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The Borden Family  

LIZZIE ANDREW BORDEN, 1860 – 1927. Born in Fall River, Mass, the daughter of Andrew Jackson and Sarah Anthony (Morse) Borden. Present at the Borden home at 92 Second Street the morning of the murders of her father and stepmother, Lizzie was considered a suspect in the crimes early on and was arrested on August 11, 1892. She was tried for those crimes but was acquitted on June 20, 1893. A mere 20 days after the trial, the Borden sisters purchased a house at 7 French Street in Fall River (later named Maplecroft). Early in June 1905, Emma left Fall River, never to return. Following her sister’s departure, she began referring to herself as “Miss Lizbeth A. Borden.” She was remembered by some who knew her in later life as a lady of great kindness and generosity, with a fondness for children and animals.

LIZZIE ANDREW BORDEN, 1860 – 1927. Born in Fall River, Mass, the daughter of Andrew Jackson and Sarah Anthony (Morse) Borden. Present at the Borden home at 92 Second Street the morning of the murders of her father and stepmother, Lizzie was considered a suspect in the crimes early on and was arrested on August 11, 1892. She was tried for those crimes but was acquitted on June 20, 1893. A mere 20 days after the trial, the Borden sisters purchased a house at 7 French Street in Fall River (later named Maplecroft). Early in June 1905, Emma left Fall River, never to return. Following her sister’s departure, she began referring to herself as “Miss Lizbeth A. Borden.” She was remembered by some who knew her in later life as a lady of great kindness and generosity, with a fondness for children and animals.

ABBY DURFEE (GRAY) BORDEN, 1828 – 1892. She was the daughter of Oliver and Sarah (Sawyer) Gray. 37-years-old at the time of her marriage, she wed Andrew Jackson Borden on June 6, 1865. She became stepmother to Andrew’s children when Emma was 14 and Lizzie was almost five, she being the youngest of three (one having died). Half-sister to Mrs. Sarah B. Whitehead, Abby was murdered in her home in Fall River, Mass., on August 4, 1892. Her body was discovered in the upstairs guest bedroom, between a large bureau and the bed.

ANDREW JACKSON BORDEN, 1822 – 1892. He was born in Fall River, Mass., the son of Abraham Borden and Phebe (Davenport) Borden. His wealth included substantial holdings in several local textile mills and banking houses. He also served as president of the Union Savings Bank and was director of several Fall River corporations. His first wife was Miss Sarah Anthony Morse (who died in 1863); his second wife was Miss Abby Durfee Gray. They wed in 1865. He was murdered in his home in Fall River, Mass., on August 4, 1892. His body was discovered in the sitting room.

ANDREW JACKSON BORDEN, 1822 – 1892. He was born in Fall River, Mass., the son of Abraham Borden and Phebe (Davenport) Borden. His wealth included substantial holdings in several local textile mills and banking houses. He also served as president of the Union Savings Bank and was director of several Fall River corporations. His first wife was Miss Sarah Anthony Morse (who died in 1863); his second wife was Miss Abby Durfee Gray. They wed in 1865. He was murdered in his home in Fall River, Mass., on August 4, 1892. His body was discovered in the sitting room.

JOHN VINNICUM MORSE,   1833 – 1912. Born in Fall River, Mass., the son of Anthony and Rhody (Morrison) Morse. Morse left Massachusetts when he was about twenty, going first to Minnesota and eventually settling in Iowa. It was his custom to travel east each summer and visit Fall River and New Bedford, Mass. A younger brother to the deceased mother of Emma. and Lizzie Borden, he had arrived for an overnight visit the day before the murders. A witness at the inquest, preliminary trial and final trial of his niece, he provided testimony of his intimate knowledge of events within the Borden household.

