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This Day in Boston History

August 4th, 1860

Borden Killings

On this day Andrew and Abby Durfee Gray Borden were killed with an axe in Fall River, Mass. Based on strong circumstantial evidence, Lizzie (32), Andrew Borden's daughter from a previous marriage, was charged with murder.

No physical evidence connected her to the crime and police evidence tampering was recognized during the trial. Fall River sentiment ran strongly in support of Borden's innocence. The community celebrated when she was acquitted after a thirteen-day trial, requiring only one hour of jury deliberation.

Borden remained the focus of media speculation about the unsolved murder. She became a recluse living in one of the town's largest homes on her substantial inheritance. Town sentiment eventually turned against her, and the acquitted Lizzie became the girl of "forty whacks" who got away with murder.


England's Prime Minister never expected this tea tax to cause an outcry, let alone revolution. In 1767, England reduced its property taxes at home. To balance the national budget they needed to find a mechanism for the American colonies to pay for the expense of stationing officials in them. The officials would generate their own revenue by collecting taxes on all imported goods, and once paid affixing stamps on them. This Stamp Tax generated more in the way of protests and smuggling than added revenue.

Religion. Politics. Rebellion. Boston’s pedigree was forged back in England in the midst of religious dissension, where Puritans and Pilgrims sought religious reform, and Cavaliers and Roundheads vied for political power. The question isn't where did Boston get its name – but how.

Requiem for a Short Visit

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