Lizzie Borden: Sunday School Teacher, Murderer,or Both?

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Although nearly everyone can recite the rhyme,many people are unfamiliar about the details of the case.Who in fact was Lizzie Borden?

There have been few cases that have attracted as much attention as the gruesome hatchet murders of Andrew Jackson Borden and his wife,Abby on that tragic Thursday,August 4th,1892 in Fall River,Massachusetts.In what was termed the “Trial of the Century”,Lizzie Borden was acquitted despite the strong evidence against her.The fact that Lizzie Borden was found to be not guilty,leaving the case forever unresolved,only adds to the mystique and our continuing obsession with the mystery.

Andrew Borden’s bloody corpse was discovered downstairs on his favorite sofa.At the age of seventy,he was one of the richest men in the city,though not well liked.He had been attacked with a sharp object presumed to be an axe,and at first could not positively be identified.Eleven blows had gashed his face,crushed his skull,one eye had been cut in half and his nose completely severed.It looked as though he had been attacked from above and behind.

Abby Borden’s body was found upstairs,struck from behind while on her knees presumably making the bed.The autopsy revealed that there had been nineteen blows to the head.The blood on the body dark and congealed leading them to believe that she had been killed first before her husband.It was reported that she only looked like the form of a person.

Though tried,and acquitted,Sunday School Teacher,Murderer,or both?Here are some interesting facts about this notorious woman you may not have known!……………………………………………………………..

  • The police were reluctant to suspect Lizzie of these heinous murders as it was against perceived social understanding of the era that a woman such as she could have possibly committed such a gruesome devious act.But she in fact burned a dress in the kitchen stove only three days after the murders claiming it had paint on it!This event itself resulted in her being charged with the murders!She gave police a silk dress and told them it was the garment she had been wearing the morning of the murders.Since no properly brought up New England girl wears a silk dress in the morning while doing household chores,it was obviously not the one she had been wearing.The burned dress of course was beyond recall.

  • Lizzie claimed that her menstrual cycle brought on a seizure which blacked out her memory of the events during this tragedy.

  • Lizzie was 32 years old and of unblemished reputation,a quiet demure Sunday School Teacher who also did volunteer work for local charities.Yet she never shed a single tear or showed any signs of emotions during the horrendous double murder investigation,nor at the trial which was to come.Her father Andrew Borden had always discouraged any prospective gold diggers paying court to his sweet young heiresses.Lizzie was 32 and her older sister,Emma was already in her foriteis.It was clear thry would end their days as full time spinsters who would need their fathers money.

  • Lizzie’s father,Andrew Borden had been tansferring some of his assets(mostly property)to the Durfees,Abbys family.He was also in the process of getting around to write his will.He was worth a cool million even in the nineteenth cntury,possibly more.

  • After a twelve day trial with an impressive amount of incriminating evidence presented by the prosecution,the jury took less than an hour to acquit her.Gentleman jurors refused to believe that a good,fine,upstanding,Christian woman of such high social standing would be capable of committing such a gruesome crime. They refused to believe that a “woman” could have did this. Lizzie pointedly reminded the investigators that Abby Borden was her Step Mother,and not her real Mother.She coolly corrected an officer who had mistakenly called Abby her Mother.Lizzie,by her own story had to be in the house at the time of her stepmothers murder,yet was unable to explain why she had not seen or heard anything.She detested her Stepmother,she and her sister Emma.Abby Durfee Borden detested the two sisters also.

  • Lizzie’s statements were not only contradictory,but also bizare:She claimed she had been in the loft eating pears for 20-35 minutes,yet it was a sweltering hot day!Yet another version of this was that she had been up in the loft in that stifling atmosphere searching in a small box for some lead to make sinkers for fishing.These sinkers were easily obtainable for mere pennies at the shop.An officer upon hearing her story visited the hayloft,and saw no footprints in the heavy dust on the floor-except his own!

  • It was a peculiar custom in the house to always keep doors locked.Even the doors between certain rooms upstairs were usually locked,Mr. Borden had said this was in case of intruders trying to rob them.They never went out without locking up,even though someone would still be home.The front door had three different types of locks,and the last thing Andrew Borden picked up literally was another lock.

  • Lizzie Bordeen interesting facts can be found in local libraries,various books,and all over the web.Did she do it?What do you think?


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