The Evening Standard—Saturday, August 13, 1892 Page 2
LODGED IN JAIL.
Sheriff Wright’s Wife Moved
Recognized in Lizzie Borden Her
Prisoner Still Displays Her
Inquest Will Not be Reopened
Government Busy in Trying to
In spite of all that has been said or written about the Fall River tragedy very little is known regarding the nature of the inquiry which has been going on in the police court room in that city for 48 hours. It is true that Miss Lizzie Borden was suspected as early as a week ago this morning, and that she has been under suspicion ever since, but it should also be borne in mind that she was not accused until last Thursday night.
In partnership with her sister, Miss Emma Borden, she has offered a reward of $5000 for the conviction of the murderer of her father and stepmother, and had secured the services of a detective to track the butcher. On the government side, it was fair and natural to presume, that she, above any person on the face of the earth, desired to bring the wretch who has committed the deed to the gallows. The very fact that she was suspected, was of itself sufficient to warrant such a conclusion, all other considerations aside. The only surmise possible, therefore, was that she would assist the authorities to the best of her ability in unraveling the mystery and freeing herself from the chain of circumstances, weak or strong, which she knew surrounded her. It was to be supposed that she would not only answer every question cheerfully, but that she would volunteer every particle of information in her possession, and that the more searching the examination, the better she would be satisfied. She had everything to gain and nothing to lose by a full revelation of the truth.
Anybody in his sober senses would be slow to hint that District Attorney Knowlton, or any other prosecuting officer, was eager to convict the innocent, to embarrass witnesses, or to impose any hardship on them. At the inquest every person examined was a government witness; there was no defendant, and, of course, no witnesses for the defence. Whether Miss Borden did assist the court and the district attorney in the endeavor to clear up the grim problem which confronted them is not known. As stated, nothing that transpired at the inquest which would justify the forming of an opinion has been made public. Again, it is hardly charitable to insinuate that the government at last had a prisoner because it had to have a prisoner, irrespective of the consequences. That, too, is an accusation that few would care to bring, except in the heat of passion. If the government is possessed of ordinary intelligence, it is aware that it is a terrible thing to swear out a warrant for the arrest of a young lady charged with killing her father. If, as is openly alleged, the government has done that, because it jumped at conclusions, or because it did not appreciate the full significance of such a charge, it must be admitted that its conduct has been more extraordinary and inexplicable than any feature of the crime itself. The government knew that, once that warrant had been issued, Miss Borden’s character, which had always been irreproachable, was blotted forever; it must have known that even if she left the Superior Court room next November acquitted, nothing that it could do could lift the blight from her life. The government sealed the prisoner’s fate when it held her in the matron’s room in the Central Police Station last Thursday night.
The Latest Clew,
and this incident illustrates the willingness of the police to still follow clews, was run to earth yesterday afternoon. For some time past a man has haunted the Central Station with a story about another man. The other man had been diving in and out of the swamp land near the Chace mills. Smoke was seen rising from the same swamp land, and the conclusion arrived at was that the man should be captured and the fire which made the smoke stamped out. Accordingly, Officers Harrington and Doherty went over the Chace mills district yesterday and came back as wise as they went.
Nothing in the Nature of a Will.
City Marshal Hilliard found nothing in the Borden safe that would be of moment to the government in the prosecution of its case, and nothing in the nature of a will. The guards are still on duty at the house, but their duties are of a different character from what they have been, and their labors now are solely devoted to prevent the persons of the house from being subjected to any annoyance by the curious throngs who still find something interesting in standing upon the street and staring at the place.
The Important Witness.
Messrs. Almy and Milne, proprietors of the Fall River Daily News, went bail for Mr. Morse and Bridget Sullivan. Bridget returned to her friend’s residence on Division street. The police say that the most important testimony in the case will be that to be given by Bridget Sullivan, and but three men know what this testimony is. They are Judge Blaisdell, Marshal Hilliard and District Attorney Knowlton, even State Detective Seaver having been requested to retire at the time that the domestic was relating her story. It is not regarded as likely that the Sullivan woman will be put upon the witness stand at the preliminary hearing.
Lodged in Jail.
Lizzie A. Borden now occupies a small cell in the women’s department of the county jail at Taunton. Of all the trying scenes through which the young woman has passed, this parting from her relatives and departure from the city of her home under the charge of police officers, to mix with low criminals of both sexes, might well be supposed to be the most severe; but beyond an evident loss of strength as she entered the train at Fall River there was no evidence of anything approaching physical prostration, and her step as she alighted from the carriage at the entrance to the Taunton jail was firmer then at any time during the journey.
“She is a remarkable woman”, said Marshal Hilliard, “and is possessed of wonderful power of fortitude.”
