June 7, 1893
In the household I was sometimes called Maggie, by Miss Emma and Miss Lizzie. I am twenty-six years old, unmarried; have been in this country seven years last May. Was born in Ireland; came first to Newport, Rhode Island. After a year there, went to South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. I came to Fall River four years ago; went to work for Mrs.. Reed. Had been working for Mr.. Borden two years and nine months at the time of his death. There was no other domestic servant, but a man from the farm used to come and do chores; his first name was Alfred; I don't know his other name.
They used to keep a horse in the barn until about a year before Mr.. Borden died. After the horse went they didn't use the barn for anything.
My work was washing, ironing and cooking and sweeping. I did not have the care of any of the bedchambers except my own. My room was in the third story, right over Mr.. Borden's, and his was over the kitchen.
Q. Who did the chamber work in Mr.. Borden's room and Mrs.. Borden's?
A.I don't know. Themselves did it. I don't know which of them.
Q.Who took care of the rooms belonging to the daughters?
A.Themselves took care of them, as far as I know.
I remember Mr. Morse coming to the house sometimes, and staying over night. I saw him after dinner on the Wednesday before the deaths. Mrs. Borden got dinner for him; I washed the dishes. I did not go out that afternoon; I guess I was ironing. Monday was regular washing day. I dried the clothes on Tuesday, that week. Did the washing down cellar in the washroom. I locked the cellar door after I hung out the clothes.
There was no change in that door, down to the time of the murders; so far as I know it stayed bolted. There was more or less traffic on Second Street-folks, carriages and teams. I went up to my room Wednesday afternoon, say about quarter to five. I left the screen door hooked. Mr. and Mrs. Borden were sick on Wednesday morning. I was well until Thursday, when I got up with a headache. When I went to the front door on Wednesday to let Dr. Bowen in, the door was spring-locked; when I went out to my friend's on Third St. that evening, I left the back door locked. I let myself in with a key. The back door had two spring locks and a bolt; I locked all of them when I came in, and hooked the screen door, too. I went to the ice chest, took a glass of milk and went to bed.
The milk was left at the door every morning at five or half-past. I washed a can every day and left it on the doorstep at night; the milkman took that can and left a full one, so there was an exchange of cans everyday.
Next morning I felt a dull headache as I got up. I came down at 6:15, went down cellar for wood, started my fire and went down again for coal. Then I unlocked the back door, took in the milk and put out a pan for the ice man, and a pitcher with some water in it. When I went in again, I hooked the screen door. I worked in the kitchen and dining room, getting breakfast, and didn't go in any other rooms.
Mrs. Borden was the first one I see that morning; she gave me orders about breakfast; it was about half-past six.
Mr. Borden came down in about five minutes; he went into the sitting room and put the key of his bedroom on the shelf. He kept it there. He then came out into the kitchen, put on a dressing coat and went outdoors with a slop pail he had brought downstairs. The screen door was locked until he went out. I was in the kitchen; the windows of the kitchen look out into the back yard. Mr. Borden emptied the slop pail; then he unlocked the barn door and went into the barn. Then he went to the pear tree, picked up a basket of pears and brought them into the house. He washed up in the kitchen and went in to breakfast. When I put the breakfast on the table I saw Mr. Morse. For breakfast there was some mutton, some broth and johnnycakes, coffee and cookies. The broth was mutton broth.
After they had their breakfast, I ate mine and commenced to clear things up. Then I see Mr. Borden and Mr. Morse going out by the back door. Mr. Borden let him out, came to the sink and cleaned his teeth at the sink, and took a big bowlful of water and took it up to his room. First he took the key off the shelf in the sitting room.
Five minutes later Miss Lizzie came through to the kitchen. I was washing the dishes and I asked her what did she want for breakfast. She said she didn't know as she wanted any breakfast, but she guessed she would have something, she guessed she would have some coffee and cookies. She got some coffee, and she was preparing to sit down at the kitchen table. I went out in the back yard. I had a sick headache and I was sick to my stomach. I went out to vomit, and I stayed ten or fifteen minutes.
