The Trial of Lizzie Borden
"Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one." Actually the Bordens received only 29 whacks, not the 81 suggested by the famous ditty, but the popularity of the poem is a testament to the public's fascination with the 1893 murder trial of Lizzie Borden. The source of that fascination might lie in the almost unimaginably brutal nature of the crime - given the sex, background, and age of the defendant - or in the jury's acquittal of Lizzie in the face of prosecution evidence that most historians today find compelling.
Douglas O. Linder,
The Trial of Lizzie Borden,
Available at: https://irlaw.umkc.edu/faculty_works/879