Ancestral Line
from COWAN Connections
© 1994, pp. 374-380
by Michael S. Cole, M.D.

John BORDEN, the seventh of ten children in a wealthy family, was born in Bedford Co., Virginia, (or NJ?) about 1718/19. He married Ann HAWKINS(?) probably about 1736 in Virginia. About 1770 they moved from Frederick County, Virginia, to Bedford County, Virginia. A few years later they moved to Knox County, Tennessee. He died there on Stock Creek in 1798. Ann died later in Bledsoe County, Tennessee. Their children (not in the proper order) were: Joseph BORDEN (c.1738-before 1841), William BORDEN (d. before 1841), John BORDEN (d. many years before 1841), Benjamin BORDEN (d. before 1841), Massie (Mercy?) (BORDEN) WHEELER (d. 1817), Nancy (Anna) (BORDEN) McWILLIAMS (d. after 1841), Rebecca (BORDEN) OVERSTREET (d. before 1841), Margaret (Peggy) (BORDEN) KEITH (1755/60-1830's), and Sarah (Sally) (BORDEN) McCOY (d. before 1841).

Benjamin BORDEN, II, the second of ten children, was born 6 April 1675 at Middletown, Monmouth County, New Jersey. He married about 1710 to Zeruiah WINTER, his first cousin. She was born in Monmouth Co., New Jersey, about 1690. They lived at Freehold in Monmouth County, New Jersey, before moving to Virginia. He was evidently honest, intelligent, ambitious, and enterprising. His first recorded appearance in Virginia is on 21 January 1734 when he was appointed one of the justices of the newly formed Orange County. His name appears frequently in land transactions in various parts of the Shenandoah Valley. His most important enterprise was the settlement of "Borden's Great Tract," a grant to him from King George II of England of 92,100 acres in what later became Rockbridge County, Virginia. The legend has been told that he killed a young buffalo, presented it at Williamsburg to Governor GOOCH, who was so delighted that 500,000 acres were granted to him. Another version of the legend claims that Benjamin captured a buffalo calf, sent it to England as a present for the Queen, who out of appreciation granted him 100,000 acres in the Virginia Valley. Benjamin's legal requirement as proprietor of this tract was to put up a bond of 1800 pounds and settle within a stated time a minimum number of families on the tract. He was to receive a thousand acres of land for each cabin built on the tract. When he first set out to inspect the area, he became lost. He stumbled upon the camp of a backwoods family, the son John McDOWELL being a surveyor. Benjamin promised him 1000 acres if he could help him find all his land. The land was thoroughly surveyed before December 1738. Some sources claim that Benjamin travelled to England once or twice and brought back settlers, though no evidence has been found for this. Benjamin received his patent on 8 November 1739 after 92 cabins had been constructed in the area. As one might expect, there came to be many lawsuits involving this large land grant. He died in 1743 near Winchester, Virginia, shortly after his appointment as one of the original justices of Frederick County, Virginia. From Benjamin's will it is estimated he owned 120,000 acres of land, including several tracts on the lower forks of the James River. Most of the land was ordered sold by the will and the proceeds divided among the children. It took until 1897 (154 years) before all "known" descendants were satisfied with the division and further court battles ended. (The COWAN descendants, all among the unknown heirs to the estate, never learned of the case so lost their share in 1907. The documents related to this case were filed in Drawer #1 in the Circuit Clerk's office of Augusta County, Virginia, in 1841 and 1897. The file was identified as "Jacob PECK's Adm'r vs. Jno. BORDEN's heirs and Jno. BORDEN's heirs vs. Jos. BORDEN's heirs.") Zeruiah remarried about 1747 to Joseph WRIGHT. They were living in Hamilton Parish, Prince William Co., Virginia, in 1748. She died from smallpox about 1751/53. Benjamin and Zeruiah left ten children: Hannah (BORDEN) ROGERS (c.1711-prob. before 1760), Abigail (BORDEN) WORTHINGTON PRITCHARD (b. c.1713), Rebecca (BORDEN) BRANSON (c.1710-c.1780), Mercy (BORDEN) FERNLEY BURKE McKAY, Benjamin BORDEN (1715-1753), Deborah (BORDEN) HENDRY (d. 1799), John BORDEN, Sr. (c.1718/19-1798), Lydia (BORDEN) PECK (1728-1800), Elizabeth (Eliza) (BORDEN) NICHOLAS (d. c.1752), and Joseph BORDEN (c.1734-1803).