When I came back, I hooked the screen door again. I didn't see Mr. Borden after he went up to his room. I finished my dishes and took them in the dining room. Mrs. Borden was there; she was dusting the door between the sitting room and dining room. She had no covering on her hair. She said she wanted the windows washed, inside and outside both; she said they are awful dirty.
After that I didn't see Mrs. Borden any more until I found her dead upstairs.
I didn't see Miss Lizzie anywhere about. I can't say exactly, but I think this was about nine o'clock. Then I cleaned off my stove, went in the dining room and sitting room, shut the windows I was going to wash, and went down cellar and got a pail for to take some water. I didn't see anybody in the rooms. I got a brush in the kitchen closet, filled my pail and took it outdoors.
As I was outside, Lizzie Borden appeared in the back entry, and says, "Maggie, are you going to wash the windows?" I says, "Yes." I says, "You needn't lock the door; I will be out around here; but you can lock it if you want to; I can get the water in the barn." I went to the barn to get the handle for the brush.
First I washed the sitting-room windows-on the south side of the house-the Kelly side. This was away from the screen door. Before I started washing, Mrs. Kelly's girl appeared and I was talking to her at the fence.
Then I washed the parlor windows: the two front windows. Between times I went to the barn and got some water. I washed the dining-room windows and one parlor window on the side. I went to the barn for water twice while I was on the south side of the house-went round by the rear-and went three or four times more while I was working in front or on the other side of the house. Then I went past the screen door to the barn.
During all that time I did not see anybody come to the house.
Then I got a dipper from the kitchen and clean water from the barn, and commenced to wash the sitting-room windows again by throwing water up on them. When I washed these windows, I did not see anyone in the sitting room, and I did not see anyone in the dining room when I washed those windows. I went round the house rinsing the windows with dippers of water.
Then I put the brush handle away in the barn and got the hand basin and went into the sitting room to wash those windows inside. I hooked the screen door when I came in.
I began to wash the window next to the front door. Had not seen anyone since I saw Lizzie at the screen door. Then I heard like a person at the door was trying to unlock the door but could not; so I went to the front door and unlocked it. The spring lock was locked. I unbolted the door and it was locked with a key; there were three locks. I said "pshaw," and Miss Lizzie laughed, upstairs. Her father was out there on the doorstep. She was upstairs.
She must have been either in the entry or at the top of the stairs, I can't tell which. Mr. Borden and I didn't say a word as he came in. I went back to my window washing; he came into the sitting room and went into the dining room. He had a little parcel in his hand, same as a paper or a book. He sat in a chair at the head of the lounge.
Miss Lizzie came downstairs and came through the front entry into the dining room, I suppose to her father. I heard her ask her father if he had any mail, and they had some talk between them which I didn't understand, but I heard her tell her father that Mrs. Borden had a note and had gone out. The next thing I remember, Mr. Borden took a key off the mantelpiece and went up the back stairs. When he came downstairs again, I was finished in the sitting room, and I took my hand basin and stepladder into the dining room. I began to wash the dining-room windows. Then Miss Lizzie brought an ironing board from the kitchen, put it on the dining-room table and commenced to iron. She said, "Maggie, are you going out this afternoon?" I said, "I don't know; I might and I might not; I don't feel very well" She says, "If you go out be sure and lock the door, for Mrs. Borden has gone out on a sick call, and I might go out, too." Says I, "Miss Lizzie, who is sick?" "I don't know; she had a note this morning; it must be in town."
I finished my two windows; she went on ironing. Then I went in the kitchen, washed out my cloths and hung them behind the stove. Miss Lizzie came out there and said, "There is a cheap sale of dress goods at Sergeant's this afternoon, at eight cents a yard." I don't know that she said "this afternoon", but "today"
And I said, "I am going to have one." Then I went upstairs to my room. I don't remember to have heard a sound of anyone about the house, except those I named.
Then I laid down in the bed. I heard the City Hall bell ring and I looked at my clock and it was eleven o'clock. I wasn't drowsing or sleeping. In my judgment I think I was there three or four minutes. I don't think I went to sleep at all. I heard no sound; I didn't hear the opening or closing of the screen door. I can hear that from my room if anyone is careless and slams the door. The next thing was that Miss Lizzie hollered, "Maggie, come down!" I said, "What is the matter?" She says, "Come down quick; Father's dead; somebody came in and killed him." This might be ten or fifteen minutes after the clock struck eleven, as far as I can judge.
