Thursday, October 8, 2009

Creepy Cousins

If one New Englander will always be remembered infamously (besides me), it would have to be my 7th cousin, 4 times removed, Lizzie Borden. Back home in Massachusetts, we were all familiar with her. Her photo is still enough to incite nightmares:

Spooky eyes! The eyes of a killer, I say! Does not the look on her face say, "Don't cross me or I'll hatchet you"?

Perhaps you are familiar with this little rhyme (when we weren't standing in front of the mirror doing "Bloody Mary", we were saying this, just to creep ourselves out in the night):

Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.

When she saw what she had done
She gave her father forty-one.

Lizzie was born July 19, 1860, in Fall River, Massachusetts. Her mother, Sarah Anthony Morse, died only a few years later, on March 26, 1863 in Fall River of "uterine congestion". Her father, Andrew Jackson Borden, remarried 2 years later to Abby Durfee Gray.

The August 4, 1892 death records of Lizzie's stepmother and father say as the cause of death "Shock from assault with an axe (?) or large hatchet (?)". (The parenthetical question marks are part of the record.)

One may very well wonder what possessed a young woman of good family (her father was a "trader" at the time of his marriage to Sarah, and then listed as a "gentleman" in his death record; Lizzie was a high society debutante) to commit such a crime. Despite the evidence and potential motives, we still do not know why Lizzie did it if, indeed, she did... Lizzie was acquitted of the crime.

For the transcripts, evidence, Lizzie's own inquest testimony, and more, check out The Trial of Lizzie Borden.

And, if there are any strained relationships in your home, you might want to sleep with one eye open...

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