It’s August 4, 1892, in Fall River, Massachusetts, and police arrive at the home of a wealthy local family. Earlier that day, 32-year-old Lizzie Borden had told them she’d stumbled across a terrible sight – the bloody body of her father Andrew lying dead in the sitting room. But upstairs, another horror awaits, sparking a mystery that endures even to this day.
Even in such a fast-growing and febrile community, this was a particularly grisly crime. Initially settled by European colonists in the mid-1600s, Fall River had opened its first mills at the beginning of the 18th century. And by 1868, it had become the biggest textile city in the whole country. But tensions began to grow, with the industry bringing thousands of French Canadian and Irish immigrants to the area.
By 1892, immigrants had begun to assimilate into Fall River society, taking important positions in the community. In fact, just two years previously, an Irishman had been elected mayor of the city. However, a strong nativist sentiment remained among people like Lizzie, whose family had played a central role in the textile industry from the very beginning.