The Funeral

The funeral of the murdered people took place on the morning of August 6th. Crowds of people numbering between 3000 and 4000 appeared on Second street in front of the house, and about twenty policemen stood around and maintained a clear passage. Rev. Dr. Adams of the First Congregational Church and City Missionary Buck soon arrived and entered the house. The bodies were laid in two black cloth-covered caskets in the sitting room, where Mr. Borden was killed. An ivy wreath was placed on Mr. Borden’s bier and a bouquet of white roses and fern leaves, tied with a white satin ribbon, was placed over Mrs. Borden. There were about 75 persons present at the funeral services in the house. The services consisted of reading from the scriptures and prayer. There were no singing and no remarks.

The bodies of the victims were laid in the caskets with the mutilated portions of the head turned down, so that the cuts could not be noticed. The caskets were open and the faces of both looked wonderfully peaceful.

The mourners who were present were Mrs. Oliver Gray, the step-mother of the deceased woman; G. F. Fish and wife of Hartford, Ct., the latter a sister of Mrs. Borden; Dr. Bowen and wife, Southard H. Miller and a very few of the neighbors who had been invited to attend the services in the house.

The funeral was private—that is, only a very few of the immediate friends were asked to accompany the remains to the cemetery. But from 11 o’clock until 11:30, when the funeral procession of eleven hacks and two hearses started on its way, there were immense crowds of people lining every sidewalk. There was a detachment of police at the cemetery and another posse accompanied the remains on their way through Borden and Rock streets to the northern end of the city, where the cemetery is located.

The pallbearers were: For Mr. Borden—Abram G. Hart, cashier of the Union Savings Bank; George W. Dean, a retired capitalist; [32]Jerome C. Borden, a relative of the deceased; Richard B. Borden, treasurer of the Troy mills, in which Mr. Borden was a director; James M. Osborn an associate of the deceased in several mills; Andrew Borden, treasurer of the Merchants’ mill, in which Mr. Borden was a large owner. For Mrs. Borden—James C. Eddy, Henry S. Buffington, Frank L. Almy, J. Henry Wells, Simeon B. Chase, John H. Boone, all of them gentlemen in the highest local social and business circles.

As the procession wended its way along North Main street many old associates of Mr. Borden were seen to raise their hats. They forgot all knowledge of the curiosity seekers who stood gaping beside them.

Miss Lizzie and Miss Emma Borden were, of course, the principal mourners. Miss Lizzie went out of the house first, leaning on Undertaker Winward’s arm.

Miss Emma was calm and she walked quickly, and took her seat without hardly glancing at the crowds staring at her.

Both ladies were without veils.

The last person to leave the house was Mr. Morse, who went into a carriage with Rev. Mr. Buck and Dr. Adams.

The procession arrived at the cemetery about 12:23 o’clock, when several hundred people stood about the grounds awaiting the burial. The crowd was kept back by a dozen policemen under direction of Sergt. John Brocklehurst. No one left any of the carriages during the ceremonies except the officiating clergy, the bearers and Mr. Morse.


Rev. E. A. Buck began the funeral exercises by reading New Testament passages introduced with “I am the resurrection and the life.” He was followed by Rev. Dr. Adams, who prayed for the spiritual guidance of all and the inclination of all to submit to divine control, besought that justice should overtake the wrong that had been done, also that those who are seeking to serve the ends of justice might be delivered from mistake, be helped to possess all mercifulness, as well as all righteousness, and in conclusion prayed that all might be delivered from the dominion of evil.

There was a pause of perhaps five minutes, during which the carriages kept their places and no one stirred toward the grave except [33]an elderly lady in plain dress, who hastened to the casket of Mrs. Borden, and was about to kneel in reverence before it, when she was moved away by an officer, and went to the fence around the ground, where, with back to the crowd, she buried her head in tears. It was whispered that she had been employed long ago by the Bordens.

The bodies were not interred in the graves, as a telegraphic order had been received from Boston instructing that they should not be buried. Both caskets were returned to the hearses and were deposited in a receiving tomb.

On the morning after the tragedy the following notice was sent to the newspapers:

“Five thousand dollars reward. The above reward will be paid to any one who may secure the arrest and conviction of the person or persons, who occasioned the death of Andrew J. Borden and his wife.

Signed, Emma L. Borden and Lizzie A. Borden.”

Here was an incentive calculated to invigorate the work of those who were bent on solving the great mystery. But the police officers did not stop to read this announcement. It was as plain as a pike staff that they were not devoting their entire time and energies toward hunting up farm hands, mysterious Portuguese and Westport horse traders. Yet it is an unquestionable fact that City Marshal Hilliard left no stone unturned to follow every clue of this kind to its end. They all ended in smoke.

The hatchets which had been found in the cellar had been sent to Prof. Wood for critical examination, and the public awaited with almost breathless anxiety the making of his report. Upon it depended much which would assist in clearing up the case. After the bodies had been placed in the receiving vault at Oak Grove, Mr. Morse concluded to bury the clothing which the victims wore at the time of death. He employed men to do the work. Under orders the clothing was interred in the yard back of the barn. Just after this incident, Mr. Morse locked the barn door with two Boston reporters on the inside, and when they demanded their release he found considerable fault with the liberties people were taking on the premises. He was reminded that a reward of $5,000 had been offered, and that therefore everybody was intensely interested.

On the same afternoon Andrew J. Jennings, an astute lawyer and a conservative man, who had been employed by the Misses Borden, as before stated, was questioned about the case. He had no particular desire to talk about the family affairs of the Borden’s, but he admitted that as far as he knew, the murdered man left no will. The [35]estate would as a matter of course, go to the daughters. As to the crime itself, Mr. Jennings said:

“I have read many cases in books, in newspapers and in fiction—in novels—and I never heard of a case as remarkable as this. A most outrageous, brutal crime, perpetrated in mid-day in an open house on a prominent thoroughfare, and absolutely motiveless. The theory advanced—these quarrels about wages and about the possession of stores and that sort of thing—are simply ridiculous. They do not offer a motive. If it was shown that the thing was done during even such a quarrel, in the heat of passion, it would be different; but to suppose that for such a matter a man will lie in wait or steal upon his victim while asleep and hack him to death is preposterous. Even with revenge in his heart, the sight of his victim asleep would disarm most any man. Then for a man to enter, commit the deed and escape without being discovered, would be a remarkable combination of circumstances.”

In answer to a question as to what he thought about the possibility of the murder being committed by a member of the family, he replied:

“Well, there are but two women of the household and this man Morse. He accounts so satisfactorily for every hour of that morning, showing him to be out of the house, that there seems to be no ground to base a reasonable suspicion. Further than that, he appeared on the scene almost immediately after the discovery, from the outside, and in the same clothes that he had worn in the morning. Now it is almost impossible that this frightful work could have been done without the clothes of the person who did it being bespattered with blood. Then came Lizzie Borden, dressed in the same clothes she wore before the killing. This, together with the improbability that any woman could do such a piece of work, makes the suspicion seem altogether irrational.”

Complication after complication arose as the facts in the case slowly came to light. Not a scream nor a groan was heard coming from the Borden house that morning; neither did the family living in the Buffington house which stands next north of the Borden house, see anybody coming out on that morning except Mr. Borden himself. He left his home, as has been stated, about 9 o’clock. Mrs. Churchill, who lives with her mother, Mrs. E. P. Buffington, across the yard, watched Mr. Borden go out. There is a fence between the two houses, and Mrs. Buffington’s kitchen windows look over the fence into the Borden yard, directly opposite the side door, and not twenty-eight feet from the Borden house. The barn is but twenty feet behind [36]the house, and the distance from the east end of the house to the east end of the barn is not more than fifty feet. Behind the barn is a fence eight feet high, protected by barbed wire. This fence divides the Borden estate from that of Dr. J. B. Chagnon, whose house fronts on Third street. On the rear of Dr. Chagnon’s place are half a dozen apple and pear trees that stand up against the fence which partitions the Borden estate from that of Dr. Chagnon.

On the south side of the Borden house is Dr. Kelly’s residence. A low fence stands between.

Miss Addie Cheetham lives with her mother and Mrs. Churchill with Mrs. Buffington. All these persons were about their own houses all of Thursday morning. Miss Cheetham sat writing a letter at 10 o’clock and at 10:55 went to the post office. She saw no one come out of the Borden house during the time she sat near the window fronting on the Borden lawn. She could hear the side door bang if it opened at all, but it did not, she says. Mrs. Churchill was about the house until 10:15, when she went to the market to secure dinner. She returned about 10:50, and it was perhaps twenty-five minutes later when she had occasion to go into the kitchen. She looked out of the window and just at that moment Lizzie Borden pushed open the side door of her own house.


Mrs. Churchill ran over to Mrs. Borden’s, and just at that minute Bridget, who had been sent to summon Dr. Bowen, returned, saying that she could not find the doctor. Mrs. Churchill then went over to Lew Hall’s sail loft, where her hired man, Tom Bolles, was talking and asked him to run for Dr. Chagnon. Bolles ran around the square to find the Chagnon house locked up. The family had that day gone to Pawtucket and the hired girl was down street from 10:30 until nearly 12 o’clock.

Bolles came back and while running up Second street saw Dr. Bowen driving in front of his office, and then it was that the family physician was notified.

[37] Bolles saw Bridget cleaning windows on the north and west side of the house early in the forenoon, but she was not in sight at 11:20. All the members of the Buffington household agreed that if there had been any scream from inside the Borden house it would certainly have been heard by them.

In Dr. Kelly’s yard some men were working, and if the assassin proceeding on the theory that a man attempted to scale the fence at that place, he would perhaps have been seen by the laborers. He would also have to pass the barn where Lizzie was, provided, of course, he got out of the house between 10:55 and 11:20. If he jumped over the Buffington fence, he might have been seen by the inmates of the house, and to try to escape by cutting his way over the Kelly fence would have been to fall into the hands of the laborers. It would have been dangerous for him to go out by the Second street entrance, for there are always passers by on this thoroughfare, as well as on Third street.

Clues are absolutely indispensable adjuncts to all criminal operations and in the Borden case they were omnipresent. Everybody seemed to have a suggestion to offer. Around the police headquarters there congregated all kinds of men, including a number of cranks. Those of the latter class who could not report in form, sent in their contributions by mail until Marshal Hilliard’s desk was piled high with curious and original documents. But the police themselves worked night and day and kept their doings as secret as possible, under the circumstances. Before two days passed the press all over the country began to assail the work of the officers, and it was kept up with a vigor worthy a better cause. Undoubtedly this criticism was brought about by the fact that the twenty-five or more newspaper men who interviewed the Marshal daily, or said they did, gleaned the fact that he harbored the suspicion that a member of the family had committed the crimes. But it was clear to all who wished to see it, that he paid as much attention to hunting down “outside clues” as he did in pursuing his inquiries in the other direction. The more plausible clues were diligently followed.

