The Family History of Stephen Borden

Herbert Andrew and Clara (Booth) Borden

83 Emerson St, South Boston

My grandfather, Herbert Andrew  Borden was born Jan 19, 1878 in South Boston in a small home at 83 Emerson Street and died June 26, 1931, at home at 15 Marsh St., Fall River. He was the second child of Stephen Andrew and Frances (Wheeler) Borden. Other children of Stephen A and Frances included Francis, Marion (Shumway) and three others who died young; Florence, Gertrude and Arthur. Florence and Arthur died within a year of birth, Gertrude lived to about age 5.

Herbert married Clara Booth August 30, 1920 at St Mark's Church in Fall River.

Clara Booth was born April 10, 1891 on Bolton St. in Ramsbottom, England and died August 19, 1978 in Swansea, MA. She was the daughter of Thomas and Mary (Chadwick) Booth. Other children of Thomas and Mary included James, Sara Jane (Marsden), and Henrietta (Hart). Thomas and Mary came to Fall River from England. Thomas was a skilled textile worker and many English textile workers were recruited to run the Fall River mills. They lived most of their life in Fall River in the house they built at 15 Marsh St. You can read more about the Booths at the Booth page.

Herbert and Clara had two Children, Andrew Thomas Borden and James Francis Borden (my father)

Herbert and Clara are buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Fall River in the Booth plot. Herbert's grave is unmarked.

Herbert's father was from Fall River but moved to South Boston sometime after 1872 to work on the railroad. It was there that he met and married Frances and had two of his children, Marion and Herbert. After Frances' father, Elhanan Constantine Wheeler, died in a terrible train accident Stephen and Frances and the family moved back to Fall River, sometime after 1882.

Herbert, lived most of his life in Fall River. He worked in the Granite Block building on South Main Street for "Bamford and Earle", a stationary and book store. Herbert was a Mason and a member of St Mark's Church. Later, Herbert bought the business when the Bamford and Earle owners retired. However, in 1929 the Granite Block building burned down and he lost the business. Shortly after that he developed cancer and died at age 53. Clara was left to raise her young children. Andrew was 10 and James 5 at the time of their father's death. Clara attended Thibodeau's Business School and became a book keeper. She worked as a book keeper for O'Neil Hardware and Nick Fitton Movers for many years.

What I now know of my Borden ancestry came from my own research. My father(Jim Borden) knew little of it, as his father Herbert died when my father was only 5. My grandmother apparently had little contact with the Borden side of the family and she taught her children little of it. When I was young I asked my father about his Borden relatives. After all, we lived near Fall River and Lizzie Borden was often a topic of discussion. My father said we were not related as his father came from Boston! I find it quite amazing that he could have lived and worked his entire life in downtown Fall River within a few hundred yards of where 7 generations of his Borden relatives lived and worked (some in the same building), yet he knew nothing of how he was related. Near the end of my father's life when I became interested in genealogy, and I began to put the pieces together, I took him to see the house in Boston where his father was born, and to the gravesites of his grandparents and great grandparents just a few hundred yards from the graves of his Booth family and his mother and father. When we visited his grandfather's grave, Stephen Andrew Borden, the headstones of Gertrude, Arthur and Florence caught his attention. He asked who they were, and when I told him Herbert's siblings, he was stunned. He knew Marion and Francis but sadly, not these aunts and uncles.

This story, I guess, is one reason for my effort to integrate family history and genealogy with current day events; and to teach my children and grandchildren.

83 Emerson St, S. Boston
Marsh St
15 Marsh St, Fall River
Herbert and Clara's Wedding 1920. (Click to enlarge)
Herbert's Store - Granite Block
Herbert's Store in the Granite Block
Marion, Gertrude and Herbert
Marion, Gertrude and Herbert