Gardner Family Lines in Early New England

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Location: Massachusetts Bay Colony, New Englandmap
Surnames/tags: Gardner Gardiner
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Excerpt from Introduction to:

Thomas Gardner, Planter, (Cape Ann, 1623-1626; Salem, 1626-1674) and Some of His Descendants, compiled and arranged by Frank A. Gardner, M. D., Essex Institute, Salem Massachusetts, 1907, Higginson Genealogical Books. Pp. 1-3.

1620--Richard “Gardenar of the Mayflower was the first man of the name to come to New England. He was unmarried. The following probate entry, quoted in the Somerset and Dorset Notes and Queries. V. III, p. 148, probably refers to him: “Richard Gardner, Bachelor, of Ozmonton. Died abroad. Alice Audrowes, of Weymouth, spinster, appointed administratrix, 27 May 1626.”

1624--Thomas Gardner, Planter. Overseer at Cape Ann 1624. Removed to Salem 1626. As the following series of articles relate exclusively to this man and his descendants, no further reference is made to him under this head.

1630--Sir Christopher Gardiner, said to have been knighted at Jerusalem, came to Boston in this year. He was arrested upon the charge of bigamy. The authorities opened his letters, and one was to be from Sir Fernando Gorges, who “ claims a great part of the bay of Massachusetts.” He was sent back to England, “ as one vnmeete[sic] to inhabit here” (March, 1680-81).

1631--Henry Gardner, of Kittery, Maine. Granted land there 3-9-1631. See Baxter MSS., Maine Historical Society, Series 2, V. IV, pp. 312 to 320.

1635--Edmund Gardner or Gardiner of Ipswich. The earliest mention of him in the Ipswich Town Records, is in the year 1635, when land, granted to Mr. John Coggswell, is described as having “ a lott of Edmund Gardiner’s on the South-west.” He had several lots of land granted to him in Ipswich, and held a number of minor offices of trust. Savage thinks that he may have been the Edward who came in the James from London in 1635, age 25.

1635--Lion Gardiner, a young civil engineer, joined the army of William of Orange, and went to Holland. Later he became a member of the Company organized by Lords Brook, and Say and Seal, and came to Boston in 1635. He went to Saybrook, Conn., in the following year and remained there until 1639, when an Indian Sachem, Yovawan, conveyed to him the island afterwards known as Gardiner’s Island. This was the first English settlement in New York. The property descended by the law of primogeniture for nearly two hundred years, and is now owned by the twelfth proprietor, having been in the family two hundred and sixty-one years. The descendants of this man are numerous.

1638--Thomas Gardner, of Roxbury, died in this year, leaving a son Thomas. This has been appropriately called the “Brookline Gardner Family,” as its members have been prominent in that town since the early days of the Colony. Among the descendants of this man, who have become well known are a granddaughter of the first Thomas, who married John Adams, and was mother of the second president of the United States; Rev. Andrew Gardner of Lancaster, Mass.; Col. Thomas Gardner who was killed at Bunker Hill; and Isaac Gardner who was killed at the Battle of Lexington.

1638--George Gardner was admitted an inhabitant of Aquidneck (R. I.) in the eighth month 1638. Admitted freeman at Newport in the following year. He had many children.* Gardiner, Maine, was settled by his descendants. Dr. Sylvester Gardiner and Robert Hallowell Gardiner were distinguished members of this family.

1642--Richard Gardner, of Woburn. He was in that town in the year mentioned, and was made freeman May 26, 1652. Among his descendants, we find Henry Gardner the first State Treasurer of Massachusetts, and Governor Henry Joseph Gardner of the same state.

1650--John Gardner of Hingham. He is said to have come here in 1650. He has had many descendants, and the family has been prominent in that town for two and a half centuries.

1661--James Gardner came to Gloucester in 1661. In his will dated January 1683, he mentions his wife Mary, and his eldest son, Joseph. Joseph afterwards owned and occupied the homestead on Eastern Point.

Excerpt from:

ANCESTORS and DESCENDANTS of Daniel Gardner V, and Mary (Hodges) Gardner Late of CHAMPAIGN. ILLINOIS With other Gardner and Hodges Records and Historical and Biographical Notes. Collected and Compiled by D. Hodges Gardner. Martin & Allardyce, NJ, 1915.