A theory which gave promise of good results was as follows:

On Tuesday before the murder, about 9 o’clock in the morning, a horse and buggy turned into Second street out of Spring street, and came to a halt in front of the Borden House. A young man who was employed near by sat in his buggy which stood opposite the house and was facing south. He took the trouble to watch closely the two [38]men who occupied the buggy. One of them got out and rang the door bell. Mr. Borden answered the call and the stranger was admitted. In about ten minutes he came out and resumed his seat in the buggy and the pair drove off in the direction of Pleasant street. This circumstance was considered of importance, when it became known that the police had information of another person who had seen a strange man about the premises. A boy named Kierouack, aged twelve, who resided on Central street, told the authorities that he was passing the house at about 11 o’clock that morning and that he saw a man scale the fence which separates the Borden and Chagnon estates. Young Kierouack was put to the most rigid examination by the police and he stuck to his story. This clue was effectually disposed of by the authorities who found another person who was with Kierouack at the time of his trip down Second street. This man gave a particular story of his movements that morning and denied that young Kierouack had seen a suspicious character. Adjoining the yard of the Borden place is the house occupied by Dr. Chagnon. On the evening in question the physician was unexpectedly summoned away and asked Dr. Collet, if, as a favor, he would allow the latter’s little son to attend to the telephone during Dr. Chagnon’s absence. The boy was absent, and Dr. Collet sent his daughter to Dr. Chagnon’s residence, but upon her arrival the doctor had departed and the office was locked. The little girl decided to await the arrival of some one and sat down in the yard for that purpose. Soon the man who had driven the doctor away returned, and the office was opened. Miss Chagnon remained in the yard adjoining the Borden place. She was there at the time it was alleged the unknown man jumped the fence, and she declares that she saw no one attempt anything of the kind, but the fact that there was a considerable extent of barbed wire along its top was submitted in answer. Barbed wire necessitates careful handling, and it was argued in support of the truth of the girl’s statement and the falsity of the other story that the passage of a man over such a barrier would require such time as to render detection possible.

Notwithstanding the fact that Mr. Morse had clearly established an alibi there were those who insisted that he knew more of the murder than he had made public. Proceeding on this theory the officers took up the task of investigating Mr. Morse. Officer Medley was given the work, and in company with Inspector Hathaway of the New Bedford police, he discovered that Mr. Morse had lived, as before stated, in Dartmouth.

[39] There was at that time a camp of itinerant horse traders in the town of Westport. It was related that Mr. Morse had had dealings with these men and the sensational press soon coupled his name with a possible hired assassin, a member of the gang of traders. This story was given color by the then unexploded story of young Kierouack, especially when it became known that officer Medley had discovered a man who seemed to fit the description of the stranger alleged to have been seen around the premises. This suspect was the head trader in the Westport Camp and when accosted he readily consented to come to Fall River and surrender himself. He succeeded in showing beyond a reasonable doubt that he was in the city of New Bedford at the time of the Borden murders.


Within a few hours after the murder was reported a detail of police was sent to guard the house. This policy was kept up for more than a week and as early as Friday morning the officers on guard had instructions to keep the Misses Borden, John V. Morse and Bridget Sullivan under the strictest surveillance and not allow either of them to leave the city. If they left the premises they were followed. The Medical Examiner, the Marshal and the officers at work on the case were constantly coming and going about the house, and while it may have appeared to them that the problem was in a fair way of solution, the public was getting more and more hopelessly involved in the mass of stories which were circulated from day to day.

The letter which was alleged to have been received by Mrs. Borden on the morning of the tragedy, continued to excite public interest. “Once a Week,” the New York journal, offered a reward of $500 for the writer of the note, and the Fall River News implored its readers to unite in one effort in the cause of justice, and if possible, find the note and deliver it into the editor’s hands. The missive, however, was not found. Miss Lizzie A. Borden seemingly put an end to that theory when she told Dr. Dolan that she had attempted to find the note and being unsuccessful, she [40]feared it had been burned in the kitchen stove. Not one of the household seemed to be able to give more than a general idea of the contents of the note. It was from a friend who was ill, but as neither the friend nor the note could be found by the united efforts of the police and members of the family, the matter was dropped early in the investigation.

On Saturday the case took on an unexpected phaze. Superintendent O. M. Hanscom of the Boston office of the Pinkerton Detective Agency appeared on the scene. He was not employed by the Mayor of Fall River nor the Marshal of Police and it soon became noised abroad that he was present in the interests of the Misses Borden with the avowed intention of clearing up the mystery. In company with Mr. Jennings he visited the Borden house and was in consultation with members of the family for about two hours. Detective Hanscom remained in Fall River nearly two days and then disappeared as mysteriously as he came. It was the universal opinion at the time that the Pinkertons would unearth the assassin in a short while, but the public was never informed as to the reasons why they withdrew from the case. It was believed, however, that there was a rupture between Marshal Hilliard’s men and the Pinkertons. This may or may not have been the cause of their sudden disappearance.

Sunday morning the Central Church worshippers met with the First Church congregation in the stone church on Main street. All of the pews were filled, many being in their seats some half hour before the service began. It was supposed that the Rev. W. Walker Jubb, who occupied the pulpit, would make some allusion to the awful experiences through which one family in his charge had been compelled to pass during the week, and the supposition was correct. Mr. Jubb read for the morning lesson a portion of Matthew, containing the significant words which imply that what is concealed shall be revealed. In his prayer, Mr. Jubb evoked the divine blessing on the community, rendering thanks for the blessings bestowed on many, and, pausing, referred to the murder of two innocent persons. He prayed fervently that right might prevail, and that in good time the terrible mystery might be cleared away; that the people of the city might do everything in their power to assist the authorities, and asked for divine guidance for the police, that they might prosecute unflinchingly [42]and unceasingly the search for the murderer. Mr. Jubb prayed that their hands might be strengthened, that their movements might be characterized by discretion, and that wisdom and great power of discernment might be given to them in their work. “And while we hope,” he continued, “for the triumph of justice, let our acts be tempered with mercy. Help us to refrain from giving voice to those insinuations and innuendoes which we have no right to utter. Save us from blasting a life, innocent and blameless; keep us from taking the sweetness from a future by our ill-advised words, and let us be charitable as we remember the poor, grief-stricken family and minister unto them.”

The clergyman asked that those who were writing of the crime might be careful of the reputations of the living, which could so easily be undermined.

For his text, Mr. Jubb took the first chapter of Ecclesiastes, ninth verse: “The thing that hath been is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done; and there is no new thing under the sun.” The speaker considered the monotonies of life, and expatiated on the causes of indifference in persons who would be nothing if not geniuses, drawing lessons from successes in humble sphere. At the end of the sermon Mr. Jubb stepped to the side of the pulpit and said slowly and impressively:

“I cannot close my sermon this morning without speaking of the horrible crime that has startled our beloved city this week, ruthlessly taking from our church household two respected and esteemed members. I cannot close without referring to my pain and surprise at the atrocity of the outrage. A more brutal, cunning, daring and fiendish murder I never heard of in all my life. What must have been the person who could have been guilty of such a revolting crime? One to commit such a murder must have been without heart, without soul, a fiend incarnate, the very vilest of degraded and depraved humanity, or he must have been a maniac. The circumstances, execution and all the surroundings cover it with mystery profound. Explanations and evidence as to both perpetrator and motive are shrouded in a mystery that is almost inexplicable. That such a crime could have been committed during the busy hours of the day, right in the heart of a populous city, is passing comprehension. As we ponder, we exclaim in our perplexity, why was the deed done? What could have induced anybody to engage in such a butchery? Where is the motive? When men resort to crime it is for plunder, for gain, from enmity, in sudden anger or for revenge. Strangely, nothing of this nature enters [43]into this case, and again I ask—what was the motive? I believe, and am only voicing your feelings fully when I say that I hope the criminal will be speedily brought to justice. This city cannot afford to have in its midst such an inhuman brute as the murderer of Andrew J. Borden and his wife. Why, a man who could conceive and execute such a murder as that would not hesitate to burn the city.

“I trust that the police may do their duty and lose no opportunity which might lead to the capture of the criminal. I would impress upon them that they should not say too much and thus unconsciously assist in defeating the ends of justice. I also trust that the press (and I say this because I recognize its influence and power), I trust that it will use discretion in disseminating its theories and conclusions, and that pens may be guided by consideration and charity. I would wish the papers to remember that by casting a groundless or undeserved insinuation that they may blacken and blast a life forever, like a tree smitten by a bolt of lightning; a life which has always commanded respect, whose acts and motives have always been pure and holy. Let us ourselves curb our tongues and preserve a blameless life from undeserved suspicions. I think I have the right to ask for the prayers of this church and of my own congregation. The murdered husband and wife were members of this church, and a daughter now stands in the same relation to each one of you, as you, as church members, do to each other. God help and comfort her. Poor stricken girls, may they both be comforted, and may they both realize how fully God is their refuge.”

Marshal Hilliard and his officers after two days and two nights work concluded that the case was of so much importance that it was advisable to call District Attorney Hosea M. Knowlton, of New Bedford, Mass., into their counsels, and accordingly he arrived from his home in New Bedford, on Saturday morning. A short consultation was held at police headquarters and then adjourned until the afternoon. The District Attorney, Marshal Hilliard, State Officer Seaver, Mayor Coughlin and Dr. Dolan met according to agreement in one of the parlors of the Mellen House.

The Marshal took all the evidence which he had collected in the shape of notes, papers, etc., together with other documents bearing on the case, into the room where the five men were closeted and they commenced at the beginning. At the close of the conference held earlier in the afternoon, the District Attorney had advised the officers to proceed with the utmost caution, and was extremely conservative in the conclusions which he found. At that time he [44]had not been made acquainted with all the details. At the Mellen House consultation the same caution was observed. The quintet were working on one of the most remarkable criminal records in history, and were obliged to proceed slowly. The Marshal began at the beginning and continued to the end. He was assisted in his explanation by the Mayor and the Medical Examiner. Mr. Seaver listened. There were details almost without end, and all of them were picked to pieces and viewed in every conceivable light. Considerable new evidence was introduced, and then the testimony of officers not present was submitted, which showed that Miss Lizzie Borden might have been mistaken in one important particular. The Marshal informed the District Attorney that the murder had occurred between ten minutes of 11 o’clock and thirteen minutes after 11 on Thursday morning. The time was as accurate as they could get it, and they had spared no pains to fix it.

