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Abby Durfee Gray (Borden)
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Victim
    (January 21, 1820-August 4, 1892)
    Born in Fall River, Massachusetts
    Stepmother to Lizzie Borden and Emma Borden
    Second wife to Andrew Jackson Borden (m. June 6, 1865)
    Killed around 10:00 am, in the family guest room, by an unidentified assailant wielding an axe (likely either an intruder or her stepdaughter)
    Her family home has become a tourist attraction (and is believed to be haunted).
    Historians tend to cast her as 'the wicked stepmother.'
    Fictionalized accounts also tend to make her out to be morbidly obese and agoraphobic.
    Forty whacks? Forensics show that she couldn't have gotten more than eighteen...
    Her neighbors could only venture to guess the reason that Andrew took her - a spinster - on for his wife was that he needed a maid and babysitter for his children at no charge.
    She royally pissed off her two stepdaughters by convincing Andrew to purchase property her half-sister was living on when she was facing with eviction (they felt they were more deserving of his generosity).
    While she had always held a strained relationship with the two girls (particularly the eldest, Emma), the tension got to be so bad after the purchase that Lizzie stopped referring to her as 'mother' and started calling her 'Mrs. Borden.'
    In the days leading up to her death she vocally insisted that she had been poisoned, possibly from someone tampering with the bread (the doctor attributed her sickness to spoiled meat and sent her away).
    Lizzie claimed to have seen her stepmother receive a note and go to help a sick friend on the day of the murder, but neither the note nor the messenger ever appeared, not even when a reward was offered for anyone with information leading to either.
    She was brutally murdered and the event became a media circus.
    By all accounts her two stepdaughters treated her like crap.
    Her husband was such a cheapskate that he even refused to pay her doctor's bill when she suffered from food poisoning.
    Of the entire Borden household, she arguably treated the family maid, Bridget Sullivan, the most humanely.
    For the most part she had a reputation among her neighbors as a genteel, sweet-tempered woman.
    One Fall River resident took her death hard enough to say that she had lost 'the best and most intimate friend she had ever met.'
    Her and her husband's corpses were prevented from immediate internment by the police, who kept the bodies for forensic examination after the funeral (even after the trial, her skull was preserved by her family as an 'exhibit').
    As Lizzie began to attain a 'folk hero' status in pop culture, her parents exceedingly were cast in a more negative light; Andrew became an abuser, his wife a greedy 'enabler.'
    General consensus was that while her husband had made enough enemies that it was conceivable he could be murdered, there wasn't much rhyme or reason as to why anyone would want her dead.
    Her killer - whether her stepdaughter or an intruder - was never brought to justice.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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