Benjamin BORDEN, the eleventh of 12 children, was born at Portsmouth, Rhode Island, on 16 May 1649. After 1665 he settled on some of his father's land at Shrewsbury, Monmouth County, New Jersey. On 22 September 1670 he married Abigail GROVER at Shrewsbury, New Jersey. Abigail was born in 1653 at Gravesend, Long Island, New Netherland (now New York), the fifth of seven children. They lived many years at Middletown, New Jersey, then moved to Evesham, Burlington County, New Jersey, in 1713. Like his father, he became a large landowner and was elected to several public offices. The first court of Monmouth County, New Jersey, was held in his house in Shrewsbury in 1676. He was a justice of the peace in 1685. In 1692 and 1694 he was elected to the General Assembly from Middletown. In 1695 and 1698 he was elected as one of the six members to the General Assembly from Monmouth County. He was a member of the House of Representatives for Monmouth County from 1708 to 1709. He served as road commissioner from 1693 to 1711. Abigail died on 8 January 1720 in Burlington County, New Jersey. Benjamin then married Susannah PAGE(?) in the 1720's in New Jersey. He died in Burlington Co., New Jersey, about 1728, leaving a large estate. Abigail was the mother of all his children: Richard BORDEN (1672-1751), Benjamin BORDEN, II, (1675-1743), James BORDEN (1677-1727), Rebecca BORDEN (b. 1680), Safety BORDEN (1682-c.1761), Amy (BORDEN) FOSTER (1684-1770), Joseph BORDEN (1687-1765), Jonathan BORDEN (1690-after 1766), David BORDEN (b. 1692), and Samuel BORDEN (1696-1771). Son Joseph (b. 1687) was an innkeeper and the founder of Bordentown, New Jersey. Joseph's son, Joseph (1719-1791), was the father of Mary and Ann BORDEN, who respectively married Thomas McKEAN and Francis HOPKINSON, signers of the Declaration of Independence.