I run downstairs; I hadn't taken off my shoes or any of my clothing.
Q. What was the usual dress that Miss Lizzie Borden wore mornings? Will you describe it?
MR. ROBINSON. Wait a moment; we object to that.
MR. MOODY. Not as having any tendency to show what she had on that morning.
MR. ROBINSON. I object.
MR. MOODY. I don't care to press it against objection.
The WITNESS. Well, she wore a—
MR. ROBINSON and MR. MOODY. Wait a moment.
Q.I will call your attention, not asking you when it was worn or what part of the time it was worn, to a cotton or calico dress with light blue groundwork and a little figure. Does that bring to your mind the dress I am referring to?
A.No sir; it was not a calico dress she was in the habit of wearing.
Q.I did not ask you about the habit, but—
MR. ROBINSON. That should be stricken out.
MR. MOODY. Certainly.
The CHIEF JUSTICE. Let it be stricken out.
Q.Do you remember a dress of such a color with a figure in it?
Q.Will you describe that dress that I have referred to as well as you can?
A.It was a blue dress with a sprig on it.
Q.What was the color of the blue; what was the shade of the blue?
Q.And what was the color of what you have called the sprig on it?
A.It was a darker blue, I think, than what the under part was.
Q.Did it have any light spots or light figures in it?
MR. ROBINSON. This is very leading now
A.I don't remember.
MR. ROBINSON. I would like to have the witness describe the dress; she is competent to do that. Was the last question answered?
MR. ROBINSON. I move that that be stricken out.
MR. KNOWLTON. I object. I contend that the question is not leading.
MR. ROBINSON. I understand he does not propose to go any further with it.
MR. MOODY. I do not.
MR. KNOWLTON. That is all-to negative the fact of a white figure in it.
MR. ROBINSON. Well, we will have no talk about it now. Let it stand as it is.
When I got downstairs, I saw Miss Lizzie, standing with her back to the screen door. I went to go right in the sitting room and she says, "Oh, Maggie, don't go in. I have got to have a doctor quick. Go over. I have got to have the doctor." I went over to Dr. Bowen's right away, and when I came back, I says, "Miss Lizzie, where was you?" I says, "Didn't I leave the screen door hooked?" She says, "I was out in the back yard and heard a groan, and came in and the screen door was wide open." She says, "Go and get Miss Russell. I can't be alone in the house." So I got a hat and shawl and went. I had not found Dr. Bowen when I went to his house, but I told Mrs. Bowen that Mr. Borden was dead.
I went to the house, corner of Borden and Second streets, learned that Miss Russell was not there; went to the cottage next the baker shop on Borden Street, and told Miss Russell. Then I came back to the Borden house.
Mrs. Churchill was in the house, and Dr. Bowen. No one else, except Miss Lizzie. She was in the kitchen, and Mrs. Churchill and I went into the dining room, and Dr. Bowen came out from the sitting room and said, "He is murdered; he is murdered." And I says, "Oh, Lizzie, if I knew where Mrs. Whitehead was I would go and see if Mrs. Borden was there and tell her that Mr. Borden was very sick." She says, "Maggie, I am almost positive I heard her coming in. Won't you go upstairs to see?" I said, "I am not going upstairs alone."
I had been upstairs already after sheets for Dr. Bowen. He wanted a sheet, and I asked him to get the keys in the sitting room, and Mrs. Churchill and I went up to Mrs. Borden's room and she got two sheets, I guess. Mrs. Whitehead is Mrs. Borden's sister; she lives in Fall River.
Mrs. Churchill said she would go upstairs with me. As I went upstairs, I saw the body under the bed. I ran right into the room and stood at the foot of the bed. The door of the room was open. I did not stop or make any examination. Mrs. Churchill did not go in the room. We came right down. Miss Lizzie was in the dining room, lying on the lounge; Miss Russell was there.
Q. Up to the time when Miss Lizzie Borden told her father and told you in reference to the note, had you heard anything about it from anyone?
