Here's What Really Happened To Lizzie Borden After Those Famous Murders

by Lia Beck
Roadside Attractions

Spoilers ahead. Even if you've heard of the infamous alleged murderer, you might not know what happened to Lizzie Borden after the murders of her father and stepmother. She's one of the most famous people to have ever been acquitted of a crime, and because she was found not guilty, her life went on after the events of August 4, 1892.

In the new movie Lizzie, in which Chloë Sevigny plays the title role, we don't get a look at Borden's life after her trial, but text appears on the screen at the end explaining that she remained in Fall River, Massachusetts, died in 1927 at age 66, and left her wealth to help animals.

Thirty-five years passed between the murders and Borden's death, and in that time, she and her sister, Emma Borden, moved into a huge new house in the same town, and only a mile away from the house where the murders were committed, according to Country Living. Borden called the eight-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath home "Maplecroft", and had maids and a chauffeur. The purchase of the huge home is especially haunting given that one of Borden's suspected motives in the murders was the inheritance she'd receive from her father.

Unsurprisingly, members of the town avoided Borden after the trial. According to the Providence Journal, children would throw gravel and rotten eggs at her home and ring the doorbell late at night. One resident of the town she that when she was a child, she and her friends would draw straws on Halloween and the loser had to go ring the doorbell. She also noted that they would recite that creepy nursery rhyme: "Lizzie Borden took an ax and gave her mother 40 whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41."

During this time, Borden gave herself a new name, Lizbeth, but because she still had the same last name and it was a small town... well, that probably didn't change anything. She did make a few new friends, including actor Nance O'Neil, and there was speculation that the two women's friendship was actually a romance. According to History, it was O'Neil and Borden's relationship that lead Emma to leave Maplecroft and the sisters to remain estranged for the rest of their lives.

Roadside Attractions

Borden died in June 1927 of pneumonia. Her will lists a number of recipients of money and other valuables, such as jewelry and property, but the biggest sum by far was left to the Animal Rescue League of Fall River. She left the organization $30,000 (this would be over $400K today) and her share of stocks in a manufacturing company. She wrote in her will (via the Lizzie Andrews Borden Virtual Museum and Library), "I have been fond of animals and their need is great and there are so few who care for them."

It's strange to imagine Lizzie Borden still walking around town after the murders, but that was a lot of people's reality for decades after the trial. As if this case wasn't disturbing enough, thinking about Borden's life after 1892 adds another eerie element.