A Former Teacher of Lizzie Borden Speaks About Her Case

Mr. Horace Benson, a former Woonsocket boy, and at one time a successful teacher here, who has for some 12 years or more been making his mark in one of the best schools in Fall River, was in this city Saturday and visited his old friends, one of whom was a former teacher, Mr. L. L. Chilson (?). In speaking of the Borden case to a friend, Mr. Benson said that he knew the family very well and that Lizzie was one of his former pupils. He said that as a pupil she was an average scholar, neither being exceptionally smart nor noticeably dull. She was subject to varying moods, and was never fond of her stepmother. She had no hesitation in talking about her, and in many ways showed her dislike of her father’s second wife.

Mr. Benson boarded at the next house but one to the Borden house, and as was his duty, he became acquainted with Mrs. Borden, whom he grew to know as a kindly hearted, lovable woman, who tried, but ineffectually, to win the love of the stepdaughters. Still the household was far from being an unhappy one.

When asked if he believed that Lizzie committed the murder, he replied quickly and emphatically, ‘No, I do not. It is impossible, and I know the girl and have known her for years. I believe that she is innocent and that her innocence will soon be established.’
Mr. Benson in his capacity as a teacher and with his wide experience understands, as every successful instructor must, the study of human nature, and the relations that subsist between teacher and pupli are such as to give the former a deeper insight into the character of a child, as it unfolds day by day, than is given to any save the parents, and even in many cases a deeper knowledge than the parents possess. His belief is shared by hundreds of the other citizens of Fall River, who cannot bring themselves to believe her guilty. Mr. Benson was warmly greeted by his many friends in this city, who rejoice at his success in his chosen profession.

–From THE Lizzie Borden Sourcebook, David Kent, Branden Publishing Co., Inc., Boston, Mass., 1992, pg.171.
–This undated article is posted to the book after a dated article of August 30. The year is probably 1892, as the previous reference is to the “Hearing”.