“She still retains the same Christian spirit of resignation as at the outset,” remarked Rev. E. A. Buck, her pastor, “and her calmness is the calmness of innocence.”
Whichever view is correct, this prisoner is certainly
A Remarkable Woman.
Her demeanor is going far to cause a retention of the interest in this case, which the people do not appear at all inclined to drop, even though the government authorities express themselves satisfied that the murderer of Mr. and Mrs. Borden is now in custody. Viewed by hundreds of people in Fall River and Taunton (the crowd awaiting her arrival in the latter city being enormous), the only evidence of agitation upon her countenance was a slight flush, and even the loud remarks of the mill girls as they pointed her out to each other apparently failed to disturb her equanimity. Certainly in Lizzie Borden some of the weaknesses of her sex are conspicuously absent.
The route taken by the carriage containing Lizzie Borden, Marshal Hilliard, Officer Seaver, and Rev. Mr. Buck toward the Fall River railroad depot was most peculiar. It is a direct route from the Central Station to the depot. Along the main thoroughfare were people eager to catch a glimpse of the prisoner, and the marshal considerate of his charge, decided to disappoint the curiosity seekers. Accordingly the journey was uphill and down dale, through side streets, and along thoroughfares skirting the river.
Following the carriage were others containing the representatives of the leading newspapers of the East, and these latter drew up at the depot a few seconds in advance of the official vehicle. A squad of officers was on duty there, and as the crowd surged they pushed them back. The train for Taunton was a few minutes late, and until it’s arrival Lizzie Borden and Mr. Buck remained in the carriage. As the clang of the engine bell was heard the marshal pulled up the carriage curtains and assisted Lizzie Borden to alight.
She was prettily dressed and appeared quite prepossessing. She wore a blue dress of new design, and wore a short blue veil. At the realization that the moment for departure had arrived she seemed overcome by momentary weakness and almost tottered. She was at once supported by the marshal and Mr. Buck, and leaning upon the arms of these two she walked through the ladies’ waiting room and out toward the cars. The eager crowd pushed and stared and gossiped as the party entered the rear car of the train. Rev. Mr. Buck carried a box containing a number of religious and other papers and magazines, and also some books. A telescope bag containing Miss Borden’s apparel was placed in the cars. The prisoner sat near the window in a seat with Mr. Buck, and behind them was Mr. Hilliard. The blinds were drawn in order to prevent an annoyance to Miss Borden by curious persons. Her glance was vacant and her thoughts were manifestly removed from her present surroundings. Not a word was exchanged between the members of the party, and the prisoners still remained in the same position, staring at nothing. In some manner the information that Miss Borden was upon the train spread, and at the few stations at which it stopped small knots of inquisitive people were gathered.
There was an incident at Somerset. Upon the platform of the station were a dozen young women, evidently mill employes, and the rear car of the train stopped directly in front of them. In the seat opposite the prisoner sat two newspaper men and as their window was raised the young women could look across and see the form of the prisoner
“Oh, there she is!” called out one, “that’s the murderess!” Then they all scampered toward the window and peered in.
Miss Borden must have heard the careless remark. But the trim figure in blue never stirred a muscle, but still retained the same attitude.
Taunton was reached at 4:20 o’clock. Awaiting her arrival was a gathering of hundreds, and they crowded about every car. Officers Seaver in order to attract their attention, hurried to the north end of the station and the throng hurried in that direction At this time Mr. Hilliard and Mr. Buck escorted the prisoner from the south end of the station and into a carriage. Mr. Seaver join them and the crowd found itself disappointed. After the vehicle rolled the cabs of the newspaper men.
Taunton Jail is not far removed from the centre of the city and is a picturesque looking stone structure. There is the main building and the keepers residence, which is attached. On the outside of the structure ivy grows in profusion and the building does not resemble, except in the material of its construction, the generally accepted appearance of a place of confinement. It has accommodations for 65 prisoners, and the women’s department is on the south east side. In this portion of the building there are but nine cells, and before the arrival of Lizzie Borden but five of these were occupied. These were confined for offenses of a minor nature, as it is not customary for the officials of Bristol county to send many women to Taunton, the majority being committed to the jail in this city, where there is employment for them. The matron is Mrs. Wright, wife of Sheriff Andrew J. Wright, keeper of the jail, and her personal attention is given to the female prisoners.
The officers had been notified of the coming of Miss Borden, and her arrival was unattended by any unusual ceremony inside the jail. Her step was firmer than ever as, unassisted, she walked up the three steps and into the office of the keeper. From there she was directed to the corridor which runs along the cells of the women’s department, and here Mr. Hilliard left her. Returning to the office he handed the commiting mittimus to Sheriff Wright, who examined it and found it correct.
