“Somebody has killed father!”
(Inquest, pg.128, Mrs. Churchill quoting Lizzie Borden)
This catalogue of suspect names is the result of a comprehensive survey of multiple sources that detail the Borden crime. The list includes peripheral as well as major characters who were suspicious enough to be included in the investigation. Considering the multitude of names or just vague descriptions collected as leads in the case by police, lawyers and private detectives in their quest for a culprit, it is remarkable that their efforts produced a single viable suspect, in the person of Lizzie Borden, in so short a period of time.
Since Lizzie Borden was tried and acquitted June 20, 1893 of the murder of Abby and Andrew Borden, the following list of remaining candidates is presented to assist armchair detectives in the possible solution of the crime.
Major Suspects In The Borden Case
DAVID ANTHONY — An Annotated Bibliography of the Borden Murders, Lizzie Andrew Borden Web-site: The Ellsworth American, Ellsworth, ME, Jan. 2, 1985: “A Solution to the 1892 Crime? : Ruby Cameron Says David Anthony Murdered Lizzie Borden’s Parents.” Also, Bernard Sullivan, Providence Journal Bulletin, Jan. 13, 1985, C1-C2: “Maine Woman Says Lizzie Borden Told Her The Real Killer.” Also, Leonard Rebello. Lizzie Borden; Past and Present, 1999, pg. 138- 9:
84 year-old Ruby Francis Cameron of Cherryfield, Maine, made national headlines when she claimed that David Anthony, who wanted to marry Lizzie, killed the Bordens. There has been no confirmation to prove David Anthony, Jr., committed the 1892 murders. Miss Cameron died Nov. 18, 1985.
EMMA BORDEN — Frank Spiering. Lizzie: The Story of Lizzie Borden, 1984.
LIZZIE BORDEN — Victoria Lincoln. A Private Disgrace: Lizzie Borden By Daylight, 1967, 1986: Lizzie kills the Bordens during an epileptic seizure. Also, Edmund Lester Pearson. The Trial of Lizzie Borden, 1937. Also, Edwin H. Porter, The Fall River Tragedy, 1893. Also, Robert Sullivan. Goodbye, Lizzie Borden, 1974.
WILLIAM S. BORDEN — Arnold R. Brown. Lizzie Borden: The Legend, The Truth, The Final Chapter, 1991: Brown theorizes that Andrew Borden had an illegitimate son named Billy Borden who killed Andrew and Abby. Lizzie knew and helped cover up the crime. Controversial. Also, Rebello, pg. 130.
DR. SEABURY BOWEN — Washington D.C. Chief of Police, vol. iv., no.4, July / August, 1989: “Death of a Massachusetts Trojan,” pg. 34-45. Also, Rebello, pg. 136:
Richard Powers . . . a retired state prison guard and Maryland historian, posed the theory . . . that Dr. Seabury Bowen . . . who lived across the street . . . killed Andrew and Abby Borden and removed the murder weapon . . . in his doctor’s bag. Powers suggested there were ill feelings between the doctor and the Bordens.
Also, The Witness Statements, Fall River, MA, 1997, pg. 6: Dr. Bowen burns paper possibly with the name “Emma” on it in kitchen stove, in front of Harrington.
Also, The Witness Statements, Fall River, MA, 1997, pg. 21:
Doctor Bowen’s character is at least suspicious, Mrs. Jane Grey [sic].
Also, Michael Martins and Dennis Binette, eds., The Commonwealth of Massachusetts vs. Lizzie A. Borden: The Knowlton Papers, 1892- 1893, Fall River Historical Society, 1994, letter #HK113, pg. 117, unsigned, dated Dec.2, 1892:
. . . on the day of the murder I was coming towards Fall River . . . I met Dr. Bowen and a young man in a Carrage, driveing so fast that . . . I thought at the time that someone was dieing . . . I am well acquainted with Him, but I never saw Him look so wild . . . it was about 15 minutes to eleven . . . the Doctor had hold of the reins with both hands, driving for dear life. has Dr. Bowen ever been questioned were He was on the morning of the Murder. this is the truth and nothing but the truth.
WILLIAM A. DAVIS — Fritz Adilz. “An Armchair Solution to the Borden Mystery,” Lizzie Borden Quarterly [Summer 1994 plus 6 more issues (see Bibliographies- Web-site)]: William Davis as assassin, in collusion with Morse. Davis is the son of Morse’s old friend Isaac Davis, butcher, who used to employ Morse, and with whom he lived for a time. Lizzie was guilty but did not actually kill with her own hands.
HIRAM HARRINGTON — Inquest Upon the Deaths of Andrew J. and Abby D. Borden Aug. 9- 11, 1892, Vol. I, Fall River Historical Society, pg. 50:
I know of one man who has not been friendly with him [Andrew Borden]; they have not been friendly for years . . . Mr. Hiram Harrington. [Lizzie Borden’s testimony].
JOHN V. MORSE — Muriel Arnold. Lizzie Borden: Pictorial and Historical- The Hands of Time, 1999: Morse and Bridget combined to assassinate the Bordens. Also, Rebello, pg. 123, Fall River Daily Globe, Tues., Aug . 9, 1892: 2, “‘Lizzie and Morse, Fish Believes They Concocted the Deed, And Hired Some One to Commit the Double Murder, Girls Never on Good Terms with Their Stepmother, He Says.”
