• The Sad End of Chief Medley

    The Borden Curse #2

    Along with Phil Harrington, William Medley had his doubts about Lizzie Borden’s innocence. On the day of the murders he went to the barn loft and discovered no evidence that anyone had been walking around in the dusty loft. When he placed his hands on the floor and withdrew them, there were clear marks on the floor. Not satisfied with the main search on Saturday, he and Officer Edson returned on Monday, August 8th, when Medley discovered a dusty hatchet head casually tossed on the top of a box in the cellar. Medley would enjoy a very successful career in law enforcement thereafter and would become Fall River’s first Chief of Police. His photograph is to this day, prominently displayed on the wall at the police station. His success and happiness was not to last. He became the victim of an horrific automobile accident at the corner of Locust & Linden Streets in 1917. His wife and young daughter survived the crash.

  • Death on a Honeymoon

    The Borden Curse #1 Many students of the Borden case have, over the years, noticed an unusual amount of unfortunate events happening to people associated in some way with the Borden case. Of course natural death due to old age, accidents, mishaps, etc. happen as a matter of course but it can be said there is an extraordinary amount of sad occurrences on the Borden timeline.

    One of the earliest after Lizzie’s acquittal was Captain Phil Harrington, the officer who gave the extraordinarily detailed description of Lizzie striped house wrapper on the day of the murder. Phil was a very popular figure on the force, and I have written a great deal about him here and on our website. On February 10, 1893 Phil was appointed Captain and went on to duty at the central station first as a night officer, then on to daytime duty. His second marriage to Kate Connell, daughter of John (O’)Connell, ticket taker for Old Colony Steamboat Company, was quite an event in fashionable Catholic circles and was performed at St. Mary’s ,right across the street from the Borden house on October 11, 1893.

    Stopping off in Newport before taking the night boat to New York to commence his honeymoon, Harrington was taken violently ill with pneumonia and could not continue. He lingered some days in excruciating pain, nursed faithfully by his bride. He passed away on October 28th at the home of Councilman McCormack, who had been one of the wedding ushers.

    The wake held on Whipple Street continued right up until the hour of the Requiem Mass- 6,000 mourners passed by the coffin. The funeral on Halloween was one of the largest seen at St. Mary’s, with the city marshal, police force and friends packing the church to capacity. A thousand more stood outside the church and joined in the procession to St. John’s Cemetery on Brightman St. Harrington lived long enough to see Lizzie Borden acquitted. He was 34 at the time of death.

    The Funeral of Captain Phil
  • Two Series Debut for the Spooky Season

    Two series are debuting tonight: The Borden Curse & Maplecroft, Mansion of Mystery on the Warps & Wefts facebook page and blog. Although this is not a NEW idea, it has often been remarked upon that many dreadful things happened to so many people connected to the Borden Case. We will take a look at some of these shocking stories and the terrible but true things which befell some names we all know. Maplecroft: Mansion of Mystery will present daily facts about the house that Lizzie called home for 34 years. The series will run as an introduction to our podcast on October 16th. Ready to get a little spooky?

  • Maplecroft, Mansion of Mystery Podcast

    Join us for the YouTube or Facebook Livestream! Everything you ever wanted to know about Maplecroft but were afraid to ask!

    Kimbra and I are are excited to announce our special October podcast guest! 🎃 Many of you will know Sue Vickery from #92 Second St. where she worked for many years, giving tours of the house and telling the Borden saga to the many visitors and overnight guests. Sue also became the caretaker of Maplecroft- a very singular and unique title to be sure! Nobody knows Lizzie’s Mansion of Mystery better, and we are thrilled to hear about what Sue has concluded after examining every square inch of the famous French St. address. Sue also has a paranormal channel with her production partner, Deb Vickers, and as it ’tis the Spooky Season, we will want to ask Sue all about that as well as discussing the history of Maplecroft. Please mark your calendars and plan to be with us on Facebook or Youtube for a Livestream! Visit our Facebook page to submit questions for Sue and read more about Maplecroft!

