The Evening Standard—Saturday, August 6, 1892 Page 1
Discovered in the Borden
Strange Man Seen at the House
Description Tallies With That of
Westport Horse Trader.
Evidence Also of the Man
Buying a Hatchet.
Corroborative Stories Told by
Funeral of the Victims Attended
Only by Friends.
Miss Lizzie Retains Her Remarkable
Strange Incident in Search for Missing
Fall River, Aug. 6. — The funeral of Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Borden occurred at about 11 o’clock this forenoon and it was very quiet, there being no singing or speaking, only scriptural readings and prayer by Rev. Dr. Adams, assisted by Rev. Mr. Buck. A party of the immediate friends, consisting of about 75, attended. The floral offerings were a wreath for each coffin. Three or four thousand people thronged the street, which was almost impassable. The police in strong numbers were at the house and cemetery. There were a dozen carriages in the procession and the pallbearers were leading businessman of the town. John V. Morse and Miss Lizzie Borden, against whom suspicion has been directed, attended the funeral. Lizzie showed no more emotion than she has at any other time and outwardly appeared calm and collected.
An Important Clew.
Fall River, Aug 6. — The Globe this afternoon prints the story of an important clew in connection with the Borden murder case. Last Monday, about 9 o’clock a horse and buggy entered Second street out of Spring and stopped in front of the Borden residence. A man who is employed nearby was seated in another buggy, and had ample time to study the vehicle and its occupants. The circumstance of strange men calling at the Borden residence made an impression upon the observer, and he remembered part particularly the appearance of one man who got out and rang the bell. As she stood at the door t of he observer saw him plainly and distinctly remembers his appearance. He describes the stranger as a man of about 25 years, of sallow complexion. He wore a soft hat and dark clothes, a wide stripe running down his trousers. His feet were encased in russet or base ball shoes. The shoes he noticed part particularly, for they were of peculiar make and color and laced. The man was about five feet nine inches in height.
Mr. Borden answered the door bell and the man spoke a few words and was admitted. The man who remained in the team was not so closely scrutinized and his description is not so well remembered. The man who entered remained about 10 minutes and then came out with his hat in his hand. The team was driven off in the direction of Pleasant street. This circumstance is considered of importance when the fact is known that the police have in their possession knowledge of the only person who tells of having seen a strange man at the Borden house at the time of the murder.
A boy names Kieronack, aged about 12 years, was passing the house about 11 o’clock and saw a man scale the rear fence into the backyard of Dr. Chagnon’s residence. The boy went to his home and told his father. The latter was so impressed with the story that he notified Marshal Hilliard, who went to the boy and heard what he had to say. A significant thing in this connection is that the boy gave the same description of the man as did the young man who saw the stranger standing on Mr. Borden’s doorstep Monday morning.
Kieronack was put to the most rigid examination by the police, and he told such a straightforward story that the marshal was convinced that it was true.
This clew was again struck yesterday in Dartmouth and Westport. Searching for information concerning Morse revealed the fact that he has recently been dealing in horses. On the way to New Bedford yesterday a Frenchman was found who told the following story: “Between 12 30 and 1 o’clock, Thursday, I was driving along in my wood wagon in front of the Merchants Mill. A strange man stopped me and climbed in. He seemed much agitated and asked me to drive him toward Westport, at the same time thrusting $4 into my hand. He took the reins and drove the horse himself. I have a wood yard on Jencks street and I told him I must stop there and get another horse, as the one we had was tired after a hard day’s work. My wife was in the yard and did not like the appearance of the stranger. She positively refused to let me go to Westport with the man, so I gave him back his money and told him I could not assist him.
The description furnished by the Frenchman tallies with that given by the boy at the Pearl street station and that by the young man who saw the stranger Monday morning.
In Westport, at the head of the river, there is a camp of itinerant horse traders, who have been operating in this vicinity for some weeks. They go in and out of New Bedford continually, and Morse has been seen to associate with these people. The men came from the West, and it is thought are handling the horses reputed to be owned by Morse.
In Dartmouth it is learned that Morse reported himself to be a wealthy horse trader. He boarded from time to time in an unpretentious cottage within a mile of the horse traders’ camp.
Searchers in Westport yesterday found the traders’ camp and most of its occupants. Among them is a man who fits precisely the description of the man seen by the boy Thursday noon, by the young man Monday morning and by the Frenchman Thursday afternoon.
This man appeared to be the principal of the traders, and was not to be conversed with about trifling matters or on subjects other than those pertaining to the trading. The man admitted that he was from Westport, but refused to say what part.
He has thought to have the characteristics of the Gypsies and to have led to a roving life not unlike them. Two New Bedford specials worked this clew all day and found that the gang had done more or less trading in their city, and also found a hardware store where a hatchet was purchased on Wednesday by one of the men from Westport. He paid $1.12 for the weapon and the clerk, who took some notice of the man, gives a description similar to those given by Fall River parties. This clew is being worked again to-day, and it is possible that the horse traders will be called upon to account for their whereabouts on Thursday.