ship Richard BORDEN, the first of our BORDEN line to come to America, 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. (Great Britain was using the Julian calendar until 1752 while the rest of the world had been using the presently accepted Gregorian calendar since 1582. By our calendar Richard was christened on 4 March 1596.) At Headcorn he married Joane FOWLE on 28 September 1625. The old stone church where they were married is still standing. (Click here for more about the church.) Joane 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 Joane moved in 1628 to Cranbrook in County Kent where she had relatives. His youngest brother, John BORDEN, emigrated to New England on the Elizabeth & Ann in May 1635. In the mid-1630's Richard and Joane sailed to America with five children and settled at Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Richard was the nineteenth signer of the compact creating the government of Aquidneck (later Rhode Island). He was elected a member of a committee to treat with the Dutch in 1653. He was elected Assistant at Portsmouth in 1653 and 1654, Treasurer of the United Colonies in 1654 and 1655, Commissioner in 1654, 1656, and 1657, and Deputy from Portsmouth to the Rhode Island General Assembly in 1667 and 1670. As a surveyor he acquired large tracts of land in Rhode Island and Monmouth County, East Jersey (now New Jersey). He died on 25 May 1671 at Portsmouth, Rhode Island. He was buried in Portsmouth at the burial ground of the Society of Friends (i.e., Quaker). Joane died on 15 July 1688 at Portsmouth. Their children were: Richard BORDEN (b. 1626), Thomas BORDEN (1627-1676), Francis BORDEN (1628-1705/6), Mary (BORDEN) COOKE (1632/3-1690), Elizabeth BORDEN (b. 1634), Matthew BORDEN (1638-1708), John BORDEN (1640-1716), Joseph BORDEN (1643-prob. by 1702), Sarah (BORDEN) HOLMES (1644-after 1705), Samuel BORDEN (1645-1716), Benjamin BORDEN (1649-c.1728), Amey (BORDEN) RICHARDSON (1653/4-1683/4). Son Matthew (born at Portsmouth on 16 May 1638) was "the first English child born on Rhode Island," according to Quaker records. Son John's (b. 1640) great-great-great-grandson, Gail BORDEN, III, was the inventor of condensed milk in the early 1850's and founder of the Borden Milk Company. He was also the original surveyor of Galveston, Texas. The west Texas town of Gail in Borden County were both named for him. (Gail BORDEN, III, (1801-1874) was the son of Gail BORDEN II (1777-1863), son of Gail BORDEN I (1745-1777), son of John BORDEN (1710-1761), son of John BORDEN (1675-c.1719), son of John BORDEN (1640-1716), son of Richard BORDEN (1595/6-1671), the immigrant.) John's (b. 1640) great-great-great-great-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 Andrew BORDEN (1860-1927) was the daughter of Andrew J. BORDEN (1822-1892), son of Abraham B. BORDEN (b. 1798), son of Richard BORDEN (d. after 1816), son of Richard BORDEN (1722-1795), son of Thomas BORDEN (1697-1740), son of Richard BORDEN (1671-c.1732), son of John BORDEN (1640-1716), son of Richard BORDEN (1595/6-1671), the immigrant.) She was immortalized with this verse:

"Lizzie Borden took an ax
And gave her mother 40 whacks.
And when she saw what she had done,
She gave her father 41."

1950 Borden Milk Truck

Matthew BORDEN, yeoman (i.e., a farmer belonging to a class of English freeholders below the gentry), of Headcorn, County Kent, England, was christened at Frittenden, County Kent, on 30 September, about 1563. He first married Eleanor TAYLOR on 21 February 1584 at Biddenden, County Kent. She apparently died after the birth of their first child. Matthew then married Joan ----- before 1593. Many believe Joan's maiden name was REEDER. Matthew was churchwarden at Headcorn in 1598. He owned land in Headcorn, Smarden, and Bletchenden, all in County Kent. He was buried at Headcorn on 4 October 1620. Joan was still living at his death. His children were: Thomas BORDEN (1588-1611), Joan BORDEN (1593-1593), John BORDEN (b. 1594), Richard BORDEN (1595/6-1671), Mary (BORDEN) ROE (b. c.1598), William BORDEN (b. 1600), Amy (or Anne) BORDEN (b. 1603), Edward BORDEN (b. 1605), John BORDEN (b. 1606/7), and Joanna (BORDEN) BALDWICKE GAY (c.1612-1691).

Thomas BORDEN, yeoman, of Headcorn, was born about 1533. His first wife, whose name is unknown, was the mother of his children. She was buried at Headcorn churchyard on 20 May 1581. On 2 May 1584 at Headcorn he married Margaret READER, a widow. She was buried at Headcorn on 25 Sep 1589. He was buried at the parish church of Headcorn on 21 April 1592. His children were: Thomas BORDEN (c.1560-1580), Matthew BORDEN (c.1563-1620), Joan BORDEN (c.1565-1571), and Agnes (BORDEN) GORHAM (b. c.1567).

William BORDEN was born about 1510, probably at Headcorn, England. He married Joan ----- about 1531. She died after 1560. He paid taxes to England's King Henry VIII. William died at Headcorn prior to 8 June 1557. Their children were: Thomas BORDEN (c.1533-1592), Edward BORDEN (c.1535-1560), John BORDEN (c.1539-1581), Stephen BORDEN (c.1541-after 1587), Elizabeth BORDEN (c.1543-prob. 1593), Thamasine BORDEN (b. c.1545), Ann (or Agnes) (BORDEN) MARDEN(?) (b. c.1547), and Edmund BORDEN (b. c.1548).