  • The End of the Preliminary

    The prosecution and defense have wrapped up the Preliminary on Sept. 1, with Phebe Bowen being the last to give testimony on August 31st. There is a lot to be learned from the Preliminary transcript, especially useful as it is very close in time to the actual crime. Bridget’s testimony is especially thorough and we learn a lot about her past from it: She has worked for the Bordens 2 years and 9 months. Washing, ironing, cooking, scrubbing and sweeping the front hall were her duties. Sweeping was done every other Friday. She had come to Abby from Mrs. Remington’s up in the north end on High St . where she had lived for 7 months. Before that she had spent 15 months with Mrs. Reed on Highland Ave., also in the north end. Before that Bridget was in South Bethlehem, PA for a year doing housework for the Smiley family. When she came over from Ireland she landed in New York but headed north on a steamer and got off in Newport, R.I. where she worked for the Perry House hotel doing kitchen work, and lived with the Sullivans until she got a place. Bridget gives a good amount of detail about the day of the murders and before, in great detail and seems to be a good witness , calm and thorough in her accounting. Of course maybe on the inside she was nervous. Many believe Bridget could have told more about the family dynamics if she had chosen to do so.

    Her testimony alone is worth the price of buying the transcript! No matter how many times you read it, something new always seems to pop out to consider.

    Bridget “Maggie” Sullivan
  • Nosey Neighbors, The Policeman’s Best Friend

    Monday, August 29th was another busy day at the Preliminary with 10 witnesses being called. First on the dock in the morning was Addie Churchill. We all love Mrs. Churchill, the quintessential nosey neighbor, looking out her window like Gladys Kravitz. 🙂 Addie got a grilling by Mr. Knowlton Monday, to be sure. Strange, every time you read the preliminary transcript, something new seems to stick in your mind. Addie mentions she goes over to Main St. to Hudner’s meat market some time around eleven. She stops to gab with her brother for awhile, a brother who worked at Hudner’s. On the way back up Second St. she saw Bridget racing across the street looking “frightened”, goes back into her house, and shortly after is looking out her window and spies Lizzie leaning on the side door and calls over to her. “Do come over, Mrs. Churchill – someone has killed father”. Addie stops to tell her mother what is going on and then goes out her front door and down the Borden driveway and into the side door to find Lizzie sitting on the second step of the back stairs. Addie reaches out to touch her arm as Lizzie explains she was out in the barn when it happened and that her father has an enemy, Abby is out due to a note she received and she must get a doctor. Wow! That’s a lot to spit out! Addie had a busy morning making 8 beds and running to the market, peeking out the window to see Bridget washing the parlor windows, and racing to get a doctor. She never wanted to see either Mr. Borden or Mrs. Borden, except for when she discovered her under the bed while going up the front staircase, and then she went home and stayed there on the 4th. Her Preliminary testimony is lengthy, detailed and very much worth reading in its entirety. There is of course, the story that Addie had seen something on the day of the murders but would not tell it if ” they tore my tongue out”. This she supposedly divulged later on to an acquaintance. Addie also gives a description of Lizzie’s cotton calico dress. Addie had it together on the day! 🙂

  • Cunningham- at the right place, right time

    John Cunningham was a newsdealer and tipster for the local Fall River newspapers. During the late morning of August 4, 1892, he would find himself on the spot for the city’s most infamous crime. As he ambled along the east side of Second street, bent upon reaching Bernie Wade’s store next door to the Kelly house, he spied Mrs. Churchill running across the street. He continued on his business into Wade’s but upon exiting and heading north, he noticed a group of men, including Mr. Hall of Hall’s livery stable standing on the street with Mrs. Churchill. Seeing Cunningham approaching, a young boy of seventeen, called Pierce, hastened towards Cunningham exclaiming Mrs. Churchill needed a policeman right away. Curiosity prevailed, and no doubt sensing a story, Cunningham hurried to Gorman’s paint store nearby to place a call for help. He noticed the clock over the telephone was at ten minutes to eleven. This, of course, was substantially different from other times reported in the case. One thing is very clear from all accounts, rarely did any two time pieces in the entire city seem to keep exactly the same time. Most witnesses seemed to have the most faith in the city hall clock.

