STATUS: Open as a bed & breakfast
The Lizzie Borden house was built in 1845 as a home for two families, but it was later changed into a single family house. It was purchased by Andrew J. Borden, who had bought it so he could be closer to his bank and downtown businesses.
Lizzie Andrew Borden, born July 19th, 1860, was the youngest daughter of Andrew Jackson Borden and Sarah Anthony Morse. She had two older sisters, Emma Lenora and Alice Esther (who died at the young age of two). When Sarah Borden died in 1863, things got worse than they already were. Eventually, Andrew decided to remarry, having Abby Durfee Gray as his bride.
Mr. Borden disliked and rejected technology, causing even more tension. The Bordens had to empty slop buckets into their backyard rather than install a modern toilet. This induced anger between his daughters, especially when they went into town and were exposed to the new ways of doing things. Over time, Andrew and Abby gave their daughters distance.
Since Andrew Borden disliked modern social standards, Lizzie and Emma never wed since they exceeded the age of getting married, had no marketable skills, and were overall considered “not up to speed” with society. The second floor of the Borden house was broken into halves, with Lizzie and Emma in the front and Andrew and Abby in the back.
Over the years, relationships grew worse and worse, particularly when Mr. Borden was considering splitting up family assets due to his age. In his seventies, he started working on dividing the properties among his wife’s family getting the house and the farm land rather than his own daughters.
Andrew’s first wife’s brother, John Morse, helped facilitate the property transfer. The Borden Summer Home, which was used by the Borden girls the most, was part of the transfer. In rage, the girls started to voice their opinions, and asked to leave on an extended vacation.
Having ended her vacation short, Lizzie stopped at a pharmacy on her way home. There, she wanted to get a bottle of hydrogen cyanide, claiming she was going to clean a leather cloak with it. The pharmacist denied her, unsure of why she would want it for said reasons.
Mysteriously, her entire family became extremely sick after eating a meal together after Lizzie’s return. Abby assumed that they had been poisoned as result of Mr. Borden’s unpopularity, but the doctor diagnosed it as food poisoning from incorrectly prepared and stored mutton.
On August 4th, 1892, Andrew Borden had left to go into town to go to the bank and the post office, and he returned home at roughly 10:45 AM. It wasn’t until fifteen minutes later that Lizzie yelled out that her father had been murdered. The housekeeper, Bridget Sullivan, was napping on the third floor during this time, and she rushed down after hearing Lizzie’s yelling.
Andrew J. Borden was found sprawled across the couch in a sleeping position with eleven hatchet wounds to the head. It was discovered that Abby was also killed, and she was found laying on the floor next to the bed with about nineteen hatchet blows to the head. It is believed that she died sometime around 9:00 AM.
The police arrested Lizzie Borden, and she went to trial for the murders. However, the jury acquitted her due to the lack of evidence, and no one was arrested. While a majority of people believe that Lizzie was the killer, others say that they were performed by William Borden, who was Andrew’s child that came from an affair with another woman.
Now, the house is a bed and breakfast and museum with eight rooms to stay at. It is also considered one of the most haunted houses in the world. Such paranormal activity includes a woman crying softly at night, a full body apparition of Lizzie Borden tucking guests in, the sound of a hatchet coming from the third floor, apparitions of Andrew and Abby Borden, doors opening and closing by themselves, and shoes moving across the floor.
- Haunted Hamilton. “Lizzie Borden House,” www.HauntedHamilton.com
- The Spirit Seekers. “Historical Haunts – Axe and Ye Shall Receive,” www.TheSpiritSeekers.wordpress.com