The New York Herald

Developments at Fall River Show That Mr. Borden Returned Home To Be Murdered Long
After His Wife Had Been Killed

The Murderer Must Have Remained in the House Waiting for His Second Victim and in Constant Danger of Discovery
He Has Been Employed by the Borden Family, and Is Believed to Have Caused the Police to Change Some of Their Plans

FALL RIVER, Mass., August 1, 1892.-Policemen, owl-like and solemn, made a cordon all day around the queer old house where on Thursday a harmless old man and his wife were so cruelly butchered. All day other policemen, equally owl-like and equally silent, careered over the town on a kind of hopeless hunting. All day the mysterious chief of the owl-like police and the more mysterious country detective went hither and thither in strange fashion. Yet at the end of their day of inscrutable labor they knew apparently no more about the murder of A. J. Borden and his wife than they knew at the beginning, and no more than the crowds that, gaped all day over the palings about the grewsome house. Still there were actual developments enough and indications enough to induce action in a police force not divided against itself and not ruled by twenty heads instead of one.

For one thing there was news from Boston about the chemical analyses that are being made there. Medical Examiner Dolan, who holds a position like to that of a coroner in New York, received this news and except to the police refused to tell exactly what. it was. The medical examiner is a firm and a shrewd and clear headed man, and nothing was to he gained from him, but it was repeatedly asserted during the day from a source that led back to the police that poison had been discovered in the contents of the stomachs sent to Boston for analysis.


Now, this is one of the reports that cannot be authentically fathered and, of course, Chief of Police Hillard denies it.  He denies everything, but for all that it seems to rest on good authority.  Just as soon as the medical examiner got the word, whatever it was, he sent quickly, with an assistant, to the cemetery, where the bodies are still in the receiving vault, and removed organs which are supposed to be wanted for further tests.  It is quite certain that this would not have been made in the stomach analyses.  Yet the police made no move, notwithstanding that the contingency that a discovery of poison has been supposed to have but one meaning, and it is very well known who attempted to buy poison only the day before the murder.

There is something strange about this.  It is notorious now that yesterday the police had made all their arrangements for the first arrest in the case.  It was distinctly understood that after the family had returned from the funeral, a member of it who has been under suspicion since Thursday night should be taken into custody. For some reason this plan was abandoned.  Yesterday morning there appeared on the scene Emory D. Hanscom of Boston, assistant manager of Pinkertons; New England agency, and a very able detective.  But Mr. Hanscom was not employed by the authorities, nor for the purpose of tracing the wonderfully clever assassin who produced this puzzling mystery.  He was and is employed by the family to look after its interests.


What a family so situated may want of a private detective I cannot imagine, but there is a story that he exerted his influence to prevent their arrest, and that was the police changed their plan.

Mr. Hanscom's time is chiefly spent about the Mellen house in affable conversation with the newspaper men in whose affections he has made great progress, but if anybody asks him what he is doing here he says he has come to fish, and if asked what he thinks of the case he has scarcely heard of it; only he thinks it would be a shame to arrest any person without evidence enough to convict. That, by the way, exactly coincides with the present opinion of the tall and stately Chief Hillard, when he is asked why he does not make a move in the case, when the suspicion seems to be so obvious. and the suspected persons are having a fine opportunity for communication, if not for escape.

Nevertheless the weird story is working itself clear, without the aid of the police, of the vast mass of inventions and lies that formerly clogged it. There was, for example, a fine circumstantial story let loose in the morning papers about the "unknown man," famous in New York police reports. This mysterious being called last Monday at Mr. Borden's house, leaving a companion in a buggy outside. Just before the time of the murder, that is about half-past ten Thursday morning, he called again and was afterward seen climbing over the fence at. the rear of the house being easily distinguishable by a pair of baseball shoes and his odd patterned trousers. Even the name of the witness, a respectable woman who lives opposite the Bordens, was given to bolster up this interesting narrative. Then the story led to a neigh boring, village and a band of gypsy horse dealers, and then the strange man disappears.


