[This is the continuation of The Borden Family Genealogy papers I received from Mary Claire Caron. I have transcribed what was written. I have the same page breaks, so it could be a bit difficult to read, the page breaks are in brackets [ ]. I have made a couple of additions that are noted with [ ] with text in Red. That information is NOT in the original. I hope you enjoy. The next post I will start posting the first of many letters written.]
Richard Borden, usually known in the family as the Emigrant, was born at Borden, in Kent County, England, in the year 1600, (See Peterson’s History of Rhode Island, pp. [18 or 48], and emigrated to the English Colonies in North America in 1635. The Hon. Orin Fowler, a member of Congress who resided at Fall River, Massachusetts, in his Historical Sketch says that Richard Borden was the first of the name of Borden who came to America, and as is generally stated and believed, was the progenitor of all of that name in Rhode Island, (See Fowler, pp. 20 and 66), and the Rev. P. G. Seaberry in his collections has compiled . . .
much interesting information on the subject.
From these sources, and from Savage’s Genealogical Dictionary and Deak’s Researches for information of the First Settlers of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, and also from the records kept in the Mother Country of the early emigration to the Colonies, I have ascertained that about 1635 there were several of the name of Borden who emigrated from the County of Kent, England, to the Province of Massachusetts and settled near Boston. Richard and John, who were brothers, finally removed to Portsmouth, the township of land situated on the northern end of the island of Rhode Island. Two of the family, one of the name of George, and the other Briant, it is said remained in Massachusetts. There were the blood relatives of the two first named, but whether they were the brothers or cousins of Richard and John, or in what particular relationship they stood to them, has not been ascertained. Our ancestor, William Borden, Sen., who emigrated from Rhode Island to the Colony of North Carolina, was a grandson of Richard the Emigrant. This William is usually called the Ship-builder.
Richard Borden (the emigrant) and Joan, his wife, had ten children. Thomas and Francis, born in Kent before their parents emigrated to America; Mathew, born at Portsmouth, May 1638, (Mathew Borden was the first white child born on the island of Rhode Island – see Peterson’s R. I., pp. 48; John, born September, 1640; Joseph, January 3rd, 1643; Sarah, May 1644; Samuel, July 1646; Benja- . . .
min, May 1649; Annie, February 1654; and Mary, 1656. He had not resided in Massachusetts long before he became involved in the religious controversies at Boston, disputes for which that intolerant place has always been celebrated; fanaticism then as now seeming to be indigenous to the soil. He was among the most active and enterprising of the settlers in that vicinity, and being a man of education and general intelligence as well as of great firmness, he espoused the cause of religious liberty, and for so doing suffered with others severe persecution from the zealots who were then in power in both church and state in the Colony of Massachusetts. His opposition to the arbitrary measures of those in authority finally led to his removing from Massachusetts Bay to the island of Rhode Island. He took an active part in the affairs of this colony and held several responsible positions under the Government of Rhode Island, -among others that of Treasurer-general of the colony.
He resided at Portsmouth till the time of his death, March 25th, 1670. He died at the age of seventy, and his remains rest in the burial ground attached to the Friends’ meeting house near Quaker Hill, in the Township of Portsmouth, R. I. (See Peterson’s History, of R. I. pp.48).
John Borden of the second generation of Richard the Emigrant and his wife Joan, was born September 1640 at . . .
Portsmouth, R. I., the residence of his father. The name of his wife was Mary, but I have forgotten her maiden name.[note: the maiden name of Mary was Earle (born 1655 and died Jun 1734), daughter of William (1634-1715) and Mary (Walker) (1636-1718) Earle. Mary is my 8th Great-GreatAunt.] They located at Portsmouth, R. I.