A.No sir, I never did.
Q.Let me ask you if anyone to your knowledge came to that house on the morning of August 4th with a message or a note for Mrs. Borden?
A.No sir, I never seen nobody.
Q. [By Mr. Robinson] You were called Maggie?
Q.By Miss Emma and Miss Lizzie?
Q.But that was not unpleasant to you?
A.No sir, it was not.
Q.Not at all offensive?
Q.Did not cause any ill-feeling or trouble?
Q.Did Mr. and Mrs. Borden call you by some other name?
A.Yes sir, called me by my own right name.
Q.Did you have any trouble there in the family?
Q.A pleasant place to live?
A.Yes sir, I liked the place.
Q.And for aught you know, they liked you?
A.As far as I know, yes.
Q.It was a pleasant family to be in?
A.I don't know how the family was; I got along all right.
Q.You never saw anything out of the way?
Q.You never saw any conflict in the family?
Q.Never saw the least-any quarreling or anything of that kind?
A.No sir, I did not.
Q.Now the daughters, Miss Emma and Miss Lizzie, usually came to the table, did they not, as the father and mother did?
A.No sir, they did not.
Q.I thought you said they did.
A.No sir, they did not.
Q.Didn't you say this morning that they ate at the table with the family?
A.Nobody asked me whether they did or not.
Q.You did not say so this morning?
A.No sir, I don't remember anybody asked that question.
Q.Didn't they eat with the family?
A.Not all the time.
Q.But they did from time to time and day to day, did they not?
A.Sometimes the family-most of the time they did not eat with their father and mother.
Q.Did they get up in the morning as early as the father and mother?
Q.So they had their breakfast a little later?
A.Not all the time—sometimes. But sometimes they would be down with the family, more times they would not.
Q.How was it at dinner?
A.Sometimes at dinner; a good many more times they were not.
Q.Sometimes they were out?
A.I don't know where they were; I could not tell.
Q.You don't know whether out or in?
A.Sometimes I knew they were in the house.
Q.Were there sometimes when one would be at the table and the other was not?
Q.Whether or not you heard Miss Lizzie talking with her mother, Mrs. Borden?
A.Yes sir, she always spoke to Mrs. Borden when Mrs. Borden talked with her.
Q.Always did? A. Yes sir.
Q.The conversation went on in the ordinary way, did it?
Q.How was it this Thursday morning after they came downstairs?
A.I don't remember.
Q.Didn't they talk in the sitting room?
A.I heard her talk as she came along.
A.Miss Lizzie and Mrs. Borden.
Q.Talking in the sitting room?
A.Mrs. Borden asked some question and she answered very civilly. I don't know what it was.
Q.When you heard them talking, they were talking calmly, the same as anybody else.
Q.There was not, so far as you knew, any trouble that morning?
A.No sir, I did not see any trouble with the family.
Q.You heard them talking over things about Christmas time, didn't you?
A.I don't know; I did not stay much in the dining room when the folks were eating at all.
Q.I don't mean that; but you heard them talking over about Christmas things?
A.No sir, I don't remember that.
Q.Have you forgotten that?
A.No sir, I did not.
Q.How was Lizzie towards Mrs. Borden if Mrs. Borden was not feeling well?
A.I don't know. Mrs. Borden was not particularly sick when I was there except twice.
Q.Did not Lizzie treat her properly and help her? A. I did not see anything; I know that she was sick one time and none of them went into the room while she was sick.
Q.Haven't you testified before about this?
A.No sir, I said when Mrs. Borden spoke to them, they spoke to her.
Q.You testified at the inquest?
Q.Do you remember what you testified there?
Q.Did you in answer to this question, "Did they talk pleasantly?" say, "Yes sir," and "they talked over things at Christmas, and if anything was the matter with Mrs. Borden, Lizzie did all she could for her."
A.I did not know what was the matter between them.
Q.Didn't you testify that?
A.I don't remember anybody asking me that question.
Q.Do you say you did not?
A.I don't remember anybody asking me that question.
Q.Mr. Knowlton was there asking you questions, was he not?
Q.Did you answer this, "Did you know of any trouble between Miss Lizzie and her mother?" and say, "No sir, never a word in my presence."