Patient inquiry disposes of this yarn. There was no such and the witness summoned to say there was utterly denied summoned to say there was utterly denied that she said anything of the kind.  Then there was also an interesting anecdote to the effect that when the Bordens servant girl heard of the murder she said, "It was the Portugee," but it appears that the servant girl said nothing of the kind, and there is no "Portugee" known in this part of the world available for the character of the murderer.

Stories of quarrels with various persons, of unknown enemies and secret plots have readily been destroyed by application to Mr. Borden's acquaintances.  Mr. Borden did not quarrel and it is inconceivable that he had any secret enemy.  It might be interesting to know the source of all these imaginings which cloud more or less a clear view of what facts have been settled.

The case no doubt is pretty dark, and yet I think the most puzzling thing about it is to go to the house and examine the premises and then tell how the murderers could have been committed by an assassin who was able to make his escape from such a place.  The old fashioned frame house of the Bordens stands in the middle of a block on a street that is half a residence and half a business street and in the midst of almost the busiest part of Fall River.  The front wall is only sixteen feet from the sidewalk, where at all hours of the day people are passing, for the street is a main thoroughfare.  The next house on the north is only twenty feet away.

The next house on the south is twenty-four feet away.  Both have many windows opening upon the Borden house.


There is a small yard at the rear, surrounded by a high unbroken board fence guarded by barbed wire. On all sides are the yards of neighbors and houses. A small barn stands at one side of the Borden yard. It is not used now except for a storehouse. The house is very old. On the north side there is an entrance going into the kitchen and the sitting room, and a flight of stairs leading to the second floor. The only other entrance is the front door opening from the street. These are the dry details. But they are necessary to understand this remarkable story.

Mr. Borden owned a great deal of real estate, was president of a. savings bank and had other interests, and Thursday morning, as usual, went about town looking after his affairs. All that is positively known about his taking off is quickly told. He started for home about have past ten. About a quarter-past eleven o'clock his servant girl ran over to Dr. Bowen. who lives just across the narrow street and told him, that her master had been murdered. Dr. Bowen, going with the girl found Mr. Borden lying dead on the lounge in the sitting room, his head mangled in the manner before described.  A few minutes afterward the body of the wife was discovered in a room up stairs, the second one from the street on the south of the house.

There were two persons in or about the house at the time of the murder. These were Lizzie Borden, the second daughter, and the servant girl named Sullivan.. Of course their stories of what they observed should be of the greatest importance.


Sifted-of some gratuitous additions what Lizzie Borden told the police was when her father came home he lay down in the sitting room and read his paper. The servant girl was upstairs. She herself went out to the barn to get some lead sinkers to use on a fishing trip she was going to take.  She was gone about twenty minutes, and when she came back found her father butchered.  She called to the servant girl, who brought Dr. Bowen.  She heard nothing and saw nothing of the murderer.  The servant girl says she was at work cleaning windows in the front room up stairs and she heard nothing until Miss Lizzie called her.

But there are ascertained facts with which Miss Lizzie's story dos not fit.  Supposing the murderer to have been somebody who entered the house and then escaped form it after his bloody deed, how did he get away! Not out of the front door, certainly, for then he would have been seen by somebody in the passing throngs.  The only other exit was the back door.  But that is directly opposite a window in the adjoining house, and at that window sat during all this time Mrs. Buffen the lady of the house, and she says nobody went in or out of the door until the servant ran out on her way to Dr. Bowen's.

But supposing the murderer to have got into the back yard unobserved by Mr. Buffen, he must then climb the high board fence and get over the barbed wire without being seen.  And when he had done that he would be in the yard of a neighbor, from which the only way out was past the neighbor's house and windows and very front door upon a street almost as much traveled as the one in front.

The fence is covered with dust and shows no signs that anybody has climbed it; the barbed wire has not been disturbed nor torn anybody's clothing.  Nobody was seen in Mr. Borden's nor any of the yards.

