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The middle-aged father reportedly had a strained relationship with many fellow inhabitants of Acquidneck Island, Rhode Island, including his mother, then He pointed out that, while Lizzie was acquitted and Thomas was convicted, both cases remain clouded in doubt. Taylor is not the first to uncover the link between the two accused killers, which historians and amateur genealogists alike have noted in the past.

Still, few people in the general public know about the skeletons in the Borden family closet or the odd tale of Thomas Cornell.

0801440025 - Killed Strangely: the Death of Rebecca Cornell by Elaine Forman Crane, Used

A minister was later tried for her murder and acquitted. A young mill worker, Cornell lived in Fall River, where Andrew and Abby Borden would die in a bloodbath 60 years later. To this day, many members of the extended Cornell-Borden family—like Taylor himself—live across the United States, he noted.

But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. She had probably fallen asleep, dropped ash from her pipe on herself and burned to death. But four days after the death, Rebecca's brother John gave a strange testimony.

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He was asleep in bed when "he felt something heave up the bedclothes twice, and thought somebody had been coming to bed to him, where upon he awaked, and turned himself about in his bed, and being turned, he perceived a light in the room, like to the dawning of the day, and plainly saw the shape and appearance of a woman standing by his bedside where at he was much affrighted, and cried out, 'in the name of God what art thou? The apparition answered, 'I am your sister Cornell,' and twice said, 'see how I was burnt with fire.

The vision reinvigorated the investigation. Rebecca's brother interpreted the vision to mean that his sister accused someone of burning her intentionally. Rebecca's body was inspected a second time, and this jury found a suspicious wound in her stomach.

A new version of events began to take shape, and Thomas Cornell was charged with murdering his mother. At trial, witnesses painted an unpleasant picture of life in the Cornell home. Rebecca Cornell had complained about her treatment.

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She had to work on the farm. She went to bed without her bed made up or warmed. And she complained that Thomas was skimpy in heating the home and would not provide a good fire. Her son declined to hire a maid to look after her. And she and Thomas argued over whether rent should be paid for staying at the house and whether he should pay her or vice versa.

Rebecca Cornell, two witnesses testified, had contemplated killing herself, either by stabbing herself or drowning herself. Further, she had told some, she planned to leave Thomas' house and move in with her son Samuel in the spring. Of particular concern to Rebecca: Thomas' second wife, Sarah, who she disliked. Patience Coggeshall testified: "She was afraid there would be mischief done. Her daughter-in-law was of such a desperate spirit, for not long since, said she, she ran after one of the children of his first wife, with an Axe, into her house; but she prevented her striking the child.

Yet she did not live with any of her other children because she had made over her estate to her son Thomas.

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If she had thought her son Thomas first wife would have died before her, she would not have made it over to him. Meanwhile, other witnesses questioned Thomas' story about his mother refusing mackerel, charging that she had been known to eat it. John Pierce suggested Thomas Cornell was glad his mother was gone. He testified: "Thomas Cornell said that his Mother in her life time had a desire to have a good fire, and further said, that he thought God had answered her ends, for now she had it.

The jury convicted Thomas Cornell of murdering his mother with virtually no evidence that he had done so. Two years after he died, his widow Sarah was charged with assisting in the murder, along with a local Indian, though she was not convicted and the case of Rebecca Cornell caused the people of Rhode Island to debate whether spectral evidence should be used in criminal cases at all. The house pictured in this article is not the house Rebecca Cornell died in. This house belongs to me family. It no longer exists.


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What was the family name of those who lived in the house pictured? I descend from William Hall. Did it belong to that family at one time? Thought that Lizzy Borden was somehow related.

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Citation - Killed strangely : the death of Rebecca Cornell - UW-Madison Libraries

I am a direct descendant of Thomas Cornell. My great grandmother, Blanche Cornell was his 6x great granddaughter. Their 6x great grand daughter was Lizzie Borden. The Cornell house does indeed still exist. I was there last Saturday afternoon. The Cornell house does indeed still exist on West Main Road.