Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Lizzie Borden


Five weeks after the trial, Lizzie and Emma purchased and moved into a thirteen-room, gray stone Victorian house at 306 French Street, located on "The Hill," the fashionable residential area of Fall River. Shortly thereafter, Lizzie named the house "Maplecroft," and had the name carved into the top stone step leading up to the front door. It was at this time that Lizzie began to refer to herself as "Lizbeth."

In 1897, Lizzie was charged with the theft of two paintings, valued at less than one hundred dollars, from the Tilden-Thurber store in Fall River. The controversy was privately resolved.

In 1904, Lizzie met a young actress, Nance O'Neil, and for the next two years, Lizzie and Nance were inseparable. About this time, Emma moved out of Maplecroft, presumably offended by her sister's relationship with the actress, which included at least one lavish catered party for Nance and her theatrical company. Emma stayed with the family of Reverend Buck, and, sometime around 1915, moved to Newmarket, New Hampshire, living quietly and virtually anonymously in a house she had presumably purchased for two sisters, Mary and Annie Conner.

Unidentified woman lays flowers at the Borden Gravesite
Unidentified woman lays flowers at the Borden Gravesite

Lizzie died on June 1, 1927, at age 67, after a long illness from complications following gall bladder surgery. Emma died nine days later, as a result of a fall down the back stairs of her house in Newmarket. They were buried together in the family plot, along with a sister who had died in early childhood, their mother, their stepmother, and their headless father.

Both Lizzie and Emma left their estates to charitable causes; Lizzie's being left predominately to animal care organizations, Emma's to various humanitarian organizations in Fall River.

Bridget Sullivan, as it has been noted, died in 1948, more than twenty years after the death of the Borden sisters, in Butte, Montana.

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