These considerations are entirely aside from the fact that there was no apparent motive for the murder, Mr. Borden not being robbed, and nothing in the house being disturbed. There is still more to this. Neither the. servant girl nor the people in the adjacent house heard an outcry nor a sound of a struggle. Yet Mr. Borden was in fair health and Mrs. Borden was a robust, powerful woman. Therefore, it is argued that either they must have been under the influence of drugs or their assailant was a person of whom they had no fear.


More remarkable than this even the results of today's investigation satisfied Medical Examiner Dolan that Mrs. Borden was killed at least an hour before her husband. This appears from the statement of Dr. Bowen, that when he arrived Mr. Borden's body was warm and the blood was flowing, but Mrs. Borden's body was cold and stiff.  During the hour that elapsed where was the murdered?  He must. have been concealed somewhere about the house. But it would have been impossible for an outsider to know when Mr. Borden would come home. The murderer must therefore, have stayed upon the very scene or his first crime, not knowing what moment it might be discovered and he with it, though immediately after his second murder he disappeared so amazingly that no one can guess bow he went.

The first question Dr. Bowen asked of Lizzie when he reached Mr. Borden's side was, "Where is your mother?" "She's gone out," said LIzzie. "She went out two hours ago to see a sick friend who wrote a note asking her to go and see her."

A few minutes afterward Mrs. Borden's body was found up stairs. No trace of any such note has been discovered anywhere about the house, and although every man, woman and child in Fall River has heard about it nobody has come forward to acknowledge the writing of it. When Lizzie found that her father had been murdered she called for the servant girl, not for her mother.

The note would account for this strange omission if the note or any trace of it could be found.


The wounds on Mrs. Borden's bead offer a wide field for theorizing. First she was struck a .straight blow in front of her forehead delivered either when she was standing or when she reclined upon her back. This was with the edge of the hatchet. The other blows were along the aide of the head, and dealt with the. back of the hatchet. The body lay face downward on the floor six feet from the bed. Yet the servant girl at work on the same floor did not hear it fall. How did it get into that position! That is one of the puzzles for which nobody has suggested an adequate solution.

The hemorrhage was very small from both bodies. This was what started and gave color to the idea that Mr. and Mrs. Borden had been poisoned before they were butchered. Then it was discovered that the day of the murder a woman said to be Miss Lizzie Borden had tried to obtain prussic acid at a neighboring drug store. Today I learned from a very fair sort of witness that on Wednesday almost the whole family became suddenly sick and that Mrs. Borden said she thought it was something in the food. This witness is John V. Morse, the brother of Mr. Borden 's first wife and an inmate of the house, who has not gone entirely free from suspicion notwithstanding it appears he was not in the neighborhood at the time of the murder. I saw Mr. Morse at the Borden house this morning. He is a commonplace looking man, about forty years old, tall, lank, with a ragged beard and shallow, gray eyes.


He has not been willing to say much for publication heretofore, but today he consented to tell the HERALD his full story. He said:—"I returned to Fall River from New Bedford on Wednesday afternoon; and after a drive to Swansey and back came to Mr. Borden's house and stayed that night. The next morning I had breakfast about seven o'clock and at a quarter to nine I left. Mrs. Borden was up stairs. I hadn't seen her since eight o'clock.  Mr. Borden left me at the door, asking me to come home to dinner. I went to the Post Office and several other places about. town and finally to Daniel Emery's, at No. 4 Weybosett street. I stayed there until between quarter after and half-past eleven, when I started for home by street car. It was twenty minutes to twelve when I got home and heard of the murders. The house was full of policemen and people. That is all I know about it."