    John Cunningham (original from E. Porters, A FALL RIVER TRAGEDY 1893)

    After ringing up Marshal Hilliard, the next call was to Mr. Kennedy at the Fall River Globe, and then the Herald and Fall River News. The story was too good to be missed and Cunningham had it first. Heading back to the scene to see what else he could glean, Cunningham spied Officer Allen, in civilian clothing, scurrying up Second St., heading for the Borden house. After a few moments he saw Allen hastily exit, stop a neighbor, Mr. Sawyer, on the street and direct him to stand guard at the side entry of the Borden home. Allen then raced down Second St. for the Central police station. In short order the newspapermen arrived. Both Manning and Stevens had arrived and were scoping out the scene expectantly. Cunningham thought about returning to his little news store in Wilbur House but the curious group of men who had formed in the yard were prowling about the grounds seeing what could be seen. Cunningham went around back and tried the cellar door. It was securely locked. It is likely that Cunningham was the first to make this discovery. Seeing Officers Mullaly and Doherty arrive on the scene, Cunningham spied the young boy, Pierce, and finding him, brought him over to officer Patrick Doherty, hoping, perhaps to find out more of what was going on inside. “The whisper was it was one of the farm hands,” said Cunningham. It is easy to picture how the crime was reported and also interesting to note how familiar people were with their neighbors and their neighbor’s business back in 1892 in the city of Fall River. Cunningham will forever be the “man on the spot” who called the police on the fateful day.

  • The Wrights: Lizzie’s Comforters and Champions

    Have you ever been frightened and alone in a strange place, feeling friendless and without hope only to recognize a friendly face in that sea of despair?  Such was the case when Mary Jane Wright looked upon the stoic countenance of Lizzie Borden and recognized the one-time friend and playmate of her little girl, Isabel, from days long -gone by.  There was something in the face of the young woman standing before her that was familiar.  As the two women looked upon each other after Rev. Buck had left the corridor outside the cell door, it was reported that the elder lady’s eyes were moist with remembrance of happier times. 

    That evening, August 12, 1892, Mary J. Wright went back to her own quarters in the Taunton Jail and brought a cushion, a small rocking chair and a few comforts to place in Lizzie’s cell.  Too nauseous to eat and trying to cope with her first night alone in prison, these comforts must have meant the world to Lizzie.  

    Still unable to eat the hard prison fare the next day, a large tin dinner pail was sent out to a nearby hotel and was filled and returned with tasty meals for Lizzie. These little kindnesses made the long 10 months of incarceration bearable for Lizzie.  A stroll outside the cell, plants on the windowsill, a friendly cat, and good food all helped Lizzie to bear the lonely and frightening hours on Hodges Avenue.  Mrs. Wright would also nurse Lizzie back to health during a bout of bronchitis during her incarceration.

    Mary J. IRVING was born  February 20,1832 in Providence, Rhode Island.  She married Andrew R. Wright on October 31, 1853, in Fall River, Massachusetts. They had three children during their marriage. Mary, a widow, died on November 6, 1905, in Worcester, Massachusetts, at the age of 73. and was buried in Fall River in Old North Cemetery on North Main St.  Her last years were spent in a sanitarium plagued with advanced senile dementia.

    Andrew R. Wright was born in 1832 in Fall River He died on July 3, 1899, in Fall River, Massachusetts, at the age of 67 due to complications of heart disease and Erysipelas which is a condition that a bacterial infection causes.

    In 1860 census Andrew is listed as a mechanic and machinist . In August of 1862 he enlisted in the army at the rank of Captain. Commissioned an officer in Company D, Massachusetts 3rd Infantry Regiment on 23 Sep 1862.Mustered out on 26 June, 1863. The family lived at several locations in Fall River including 83 Pine St., 6 Winter St. and 186 North Main St.  After the Civil War, Andrew went into law enforcement and was City Marshal by 1870. 

    Captain Andrew Wright in 1862

    From 1888-1895 the Wright family is listed in the Taunton directory with Andrew listed as jail keeper with the home at same address, 21 Hodges Avenue.

    It is during that period from August 1892- June of 1893 when Andrew Wright became the comforter and supporter of Lizzie Borden and became a fatherly presence. He accompanied her to Taunton on the train before her trial and served as bailiff during her trial.  When newspapermen and sketch artists in the courtroom became distracting and over-zealous, Sheriff Wright had no problem with ejecting them promptly from the premises. There were tears in his eyes, the papers reported, when the verdict of “not guilty” went down.

    New Bedford Gazette, June 1893

    Lizzie would return to Taunton after her acquittal to thank her kind benefactors at the jail.  The visit made front page as reporters scurried to find out if she had returned to confess! Lizzie was followed to the local ice cream parlor and all around town that day. It was a sensation at the time.