The following are the names of their children: Richard, John, Thomas, William, Benjamin, Hope, Mary, Annie and Joseph. Richard and Joseph, two of the sons of John and grandsons of Richard the Emigrant, settled at Fall River, then called Freetown, which name was subsequently changed to Fall River. The land in the vicinity of Fall River was purchased of the Indians in January, 1659, and was called the Freeman’s purchase. After the division of the purchase into twenty-six lots or shares among the first proprietors, there remained an undivided strip on the south side of Freetown adjoining the line of Tiverton in R. I. This tract was purchased at public sale by John Borden of Portsmouth, R. I., for nin [sic] pounds and eight shillings sterling, in silver. The land now constituting Tiverton R. I. having also been purchased of the Indians, John and his two sons, Richard and Joseph, united with Col. Benjamin Church and his brother Caleb Church, and purchased of the proprietors a large tract of land on the north side of Tiverton, adjoining Freetown. Afterwards the sons Richard and Joseph purchased the interest of the Messrs. Church in the property, and finally the land on both sides of the Fall River, with all the water power, one of the finest in the world, came into the hands of the Borden family. Tradition says that John Borden was enterprising and successful in business and accumulated . . .
a large property. He and his two sons commenced about 1702 the improvement of the water power at Fall River, which has since become so valuable. Among his other purchases was part of Hog Island, the jurisdiction over which was disputed between the two colonies of Rhode Island and Plymouth.
The Bordens, it seems, never had any particular love for the government of the Puritans. John Borden was a sturdy supporter of the authority of the little colony of Rhode Island, and it will be seen by the records of the Colonial Assembly of R. I., June 24th, 1684, he petitioned to the Assembly of R. I. for redress of his grievances, and complained that he had been arrested and suffered great indignities for maintaining the rights and jurisdictions of R. I. over his purchase of Hog Island (See Massachusetts Historical Collection, Vol. 5, pp. 127-128). He is represented as being one of the most thrifty, but at the same time one of the purest of men. The celebrated Indian Chief, King Philip, who was overpowered and killed by Col. Benjamin Church and his men (August 12th, 1676), paid John Borden the compliment only a short time before the death of that unfortunate chief, of saying “he was the only honest white man he ever knew.” (Arnold’s History of R. I., Vol. 1, pp.394).
The descendants of several of the sons of Richard the emigrant and John his son, after the most diligent search by Mr. Fowler, Mr. Seabury and others, cannot be traced. It is said some of them settled in other parts of . . .
Rhode Island, and others went to Connecticut and from thence have been carried by the tide of emigration into various sections of New England, to New York, and to the western and southwestern states, but wherever one of the name is found uniformly claim Richard Borden the Emigrants, of Portsmouth, R. I., as the common ancestor of all of the name of Borden on the Continent of America.
William Borden, of the third generation (counting from the emigrant), the fourth son of John Borden, of the second gener4ation, and Mary his wife, was born at Portsmouth, R. I., August 15th, 1689. He married a Miss Alice Hull, daughter of William Hull, July 7th, 1715. They had four children, a son and three daughters, namely: Alice, Hope and William born in Rhode Island, and Hannah, born in North Carolina. He carried on the business of ship building at New Port R. I., and visited North Carolina to procure live oak, cedar and yellow pine timber for his business, and purchased a long narrow island in Carteret County for the live oak and cedar timber on it, which island was for a long time called Borden’s Banks.
He removed to North Carolina in 1732, and settled in Carteret County about four miles from Beaufort, the county seat, and about the same distance from the present town of Morehead City, and six miles from Fort Macon, on the bank of a river which he called New Port. In the year 1722, he commenced at New Port, R. I., the manufacture of . . .
sail cloth, and the General Assembly of the Colony of Rhode Island granted him a bounty on each bolt of hemp duck manufactured by him; but the undertaking did not prove successful, and probably caused his removal from Rhode Island to North Carolina. (See Arnold’s History of R. I., Vol. 2, pp. 72). He died in North Carolina in 1748. His daughter Alice married a person name Pratt, Hope married a Stanton, and Hannah one named Mace. The descendants of his three daughters are settled in Ohio and Indiana.
