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Mrs. Adelaide Buffington Churchill

Definition: Mrs. Adelaide Buffington Churchill (1850-1926) was the Borden's next door neighbor on Second Street, occupying what was known as the Mayor Buffington house.
Mrs. Adelaide Buffington Churchill (1850-1926) was the Borden's next door neighbor on Second Street, occupying what was known as the Mayor Buffington house.

Mrs. Adelaide Buffington Churchill (1850-1926) was the Borden's next door neighbor on Second Street, occupying what was known as the Mayor Buffington house. She was the daughter of Edward P. Buffington, who had been Mayor of Fall River in the 1860s. Her husband, Charles H. Churchill, died in 1879, leaving her a widow with a one-year-old son. On August 4th, 1892, Mrs. Churchill was living with her mother, sister, son, and niece, in a home just north of the Borden house on Second Street. This location was to give her a ring-side seat for the dramatic events of the Fall River murders.

Mrs. Churchill had actually gone out that morning just before 11 o'clock intending to do some shopping on South Main Street. She bought some articles for dinner; made a phone call for a woman who was staying at her house (the woman was not identified at the trial, but it was revealed that the Buffington house let rooms to tenants); and then returned by way of Borden Street, coming up the hill towards her house. Up ahead she saw Bridget Sullivan, the Bordens' maid, in an obvious state of panic, running across the street for Dr. Bowen's house, leading Mrs. Churchill to assume that someone was sick. According to police testimony, Mrs. Churchill's mother was, at this time, occupied in the house pushing a baby carriage back and forth to calm an ill child.

Mrs. Churchill went into her kitchen, and through her window, saw Lizzie Borden standing on the side of her house looking strange. She asked Lizzie what the matter was. Lizzie then said the famous words: "Oh, Mrs. Churchill, do come over. Someone has killed father."

Mrs. Churchill quickly informed her mother that something was amiss, and raced next door without delay, arriving on the scene before anyone else. For a brief time, Mrs. Churchill was alone with Lizzie Borden in the house with two dead bodies, one as yet to be discovered. She asked Lizzie what had happened, and Lizzie replied that she had been in the barn looking for some iron; that she thought Mrs. Borden had gone out after receiving a note, but that now she was worried, because she thought she heard Abby return. She also repeated to Mrs. Churchill what she had told Alice Russell the night before, that she believed someone was trying to harm her family, and stated that their milk may have been poisoned.

Mrs. Churchill now left Lizzie alone and raced across the street to a stable where she told the owner to help fetch a doctor. She then returned to the house where she was shortly joined by Dr. Bowen, Bridget, and Officer Allen, who had all arrived almost simultaneously. After a sheet was fetched from Andrew's bedroom to cover his body, Lizzie suggested that someone go look for Mrs. Borden up in the front of the house, being that she believed she had heard her come in. Bridget and Mrs. Churchill volunteered and the two women ascended the front stairs of the house, stopping on the steps when their eyes were level with the upstairs floor. Their line of sight under the bed gave them a view of Abby's body. Going back downstairs, Alice Russell asked, "Is there another?", to which Mrs. Churchill gave a chilling reply: "Yes, she is up there." Until Dr. Bowen went upstairs, no one was certain whether Abby Borden was dead, or had merely just fainted.

Mrs. Churchill returned to her home at roughly 12 noon that day, but she continued to provide emotional and physical support for Lizzie and Emma during the days that followed. Adelaide Churchill died in 1926, and is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Fall River.

 

Collections:

The Borden Murders

 

Related Categories:

| Borden Murders and Trial | Borden, Lizzie | Lizzie and Emma Borden - After the Murders | ONeil, Nance | Borden, Andrew | Borden Folk Rhyme | Borden, Abby | Sullivan, Bridget | Morse, John | Borden, Emma | Lizzie Borden Alibi | Bowen, Seabury | Russell, Alice | The Lizzie Borden Trial or The Lizzie Borden Case | | Fourteen Reasons to Believe Lizzie Murdered Her Parents | Lizzie Borden - Net Worth | Hauntings at the Borden House | Hauntings at the Borden House - 2 | Tattered Fabric: Fall River's Lizzie Borden | Lizzie Borden : Warps & Wefts | Murder in the Well | LIZZIE BORDEN Documentary | Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast |

Resources:

  external linkMrs. Adelaide Buffinton Churchill | Cast of Characters | The Lizzie Borden Collection

 

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