The alarm had been given by Miss Lizzie Borden, the daughter of the murdered man, when she returned from the barn. At the moment of the discovery she did not know that her stepmother was also dead, though she explained afterwards that she thought her mother had left the house. It was but a short distance from the barn to the house. Nobody had been found who had seen anybody leaving the yard of the Borden house or entering it, although a number of people, who were named, were sitting by their windows close by. It was also true that nobody had seen Miss Borden enter or leave the barn. She had explained that she went to the stable to procure some lead for a fish line, which she was going to use at Warren. Here there was a stumbling block which puzzled the District Attorney and his assistants. On the day of the murder Miss Lizzie had explained that she went to the loft of the barn for the lead, and an officer who was examining the premises also went to the loft. It was covered with dust and there were no tracks to prove that any person had been there for weeks. He took particular notice of the fact, and reported back that he had walked about on the dust-covered floor on purpose to discover whether or not his own feet left any tracks. He said that they did and thought it singular that anybody could have visited the floor a short time before him and make no impression on the dust. The lower floor of the stable told no such tale, as it was evident that it had been used more frequently and the dust had not accumulated there. The conclusion reached was that in the excitement incident to the awful discovery, Miss Borden had forgotten just where she went for the lead. When she [45]found her father lying on the lounge, she ran to the stairs and ascended three or four steps to call Maggie. Maggie is the name by which Bridget Sullivan was called by members of the family. She did not call for her stepmother, because, as she stated afterward, she did not think she was in. Then came the history of the mysterious letter. Miss Lizzie had said that on the morning of the tragedy her stepmother received a letter asking her to visit a sick friend. She knew that at about 9 o’clock her stepmother went upstairs to put shams on the pillows, and she did not see her again. It was that letter which led her to believe that her stepmother had gone out. Here was stumbling block number two. The officers had searched all over the house for that letter, the Marshal said, but had failed to find any trace of it. Miss Lizzie had feared that it had been burned in the kitchen stove.

The Marshal’s men had found other letters and fragments of letters in the waste paper basket and had put them together piece by piece. The one letter that was wanted had not been found. It was considered singular that, with all the furore that has been raised over this note, the woman who wrote it has not come forward before this and cleared up the mystery. It is also strange that the boy who delivered the note has not made himself known. It was believed that every boy in town old enough to do an errand had visited the house since the tragedy, but the particular boy has kept in the background.

It was presumed that Mrs. Borden’s correspondent feared the notoriety which would come to her if she disclosed her identity, but it was unfortunate that she should allow any such scruples to overcome what ought to be a desire to assist in every way possible in unravelling the knot.

The Marshal, Medical Examiner and Mayor then carefully rehearsed, step by step, the summoning of Dr. Bowen, who was not at home when the murder was committed, and his ghastly discovery on the second floor. No theory other than that Mrs. Borden was murdered first was entertained. Miss Lizzie Borden’s demeanor during the many interviews which the police had with her was described at length, and the story of John V. Morse’s whereabouts was retold.

Thorough investigation of theories advanced upon the strength of Bridget Sullivan’s statement that the crime was committed by the Portuguese employed upon the farm of Andrew Borden in Somerset, resulted in placing them with the other numerous opinions and possibilities which have been exploded by the authorities. In the excitement [46]attending the discovery of the bodies of the murdered couple, inquiries directed to the domestic, elicited answers to the effect that the Portuguese must have done it. The individual referred to was a Swede laborer, and Marshal Hilliard thereupon drove to the Somerset farm. The investigation there was necessarily brief in its character, but such as it was, satisfied the Marshal that the laborer, whom the Sullivan woman designated as the Portuguese, was far removed from the house on Second street at the time the murders were committed. In their persistent following of every possible clue the authorities deemed it advisable to make an exhaustive examination regarding the whereabouts of the Swedish laborer, at the time of the tragedy, and with this end in view another trip had been made to Somerset. The result confirmed the opinion of Marshal Hilliard. The man established a thoroughly satisfactory alibi, and the officials were forced to acquit him of the possibility of any knowledge or of complicity in the affair.

Some time before Andrew Borden had purchased some property located across the river. This property was owned by a number of persons, heirs of a former owner, and among them was one who was strangely disinclined to part with the place, at least at the figures satisfactory to the other owners. His dissatisfaction was made manifest to such an extent that among the stories circulated regarding the affair was one which suggested the possibility of this dissatisfied individual having some knowledge of the ones responsible for the tragedy. This story, although without reliable foundation, it was deemed best to investigate also, and accordingly the person referred to received a visit from the Government officials. The desired knowledge was easily secured, and the fact readily established that the party in question had no connection whatever with the murder of the aged couple.

After this extended conference of the highest authorities in the county it was given out that the District Attorney was much pleased with the work of the police and that an inquest would be held immediately, before Judge Josiah C. Blaisdell of the Second District Court of Bristol, which is the Fall River local Court.

By Monday morning following the tragedy, the fact that some member of the Borden family was suspected of the crime by the police, became a matter of public comment. But withal there was nothing to substantiate this suspicion, except that the officers kept up their daily and nightly watch of the house and its surroundings. Public sentiment began to be divided. The police had a large following who believed implicitly in their ability to ferret out the crimes, and it soon became noised about that no less a person than the District Attorney himself was in hearty co-operation with the officers and shared with them the fear that some member of the household was the author of the crime. Whether this rumor was based upon fact or not will be decided by those who follow the course of subsequent events. Friends of the Borden household became mightily aroused to the trend of public opinion and to the now undisguised work of the police. Four days had passed and the officers of the law seemed to find no other clue than that which kept them inside the Borden yard. Those people who found that it was beyond the pale of human conception to suspect that the crime could have been committed by a member of the household, began to rally to the support of the suspected parties; and their influence was felt in certain quarters; yet it did not disarm the frightful suspicion, cruel and groundless though it might have been.

The public had been led to suspect that arrests would be made on or before Saturday night. People became confirmed in the view that there never would be a conviction and sentence of the guilty party. Up to this time, absolutely nothing but circumstantial evidence, had been discovered, and for the most part it was fair to suppose that no evidence of any other nature had been gathered. This was an unpleasant conclusion to reach and men did not arrive at it cheerfully, but they were forced to accept it, nevertheless. They saw but one bright spot in the murky horizon, and that was a tiny one. The government might sooner or later strike a clue which [48]would put them on the right track of the assassin, who, whether male or female, might break down and confess. But if the assassin had no confederates and kept his own counsel, he was safe. Such was the course of reasoning pursued on Monday, and it seemed to be logical.

The police had been terribly in earnest in their work and they had pursued it efficiently and effectively. They had been severely criticised as they undoubtedly expected to be, but perhaps that was unjust. At the start they were caught at a disadvantage, they were the victims of circumstances which could entangle them but one day in the year, and perhaps a mistake was made when they did not take absolute and immediate possession of the house, barn and yard and place a guard in every room. Yet had this been done the well meaning public would perhaps have been more caustic in criticism. If they did make a mistake it was a matter which no human being could sit in judgment upon. They had to deal with a horror calculated to stagger any detective force in the world whatever its training, skill or experience. An unparalleled horror it may be, but one without an equal in the annals of New England crime. That a false step was taken during the first hour of the commotion was not surprising.


Among the many theories which were advanced as to who was responsible for the crime, that of Mr. John Beattie, then an Alderman of Fall River, will suffice to show how deeply the people had thought upon the subject. Mr. Beattie said in a published interview: “My theory—and it is mine alone—is one formed from the circumstances of the case. The brain which devised this crime was cunning enough to devise beforehand, the means to escape detention. Supposing it was a woman, she was cunning enough to wear a loose wrapper which would have covered her clothes, and gloves which would have protected her hands from the stains of blood. If so there was time to burn both wrapper and gloves in the hot fire, which [49]was known to have been burning in the kitchen stove at the time of the tragedy.” The Alderman’s theory is simply given here to show the trend of public opinion, and while it was perhaps his own, there were many conservative people who shared it with him.

On Sunday two “outside clues” came up for consideration of the authorities. Special officers, Harrington and Doherty, were sent out to find one Thomas Walker and succeeded. The man was taken to task concerning his whereabouts on Thursday and he told his story. He was a tailor and worked for Thomas Carey on Main street, had been recently married and moved into a tenement belonging to Andrew J. Borden, which was located on Fourth street. The rumor had been that Walker had experienced domestic troubles and after a long period of temperance had taken some intoxicants. Three weeks before the tragedy Mr. Borden called at Carey’s shop and had a talk with Walker. The rent was due and Mr. Borden wanted it paid or else he wanted Walker to move out. After some argument the tenant concluded to move and did so. It was rumored that unpleasant words had passed between the two men and the police deemed it advisable to give Walker a chance to make an explanation. Mr. Walker told so straight and clear a story of his whereabouts on that day that it was taken for truth and especially so when Mr. Carey, his employer, corroborated every statement which he had made.

The other clue was to the effect that a Portuguese had been seen burying a bloody hatchet on the Borden farm in Swansea. Officer Medley visited the farm and searched in vain where the axe was alleged to have been buried. He found a Portuguese laborer who had been on the farm all day Thursday and who had killed some chickens for market.

Another clue which showed a strong point in support of Miss Borden’s story of having been in the barn was that told by one Hyman Lubinsky. He said that while driving on Second street at 10:30 a. m., on Thursday, he saw a woman in the Borden yard; noticed her walk from the barn to the side door on the north and enter. The description which he gave of the woman fitted that of Miss Lizzie and it appeared to verify her story of having been in the barn as before stated. This man was not introduced by the defense at the preliminary trial.

But there was a clue which caused no end of comment, both personal and in the press. Information reached the police that Officer Joseph Hyde had seen a suspicious looking stranger in the vicinity of Second street on that morning. On the following Tuesday, Dr. B. J. Handy, one of the best known physicians in the city, made public [50]the fact that he also saw a very strange appearing man on Second street on the morning of the murder between 10:25 and 10:45 o’clock.

The doctor took some notice of this man and in the afternoon while in conversation with his wife he became more and more impressed with the idea that the stranger had some connection with the awful crime. This theory became a matter of much importance and Dr. Handy did not at this time know that Officer Hyde was reported to have seen a similar person. Dr. Handy’s statement was that at some time within fifteen minutes of 10:30 o’clock that morning he was driving down Second street. When as he was passing the residence of Dr. Kelly,—which is the next house south of the Borden premises,—his attention was attracted to a pedestrian walking slowly along the sidewalk near the Borden house. Ordinarily the face of a stranger would not excite much interest in the mind of Dr. Handy, inasmuch as he was continually passing the streets of the city on his professional calls. In this case, however, he looked twice at the passerby, and even turned in his carriage to inspect him more closely. Just what caused him to do this the doctor did not definitely explain. There was a peculiarity about the man which he could not exactly describe. The individual was about 30 years of age, five feet five inches in height, weight perhaps about 125 or 130 pounds. His clothes were of light gray of just what cut and texture the doctor could not positively state; nor could he tell whether the man’s hat was of felt or straw. It was not the dress which attracted Dr. Handy, it was the man’s features, which he saw. He was pale, almost white; not with the ghastly pallor of a sick man, but rather the whitish appearance of a man whose face had not been touched by the sun’s rays; who might have been in confinement, or whose work was of such a nature as to keep him constantly in a cellar. There was something beyond this paleness which aroused the doctor particularly to observe him, and that was that he appeared to be in a state of intense nervousness.

