The Jury: 12 Men & True Series #1 George Potter
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.
Who were the men of Lizzie Borden’s jury?
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.
Revisiting the Eagle 2008
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.
Tea & Murder April 23 at 7 p.m. on YouTube
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!
The Winter of 2007 at #92
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.
Captain Patrick H. Doherty FRPD
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
Leonard Rebello 1946-2023
It is with the greatest sadness we announce the passing of Len Rebello, long known for his valuable research into the Borden case and his important publication of 1999, Lizzie Borden: Past and Present. Len passed away Monday evening at the age of 76 and will be sorely missed by his many friends. His book and research on the Borden case remain the gold standard among Borden case researchers. R.I.P., old friend.
It’s Alice Russell Weekend Feb. 3-5
Be sure to stop by our Facebook page as we take a deep dive into the life of Alice M. Russell this weekend. Alice came in #1 on a poll of all the personalities in the Borden case of whom we would most like to interview! This photo is cropped from one of Alice at Adams House on Highland Avenue in Fall River where Miss Russell spent her last days. Thanks to Artificial Intelligence and colorizing software, Miss Alice has been brought to life once more.
Two of a Kind
This weekend as we look at the life of Southard Miller on our Facebook page, it’s no surprise that the two men were friends. They had a lot in common. Southard H. Miller, a little more than a decade older than Andrew, was also trained as a carpenter and through hard work and ambition, built himself an empire within the city of Fall River. Neither man came from money and both understood the value of a dollar and a strong work ethic. Both could turn a hand to more than one thing if needs be. Andrew farmed, did carpentry, had a furniture business, invested in real estate and development, and took in supplying funeral needs on the side, – just as his own father found ways to make a dollar. At the end of their lives, both men had accumulated a comfortable retirement and the esteem of their peers. We know that Southard Miller not only built the Borden home for Charles Trafton, but had built his own home at 217 Second St. (formerly #91)
Bowen- Miller house at #91 Second St. built by Southard Miller, later renumbered #217.
Miller came to Fall River from Middleboro, Massachusetts when he was only 18 and went straight to work. He and Andrew Borden worked on the old City Hall together. Mr. Miller went into business with Mr. Ford and were soon building, doing carpentry and contracting. The duo had a thriving business located at the SW corner of Borden & Second St. They built the U.S. Marine hospital in Portland, ME, an almshouse in Bridgewater, worked at building many of the local mills, (Union, Tecumseh, Davis, Mechanics and Granite) and the entire contracting for Laurel Lake Mills. The Baptist Temple, and many other private residences in the city were constructed by Miller & Ford.
Mr. Miller was a representative to the General Court in 1851, a city alderman in 1857, a member of the Legislature in 1875 and Chief Engineer 1866-1870 in the local fire department in which he took great interest. He served as director of Massasoit Bank as well as director of two mills (Laurel Lake and Mechanics). You will immediately see the similarities in his civic positions to those of Andrew Borden. Southard Miller died 3 years after Andrew Borden was murdered, after a lengthy period of illnesses and infirmities. He is buried at Oak Grove Cemetery.
One who grieved for Andrew Borden
Southard Harrison Miller 1811-1895 : photo Massachusetts State Archives
For all of the negative comments about the thriftiness of Andrew Borden and his seeming lack of joviality, there was one elderly gentleman who was very sorry to see the brutal end of his old friend and fellow carpenter on August 4, 1892. He stood helplessly, much distressed, in the Borden driveway, but declining to go inside the Borden house to see his old friend. Southard Harrison Miller lived diagonally across the street from the Bordens and had known the Borden family for many years. He had three children, Reuben, Franklin and Phoebe. Phoebe would marry Dr. Seabury Bowen and live in the large, rambling house with her parents on one side of the structure.
Son Franklin Harrison Miller studied art in Boston and Paris and worked with the distinguished Fall River School of Art artist, Robert Spear Dunning, noted for still life portraits of fruit and landscapes.
Franklin Harrison Miller 1843-1911 : photo, Ask Art artist image
An oil painting by F. Miller in the Fall River School of Art style.
Mr. Miller had a long and distinguished career as a carpenter and a contractor. It is said that he and Andrew Borden at one time worked together on the building of City Hall. His obituary below indicates the esteem in which Southard Miller was held by his fellow citizens. He is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery directly across from Lawdwick Borden and his family, whose story of his children being drowned in a cistern by his second wife Eliza is well-known.