It is known that two of the sons of Richard the Emigrant settled in New Jersey; Francis located at Shrewsbury. He was the friend of William Penn, and went back to England with Penn in 1701. He returned to Kent (where he was born,) and died in that county. Samuel was a member of the General Assembly of West Jersey, called by Governor Jennings in 1681. His descendants located at Cooper’s Creek, and one of them purchased a large tract of land on the banks of the Delaware River, where the town of Bordentown is now built. Col. Joseph Borden, one of his descendants, was a member from New Jersey, of the First National Congress of the Colonies, meeting in New York, October, 1765. The descendants of Samuel Borden are numerous in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Col. Samuel Borden of Cincinnati, Ohio, was one of this branch of the family.
Benjamin Borden, by some believed to be a son of John of the second generation, and by others supposed to . . .
be a son of Richard the Emigrant, it is said took to a seafaring life and went back to England. He visited the family in Kent and also others of the name who had removed to the north counties in England, in which last named locality he married and lived for some years. He subsequently met with Lord Fairfax in Kent, who resided at Leeds Castle in that county. He induced Benjamin Borden to return to America, and he settled in Virginia in a part of what is now Rockbridge County, he having been appointed to survey and sell his lordship’s land in that vicinity. An incident is related of him which may be mentioned as illustrative of the manner of conducting public business in Virginia at that period. Soon after he arrived in the county he went with two persons named Lewis to explore the western part of the colony. They went as far as the Salt Licks on the Kanawha, and the valley of the Big Sandy River. I will state the incident as it is related in Withers History of the Settlement of Western Virginia, pp. 43-4. “John Lewis settled on a creek which still bears the name of Lewis Creek, near Staunton, Va. Lewis being at Williamsburg the capital of the Colony of Virginia met accidentally with Benjamin Borden who had just arrived in Virginia from England, and who had some out as the general agent of Lord Fairfax. Lewis prevailed on Borden to accompany him home. He remained at Lewis’s for some time looking after his lordship’s interest in that section of the country, and on his return to Williamsburg brought with him a buffalo calf, which, while hunting and exploring with Samuel and Andrew Lewis, sons of John Lewis, they . . .
had caught not far from the banks of the Ohio River between the Kanawha and Big Sandy. This young buffalo was partially tamed at Lewis’s, and Borden succeeded after much difficulty in having it conveyed to the capital; he presented it to Governor Yooch, who was so much pleased with Borden and his present that he made an entry on the Executive Journal authorizing him to locate an immense tract of land on the head waters of the Shenandoah or James River, west of the Blue Ridge. This grant was located in parts of what is now Rockbridge and Botetourt Counties. One of the conditions of the grant was that Borden should settle at least one hundred families with in ten years on this land.”
In order to effect a compliance with this and other conditions to permanently secure the donation, Borden again returned to the Mother Country, and on his return to the Province brought with him from the north of England, where his wife’s relatives resided, and from the south of Scotland, upwards of one hundred families of adventurers to settle his grant. Among them was John Patton, who subsequently married Borden’s daughter and settled on the Catawba near Pattonsburg. The daughter of John Patton became the wife of Col. W. Preston, a former governor of Virginia. The Pattons of Virginia and the Prestons of South Carolina are descendants of this Benjamin Borden. John McDowell of Virginia, the Jacksons, the Reids, and one branch of the family of the Alexanders also came over with him.
It was the possession of this immense grant of land that laid the foundation of his subsequent fortune. He had a son of the same name whose fabulous wealth is still proverbial in western Virginia, and in all of the west where people from that section have settled. Some years before the War of the Revolution he is issued paper money on the responsibility of his landed estates, and to this day the phrase “As good as Ben Borden’s bills,” is common throughout the northwest.