A.No sir, I never heard them talking between them.
Q.Do you think you have told us today just as you have twice before?
A.Yes sir; I have told all I know and all I can tell.
Q.I don't ask you that. What I want to know is whether you have told it today just as you did before?
A.Well, I think I did, as far as I remember.
Q.What do you say now you did when you came in from out in the yard when you went out and were sick and vomited?
A.I commenced to wash my dishes.
Q.Let me finish the question. What did you do as to the screen door when you came in?
A.I hooked it.
Q.Did you say so before at the other examination?
A.I think so.
Q.Do you know so?
A.I am not sure.
Q.You are not sure?
Q.Let me read and see if you said this: "When you came in from vomiting, did you hook the screen door then?" And the answer: "I couldn't tell, I don't know whether I did or not." Did you say so?
A.Well, I must have hooked it because—
Q.Well, that isn't it. Was that the way you testified: "I couldn't tell, I don't know whether I did or not?"
A.I don't know what I testified. I testified the truth as long as I remember. As far as I know I told the truth and nothing more.
A.I don't remember anybody asking me
Q.I do not imply that you did not. I merely want to know if you recall testifying over there at Fall River that you couldn't tell whether you hooked the door or not when you carne in from vomiting?
A.Well, I suppose I don't know whether I did or not. It is likely I did, for it was always kept locked.
Q.You say now that you do not positively recollect one way or the other?
A.Well, I won't say; I can't remember whether I locked the screen door.
Q.You remember now that you testified that you did lock it, don't you, just now, a few minutes ago?
A.Well, I generally locked the screen door.
Q.That isn't what I asked. You said a few minutes ago that you hooked it at that time, didn't you?
Q.Well, now you say you don't know whether you did or not. Isn't that so?
Q.You say now you don't know. Am I right?
A.I don't know whether you are or not.
Q.Well, will you tell which way it was?
Q.Did you hook it or did you not?
A.I know I must have hooked the door for I always—
Q.No, that isn't it. Did you hook it or did you not?
A.I don't know whether I did or not.
Q.Now do you recall what you testified at the inquest about their eating together? I have asked you about it. Have you a clear memory about it now?
A.I don't know if they asked me anything about it.
Q.Well, were you asked this: "Did she generally get up to breakfast?" And you said: "Very seldom, she generally carne down about nine o'clock."
Q."And then helped herself to breakfast."
Q."Did she always eat at the same table with Mr. and Mrs. Borden?" And your answer: "Always did eat dinner and supper when she was in the house."
A.Yes sir; she ate the meals when she was in the house.
Q.That is so, is it? "They always ate together when she was in the house, except when she was out on an errand." Is that so?
A.Yes sir; they always ate at the same dining room.
Q.Always ate together in the dining room?
Q.You say if anybody was careless and slammed the screen door you could hear it?
Q.But it was easy enough for anybody to go in and out that door and not let you hear it, wasn't it?
A.Yes sir; they could.
Q.Now if nothing had happened that morning, Miss Sullivan, nothing unusual had happened that day, would there be any reason why you should remember that Thursday more than any other day?
A.What do you mean?
Q.About what happened, what little things were done?
A.Why, no; there was no reason that I should remember that day any more than any other day-not before.
Q.Could you tell us just what Mrs. Borden did the Tuesday before when she came downstairs?
A.The Tuesday morning?
A.Why, she went in the sitting room as usual.
Q.Well, not as usual. I want to know what you remember about it?
A.Why, the woman came downstairs and wanted to know what was for breakfast and so forth, and went into her sitting room and stayed there until her breakfast was ready.
Q.Well, do you know what time of the morning Miss Lizzie came down Tuesday?
A.I don't know if she was in the house at all; I can't remember.
Q.You don't know whether she came down or didn't come down?
Q.And do you know, if she was in the house, anything about what she did Tuesday?
A.No sir; I do not.
Q.When you first went out, as you got ready to go to work, you saw Mrs. Kelly's girl there?
Q.And you went over to the fence and talked with her?
Q.Where was she?
A.She was over in her own yard.
Q.What part of the yard?
