Born today in 1860 in Fall River, Massachusetts, Lizzie’s mother died in 1863 and her father, Andrew Borden, married Abby Gray two years later. In 1892, Andrew and Abby were brutally murdered and Lizzie was charged with the crime, as it was widely known that she hated her stepmother. After a two week trial that caused national sensation, Lizzie was acquitted as the evidence against her was largely circumstantial. However, she was ostracised by those who were convinced of her guilt. Nevertheless, she spent the rest of her life in Fall River and died there of natural causes in 1927. The case was memorialised in a popular skipping-rope rhyme:
Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks;
When she saw what she had done
She gave her father forty-one.
Folklore says that the rhyme was made up by an anonymous writer as a tune to sell newspapers. Others attribute it to the ubiquitous, but anonymous, “Mother Goose.” In reality, Lizzie’s stepmother suffered 18 or 19 blows; her father suffered 11 blows.