S.H. Miller Chief Engineer 1866-1870
This weekend, on our Facebook page Lizzie Borden Warps and Wefts, we will be featuring more on the Southard Miller family.
Happy 195th Abby Borden!
21 Jan 1828
Fall River, Bristol County, Massachusetts, USA
Image based on photo of Abby Durfee Gray Borden circa 1860s /HGF Grafix 2022
A little February Tea & Murder
Lizzie Borden: Tea & Murder February 19th at 7 p.m. with William Meurer
Kimbra and I are looking forward to interviewing William Meurer about his new play, Lizzie Borden, Life After Death. Who is the unexpected visitor at Maplecroft, thirteen years after the famous murders on Second Street? What secrets will be revealed? What secrets must be kept? See the link below for Livestream tickets for the January 28th performance. Tea & Murder Livestream Interview streaming on Youtube, Facebook and Spotify. Links will be posted on February 18th.
New play by William Meurer!
“Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her mother forty wacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.” You know the rhyme, you may even know about the crime, but what happened after Lizzie Borden had been acquitted for the crime of the century?
“Lizzie Borden: Life After Death” is a new play written by William Meurer, and directed by Jess Reed that takes place thirteen years after the bloody murders of Andrew and Abby Borden in 1892. Lizzie and her sister Emma are now living in a mansion on the hill, trying to escape the shadow of the crimes. However, when an all too familiar face arrives on her doorstep, Lizzie must relive her past and decide what secrets are worth keeping.
The cast includes Ali Regan as Lizzie Borden, Siubhan Stormont as Emma Borden, Carlyn Barenholtz as Nance O’Neil, Annamaria Christina as Bridget Sullivan, Deborah Rupy as Hannah Nelson/Abby Borden, Isaac Conner as Dr.Bowen/Andrew Borden, and Leslie Renee providing stage directions.
The play is being presented online as a virtual reading on Jan 28th, 7pm (EST), and be available for all ticket holders to watch for one week after the original broadcast. For tickets, please go to https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/5689078?utm_source=BWW2022&utm_source=BWW2022&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=article&utm_content=bottombuybutton1
Happy New Year!
Wishing all of our followers and readers a very happy 2023!
Wishing you a happy and bountiful Thanksgiving Day! Lizzie is thankful for turkey and all the trimmings – and no mutton broth in sight!
A Little Holiday Tea & Murder
Join us on December 11th when Kimbra and I will be talking to historian (and Second Street Irregular) Kristin Pepe who will shine a light on nurse Jolly Jane Toppan, serial killer! Toppan is quoted as saying that her ambition was “to have killed more helpless people than any other man or woman who ever lived”.
Kristin was first to discover the connection between Emma Borden and Wheaton Female Seminary as well as adding to the knowledge on Officer Medley and William Moody. We’ll have lots of questions for Kristin about her adventures in sleuthing as well as her plunge into the dark life of Jolly Jane who died in Taunton Insane Asylum, just down the street from the Taunton Jail where Lizzie languished for 10 months. Join us for the disturbing tale of when nurses go BAD- very BAD!
January was a Cruel Month for the Fish Family
The Borden Curse #9 The Fish Family
There is plenty of documentation that Lizzie and Emma ignored Abby’s half-sister Bertie Whitehead and her family when they came to call on Abby at Second St. But Abby had a full sister, Priscilla S. Gray who married George B. Fish in 1840 and spent her life after in various Connecticut towns. One can only wonder what Priscilla had heard and seen in the Borden home when she visited her sister or what Abby may have written to her in letters about those Borden sisters!. George and Priscilla were at the August 6, 1892 funeral. The couple read about the trial and it would be interesting to know what they both thought about the acquittal.
January would prove a disastrous month for the Fish family. About six months after Lizzie was acquitted, George, who worked for the railroad as a tallyman on the Trunk Line, died on January 3, 1894. Priscilla, Abby’s sister followed her husband 3 weeks later and died on January 25th. Their one grandson, Frederick (Freddie) H. Fish who also worked for the railroad died on January 7, 1915 at the age of 43, leaving 5 young children. His brother Harry died at age 2. The family is buried at Spring Grove in Hartford. They were a close family. Their home at 20 Canton Street was demolished many years ago.