Within an hour after Dr. Handy had heard of the terrible tragedy and within three hours after he had seen the queer looking stranger he had in his own mind decided that the unknown knew something of the murders. He communicated his suspicions to the police and gave a complete description of the man. More unfavorable comment was directed at the authorities because they failed to find this man as readily as they did other suspects than was apparently absolutely necessary. Column after column of the leading newspapers were devoted to the discussion of this stranger until he became known as “Dr. Handy’s Wild Eyed Man,” and while the [51]police were accused of neglecting this seemingly important clue there are trustworthy men who know and can show beyond contradiction that he was sought after in the most diligent manner. So faithfully in fact did the officers search for the stranger, all the while neglecting, if it may be called by that name, to follow more plausible clues; many of them finally said they were forced to the conclusion that the wild eyed man was a myth, and that with all due respect to Dr. Handy’s opinions and conclusions. But myth or reality some of the friends of Miss Lizzie insisted that he be materialized if the former, or produced if the latter. There was a man known to the police as “Mike the Soldier” and he in a measure seemed to fit the description of the “Wild Eyed.” Pursuing the plan which Marshal Hilliard did from the beginning, of following every clue no matter how trivial or unimportant, his men were sent in every direction to hunt the curious stranger. “Mike the Soldier” was discovered, as will be seen later.

There was intense excitement in Fall River the day the murder was reported. It grew hourly and showed no signs of abatement, but rather continued on the increase, until on Tuesday following it was at fever heat. Men no longer gathered in knots on the sidewalks. On some of the streets, and particularly the thoroughfares in the vicinity of the police station, people were scattered along the curbing for blocks. The report that an inquest was to be held in the Second District Court before Judge J. C. Blaisdell, was sufficient to draw the crowds. Everything was in readiness by 10 o’clock and when a hack started for the Borden house to convey Miss Lizzie and a friend to the police station where the inquest was to be held, the news spread with great rapidity. Business was partially suspended in the center of the city as it had been on Thursday noon, when the story of the tragedy was first made known. The report went out that a hack, containing Marshal Hilliard and Officer Harrington had gone to the Borden house. Groups of men found time to rush to Court Square, and to the streets approaching and await developments. Others still more curious ran after the carriage, and others more on the alert, to jump toward Main street in case the driver took that route. Hundreds who were not so well informed were content to join the groups mentioned, and to stand still without asking questions. What was there to see? A hack drawn by two horses, with two ladies on the back seat and two officers in the front seat, dressed in citizen’s clothes. Men on wagons saw the vehicle coming and they drove post haste for the police station. Men, women and children joined in a wild scramble for the narrow alleyway, and Court Square was choked in a twinkling. The crowd would have waited complacently all the afternoon, rather than have missed one brief glance at the carriage and its occupants. The driver saw what was going to happen and he laid the whip on his horses, but to no purpose. The sightseers would not be outdone and they arrived ahead of time. Windows were thrown open, heads were thrust out, crowds pushed [53]through the streets and for ten minutes it seemed as if the whole town within a stone’s throw of police headquarters was vibrating. It was not strange that the tension tightened. The community had reached a point when it felt that it must clear up the mystery or go insane. Men complained that they went to bed with murder on the brain, and that the same grim phantom was visible the moment they opened their eyes in the morning. It is the pace that tells, and for five days the pace had been furious. The human mind will not cease to work. Its possessor has no control over it when it takes hold of such a subject as this. It demands an assassin caught red-handed with the dripping axe concealed beneath his coat. It asks that the evidence of his guilt be made conclusive. It wants no guess work. Then it attempts to rid itself of the horrible theory on which it had been feeding for one hundred and twenty hours and travels off in another direction. It conceals a maniac in the upper part of the Borden house, watches him kill the woman, follows him as he descends the stairs and slays Mr. Borden, sees him pass out unobserved and takes him off and sets him down a thousand miles from the scene of his work, safe from capture. This would be a relief to the mind if it were more than temporary; but the mind does all this in the twinkling of an eye, and in the next moment asks why the maniac could not be appeased with one slaughter, and is back again at the beginning, asking questions and hunting clues. This is not overstating the mental condition of the populace during the first few weeks subsequent to the killing.

Judge Josiah C. Blaisdell.

Up to the time of opening the inquest there had been nothing but circumstantial evidence found whereon to base a suspicion of guilt, and the fact that District Attorney Knowlton and Attorney General Albert E. Pillsbury, a distinguished and acute lawyer, had been called into the case, showed that the authorities needed the wise counsel of the foremost legal talent in Massachusetts, before taking the all important step of making an arrest. If, after a thorough sifting [54]of this circumstantial evidence, it was discovered that the theory of the state was wrong, then the guard would be called away from the Borden house, and the authorities would be compelled to start on a new trail. The police were free to admit that there was but one theory, one clue, and if it proved unsuccessful, they had no other to take its place.

Officer Doherty was sent to the Borden house to bring Bridget Sullivan to the police station to appear as the first witness at the inquest. He had some difficulty at the house because the impression had gone forth that he intended to arrest the servant girl. For a time there were tears and lamentation, but finally the officer made it understood that the only intention was to have the young woman talk to the District Attorney. On the way to the station Miss Sullivan’s tears came forth again. She told the office that she had given all information in her power to the police, and that she knew nothing more than what she had stated. Talking about the family relations, she remarked that things didn’t go in the house as they should, and that she wanted to leave and had threatened to do so several times in the past two years. “But Mrs. Borden,” she declared, “was a lovely woman, and I remained there because she wanted me to. Now that she is gone, however, I will stay there no longer than I have to, and will leave just as soon as the police will allow me.” Bridget also said that the strain of remaining in the place was intense. All the women there who were members of the household—the Borden girls and Miss Sullivan—were almost ready to give way to nervous prostration. Awaiting her presence were District Attorney Knowlton, State Officer Seaver, Marshal Hilliard and Medical Examiner Dolan, and soon after they were joined by Mayor Coughlin. A report that an inquest was under way quickly spread, but received prompt denial by the Marshal. When asked the meaning of the gathering he said it was an inquiry and the officers were searching for information. The domestic was in the presence of the officials for several hours and was subject to a searching cross examination, every detail of the tragedy being gone over exhaustively. After this informed conference in the Marshal’s office the party adjourned to the District Court room which is situated on the second floor in the building. There were present Judge Blaisdell, District Attorney Knowlton, City Marshal Hilliard, District Officers Seaver and Rhodes, Medical Examiner Dolan, the District Attorney’s stenographer, Miss Annie White, and a couple of police officials, who were among the first called to the house of the Bordens. Bridget Sullivan was in deep distress, and, if she [55]had not already cried her eyes out, would probably have been very much agitated. On the contrary, while tremulous in voice and now and then crying a little, she was calm enough to receive the interrogatories without exhibiting much emotion and answered them comprehensively. The first question put to her was in regard to her whereabouts all through the morning of Thursday up to the time of the murder. She answered that she had been doing her regular work in the kitchen on the first floor. She had washed the breakfast dishes. She saw Miss Lizzie pass through the kitchen after breakfast time and the young lady might have passed through again. Bridget continued that she had finished up her work down-stairs and resumed window washing on the third floor, which had been begun the preceding day. She might have seen Mrs. Borden as she went up-stairs. She could hardly remember. Mr. Borden had already left the house.

The witness went up into the third floor, and while washing windows talked down to the sidewalk with a friend. She went on with the windows and might have made considerable noise as she raised and lowered them. She heard no noise inside the house in the meantime. By-and-by she heard Miss Lizzie call her. She answered at once, and went down stairs to the first floor, not thinking of looking about on the second floor, where Mrs. Borden was found dead shortly afterwards, because there was nothing to make her look around as she obeyed Miss Lizzie’s call. She found Mr. Borden dead and Lizzie at the door of the room. The last point touched was the letter sent to Mrs. Borden warning her that she might be poisoned. Bridget said she knew nothing about this matter at all. Bridget finished her testimony shortly after noon and then returned to the matron’s apartments. City Marshal Hilliard had served the summons on Miss Lizzie at the house and she arrived at the station about 2 o’clock. About this time Attorney Andrew J. Jennings appeared at the City Marshal’s office and applied for permission to be present at the inquest in order to look after the interests of the witnesses, but he was refused. The Counsel argued at length against being excluded, but the Court would not yield and he was compelled to withdraw. All the afternoon Miss Lizzie was kept on the witness stand and testified to what she knew of the killing of her father and stepmother; and at the close of the day District Attorney Knowlton gave out a bulletin stating that two witnesses had been examined. As the inquest was held behind doors closed and doubly guarded by the police, there was no way of finding out what had transpired within. Although the inquest was held in secret, the day was marked by numerous happenings which [56]lent interest to the already famous case. The Attorney General who had been in consultation with the local authorities left the city in the afternoon, but before going he took occasion to say to an assembly of newspaper men that the case was not so mysterious as had been reported, and bantered them concerning their clues. Perhaps his conversation was a bit of sarcasm. He was informed that the murder was mysterious enough to baffle the police, and that five days had elapsed and that there had been no arrest. Somebody took the pains further to inform him that the evidence was purely circumstantial. “You newspaper men know, or ought to know,” said Mr. Pillsbury, “that you may not be in a position to pronounce on the case. There may be some things which you have not heard of and which may have an important bearing.” The reply was to the effect that the head men who had been working on the case, had conceded at noon that day, that they had no other evidence, and that they ought to be pretty good authority. “Police officers do not always tell what they know,” was the parting shot of the Attorney General as he withdrew.

At 5 o’clock Bridget Sullivan left the police station in company with Officer Doherty and passed down Court Square. She was dressed in a green gown with hat to match and appeared to be nervous and excited. Nobody knew her, however, and she attracted no attention whatever. She went to the Borden house for a bundle and, still accompanied by Officer Doherty, walked to No. 95 Division street, where her cousin, Patrick Harrington lives, and where she passed the night. She was allowed to go on her own recognizance and seemed to be much relieved to get away from the Borden house. The Government impressed her with the necessity of saying nothing about the proceedings at the inquest and she was warned not to talk with anybody regarding her testimony. Bridget Sullivan is one of fourteen children. She came to this country six years ago. For three years she worked for a number of families in this city and the police reported that she bore an excellent reputation. For three years she had lived with the Borden family and for some time had been threatening to return to Ireland. She said that Mrs. Borden was a very kind mistress and that she was very much attached to her. Mrs. Borden used to talk to her about going home to Ireland, and used to tell her that she would be lonely without her. Accordingly, the girl said that she did not have the heart to leave, but she never expected to be in such an awful predicament. She had been terrified ever since the tragedy. Prof. Wood, of Cambridge, arrived on the 4 o’clock train Monday afternoon, but was not called to testify at the [57]inquest on Tuesday. He was questioned regarding the nature of his visit, and stated that he had come to Fall River to see what there was for him to do. “Have you examined any axe, Professor?” was asked. Prof. Wood hesitated a moment, and said: “I have seen an axe.” “Will you make an examination down here?” was the next question. “I do not expect to,” was the reply. “I could not very well bring down my laboratory.” At 6 o’clock Miss Lizzie Borden, accompanied by her friend, Mrs. George Brigham, and Marshal Hilliard, entered a carriage and drove to Miss Borden’s home. The excitement was not over for the day, but the District Attorney’s bulletin made it plain that the authorities would make no further move that night. When the inquest adjourned, the situation in a nutshell was this: The authorities were evidently convinced that they could rely on Bridget Sullivan, and she was released from custody. She had been in custody since Thursday noon. Miss Lizzie Borden had been partially examined, and the police had completed their work on the case, so far as the collection of evidence was concerned.