"Mr. Morse'" I said, "it has been asserted that when Lizzie Borden was away the week before the murder she went to New Bedford to see you."
"That is not true," said Morse vehemently. "She did not see me.  I didn't get any letters from her either, though I heard she was at Marion."
Mr. Morse admitted that there had been ill feeling between Mrs. Borden and her step-daughters but he would not discuss that matter further.  Lizzie he said was a peculiar girl, often given to fits of sullenness. His statement about his whereabouts during the morning of the murder has been fully corroborated, and persons who were on the street car with him when he went home testified to that fact. Perhaps it was only Mr. Morse's furtive and unhappy manner when he talked that directed any suspicion toward him.


The Borden household must have been a rather grim sort of a place. Mr. Borden himself, though perfectly respectable and upright was not particularly cheerful, and between his wife and stepdaughters there was open war.  The elder daughter, Emma, is described as of a mild and gentle disposition, but there was little mildness about Lizzie, seven years her junior.

Mr. Borden was worth half a million dollars, and, though penurious as a rule was inclined to be generous to his household. but Lizzie resented his liberality toward the stepmother. Her own mother died in giving birth to her and she has been odd all her life. She grew up to be much of a recluse. She is far from homely, though not particularly handsome, but she never had a lover, she has avoided the company of young men and has never gone into society. She has her defenders, .who say she has an amiable disposition. The allegations to the contrary may be mere ill natured gossip.

One thing is certain. She has wonderful self-possession. When with Dr. Bowen she stood by her father's body, when her mother was discovered murdered, at the time of the funeral, and on all other occasions since this story began she has manifested, they say, almost unshaken calmness. She is a masculine looking woman, with a strong, resolute, unsympathetic face. She is robustly built; thirty three years old and of average height. Her voice has a peculiar guttural harshness. Her hair is brown ,and long, her eyes brown and steady. Her self-possession is expressed in her looks. I do not think she it; afraid of many things. She must know that she is under constant police espionage and suspicion, but there is nothing in her appearance to show that she is concerned about it. She declined today to make any statement about her case.


The Mayor of Fall River is the real head of the police force, though at present his direction of it is hampered by the opposition of a majority of the Board of Aldermen, who will not, confirm his appointments nor assist in his plans. The present Mayor is Dr. Coughlin. He has taken as active an interest in the Borden case as any detective here, and has formed his theory of the mystery, which is not different from that held some other. Mayor Coughlin said tonight that the inquest would probably begin on Tuesday, when he thought Professor Woods, of Harvard, who is making the analysis of the stomach, would make
his report.

Patrolman Hayes distinguished himself tonight by suddenly reporting that on the morning of the murder he had seen a man loitering about in front of the Borden residence. He gave a sort of half description of the man. As nobody else saw him and Hayes did not explain why be had held back his information the clew is not regarded as greatly important.

When the house was searched yesterday afternoon two hatchets and two axes were found and taken to Police Headquarters. One of the hatchets was stained and looked as if an attempt might have been made to clean it. It was turned over to a local physician that the stains might, be analyzed. It was said this afternoon that experts had decided that the stains were blood.

Chief of Police Hilliard denied that there was anything in this. He said that some people thought the stains were blood and some said they were only rust, but nobody could tell until a scientific test had been made. As to the fact that no arrest had been made. Chief Hilliard said that the police were working slowly but surely, taking up one clew after another, and when they reached one that seemed to be upheld with testimony enough to convict they would make an arrest. He predicted that would be within two or three


Excitement In police circles ran high this evening when it was reported. that an unknown woman had been found murdered in a lonely spot in South Somerset, near William's Pond. Investigation showed that Mary Gifford, aged seventy years, was dead and had been found lying in some bushes near a stone wall, her position indicating that she had fallen naturally from weakness. There were two bottles found near her, both of which smelled strongly of liquor. Medical Examiner Dolan was in doubt as to whether or not the woman had been treated violently before ,death. and, he proposes to hold an autopsy, tomorrow or the next day. Mrs. Gifford was well known in police circles as "Portsmouth Mary,: and a dissolute character.

At a late hour it is reported that the suspicions of blood spots on the hatchet in possession of the police are well founded and that there is every reason to believe that members of the family are directly accountable for the death of the two victims.

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