Gardner or Gardiner

The name of Gardiner or Gardner, according to a generally accepted theory, is derived from two Saxon words : gar, signifying arms or weapons, and dyn, a noise ; hence, gardyn, a martial sound or alarm, the clashing of arms. The termination "er" gives the name Gardyner, denoting one accustomed or entitled to bear arms, and by a natural transition, we have Gardner, and Gardiner.

This theory may be favorably received, because it denotes a less plebeian origin, than does another theory, or supposition, that the name is derived from an occupation, as gardener — one who makes a garden, a horticulturist. In any case, however, it is an Anglo-Saxon name for an Anglo-Saxon tribe, and one untainted by a propensity toward crime, insanity, or constitutional cowardice.

For hundreds of years, the Gardner families have been of the landed-gentry of England. Some have been of the nobility, but the great majority have been commoners.

Many of them have gained distinction and high rank in the army, in the navy, and in other departments of the public service, while others have acquired eminence in the learned professions. The family was, probably, first established in the county of Lancaster and from there emigrated to and settled in many parts of England, Scotland, and Ireland. The claim of the Lancashire Gardners — that they are the parent stock — seems to have foundation, as many of the prominent families of the name — in other parts — have a known Lancashire origin. Aldringham Hall, near Ulverstone, in Lancashire, has been the ancestral home of one Gardner family — possibly the main branch — for five hundred years.

The Gardners are fully entitled to, and many have assumed, armorial bearings. In essential features, the descriptions of all Gardner arms are the same, with but little variation in design or coloring. The coat of arms here emblazoned, is an excellent general type of the many coats belonging to the various branches of the family in England. The same design was assumed — or appropriated — by members of the Narragansett family of Gardiner, in America.

The accompanying- cut is a reproduction of an original engraving of the arms belonging to the Roche Court family of Gardiner, elsewhere mentioned.

Arms : Or, on a chevron, gules, betweenthree Ganimcr griffins' heads, erased, azure, two lions, counter-passant, of the field.

Crest: a Saracen's head, couped at the shoulders, proper.

Of Gardners of renown, in an early day, was Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, born 1483, son of John Gardiner, a cloth weaver, of Bury Saint Edmonds. Before his elevation to the Bishopric, he was secretary to the great Cardinal Wolsey. At the coronation of Queen Mary, the crown was placed on her head by the Bishop, and he was made Lord Chancellor, and Minister of State.

He was a very learned man, and was called the friend of learning, in every form, and his house was called the seat of eloquence and the special abode of the Muses. He died in 1555, and was buried in his cathedral at Winchester, where his tomb is still to be seen.

Colonel James Gardiner was a valiant Scottish soldier, whose death, in battle, is described by Sir Walter Scott, in Waverly. This battle, Preston Pans, was against the Pretender, and the field of battle was partly on the Colonel's own estate in Scotland. Colonel Gardiner was the son of Captain Patrick Gardiner, a man of large estate, who served many years in the army, and his mother, Mary Hodge, was from another family of soldiers.

He was born in 1687 and died 21st September, 1745, William Gardner, of Coleraine, Ireland, and of a Lancashire family, commanded a company — within the walls — at the siege of Londonderry.

Allen Gardner, grandson of William Gardner, of Coleraine, ente-red into the Royal Navy in 1755 and became one of the most distinguished of British naval officers. He had important commands, was in battle many times, and in 1799 had attained the high rank of Admiral of the Blue, and was created a Baronet of England. In 1800, he was elevated to the peerage — as Baron Gardner — and died in 1809.

Another Lancashire product was Charles John Gardner, Viscount Montjoy, and Earl of Blessington. He was an Irish landlord, living in London, with an immense income from his Irish estate. This he dissipated, and dying bankrupt, without issue, the titles became extinct.

Sir William Gardiner, of Roche Court, Hants, who was descended from the Gardners anciently seated at Wigan, in Lancashire, was made a Knight of the Bath at the coronation of King Charles II. in 1660, and was created a Baronet the same year. From him are descended the present Roche Court family.

Richard Gardner (1591-1670), an English divine, chaplain to King Charles I, in 1630. Daniel Gardner (1750-1805), a painter, who attracted the attention of Sir Joshua Reynolds, and became fashionable for his small portraits done in oil or crayon.

William Gardner (1766-1814), a skillful engraver, in Dublin.

George Gardner (1812-1849), a Scottish botanist, author and explorer in South America. Died while exploring in Ceylon.

Samuel Rawson Gardiner (1829-1902), who, if not at the present time, will some day be classed as one of England's greatest historians.