Mr. George Fish was married to Abby Borden’s sister, Priscilla B. Gray. He believed Lizzie and her uncle John V. Morse planned the murders but hired someone to commit the murders. His theory was quickly denied by his family.
NOBODY — Todd Lunday. The Mystery Unveiled: The Truth About the Borden Tragedy: Fresh Light That Must Be Convincing to All Readers, 1893: Since Lizzie is acquitted, attempts to prove that “Nobody” committed the crimes.
BRIDGET SULLIVAN — Edward Radin. Lizzie Borden: The Untold Story, 1961. Also, Muriel Arnold’s The Hands of Time.
Compiled, cross-indexed, and annotated by Kat Koorey.© 2002 Kat Koorey
The “Usual Suspects”& The Unusual, Part II
Antonio Auriel — Paul Dennis Hoffman. Yesterday In Old Fall River: A Lizzie Borden Companion, 2000, pg. 10:
. . . arrested as an early suspect . . . of Portuguese descent . . . also worked on one of Andrew Borden’s Swansea farms
. . . He was brought to the police station and claimed that Joseph Chaves, a clerk at Talbot and Company, would prove he was not in the area at the time of the murders. Chaves vouched for Auriel and he was released from custody. [See W.S., pg. 6].
David S. Brigham — Knowlton Papers, pg. 105, 414. Also, Barbara Ashton. “The Hip-Bath Collection: How It Influenced the Legend of Lizzie Borden,” Proceedings; Lizzie Borden Conference, 1993, pg. 218. Also, Hoffman, pg. 47. Also Rebello, pg. 175-176 and pg. 131: Fall River Daily Globe, Nov. 11, 1893: 8. “Newton’s Notions/His Mind Unbalanced on the Borden Butcheries/ Contrary to the Relief of Many Fall River People/He Thought the Murderer Was a Man Instead of a Woman”: Brigham was accused by Mr. John Compton Newton of Fall River, who had been a janitor at B. M. C. Durfee Safe Deposit and Trust Co., before jumping off a steamship.
He claimed Mr. David Sewell Brigham, the former city marshal of Fall River (d. Oct.22, 1893), and connected with the B.M.C. Durfee Safe Deposit and Trust Company where Andrew Borden reportedly kept his fortune, had killed the Bordens. Mr. Newton’s allegations were unfounded. [Mrs. Newton] did not believe her husband committed suicide and felt ‘there was foul play.’ . . . Dr. Dolan . . . found that Mr. Newton’s skull was fractured. ‘How this was is not known but it may have been made by something striking the skull after death and while the body was in the water.’ The reporter for The Globe wrote, ‘The fractured skull might have been the cause of death, however, and this surprising find adds something more of the mystery to the case.’
Peleg Brightman — Porter, pg. 58. Also, W.S., pg. 13. Also, Hoffman, pg. 49:
Brightman was an early suspect . . . occasionally did jobs for Andrew [Borden]. A neighbor saw Brightman digging in his own backyard and thought Brightman was burying a hatchet . . . never arrested.
Also, pg. 323:
. . . neither Brightman nor Silvia was found to be connected to the Borden slayings in any way. [See Joseph Silvia].
Joseph W. Carpenter, Jr. — William L. Masterton. Lizzie Didn’t Do It!, 2000, pg. 229-31. Also Ashton, ” Hip-bath Collection,” pg. 218, Jennings notes, “P. Clarkson Alfred — exam (?) told me about Joe Carpenter.” Also, Rebello, pg. 56: ” . . . employed as a bookkeeper for Borden and Almy from 1874-1878 . . . dismissed . . . became an early suspect.” Pg. 132-3: An unnamed informant to a local paper in Rochester, N.Y., claimed Carpenter had “embezzled the funds of the firm.” Also, Knowlton Papers, pg. 99- 100, letter #HK098 and #HK099: “Jennings tells me a story about one Joe Carpenter, who had a grudge against Borden, who he says ought to have been looked up,” pg. 153-4, letter #HK143: Joseph Carpenter swore before a Notary Public his whereabouts the day of the murders. Victoria Foreman ” . . . occupies the premises Nos. 33 and 35 Maiden Lane, in said City [Albany, N.Y.], and rents furnished rooms in said premises . . . ” swears to same Notary Public Mr. William F. Beers, as to truthfulness of Carpenter’s statement as far as she knows, dated Jan. 24, 1893.
Henry M. Carter — Hoffman, pg. 64. Also, W.S. pg. 9, Harrington and Doherty, Sat., Aug. 6, notes,
Henry M. Carter No. 88 Snell street had a dispute with Mr. Borden about rent and water bill. On this day he was engaged serving a needing breakfast up to 10 A.M. at Mr. Garvey’s No.10 Cross street. At 11 A.M. he took the train at Ferry street for Stone Bridge. He has paper of credit from A.J. Borden for $66. for rent, dated Aug.1 st.
Bearsley Cooper — Rebello, pg. 121 & 128: Fall River Herald, Tuesday, August 9, 1892: 4:
Sheriff Kirby of Westport was interviewed Monday [August 8] in regard to the investigation being made in his town, with a view of connecting some well-known shady characters of the place with the crime. He said, ‘I know that the officers have been working here, but, so far as I know, have not been made any progress towards a solution of the mystery. They first started to follow up Lincoln and Cooper, the two western dealers who are here at present, but they soon gave up that scent. I can say this much, that not the slightest suspicion attaches to any member of the Borden family so far as any dealings in Westport may be concerned. Throughout New Bedford there is a strong feeling that either the guilty party or parties or someone with a guilty knowledge are located in this section, and increased efforts will be made in this direction.’
