Tag Archives: Henry Augustus Gardner

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.


Tags: , , , , ,

Emma Borden’s Death & Wake at Riverby

(Repost from March, 2013)

Emma Borden died in the early morning hours 9 days after her sister, Lizzie.  Members of her surrogate family saw to her funeral/burial wishes.  Her wake was held at Henry and Caroline Gardner’s home. Unlike Lizzie, family and friends gathered to pay their respects and the details of how things were handled was published in these papers.  (Click for larger views).

Seated left is Henry Augustus Gardner and his son Orrin to the right.  In the back is Hamilton Gardner (raised by Orrin since he was about 10 years old) and his best friend “Buck”.  These 3 Gardners, and many more, were at her Wake.

Where we read that Emma had made her wishes known to “Mrs. Gardner”, that would be Caroline Cole Mason Gardner who died in 1918, just seven years after celebrating her 50th Wedding Anniversary with Henry, an event which Emma attended.  (Henry would go on to live until 1931).  It was Caroline’s sister, Susan Francis Mason who had married Sarah Morse Borden’s brother, William Bradford Morse (they moved to Minnesota and lived all their lives there).  That marriage began the bloodline connection to Lizzie between the Morses and the Gardners and the Bordens (still with me here?).

In the article below it states Emma’s wishes were to be buried by her father and stepmother.  She is, in fact, buried right along side her sister which can  be seen in the image of the family plot at the end of this post.   It’s somewhat curious that Emma did not specify “beside my mother”.  Emma had been informed of Lizzie’s death by Orrin Gardner but due to her weakened condition did not attend her burial.  Unless the sisters spoke of the exact placements of their own future graves prior to Emma’s 1905 departure from Lizzie, Emma would not know of this layout.   (Note:  Lizzie, in her funeral instructions, requested to be buried at her father’s feet).

In this next article we note that Jerome C. Borden and his family attended the wake.  Jerome, of course, was the son of Cook Borden who was Andrew’s uncle.  Andrew’s father, Abraham, and Cook were brothers.  Jerome, Andrew’s nephew, had several daughters several years younger than the previously departed Lizbeth of Maplecroft.  Two of those daughters were close cousins withGrace Hartley Howe, Jerome’s sister’s daughter and thereby his niece.  (No mention if Grace was present at the wake though I doubt it as her husband,Louis McHenry Howe was absorbed in pursuits to get Franklin Delano Roosevelt elected President).  (I wonder if Jerome thought maybe Emma might have left him some money or property since Lizzie left plenty to his niece Grace as shown in her will which had been printed in the papers just that week).   But she didn’t leave anything to Jerome who had been a staunch supporter of Lizzie during the Trial.  She left plenty for the Gardners, though whereas Lizzie left them nothing.

The State of New Hampshire’s Record of Death for the year ended December 31, 1927, has a July 1, 1927 entry recording her death on June 10, 1927 and internment on June 13th at Oak Grove Cemetery.  The cause of death is “chronic nephritis” and “duration 2 years”.  Indicated as the cause is “senility” and “unknown duration”.  No mention of any fall.  Note that under “Occupation” is written “Retired”.   Indeed.

George H. Towle was the physician who pronounced her dead and reported the death.

Then in 1992, comes this record of death from the State of Massachussetts showing the causing of death as both Chronic Nephritis and senility with no indication of the duration of either.

Below:  Riverby (pronounced River”bye”) as it looked in the late 1920’s.

Then:                                                                                  Now:

This property was originally in Caroline’s family but she and Henry lived there most of their lives operating it as a successful farm.  It passed on to Orrin then to Hamilton Gardner and was sold and subdivided in the 1950’s.  Few of the extra out-buildings remain.  The current owner of Riverby has partitioned off several rooms, making them into apartments although the neighborhood is not zoned for that.  An artist lives on the first floor, a couple on the second and a musician on the 3rd floor attic rooms.

Lizzie is foot-to-foot with her father; Emma is foot to foot with her mother, Sarah.  Abby is next to Andrew on the outside.  The overall layout has a certain symmetry that seems almost poetic.


Tags: , , , , , ,

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.


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)


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.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The Benefactors’ Edition of Parallel Lives-A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and Her Fall River

It’s a beautiful thing.  Check it out:

The holding sleeve has a leather/felt-like interior.

The sleeve has the staged photo of Lizzie in her senior years on the back porch of Maplecroft.

The woman that is pictured in the edition already opened (the one I read in Hawaii) is Anne Lindsey, sister of Mary Brigham.  What a Dame!

The marbleized end pages are taken from a book in Lizzie’s library

Note the edged gold “gilt” on the pages.

The “Presentation” page.  Click for larger image.

Yep.  She’s a beaut all right.  🙂


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Henry & Caroline Gardner and Riverby

Henry Augustus Gardner and his wife Caroline Cole Mason Gardner were the progenitors of three subsequent generations with solid ties to Lizzie Borden and especially her sister, Emma.

Henry & Caroline about the time they married in 1864.

Caroline Cole Mason was the 3rd child of Zephaniah S. Mason, (born Jan. 27, 1804, died Nov. 11, 1844) and Susan Vinnicum.  Her brother Willlam was born in 1831, and her sister Ann Frances born in 1834.  Caroline was born December 12, 1839.  She married the handsome Henry Augustus Gardner on December 11, 1864.  Although younger than her sister, Ann, she married first.

