Lizzie Borden took an axe
and gave her mother 40 whacks,
When she saw what she had done
she gave her father 41.
It’s no secret that I am thoroughly obsessed with the Lizzie Borden case. I have read the transcript of the court proceedings, studied the layout of the house, combed through the Borden family tree and spent countless hours staring at pictures of their skulls, trying to envision where each blow landed. But more fascinating than the murders is the family itself. But their miserly ways and peculiar behaviors are nothing compared to their family history…a family some believe was cursed from the beginning.
Considering the resurgence of interest recently in anything Lizzie Borden related, I thought I would share with you a few tidbits of information that most people leave out, tiny morsels of history that lend themselves nicely to a family cursed long before they were even born.
~In 1673, Thomas Cornell was tried, convicted, and hung it he Portsmouth, Rhode Island for killing his mother. The damning testimony was nothing more than a dream his maternal uncle claimed to have had. Yes…Thomas Cornell was tried and sentenced to death because his uncle had “A DREAM” about a murder, one where his deceased sister came to him and accused her own son, Thomas Cornell, of burning her to death. Shortly after he was hung, his wife gave birth to his daughter aptly named Innocence. That daughter went on to marry a Borden.
~ In 1848, Andrew Borden’s great uncle, Ladwick Borden, leaves his home on Second Street to run his morning errands. His second wife, Eliza, dismisses her maid and gathers her children. She leads them downstairs to the basement cistern she drowns all but one. Later that day, she is found dead in her own chambers. She slit her through with her husband’s straight razor.
~One of the 19 blows that hit the back of Abigail Borden’s head sheered her braid off. The braid was found lying next to the body.
~The skulls of Abigail and Andrew Borden were introduced as evidence at the trial…actually brought into the courtroom for display.
~It took nearly fifteen minutes for the police to respond to the Borden home and even then, only one officer arrived. The rest of the department was conveniently off at an annual picnic at Rocky Point. By the time the responding officer returned with back-up, dozens of neighbors had trampled thought the house, dead bodies still in place, disturbing whatever evidence there was.
To this day, forensic scientists, historians, and creative people like myself have tried to piece this mystery together and find an alternate explanation for what happened in that house on August 4, 1892. The testimony is inconsistent, the forensic evidence contaminated by morbidly curious neighbors, and the court of public opinion skewed in one direction. That said, every bit of research I’ve done has me circling back to the very real possibility that Lizzie didn’t act alone. The question is who helped her and why.