Also, Hoffman, pg. 87:
Cooper was never arrested . . . his alibi was confirmed . . . [See Horse Traders].
Jose Correiro (newspaper), Correira (Hoffman), Carreiro (Rebello index) — pg. 188: Boston Daily Globe, Thursday, June 1, 1893: 9 : “Startling Parellelisms / Many Points of Resemblance Between the Manchester and Borden Murders.” Also, Hoffman, pg. 88: Jose Correira was arrested on June 4, 1893, for the hatchet murder of Bertha Manchester (killed May 31, 1893). Correira, from the Azores, “. . . could not have killed the Bordens since he did not arrive in the U.S. until April, 1893 . . . “
Frenchman — Rebello, pg. 132: Boston Daily Globe, Monday, Aug. 22, 1892: 1: “Says He Can Solve the Mystery / Quincy Man Declares a Frenchman Murdered the Bordens”:
Mr. George A. Collier of Quincy, Massachusetts, a former police officer in Fall River, went to the Boston Police Department and claimed he had the name of a Frenchman who committed the murders.
Dr. Handy — Rebello, pg. 65, 251: Boston Daily Globe, Thursday, June 15, 1893: 1 : “Dr. B. J. Handy Testifies About A Pallid-Faced Man.” Also, W.S., pg. 14-15, Harrington, Wed., Aug. 10, notes, that when the police took Dr. Handy to Boston to I.D. a man, he was not at home. Dr. Handy was shown a photo of the man he said he had seen that day (Aug. 4th), Henrick Wood.
. . . Dr. Handy so readily pronounced him not the man, is, to my mind, very significant. His social relations with Miss Lizzie are very close. She was to spend her vacation at Dr. Handy’s cottage at Marion, with his daughter . . .
Also, W.S. pg. 19, Harrington, Sept. 25, notes, Dr. Handy explains,
Now Mr. Harrington, I never told you I thought the man I saw committed the crime, did I? I never said the man I saw committed the crime, and don’t think he did.
Also, W.S., pg. 19, Harrington, Sept. 25, notes,
James E. Cunneen . . . Drove up Second street that day, and the only strange thing I observed was Dr. Handy’s actions. His carriage was drawn up to the west side of the street, about opposite Dr. Kelly’s yard. He sat in the buggy, and was quickly turning his head from right to left, and left to right. He seemed very nervous, and his strange actions caused me to look around to see what was the occasion of this; but I observed nothing. Before I reached where he was standing, he started and drove slowly down the street by me. [see Henrick Wood].
Horse Traders — Rebello, pg. 121, 128. Also, Porter, pg. 39:
There was at that time a camp of itinerant horse traders in the town of Westport. It was related that Mr. Morse had had dealings with these men and the sensational press soon coupled his name with a possible hired assassin, a member of the gang of traders. This story was given color by the then unexploded story of young Kierouack, especially when it became known that officer Medley had discovered a man who seemed to fit the description of the stranger alleged to have been seen around the premises. This suspect was the head trader in the Westport Camp and when accosted he readily consented to come to Fall River and surrender himself. He succeeded in showing beyond a reasonable doubt that he was in the city of New Bedford at the time of the Borden murders . . . [see Bearsley Cooper.].
Inside Job — Ashton, “Hip-bath Collection,” pg. 218, Jennings notes,
o. Dr. Coughlin–Autopsy that P.M. Dr. Abbo (?) says he heard Coughlin say when there with Dolan soon after the murder that they wouldn’t have to go out of the house to find the person who did it.
Italian — W.S., pg. 16-17, Harrington, Fall River, Sunday, Aug. 28, 1892, notes,
Monday Aug. 15, 1892. Called at Geo. Bentley’s No. 185 N. M. street. Bentley’s statement. On Thursday Aug. 4, 1892, an Italian, about 24 years, light complection, not certain of mustache, if he had one it was small, about 5-7 or 8, 160 or 170 lbs., called, left a trunk and a box . . . trunk contained . . . an old carpet bag, the inside of which was stained with what looked like blood, or iron rust . . . the box had a tag . . . ‘For Peter Cerety’ . . . Sought for a man of this description in Tiverton, Portsmouth, and Bristol Ferry, R.I.
Alfred Johnson — Hoffman, pg. 183. Also W.S., pg. 37, George Seaver, Aug. 11, 1892, notes, Frederick Eddy says Alfred Johnson is a ‘Sweden’ and “went to Mr. Borden’s when he was not busy here [at Swansea farm], and did all the work, cutting the wood, cleaning up the yard etc.”
Also, Porter, pg. 46:
. . . inquiries directed to the domestic (Bridget), elicited answers to the effect that the Portuguese must have done it. The individual referred to was a Swede laborer, and Marshal Hilliard thereupon drove to the Somerset [sic] farm. The investigation there was necessarily brief in its character . . . satisfied the Marshal that the laborer (Swede) . . . was far removed from the house on Second street at the time the murders were committed . . . another trip . . . made to Somerset [sic]. . . confirmed the opinion of Marshal Hilliard. The man established a thoroughly satisfactory alibi, and the officials were forced to acquit him of the possibility of any knowledge or of complicity in the affair.
