Born on July 19th, 1860, Lizzie Borden was a New England resident who was accused of murdering her father and stepmother with an axe. Oddly enough, the murders, legal trial, and media attention caused Lizzie to become a pseudo celebrity, similar to our modern tabloids causing train wrecks like Charlie Sheen to become the center of attention. And now, thanks to whoever came up with the song all of those many years ago, we have this little jingle to remind us of the horrors of Lizzie Borden:
Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done
She gave her father forty-one.
While some sources claim that the song was written by an anonymous writer to sell more newspapers, there are others that claim it was the anonymous “Mother Goose.” To be honest, though, the focus should not be on the song or the catchy lines about a woman murdering her family. We should be focusing on the truth behind this little limerick.
On August 4th, 1892, Lizzie Borden found the deceased body of her father, Andrew Borden. Sometime later in the day, the Borden’s maid found the body of Lizzie’s stepmother, which was located in a guest bedroom. Both Lizzie’s stepmother and father had been killed by a hatchet, with blows to the skull being the final kick into the afterlife.
While Lizzie was being questioned, her stories about finding the bodies were inconsistent and suspicious. Plus, Lizzie had a reason to kill her father – Andrew was trying to split the family’s estate. Some days after the trial started, Lizzie tore apart a dress and burned it on the kitchen stove. This is believed to be the dress Lizzie was wearing when she killed her parents, but the evidence was gone and forever lost.
After an extensive investigation and trial, Lizzie Borden was acquitted of all charges. Because both of her parents were dead, her parent’s estate was split between herself and her sister, leaving both of them with great wealth.
Whether Lizzie Borden actually killed her parents or not, it’s too late to even speculate. But we did get a nice song out of it.
Lizzie Borden took an axe…