On a Generous Wealthy Woman

Liz enjoyed her wealth, and she was not stingy. No, sir. Her charitable works, her wide reputation for paying her servants some of the best wages in town (even her daily feeding of the squirrels and birds in her spacious back yard) proved that she was not a cheapskate. This was a generous older woman. In he 60s, she minded her own business and lived a quiet life in the large house in the best neighborhood of her New England community. She gave the place the idyllic name of Maplecroft Mansion.

As a younger woman, Liz had also been quite generous with her time. Stories were told about her teaching Sunday school at the local Congregational Church, her young pupils smiling as they, now adults, told about her eagerness to spin the Biblical stories into reality for them. It was said that she had quite the gift for teaching, and some wondered why she never entered that career professionally. Perhaps it was that her family was wealthy. Oh, well.

Her dad had made his fortune in real estate after beginning his working life as a mortician. Known as a frugal man, Liz’s dad seemed to have not passed on his frugality with his daughter. No, she gave freely and liberally to many charitable causes while not skimping on fine things for herself, either.

One little boy who lived across the street from Liz told the story about how she would always come by his sidewalk lemonade stand and practically buy him out, only to give the lemonade away to the kids in the neighborhood.

Liz indulged in trips to cities like Boston and New York, often going by chauffeured car, to attend the theater and to see museums. She would stay in fine hotels by herself and then return home. Occasionally, if she saw a play or production she liked, Liz would host parties for the cast in a time when “theater folk” often meant the undesirables of high society.

And that part perhaps was not so odd for Liz. For she, too, was largely an undesirable, especially in her hometown. The town she grew up in, and the town she lived in until she died. You see, she was an outcast herself.

Why would such a generous, charitable, kind, and self-less person be so hated by her own people?

Because “Lizzie Borden took an axe…”