An Infamous Ancestry: Kentucky Man Discovers a Dark Family Secret
Back in the day before Ancestry.com, I remember researching my family tree in the local Kentucky Room. I can still remember the smell of the old library and that scary staircase! I never uncovered any famous relatives, but it was really interesting learning about family members I never knew existed.
However, I did recently learn that my husband, Michael, may have a legendary ancestor who is infamous for a horrific reason. His sister, Bridgett has been looking into their ancestry and recently shared with me that family lore has whispered of connections to an alleged murderer! We have ALL heard of this person as there are movies, tv shows, and songs about them.
While this person did not have any recorded descendants, there is some chit-chat in online forums that they may have had a daughter who was given up for adoption and never legally documented as their heir., but that wasn’t checking out with the other names on the family tree. After examining all of the great-grandparents and such, I came across a name that I could corroborate in connection to the gruesome events that made this possible relative famous.
Michael’s Great-Great-Great-Great Grandfather is Richard Borden, the brother of Abraham Borden. Abraham’s son, Andrew, and his wife, Abby, were discovered bleeding to death in their home on August 4th, 1892. They appeared to have been hacked repeatedly by an axe. Their daughter, Lizzie, was accused, tried, and ultimately acquitted for the heinous murders that took place. This story is one of the most infamous murders in American history.
However, she had been found overwhelmingly guilty in the court of public opinion. Her confusing conversations with the police and contradictory recollection of the events made her untrustworthy. The police said that she was unusually calm about the whole ordeal. They also did not properly search her room, clothes, or person for blood as she claimed to have been ill at the time.
There were other suspects including a supposed illegitimate child of Andrew. Also under investigation was the Borden’s housekeeper who just so happened to be named Bridget! Just like Michael’s sister! I’m sure this is just a coincidence, but you all should have heard me hollering to Michael on the other side of the house when I discovered this tidbit of information. I was basically a detective with my corkboard of pictures and red string tying it all together.
Lizzie lived the rest of her life in exile with her sister, completely shunned by the town of Fall River, Massachusetts. Now, folks visit to tour their old house and take pictures, and the kids in town play around her grave, telling spooky stories of what may have happened.
“Lizzie Borden took an axe
and gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
she gave her father forty-one.”