Lincoln — [see Horse Traders].
John Joseph Maher — Hoffman, pg. 218: Between Aug. 4 and Aug. 5, 1892, was arrested for public drunkenness and “seemed to know a lot about the murders and was therefore a possible suspect . . . quickly released.”
Henry Mahr (alias John Wood) — Hoffman, pg. 219:
. . . was an early suspect in the Borden killings. He had lived in Fall River in 1890 and boarded at the home of Mrs. Ella Cross at 17 John Street. He worked for three months in 1890 at Marshall’s hat factory . . . Mrs. Cross claimed she had letters and telegrams from Mahr in England, proving he was not in Fall River when the Bordens were murdered.
A Man — Hoffman, pg. 222-3: Mrs. Delia Manley (and Sara Hart) saw a man leaning on the Borden’s gate the morning of Aug.4. Mrs. M. could not remember what he looked like. Also, Porter, pg. 205: Sara Hart says it was a young man, ” . . . about 9:50 . . . resting his head on his left hand, his elbow being on the gatepost . . . ” Also, Ashton, pg. 217, Jennings notes,
d. Mrs. Horatio Hart- Light suit of clothes (mixed suit) derby hat mustache–looked impudent, inquisitive as if prying in our business not far by 9:50 (fri)– didn’t notice his shoes, awkward position, made me uncomfortable I knew every house there my sister is Alice Russell’s mother. Never saw the man before . . . as I know. Looked as though he was prying with something, walked by us . . . elbow (?) at s gate post got down street just time enough to take 10 o’clock (city hall) car, bell struck before I got to it.
A Man — Hoffman, pg. 145-6: Seen by brothers Edward and Robert Griffiths,
. . . walking with unusual haste in front of ‘Flint’s building’. The stranger was carrying a cleaver with the handle facing down towards the street . . . looking like a tool carried by fish mongers. It was rusty and appeared not to have been used in quite a while. The strange man was described as short in stature, poorly dressed and clean-shaven. Griffiths suspected that the cleaver could have been the murder weapon used on the Bordens.
A Man — Ashton, pg. 216, Jennings notes,
b. Brow Stephen (Pouson called) ‘About 10:20 I was standing at Mrs. C’s gate. I saw a man by a tree in front of Mr. B’s standing still coming towards the house, about 10:35 after Mr. B. had gone in, I saw him come up, he passed me at Mrs. C’s gate. Then he looked down the street and walked off, as far as Wade’s store, then I went in yard. A man brought carriage over after man had gone from Hartwell Street. Man as P height– black mustache and bright suit– kind of stiff hat cut away coat hollow faced dark complected I saw d. Handy go by (fast) while the man was walking away.’
A Man — W.S., pg. 40-2, J.M. Heap, Aug. 14: [Six witness statements, excerpts of two provided here], Officer J. M. Heap’s notes,
August 14th I saw Ronnald St. Amant. He said that August 4th he was coming from Atwater’s coal yard on Eight Rod Way with a half ton of coal at 2:30 or 3 o’clock. He met a man at the corner of Eight Rod Way and Pleasant Street. ‘The man asked me if he could get in. I told him yes, come on then. He asked me if I could take him to New Bedford . . . He asked me how much I charge to take him to New Bedford. I said four dollars. He said all right . . . .I asked him what part . . . He said the south part. Then he asked me if I could come back at four or five o’clock in the morning. I said it is too late, I want to come back at eleven or twelve. He said that all right, lets hurry up . . . Then my wife came and asked me where I was going. I said, to take this man to New Bedford. Then she said that there had been some one murdered in the city today. She said it might be bad to take that man to New Bedford. She said, I don’t want you to take that man to New Bedford. I told her he had paid me. She said, give him back his money . . . I told him my wife did not want me to go. Get out, I don’t want to see you here again. . . .Mrs. Extentive StAmant said that the man sat in the carriage, his head bent forward, and his hat drawn down over his eyes, and kept saying hurry up and get in . . . Age 30 or 35 years; height 5 feet 8 or 8 and 1/2 inches; weight 175 or 180 lbs.; dark complexion, full face, smooth shaven, black hair, a little round shouldered, and leans a little to the left when walking, a plain dark suit, cut away coat, a black stiff hat, white shirt and collar, and black bow.
“A Man Came” — Masterton, pg. 232. Also W.S., pg. 5: Lizzie Borden being questioned by Harrington, Thursday, Aug. 4th,
Have you any reason, no matter how slight, to suspect anybody? ‘N-n-no, I have not.’ why hesitate? ‘Well, a few weeks ago father had angry words with a man about something.’ What was it? ‘I did not know at the time, but they were both very angry at the time; and the stranger went away.’ Did you see him at all? ‘No sir they were in another room; but from the tone of their voices, I knew things were not pleasant between them . . . About two weeks ago he called again. They had a very animated conversation, during which they got very angry again. I heard Father say “no sir, I will not let my store for any such business.” Just before they separated, I heard father say “well, when you are in town again, come up, and I will let you know about it.”’