In colonial New England were a number of immigrants, from England, by the name of Gardiner and Gardner, who came with the earliest settlers — prior to 1650. How closely they were related, or to which branches of the family in England they belonged is not known.

They were prominent in colonial affairs, and, with one exception, reared families and have descendants living.

First came Richard Gardnear, in the Mayflower, 1620. It is thought he died unmarried.

In 1724 Thomas Gardner settled at Cape Ann. He was to oversee the planting in the colony, and for this reason has sometimes been called the first Governor of Massachusetts. He had grants of land at Danvers and Salem. His sons, Richard and John, having been excommunicated by the church at Salem for attending Quaker Meeting, went to the Island of Nantucket, where they were of the twenty associated proprietors of the island.

Other early Massachusetts records are of Edmund Gardner, of Ipswich, in 1636; Thomas Gardner, of Roxbury, in 1638 ; Richard Gardner, of Woburn, in 1642 ; John Gardner, of Hingham, in 1650, and of James Gardner, of Gloucester, in 1660.

A picturesque figure of the times — but who should not be classed as an immigrant — was Sir Christopher Gardiner, for a short time at Boston in 1630, accompanied by his wife, a lovely, attractive woman. He wore a large Cavalier hat and cloak, and was never without his long Spanish rapier. It was thought that he was an agent of the church of Rome, or of the Spanish inquisition, and neither institution being of good repute, his stay was short. His coming and going, like the flight of a comet, attracted attention, and of him Longfellow wrote :

"It was Sir Christopher Gardiner, Knight of the Holy Sepulchre, From Merry England over the sea, Who dropped upon this continent, As if his august presence lent A glory to this colony."

A romantic personage was Lyon or Lion Gardiner, who came in 1635. A military engineer, he had served in Flanders with Lord Fairfax, and came to America to establish a colony in Connecticut. He built a fort at Saybrook — named for Lord Say and Seal, and Lord Brook, the proprietors — and was for four years the Governor. He then secured, by purchase from the Indians, an island in Long Island Sound, since called Gardiner's Island, which purchase was confirmed by a grant, and the island was held for generations as an independent, entailed barony.

The Lords of the Island in those days were quite the grand seignoirs, with the right of the high justice, the middle and the low. In 1788 Gardiner's Island was annexed to the state of New York, and is still owned in the family.

George Gardiner, of Newport, Rhode Island, in 1638, founder of the Narragansett family, of whom presently, has probably more descendants than any other American Gardiner or Gardner.

The Gardners in America have an honorable record, and since the first settlement of the country have helped to make history. They have produced many representative men in many communities, and have been pioneers in the grand march of settlement across the continent, and have aided in the development of every state, from Maine to California. Some have been a credit to the name, in the army and navy, and in public office, while others have gained eminence in business and in professional life. In the main, however, they have been land holders, and remained close to the soil. The subjoined list of Gardiners or Gardners of some note has not been selected as belonging to any one branch of the family, but rather on the theory that all of the name, of New England origin, are not only of one blood, but reared in the same environment and of one general type.

Captain Joseph Gardner commanded the Salem Company in King Philip's War. Colonel Thomas Gardner was a member of the Committee of Safety in Boston. In May, 1775, he raised a regiment, and was killed at Bunker Hill in June of the same year.

Ebenezer Gardner was also a member of the Committee at Boston.

Caleb Gardiner was a merchant and retired sea captain of Newport. In 1775, he raised a company for Richmond's Regiment, and was made Lieutenant Colonel. Later, he was a member of the Council of War of Rhode Island. In 1778, when the French fleet of Count d'Estaing was blockaded in Newport harbor by the greatly superior fleet of Lord Howe, Captain Gardiner, who knew all the passages of the harbor and bay from boyhood, offered his services, and piloted the French fleet to safety through an uncharted channel during a dense fog. In recognition of this great service, the French King sent Captain Gardiner a sum of money, with which he purchased an estate near Newport, and built a house, portions of which still remain in the cottage called Bateman's.

John Lane Gardner (1793-1869), entered the army as Lieutenant, and served — with great credit — during the war of 1812, the Florida War, and in the war with Mexico, where he commanded his regiment, and where, at Contreras, he led the right column of attack. In 1860 Colonel Gardner was in command of the forts in Charleston harbor. Though mustering less than fifty men in Fort Moultrie, he secured six months' supplies, and announced his intention of defending his post, but was immediately relieved by Secretary Floyd and ordered to Texas. He was made Colonel of the Second Artillery in 1862, and retired in 1865 with the rank of Brigadier General as reward for his long and faithful service.

