Borden #11214

Richard Borden (1595-1671)

Born in England.  Arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in the mid 1630s and settled in Rhode Island in 1638 and

Joan Fowle (1604-1688)

Born in England.  Arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in the mid 1630s and settled in Rhode Island in 1638

Borden 11214

A somewhat useful volume which has much valuable information regarding the Borden family in America is the Historical and Genealogical Record of the Descendants, as Far as is Known, of Richard and Joan Borden Who Settled in Portsmouth, Rhode Island in 1638 by Hattie Borden Weld, which was originally published in 1899.  I have made extensive use of the research in this volume.

Richard Borden was born in Headcorn, County Kent, England, about 40 miles southeast of London and about 20 miles southwest of Canterbury.  The fourth of 10 children, he was christened on 22 February 1595/6 (Julian calendar) or 4 Mar 1596 by modern reckoning.  In Headcorn, England, 28 Sep 1625, Richard married Joan Fowle, daughter of Richard Fowle and Mary Filkes.  The old stone church where they were married is still standing.  Joan was born 15 Feb 1604 at Headcorn in County Kent, England, the second of four children.  Richard inherited land in Headcorn from his father, but he and Joan moved in 1628 to Cranbrook in County Kent where she had relatives.  His youngest brother, John Borden, immigrated to Boston on the Elizabeth & Ann[1] in May 1635. 

 In the mid-1630s Richard and Joan sailed to America with five children, probably arriving in Boston.  In 1638 he went from Boston to Portsmouth, Rhode Island, as one of the founders of that town.  He was admitted a freeman there 16 Mar 1640/1, a member of a committee to treat with the Dutch, 18 May 1653, assistant at Portsmouth, 1653, 1654, treasurer, 1654, 1655, commissioner, 1654, 1656, 1657, and deputy from Portsmouth to the Rhode Island General Assembly, 1667, 1670.  He was a surveyor, and acquired large tracts of land in Rhode Island and in East Jersey (Monmouth County).

Welcome to Portsmouth, Rhode Island

Welcome to Portsmouth, Rhode Island

Richard died on 25 May 1671 at Portsmouth, Rhode Island. He was most likely buried in Portsmouth at the burial ground of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), but there is nothing to mark the spot. The following obituary notice of Richard Borden is copied from the Record of the Friends Monthly Meeting at Newport: Richard Borden of Portsmouth, R. I., being one of the first planters of Rhode Island, lived about seventy years and then died at his own house, belonging to Portsmouth. He was buried on the burial ground given by Robert Dennis to the Friends, which is in Portsmouth, and lieth on the left hand of the way that goeth from Portsmouth to Newport, upon the 25th day of the 3rd month, 1671 [old style]; 5 Jun 1671, new style.  Joan, the widow of Richard, survived him eighteen years and died at Portsmouth on 16 Jul 1688.

The children of Richard Borden and Joan Fowle are as follows: (1) Richard, born 1626 and died young; (2) Thomas, born 1627 and died 1676; (3) Francis, born 1628 and died 1705/6; (4) Mary Borden, born 1632/3 and died 1690. She married John Cooke, born in England about 1655 and died at Portsmouth, Rhode Island about 1691. He is the son of Thomas Cooke and his first wife, Mary; (5) Elizabeth, born 1634; (6) Matthew, born 16 May 1638 was “the first English child born on Rhode Island,” according to Quaker records.  He died in 1708; (7) John[2], born 1640 and died 1716; (8) Joseph, born 1643 and died probably by 1702); (9) Sarah, born 1644 and died 1701; (10) Samuel, born 1645 and died 1716 ; (11) Benjamin, born 1649 and died about 1728 and (12) Amey, born 1653/4 and died 1683/4.

Mary Borden’s husband, John Cooke, is the son of Thomas Cooke, who is discussed under his own heading.  John is said to have been a butcher by trade.  The daughter of Mary Borden and John Cooke is Sarah Cooke, born about 1658 and died 28 Mar 1725, both occurring in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.  The lineage of Mary Borden and John Cooke is continued under the heading of Thomas Waite (1601-1665).

Notable descendants of Richard Borden are:

These individuals are discussed under their own articles in Notable Kin.


[1] Several of my ancestors and their families arrived on this ship: Alexander and Elizabeth Baker (my maternal 9th g-grandparents), their daughter Elizabeth (my maternal 8th g-grandmother) and her sister Christian, Thomas Lord (my maternal and paternal 10th g-grandfather), Anna Lord (my paternal 9th g-grandmother), Dorothy Lord (my maternal 9th g-grandmother), Robert Carr (my paternal 10th g-grandfather), Robert’s brother Caleb (my 10th g-grand uncle) and John Borden my 11th g-grand uncle), the younger brother of Richard Borden (my paternal 10th g-grandfather). These individuals and their families are discussed under their our headings.

[2] John’s 3rd great grandson, Gail Borden, III, was the inventor of condensed milk in the early 1850s and founder of the Borden Milk Company. He was also the original surveyor of Galveston, Texas. The west Texas town of Gail and the Texas county of Borden were both named for him: Gail III, (1801-1874) – Gail II (1777-1863) – Gail I (1745-1777) – John (1710-1761) – John (1675-c.1719) – John (1640-1716) – Richard (1595-1671). John’s 5th great granddaughter, through a different line, was the famous Lizzie Borden, who was charged with killing her father and step-mother with an ax in 1892 in Fall River, Massachusetts: Lizzie Drew (1860-1927) – Andrew J. (1822-1892) – Abraham B. (1798 – ) – Richard ( – 1816) – Richard (1722-1795) – Thomas (1697-1740) – Richard (1671-c.1732) – John (1640-1716) – Richard (1595-1671). She was memorialized in a popular skipping-rope rhyme: 
Lizzie Borden took an ax
 / And gave her mother 40 whacks / And when she saw what she had done / She gave her father 41… Folklore says the rhyme was made up by an anonymous writer as a tune to sell newspapers. Others attribute it to the ubiquitous, but anonymous “Mother Goose”. In reality Lizzie’s stepmother suffered 18 or 19 blows and her father just 11 blows.  Follow this link for more about Lizzie Borden.


One comment

  • Brooke Branthingham

    Hello.I saw your site.Do you know where to find additional photo’s of Sir Robert Laird Borden and Lady Borden? There are only about 3 photo’s of them together. I don’t know why.Also do you know if Sir Robert Borden and Lady held any titles such as Earl of…or Count and Countess of……?Thank you if you know of where I can search. Best Regards Brooke

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