Lizzie's older sister, Emma, did not accept her new stepmother, referring to her disrespectfully as Abby, and the tension soon transferred itself to Lizzie. There were other sources of tension in the household as well: though Andrew Borden was a wealthy man, he was a miser who sold eggs from a basket to his business associates and refused to install running water in the family's Second Street home. Lizzie grew up with a slop pail and chamber pot in her bedroom— a fact that would prove significant in her eventual trial.

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