Edmund BORDEN was born about 1480, probably at Headcorn. He married Margaret ----- about 1503. He died in 1539 between 13 April and 18 June. He was buried in the Headcorn churchyard. His wife was pregnant at the time of his death according to his will. Their children were: Edward BORDEN (b. c.1505), John BORDEN (b. c.1508), William BORDEN (c.1510-c.1557), Joan (BORDEN) CHAMP (b. c.1515), Maryon (BORDEN) LITTLE (b. c.1520), Margaret BORDEN (b. c.1522), Alice BORDEN (b. c.1525), and Juliann BORDEN (b. c.1527).

William BORDEN, of Headcorn, can also be found on the list of those paying taxes to King Henry VIII. He was born after 1450. He died at Headcorn between 10 February 1530/1 and 25 September 1531. In his will he requested to be buried within the Church of Our Lady between his wives Joan and Thamasine. His will mentioned his living wife Rose. Not all researchers agree, but he appears to have been the father of Edmund BORDEN, who many think was the son of Thamasine -----. William's other children were: Edward BORDEN, Thomas BORDEN, Elizabeth BORDEN, Anne BORDEN, and Katharine BORDEN.

John BORDEN, of Headcorn, County Kent, England, wrote a will 26 April 1469. No date of probate exists. He requested to be buried in the churchyard of St. Peter and St. Paul. The will names his deceased parents and grandparents for whom he asked that "an honest priest" be paid to sing in Headcorn church for their souls for two years. His wife was Benedicta, who was possibly the daughter of Thomas and Margery TURNOR. John and Benedicta's children were: Roger BORDEN, William BORDEN (1450's-1531), Joan BORDEN, Roberge BORDEN, Alice BORDEN, Isabella BORDEN, and John BORDEN.

Thomas BORDEN, yeoman, was of the Parish of Headcorn, County Kent, England. He married Isabel, who was possibly the daughter of Thomas SANDER. In 1450 Thomas BORDEN joined in an uprising known as Jack CADE's Rebellion in which practically every man in Kent participated. The whole rebellion lasted little more than two months and included a battle against King Henry VI's troops on London Bridge. Their demands for certain reforms in government were given serious consideration, but not fully implemented for many years. Thomas and Isabel BORDEN died before 1469. Their children were: John BORDEN (d. c.1469), Henry BORDEN, and Richard BORDEN.

Henry BORDEN, born in the 1370's, was the first BORDEN to live at Headcorn, county Kent, southeast England. He was undoubtedly a descendant of the BORDENs of Borden, a village that was about 12 miles from Headcorn. Most researchers believe the BORDENs came to England from Normandy with William the Conqueror in 1066, though there seems to be no evidence to support this. Even if Edmund BORDEN (b. c.1480) was not the son of William BORDEN (d. c.1530) as mentioned previously, Henry BORDEN was still our ancestor. Henry married Roberga -----. Their children were: Thomas BORDEN and Robert BORDEN.

Richard DeBOURDON was born about 1201 and named after King Richard, the Lion Hearted, who reigned over England from 1189 to 1199. The wife and children of Richard DeBOURDON are unknown, but we know he was an ancestor of Henry BORDEN (b. 1370's).

Robergia DeBOURDON was born 13 March 1182. She died about 1220. She married her cousin Francis DeBOURDON from Bayeux, Normandy (France), on Christmas 1200. Francis and Robergia were buried in the churchyard of St. Peter and St. Paul in the village of Borden, county Kent, England. They had two sons: Richard DeBOURDON (b. c.1201) and Simon DeBOURDON, called "weak and sickly."

Francis, Robergia, and their two sons are pictured in the church of St. Peter and St. Paul kneeling at mass with the inscription of the BORDEN Moral Code:

Be Just - for the Lord only loaned us that which we have whether of goods or of talents, and in their use we must consider the rights of all men.