JOHN VINNICUM MORSE,
1833 – 1912. Born in Fall River, Mass., the son of Anthony and Rhody (Morrison) Morse. Morse left Massachusetts when he was about twenty, going first to Minnesota and eventually settling in Iowa. It was his custom to travel east each summer and visit Fall River and New Bedford, Mass. A younger brother to the deceased mother of Emma. and Lizzie Borden, he had arrived for an overnight visit the day before the murders. A witness at the inquest, preliminary trial and final trial of his niece, he provided testimony of his intimate knowledge of events within the Borden household.

SARAH ANTHONY (MORSE) BORDEN, 1823 – 1863. Born in Somerset, Mass., the daughter of Anthony and Rhody (Morrison) Morse. She married Andrew Jackson Borden on Christmas day in 1845. She was the mother of three children: Emma Lenora, Alice Esther (3 May 1856-10 March 1858), and Lizzie Andrew Borden. She was the sister of John Vinnicum Morse. She died in Fall River, Mass. The cause of her death was recorded as uterine congestion and spinal disease.

 

EMMA LENORA BORDEN,
1851 – 1927. Born in Fall River, Mass., the daughter of Andrew Jackson and Sarah Anthony (Morse) Borden. She was away from Fall River the day of the murders in Fairhaven, Mass. After the trial, Emma and Lizzie purchased and lived in a home on French Street, in Fall River, later named by Lizzie as Maplecroft. Following a falling-out in 1905, Emma left Fall River and relocated first to Fairhaven, then to Providence, RI, and continued to maintain her residence in Providence after she began spending part of each of her last years in Newmarket, NH. She lived under an assumed name until her death, which was only nine days following the death of her sister Lizzie.

BRIDGET SULLIVAN, 1866 – 1948. Born in the Townland of Billerough, Parish of Allihies, Beara Peninsula, County Cork, Ireland, the daughter of Eugene and Margaret (Leary) Sullivan. Bridget arrived in New York City from Ireland on the S.S. Republic on May 24, 1886. In November of 1889 she was hired as servant to the family of Andrew J. Borden. Lizzie and Emma referred to Bridget as “Maggie.” Her responsibilities there included cooking, cleaning and ironing. While cleaning the windows on the morning of August 4, 1892, Bridget was one of the last to see her employers alive. She provided key testimony at the inquest, preliminary hearing and final trial. Legend suggests that after the trial she returned to Ireland prior to settling in Montana, but there is no proof as to this. She was residing in Anaconda, Montana, by 1897, employed as a domestic. She married John M. Sullivan, a smeltman, in Montana in1905.

Friends and neighbors

ADELAIDE (BUFFINTON) CHURCHILL, 1849 – 1926. Born in Fall River, Mass., the daughter of Hon. Edward P. and Comfort (Taber) Buffinton. She married Charles H. Churchill, an employee of the water department in Fall River, and was widowed in 1879. She resided with her only son, Charles, at 90 Second Street in the Buffinton family home. Summoned by Lizzie to the Borden house following the murders, she provided considerable testimony at the inquest as well as the preliminary and final trials.

 

 

ALICE MANLEY RUSSELL, 1852 – 1941. Alice was born in New Bedford, Mass., the daughter of Frederick W. and Judith (Manley) Russell. Employed as a clerk for several years in Fall River, she later taught sewing in the public schools of that city. In 1908, she was promoted to supervisor of sewing, retiring from that position in 1913. She resided in Fall River for the rest of her life. She was a witness at both the inquest and the preliminary trial but it was not until the grand jury hearing that she revealed her “burning of the dress” testimony. She was also a witness at the trial of Miss Lizzie A. Borden in June of 1893.

 

 

DR. SEABURY BOWEN, 1840-1918, family physician to the Borden family, he was a witness at the inquest and the preliminary as well as final trial. His extensive testimony pertained to several aspects of the Borden murder investigation.