Some of the old members of the family in North Carolina remember to have seen letters from Benjamin Borden of Virginia, and the Hon. Joseph Borden of Bordertown, New Jersey, to William Borden of Carteret County, North Carolina. These letters were unfortunately lost or destroyed at the time the British destroyed the property of the second William Borden, on New Port River, Carteret County, North Carolina, in the War of the Revolution. Whether these letters from Virginia were written by Benjamin Borden the father or son of that name in Virginia, and where Benjamin Borden the elder of Virginia was the uncle or brother of William Borden, the first of that name, (or as he was generally called, the Ship-builder), who removed from Rhode Island to the Colony of North Carolina in 1732, is not now certainly known, but there are grounds of conjecture rendering it highly probable he was his uncle.
William Borden, the only son of the preceding William Borden, and Alice Hull Borden, his wife, was born . . .
in Rhode Island February 6th, 1731. His father removed to North Carolina when he was not quite two years old. When he arrived at man’s estate he married “Comfort,” daughter of Col. Lovett, and settled on the north side of New Port River, near the mouth of Harlow’s Creek, in Carteret County, North Carolina, where they had six children born unto them, four sons and two daughters, namely, William, John (who died when quite young), Alice (who married David Ward of Carteret County, N. C.,) Benjamin, Joseph, and Hope (who married Asa Hatch, of Jones County, N. C. -). William Borden was a warm and devoted friend to the cause of the colonies at the time of the Revolutionary War. He was elected a delegate from Carteret County to the State Convention of North Carolina that met at Halifax in December 1776 to frame a constitution for the state, and was afterwards also one of the delegates from Carteret County convened at Hillsboro on the 21st of July 1788, to decide on the question whether the state of North Carolina would attach herself to the Confederacy by ratifying the Federal Constitution. During the War of Independence he suffered much from the depredations of the enemy, having had his store, mills and warehouses destroyed by the British.
The family in Rhode Island and New Jersey suffered from their devotion to the cause of their country. The north part of Tiverton, Rhode Island, and the country about Fall River, was frequently visited by the English whose ships lay in the waters of the Narragansett Bay.
In one of the British incursions the dwelling of Thomas Borden and his grist and saw mills were destroyed by fire. The English on this occasion were repulsed by the people under the command of Col. Durfee, whose mother was a Borden. In this retreat the English set fire to the dwelling of Richard Borden and took him prisoner. He, however was soon after released upon his parole (see Fowler’s History, pp. 24-25) At the time when New Jersey was overrun by the enemy, and when the prospects of the colonies were the darkest, an officer stationed at Bordentown, N. J., (said by Major Garden to be Lord Cornwallis), endeavored to persuade, and then to intimidate the wife of the Hon. Joseph Borden, of that place, to abandon the cause of her country. He wished her to use her influence with her husband and son to take sides with the Royalists. Both father and son were absent at the time in the Continental Army. The officer promised if she would induce them to quit the standard they followed and join the Royalists that her husband’s property would be protected, while in case of refusal the estate would be ravaged and their elegant mansion burned to the ground.
Mrs. Borden answered by bidding him defiance.
“The sight of our house in flames,” she said, “would be a treat to me, for since you have been here I have seen enough to know that you never injure what you have power to keep and enjoy. The application of a torch to my dwelling I should regard as a signal for your departure.” [Gutsy Lady!!]
The house was burned in fulfillment of the threat, the property laid waste and the animals were all slaughtered or driven off; but as the owner had predicted, the retreat of the spoiler quickly followed. (See Ellet’s Women of the American Revolution, Vol. 2, pp. 305-306)
William Borden died November 2nd, 1799, and was buried in the burial ground attached to the Friends’ meeting house, Cove Sound, Carteret County, North Carolina.
Our father, Joseph Borden, fourth son of William Borden and Comfort his wife, was born at the residence of his father on New Port River, Careret County, North Carolina, May 5th, 1769. On the sixteenth day of June, 1796 he was married to Miss Esther Wallace, daughter of David Wallace, Esq., of Carteret County, North Carolina.
