If Walls Could Talk- Entry and Kitchen #1


This is the first of a new series featuring 360 degrees of still photography of each space within the Borden house on Second Street as it appears today.  The entry and kitchen were scenes of much action on August 4th. The side (North) entry door would appear to have been the only way a killer could have sneaked in unaided, during the time the maid was out washing windows and Lizzie was in the barn.  The bottom of the back stairs was the spot where Lizzie told her neighbor Mrs. Churchill, first on the scene, all about what had happened.  Lizzie was seen leaning against the screen on the inside.  Later pharmacist Mr. Bence would peer down this same back entry hall and identify Lizzie as the woman who had tried to buy Prussic acid on the day prior to the murders.  Many neighbors, friends and police would pace up and down the short length of back hallway that day, coming in and out of the house.  Emma, returning from Fairhaven would walk into this space after she got off the train, finding shocking things going on in the sitting room and diningroom.  The day after the funeral, Lizzie would be observed burning up a skirt and blouse in the kitchen stove by her friend Alice Russell.  If walls could talk, the entry and kitchen would have plenty to say!

New from Garden Bay Films



Bridget’s Run, filmed May 2008 Lizzie Mini #4

Q. Did she say anything when you got down stairs?

A. She said “go for Dr. Bowen”. I ran ahead, I did not know what was the matter. She told me to “go quick and get Dr. Bowen.”

Q. What did you do then?

A. I went right over to Dr. Bowen’s.

Q. Who did you find there?

A. Mrs. Bowen.

Q. You told her what had happened?

A. Yes Sir.

Q. Dr. Bowen was not there?

A. No Sir.

Q. Then what did you do?

A. Came back.

Q. Dr. Bowen lives right across the street?

A. Yes Sir.

Q. Who was there when you came back?

A. Nobody but Miss Lizzie. I told her he was not in. I told her what Mrs. Bowen told me. She told me to go after Miss Russell.

Q. What did you do then?

A. I went after her.

Q. Where does she live?

A. On Borden street.

Q. How far away is that?

A. I do not know, it is a good ways away. I could not tell you exactly how long it is.

Q. Did you find Miss Russell?

A. Yes Sir.

Q. Had anybody else come in when you came back there, telling that Dr. Bowen was not there?

A. No Sir, I did not see anybody.

Q. Where was Miss Lizzie when you came back from Mrs. Bowen’s?

A. Where I left her, standing at the door.

Q. At that time when you went out after Dr. Bowen, did you find the screen door locked?

A. No Sir.

Q. Shut up?

A. Yes Sir.

Q. Did you come back with Miss Russell?

A. Ahead of her.

Q. When you came back, who did you find there then?

A. Dr. Bowen was ahead of me, he stepped out of his carriage as I came up Second street. Dr. Bowen went in ahead of me.

Q. When you got in, who did you find there?

A. I think Mrs. Churchill was in when I got in there.

Q. She is the next door neighbor?

A. Yes Sir.

Q. She was in when you got back?

A. Yes Sir.

Q. What was said when you got back?

A. I cannot tell.

Q. Where was Miss Lizzie when you got back?

A. She was there.

Q. Wherebouts?

A. I could not tell you where, I think she must be in the kitchen; I think she was in the kitchen.

Q. Who else was there besides Mrs. Churchill?

A. That is all I remember, Mrs. Churchill and Dr. Bowen.

Q. Did you then see the body?

A. No Sir.

Bathsheba Spooner



 Most folks who study the Borden case will, at some point, run into mention of another famous Massachusetts lady who had a more final brush with the gallows in 1778, Bathsheba Spooner. Brent Abrahamson has made a visit to the site at Brookfield and posted about the visit at this link: http://massachusettsobserver.blogspot.com/2008/08/murder-most-foul-in-brookfield.html