Be Merciful - for we shall have no greater claim to the mercy we all shall finally need than that we forgive our brother's faults.

Be True - to friendship and to God, for truth is all of this life worth the having, and perfect truth is what the life to come shall reveal to us. It is the prince of darkness that is the Prince of Lies.

On the opposite wall can be found the BORDEN Coat of Arms. For centuries a tradition in the BORDEN family claimed there were important records contained within the wall of the church.

While on their honeymoon in 1869, Richard Y. and Lavinia (BORDEN) COOK visited the village of Borden. (Lavinia (BORDEN) COOK, born 10 March 1845, was the daughter of John H. (b. 1819), son of Josiah (b. 1769), son of Francis IV (b. 1740), son of Francis III (b. 1709), son of Francis II (b. 1680), son of Francis (b. 1628), son of Richard BORDEN (1595/6-1671), the immigrant.) In a secret nightly mission they removed the stone in the church bearing the BORDEN Coat of Arms. They found that this stone was hollow and contained a cylindrical leaden box which also bore the BORDEN Coat of Arms. Inside the box was a cylinder of yellow cloth of well oiled linen and waxed on the inside. This contained a parchment manuscript prepared in 1220 A.D. by Robergia DeBOURDON. She wrote that her son Richard "will be strong, a man of iron, wise and peaceful. From him the BORDEN line will succeed. It is now 154 years since Count William of Normandy defeated and killed the Great Harold, King of England, at Hastings. There fell also Ethelwolf my Saxon mother's grandfather and Lord of all the lands which William the Conqueror gave to his vassal, Francis DeBOURDON. My mother was Elfrida of Kent; my father was Simon DeBOURDON." More details are contained in the book Robergia: A Story of Old England, by Richard Y. COOK, written in the summer of 1901. (Apparently, only 50 copies were printed. The County Kent Archives at Maidstone has a copy of this book. The U.S. Library of Congress reports that they have a copy and know of only 2 libraries with a copy: University of California in San Diego and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.)

Simon DeBOURDON of Bourdon, England, married Elfreada on Christmas 1180. Simon was the grandson of Francis DeBOURDON of Bayeux, Normandy (France), who fought under William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Elfreada died in 1193. Simon died about 1195. Both were buried in a vault in the family chapel within their castle walls. Simon and Elfreada's daughter was Robergia DeBOURDON.

The name of the father of Elfreada of Kent, England, is not known. Her mother was Helenore. Elfreada's paternal grandfather was Ethelwolf. He was born about 1030 and died in 1066 on the battlefield at Hastings defending his Anglo-Saxon homeland.

BORDEN Coat of Arms This BORDEN Coat of Arms appears on page 12 in the book Historical and Genealogical Record of the Descendants as far as Known of Richard and Joan BORDEN who Settled in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, May 1638, with Historical and Biographical Sketches of Some of Their Descendants, compiled by Hattie (BORDEN) WELD in 1899. Mrs. WELD's book reported there were twelve Coats of Arms under the names of BOURDON, BURDEN, and BORDEN at the Heraldic Office in London. She did not explain her choice of this one. Click here for a larger view {57KB, 429 x 791 pixels}. Click here for the full text of this important book of BORDEN genealogy.

Robert Borden
BORDEN Ancestry of Sir Robert L. BORDEN,
8th prime minister of Canada (1911-1920)
1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8

                                   | Richard BORDEN (1595/6-1671)
                              | John BORDEN (1640-1716)
                              |    |
                              |    | Joane FOWLE (1604-1688)
                         | Richard BORDEN (1671-c.1732)
                         |    |
                         |    | Mary EARLE (c.1655-1734)
                    | Samuel BORDEN (1705-1778)
                    |    |
                    |    | Innocent CORNELL (or WARDELE?)
               | Perry BORDEN (b. 1739)
               |    |
               |    | Peace MUMFORD
          | Perry BORDEN (1773-1862)
          |    |
          |    | Mary ELLIS (or ELLS?) (1745-1831)
     | Andrew BORDEN (b. 1816)
     |    |
     |    | Lavina FULLER
Sir Robert Laird BORDEN (1854, Nova Scotia, Canada - 1937, Ottawa, Canada)
     | Eunice LAIRD

