Lizzie Borden Had an Axe

“Lizzie Borden took an axe And gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.”

This is a popular nursery rhyme in many places, but it has a dark back story. It’s a reference to the murders surrounding the Borden family; one of the prime suspects being Lizzie Borden.

On August 4th, 1892, Andrew and Abby Borden were found murdered in their home in Massachusetts. The weapon seemed to be a hatchet or an axe. Andrew Borden was stabbed 11 times, and Abby, 18 times. The erstwhile residents of the house were Lizzie Borden, her sister Emma (out of town at the time of the murders), her father Andrew, her step-mother Abby, her uncle John Morse (visitor) and their maid, Maggie.


Lizzie had enough motive to commit the murders. She resented Abby in the first place, even more, when her father bought Abby’s half-sister a house and not Lizzie and Emma. She constantly changed her answers during the trials. Other than circumstantial evidence, there was no real proof tying Lizzie to the murders. The next suspect was Lizzie’s uncle John Morse. Where he was during the time of the murder was unaccounted for. He claimed to be with the town doctor, who just so happened to be inspecting the Borden’s bodies at the time. He was eventually never tried. The last suspect was their maid Maggie, who claims to be partially asleep in the room right above where Abby’s body was found at the time of the murder. The last theory talks about how Maggie and Lizzie could’ve conspired to kill the couple together. There is no evidence to support this theory though.

The investigation and trial proved inconclusive, after which the Borden sisters moved and Lizzie started going by the name Lizbeth Borden. Later in life, the sisters would cut off from each other. She died of pneumonia in 1927, but even so long after the murder nobody knows for sure who the real killer is, and the Borden house is considered haunted.

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