Lizzie Borden Live ! Schedule of Performances


 Actress and playwright Jill Dalton accepting her 2008 “Lambie” for best actress from the Second Street Irregulars at the annual Mutton Eaters’ Banquet.
Sept.7, 2008,  Sunday 3:00 pm 78th Street Theatre Lab, 236 W. 78th St.,NYC,Between B’way & Amsterdam
Sunday Oct. 5, 2008, 3:00 pm 78th Street Theatre Lab, 236, W. 78th St.,NYC,Between B’way & Amsterdam
Friday Nov. 14,  2008, 8:00 pm Columbus Theatre, 270 Broadway, Providence, RI
Saturday Nov. 15, 2008, 8:00 pm  Columbus Theatre, 270 Broadway, Providence, RI
Sun. Dec. 7, 2008, 3:00 pm 78th Street Theatre Lab, 236 W. 78th St.,NYC,Between B’way & Amsterdam
Thurs, Fri, Sat, January 8,9,10, 2009, 7:30 pm Canyon Moon Theatre  6601 Highway 179, Sedona, AZ
Sunday Jan.11, 2009, 3:00 pm Canyon Moon Theatre  6601 Highway 179, Sedona, AZ
Thurs, Fri, Sat, January 15, 16, 17, 2009, 7:30 pm Canyon Moon Theatre  6601 Highway 179, Sedona, AZ
Sunday Jan.18, 2009, 3:00 pm Canyon Moon Theatre  6601 Highway 179, Sedona, AZ







Pear Essentials Players launch new blog


 Over the years since the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast Museum opened, many staff employees and their friends have undertaken the task of bringing the Borden story and Lizzie to life via annual August 4th re-enactments.  All have shared a passion for the story, and a pleasure at sharing it with others.  Some have taken their show “on the road” to local schools, libraries and civic groups.  Since 1996, when the B&B opened, the roles of the Borden family and other personalities in the case have been assumed by many professional and amateur actors.  The new site will feature photos and anecdotes about the 12 years of “bringing Lizzie to life” for visitors and guests at #92 and other places.  Perhaps you have met one of the troupe on a visit to the house.  If you were a member of the cast in 1996-2007, we’d love to hear from you! 

Visit http://pearessentialproductions.wordpress.com/ 

August 11th Autopsies


It was on this day in 1892, 116 years ago, that the bodies of Abby and Andrew Borden were removed from the holding tomb where they had reposed for a full week, and transported to the Ladies Comfort Station just inside the gates of Oak Grove Cemetery. It was here that the heads of the victims were removed from the bodies.

The holding tomb was a fixture in all cemeteries in the North where extreme winters made gravedigging impossible until the Spring thaw. 

The Ladies Comfort Station, which is now a break room for the cemetery grounds staff, consisted of two rooms, one white-tiled with sinks and lavatories, the other paneled in dark wood wainscotting.

Andrew Borden:  Aged 69 years. Autopsy performed by W. A. Dolan, Medical Examiner, assisted by Dr. F. W. Draper. Witnesses F. W. Draper of Boston and John W. Leary of Fall River. Clerk D. E. Cone of Fall River. Time of Autopsy 11.15 A.M. August 11th, 1892, one week after death.

Abby D. Borden, aged 64 years. Thursday August 11, 1892. at 12.35 P.M. One week after death.The Autopsy was performed by W. A. Dolan, Medical Examiner, assisted by Dr. F. W. Draper, and witnessed by F. W. Draper of Boston, and J. H. Leary of Fall River. Clerk of Autopsy D. E. Cone of Fall River.

Preliminary Testimony by Dr, Dolan describing the skull removal.