    Civil War Schedule
    Cause of death, Andrew R. Wright

     By 1896 the Wrights had retired to 534 Hanover Street in Fall River. Lizzie’s childhood friend, Isabel Wright had married Charles Aldrich and had a daughter of her own, Anna. The entire family is buried at Old North, Fall River.  Lizzie, no doubt, would remember the old couple with gratitude all the days of her life.

  • The Popular Officer Harrington- an Update

    Captain Philip Harrington

    Officer Harrington of the Fall River Police Department had some serious doubts about Lizzie Borden from the very hour after Andrew Borden’s death. Called to give testimony on a number of observations he had made on August 4th- none brought so much reaction from Lizzie as Harrington’s precise description of what she was wearing when she changed her clothing up in her room shortly after the body of Abby Borden had been found in the guest room by neighbor, Addie Churchill.

    “It was a house wrap, striped with pink and light stripes, alternately. Pink was the predominate color. In the light stripe was a diagonal formed by lighter stripes, some parallel and others bias. It was fitted to the form in a tailor-made manner. It had a standing collar. It was closely shirred, gathered closely at the front. From the waist to the neck it was puffed with a number of folds. On either side, directly over the hips, was a narrow red ribbon. This was brought around in front and tied in a bowknot. It was cut with a demi-train or bell skirt which the ladies were in the habit of wearing last year.”

    Newspapers reported that Lizzie smiled broadly at this unusually detailed report issuing from a male, and actually laughed softly and turned around in her seat to see what the crowd which was packed into the small courtroom thought about it all.
    Trial Testimony of Officer Phillip Harrington, June 8, 1893.

    Philip Harrington was born on April 17, 1859, making him just one year older than Lizzie Borden. The son of Irish immigrants, James and Mary McCue Harrington, Phillip was one of four children born to the couple in Fall River, having an older brother, James, younger brother John and a younger sister, Mary. On October 25, 1883 he married for the first time, a Miss Julia E. Sullivan, the daughter of John and Margaret Sullivan from Ireland. He had been appointed to the police force on March 2, 1883. Phil was well-liked by his associates and very popular in Irish and Catholic social circles in the city. Sadly, Julia died on March 21, 1886 of Phthisis (pulmonary tuberculosis) at their home at 33 Borden St.

    On February 10, 1893 he was appointed Captain and went on to duty at the central station first as a night officer, then on to daytime duty. His second marriage to Kate Connell, daughter of John (O’)Connell, ticket taker for Old Colony Steamboat Company, was quite an event in fashionable Catholic circles and was performed at St. Mary’s ,right across the street from the Borden house on October 11, 1893. “Kate”, Katherine T. Connell was the sister of Lizzie, David and William Connell. Originally the family surname was O’Connell but the “O” was soon dropped after the family patriarch arrived on American shores from Ireland and settled at 25 Whipple Street which is located just behind St. Anne’s church.

    Wedding bells again for Capt. Phil

    Capt. Harrington had not been well for some time but was feeling better the day of his nuptials. In May, a few months before his wedding, his brother James had died . Philip had lost his mother, Mary McCue Harrington in 1872 and his father James in 1881. There was only his sister-in-law, Bridget and his sister Mary, to attend his wedding from his own family. The wedding took place at St. Mary’s in the shadow of the Borden house on Second St.
    Stopping off in Newport before taking the night boat to New York to commence his honeymoon, Harrington was taken violently ill with pneumonia and could not continue. He lingered some days in excruciating pain, nursed faithfully by his bride. He passed away on October 28th at the home of Councilman McCormack, who had been one of the wedding ushers.

    The wake held on Whipple Street continued right up until the hour of the Requiem Mass- 6,000 mourners passed by the coffin. The funeral on Halloween was one of the largest seen at St. Mary’s, with the city marshal, police force and friends packing the church to capacity. A thousand more stood outside the church and joined in the procession to St. Mary’s Cemetery on Amity St. Harrington lived long enough to see Lizzie Borden acquitted. He was 34 at the time of death.
    His widowed bride, Kate, remarried to Michael Robert Skelly in 1909 after years alone on Whipple St. She never had children. She is buried in St. Patrick’s . Phil Harrington is buried in St. John’s Cemetery on Brightman St. with his parents and brother, but lives on in the Borden saga due in large part to his detailed description of that famous pink and white- striped wrapper worn by Lizzie Borden on August 4. 1892.