Also, pg. 2: Lizzie being questioned by John Fleet, Thurs., Aug. 4th, 1892 :
A man came here this morning about nine o’clock, I think he wanted to hire a store, talked English. I did not see him; heard father shut the door, and think the man went away.
A Man, Loafing — W.S., pg. 17, Harrington, Tuesday, Aug. 16, notes,
Called on West Cook at the Durfee Ice houses, who directed us to Hiram Brightman of Wilson Road at the head of New Boston Rd. There was a man loafing around there, who had his face and hands blacked with burned cork or soot, but he had not been seen since July 31st, or the Sunday before the murder.
A Man, Red-faced — W.S., pg. 33, Medley notes, Fall River Sept. 2, 1892.
In pursuance of orders I this day visited Mrs. John Marshall at Pawtucket. I was unable to secure an interview with her because Mr. Jennings had telephoned to allow no one to see her until he came on. I waited until next day, when Mr. Jennings and I had an interview with her, and she made the following statement. She was out riding with Mrs. Robert Marshall in Fall River on the fourth of August. They were going south through Third street about eleven o’clock, or a few minutes after. When opposite Dr. Chagnon’s house, she saw a horse and top buggy, and a man standing beside it. He was not in a hurry, did not seem excited; no blood or anything on his clothing; nothing in his hands, but simply standing beside his carriage, and presently he got in, but did not notice which way he went. He had a red face. In concluding, she said ‘that is all I know.’ September 8. This day visited Mrs. Robert Marshall at the Melon House. She is what I consider a very upright conscientious woman . . . she said ‘No, I cannot [concur]. I was with my mother in law on the 4th of August riding out . . . I must tell The truth, and I cannot say that I saw anything at all either on Third street, or anywhere else, that could be construed into a suspicious circumstance. While on Third street in front of Dr. Chagnon’s house, there was absolutely nothing at all; neither did she call my attention to anything at all. When we passed the High School Building it was 10.45, she told me so herself. I am sorry I cannot agree with her, but it is my duty to tell what I honestly believe to be the truth.’ [See Man, Red-faced, Mrs. Conant] [See Yankee Dan].
A Man, Red-faced — Ashton, pg. 215-6, Jennings notes,
a. Mrs. P.D. Conant ‘Clock 11 at Reynolds and Franklin it was within few minutes of 11:10 and when at (?) end of Dean’s store she saw awfullest looking man–he–running Second St. very red in face–NO necktie–eyes staring out of his head–very frightened. . . .Conant Mrs. P.D. and daughter ‘Saw man who resembled a description of Handy’s man near City Hall about 11:10’ ‘Mrs. P.D. Conant will testify she and her daughter Minnie Reynolds ‘In the Borden Block at what could be the right time. The worst looking man she ever saw– Minnie didn’t see him. He had the reddest looking face and neck she ever saw, though she thinks he might be naturally a light complected man, his eyes were protruding ‘Just as if he was scared to death.’ He was not over and above tall, but still quite tall and of square build–kind of rough, common looking fellow, not dressed up, walking fast towards Pleasant Street, but not running– She thinks she could pick him out of a million.’ [See Man, Red-faced, Mrs. Marshall] [See Yankee Dan] [See Man, Wild-eyed].
A Man, Sitting — W.S., pg. 44-5, A. Perron notes, Aug. 18, 1892,
8:30 o’clock P.M. Joseph Lemay of North Steep Brook reports that about 5.30 o’clock this afternoon, while in the woods about a mile form [sic] his house, he heard somebody say ‘too bad about Mrs. Borden.’ Looking around to his left, he saw a man sitting down on a stone. Mr. Lemay asked him if he was tried [sic]. The man made no reply, but took up a small hatchet and commenced to grind his teeth. Mr. Lemay says that ‘he had some spots of blood on what was once a white shirt, three drops.’ His coat sleeves were pulled up, so that the wrist bands of his shirt could be seen, and there was some blood on both of them. They looked at each other for some minutes, when the man got up, jumped a wall, and went in a northerly direction. Description. 30 or 35 years of age, height about five feet three inches, 140 pounds weight, brown mustache, quite good size, face looked as though he had not been shaved in two or three weeks. Dressed in black coat, dark pants, laced shoes, black derby hat, torn on top. Looked as though he had been having hard times recently, as he was a hard looking customer. Investigated by A. Perron, August 17, 1892, and finds it as reported as above.
A Man, Wild-eyed — W.S., pg. 14, 15, 19. Also, Rebello, pg. 251 (really ‘pallid-faced’), pg. 132: Fall River Daily Herald, Tues., Jan. 10, 1893: 8: “Mike the Soldier / The Man of Mystery Located At Last / Months of Active Search / Rewarded By a Chance Discovery / The Individual Whom Dr. Handy Claimed to Have Seen on Second Street.” Also pg. 115: New Bedford Evening Standard, Tues., June 6, 1893: 5 : ” An Old Story Revived / Rumored: Revival of the Tale of the Wild-Eyed Man / One Way of Looking At It.” Also, Porter, pg. 50-1:
Dr. Handy’s statement was that at some time within fifteen minutes of 10:30 o’clock that morning he was driving down Second street. When he was passing the residence of Dr. Kelly, -which is the next house south of the Borden premises,-his attention was attracted to a pedestrian walking slowly along the sidewalk near the Borden house . . . he looked twice at the passerby, and even turned in his carriage to inspect him more closely . . . There was a peculiarity about the man . . . The individual was about 30 years of age, five feet five inches in height, weight perhaps about 125 or 130 pounds. His clothes were of light gray of just what cut and texture the doctor could not positively state; nor could he tell whether the man’s hat was of felt or straw . . . He was pale, almost white; not with the ghastly pallor of a sick man, but rather the whitish appearance of a man whose face had not been touched by the sun’s rays; who might have been in confinement, or whose work was of such a nature as to keep him constantly in a cellar . . . he appeared to be in a state of intense nervousness . . . Column after column of the leading newspapers were devoted to the discussion of the stranger until he became known as ‘Dr. Handy’s Wild Eyed Man’ . . . There was a man known to the police as ‘Mike the Soldier’ and he in a measure seemed to fit the description of the ‘Wild Eyed.’
