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Murder in the Well

Definition: The murder of Lizzie's parents is not the only murder that took places within the Borden family. This is a sad tale on how Lizzie's great aunt took the life of two of her children, then took her own life. This was in the house next to the house with the infamous murders took place. The following photography and text by Shelley Dziedzic (all rights reserved).

 

For students of the Borden case, the tale of Lizzie's great-uncle Lawdwick (also seen as Ludwig, Ladwig, Ladowick and other variations) has long been an interesting footnote to the saga of the Borden murders of 1892. Lawdwick Borden was the son of Martha Patty Bowen and Richard Borden. Lawdwick's brother Abraham Bowen Borden was Andrew Jackson Borden's father. Uncle Lawdwick was Lizzie Borden's great-uncle. He will be referred to as Lawdwick hereafter as that is the spelling which is seen on his grave marker.

Lawdwick would enjoy the company of four wives over the span of his life, not an unusual occurrence in the days when women often died in childbirth or from complications following childbirth. There are records of four marriages: Maria Briggs, Eliza Darling, Eliza Chace (sometimes seen as Chase), and Ruhama Crocker. Ruhama Crocker Borden is listed as Lawdwick's widow in Fall River city directories after Lawdwick died in 1874. The spelling and handwriting in censuses of the period is often poor or illegible, thus creating a challenge for historians generations later to decipher.

It is the second wife, Eliza Darling Borden who has piqued the excitement of Borden case scholars today, for it is she who did the unthinkable- she killed two of her three children and then took her own life. Today it might be chalked up to post partum depression. She had three children in rapid succession. Even the details of her suicide are clouded over time. Most versions would have it that she went upstairs in the little Cape Cod style house next door south of the Charles Trafton house in 1848, (which would become the Andrew Borden house in 1872) when she was at the age of 37, and sliced her throat with Lawdwick's straight razor after dropping her children in the cellar cistern. Another version has her committing self-destruction behind the cellar chimney. As thrilling tales often go, they tend to improve and evolve with the retelling.

Paranormal investigators today who visit the Lizzie Borden home, take great pains to attempt to contact these ghostly children who died so tragically years before Abby and Andrew would be done to death by hatchet on August 4, 1892. Guests who stay at the Borden home, now a popular bed and breakfast, leave toys for the "ghost children" in the guest rooms and declare they can hear childish laughter and sounds of play on the second and third floors.

This sad tale has endured for so long due primarily to Lizzie Borden herself- and her trial of 1893. Lizzie was carefully examined to determine if she were mentally competent. Questions were asked as to the sanity of the Borden clan in general. Not surprisingly the topic of Eliza Borden and her unfortunate children was introduced as a possible source of inherited madness. This was quickly shot down as Eliza Darling Borden was only a Borden by marriage, and not a blood relation to Lizzie Borden at all. Mention was made that the sole survivor of the well incident, Maria Borden (Hinckley), was "alive and well and a mother herself still living in the city". It is a possibility Maria was named for Lawdwick's first wife, Maria Briggs, as was a common custom in cases of the untimely death of a young spouse upon remarriage of the widower.

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 | Churchill, Adelaide | 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 | LIZZIE BORDEN Documentary | Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast |

Resources:

  external linkMurder in the Well | Lizzie Borden : Warps & Wefts

 

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