There was almost as much mystery about the scenes incidental to the inquest as there was about the murder. In the first place the authorities seemed to want it understood that there was no inquest. Some of them intimated that the Government was simply conducting an informal examination with a view to drawing from the witnesses their last stories and making a comparison of them. In fact, that was the impression which prevailed up to noon, and it was reported that the oath was not administered. Nevertheless, the great pains which all connected with the proceedings took to keep information from the public made it plain that the officials were attempting to conclude the case. It was common talk around the police station Tuesday evening that there was something very significant in the fact that Bridget Sullivan, the only government witness, with the exception of Miss Lizzie Borden, and a person on whom the prosecution must rely to explain certain occurrences before and after the tragedy, was allowed to go upon her own recognizance; and the bearing of the officials who had worked up the case indicated that they were in possession of information which they considered very valuable and which they had before been unable to secure.

At a meeting of the Board of Aldermen held that evening the following order was adopted: “Inasmuch as a terrible crime has been committed in this city requiring an unusually large number of men to do police duty, it is hereby ordered that the City Marshal be and he is hereby directed to employ such extra constables as he may deem [58]necessary for the detection of the criminals, the expense to be charged to the appropriation for police.” Up to this time, for all the public knew, the police had been unsuccessful in the hunt for the weapon. That was still one of the missing links in the chain of evidence which was claimed. In the afternoon, a story became circulated that Peleg Brightman, a paper-hanger, had been at work in South Somerset, near the two farms owned by the late Mr. Borden in that region. The story went that a bloody hatchet had been found on one of the Brayton Farms, the implement being wrapped up in a piece of newspaper and hidden in a laborer’s house. As the story circulated a great breeze of inquiry and excitement arose. Several vehicles containing newspaper reporters, started immediately for the scene of the alleged discovery. Officer Harrington was also dispatched to the farm by the Marshal. The several parties reached the place about 4:30 o’clock and found a Portuguese woman in charge of the house. The woman was frightened by her visitors, and being unable to understand English well, there was no little excitement. She called her husband from the fields and he understood. He said he knew nothing about the finding of such a hatchet as had been described, but gave the squad of investigators leave to search the house. They looked it all over. The only weapon with an edge which they found was a hatchet lying on the kitchen shelf. It had no blood stains upon it. The police returned to the city in the evening, but some of the newspaper men continued their search to the two Borden farms and did not return till late. After the issuance of the official bulletin, with its practical announcement that there would be no further developments before the continuation of the inquest on Wednesday morning, there was a decided lull in the feeling of general anticipation which had existed for the past few days. This brief lull and the authoritative knowledge that nothing of importance would develop until the renewal of the inquest and the re-appearance of Bridget Sullivan and Lizzie Borden before the authorities came as a great relief, temporary though its character was, and confident in the assurance, the wearied people and the weary workers retired from the streets and at midnight the city was asleep.

As was natural, the newspapers throughout the country began at about this stage of the proceedings to take sides upon the question of the wisdom exhibited by the police. The editorial quoted below is from the Springfield Republican and is a fair sample of the opinions of those who saw the investigation from a distance. It read:

“All through the investigations carried on by the Fall River [59]police, a lack of ability has been shown seldom equalled, and causes they assign for connecting the daughter with the murder are on a par with their other exhibitions of lack of wisdom. Because some one, unknown to them and too smart for them to catch, butchered two people in the daytime on a principal street of the city, using brute force, far in excess of that possessed by this girl, they conclude that there is probable reason to believe that she is the murderess. Because they found no one walking along the street with his hands and clothes reeking with blood, they conclude that it is probable, after swinging the axe with the precision and effect of a butcher, she washed the blood from her hands and clothes.”

Wednesday morning the inquest was resumed. At its close the District Attorney issued the following bulletin:

“Inquest continued at 10 to-day. Witnesses examined were Lizzie Borden, Dr. S. W. Bowen, Adelaide B. Churchill, Hiram C. Harrington, John V. Morse and Emma Borden. Nothing developed for publication.”

Among those present, in addition to the prosecuting officials, was Prof. Wood of Harvard, to whom the stomachs of the murdered couple had been sent for analysis. After an hour’s stay in the Police Station a carriage was ordered by the Marshal, and, upon its arrival, Prof. Wood entered. Next a trunk was brought out under the charge of Medical Examiner Dolan and placed upon the carriage. The latter bade Prof. Wood good-bye and the Cambridge man was driven to the station. It was promptly presumed that included in the contents of the trunk were the axe and articles requiring analysis, and an inquiry covering these points was directed to Dr. Dolan. He declined to affirm or deny anything, and informed the newspaper representatives in a jocular vein that all the clues and secrets of the case were carefully secreted in the trunk. All this time public interest was centred in the fact of Miss Lizzie’s presence in the court room, and it was felt that the most important hours of the investigation were dragging along. If the young woman, toward whom such suspicion had been directed, should come forth and retire to her home, but little more could be expected in this direction. Certainly, after the searching examination, which all knew she was undergoing, any further questioning could but be useless, and there were those in the gathered crowds in the vicinity of Court Square who openly proclaimed their earnest convictions that with the exit of Lizzie Borden from the station house the cloud of suspicions which had hovered about her must be dispelled, with the accompanying practical admission by the authorities that they were unable to connect her with the commission of the crime. This statement was based upon the wide-spread [60]knowledge that the police had been moving with the greatest caution in their investigation upon the thoroughly understood line.

The members of the Borden family held a high position, their wealth was great, and, apart from the fact that their interests were being guarded by one of the ablest attorneys in the city, it was known that influential friends of the family had deemed it wise to request the Marshal to move with the utmost care before taking active steps toward the arrest of any member of that household. Perhaps the accusation that, had certain suspected persons been possessed of less wealth and influence, they would long ere this have been apprehended was unjust to the hard-working police, but the fact was patent to everybody that the extreme care in this particular case reached far beyond the usual, particularly as all the time every movement of the Borden girls was only made under the surveillance of a police officer. During the afternoon carpenter Maurice Daly, the Marshal and Officer Harrington appeared at the Borden house. The first mentioned had a kit of carpenter’s tools in his hand and the three men entered the house. After half an hour they came out and were noticed carrying three bundles. These contained parts of the woodwork about the doors and windows which showed blood spots. Marshal Hilliard, previous to the opening of the inquest, had employed Detective Edwin D. McHenry of Providence, R. I., to assist his men in running down clues. Mr. McHenry was destined to form an important factor in the case and its subsequent developments, as will be seen farther on. His first work, so far as the police knew, was in connection with Officer Medley in following the clue given to the police by Dr. Handy. It was at a cottage at Marion, owned by Dr. Handy, that Miss Lizzie Borden intended to spend her vacation, and this, coupled with the prominence of the physician, made the authorities feel particularly anxious to ascertain the personality of this “wild eyed man,” confident though they were that he was entirely innocent of any complicity in the tragedy at the Borden house. The chase was not a difficult one, and the individual was located promptly by the officers. He was Michael Graham, better known as “Mike, the Soldier,” a weaver employed in Border City Mill No. 2, and for some days previous to Thursday he had been drinking freely. The officers learned that Graham was in the vicinity of the Borden house just before 10 o’clock on the morning of the murder and that his physical condition, as a result of his excesses, was such as to render his countenance almost ghastly in its color. He reached the mills where he is employed [61]shortly after 10 o’clock, and his condition was at once apparent, and the men in charge there declined to allow him to go to work.

The officers found the saloons in which Graham spent Wednesday night, and learned there that he drank immoderately, and was feeling badly as a result. The description of Graham corresponded in every particular with that given by Officer Hyde, who furnished more details as to the clothing of the man than could be advanced by Dr. Handy. His trousers were of a peculiar texture and hue, and were rendered extremely noticeable on this account. This, in itself, was believed to be sufficient identification, but in all other particulars there was an unmistaken similarity, and the authorities arrived at once at the conclusion that the man was identical with the person described by Dr. Handy and the police officer. The explosion of this theory afforded much satisfaction to the authorities. Yet there appeared many weeks afterward reasons known to the Marshal alone which caused him to start Officer Medley in search of “Mike the Soldier” again. The search ended in a day and the suspect was again located. Superintendent Hanscom of the Pinkerton Agency, was in Fall River for several days about the time of the inquest. He declined to be interviewed about his work and as the public observed, made numerous visits to the law office of Mr. Jennings. The conclusion of some police officers, perhaps erroneous, was that he was present to protect the members of the household. He talked very little but was credited with saying with a smile, that Marshal Hilliard was doing good work. The local authorities, however, expressed themselves in very strong terms regarding the doubts which the Pinkerton man cast upon the reliability of a portion of their accumulated wisdom.

Thursday was the last day of the inquest, and in its evening hours a veritable sensation was produced. The same impenetrable secrecy was maintained all day long, and no one knew what progress was being made behind the grim stone walls of the Central Police Station wherein Judge Blaisdell and the chosen few sat in solemn conclave. The scenes of the day before were enacted in the guard room and the streets about the building. Crowds surged about the doors and a double guard of patrolmen were doing duty in the hallways. The forenoon session developed nothing so far as the public was concerned. In the afternoon, Eli Bence, the drug clerk, Fred Hart, another clerk, and Frank Kilroy, who saw Mr. Borden on the morning of the tragedy, strolled into the guard room and were shown upstairs. Later, Bridget Sullivan, escorted by two officers, walked up the alley. She attracted no attention and appeared to be at her ease. The fact that Bridget walked from her temporary residence at 95 Division street to the police station, a distance of more than a mile in the heat of an August day, while other women witnesses rode in a hack from the Borden house, a distance of less than an eighth of a mile, caused some comment. About 3 o’clock in the afternoon the closed carriage which had become almost as familiar a sight as the police patrol, rattled over the rough pavement. Half a dozen men were in sight, and in a twinkling two hundred men, women and children swarmed around the coach. The City Marshal gave an order, Steward Geagan cracked a whip, officers hustled the crowd back and Mrs. George S. Brigham alighted. She was followed by Misses Emma and Lizzie Borden. Then Officer Doherty disappeared with the hack and returned with another witness. The same crowd collected but no one tried to drive it back. The excitement subsided. It was growing tiresome in Fall River.

