Lizzie Borden took an axe,
and gave her mother 40 whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
she gave her father 41.
Lizzie Borden was born in 1860 in Falls River, Massachusetts. She was a member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union and a Sunday School teacher amongst other community jobs. And though the rhyme exaggerated the crime she was charged with, it kept her name in the public eye even after she was acquitted of the crimes.
Lizzie lived with her father Andrew, sister Emma, who was 9 years older than her, and her stepmother. They lived pretty quiet and normal lives and seemed to get along well until her father who had lived very frugally and acquired a good bit of wealth gave a home to his second wife's half-sister. Emma and Lizzie strongly objected. Tension and fighting with their stepmother developed and they began calling her Mrs. Borden rather than mother which they previously had.
Three years later, in 1887, Andrew tried to make amends with the daughters by giving them money and allowing them to rent out his family home which they didn't use. They sold the home back to their father for $5000. But even this didn't satisfy his daughters and tensions continued to rise.
In July of 1892 an argument caused Lizzie and Emma to go away on an extended vacation, visiting friends. Lizzie returned while Emma remained. In August, a few days before the murders, the household had gotten sick with vomiting and Lizzie's stepmother had told someone she thought it might be poison since her husband wasn't a popular man.
The day before the murders, Lizzie's Uncle Morris (her mother's brother) came down to stay with them a few days to discuss business matters. Among those was property transfers which would not have sat well with Lizzie. He and Andrew had breakfast and then shortly before nine a.m. Morris went to visit a friend and Andrew when for his daily walk.
He returned to find his key wouldn't work in the lock and so he had to knock. The maid testified that she heard Lizzie upstairs giggling, but Lizzie stated she'd not been upstairs. The investigators who interviewed Lizzy didn't care for her attitude. She seemed calm and poised. And Lizzy's testimony changed several times. First she'd said she'd heard a moan or a scraping when she came up but then a few hours later she'd said she hadn't heard a thing.
A few days later when Lizzie was informed she was a suspect in the murders. Shortly there after she was seen burning a dress in the kitchen fire. She told her friend it had paint on it. The police admitted to not checking the her clothes for blood splatters. The police also found 2 hatchets, 2 axes and a hatchet head they believe to be the murder weapon because the handle had a fresh break in it and the hatchet head looked like dirt had been applied to it to make it look like the others. However, the police did not remove them from the basement where they were found.
There was a neighbor who testified for Lizzie supporting her claim that she'd been in the barn for close to a half hour during the times of the murders. There had been a similar axe murder nearby but that person was shown to have been out of the area at the time. It wasn't allowed into testimony that Lizzie had attempted to purchase prussic acid the day before the murders. She'd claimed it was to clean a sealskin coat.
After all the testimony the jury deliberated for only an hour and a half before finding Lizzie not guilty.
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When her father died, she had promised herself no man would own her again, yet who could defy an edict of the king? After the death of her cruel father, Brithwin is determined never again to live under the harsh rule of any man. Independent and resourceful, she longs to be left alone to manage her father’s estate. But she soon discovers a woman has few choices when the king decrees she is to marry Royce, the Lord of Rosencraig. As if the unwelcome marriage isn’t enough, her new husband accuses her of murdering his family, and she is faced with a challenge of either proving her innocence or facing possible execution.
Royce of Hawkwood returns home after setting down a rebellion to find his family brutally murdered. When all fingers point to his betrothed and attempts are made on his life, Royce must wade through murky waters to uncover the truth. Yet Brithwin’s wise and kind nature begin to break down the walls of his heart, and he soon finds himself in a race to discover who is behind the evil plot before Brithwin is the next victim.
Debbie Lynne Costello has enjoyed writing stories since she was about eight years old. She studied journalism at Heritage University. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina. She has worked in many capacities in her church and is currently the Children's Director. Debbie Lynne has shown and raised Shetland Sheepdogs for eighteen years and still enjoys litters now and then. In their spare time, she and her husband take pleasure in camping and riding their Arabian and Tennessee Walking horses.