A.She was in the yard, front of the house, going to wash windows.
Q.And you went over to the fence in that corner and stood there talking with her?
Q.The screen door over on the other side of the house was open, unlocked, all that time?
Q.Can you tell me any reason why a person could not have walked into that door and you not seen him?
A.Why, of course they could.
Q.Then, also, at one time you went to washing the windows on the front end of the Borden house?
A.I washed them in the sitting room first.
Q.I know, but you did at one time wash the end windows in the parlor?
Q.And would there be any difficulty then in a person going into the side door when it was unhooked?
A.Yes sir, anybody could come from the back yard, but not from the front.
Q.They could; no trouble at all. When you were talking with Mrs. Kelly's girl, the field was pretty clear, wasn't it? That is, there wasn't much in the way; you stood, back to the Borden house, talking with the Kelly girl over the fence?
A.Yes sir, I was.
Q.And you could not then see-as you stood you could not see the front gate or the side gate or the side walk?
A.I think I could see the front gate; I am not sure.
Q.You could if you looked?
Q.But if you were talking off that way and the front door was down there, you could not see it, could you?
Q.Had you ever gone to let Mr. Borden in on any other day at the front door?
A.No sir. I don't remember.
A.No sir, I did not.
Q.Let us see if we understand it right. All the time that you lived there did you ever go when he came to the door and couldn't unlock the door?
A.I don't remember.
Q.Don't remember that you did?
A.No sir, I don't.
Q.After you let Mr. Borden in you say you heard Miss Lizzie laugh?
Q.And you say she was upstairs somewhere?
Q.And you didn't see her on the stairs?
Q.Didn't see her at all?
A.No sir. I didn't look.
Q.You heard the sound of the laugh?
Q.Was that all?
Q.And there was talk with her father about the mail?
Q.And what did he say?
A.I don't know.
Q.You don't know what was said?
A.Only I heard her tell her father her mother had a note and gone out.
Q.Did you hear what he said about that?
When I got back to the house, after going for Miss Russell, Miss Lizzie was in the kitchen. After I came downstairs, she was on the lounge in the dining room. I did not see any blood on her. Not on her face or hands, or anywhere. As far as I can remember, her hair was in order.
Q. You simply say that you didn't see anybody come with a note?
A.No sir, I did not.
Q.Easy enough for anybody to come with a note to the house, and you not know it, wasn't it?
A.Well, I don't know if a note came to the back door that I wouldn't know.
Q.But they wouldn't necessarily go to the back door, would they?
A.No. I never heard anything about a note, whether they got it or not. I don't know.
Q.Don't know anything about it, and so you don't undertake to say it wasn't there?
Q.Will you fix the time when you got through washing the windows outside?
A.Why, I can't tell anything about it.
Q.Can't tell very near anyway, can you?
A.No sir, I can't. I don't know anything about the time, and I didn't take no notice of any time. I didn't have no occasion.
Q.Well, a good many things that day aren't very clear in your mind, are they, clear in your recollection?
A.As far as I remember; as far as I know.
Q.But you are not certain of a good many things?
A.Well, I am not certain about the time, because I never noticed anything about the clock or anything else except eleven o'clock. I know I noticed that.
Bridget Sullivan's testimony was interrupted to allow the court to hear another witness-MRS. CAROLINE KELLY, next-door neighbor of the Borden's. Mrs. Kelly, mother of a young child, was unable to be absent from her home in Fall River more than a few hours, and Bridget Sullivan (whose testimony has been given here, for convenience sake, as continuous) briefly left the stand while Mrs. Kelly testified.
Mrs. Kelly was the only person on Second Street who saw Mr. Borden return to his house. On her way to keep an appointment at a dentist's, she saw her venerable neighbor come out the yard at the side of the house-after unsuccessfully trying to enter at the side door-and go to the front door. She noticed that he carried a small parcel-a lock which he had picked up in the street-and that he bent over to try to open the front door with his key. Usually they exchanged greetings, but this time Mr. Borden evidently did not notice her. Mrs. Kelly, taking the time from a clock at which she had looked when leaving her house, fixed the time at twenty-eight minutes before eleven, but later investigation showed that the clock was slow.