The reaction had set in, the community was losing its patience. For two days it had been informed that the end was near and that the die was about to be cast; but at 3 o’clock the bulletin boards [63]announced that no action had been taken and no verdict had been rendered, and the crowds muttered and grumbled. They wanted something done; their interest in clues and theories and suspicious characters had about died out. More than that, they were no longer satisfied with reports of the proceedings at the inquest detailed step by step. They demanded the grand finale which would bring the drama to a close or ring the curtain up on a new scene; but it seemed as if the grand finale had been indefinitely postponed. The hour dragged along and the gray walls of the Court House in the Square kept their secrets, if they had any to keep. It was the same story over and over again. Witnesses known to be connected with the case appeared and disappeared; officers were sent hither and thither and various rumors were afloat regarding the probable outcome.


From the time that the carriage rolled up to the entrance to the Central Police Station at 4:30 o’clock and Lizzie Borden, Emma Borden and Mrs. George Brigham dismounted under the watchful eye of Marshal Hilliard, people commenced to congregate about the streets contiguous to the station house. By that intuitive perception by which the general public becomes aware of all important proceedings looking towards the capture or apprehension of criminals in noted cases, it was recognized that the most important movements of the long investigation had been entered upon; and that their passing were fraught with the greatest import to all directly concerned in the case as well as the public, restless under the week’s delay in clearing the way for the arrest of the murderer. There was nothing remarkable in the appearance of the party, Miss Emma Borden being evidently the most agitated. The excitement grew as the hour passed, and there was no movement from the court room. In the meanwhile information arrived that an expert safe opener had arrived from Boston, and had been driven hurriedly to the Borden house on Second street. Investigation showed the truth of this story, and the further fact that he had commenced work upon the safe in which Andrew J. Borden kept his books and papers. This safe was found locked at the time of the tragedy, and the secret of the combination died with the murdered man. The expert believed he could easily open the safe, but he found the combination most intricate, and he worked away without apparent result.

[64] At 5 o’clock Marshal Hilliard and District Attorney Knowlton came from the court room and entered a carriage. Soon the Marshal returned, but the District Attorney was absent for nearly an hour, and it was reported that he had visited the Borden house and had learned that the safe opener had not completed his work. Outside the court room the stalwart officers kept guard, and at the foot of the stairs in the station house the large force of newspaper representatives were on guard. The subordinate officers who had been working upon the case expressed their convictions that the long delayed arrest was about to be made, and that Lizzie Borden would not depart from the station with the remaining members of the household. Soon Bridget Sullivan emerged, and escorted by a police officer walked slowly down the street. The gravity of the situation was apparent, for the natural sternness of some of the officials, including the Marshal, was increased to such an extent as to warrant the inference that something of importance in connection with the case was about to happen. Soon the inquisition was apparently ended, and then Lizzie Borden, her sister and Mrs. Brigham were escorted across the entry from the court room to the matron’s room, which is situated upon the same floor. An officer came out and soon returned with supper for the party. Miss Lizzie Borden threw herself upon the lounge in the room, and the repast was disturbed but little.

Across the room there was grave work, and the decision of the authorities to arrest Lizzie Borden was arrived at after a consultation lasting but ten minutes. The services of Clerk were called into requisition. The warrant was quickly drawn, and the result of the long examinations and the week’s work of the Government was in the hands of the police force of Fall River. At this time the news was among the reporters, but none were certain enough of the fact to dispatch the intelligence to the journals they represented. The excitement became general, and men, women and children stood about the street and waited. Soon Marshal Hilliard came out accompanied by Mr. Knowlton, and as they entered a carriage a telephone message informed Andrew J. Jennings, attorney for the family, that the two men were about to pay him a visit at his residence. This information obtained but little publicity, and not a few in the assembled crowds believed that Mr. Knowlton was being driven to the Boston train. The Marshal and the District Attorney proceeded to Mr. Jennings’ residence and informed that gentleman that the Government had decided upon the arrest of Lizzie Borden, and, recognizing that his presence at the station would be desirable, had deemed it wise to [65]notify him of the decision arrived at and the contemplated action. The officials returned to the court room and were followed in a few moments by the attorney. George Brigham also came to the station and entered the presence of the women in the matron’s quarters.

There was a moment’s preparation, and then Lizzie Borden was informed that she was held by the Government on the charge of having murdered her father. Marshal Hilliard and Detective Seaver entered the room, the former holding in his hand a sheet of paper—the warrant for Lizzie Borden’s arrest—and, after requesting Mrs. Brigham to leave the room, addressing the prostrate woman in the gentlest possible manner, said: “I have here a warrant for your arrest—issued by the judge of the District Court. I shall read it to you if you desire, but you have the right to waive the reading of it?” He looked at Lawyer Jennings as he completed the latter part of the statement, and that gentleman turned toward Lizzie and said: “Waive the reading.” The first and only time during the scene that the accused woman uttered a word was in response to the direction of her attorney. Turning slightly in her position, she flashed a look at the Marshal, one of those queer glances which nobody has attempted to describe, except by saying that they are a part and parcel of Lizzie Borden, and replied: “You need not read it.” The information had a most depressing effect upon all the others present, particularly upon Miss Emma Borden, who was greatly affected. Upon the face of the prisoner there was a pallor, and while her eyes were moist with tears there was little evidence of emotion in the almost stolid countenance. The remaining members of the party then prepared to depart, and the effects of the arrest became apparent upon the prisoner. She still displayed all the characteristics of her peculiarly unemotional nature, and though almost prostrated, she did not shed a tear. A carriage was ordered and Miss Emma Borden and Mr. and Mrs. Brigham prepared to leave. As they emerged from the station into the view of the curious crowds, the women, particularly Miss Emma, looked about with almost a pathetic glance. The people crowded forward and the police pushed them back. Miss Borden appeared to be suffering intensely, and all the external evidences of agitation were visible upon her countenance. Mrs. Brigham was more composed, but was evidently deeply concerned. The party entered the carriage and were driven rapidly towards Second street.

Lizzie A. Borden was accused of the murder of her father, Andrew J. Borden. The warrant made no reference to the killing of Abbie D. Borden. That night the prisoner was overcome by the [66]great mental strain to which she had been subjected for nearly a week and when all had departed, except the kindly matron, the burden proved heavier than she could bear. She gave way to her feelings and sobbed as if her heart would break. Then she gave up to a violent fit of vomiting and the efforts of the matrons to stop it were unavailing. Dr. Bowen was sent for and he succeeded in relieving her physical sufferings. The prisoner was not confined in a cell room of the lockup down stairs.

Judge Blaisdell, District Attorney Knowlton and Marshal Hilliard are men of experience, good sense and reliable judgment, and no other three men on earth regretted the step they had taken more than they. But from their point of view it was duty, not sentiment which guided their actions. No other prisoner arrested in Bristol county had been accorded the delicate and patient consideration which Marshal Hilliard bestowed upon Miss Lizzie Borden. No cell doors closed upon her until after an open, fair and impartial trial before a competent judge, and defended by her chosen legal counsel, she was adjudged “probably guilty.”

During the afternoon Medical Examiner Dolan, Drs. Cone, Leary and Medical Examiner Draper of Boston, held another autopsy on the bodies of the murdered people at receiving vault in Oak Grove Cemetery. They discovered a wound in Mrs. Borden back, between the shoulder blades. It was a frightful cut and was made by an axe or hatchet which entered the flesh and bone clear up to the helve. It alone would have produced instant death. In addition to this the doctors severed the poor, mutilated heads from both the bodies, and Dr. Dolan took possession of the ghastly objects. They were taken to a suitable place and the flesh and blood removed from the bones. The glaring white skulls with great rents, where the murderous axe had crushed, then were added to Dr. Dolan’s collection of evidence which could not properly be called “circumstantial.” The skulls were photographed.

In view of the severe criticism which had been directed towards the police from many quarters and by newspapers from all parts of the country, a review of their conduct of this case might be interesting. City Marshal Hilliard, his position corresponding to that of the Chief of Police in other cities, was sitting in his office at 11 o’clock on Thursday, Aug. 4, when a telephone message from John Cunningham announced that a stabbing affray had occurred on Second street. Assistant Marshal Fleet was engaged in the Second District Court, and more than half the members of the police department were at [67]Rocky Point on their annual excursion. Officer George Allen was alone on duty at the station. The Marshal came from the office and sent Officer Allen to investigate the case.

Allen ran to 92 Second street and was dumbfounded at the sight which met his gaze. He stopped long enough to see Andrew J. Borden’s body lying on the sitting room sofa. The officer was back at the station in short order, and this action alone has caused the most severe criticism. The officer was, to put it mildly, taken considerably aback by the sight in the house, and, to put it not too strongly, was frightened out of his wits. He left no guard upon the house when he ran back to the station. A general alarm was sent out, and in half an hour every officer in the city had been notified and a dozen of them were at the scene. They invaded the house and searched the yard and barn for some evidence to assist them in starting the work. The cry went out from some source or other that a Swedish farm hand, dubbed “the Portuguese,” had done the deed. This was the first clue, and it started half a dozen policemen and the City Marshal over the river to the Borden farm. The hunt ended the same afternoon and the clue was promptly exploded, for the farm hands were all in their accustomed places, and it was impossible to connect any of them with this crime.

Before morning six new clues, all more or less promising, had developed. Among them was one which pointed to the startling suspicion that some member of the family might have been a participant, directly or indirectly, in the awful crime. This was early, and naturally looked upon as the most important of all, and the officers worked day and night towards its solution. Others were not neglected, and all the different clues were investigated by officers especially detailed to do the work assisted by officers in neighboring cities and private detectives. A small boy reported that he had seen a man jump over the back fence. A Frenchman had helped the same man escape toward New Bedford, and it was stated that he was the chief of a gang of gypsy horse traders encamped at Westport. Two officers from Fall River and as many from New Bedford searched for this man and found Bearsley S. Cooper, who accurately answered the description. Cooper promptly proved an alibi. He was in New Bedford on the day of the murder selling a horse to a well-known citizen.