In the meanwhile Lizzie Borden was alone with the clergyman. He spoke words of cheer to her and left her in the care of the matron. Mr. Buck said she was not shocked at the site of the cells, and, knowing that she was innocent accepted the situation with a calm resignation. He said her friends would call upon her from time to time, this being allowed by the institution.
in which Lizzie Borden is confined is 9 1-2 feet high and 7 1-2 feet wide. Across the corridor, looking through the iron bars, her gaze will rest upon the whitewashed walls. The furniture of the cell consists of the bedstead, chair and washbowl, and she will spend her time in reading. All the papers regularly subscribed for by her father will be forwared to her, but they do not include the daily newspapers. At her personal request she has seen none of these and will not do so. Consequently she is not familiar with the comments of the papers regarding the case. Taken in charge by the matron, Lizzie Borden was escorted to the cell, and the iron doors clanged behind her.
Perhaps no person in Taunton experienced a greater surprise and shock at the arrival of Lizzie Borden then Mrs. Wright, the matron, in whose care the prisoner is. Sheriff Wright was for years a resident of Fall River, and at one time held the position of marshal of the city police, the place now occupied by Mr. Hilliard. Mr. and Mrs. Wright were well acquainted with the Borden family, but the first names of their acquaintances had slipped from their memory, and the sheriff and his wife did not connect the Borden they formerly knew with the prominent actors in this tragedy. When Lizzie Borden entered the presence of the matron the latter noticed something familiar in the countenance of the young woman, and after the retirement of Rev. Mr. Buck commenced to question her. Finally, after a number of questions, Mrs. Wright asked, “Are you not the Lizzie Borden who used as a child to play with my daughter Isabel?” The answer was and affirmative one, and the information touched Mrs.Wright to the quick. When she appeared in the keeper’s office a few moments later her eyes were moist with tears.
With Noble Sprit.
Rev. Edwin A. Buck was asked by a Standard reporter how Lizzie bore herself, and his reply was:
“With the same noble spirit and Christian calmness in her innocence, as I believe, that she has shown from the first.”
He had brought Lizzie some books for reading, as well as some church weeklies. When asked what reading she would have, Mr. Buck hesitated somewhat. He was about to state, but finally said that he guessed he would not state, because it would go broadcast all over the country and he had marked a passage especially for her reading.
Mr. Carrier stated that it was not essential Lizzie should wear a prison dress. It was not customary with persons simply awaiting trial. The pastor, with the marshal and Officer Seaver, left the jail at 5 o’clock and the reporters soon followed
Lizzie Borden is a presumably innocent person in the eyes of the law until proved otherwise, yet from the talk on the train, in the railway stations and in Taunton and Fall River, one might readily believe nothing stood between her and the gallows. The strongest evidence against Miss Lizzie she is understood to have introduced herself. One of the officials who was present stated that as she proceeded with her story the case against her grew blacker and blacker. The most important parts of her testimony were tested. On the point of time that she remained in the loft great stress was brought to bear. It was held that the loft on a hot day was like an oven and it was considered impossible, to say the least, that a refined and cultured lady, unaccustomed to hardship, would remain in such a place for 20 minutes unless something imperative demanded it, when she could have remained quietly in a cool room within doors and waited until a cooler part of the day before making her search for the lead or whatever else she was after. She was forced to repeat her story time after time, and the prospect ahead look darker as her examination proceeded. Although the impression cannot be fully confirmed, it is growing that Miss Lizzie was the strongest witness against herself. Inconsistencies did not necessarily have great weight, but parts of her story were regarded as improbable. .
That is just the difficulty; just what Mr. Jennings complained of yesterday at the arraignment that it was possible that inadmissible questions under the rules of evidence had been put to Lizzie at the inquest and that she had unhesitatingly answered them.
Every Trail Should be Followed.
Mr. John C. Milne says: “Every trail should be relentlessly followed. But every one which leads away from the Borden homestead ought to be most welcome and ought to be pursued to the utmost, notwithstanding and even because of the strength of the counter-chain of evidence. The public desire the truth, much more eagerly than they desire a conviction, and they would far rather have no conviction that the condemnation of one of not guilty; still, the truth, wherever it leads.”
Gideon Manchester, drawtender at Stone Bridge, also saw Dr. Handy’s strange man, or a man his exact counterpart, on Thursday, Aug. 4, at about noon. His brother George, who lives in Newton, R.I., was hired to drive a strangely excited man to Newport. This man gave him a full account of the murder, and was so little anxious to talk about it that Mr. Manchester began to draw him out. The first mention of murder was made accidently and the man seemed vexed after he had talked about it. This man was very nervous. His face twitched under strong excitement. He did not think any more about it until he saw Dr. Handy’s statement. The man he saw had the peculiarly white face, dark hair, eyes, and moustache. He was about 5 feet 4 inches high, and wore dark clothes. Mr. Manchester is now convinced that the man knew more about the murder that he told.