Also, Ashton, Proceedings, pg. 216, Jenning’s notes,
c. Handy Dr. His strange looking man ‘I was up St. (street) bet 10:20 and 10:40 perhaps after as near as I can guess I know Tom Boles well for years. Dr. Bowen said his driver says he called his attention to a strange man–the man struck me as very singular he was moving between D. Kelly’s and Wade’s store. There’s a detective on his track Furlong, conductor Should say he had a small mustache. I told that night and Frank Trafton (?) said the police are looking for this very man—Dress, suit all of one color common short coat. I should say he was pretty well dressed. Can’t say about hat, think it was straw.’ [See Nephews][See Mike the Soldier].
A Man, Young — W.S., pg. 16: Harrington notes written Sat. 13, 1892,
We . . . drove to Bliss Fourcorners, found (S.R.) Paquin. He said it was John Henry Manchester of State Hill, Portsmouth, R.I. [Paquin told Harrington Manchester had told him ‘he had carried a man from Newton to Newport.’] His statement. ‘On Friday August 5 at 5:30 A.M. gave a young man a ride to Newport. He was about twenty years of age, belonged to Nova Scotia, worked at Dighton, picking strawberries, and also in the canning factory. Thought Newport a good place to get employment during the Summer. Walked from Dighton to Fall River. Heard of the murder, to which he incidentally referred while riding. He said nothing more than a murder had been committed. He was well dressed and smart looking.’
The “Usual Suspects”& The Unusual, Part III
Patrick McGowan — Knowlton, pg. 450. Also, W.S., pg. 8, Harrington notes, Aug. 4th,
Patrick McGowan is the man who was eating pears on the pile of lumber, and said to have been on the fence. He is employed by Mr. Crowe, and left the yard about 10 A.M.
Mike the Soldier — Rebello, pg. 132. Also, Hoffman, pg. 195:
Uriah Kirby, a foreman for a local company, saw a stranger asleep on the front porch of Charles N. Gifford’s house on Third Street. Kirby was with Gifford at the time. Gifford was the next door neighbor of the Chagnon family. Kirby and Gifford woke the sleeping man and sent him on his way at about 11:00 P.M. on Wednesday, August 3, the night before the murders. The defense used this as proof there were strangers in the area who could have committed the crime . . . Some Borden historians believe that the sleeping man was not the murderer, but a local alcoholic known as ‘Mike the Soldier’ [Michael Graham].
. . . a weaver by trade . . . employed at Borden City Mill No.2. A heavy drinker, Graham was spotted near 92 Second Street at about 10:00 A.M. on the morning of the murders. He showed up drunk at the mill shortly after 10:00 A.M. and was not allowed to work . . . Graham seemed to fit the description of Dr. Benjamin Handy’s ‘wild-eyed man’ and also of Charles N. Gifford and Uriah Kirby’s description of the man asleep on the front steps of Kirby’s house on Third Street the night before the murders.
Also, Porter, pg. 60-1:
The chase was not a difficult one . . . He was Michael Graham, better known as ‘Mike, the Soldier’ . . . and for some days previous to Thursday he had been drinking freely . . . his physical condition, as a result of his excesses, was such as to render his countenance almost ghastly in color. The description of Graham corresponded in every particular with that given by Officer Hyde, who furnished more details as to the clothing of the man . . . His trousers were of a peculiar texture and hue, and were rendered extremely noticeable on this account . . . sufficient identification . . . the authorities arrived at once at the conclusion that the man was identical with the person described by Dr. Handy and the police officer . . . Yet there appeared many weeks afterward reasons known to the Marshal alone which caused him to start Officer Medley in search of ‘Mike the Soldier’ again . . . [See Man, Wild-eyed] [See Dr. Handy].
Alan Morse — Hoffman, pg. 248. Also, W.S., pg. 9, Doherty or Harrington notes,
Saturday morning August 6. A Alan Morse, employed by Covel & Osborn had to be located on that day, Thursday. His whereabouts were satisfactory.
Mutineers — Rebello, pg. 417, 120:
This theory was first reported in a Lynn, Massachusetts newspaper and appeared in the Boston Advertiser, August 14, 1892, but considered unfounded. The mutineers [of the Schooner, Jefferson Borden, in which Andrew Borden had an interest] were in prison at the time of the murders.
Nephews — Ashton, Proceedings, pg. 218, Jennings notes,
m. Brigham Mr.–told Phillips that one Follett, 25 Calender St. Prov. R.I. told him that Mr. Borden had nephews in Providence–one of them resembles Dr. Handy’s description and is capable of committing such a crime, the other nephew was killed in a road house 2 or 3 years ago. [See Man, Wild-eyed].
