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The Gardners of Swansea – Emma Borden’s Surrogate Family

(Recycled from 2010)

Long  before Emma Borden abandoned her sister, Lizzie, in late May of 1905, she had very close ties to many Gardners in Swansea, Ma.   But after she split from Lizzie, some of those Gardners  became a surrogate family to her.

The progenitors of those that Emma would embrace, socialize with, attend major family events, and help financially in trusts and her will, are those in the oval picture below (click it to enlarge).

The births, marriages and deaths of these people were recorded in William  Gardner’s family bible:

Why were these people and their children, and even some of their children’s children important to Emma?  Well, the  genealogical link was addressed in this blog post.

If you’re interested, study the names and who married who….there’s more to come about events she attended.

The direct line of Henry Augustus Gardner is the most important – and closest – to Emma.   Much of the information I have obtained was from his estate records and from direct descendants.

As for Lizzie, well she was pretty much written off by these Gardners around early 1897 due to two hugely embarrassing incidents to this quiet, salt of the earth, family entrenched group.

Lizzie had her servants, dogs and a few loyal friends.

But Emma had family.


 

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Emma Borden Not Such a Recluse

The following Recycled post will be of added new interest to those who purchased Parallel Lives.  Indeed, as we’ve learned from that book, Emma was no recluse.  Beginning on page 748, I believe, the writers go into depth of the Gardners from the Henry Augusta Gardner line.  Enjoy.

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One of the urban legends in the Borden case is that Emma Borden became a recluse, rarely went out, and had no family after departing from her infamous sister, Lizzie.  Not true – at least not until the final few years of her life, when she was infirm and senile.

I’ve written before of the Gardners of Swansea who became a sort of surrogate family to Emma Borden when she departed forever from her sister, Lizzie in 1905.

On December 11, 1914, Henry Augustus Gardner (the patriarch of the family) and his wife, Caroline Cole Mason Gardner, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at their home “Riverby” in Touisset.  They had put together this little commemorative booklet (from my collection) for each of their guests which included Emma Borden as she attended and received such a booklet.

(Click on all images below for larger views)



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Emma attended this event and her signature can be seen 4th down on the left side.  Little Hamilton Gardner, son of William, left his “mark” on the bottom of the right side.  At the top you see Doris Gardner’s name and her mark.  Having parallel lives, she and Hamilton ended up husband and wife.  More on her later.

William Wilson Gardner and son, Hamilton

(and was he a little cutie or what?)

When Hamilton’s father died, he was raised by his uncle, Orrin Gardner.  Emma was particularly fond of and close to Orrin.  And from evidence of her including him in an income trust and mentions elsewhere, she was also fond of Hamilton, who was a teenager when Emma died.

Emma, in fact, attended birthday parties, clam boils, weddings, funerals, and holidays with many of the people and their children shown in the oval picture below.  If you study the names and compare it to the guest signatures above, you’ll note most of them attended this event, as well as many of their offspring.

Father William Gardner (standing), Grandfather Henry Augustus Gardner, and Grandson Hamilton Gardner

“Riverby” about 1914

Here is a full account of the event as reported in the newspaper.

The quote of Henry Augustus speaking of how the area was when he first moved there to the “present” (i.e. 1914) is particularly interesting.

As stated above, this was not the only Gardner family event Emma attended.  My collection includes other documentation of Emma’s surrogate family and travels.  She spent a lot of time with Preston Gardner’s wife, Mary and their daughter, Maude, all of whom she favored in income trusts and her will.

 

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John Morse – Echo Post 1909

Often named as complicit in the murders of Lizzie Borden’s father and stepmother, Uncle John Vinnicum Morse is pictured here in this article posted before.  Morse was the brother of Lizzie & Emma’s mother, Sarah Morse Borden.

The Vinnicums and Morses‘ were the genealogical link to the Gardner family.   Most of those pictured, and their offspring, were a major part of the Borden sisters lives, particularly Emma Borden when she split from Lizzie in 1n the spring of 1905.

Emma left much of  her estate, including personal property toOrrin Gardner.

When Orrin died, Hamilton Gardner (pictured below) son of Orrin’s brother William whom Orrin raised, inherited what was left of Emma and Lizzie’s possessions which were at the “Riverby” home.

When Hamilton died, his son, now living, received and still keeps these possessions.  (The scattering of their property near the time of Orrin & Hamilton’s deaths will be addressed in the next post).  These included the  “missing” photo albums of the 9 known to exist, 7 of which are resident with the Swansea Historical Society housed in their alcove at the Swansea Library.

Anyway, I don’t think old Uncle John had anything to do with the murders.  But I think he came to suspect  it was Lizzie.   An observant and cautious man, he knew when best to keep secrets known to himself.

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2011 in Descendents & Relations, Swansea

 

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