Winston Churchill
BORDEN Ancestry of Sir Winston CHURCHILL,
prime minister of England (1940-45, 51-55)
1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9   10   11

     | Lord Randolph Henry Spencer CHURCHILL (1849, England - 1895, London)
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer CHURCHILL (1874, England - 1965, London)
     |    | Leonard Walter JEROME (1817, NY - 1891, England)
     |    |
     | Jeanette (Jennie) JEROME (1854, Brooklyn, NY - 1921)
          |    | Ambrose HALL (1774-1827)
          |    |
          | Clarissa (Clara) HALL (1825, NY - 1895, England)
               |                        | Daniel WILLCOX (c.1662-c.1698)
               |                        |
               |                   | Daniel WILLCOX (c.1685-before 1730)
               |                   |    |
               |                   |    |    | John COOKE (1630-1691)
               |                   |    |    |
               |                   |    | Hannah COOK (c.1660-1736)
               |                   |         |
               |                   |         |    | Richard BORDEN
               |                   |         |    |        (1595/6-1671)
               |                   |         |    |
               |                   |         | Mary BORDEN (1632/3-1690)
               |                   |              |
               |                   |              | Joane FOWLE
               |                   |                         (1604-1688)
               |                   |
               |              | William WILLCOX (1711-c.1742)
               |              |    |
               |              |    | Sarah -----
               |              |
               |         | William WILLCOX (1739-after 1782)
               |         |    |
               |         |    | Dorothy ALLEN (c.1713-1782)
               |         |
               |    | David WILLCOX (1763-1828)
               |    |    |
               |    |    | Sarah SMITH (b. 1741)
               |    |
               | Clarissa WILLCOX (1796-1827)
                    | Anna BAKER (1761-1813)

Marilyn Monroe
BORDEN Ancestry of Marilyn MONROE
1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9   10   11

                                   | Christopher GIFFORD Jr (b. 1698)
                              | Christopher GIFFORD III (1737-1820)
                              |    |
                              |    |              | Richard BORDEN (1595/96-1671)
                              |    |              |
                              |    |         | John BORDEN I (1640-1716)
                              |    |         |    |
                              |    |         |    | Joane FOWLE (1604-1688)
                              |    |         |
                              |    |    | Richard BORDEN (1671-1732)
                              |    |    |    |
                              |    |    |    | Mary EARLE (c.1655-1734)
                              |    |    |
                              |    | Mary BORDEN (b. 1700)
                              |         |
                              |         | Innocent CORNELL (1673-c.1720)
                         | Abner GIFFORD (1780-1832)
                         |    |
                         |    | Deborah HOWLAND (1740-1823)
                    | John Allen GIFFORD (1802-1872)
                    |    |
                    |    | Thankful DUNHAM (1770-1837)
               | Charles Adams GIFFORD (1839-1874)
               |    |
               |    | Lydia F. TOMPKINS (1799-1872)
          | Frederick Almy GIFFORD (1867-1957)
          |    |
          |    | Susan Bateman ALMY (1841-1908)
     | Charles Stanley GIFFORD (1898-1965)
     |    |
     |    | Elizabeth Easton TENNANT (1866-1904)
Marilyn MONROE [born Norma Jean BAKER] (1926-1962)
     | Gladys Pearl MONROE (1900-1984)

  Read report on Headcorn Church by Paul STRAIN

 Link to "FOWLE Ancestral Line"

  Free online: Historical and genealogical record of the descendants ... of Richard and Joan BORDEN ..., by Hattie (BORDEN) WELD, 1899
  Related site: BORDEN Descendants compiled by Terry MASON

BORDEN Surname Distribution
BORDEN demographics map

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Pride in the Past - Faith in the Future