The New York Times
Unsigned Article
27 September 1855

Shocking Cruelty to a Negro—Inhuman Conduct of a Woman.

Correspondence of the New-York Daily Times:

FRANKLIN, Tenn., Thursday, Sept. 20, 1855.

  A most sickening tragedy occurred three miles from this place on Monday and Tuesday last, which throws the fictitious performances in "Uncle Tom's Cabin" entirely in the shade. A notorious woman named ELLEN BORDON having had her jealousy aroused on Sunday last by the conduct of her husband towards a negro woman employed in the house, began on Monday to whip and torture the woman, and persevered in her cruelty until some time the next day, when the negro died. When the fact of her death became known, a Coroner's inquest was held, and a warrant issued for the arrest of the murderess. The preliminary trial is now going on, and from testimony elicited upon it, there seems to be no doubt but the negro was made to endure the most awful tortures for nearly two days before she was killed outright. She was first tied and whipped, then boiling water was poured over the abdomen and legs until the skin was all scalded off and the fatty tissue cooked, leaving the muscles bare; she was then taken into a smoke-house and locked up, and probably on the next day the remaining injuries were inflicted which put an end to her misery. These last injuries were the hanging of the negro by a rope attached to a joist in the smoke-house, and a severe blow on the temple with some pointed instrument which pierced and fractured the skull. On a post-mortem examination the neck was found to be broken, the back part of the head badly bruised, and two other gashes with the same sharp instrument on the head. The back was also found to be considerably scalded, though not as badly as the front part of the body.

  The woman, BORDON, made no attempt to escape, and exhibits perfect indifference about the affair. The excitement in town is very great.