The Legal Team

ANDREW JACKSON JENNINGS, 1849 – 1923. Born in Fall River, Mass., the son of Andrew M. and Olive B. (Chace) Jennings. He married Miss Marion G. Saunders of Warren, Rhode Island, on Christmas Day in 1879. He acted as Miss Lizzie A. Borden’s attorney from the time of her arrest. As a member of the legal team which represented her at the trial, he delivered the opening statement for the defense.

GEORGE DEXTER ROBINSON, 1834 – 1896. Born in Lexington, Mass., the son of Charles and Mary (Davis) Robinson. He was married twice, first to Miss Hannah E. Stevens in 1859 and then to Miss Susan E. Simonds in 1867. Active politically, he served the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a member of the House of Representatives, a senator, a congressman and from 1883 to 1886 as governor. He was principal attorney for the defense in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts vs. Lizzie A. Borden.

MELVIN OHIO ADAMS, 1850-1920. He was born in Ashburnham, Mass., son of Joseph and Dolly (Whiting) Adams. Shortly after finishing law school in 1875, he married Mary Colony in Fitchburg and was appointed assistant district attorney for Suffolk County. About eight years before Lizzie’s trial, he returned to private practice. Associate counsel in the defense of Lizzie, he cross-examined all 22 prosecution witnesses during the preliminary hearing, and played an important role throughout the trial.

The prosecution team in the matter of the Commonwealth vs. Lizzie Andrew Borden was led by three times ex-Governor George Robinson, but included the formidable William Henry Moody, whose stellar career surpassed all others associated with the case.  An extraordinarily handsome man, in my opinion, he remained a life-long bachelor.

HOSEA MORRILL KNOWLTON, 1847 – 1902. Born in Durham, Maine, son of Rev. Isaac Case and Mary Smith (Wellington) Knowlton. In 1873, he married Miss Sylvia Bassett Almy of New Bedford. In June of 1893, in his capacity as District Attorney for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, he headed the prosecution against Miss Lizzie A. Borden.

 

Police officers in the investigation

JOHN FLEET, 1848 – 1916. Born in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, England, Fleet was the son of Richard and Charlotte (Brown) Fleet. He emigrated to the United States as a youth and was employed at the American Linen Company in Fall River, Mass. In 1877, he became a policeman and rose from patrolman to city marshall, retiring in 1915. He died in 1916 in Fall River. As assistant city marshall in 1892 Fleet arrested Miss Lizzie Borden for the double murder. His testimony at the preliminary hearing and trial centered on the police searches at the Borden residence. He also provided detailed information about the various hatchets that were found there.

PHILIP HARRINGTON, 1859 – 1893. Born in Fall River, Mass., Harrington was the son of James P. and Mary (McCue) Harrington. He was hired as a patrolman in the Fall River Police Department in 1883. He was appointed captain in December of 1892 and served as a clerk of the Fall River Police Beneficial Association that same year. He provided testimony at Lizzie’s preliminary hearing. He died unexpectedly in Newport, RI, in 1893.

RUFUS BARTLETT HILLIARD, 1849 – 1912. Born in Pembroke, Maine, Hilliard was the son of David and Elizabeth (Wilson) Hilliard. In 1879, he was hired by the Fall River Police Department, where he received periodic promotions until, in 1886, he was named city marshall. In 1888, he married Miss Nellie Smith Clark of Fall River. Hilliard provided extensive testimony at both Lizzie’s preliminary hearing and trial. He was also instrumental the following year in resolving the Bertha Manchester murder case. Under his command, the Fall River Police Department grew to be the third largest in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He resided in Fall River until his death in 1912

WILLIAM H. MEDLEY, 1853 – 1917. Born in England, Medley was the son of Joseph and Hannah (Chambers) Medley. A member of the Fall River Police Department as of 1880, he was a patrolman at the time of the Borden murders. In 1910, he was appointed assistant city marshall and, in 1915, promoted to City Marshall. He died in an automobile accident in Fall River, in 1917. Medley was one of the first police officers to arrive at the scene of the crime. His testimony at the trial detailed his observations there that day.