    Fall River Daily News, Oct. 31,1893
    Grave of Phil’s widow, Kate and her second husband in St. Patrick’s Cemetery
    Newspaper sketch (Fall River Globe) of Phil’s famous mustache
    Phil’s day in court
  • Marshal Hilliard Loses a Case but Finds a Sister

    The walrus-mustached, round face of Rufus B. Hilliard is one which is well-known to those who take a close look at the Borden Case. Born in Pembroke, Maine on May 5, 1850, Hilliard had moved to Fall River and joined the FRPD by 1879. In an unusually fast promotion, surpassing his seniors, he rose to the rank of City Marshal by 1886. But he is immortal for the role in which he would play on the morning of August 4, 1892, at age 42, when the phone rang down at the Central Station, and news of the Borden slayings reached his ears. The chain of events which would unfold from that point on to the day when Hilliard “closed” the case is the stuff of which crime history is made. Certain from the start, Hilliard and the FRPD felt sure they had “got their man” but alas, the evidence proved circumstantial and their Prime Suspect was acquitted in 1893. One wonders what Hilliard thought and what private conversations went on behind closed doors until his death just before New Year’s Eve in 1912.

    Rufus B. Hilliard, City Marshal

    Hilliard would succumb to cirrhosis of the liver and additional complications from nephritis. He would die a year before his only child Dana S. Hilliard would marry Clara Hart, and would not know his grandchildren, Rufus K. “Bud” Hilliard and Jean. The widow Hilliard would live on with her son Dana and his family until her passing at 301 Hanover Street in the north end of the city. There are living descendants of Marshal Rufus Hilliard and his wife, Nellie S. Clark.

    Rufus Hilliard’s death certificate, burial in Oak Grove Plot 4194
    Marriage of Rufus Hilliard’s one child, Dana who was 3 at the time of the Borden murders

    One positive event emerged from the tumultuous doings of 1892 surrounding the Borden case- Rufus Hilliard would be reunited with a long-lost sister due to the notoriety of Lizzie Borden and the constant newspaper coverage. In September of 1892, this lady had made contact with Rufus Hilliard and thus provided one happy ending in any event!

  • Young Mayor Coughlin

    On August 9, 1892, the heat was on in the city of Fall River to apprehend a suspect in the Borden Murders. Mayor John W. Coughlin, Fall River born of Irish parents, was a year younger than Lizzie Borden. He was an accomplished man, mayor and politician as well as a physician. He studied medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Baltimore , Md. and was elected Mayor of Fall River in 1890. In 1892 he represented Massachusett’s 13th Congressional District at the Democratic National Convention. He lived a modest life, unmarried, with his mother Abigail (Abbie) and spinster sister, Helen at 399 North Main Street and but for his involvement with Lizzie Borden, might well have passed quietly into history. Mayor Coughlin, along with City Marshal, Rufus Hilliard, would announce to Lizzie Borden, in her own parlor, that she was, indeed, a suspect. This fact was key in getting Lizzie’s Inquest testimony withdrawn at her 1893 trial, as she had been told she was a suspect by the Mayor himself, then giving her testimony without legal representation present. John Coughlin died on December 3, 1920 at the age of 59 and is buried in Saint Patrick’s Cemetery, Fall River. The inscription on his stone reads, “The Day Breaketh , The Shadows Disappear.”

    John W. Coughlin, M.D.
    Boston Globe
    Passport application
    St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Fall River.

  • Hosea Knowlton Home Now on the Market

    This beautiful 1852 Italianate home of Hosea and Sylvia Knowlton and their seven children is now on the market. The famous prosecutor in the Borden case, a former educator, would rise to the rank of Attorney General of Massachusetts before his untimely death in 1902. His remains were cremated and scattered over the harbor in Marion where the couple had built a summer home, now part of Tabor Academy. The link below will display many photographs of the interior of the Union St. home.