Joseph Borden, owing to the disturbed state of the country during the War of the Revolution, had little or no opportunity of attending school. He possessed, however, a strong native intellect, a correct judgment, united with an active and untiring industry, and by diligent reading in a great measure surmounted the defects of the almost total want of an early education. He settled on his paternal estate on the New Port River, but in consequence of the destruction of his father’s property by the British, he was compelled to begin life with very limited means, and necessarily had to endure the exertions and privations incident to a country comparatively new, and then but just recovering from the ravages of civil war. He and his wife were frugal and perseveringly industrious, and with the . . .
blessings of God, acquired a competency and raised a numerous family who were permitted to “arise up and call them blessed.” They lived esteemed in the community, and when removed by death, left a numerous circle of relatives, friends, and acquaintances to mourn their loss.
Joseph Borden departed this life at the old family mansion where he and his father resided during their lives, in Carteret County, North Carolina, on the sixth day of January, 1825. He lies buried beside his father near the Friends’ meeting house, Carteret County, North Carolina. He was a firm believer in the truth of the Christian religion, and had been for many years an active member of the Society of Friends, and with the greatest truth it could be said of him that he was a Christian indeed, without guile, and the noblest work of God – an honest man.
Our mother, Esther Wallace, was the daughter of David and Mary Wallace (whose maiden name was Mary Willis). Robert Wallace, the father of David Wallace, it is said, was a nephew of Col. James Wallace, of Dundonald, in Ayrshire, Scotland, who commanded at the battle of Pentland Hills, and was banished to Holland for his opposition to the course of the Stuarts. Robert Wallace married Esther West of the Island of Guernsey, in the English Channel.
Our mother was born November 1st, 1771, at Portsmouth, near Ocracoke Inlet, Carteret County, North Carolina. She long survived our father, and departed this life at the village of New Berne, Greene County, Alabama, . .
where she had removed with most of her children after the decease of our father. The following notice of her death will give some idea of her character:
“Died at New Berne, Greene County, at the residence of her son, Thomas R. Borden, Esq., Mrs. Esther Borden, late of Carteret County, North Carolina, in the eighty-second year of her age. She was a native of Carteret County, North Carolina, but had resided some twenty years in Alabama. All though it was not our good fortune to be acquainted with the deceased, we have often heard her spoken of by those who did enjoy that pleasure, as a woman endowed by nature with a mind with a mind of a very high order, which had been most assiduously cultivated. Her extensive knowledge of History, and her familiarity with the English Poets and the Classical Literature of the day, her ready memory and her superior conversational powers were the subject of frequent remark by those who were so fortunate as to enjoy her acquaintance. As a mother, neighbor and friend, she was a pattern of kindness and affection, and has left a large circle of relatives and friends to mourn her loss.”
The following are the names of the children of Joseph and Esther Borden, all born at the old homestead on New Port River, Carteret County, North Carolina.
- William Hull Borden, born May 5th 1800. He married Elizabeth Dixon of New Berne, North Carolina.
- Benjamin Borden, born December 11th, 1801; married Margret Hill of Carteret County, North Carolina. He . . .
married for a second wife Martha Gray, of Greene County, Alabama.
- David Wallace Borden, born August 19th, 1803; married Hope Ward of Carteret County, North Carolina.
- Joseph Borden, Jr., born June 8th, 1806; married Juliet Rhodes of Sumpter County, Alabama.
- Thomas Richard Borden, born June 24th, 1808; married Anne Jones of New Berne, North Carolina.
- James Wallace Borden, born February 5th, 1810; married for his first wife Emeline Griswold, of Fairfield, Herkimer County, New York, and his second wife was Jane Conkling, of Springfield, Otsego County, New York.
- Mary Wallace Borden, born June 27th, 1811; married Israel Sheldon of Orange, New Jersey.
- Isaac Pennington Borden, born July 26th, 1813; married Elizabeth Marest of Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
- Hannah Gaston Borden, died an infant; born March 22nd, 1815, and died May 18th, 1815.
I am, dear Benjamin, with the greatest respect and affection,
James W. Borden.