crime and punishment · death - the new live · relationships - truly freakish reality · unexplained

Lizzie Borden was a Real Swinger

Good of the video to sing that creepy song for us…children who lived during Borden’s era invented it, lovely isn’t it?  Can you imagine if it was the judge and jury who held hands and skipped around singing the song after the innocent verdict, instead of kids?  Macabre humour.  My specialty. The origin of the creepy song parallels that of Ring around the Rosie, a nursery rhyme created by (surviving) children of the Black Plague during the Medieval Era.  But I digress.

Lizzie and her elder sister Emma Borden were the only two  surviving daughters of Andrew Borden: another daughter, between Emma and Lizzie, died in infancy. Andrew fathered an illegitimate son, William Borden. Tsk-tsk. Lizzie  was born in, and lived her life in, Fall River, Massachusetts.  Lizzie’s mother Sarah, died when Lizzie was less than three years old. About two years later Andrew remarried a woman named Abby Durfree Gray. Lizzie’s life was mundane when she wasn’t shoplifting silly trinkets as a personal hobby. I told you her life was mundane.  She did ordinary girl things like  including teaching Sunday School and membership in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU).  Once she traveled abroad with some friends.

Andrew was known as tight with his considerable money. The house, while not small, had no modern plumbing: the family still threw their excrement buckets (slops) onto the backyard. One day a theft occurred in the house and although Andrew didn’t accuse Lizzie he placed locks on every upstairs door in the house. Yet to add insult to injury, Andrew began dispersing his worldly goods while he was still alive (probably just as well). In 1884 he gave his wife’s half-sister a house. His daughters objected and fought with Abby, refusing to call her “mother” and calling her “Mrs. Borden“. Ouch. Finally to appease his daughters Andrew gave them a rental home of his which they promptly sold back to their father for a decent sum of money.  Talk about a weird transaction. watch lizzie borden biography

Just when you thought the family’s situation couldn’t get any weirder, let me fill you in on some additional details. The house upstairs was literally a house divided: the front was occupied by the Borden sisters, while the rear was occupied by Andrew and Abby. There was no traipsing down a hallway with the possibility of happily encountering one another. Meals were seldom eaten together (they probably all lost their appetites). Lizzie and Emma seldom socialized with one another within the house, seeing their guests separately. There was significant hatred within the Borden household. Still with me?  watch legend of lizzie borden 1975

The two daughters, both of whom were spinsters, were well past marriage age by 1890s standards and that was how they would remain. Andrew was probably as meagre with his daughters’ potential dowries as he was with the househould utilities, a terrible humiliation at a time when marriages were made within deliberate financial and social boundaries. Rumours of incest, although not proven, seem likely. Lizzie was her father’s favourite daughter and she seemed to enjoy special attention from him: this is often seen in girls who are forced into incestual relationships. watch american justice – lizzie borden

Incestuous (ugh) or not the day of August 4, 1892 would turn out to be a rather unpleasant one for Andrew and Abby. Bitter feelings and harsh tempers had been brooding in the Borden household for months. On this morning, Emma was away, Bridget Sullivan, the family servant, was napping, and Abby and Andrew were conveniently going about their separate business. Abby was nailed first in the master bedroom, followed about 2 hours later by Andrew in the sitting room. Quite calmly Lizzie called to Bridget that “father had been killed” when she supposedly “discovered” his body. Remarkably calm, that girl. I like that in a psychopath.

A wonderful outcome from the murders happened to fall upon the Borden women: Andrew left no will so his remaining estate of $400,000, a princely sum in 1892, was awarded to Lizze and Emma.  So much for Abby’s half-sister and the late Sarah’s brother, John MorseHa-hah. Back to the murders. Accurately, Abby was hit 19 times with the hatchet and Andrew about 11 times. Lizzie went on trial, was acquitted and, money or no money, was permanently shunned by her community. Emma didn’t seem to suffer the same fate perhaps because she was out-of-town on the day of the murder and was never charged. Eventually even Emma turned her back on poor Lizzie (never a wise idea).

I feel sympathy for Lizzie due to the aforementioned reasons.  In 19th century America, women couldn’t support themselves. They depended completely upon their husbands or fathers for their livelihood. The division of Andrew’s worldly goods was done in a cunning manner that frustrated Lizzie. Andrew treated his in-laws more generously than his own girls. Had he died after dispensing all of his wealth without including Lizzie, she would have been out on the street.  Lizzie did what she had to do.  So would you have.  And maybe me too. Ick  watch legend of lizzie borden – ending sequence

p.s.   For a different opinion, watch Arnold Brown’s Theory of Lizzie Borden I disagree that “billy went over the edge and committed the two murders” for a number of reasons:

  1. The two surviving daughters, Emma and Lizzie would inherit Andrew’s wealth and William would receive none
  2. There is no evidence that William knew that Andrew was dispensing of his worldly goods while still alive
  3. A murderous rage overcoming a young man who has had no contact with his father since his birth, seems exaggerated and irrational

Researchers and amateurs such as myself have been investigating this story since 1892.  They will be doing the same during 2092.

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