    Click on link for interior photos https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/350-Union-St_New-Bedford_MA_02740_M98549-25831

    Knowlton in 1901
    The Knowlton School, now demolished
  • Lizzie through Time

    With the advent of so many photo-enhancing and colorizing tools, it is now possible to clean up, repair and add color to old photos. Often clearing up the cracks and blurs will reveal details not noticed before. Sometimes color will enhance and bring a photo to life, other times black and white will be a better choice. Animation , such as used in the Gallery section on this page, will really humanize a still photo and add personality and life to a rigid photo. Here are known photos which have been sharpened and repaired via A.I. software and do reveal so much more detail. Sometimes details of clothing may suffer clarity in order to improve facial clarity. Watermarked photos indicate Warps & Wefts enhancement from the originals only, not possession or discovery.

    School girl Lizzie
    Young Lizzie
    Teen Lizzie
    Pretty Young Lady c. 1877
    The famous Pansy Brooch portrait c. 1890
    Lizzie c. 1893-4
    Newport, likely Autumn 1893
    1916 enlarged detail at Maplecroft with Laddie Miller
    1922 enlarged detail from composite photo (private collection)
    1922 enlarged detail, (private collection)
  • August 6, 1892 The Borden Funeral

    Andrew Jackson Borden R.I.P.

    As the funeral party left #92 on its way to Oak Grove, the hearse carriages, containing the two coffins would have gone first, followed by the carriage of the undertaker and pall bearers, then the family followed by friends and neighbors.  Emma and Lizzie would ride in the procession to Oak Grove, arriving at 12:20,  but would not descend and follow the minister and their uncle, John Morse, to the graveside for the final prayers which lasted perhaps only two minutes.  This was not expected of Victorian ladies, as it was judged too taxing on their fragile feminine constitutions to be confronted with the yawning open grave.  The graves themselves were lined with dark, thin cloth and strew with evergreen fir branches, a common practice before the advent of grave vaults.  The viewing of raw earth was too grim a reminder of the phrase, “Ashes to ashes- dust to dust”. All along the cortege route, hundreds of Fall River citizens lined Second Street and were waiting with interest to view the spectacle at the cemetery.  The procession turned left on Borden Street and made a pass by the Andrew J. Borden Building on South Main before continuing up to North Main Street bearing right onto Cherry Street, then left onto Rock Street and northward to Prospect Street where the procession went east into the main gate of Oak Grove. The custom of passing by the place of business of the head of house is still carried on today, if it is logistically possible.   The procession then passed beneath the great granite Gothic arch, which had been erected in 1873, emblazoned with the motto, “The shadows have fallen and they wait for the day”- an apt sentiment considering the circumstances of the Borden murders.

    Entrance to Oak Grove today
    Entrance circa 1903
    Abby Durfee Gray Borden R.I.P.
  • Todd Lunday sheds light on an improbable “Villain”

    In 1893 a little book appeared, written under the nom de plume of Todd Lunday. The identity of this man was finally revealed, but it is the content of this small volume and the manner of methodically revealing the difficulty an outsider would have in penetrating the Borden house to commit the murders on August 4th which is thought-provoking. The original was printed by J.A. & R.A. Reid of Providence, RI and thankfully for us, Robert Flynn’s King Philip Publishing Company reprinted this little gem in 1989. It is considered a rare book, the original volume being very valuable. It is well worth reading, as “Lunday” lists all of the hurdles an outside killer, whom he calls “Villain” would encounter.

    1893 original publishing date

    Here are some of the problems Todd Lunday imagined summarized in THE MYSTERY UNVEILED. You will no doubt think of more issues an outsider would have faced coming in to do away with the old couple :

    1. The assassin must leave no traces of his identity.

    2. The Villain had a well-formed plan to execute the 2 murders.

    3. He must arrive at the house, do his work, hide between the murders and escape undetected.

    4. Villain must know the layout of the house, places of concealment and the family daily routine.

    5. Villain must know exactly WHO is in the house to know how and who to avoid.

    6. Villain would have to linger around the house to “case the joint” and make certain of who is at home, without being seen to be doing so, perhaps for a day or two.

    7. He has to figure out how to get into and out of the house based on the only 3 entries and which ones would be locked.

    8. Villain would plan on 4 people probably being in the house, and would have to calculate where his intended victims might be.

    9. Villain would have to commit one or two murders without raising an alarm and out of sight of anyone else in the house.

    10. If Andrew Borden were the intended target, and was in the habit of going downtown after breakfast, it could make the murder of Abby Borden easier but suppose Andrew came back with someone and it would surely make killing Andrew more diffficult. Especially in broad daylight on a busy street.