Charles K. Gardner (1787-1869), entered the army as Ensign and was made Captain in 1812, Colonel in 1815, Adjutant General in 1816, resigned in 1827. He was Assistant Postmaster-General during Jackson's administration, Auditor of the Treasury under Van Buren and Postmaster of Washington under Polk. In 1850 he was transferred to the Treasury epartment, and resigned in 1867.

William Henry Gardner (1800-1870), entered the navy as Midshipman in 1814, was Lieutenant in 1825, Commander in 1841, Captain in 1855. He had important commands, both at sea and ashore, and retired in 1862 with the rank of Commodore.

George Clinton Gardiner (1834-1914), at the age of sixteen, was employed by the U. S. Engineer Corp that established the Mexican boundary, and in 1856 was appointed Assistant Surveyor and Astronomer, to run and mark the Northwestern boundary. Later, he was engaged in important railway work, and was the first to use nitroglycerine for submarine blasting. He was General Manager of Construction of the Mexican Central and of the Texas and Mexican Railways. In 1892, he was General Manager of the Ohio River Railroad, and later organized the Pacific Company of Peru.

James Terry Gardiner (1842-) has made many geographical and geological surveys for the government and for states and territories, and has done important constructive work. Is a member of scientific societies, and has been secretary of the American Geographical Society. Holds the oflfice of Consulting Engineer for the Santa Fe, the Texas and Mexican, the Atlantic and Pacific, and the Mexican National Railways.

Silvester Gardiner (1707-1786), physician, studied in Europe and returned to Boston with a degree of professional knowledge unexampled at that time in America. He soon acquired an extensive practice and became rich and influential.

Augustus Kinsley Gardner (1821-1876), physician, studied in Europe, and returned to New York, where he introduced many reforms. He was the first, in America to give chloroform in labor, and practiced it successfully. He resigned his membership in the Academy of Physicians on being questioned as to his action in calling into consultation a homeopathic physician.

Joseph Gardner, of Bedford, Indiana, physician and philanthropist. February 22, 1893, he gave, as a thank offering to humanity, to the American National Red Cross Association, a tract of seven hundred and eighty-two acres of land. Miss Clara Barton receiving it as President of the Association.

John Gardiner (1731-1793), lawyer, was born in Boston, studied and practiced in London and in Wales, and at one time was Attorney General in the Island of St. Christopher, W. I. He was called the law reformer, and is remembered for his later eloquence in the Massa-chusetts Legislature.

Asa Bird Gardiner (1839-), lawyer, soldier, military jurist and politician, was appointed Lieutenant of New York Volunteers in 1861, and in 1865 received the Medal of Honor for distinguished service. He was appointed Lieutenant of the Ninth U. S. Infantry. He had various staff appointments, and was honorably discharged, on account of disability. He was District Attorney of New York in 1897. He is a member of several patriotic societies and the author of works on military jurisprudence.

John Silvester John Gardiner (17G5-1830), clergyman, was a man of uncommon talent, for many years Rector of Trinity Church in Boston, and of wide repute among the clergy of the land.

George Warren Gardner (1828-1895), clergyman and educator, was a graduate of Dartmouth in 1852, and was President of Drake University of Iowa, in 1881.

Henry Brayton Gardner (1863-) , educator, is Professor of Political Economy at Brown University, and Vice President of the American Economic Association.

Dorsey Gardiner (1824-1894), etymologist, was Secretary of the U. S. Centennial Commission in 1876, and private secretary to Director General Goshorn. He was a direct descendant — great grandson — of Captain Caleb Gardiner, of Newport, before mentioned.

Henry J. Gardner (1819-1892) , was Governor of Masachusetts in 1858.

Elizabeth Jane Gardner (1842-),a talented American artist.

Captain W. M. Gardner, born in Ohio, now living in England, is the inventor of the Gardner gun.

Washington Gardner is U. S. Senator from Michigan.

A. P. Gardner is Representative in Congress from Massachusetts.

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Dr. Frank is a 1st cousin. He extended this list in his 1933 book (see expanded image).

I have been collecting information about Gardner families as I hear from them: Gardners and Gardners is our 4th most-read post. Over the years, I knew many different families, personally, without being aware (have been at this a decade, now) of the Gardner or, even, the New England or Old World connections.

posted by John M. Switlik
edited by John M. Switlik