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Richard Borden Sr (abt. 1596 - 1671)

Richard Borden Sr
Born about in Headcorn, Maidstone, Kent, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Brother of [half], [half], [half], [half], [half], [half], [half] and
Husband of — married 28 Sep 1625 in Headcorn, Kent, Englandmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Islandmap
Profile last modified | Created 13 Dec 2010
This page has been accessed 7,635 times.
The Puritan Great Migration.
Richard Borden Sr migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).
Join: Puritan Great Migration Project
Discuss: pgm



Richard was a Friend (Quaker)

Richard was christened 22 Feb 1595/6 Headcorn, Kent, England in the Low Weald of Kent[1] the son of Matthew Borden and Joan ____ Borden.[2][3]

His mother's maiden name is sometimes given as "Reeder",[4] but documentary proof of this is lacking.

Richard married Joan Fowle on 28 Sep 1625 in Headcorn, Kent, England.[2][5][6]Some sources say that two of their children (Richard and Francis) were born in Headcorn.[7] Armstrong (1922) indicates that the first five of their twelve children were born in England; Matthew being the first white child born on Rhode Island 16 May 1638.[2]


  1. Richard Borden, c. 9 Jul 1626, Headcorn
  2. William Borden[citation needed], Headcorn
  3. Thomas Borden, c. 3 Oct 1627, Headcorn
  4. Francis Borden, c. 23 Dec 1628, Cranbrook
  5. Mary (Borden) Cooke, c. 13 Jan 1632, Cranbrook
  6. Elizabeth Borden, c. 25 May 1634, Cranbrook
  7. Nathan Fowle Borden, ca. 1636-1637, Cranbrook
  8. Matthew Borden, of Richard and Joan, Portsmouth, May --, 1638.[8]
  9. John Borden, Sept. __, 1640.[8]
  10. Joseph Borden, Jan. 3, 1642-3.[8]
  11. Sarah Borden, May __, 1644.[8]
  12. Samuel Borden, July __, 1645.[8]
  13. Benjamin Borden, May __, 1649.[8]
  14. Amie or Amy Borden, Providence, Oct. __, 1654.[8]
  • A previous version of this profile claimed, citing only online trees, an additional daughter married long past Joan's child-bearing years, Esther Borden, a New Jersey Quaker. There is also no daughter Esther named in Richard's will. She has been detached.

About 1628, the family relocated to near-by Cranbrook, in the High Weald of Kent, and the center of the Wealdean wool broadcloth industry in Kent. One of Joane's kinsmen, Francis Fowle, was a wealthy clothier married, but without children. It appears that Richard and Joane named their second child, Francis, after him; it is shortly after this that Richard and Joane moved to Cranbrook. Francis Fowle made his will in 1632 and named Richard as his executor and residuary legattee [9]. Joane and then their son Francis were to inherit his houses in Cranbrook after the death of his wife, Elizabeth.

Several of Richard and Joane's children were born in Cranbrook, the last being Elizabeth, born May 1634.[2][10]

Sometime between the birth of Elizabeth, and the birth of their son Mathew in May of 1638, the family immigrated to America. Contrary to what is popularly said, there is no evidence that they traveled with John Borden and his family on the Elizabeth and Ann in 1635. Since we have no records for Richard and Joane until he received land on Aquidneck Island in May of 1638, we should probably assume that they did not make the ocean crossing until 1637, probably arriving in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the summer or fall.[11]

Richard's initial five acre land holding on Aquidneck was in the area known as "The Spring" on the neck of land separating Mt Hope Bay to the north, from "The Great Cove" (also known as Sandfords Cove, to the south. Today this area is occupied by the golf course of the Montaup Country Club. Richard was one of the 13 original settlers granted land on Aquidneck Island on the 20th of May.[citation needed]

Within a year, the settlers established a village called "Pocasset" to the east of their original settlement on the Neck, along a stream now known as Founders Brook, leading into the "Great Pond". Richard came to own at least two parcels in this area. Very shortly thereafter, the settlers decided to relocate the center of their town to a location further down the island. It is at this time that the town of Portsmouth was established. The community of Pocasset continued as part of the larger town of Portsmouth. It is probably at this time that Richard acquired a more substantial 200 acre bounded on the east by the Sakonet River, and on the west by what is now known as the East Road. It is likely that Richard and Joane made their home on this parcel for the remainder of their lives. Richard died in 1671 and was buried on a 4 rod x 4 for parcel given by Robert Dennis for a Friends Burial ground.[12] According to Weld 1899:[13] See also: Richard Borden Find A Grave: Memorial #21862873.

'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’

That burial ground was not transferred to the Friends until 1692.