John V. Morse was at first suspected of having had something to do with these horse traders. Morse had told the officers a story of his whereabouts on that day, and a detail was sent out to verify his [68]statement or find something to the contrary. Morse’s movements were easily followed and it was soon well understood that he was not in the house at the time of the tragedy. During the time that had elapsed since the murder a police cordon had surrounded the house day and night. The night after the murder Officers Harrington and Doherty were detailed to search the drug stores of the city to see if any member of the family had endeavored to purchase poison, a hint to this effect having been received by the department. At the store of D. R. Smith they found that Lizzie had but recently endeavored to purchase ten cents worth of hydrocyanic acid. The clerk was taken that night before Miss Borden, and identified her. This was considered important. A report was received that a stranger had boarded the train at Mount Pleasant on the afternoon of the murder. He was said to have been covered with dust and his clothes showed spots of blood. Investigation showed that he was a respectable citizen of New Bedford, and was in no way connected with this affair. Dr. Handy reported that he had seen a man acting wildly and strangely on Second street that morning. The police ran down two men, one of them in Boston, who answered the description. One was a Fall River man, and he was doubtless intensely surprised at being chased by detectives and police officers who were imbued with the idea that he might in some way have been connected with the Borden murder. The Boston man was badly frightened at being seized as a suspect, and established an alibi without difficulty. Mrs. Chase said she saw a man on the back fence in the Borden yard at 11 o’clock. He was found and admitted, with some hesitation, that he was there, the hesitation being due to the fact that he had been engaged in the reprehensible occupation of stealing pears. A stonemason, who was working near by, saw him and informed the police of his whereabouts. On Saturday the police narrowed down to the theory to which all their efforts appeared to direct in spite of themselves, and searched the Borden house and premises. On Monday they made another search. Tuesday the house was again besieged by the officers. Monday night the bloody hatchet was found on the farm in South Somerset. It belonged to an old man named Sylvia. The only thing that it had killed was a chicken.

On Tuesday the District Attorney and Attorney General were called into the case, and an inquest was ordered by Judge Blaisdell. For three days it was in session, and all the evidence accumulated by the police was submitted. Medical Examiner Dolan, Prof. Wood of Harvard and Medical Examiner Draper held an autopsy on the bodies and worked in conjunction with the police. In addition to all this [69]an endless number of minor clues were worked out, and they all resulted in failure to connect the parties alleged to have been concerned with the murder of Mr. and Mrs. Borden. While the detectives were running down clues, Marshal Hilliard and State Detective Seaver were giving their personal attention to everything that might establish the connection of any member of the Borden household with the crime. The conditions were such that haste would have availed nothing, for there was no possibility from the time that suspicion was first cast in that direction of any of the parties in question leaving the city.

Thursday the work of the police, as far as establishing in their minds beyond a reasonable doubt the identity of the murderer of the aged couple, was finished, and at 4:20 o’clock in the afternoon Lizzie Borden, daughter of the victim, was brought to the Central Police Station and retained there as a prisoner. This, in substance, comprised the labors of the police force of Fall River upon this celebrated case so far as the public was informed.

Miss Lizzie A. Borden was to be arraigned in the Second District Court, on Friday morning. By 9 o’clock a crowd of people thronged the streets and stood in a drenching rain to await the opening of the door of the room in which the court held its sittings. It was not a well-dressed crowd, nor was there anybody in it from the acquaintance circle of the Borden family in Fall River. Soon after 9 o’clock, a hack rolled up to the side door and Emma Borden and John V. Morse alighted and went up the stairs. They were not admitted at once to the matron’s room. Rev. E. A. Buck was already present and was at the time, engaged in conversation with the prisoner. Judge Blaisdell passed up the stairs, while Miss Emma was waiting to see her sister, and entered the court room. Mr. Jennings, the counsel, also arrived. The District Attorney was already in the court room, and soon the Marshal brought in his large book of complaints, and took his seat at the desk. The door of the matron’s room opened and Mr. Jennings, Miss Emma Borden and Mr. Morse met the prisoner. All retired within the room. A few moments later Mr. Jennings came out and entered the court room. He at once secured a blank sheet of legal cap and began to write. The City Marshal approached him, and Mr. Jennings nodded an assent to an inquiry if the prisoner could now be brought in.

Lizzie Borden entered the room immediately after on the arm of Rev. Mr. Buck. She was dressed in a dark blue suit and her hat was black with red flowers on the front. She was escorted to a chair. The prisoner was not crying, but her features were far from firm. She has a face and chin betokening strength of character, but a rather sensitive mouth, and on this occasion the sensitiveness of the lips especially betrayed itself. She was constantly moving her lips as she sat in the court room in a way to show that she was not altogether unemotional. Clerk Leonard called the case of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts against Lizzie Borden, on complaint of murder. Mr. Jennings, who was still writing, asked for a little more time. He soon [71]arose and went over to the prisoner. He spoke to her, and then she arose and went to his desk. He read what he had been writing to her, and then gave her a pen. She signed the paper.

Mr. Jennings then addressed the court saying:

“Your Honor, before the prisoner pleads she wishes to present the following.” He then read as follows:

“Bristol ss. Second District Court. Commonwealth vs. Lizzie A. Borden. Complaint for homicide. Defendant’s plea.

“And now comes the defendant in the above entitled complaint and before pleading thereto says that the Hon. Josiah C. Blaisdell, the presiding Justice of the Second District Court of Bristol, before which said complaint is returnable, has been and believes is still engaged as the presiding magistrate at an inquest upon the death of said Andrew J. Borden, the person whom it is alleged in said complaint the defendant killed, and has received and heard and is still engaged in receiving and hearing evidence in relation to said killing and to said defendant’s connection therewith which is not and has not been allowed to hear or know the report of, whereof she says that said Hon. Josiah C. Blaisdell is disqualified to hear this complaint, and she objects to his so doing, and all of this she is ready to verify.

“Lizzie A. Borden, by her attorney, Andrew J. Jennings, (Her signature) Lizzie A. Borden. Sworn to this the 12th day of August, A. D., 1892, before me, Andrew J. Jennings, Justice of the peace.”

When Mr. Jennings concluded the District Attorney arose and asked the Court if this paper was to delay the prisoner’s plea. The Court said it was not to, and ordered the Clerk, to read the warrant.

“You needn’t read it,” said Mr. Jennings, “the prisoner pleads not guilty.”

The text of the warrant however was as follows:

“Commonwealth of Massachusetts,

To Augustus B. Leonard, Clerk of the Second District Court of Bristol, in the county Bristol, and Justice of the Peace:

Rufus B. Hilliard, City Marshal of Fall River, in said county, in behalf of said Commonwealth, on oath, complains that Lizzie A. Borden of Fall River, in the county of Bristol, at Fall River, aforesaid, in the county aforesaid, on the fourth day of August, in the year of our Lord 1892, in and upon one Andrew J. Borden, feloniously, willfully and of her malice aforethought, did make assault and that the said Lizzie A. Borden, then and there with a certain weapon, to wit, a hatchet, in and upon the head of the said Andrew J. Borden, then and there feloniously, willfully and of her malice aforethought, did [72]strike, giving unto the said Andrew J. Borden, then and there, with the hatchet aforesaid, by the stroke aforesaid, in manner aforesaid, in and upon the head of the said Andrew J. Borden, one mortal wound, of which said mortal wound the said Andrew J. Borden then and there instantly died. And so the complainant aforesaid, upon his oath aforesaid, further complains and says that the said Lizzie A. Borden, the said Andrew J. Borden, in manner and form aforesaid, then and there feloniously, wilfully and of her malice aforethought did kill and murder.

(Signed) R. B. Hilliard.”

“The prisoner must plead in person,” said Judge Blaisdell. At a sign from City Marshal Hilliard the prisoner arose in her seat.

“What is your plea?” asked the Clerk.

“Not guilty,” said the girl, and then, having said this indistinctly and the clerk repeating his question, she answered the same thing in a louder voice and, with a very clearly cut emphasis on the word “Not.”

Mr. Jennings now arose. “It seems to me,” said he, “your Honor, that this proceeding is most extraordinary. This girl is called to plead to a complaint issued in the progress of an inquest now only in its early stages. The complaint has been brought in spite of the fact that she was not allowed to be represented by counsel in the hearing before the inquest. She has no knowledge of the evidence on which the complaint is made. I spoke to the District Attorney about this fact before she testified at the inquest, and I admitted that it might be legally done. But this has left the girl in this position, that she is charged with a crime in a complaint issued during the inquest, and I understand that inquest is still open. Your Honor sits here to hear this case, which is returnable before you, when you have already been sitting on the case in another capacity. We do not know what you have heard on this case in the inquest or of the purport of the testimony there. By all the laws of human nature you cannot help being prejudiced from the character of the evidence which has been submitted to you. You might look at things differently from what you do, if certain questions that may have been asked in the inquest had been excluded, or if you had been allowed to hear both sides, with counsel to ask for rulings upon the character of the interrogatories. So it seems to me that you are sitting in a double capacity to hear a charge against my client based upon evidence of which we know nothing, and for all that we know you may have formed opinions which make you incompetent to hear [73]this complaint under the rules of law. The constitution does not allow a Judge to sit in such a double capacity and it guarantees a defendant from a prejudiced hearing.”

District Attorney Knowlton answered saying: “The commonwealth demurs from the plea. My brother is entirely in error in stating that there is anything extraordinary in this proceeding. This is exactly the line laid down that has been followed in other cases that have excited less attention than this one. More than twenty times to my certain knowledge, has a similar thing been done, and I should not be doing my duty if this thing should not be done now. You have your duty at the inquest and you are also obliged by statute to hear cases of this kind. I must respectfully submit that it is not a compliment to your Honor’s conception of your duty, to suggest that you cannot faithfully and impartially perform the duties that devolve upon you in this case. The inquest was against no one. It was to ascertain who committed these murders. The inquest is still proceeding, and the evidence before it has nothing to do with this case. It is your Honor’s duty to hear this complaint and you ought not to be deterred.”

Mr. Jennings then said: “I don’t think that the District Attorney comprehended my point. The inquest is generally held early in a case of this kind, and you can see where suspicion falls. The difference between the custom and this case is, that after the police determined whom they thought the guilty person was, then, without holding an open trial at once, they settled on the guilty party and held an inquest to examine her, without anybody to defend her. That’s what this inquest is, and because your Honor has been sitting here before the inquest you can’t help being prejudiced. To illustrate: A person comes to your law office and states his case, and then after that you go into court to hear the case and pronounce judgment on it.”

Judge Blaisdell—“I think Mr. Jennings is mistaken. The statutes make it my imperative duty to hold an inquest and upon the testimony introduced at that hearing, to direct the issuance of warrants. The motion is overruled and the demurred sustained.”

Mr. Jennings—“Then, your Honor, we are ready for trial.”

Mr. Knowlton—“The evidence in this case could not be completed at once. It could hardly all be gathered by next week.” He moved a continuance till one week, Monday, August 22, at 2 o’clock, when the State hoped to be entirely ready with the case.

Mr. Jennings—“We are very anxious to proceed at once. We ask for a trial at the earliest possible moment.”

[74] District Attorney Knowlton—“I didn’t know but what you would waive examination here, so I am not ready now.”