Charles B. Peckham — W.S., pg. 43, Albert E. Chase, Aug. 19, 1892 notes,
. . . Charles B. Peckham . . . came to the city yesterday, and gave himself up, saying he killed A.J. Borden . . . lived on a farm in South Westport about 8 and 1/2 miles from this city . . . had been insane for years . . . considered perfectly harmless . . . [His wife said] that he was taken sick July 13th last past, and had been confined to the house most of the time since. On the 4th of Aug., he was at home all day, and lay on the lounge most of the time. Also that he had never been to the city on Thursday, except yesterday, since they lived on the farm. He had read of the Borden murders in the New Bedford Standard, and ever since that, he kept saying he was going to Fall River to give himself up, as he was the man who killed them . . . I found him to be well known as a crank for several miles about there.
Also, Hoffman, pg. 275:
He told Fleet that the clothes he wore to the police station were the clothes he had on when he killed the Bordens. His attire showed no traces of blood. Peckham explained that . . . by saying the Bordens’ blood had ‘stagnated’ as a result of poison they had taken before being killed. Peckham was searched and arrested while his story was checked out by Fleet. While being held in custody . . . he changed his story and said he really had nothing to do with the deaths . . . He was released the next day . . . He was sixty-two. . . Peckham’s wife . . . sent a neighbor to retrieve him.
Portuguese — W.S., pg. 33, Medley, Fall River, Sept. 13, 1892 notes,
I have visited New Bedford, going to the hardware store of Hillman & Vincent. Mr. Mark Vincent is the man who sold the ax of which I have before made mention, the purchase being made about two days before the murder. I took Mr. Vincent to see the Portuguese working at the slaughter house on the Davis farm, and who is well acquainted with Mr. Morse. But after a thorough look at the man, concluded he was not the man; neither had he ever noticed him in the store at any time. The Portuguese man has a distinctive look about him; and anyone seeing him once, would know him again. This Portuguese claims never to have been in New Bedford, except on Sunday, at any time within six months.
Portuguese — W.S., pg. 6, Harrington, and Officer Leonard, Aug. 4, 1892, notes,
Officer Leonard and I had a call to the N.B. Savings Bank. There we found a Portuguese who was drawing out his full deposit of sixty odd dollars. He could speak English but poorly, so we brought him to the station. Officer Leonard went for an interpreter, and the suspect giving a satisfactory account of himself, he was allowed to go. [See Antonio Auriel]
Portuguese, Farm-hand — Rebello, pg. 50n. Also, Porter, pg. 49:
On Sunday (two) ‘outside clues’ came up for consideration . . . The other clue was to the effect that a Portuguese had been seen burying a bloody hatchet on the Borden farm in Swansea. Officer Medley visited the farm and searched in vain where the axe was alleged to have been buried. He found a Portuguese laborer who had been on the farm all day Thursday and who had killed some chickens for market.
Sam Robinsky (letter) — Hoffman, pg. 298-9: Robinsky supposedly wrote a letter to Emma Borden dated Aug. 17, 1892, stating he had ‘seen a man covered with blood on Aug. 4, 1892,’ the day of the murders.
Samuel Robinsky wrote a letter to Emma Borden dated August 17, 1892. In somewhat broken English, Robinsky described himself as a Jewish peddler who had seen a man covered with blood on August 4, 1892, the day Andrew and Abby Borden were murdered. Robinsky said that the man was sitting on the side of the road near New Bedford and was of medium height, weighed about 135 pounds, had dark brown hair, reddish whiskers and wore a gray suit and a derby hat. Robinsky wrote that he believed this man might have been the murderer of the Bordens . . . mailed his information from Waltham, Massachusetts . . . Jennings attempted to locate Robinsky, but was unable to find him. It was possible that the letter was simply another of the many crank messages . . . received during the course of the investigation.
Also, W.S., pg. 32, Officer Medley, Sept. 2, 1892, notes,
In obedience to orders . . . visited Needham, Chestnut Hill, Boston, and other places endeavoring to find or locate the man, Sam Robinsky . . . man Robinsky is absolutely unknown to the people of [those] places . . . The letters which were said to have been delivered to a man of that name at the Needham Post Office last spring, were not delivered last spring but a year ago last Spring . . . not seen or received anything for him since that time . . . went to all the wholesale dealers in peddlers supplies, who are Jews themselves. They, not only do not know any one of the name, but are willing to make affidavit that they do not believe any such man lives in this state. Capt. Cain of Station One put four men to work on the Jewish Section, who made house to house canvass, using up three days, and this canvas failed to reveal anybody by the name of Robinsky. Everywhere in Police Circles the Robinsky letter was considered a *fake* pure and simple.
Joseph Silvia — Porter, pg. 58. Also, Hoffman, pg. 323:
Joseph Silvia was a butcher who lived on a farm owned by John S. Brayton near Gardner’s Neck . . . interviewed by . . . Medley at the suggestion of Peleg P. Brightman . . . neither Silvia nor any members of his family was near Fall River on the day of the murders . . .