In 1692 Robert Dennis sold a plot of land four rods square [1089 square feet] to Matthew Berdin [Borden; Richard Borden’s son], William Wodell, and Gideon Freeborn, for a burial lot for the Portsmouth Society of Friends. It was a deed of gift "For the love I have to the truth and the people of God which are in scorne called Quakers" [14]

It was probably being used by them from as early as 1670. It is commonly thought the Dennis Plot was adjacent to the present Friends Meetinghouse. This is unlikely as the description given by Weld tells us that lieth on the left hand of the way that goeth from Portsmouth to Newport. The cemetery at the present Friends Meetinghouse lies on the right hand side of East Main Road going from Portsmouth to Newport, not on the left. Moreover, while the Dennis Plot was being used as the Friends graveyard in 1671, the present Meetinghouse was not established until 1692. The Dennis family owned land a mile or so to the north of the current Meetinghouse near where Middletown was established in 1693. Most likely the Dennis Plot was located in that general area, but its exact location is, and it is probable that the Dennis plot was in that area.[15]

"Richard Borden, one of the first planters, aged 70 years, buried in ground given by Robert Dinnes to the Friends, Portsmouth, May 25, 1671."[8]

Joan Borden, widow, Portsmouth, July 15, 1688, aged 84 years.[8]


Note: Rhode Island land and court record set; more details needed

  • 1638 - He was admitted an inhabitant of Aquidneck, having submitted himself to the government that is or shall be established.
  • May 20, 1638 - He was alloted 5 acres.
  • Jan 2, 1639 - He was one of three appointed to survey all lands near about, and to bring in a map or plot of said lands.
  • 1640 - He was appointed with four others to lay out lands in Portsmouth.
  • March 16, 1641 - He was admitted a Freeman.
  • Sep 6, 1661 - He bought of Shadrock Manton of Providence, land in Providence near Newtokonkount Hill, containing about 60 acres.
  • May 18, 1653 - He and seven others were appointed a committee for ripening matters that concern Long Island... and in the case concerning the Dutch.
  • 1653-54 - He was an Assistant.
  • 1654-55 - General Treasurer.
  • 1654-57 - Commissioner.
  • 1655 - Freeman.
  • 1667 - He was one of the original purchasers of lands in New Jersey, from certain Indians.
  • 1667-70 - He was Deputy to the General Court.

Last Will & Testament

31 May 1671 Will made by Town Council, on testimony concerning the wishes of the deceased, Richard Borden, Executor son Mathew. To widow Joan, To son Thomas, To son Francis, To son John, To son Joseph, To son Samuel, To son Benjamin, To daughter Mary Cooke, To daughter Sarah Holmes, To daughter Amey Borden, To grand-daughter Amey Cooke.[16]
To widow Joan the old house and fire room, with leanto and buttery adjoining, and the little chamber in new house, and porch chamber joining to it; half the use of great hall, porch room below, cellaring and garret of new house for life. To her also firewood yearly, use of thirty fruit trees in orchard that she may choose, liberty to keep fowls about the house not exceeding forty, and all household goods at her disposal. She was to have thirty ewe sheep kept for her, with their profit and increase; fifty other sheep kept to halves, three cows kept and their profit, and to have paid her yearly a good well fed beef, three well fed swine, ten bushels of wheat, twenty bushels of Indian corn, six bushels of barley malt and four barrels of cider.
To son Thomas all estate in Providence, lands, goods and chattels (except horse kind, he paying his mother Joan yearly a barrel of pork and firkin of butter.
To son Francis, lands in New Jersey.
To son John all land about new dwelling house of said John Borden, etc.
To son Joseph, £40, within two years after the death of his mother.
To son Samuel £40, half in six months after death of father and half in six months after death of mother.
To son Benjamin £40 within four years after death of mother.
To daughter Mary Cook, £5.
To daughter Sarah Holmes, £40, within six months after death of mother.
To daughter Amy Borden, £100 at age of twenty-one.
To granddaughter, Amy Cook, £10 at age of eighteen.
To son Matthew, whole estate after payment of debts and legacies, and if he die without issue said estate not[?] to remain to any brother older.
Inventory, £1572, 8s. 9d., viz: 200 sheep, 100 lambs, 4 oxen, 9 cows, 4 three-years, 5 two-years, 7 yearlings, 5 calves; horseflesh in Providence, £60. Four mares on the island, £20, horse £7, 10s; 6 colts, and other horseflesh at New London, £8.Thirty swine, 11 pigs, negro man and woman, £50; 3 negro children, £25; turkeys, geese, fowls, Indian corn, rye, wheat, oats, barley, pease, 2 cheese presses, 6 guns, pewter, 2 swords, 2 feather beds, 2 flock beds, hat case, silver bowl, £3; cider, £2; money, £11; goods, £16; tables, form, settle, chairs, warming pan, books, £10.[17]

Research Notes

Richard was born in 1596. He was christened at Headcorn, Co.Kent on Feb 22,1596, the son of Matthew Borden and Joan ____ Borden. It is possible that Reeder was Joan's maiden name. The source for her maiden name of Reeder is Thomas Allen Glenn, private publication, 1901, Philadelphia: "Pedigree of Richard Borden: who removed from the County of Kent, Old England, 1637-1638, and Settled at Portsmouth, Rhode Island." This requires further rigorous proof.

He married Joan Fowle at Headcorn, Co.Kent, England on Sept 28,1625.


Joan Fowle Borden 1604–1688 (m. 1625).


