879.
Fall River Daily Evening News, June 18, 1879.
Lawdwick Borden left his nephew Jerome C. Borden as trustee of his estate- inherited by his daughter Maria Borden Hinckley Chase.
So who is buried where? Lawdwick with wife Eliza wife 2 and Eliza wife 3 and the two children who drowned (Eliza Ann and Holder) as well as his two children by Maria Briggs, (Matthew and Maria) are in the Borden plot in Oak Grove Cemetery. First wife Maria Briggs “Mary Jane” Borden is buried in the Oak Grove plot ,
wife #4, is buried in South Attleboro, Maria Borden Chase and her husband John B. Chase are in Oak Grove Cemetery and Maria’s first husband Sam Hinckley is in Riverside, California.
It’s an interesting family story, especially now that the Lawdwick Borden house is in the news over the controversy concerning the coffee shop. Alice Russell would live in that house as well as Dr. and Mrs. Michael Kelly- all connected to Lizzie Borden!
By September 10, 1893, the Borden sisters have moved into their new home on French St. and are busily unpacking and furnishing their dream house. The ladies are seen all around the city, Lizzie driving her own buggy at a fast pace around town, Emma looking thoroughly exhausted and worn out from the past year. By and large, many from church and her former neighborhood steer clear of Lizzie but a few are still true blue.
The Holmes sisters, the Buck sisters and Caroline Borden are supportive and maintain their ties. Lizzie is planning a trip to Chicago to see the Columbian Exposition and Alice Buck and Caroline Borden opt to go with her. The ladies will stay at 250 61st St. at Miss Robey’s Ladies’ rooming house.
Back in the old neighborhood, the Borden house has been turned back into a two-family home, just as it was when Andrew Borden moved his family there in 1872 and very soon a local grocer, Mr. A.C. Peckham and his wife will rent the first floor, and L.L. Hall, the livery stable owner across the street will rent the second floor.
As the Boston Post, October 30, 1893 describes, life post acquittal was not quit the same for Lizzie as before the crime.
The Grand Jury which brought in an indictment for Lizzie Borden (unknown which is Mr. Bodman)
Henry A. Bodman was the foreman of the Grand Jury which indicted Lizzie Borden. A couple of months after Lizzie’s acquittal Mr. Bodman himself would be in the newspapers, a sensation after being found beneath the sheets, empty vial of poison beside him and two suicide notes written to friends. His wife, Sarah had died in 1891 and his finances were going downhill, leading to despondency. They had married in Springfield, Massachusetts on May 3, 1853
Henry Bodman was born on September 13, 1831 to Erastus and Mary Ann Bodman in Williamsburg, Massachusetts- a farming family. He enlisted in the 73rd Infantry, Illinois on August 21, 1862 and resigned as a Second Lieutenant on March 9, 1865. By 1870 he and Sarah were living in New Bedford with two sons, Frederick and Wilmer. Henry was working in a plane factory. By 1880 he was living in Attleboro as a musical instrument dealer. He opened a music store which he sold a couple of years before his death and was water register and superintendent of water works for a time. It is believed the suicide had taken place several days before the body was found, most likely the Sunday evening after he had been seen on the street. He was reported missing and a search revealed his sad demise.
The Fall River Daily Globe obituary
The Boston Globe, Sept. 8, 1893
Henry Bodman was a Mason. He left two married sons.
Death Registry indicating suicide
Woodlawn Cemetery, Attleboro, (photo courtesy of Find A Grave)
Follow the testimony of the proceedings on our Facebook page, profusely illustrated with cartoons from the Boston Post and the Boston Globe at
We learn that the Borden sisters left the brass door plate on the front door with “Andrew J. Borden” on it affixed to the door until they moved to Maplecroft in September 1893. Cropping and enlarging this 1892 photo, you can see the plate clearly.
Thanks to the Providence News, August 25, 1892, we now learn there was a letter “B” carved into the center motif on the top of the front gate of 92 Second St. This article also confirms the presence of a brass name plate with Andrew J. Borden on it which was on the front door of the house. It’s a little thing, but life is made up of the little details. Lizzie would also have a letter B over her front door at Maplecroft on a metal plate over the keyhole as well as etched in her back porch glass door.
People have not changed in many ways over the decades. Here is an October 21, 1893 article from the Fall River Globe about a couple determined to get a tour of the Borden house and came 2000 miles to see it! Also of note is the report on “Spooks” at #92! Some things never change. 🙂
130 years ago today, Lizzie is set free to return to Fall River. A welcome home party is waiting for her as she alights from the carriage at the house of her great supporters, Mr. & Mrs. Charles J. Holmes. There are refreshments and friends, even a brass band plays Auld Lang Syne at the front door. Lizzie, in a black silk dress, sits happily by the drawing room door in full view from outside and laughs with friends as they look through some funny newspaper cartoons of the trial personalities and look forward to the future. Emma and Lizzie will spend a relieved and snug night on Pine St. and return to #92 Second St. in the morning to begin the rest of their lives. Images from the Fall River Globe and Herald.
Image above, Boston Globe.