Also, W.S., pg. 31 and 13, Tuesday, Aug .9, Medley and Harrington notes,
Peleg Brightman reported to having seen an ax covered with blood in a house [on Fri., the 5th], over the River on the Brayton farm. Officer Medley and I took Mr. Brightman. We found the ax which was owned by Joseph Silvia. There was no blood on it at this time. Silvia gave a full account of himself. There were two children there . . . very much subject to the nose bleed, and as the ax is always at the back door yard, where there is a pile of wood, the blood from them might have stained the blade. The axe was old, dull and much worn. In our judgment it could not produce the wounds, and if it were used for this purpose, it would not be carried so far away, over the River, and by ponds, one of which was close by the house, when either of those places would afford such a secure hiding place, [See Peleg Brightman].
Alfred Smith — Hoffman, pg. 326-8:
Alfred A. Smith claimed that on the day the Bordens were murdered he picked up a bloody hatchet and a pair of bloody kid gloves on the Borden property . . . He made a formal statement . . . to one C. Hammond of Philadelphia. Also present . . . Massachusetts Reformatory Deputy Superintendent Charles Hart and Fall River City Marshal Rufus B. Hilliard. Hammond described the interview with Smith in a letter to District Attorney Hosea M. Knowlton . . . Smith, sixteen . . . was serving jail time for breaking-and- entering and larceny.
Also, Knowlton Papers, pg. 147-8, 151-3, letter #HK142, dated Jan. 9, 1893, from Concord, Mass.: “Alfred A. Smith, a boy sixteen years old, son of Robert Smith, of Suffolk St. Fall River, Mass. who was sent from Fall River, Second District Court for Breaking, Entering & Larceny on Dec. 28, 1892, made . . . statement to me [C. Hammond], in the presence of Deputy Superintendent Charles Hart”. Smith maintains he passed the Borden house near the relative time, and saw a pair of gloves along with a bloody hatchet outside the north side of the house near the fence and he stole them. He washed the gloves and hatchet, hid them in his coat, then hid the hatchet in a barn. Later, he went back to Bowenville barn, about 10:55 p.m. and retrieved the hatchet, taking it home and keeping it about three weeks. “The edge of the hatchet was smooth having no nicks on it but in using it . . .I dulled it and nicked it very badly. I sold it to Thomas Connors who keeps a little store near Fulton St. School; he gave me ten cents worth of candy for it.” He claims a woman from the house, with ‘bangs on her forehead,” saw him steal these items.
Suspects (2) — W.S., pg .6, August 4th, Harrington notes,
When at the foot of Williams Street I saw two suspicious characters, and brought them to the station. Later when the Marshal had a talk with them, he ordered them locked up.
Tramp — Rebello, pg. 465: Radio Drama, Unsolved Mystery: The Case of Lizzie Borden, c. 1936:
A ‘possible solution is offered’— a stray tramp committed the murders. Abby Borden surprised the tramp. He killed her with an ax. He heard Lizzie and hid in the closet. When he thought it was safe to leave, he went downstairs only to find Andrew Borden.
Thomas Walker — Rebello, pg. 128. Also Porter, pg. 49. Also, W.S., pg. 13: Harrington and Doherty, between Mon., Aug. 8, and Tues., Aug. 9, notes,
Thos. Walker, a tailor employed by John Carey, lived in a tenement of Mrs. Borden’s on Fourth street. He was ordered out, and R.S. Reed’s store took his furniture. He worked all day Thursday, so says Mr. Carey. Walker said he had no feeling against Mr. Borden. What trouble he had was caused by himself. He said he went on a drunk, and could not pay his bills, so he had to vacate the tenement and return the furniture, which was purchased on the installment plan.
Henrick Wood — W.S., pg. 15. Also Hoffman, pg. 381: Dr. Handy goes to Boston with police; shown a photo of Wood, says he is not the man he saw Thursday. [See Dr. Handy].
Yankee Dan — Rebello, pg. 137: The Sunday Enterprise, Brockton, MA, Sept.13, 1992: 25: “Mysterious Stranger Still a Suspect in 1892 Borden Slayings”:
Mr. Edward Waring, the grandson of Lizzie’s lawyer, Andrew J. Jennings, suggested Yankee Dan Sullivan may very well be the mysterious stranger encountered near the Borden house on the morning of the murders. The stranger was described as wild-eyed and red-faced. Also, a thirteen year old boy who had been in the neighborhood saw a ‘tall, well-built man with a light soft hat, black suit and some kind of russet shoes.’ Mr. Waring discovered the name of Dan Sullivan in his grandfather’s notebooks which contained newspaper clippings and interviews with witnesses. An old man was beaten and robbed in Providence, Rhode Island., on July 20, 1892. Yankee Dan Sullivan was found in New York trying to sell the man’s watch. While Dan was in prison in New York, Yankee Dan wrote to his brother Dennis Sullivan in Fall River. Mr. Waring believed there was a connection to Bridget Sullivan, the Borden’s maid. . . . Barbara Ashton, vice-president of the Fall River Historical Society, read the contents of the red leather-bound books kept by Andrew Jennings. She read Att. Jennings’ testimony of twelve neighbors who described the mysterious stranger as, ‘common looking, angry, reddest-looking face I ever saw, derby hat, eyes staring out of head, and very frightened.’ [See A Man, Red-faced, Mrs. Conant]
Compiled, cross-indexed,and annotated by Kat Koorey.© 2002 Kat Koorey