  1. Richard Borden Jr,
  2. Thomas Borden,
  3. Francis Borden,
  4. Mary Borden Cook,
  5. Elizabeth Borden,
  6. Matthew Borden,
  7. John Borden,
  8. Joseph Borden(father of Hope Borden),
  9. Sarah Borden Holmes,
  10. Samuel Borden,
  11. Benjamin Borden,
  12. Amie Borden Richardson.


  1. English Origins: Page 31
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Armstrong, Zella. Notable Southern Families. Vol II. 1922, p. 23.
  3. The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1847-. (Online database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001-2018.) Vol. 84, p. 227.subscriber$
  4. Thomas Allen Glenn, "Pedigree of Richard Borden: who removed from the County of Kent, Old England, 1637-1638, and Settled at Portsmouth, Rhode Island," private publication, 1901, Philadelphia
  5. Bishop's Transcripts & Parish Registers of Headcorn, co. Kent, England, vol.? Page?: 1625 Richard Borden and Joane Fowle 28 September.
  6. Waters, Henry F. The New England historical and genealogical register 1921 England Historic Genealogical Society, page 230
  7. Bishop's Transcripts & Parish Registers of Headcorn, co. Kent, England, vol.? Page?: 1626 Richard Borden son of Richard 9 July.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 Society of Friends, Rhode Island Monthly Meeting, vol ?, page?:
  9. Will of Francis Fowle
  10. On the basis of Elizbeth being older than Matthew (the first child born in Rhode Island), and the family having moved from Hedcorn to Cranbrook in 1628, this is a reasonable conclusion supported by the historic narrative, Armstrong (1922), in particular.
  11. The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. XIV, page 314
  12. Rhode Island, Vital Extracts, 1636-1899 Vol. 07: Friends and Ministers: Births, Baptisms, Marriages, Deaths p 89 Richard Borden one of the first planters, aged 70 years, buried in ground given by Robert Dinnes to the Friends, Portsmouth, May 25, 1671.
  13. Weld, 1899:39 citing Friends Records. Given by Weld as an exact quote from Friends Records
  14. Rhode Island Historic, Portsmouth Cemetery 10 accessed June 2019, Citing Edwin West, "Portsmouth Before 1800” [non vide]
  15. English Origins of New England Families, (Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1985) First Series: Vol 2, p. 311 Accessed at Ancestry ($) Originally published as "Genealogical Research in England" New England Historical and Genealogical Register 84:228 (1930) Link at AmericanAncestors ($)
  16. A Genealogical History of the Jennings Families in England and America Fourth to eighth generation, page 547
  17. Austin's General Dictionary of R.I.; 31 May 1671, as made by the Town Council of Portsmouth, R.I. on testimony concerning the wishes of the deceased. Ex. Son Mathew Borden.

See also:

5, 91, 111; NEHGR 75:226-35, 84:70-84, 225-29].

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Comments: 6

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Borden-1719 and Borden-36 appear to represent the same person because: same find a grave on both profiles. exact same father on both profiles.
posted by Teresa Downey
This work agrees with virtually all that is presented here, except that baptism date is given as 22 Sep 1595.
Armstrong, Zella, and Janie Preston Collup French. Notable Southern Families. Vol 2. 1922, p. 23. Chattanooga, Tenn.: Lookout Pub. Co.
posted by Fann Fann
Source for the ship list of the Elizabeth and Ann

The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. XIV, page 314:

Link: The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. XIV, page 314:

The ab sense of Richards name on the ship list is sometimes explained away by saying that as a Quaker he could not swear an oath "and so bribed the ship's master" to take him without the oath---so his name did not appear on the ship list. Given that Fox did not establish the quakers until considerably later, this explanation is demonstrably false. Note that the Great Migration Project includes John as a founding father, but not Richard. That's because we have no records for Richard until he appears on Aquidneck Island.

posted by Bill Willis
The ships list for the Elizabeth and Ann (1635) does not include Richard and Joane. It does include a John Borden and wife Joan. Richard's parents named two sons "John", the first dying in infancy (Headcorn parish recorsds), the second John is probably the one who immigrated to America on the Elizabeth and Ann.

XII May, 1635. In the Elizabeth & Ann, Roger Cooper, Mr., bound to New England. Theis under written names are to be transported p'r certificate from ye Minister of Beunandin (Bennadin in the Lathe of Scray, Rolverden Hundred), in Kent of their Conformity to ye orders and discipline of ye Church of England. John Borden, 28 Jeremy Whitton, 8 Joan Borden, 23 Mathew Borden, 5 NiC Moreoock, 14 Eliz. Borden, 3 Bennet Morecock, 16 Thomas Whitton, 36 Marie Morecock, 10 Samuell Baker, 3

posted by Bill Willis
Hi Cousins,

Richard is My 10th Great, but, at that number we amount to many. The 10th greats are something like 4,000 great-granparents. Your all a potential stranger, i might be sitting next to, on an Airplane

posted by Rodney Rarick
Another source:

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. No publisher, no copyright Thought to have been printed in about 1899

posted by Steve Lake