Lizzie Borden Songs
DESCRIPTION: Sundry comments on the Fall River murders, e.g. "Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother forty whacks"; "There's no evidence of guilt, Lizzie Borden, That should make your spirit wilt." The poems/songs are not all derived from a single source
EARLIEST DATE: 1958 (Burt)
KEYWORDS: homicide father mother
August 1892 - the Fall River Murders
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Burt, p. 14-15, (no title) (5 assorted fragments/excerpts)
NOTES: Burt observes that there seem to be no truly traditional songs about this famous event. That being the case (and it appears she's right), I've lumped all Lizzie Borden items here as a placekeeper.
Lizzie Andrew Borden (1860-1927) was a spinster living with her wealthy father and stepmother when they were murdered in 1892. Borden was tried for the murders, but found innocent, and lived as a recluse in Fall River for another 35 years.
The popular press has of course had a field day with her. Typical is the sketch given on pp. 171-176 of Matthew P. Mayo, Bootleggers, Lobstermen & Lumberjacks, Globe Pequot Press, 2011. Among the arguments he points out against her:
* Shortly before the murders, she reportedly tried to buy prussic acid (hydrogen cyanide solution) and was rebuffed.
* She had a strong motive; her father had remarried and was planning to change his will to include his second wife and her family, reducing the inheritance of Lizzie and her sister (supposedly $500,000 would go to the wife's family, only $25,000 to the two daughters by the first marriage). And the two older children never liked their stepmother. (Note that it was the stepmother who was murdered.) Indeed, the spinsters seem to have been on bad terms with their father as well.
* A witness reportedly saw Lizzie trying to destroy a (blood-)stained dress not long after the murders.
* No proper forensic examination was ever performed on the murder weapon -- in other words, what could have been incriminating evidence was ignored. - RBW
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