    11. After killing his first victim, he would have to hang around taking a risk the body could be discovered and alarm raised before the second murder could take place.

    12. Villain will have to trust to luck and happy accident in achieving his purpose and making a clean getaway.

    13. Not knowing if Bridget would be coming out, or if Uncle John, Emma, or another person might be going in or out, Villain took a risk about sneaking in the side door and a bigger risk not knowing if the side door might or might not be locked.

    14. Villain would not know the Borden’s bedroom door opening to the back stairs hall was kept locked and the only way to the second floor was up the front stairs.

    15. Villain would not have known he would have had to pass through the kitchen, diningroom or sitting room to gain access to the front hall steps to the second floor, putting himself in a tight spot if he needed to escape.

    16. Villain must have come upon his victim unawares and struck a first and fatal blow although there was only one entry into the murder room on the second floor and there was no place in the room to hide beforehand.

    17. Villain has no idea when his second intended victim may return, perhaps with another person, or when his first victim might be found.

    18. Villain must now wait, concealed for an undetermined amount of time because going out and coming in again at a later time to finish the deed would be impossible.

    19.Lizzie’s room is locked and upstairs the only place Villain could hide might be under the bed in the guest room.

    20. If the Villain hides in the guest room, how will he know when Mr. Borden lies on the sofa, the maid goes to the third floor and Lizzie is out in the barn to launch his attack on Andrew and escape before Lizzie comes back in?

    Lunday proposes only an insane man would have considered the double crime under the conditions he describes above.
  • The Cable House Murders, July 20, 1892 : Poison!

    The Cable House would burn in a fire on October 23, 1899 (author’s collection)

    While Lizzie was having a sojourn in New Bedford with the Pooles and a day trip to Blakes’ Point in the week before the Borden tragedy, elsewhere, sudden death, poison and horrific suffering took place in Salisbury Beach. A small summer boarding house on the oceanfront called the Cable House would become the scene for a shocking loss of life, the cause of which would puzzle the police, consulting physicians, and the population for several days. After consuming an evening meal in the dining hall of the popular establishment, eleven of the diners became violently ill- some more affected than others. Over the course of 48 hours, five would die horribly and in agony with fever, chills, extreme nausea and delirium among the symptoms. There was a demand for an answer and answers came fast and furious as at first the well water was suspected of containing bacteria, possibly of cholera morbus . This theory soon gave way to tainted fish,, ptomaine poisoning, possibly insecticide in the form of a Paris Green preparation which may have been spread on vegetables, to “Summer Complaint” of spoiled milk. An old pepper box containing insect powder which was owned by the landlord of the establishment, Mr. Montgomery, came under suspicion but was soon ruled out. Was this an accidental poisoning due to a mishap in the kitchen with the pepper box? None other than William H. Moody was called in, and soon the pressure was on for an investigation including testing, autopsies and on September 2- an Inquest which would be held at the Cable House. Stomachs were removed from the first three victims right at the Cable House, reminiscent of the Borden affair. In short order, chemist tests revealed some dead bugs in the water, but nothing more sinister, and the cause of deliberate poisoning was deemed to be in the tea in the form of Paris Green powder. The story was a sensation and was front page every day until August 4th when the Borden tragedy knocked it off the front page. Samples were sent up to Harvard Medical School where Dr. Hill and Dr. Wood (later to assist with the Borden forensics) took charge.

    Boston Globe

    After the Borden tragedy and testimony, the topic of the elderly Bordens taking violently ill on August 2nd was discussed. They had a meal of swordfish that evening. Lizzie Borden would say she also was not well. On the day before the double murders, Mrs. Borden went across the street to the family doctor, Seabury Bowen, and exclaimed she thought they were poisoned, perhaps by the baker’s bread. She said she had heard of something like this in relation to cream cakes. Cream cakes were also mentioned by a doctor involved in the Cable House poisonings as well as fish. On the same day, a young pharmacist clerk at Smith’s pharmacy on South Main St., a block from the Borden house, claimed that Lizzie Borden had come in the store before noon, asking for Prussic acid to clean moths from a sealskin coat. It is something to think about, all of this talk of death and poison which flooded the papers and conversations during the days between July 20-August 4th. Did it give someone ideas? Is there a connection? Or is it one of Life’s coincidences?

    Paris Green