Q. He told you to remove the skulls?

A. Yes Sir.

Q. The Attorney General?

A. The Attorney General of this state, yes sir.

Q. I do not assume the Attorney General of any other state has anything to do with this case. You did so?

A. Yes Sir.

Q. What did you do with them?

A. I cleaned them.

Q. You cleaned them?

A. Yes Sir.

Q. Do you mean to say these bodies are now buried without the heads?

A. Yes Sir.

Q. Where are these skulls?

A. In my possession.

Q. Where?

A. At my office.

Q. Has it been said to any member of this family, or any friend, that these people were buried without their heads?

A. I do not know.

Q. Have you said it, or caused it to be said?

A. No Sir.

Q. Did you photograph them, or cause them to be photographed?

A. Yes Sir.

The Controversy Rages On



The approach to the Braga Bridge, Fall River signs on 195E (and also 195 westbound) feature a mention of the Lizzie Borden Museum and have done so for some time.

Still garnering front page news is the continuing battle between Salem and Fall River over who owns the rights to the Lizzie Borden story, and the all-important word, “Museum”.  Channel 25 Fox television out of Boston ran this segment yesterday http://www.myfoxboston.com/myfox/pages/News/Detail?contentId=7177254&version=2&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=3.2.1  Sounds like several of those interviewed for the news clip might benefit from a visit to a museum telling the facts!  No date has yet been given out for the Salem opening.

Undertaker Winward


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James E. Winward was the man Lizzie Borden wanted immediately to undertake the funeral of her father.  On the day of the murders, just a very short time after Lizzie said she found her father on the sofa, she requested the services of Mr. Winward, who at the time had his business address at 13 South Main Street.  Even before the body of Abby Borden was found on the second floor, Lizzie was voicing the opinion that she would be the one to go down to Oak Grove Cemetery to arrange her father’s funeral and burial.  This may be construed as a curious statement as Mrs. Borden would have had this task herself-did Lizzie already know Mrs. Borden was lying dead upstairs?

Young Mr. Winward (aged only 38 on the day of the murders) came as requested, and was to find not one, but two bodies at #92 Second Street. He and his assistant had the grisly task of removing the heavily blood-stained sofa from the sitting room later in the day. 

Mr. Winward enjoyed a successful career in his field, and fitted the ideal of a funeral director in every aspect of appearance and decorum.  A photograph of Mr. Winward is soon to be published.  At the end of his life, Mr. James E. Winward lived in a prosperous section in the north end of the city on Madison Street.  He is buried with his wife Annie, his daughter Helen Winward Brown and his son-in-law in the cemetery where he spend  so many years organizing funerals for so many city clients- Oak Grove.

The role of Mr. Winward was ably performed by funeral director Andrew Correia for the recent August 4th re-enactments at # 92 Second Street.

Just in Time for August



There’s no end to Lizzie merchandising ideas.  Here’s something new- a Lizzie with hellfire flames card case,  by Sweetheartsinner, which can be used for anything you need to carry around.  The novelty design, plus other similar merchandise may be found here http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=10792219

August 4, 2008


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Re-Enactment Cast 2008  

Lizzie Borden- LeeAnn Wilbur

Abby Borden  -Shelley Dziedzic

Andrew Borden – Jeff Massan

Bridget Sullivan- Kathleen Troost-Cramer

Emma Borden- Barbara Borden Morrissey

Mrs. Churchill- JoAnne Giovino

Mrs. Bowen- Susan Hauck

Mr. James E. Winward, Undertaker- Andrew Correia

Miss Manning from the Fall River Herald- Lorraine Gregoire

Dr. Dolan- Ted Gregoire

Detective Seaver- Ben Rose

Little Abbie Whitehead- Kathryn Woods

Alice Russell- Colleen Johnson

A hex on the new Salem Lizzie Museum?


Once again the much-anticipated opening of the True Story of Lizzie Borden attraction in Salem was delayed.  Hoping to open on Lizzie’s birthday on July 19th, the date had to be pushed forward to August 4th, the anniversary of the murders.  The woodwork paint was drying, the local newspapers were touting the opening, and Fall River was getting into the controversy about Lizzie’s presence in Salem-when the August 4th opening never materialized.  Hopefully eager visitors-to-be called ahead, or else there were some murderous prospective guests who must have been disappointed to find closed doors on the day.  Meanwhile, back in old Fall River, August 4th went on as ever. 

