The Family History of Stephen Borden


Hattie Borden Weld published a genealogy of the Bordens in America in 1899, titled the, "Historical and Genealogical Record of the Descendants, as Far as is Known, of Richard and Joan Borden Who Settled in Portsmouth, RI in 1638". Some title.

Weld's work made efforts to trace my Borden roots quite easy. In the ninth generation, my great grandfather, Stephen Andrew Borden, is listed in Weld as person number 2540 on page 294. From there the work was relatively easy. Weld was not perfect. For example, my great grandfather is  listed as born in 1850, but his gravestone and death certificate list his birth year as 1849. Nonetheless, Weld has done a great service for all Bordens in America. Her work is quite remarkable given the methods of the day (no internet!).

While Weld's focus is the 1638 arrival of Richard and Joan in America and their descendents, she also describes the Borden arrival in England from Normany at the time of William the Conqueror. The New England Historic and Genealogical  Society published a substantial report on the Bordens of Headcorn, County Kent in 1930.

This site has a twofold purpose. First, to chronicle my Borden ancestry post-Weld, and second, to connect my current day family; children and grandchildren, and cousins with one another and with their roots.

Coat of ArmsThere are many published genealogies covering our families because the Borden, Brayton, Brightman, Chace, Gifford and Wheeler families have been in America since about the early 1600's. The Booth, Askew and Fox families came from England and Ireland later - during the industrial revolution of the 1800's.

Much of the geographical focus is on Fall River, Massachusetts, and the surrounding area. Bordens moved to other parts of the country during the various historical migrations in search of land and opportunity, but most all can trace their beginnings to Portsmouth, RI and Fall River, MA.

In 1803 Fall River was a small village within the town of Freetown, MA with just 18 families, nine of which were Bordens. By 1900 there were 100 cotton mills and 100,000 people in Fall River and Bordens were prominent in the mills, banking, railroads, shipping and government, not only in Fall River, but RI,  New York and elsewhere.

Borden Mill
Borden Mills, Fall River

FR Line
Fall River Line - The Richard Borden

There were many notable Bordens who can trace their roots to Portsmouth and Fall River. Richard, (generation 1) had many children. One, Matthew, was the first Englishman born in Rhode Island. Another, Benjamin, was sent to tend Richard's lands in New Jersey and began the NJ family line (Bordentown).  Richard of a later generation, Col Richard Borden and his immediate family, ruled most of what went on in Fall River through the 1800's. Nathaniel B. Borden was mayor, state senator and US Congressman. Gail Borden (in Texas via New Jersey) invented the condensed milk process that led to the Borden Milk Company. An heir to the Borden Milk Co, William W. Borden graduated from Yale in 1909 and then planned to dedicate his life to missionary work. On his way to China, he died in Egypt at the age of 25. Dr. William Cline Borden was an Army physician who was responsible for the creation of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the system of clinical care, research and education modeled there. My son Nathan is a recent medical school graduate on the Uniformed Services University and trained at Walter Reed. Robert Laird Borden, whose line also traces back to Portsmouth, was Prime Minister of Canada and is pictured on the Canadian $100 bill.  Lizzie Borden the alleged axe murderess of her parents, continues to generate cult-like popularity. Amanda Borden was a member of the gold medal winning 1996 Olympic womens gymnastics team. Not widely recognized as Borden relatives are these other Borden family notables including Marilyn Monroe, Lana Turner, Willie Nelson and Sir Winston Churchill.

Canadian bill 
Canadian $100 bill features PM  Robert Laird Borden

carriage shopThe  carriage shop of Stephen Borden, my great-great grandfather is pictured here (click to enlarge) It was on Central Street, Fall River, MA across from where the Armory is located today. His shop was once on West Bank Street. Within a block of this site was the Pocasset mill, one of the first in Fall River, the Quequechan River that powered the mills,  the granite block where my grandfather had his book store and the Union Savings Bank where my father worked his entire life.

Please view and enjoy the rest of this site for more family history and current day Borden family and events.