Our 6th (and 7th) Murderess, Lizzie Borden

Because Lizzie is so beloved, and because so many photographs exist of her, I've made Two versions of her for the Darksome Craft Market.


Lizzie Andrew Borden was born July 19, 1860 in Fall River, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of a well-to-do businessman who married for a second time in 1865, a mere three years after her beloved mother died. Lizzie was popular and engaged in charitable work. Her father, by contrast, was had a reputation as a dour and stingy man, which may be why he was so incredibly wealthy. Lizzie and her elder sister Emma were almost always arguing with him and their stepmother over financial matters. Though there are some who say that their father was also a controlling and abusive man.

On August 4, 1892, Mr. Borden left home to go to work. His wife remained at home, as well as their maid and Lizzie. Emma was away visiting. When he returned, he settled on a couch for a nap. About 11:15 AM, Lizzie (according to her testimony) discovered her father dead, repeatedly struck in the head with a sharp instrument. Upstairs his wife’s body was found, even more brutally mutilated; examination proved that her death had preceded her husband’s by an hour or so.

It was found that Lizzie had tried to purchase poison on August 3, and a few days after the murders she burned one of her dresses in a stove, saying that it had paint on it. An axe found in the basement was suspected to be the murder weapon, but the police left it behind. They also failed to search Lizzie's room beyond a cursory glance.

Lizzie was arrested and tried for both murders in June 1893 but was acquitted, given the circumstantial evidence. In spite of this, she was ostracized by the people of Fall River, Massachusetts, where she continued to live until her death in 1927. Many suspected that she was let go because of faulty police work. Lizzie and her sister remained estranged.

We're all familiar with the rhyme about dear Lizzie...

Lizzie Borden took an axe,
and gave her mother forty whacks;
When she saw what she had done,
she gave her father forty-one.

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