Today the word is out that the opening  date of the attraction/museum/exhibit is uncertain due to some difficulties with the city of Salem officials- red tape, paperwork, permits, -something like that.  Makes you wonder if the other famous ladies of the city- those ladies in the pointy hats- are brewing up some spells !  Maybe they don’t want any competition from another woman!

August 4th is coming to Second Street !


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Bed and Breakfast co-owner LeeAnn Wilber starring as

Lizzie Borden for August 4th


Sure signs it must be August are the heat and humidity- and the Fall River newspapers and local television channels talking about Fall River’s most infamous native daughter.  This year, as in every year since the B&B museum on Second Street opened, there will be a recreation of the Borden story on August 4th.  There is a new script again this year, this time with the largest cast ever assembled.  The production, which was sold out by noon last year, will feature new characters, some for the first time ever.  Naturally visitors want to meet the family, Abby and Andrew, Lizzie and Irish maid Bridget- but this year sister Emma, several of the neighbors, ( Mrs. Churchill, Mrs. Kelly, Mrs. Bowen) Dr. Dolan, Little Abbie Whitehead, and even the undertaker, Mr. Winward will be making an appearance at #92 Second Street.  Visitors to the house will “find” the body of Mrs. Borden upstairs, listen to Dr. Dolan’s preliminary observations on the body of Andrew Borden which is covered with a sheet on the sofa, hear about the funeral plans, and help to search for a possible weapon in the cellar!  Tours will take place between 11 and 3:30, approximately on the half hour. Tickets may be purchased in the barn gift shop behind the Borden house.

“She’s not my mother- she is my step-mother.”

“It all depends on your idea of cordiality.”

Eli Bence’s New Bedford Pharmacy



One of the most interesting witnesses for the prosecution must surely have been young Eli Bence, the pharmacy clerk who testified that Lizzie Borden had asked for a dime’s worth of deadly Prussic acid on the morning before the murders.  Mr. Bence denied her request without a prescription, but remembered her face and voice, and would later identify Lizzie, as did two other men in the store at the time, as the lady who visited the store that Wednesday morning. 

Bence’s evidence was a godsend to the prosecution and stood firm until it reached the higher court.  There it was ruled too remote in time from the killings -and no poison was ever found in the stomachs of the two victims.  Eli’s evidence, had it been heard by the jury, may have had serious consequences.  Miss Borden denied going to the pharmacy and even knowing where it was located on Main Street, only two blocks south of her house.

Bence left Fall River and started his own pharmacy in a residential section of New Bedford in 1894 at the corner of Russell and Fourth Streets. His wife died in New Bedford, but Bence remarried in 1904, to a Fairhaven woman, and the pair with his young son Roy Sydney Bence, moved to Pittsfield, Massachusetts to establish another pharmacy. The couple had two children, Priscilla and Maxfield.  Bence had a successful career and rose to the top of his profession.  His name in print was always followed by a mention about the part he played in the famous Borden trial, even in his obituary. This medicine bottle, minus its cork stopper was recently found in a New Bedford antique store and reads Eli Bence Pharmacy, New Bedford.

 For more on Eli Bence visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlJumWmayLc

Warps and Wefts – One Year Anniversary

Thank you!

On Saturday, July 26th, Warps and Wefts marked one year on the blogosphere. As we approach our 200th post, thanks and appreciation go out to all our readers who have visited over the past year,  and left comments and encouragement.  We hope you have read something of interest here and will continue to visit Warps and Wefts and other Fall River sister blogs often.

Friends of Oak Grove  http://oakgrovecemetery.wordpress.com

Fall River Painted Ladies  http://fallriverpaintedladies.wordpress.com

Fall River Eats  http://fallrivereats.wordpress.com