October 14, 2012

Killer cousins: my Lizzie Borden connection

I have a couple of infamous distant cousins who were accused of murder... one of them was Lizzie Borden.

In 1892, Lizzie was a 32-year-old spinster living at home in Fall River, Massachusetts with her father Andrew, stepmother Abby, and sister Emma. The Bordens were well-off, and patriarch Andrew was known to be a tightwad. Emma and Lizzie did not get along with their parents, and kept to themselves.

On August 4, Andrew and Abby were found hacked to death with an ax in the home-- Abby was apparently the first to be killed, in an upstairs guest room she had been in the process of making up. Andrew came home shortly thereafter from his bank rounds to lie down; the whole family-- minus Emma, who was visiting relatives-- were still recovering from a bout of food poisoning. He was killed on the sofa, his face disfigured beyond recognition by the ax.

Lizzie and the Bordens' maid Bridget were the only other people at the house, but Bridget had been outside cleaning windows, leaving Lizzie the main suspect. The trial was basically the O.J. Simpson case of the 1890's, and despite Lizzie's being acquitted of the double homicide, she was a pariah for the rest of her life, dying of pneumonia in 1927. To this day the case is unsolved, and question of her guilt is still a matter of debate.

I've discovered that Lizzie and I both descend from Nathaniel EASTMAN and Elizabeth HUDSON-- my 9x great-grandparents, and Lizzie's 6x great-grandparents-- making me a 7th cousin 3 times removed to the accused ax murderess.

Lizzie's ancestral line:

Nathaniel EASTMAN (1643-1709) m. Elizabeth HUDSON
Sarah EASTMAN (1674-1719) m. John MORSE
Benjamin MORSE (1698-1736) m. Merab NEWSON
Joseph MORSE (1718-1798) m. Mary TUCKER
William MORSE (1746-1800) m. Mary EDDY
Joseph MORSE (1770-1819) m. Sarah VININCUM
Anthony MORSE (1800-1878) m. Rhoda MORRISON
Sarah Anthony MORSE (1823-1863) m. Andrew Jackson BORDEN
Elizabeth Andrew BORDEN (1860-1927)

My ancestral line:

Nathaniel EASTMAN (1643-1709) m. Elizabeth HUDSON
Lydia EASTMAN (d. 1722) m. Ephraim BROWN
Ephraim BROWN (b. 1702) m. Rachel PHILBRICK
Enoch BROWN (1728-1768) m. Elizabeth CLOUGH
Rachel BROWN (b. 1765) m. Robert GIBSON
Elizabeth GIBSON (b. 1784) m. Asa BLY
Sophronia BLY (1818-1905) m. John MACE
Elizabeth MACE (1846-1907) m. James W. WINSLOW
Bessie Maud WINSLOW (1886-1970) m. Frank Bailey PALMER
Dorothy Elizabeth PALMER (1918-1984) m. Henry Richard HOWES
S. Ann HOWES (1937-1999) m. my father

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