She’s one of the most notorious true-crime figures ever to live, infamously known for murdering her father and stepmother via several blows to the head with a hatchet in 1892. Yet Lizzie Borden was actually acquitted of the killings, and the case, largely considered the crime of the 19th century, remains unsolved to this day. In the court of public opinion, though, Lizzie has long been deemed guilty – so much so that a popular children’s rhyme has been inexorably linked to her ever since the deaths. Mention her name to virtually anyone and they’ll likely retort back, “Lizzie Borden took an ax and gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.”
The rhyme, though catchy, plays a bit loosey-goosey with the facts. In truth, on the morning of August 4, 1892, Abby Borden, Lizzie’s stepmother of 27 years, was struck 18 to 19 times while Andrew was hit 11. But, as noted by a Quora commenter, “That doesn’t rhyme and you can’t skip rope to that!” The couple was killed in their home, a three-story Greek Revival located in Fall River, Massachusetts, about 50 miles south of Boston. Abby was butchered in an upstairs guest room while she was dusting and Andrew in his lower-level sitting room while napping. Lizzie, then 32, and the family’s housekeeper, Bridget Sullivan, were the only other people home at the time and Lizzie quickly emerged the sole suspect. Though there was no real evidence against her, Lizzie had famously longed for a more upscale life than the one her wealthy, spendthrift father provided. She was also known to have a strained relationship with her stepmother and she was seen burning a dress in the days following the murders, leaving many to wonder if she was getting rid of evidence.
But none of that was enough to convict Borden. A panel of 12 male jurors ultimately acquitted her after a two-week trial and Lizzie walked out of jail a free woman on June 20, 1893, though her name continues to live on in infamy. Even now, almost 130 years after the murders, Lizzie is still proving newsworthy! Case in point – two houses related to her have recently hit the market, setting tongues wagging.
In April, the residence where the murders occurred, which has operated as a bed and breakfast since 1996, sold to US Ghost Adventures owner Lance Zaal for $2 million after a scant few months on the market. And the grand Victorian where Lizzie moved with her older sister, Emma, following her acquittal is also looking for a new owner. Located just over a mile north of the murder house at 306 French St. in a fashionable neighborhood known as “the Hill,” the dwelling, dubbed Maplecroft, comes with an $890,000 price tag. (Please remember this is a private home. Do not trespass or bother the residents or the property in any way.) Knowing the mass interest that anything Lizzie-related generates, listing agent Suzanne St. John of Century 21 Platinum is asking for “serious inquiries only.”