Bridget Sullivan has been talking with her friends since she appeared at the inquest and was allowed to leave the Borden house. She solidly asserts that she told all she knew about the murders, and that was nothing. She knew nothing about the murders themselves and knew of nothing that could possibly have led up to them. She strongly insisted on her belief that Miss Lizzie was not guilty. Medical Examiner Dolan has but little faith in the poison theory. As the Standard has stated, the only evidence that he expects from the return of the analysis of the stomachs and their contents is as to the time of the murders. The arrest yesterday was not the result of any return from Prof. Wood, as he has made none. No word is expected from him concerning the analysis for a week and possibly nothing will be heard for two weeks. It is stated on authority from the same source that there was testimony at that inquest which the public never even suspected.
The Inquest is to be Reopened Monday.
The inquest, Judge Blaisdell decided last night, would not be reopened before Monday. The delay is to give the police time to work out some points they are in possession of, because all the authorities are tired out.
The Assassins Weapon.
The hatchet supposed to have been used by the assassin is in the possession of the police. It is a peculiar weapon. It was this hatchet which was marked with what were supposed to be blood stains, and the white hair was said to have been found in the claws. There are few hatchets like it in existence; in fact most of the doctors who examined it closely had never seen one like it. The top of this hatchet just fits into a number of the wounds on the murdered person’s heads, while the blade is just the length of several cuts. This implement may be an old-fashioned planking hatchet which years ago was discarded and had been thrown into the Borden cellar to rust away. The blade is about five inches in length at the edge and is almost triangular in shape, the narrow part coming at the handle. The upper portion is shaped exactly like a claw hammer, but is horizontal to the handle instead of vertical. This part is about 4 1-2 inches in length from the end to the edge of the claws, which are particularly large and were evidently intended to be used in drawing spikes from floor timbers. The blade was sharp and perpendicularly thin up to about one inch from the edge, at which point it becomes thicker. Its general shape is like that of a headsman’s axe, except that the claw destroys the uniformity of the contour. The handle is about 2 1-2 feet long, and the implement weighs in the vicinity of five pounds. It is an ugly looking affair, and would be an almost irresistible weapon in the hands of an infuriated person. When the two axes and the two hatchets were found in the cellar they were all examined together. Three were stained with rust, and the other was spotted with something that looked a little different from the others. It was more closely looked at, and in between the claws, firmly caught in the narrow steel, were two gray hairs. It looked convincing, but the doctors were not then satisfied. They made a microscopic examination of the stains. They were caused by blood, evidently from a human being.
Then the hairs were taken to the receiving tomb, and, under a microscope, were compared to those of the dead man. They were apparently identical in size and texture, and were certainly the same in color.
There was one more test. The blade was then compared with the cuts, and the top of the tool was measured with the indentations. Both fitted. So well were the doctors satisfied with the test that they unhesitatingly pronounced the hatchet identical with the one that caused the wounds, and expressed it as their opinion that it was the same.
Property in the Family.
There has been an absence of suggestion concerning the motive for the two deaths in the Borden family. The police found the motive early in their researches. They have been looking for the murderer by the light of that motive. It is needless to say that they considered the love of money the motive. A. J. Borden possessed real estate valued at $173,000 according to the tax assessors of Fall River, personal property worth at moderate appraisal, $30,000 more. His wife had about $5000 in her own name. The two girls owned personally property, principally mill stocks, valued at about $10,000 each. The family was better off than several families of the Fall River Bordens who live in grand style. Mr. Borden, it is said, early set his heart on accumulating wealth for its own sake, so he never spent it freely. It is alleged now that Mrs. Borden who was the second wife, on more than one occasion spoke of having a large part of the property when her husband died. She may have meant that her husband was going to leave her property in his will, or that she expected to have large property from her dower rights in case her husband died intestate. About the first suggestion one could say nothing definite. Mr. A. J. Jennings is perhaps the only man who can state whether Mr. Borden was making an inventory of his property, preliminary to writing his will and whether Mr. Borden intended to divide his estate unequally between his wife and his daughters. If Mrs. Borden anticipated having a large estate in fee left her by the death of her husband, she was mistaken. The law in the case is confusing, but a statement of its application to the Borden case is easily made. Had Mr. Borden alone died and died intestate, Mrs. Borden would have received in the discretion of the Court of Probate not exceeding $5000 in real estate in fee, one half of all the real estate for use during her lifetime, with reference back to the children at her death, and such a fraction of the personal estate as the Court of Probate in its discretion allowed, this also for use during lifetime only. In a word, Mrs. Borden could have hoped to secure only rights to property which would depart from her control at the end of her life. In case Mr. Borden wished he could have entirely disinherited his children.