The two lawyers consulted for a moment, and then announced they had agreed on Monday, August 22, as the date of the preliminary hearing.

District Attorney Knowlton moved that the prisoner be committed till that date. Judge Blaisdell granted the motion, remarking that other procedure was impossible, the offence not being a bailable one.

Bridget Sullivan had entered the court room during the talk between the court and the lawyers. Mr. Morse had not entered the room. Neither had Miss Emma Borden. The District Attorney now addressed the Court again. He said the importance of Mr. Morse and Bridget Sullivan to the case of the State was so great that he wished to move that they be placed under bonds to guarantee their presence inside the Court’s jurisdiction. Judge Blaisdell said he would grant the request, and asked how much the bonds should be.


Mr. Knowlton—“Three hundred dollars is the usual amount, but on account of the gravity of this case I suggest the amount be $500. Mr. Morse can procure bail, we suppose; but we don’t know about Bridget Sullivan.” The servant girl was called from the corner where she sat, and Mr. Morse got up. Bridget was as pale as a ghost and her eyes plainly said she did not understand what was going on. The order of the Court was read to the man and woman, they standing side by side. They were then led across the room by the Marshal and given seats far away from the outside door. Mr. Jennings had two of the Notary Publics whom he keeps at his office in the court room, and he at once dispatched one of them down town for a bondsman or bondsmen. Lizzie Borden had in the interval left the room on the arm of Rev. Mr. Buck. She went back to the matron’s room. Her sister and Mr. Buck remained with her for fifteen or twenty minutes. Then Mr. Morse, having [75]obtained bail, came out. The elder sister soon after left the court building with Mr. Morse, being driven home in the same carriage they came in. The crowd about the carriage when the old man and his niece entered it was a large one. Messrs. Almy and Milne, proprietors of the Fall River Daily News, went bail for Mr. Morse. Bridget returned to her friend’s residence on Division street. The prisoner remained in the matron’s room to await transportation to the County Jail at Taunton.

For the first time in six days the strain was lifted from Fall River and people breathed and thought and transacted routine business more naturally. The suspense was temporarily over and everybody felt relieved. This would have been the result whatever the verdict reached Thursday evening. A decisive step had to be taken in one direction or another, and when the final announcement came, the mind of the community grew more settled. There was more or less excitement, of course, and the impulse to dart into Court Square whenever a coach or the patrol wagon made its appearance, was nearly as strong as ever, but on the whole, men talked and acted more rationally. They were anxious to learn what the breaking of the safe had revealed, how the prisoner passed the night, the particulars of the arraignment and other minor details, but when they were informed that the safe had hidden nothing which bore on the case, that Miss Borden had slept quietly and appeared to be self-contained and composed in her quarters in the matron’s room, and that there were likely to be no further developments of importance for a week or more, the life of the town settled back into the old ruts. Rev. E. A. Buck called on the prisoner at noon and from the sidewalk near the station a bouquet could be seen in the windows of the matron’s apartments. After the vigorous protest of Andrew J. Jennings, Esq., relative to the preliminary trial had electrified the court room audience, and his motion had been overruled, it was decided to take the prisoner to Taunton on the 3:40 train. Fall River has no house of detention and no quarters suitable for sheltering persons who are held on suspicion. Court Square was choked as usual with a crowd of sightseers. One carriage drew up at the main entrance and Miss Emma Borden and Andrew J. Jennings, Esq., entered it and were driven to the depot. Miss Lizzie Borden, the prisoner, stepped into a carriage which was in waiting at the side entrance and was also driven off. To all outward appearances, she was as calm as though she had been going for a visit to relatives. Rev. E. A. Buck, City Marshal Hilliard and [76]State Officer Seaver accompanied her. A small valise containing the prisoner’s clothing was placed on the box.

The representatives of the press followed the carriage containing the prisoner in cabs, and at 3:30 Court Square was quiet. The newsboys, who had taken possession and held high revel in it for a week, had gone off with their bundles, the curious no longer loitered on the sidewalks, and no more rumors floated out from the guard room. On Thursday night when the finale was known, the friends of the Borden family were cool and philosophical. Friday they denounced the course pursued by the authorities from beginning to end. In partnership with her sister, Miss Emma Borden had offered a reward of $5000 for the conviction of the murderer of her father and stepmother, and had secured the services of a detective to track the butcher. On the Government side it was fair and natural to presume, that she, above any person on the face of the earth, desired to bring the wretch who had committed the deed to the gallows. The very fact that she was suspected, was of itself sufficient to warrant such a conclusion, all other considerations aside. The only surmise possible, therefore, was that she would assist the authorities to the best of her ability in unravelling the mystery and in freeing herself from the chain of circumstances, weak or strong, which surrounded her. It was to be supposed that she would not only answer every question cheerfully, but that she would volunteer every particle of information in her possession, and that the more searching the examination, the better she would be satisfied. She had everything to gain and nothing to lose by a full revelation of the truth. Anybody in his sober senses would have been slow to even suggest that District Attorney Knowlton, or any other prosecuting officer, was eager to convict the innocent, to embarrass witnesses, or to impose any unnecessary hardships upon them. At the inquest every person examined was a government witness; there was no defendant, and of course, no witnesses for the defense. Whether Miss Borden did assist the court and the authorities to clear up the grim problem which confronted them, was not known. If the government officers were possessed of the ordinary intelligence, they were aware that it was a terrible thing to swear out a warrant for the arrest of a young lady and charge her with killing her father. If, as it was openly alleged at the time, the government did so, because it did not appreciate the full significance of such a charge, it must be admitted their conduct was more extraordinary and inexplicable than any feature of the crime itself. The government authorities knew that once the warrant [77]had been issued, Miss Borden’s character, at the time of trial which had always been irreproachable, was blotted forever; it must have known that even if she left the Superior Court room acquitted, nothing that it could do could lift the blight from her life.

The route taken by the carriage containing Lizzie Borden, Marshal Hilliard, Officer Seaver and Rev. Mr. Buck toward the Fall River railroad depot was most peculiar. It is a direct road from the Central Station to the depot. Along the main thoroughfare were people eager to catch a glimpse of the prisoner, and the Marshal, considerate of his charge, decided to disappoint the curiosity seekers. Accordingly, the journey was up hill and down dale, through side streets and along thoroughfares skirting the river. Following the carriage were others containing the representatives of the leading newspapers of the East, and these latter drew up at the depot a few seconds in advance of the official vehicle. A squad of officers was on duty there, and as the crowd surged they pushed it back. The train for Taunton was a few minutes late, and until its arrival Lizzie Borden and Mr. Buck remained in the carriage. As the clang of the engine bell was heard, the Marshal pulled up the carriage curtains and assisted Lizzie Borden to alight. She was prettily dressed and appeared quite prepossessing. She wore a blue dress of new design, and a short blue veil. At the realization that the moment for departure had arrived she seemed overcome by a momentary weakness and almost tottered. She was at once supported by the Marshal and Mr. Buck, and leaning upon the arms of these two she walked through the ladies’ waiting room and out towards the cars. The eager crowd pushed and stared and gossipped as the party entered the rear car of the train. Rev. Mr. Buck carried a box containing a number of religious and other papers and magazines, and also some books. A telescope bag containing Miss Borden’s apparel was placed in the cars. The prisoner sat near the window in a seat with Mr. Buck, and behind them was Mr. Hilliard. The blinds were drawn in order to prevent annoyance to Miss Borden by curious persons. Her glance was vacant and her thoughts were manifestly removed from her present surroundings. Not a word was exchanged between the members of the party, and the prisoner still remained in the same position, staring at nothing. In some manner the information that Miss Borden was upon the train spread, and at the few stations at which it stopped small knots of inquisitive people were gathered.

Taunton was reached at 4:20 o’clock. Awaiting her arrival was a gathering of hundreds, and they crowded about every car. Officer [78]Seaver in order to attract their attention, hurried to the north end of the station, and the throng hurried in that direction. At this time Mr. Hilliard and Mr. Buck escorted the prisoner from the south end of the station and into a carriage. Mr. Seaver joined them, and the crowd found itself disappointed. After the vehicle rolled the cabs of the newspaper men. Taunton Jail is not far removed from the centre of the city and is a picturesque looking stone structure. There is the main building and the keeper’s residence, which is attached. On the outside of the structure ivy grows in profusion and the building does not resemble, except in the material of its construction, the generally accepted appearance of a place of confinement. It has accommodations for sixty-five prisoners, and the women’s department is on the southeast side. In this portion of the building there are but nine cells, and before the arrival of Lizzie Borden but five of these were occupied. These were confined for offences of a minor nature, as it was not customary for the officials of Bristol County to send many women to Taunton, the majority being committed to the jail at New Bedford, where there is employment for them. The matron is Mrs. Wright, wife of Sheriff Andrew J. Wright, keeper of the jail, and her personal attention is given to the female prisoners. The officers had been notified of the coming of Miss Borden, and her arrival was unattended by any unusual ceremony inside the jail. Her step was firmer than ever, as, unassisted, she walked up the three steps and into the office of the keeper. From there she was directed to the corridor which runs along the cells of the women’s department, and here Mr. Hilliard left her. Returning to the office he handed the committing mittimus to Sheriff Wright, who examined it and found it correct.

In the meanwhile Lizzie Borden was alone with the clergyman. He spoke words of cheer to her and left her in the care of the matron. Mr. Buck said she was not shocked at the sight of the cells, and, knowing that she was innocent, accepted the situation with a calm resignation. He said her friends would call upon her from time to time, this being allowed by the institution.

The cell in which Lizzie Borden was confined is nine and one-half feet high and seven and one-half feet wide. Across the corridor, looking through the iron bars, her gaze will rest upon whitewashed walls. The furniture of the cell consists of a bedstead, chair and washbowl. At her personal request she saw none of the daily newspapers. Consequently she was not familiar with the comments of the papers regarding the case. Taken in charge by the matron, Lizzie Borden was escorted to the cell, and the iron doors clanged [79]behind her. Perhaps no person in Taunton experienced a greater surprise and shock at the arrival of Lizzie Borden than Mrs. Wright, the matron, in whose care the prisoner was committed. Sheriff Wright was for years a resident of Fall River, and at one time held the position of Marshal of the city police, the place now occupied by Mr. Hilliard. Mr. and Mrs. Wright were well acquainted with the Borden family, but the first names of their acquaintances had slipped from their memory, and the Sheriff and his wife did not connect the Borden they formerly knew with the prominent actors in this tragedy. When Lizzie Borden entered the presence of the matron, the latter noticed something familiar in the countenance of the young woman, and after the retirement of Rev. Mr. Buck commenced to question her. Finally, after a number of questions, Mrs. Wright asked, “Are you not the Lizzie Borden who used as a child to play with my daughter Isabel?” The answer was an affirmative one, and the information touched Mrs. Wright to the quick. When she appeared in the keeper’s office a few moments later her eyes were moist with tears.