As the 130th anniversary of the Borden Trial in New Bedford begins, visit our Facebook for daily postings and articles about the Trial of the Century. https://www.facebook.com/lizziebordenwarpsandwefts/
Mr. George Potter of Westport was 55 and had been a fisherman, sailing out of New Bedford. He had been waiting for the jury selection, sitting alone while others were dismissed for about an hour until his name was called. He was the first juryman to be accepted by the defense. He said he had no bias or prejudice and was disposed to find a verdict of guilty if the evidence warranted. Mr. Potter was the son of a farmer, William Potter and mother Annie Tripp, of Westport. He died May 29, 1909 from Cerebral apoplexy at age 69 and is buried, along with Alice Russell, in Beech Grove, Westport. He was a Mason.
Charles Irving Richards, well-to-do jewelry manufacturer and realtor. He married Harriet Amy (there is a typo in the newspaper obit) from Stonington, CT. which explains why he is buried there. He died in 1909 of pneumonia. Even his obituary has to lead with Lizzie Borden. He was the jury foreman for the trial in 1893 and is buried in Stonington Cemetery on Rt. 1- also known as Evergreen Cemetery. His massive granite marker is found a short way in on the entry path, to the left – a plot which contains all of his wife, Harriet’s, Amy relatives.
As we approach the 130th anniversary of the Trial of the Century, we are taking a good look at the 12 men who acquitted Lizzie Borden. Who were they- what did they do for a living- did they have daughters at home like Lizzie? Each day we will be adding a new juror to this posting, or you can follow our updates daily on the Lizzie Borden Warps & Wefts Facebook page. It is interesting to note that thus far, every obituary for each juror makes a point to announce the fact that they were once jurors on the famous trial in New Bedford in 1893.
In 2008 the Donovans, father and son Jerry & Chris, restored the old Eagle restaurant and event venue to its former glory. The oval room was designed by Maude Darling Parlin to look like an old Fall River steamboat. Actress and playwright, Jill Dalton, had her Fall River premiere of her one-woman play, LIZZIE BORDEN LIVE at the Eagle. The Pear Essential Players assisted, in character as Lizzie’s friends and neighbors, serving drinks and appetizers as they mingled with the audience , chatting about Lizzie. The play was a roaring success and made repeat engagements. Such wonderful times, with wonderful friends who enjoyed bringing the Past to life for the pleasure of so many.
Kimbra and I are delighted to announce our Tea & Murder guest for Sunday evening, April 23d at 7 p.m.! Many here will know Danielle Cabral from her many years at #92 as a tour guide and August 4th re-enactor. Danielle will be sharing memories about those years as well as her new position as archivist at the Fall River Historical Society which houses the world’s largest Borden collection. Save the date!
In the winter of 2007 the house had all of the woodwork, doors and trim painted. Chips were filled, color samples were examined to get a good match, and there were miles of blue painter’s tape everywhere. It was odd to see the windows bare. We had to do a photoshoot in the house and you will see actress Jill Dalton in one frame. Jill had written a one-woman play called Lizzie Borden Live. How eerie the mannequin looked standing there in the winter light.
When Patrick H. Doherty joined the Fall River Police Department in 1885, he might have been astounded to learn that he would be involved one day in two notorious murder cases- both involving hatchets and axes.
Patrick Doherty was born in Peoria, Illinois on August 10, 1859 to John and Mary Walsh Doherty. Later the family moved east to Fall River, and we find Patrick Doherty living at 104 Columbia St. (off South Main) and working as a laborer for a time employed by Fall River Iron Works and the Fall River Line steamboat company. He married Honora (Nora) E. Coughlin on April 25, 1887 at the age of 28, when he was employed at the Fall River Police Department as a patrolman. The couple would have seven children: Charles T., Frank., Grace, Robert, Helene, Margaret (called Marguerite), and John.
Doherty, (as were several other patrolmen), was promoted to the rank of captain after their work in the case of the century, the Borden Murders of 1892. Doherty had arrived at #92 after George Allen on the morning of the murders, and was very quickly in the thick of the action, questioning Lizzie upstairs, looking at the bodies with Dr. Dolan, running down to Smith’s pharmacy with Officer Harrington to question Eli Bence, prowling the cellar for weapons with Medley, Fleet and Dr. Bowen, and making note of Lizzie’s dress. Doherty stayed on the job on watch at the Borden house until he was relieved at 9 p.m. When it came time for the inquest, it was Doherty who slipped down to 95 Division St. to collect Bridget, who had been staying with her cousin, Patrick Harrington after the murders. He would testify at the Preliminary and the 1893 trial in New Bedford.
In the midst of the excitement in New Bedford as Lizzie’s trial was about to get underway, yet another hatchet killing took over the front page, the murder of Bertha Manchester on May 30th. It was a brutal attack to rival the Borden’s with the weapon being most likely a short-handled axe or possibly a hatchet. Doherty went out to the Manchester place with Marshal Hilliard, Captains Desmond, and Connors and Inspector Perron on June 6th with the suspect, Jose Correa de Mello, who revealed his hiding place for the stolen watch taken from the victim and her purse at that time. De Mello served time and then was sent back to the Azores, banned from stepping upon U.S. soil again.
The Dohertys moved to 1007 Rock St. in 1897 and Patrick was pleased to walk his daughter Margaret (Marguerite) down the aisle in 1913.
Patrick Doherty retired from the force in 1915 and succumbed to interstitial nephritis on June 28, 1915.. He, and some of his children are buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Fall River.
Resources: Ancestry.com, Parallel Lives,: A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and her Fall River, Find-a-Grave.com. and Yesterday in Old Fall River: A Lizzie Borden Companion
Fall River Globe June 28, 1915