Miss Borden’s Room Not Searched.
There is a good deal of excitement and interest about town in regard to a report that when the Borden house was searched for a weapon one room was not entered. This was Lizzie Borden’s bedroom, and it is reported that when it was about to be searched, she forbade it being done. Up to midnight the police said at headquarters that they did not know this was a fact, but officers who were at the house say it is so. The police will make further search to-day.
A rumor is current that the hatchet with which the murder was committed has been discovered. It is the fourth that has been found, but this one, it is said, bears unmistakable signs of having been cleansed recently by scraping and washing. The hatchet is similar in size to a small broad ax used by carpenters, but fitted on top of the blade with a claw like those on hammers. Just where this was found cannot be learned.
It is stated that on the hatchet, held by the teeth of the claw, was a single white hair, presumably from the head of Mr. Borden. The weapon, according to the story, had been so carefully washed and scraped that no traces of blood remained on it, the only suspicion of evidence being the white hair.
A TALK WITH MR. BORDEN”S LAWYER.
A. J. Jennings Says the Murder is a
Remarkable One in History.
Fall River, Aug 6. — Andrew J. Jennings was the attorney for Andrew J. Borden at the time of his death, and for many years past. Medical Examiner Dolan, by virtue of his office, has taken charge of all the personal effects of the deceased, and will hold them until an administrator is appointed. The Probate Court was sitting yesterday and it was thought by relatives of the deceased that such an administrator should be appointed. In reply to Dr. Dolan in relation to this matter Mr. Jennings said: “Let the matter rest as it is.”
Mr. Jennings then went to the Borden residence and had a short talk with the daughters and Mr. Morse. He told them it was not at all necessary to appoint the administrator at the first sitting of the court following death but on the contrary it was very unusual to do so in any case before the funeral of the deceased.
A newspaper man called upon Mr. Jennings at his residence on June street last evening and had a long talk with him about the case and the theories that have been advanced.
“You are familiar with Mr. Borden’s affairs, Mr. Jennings?” was asked.
“I have been his law adviser for many years, and am reasonably familiar with his business affairs. They were, I believe, in perfect order.”
“Do you know anything about his will?”
“I don’t know that there is a will; and I may add that, if I did know, I do not think I would be at liberty to tell. That would be a matter of trust with me.”
“Would there be anything in the distribution of the property to offer motive for such a crime?”
“There certainly would not be.”
“Who would profit by the death of these two people?”
“Well, no one would profit further than the natural distribution of the estate.”
“Do you know this man Morse?
“Yes, I know about him.”
“Would he gain anything?”
“I do not see how he would.”
“Do you know the Borden daughters?”
“Yes, I know them. I know the elder one, Emma, better than Lizzie. Emma is about my age, and I have known her almost all my life. They are quiet, modest ladies “
“Do you know anything about there being insanity in the family—about Lizzie being touched with it?”
“I do not. Never heard of it before this.”
“Have you any theory of the crime?”
“I have not. I have read many cases in the books, the newspapers and in fiction—in novels—and I never heard of a case as remarkable as is this. A most outrageous brutal crime, perpetrated in midday in an open house on a prominent thoroughfare, and a absolutely motiveless—absolutely motiveless.”
“The theories advanced—these quarrels about wages and about the possession of stores and that sort of thing—are simply ridiculous. They do not offer a motive. If it was shown that the thing was done during even such a quarrel, in the heat of passion, it would be different; but to suppose that for such a matter a man will lie in wait or steal upon his victim while asleep and hack him to death is preposterous. Even with revenge in his heart, the site of a victim asleep would disarm almost any man.”
“Then to consider the almost miracle necessary for a man to enter, commit the deed, and escape without been discovered,” suggested the reporter.
“It would be a remarkable combination of circumstances, but not a miracle,” said Mr. Jennings, “impressed with it, as everybody has been. I have recalled how frequently I have entered and gone through my mother’s house and out again without meeting a soul, and how I could at such times have carried off most anything without been discovered.”
“And what is your notion about it being done by some member of the household?”
“Well, there were but two women of the household there and this man Morse, whose name is connected with it. He accounts so satisfactorily for every hour of that morning, showing him to be out of the house, that there seems no ground to base a reasonable suspicion. Further than that he appeared on the same almost immediately after the discovery from the outside, and in the same clothes that he had worn in the early morning.
“Now it is almost impossible that this frightful work could have been done without the clothes of the person who did it being bespattered with blood.
“Then there is Lizzie Borden, dressed to-day in the same clothes she wore yesterday—she has not changed her clothes since. This, together with the improbability that any woman could do such a piece of work, makes the suspicion seem altogether irrational.”