Ann married William Morse – brother of Sarah Anthony Morse and John Vinnicum Morse – therein sealing the bloodline connection between Emma Borden and her sister Lizzie and the Morse family.

Henry Augustus Gardner, born Sept. 12, 1835, lived the early part of his life at the old homestead in Swansea, and then near Touisset Station, “Riverby – property that was originally in his wife’s family.

Henry had two brothers – also quite handsome ( “oval picture”) and one sister.  For all their lives they remained extremely close – helping one another and helping to raise each others’ children.  Henry had been a shoemaker but his life’s occupation was farming.

Henry and Caroline were Republicans, and members of the First Christian Church of Swansea.

They had four children:

(1) Orrin Augustus, born July 21, 1867

(2) Frank Henry, born Jan. 16, 1869,

(3) William Wilson, born Jan. 2, 1875,  and

(4) Mabel, born Aug. 16, 1876, died Sept. 2, 1876.

Orrin Gardner

Frank Gardner

William Gardner and Hamilton Gardner, father and son

(Emma remembered all of these people in her Will and/or other Trust investment funds.  Lizzie mentioned none of them in her Will and that is significant and will be explained in a later post.)

When Henry died he passed on to his oldest son, Orrin, the family possessions, including bibles, documents, albums, etc.  Orrin passed much of this  on – along with most of the things he acquired from Emma’s estate – to the boy he raised:  Hamilton, son of his deceased brother William.  There had been some albums, photographs, autograph albums, portraits, etc. which he turned over to the Swansea Historical Society in the years when he was long retired and in ailing health.   Hamilton Gardner, whom
Emma had known  since he was born and until her death, would end up selling some of these things but did pass down to the 4th generation some of what remained.

After 50 years of marriage in1911.

“Riverby” was a place that Emma visited often, in addition to  visiting Swansea and the people from the “oval picture” and their offspring.  Riverby was, in fact, the last place she visited prior to her interment at Oak Grove Cemetery.  When Emma died in 1927, only nine days after her sister Lizzie, her cousin Orrin Gardner, son of Henry & Caroline, had her remains brought to Riverby for service (her wake)

The house and grounds looked much like this in the mid to late 1920’s.

Caroline can be seen standing in the top photograph; below is the fireplace in the first floor sitting room.

Borden case enthusiasts will cruise by “Riverby” to see where Emma was taken and snap pictures from the roadway, never imagining how much the landscape has changed.  Little is left by way of documentation to know of its true history and the richness of the two generational “band of brothers” connected with it.

This is how it looks today:

Although Gardners were prominent among the founding families of Swansea, none of their bloodline remain in that town today across the bay from Fall River.  Many of their homes still stand and their graves can be found at Mount Hope Cemetery but none of their descendants live in Swansea.  Virtually all of the descendants of the original Gardners long ago moved on – not unlike the Bordens of Fall River.

But I take a moment here to pay homage to Henry Augustus Gardner:  He lived a long (to age 96) and decent life – a truly devoted husband, father, brother and friend.  His character and morals were passed on to his children and grandchildren.  When we speak about quality of character, when we speak about the fabric of America and the honest, hard working salt-of-the- earth types – we speak of men like Henry Augustus Gardner of Swansea and Touisset.

More to come on this inspiring family – their aunts, uncles, cousins – and of course, Lizzie and Emma.

Sources:  History of Swansea; estate records of Henry Augustus Gardner; emails from Gardner descendants; letter from great grandson of Bailey Borden; correspondence with great grandson of Henry Augustus Gardner.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Genealogy Link of the Gardners of Swansea to Emma and Lizzie Borden

(Click on image for larger view: The home of Henry Augustus Gardner, called “Riverby” in Touisset, can be located on the very bottom left of the above map).

Across the Taunton River in South Swansea and adjacent to Mount Hope Bay in Touisset, Ma. lived a branch of Swansea’s founding Gardners who became relatives through marriage to Emma and Lizzie Borden.

Emma would be the one to maintain relationships – and very close ones – with her Gardner cousins after “The Trial” and her 1905 separation from her sister.  Indeed, she knew all of those in the picture below.  Their own children were her contemporaries and some would become helpful guides in her later life and benefit from her financial legacy after her death.

From my collection on the Gardners, here’s an old group photo.  I’ve placed their names onto the photo for quick identity reference.

The Gardners of Swansea and Touisset, MA

(Click on image for larger view)

Handwritten names found back of oval picture shown above.

The genealogical link that bound Emma and Lizzie to these Gardners was the marriage between Henry Augustus Gardner and Caroline Cole Mason Gardner.   Caroline’s sister, Ann Frances,  had married William Bradford Morse eight years previous.  William Bradford Morse was the brother of Sarah Anthony Morse and John Vinnicum Morse, Lizzie and Emma’s mother and uncle.

Henry Augusts Gardner and Caroline Cole (Mason) Gardner

Wedding certificate for Henry & Caroline – Married on December 11, 1864.  (Emma was nearly 14 and Lizzie 4-1/2 years old when they wed; her future financial advisor, Preston, nephew of Henry & Caroline, was then a one year old baby).

Ann Frances (Mason) Morse         William Bradford Morse

William married Ann, age 21, on June 8, 1856, in Excelsior, Minnesota when Emma was five years old.   It would be interesting to know how Ann’s younger sister, Caroline, came to first meet (and subsequently marry) Henry Augustus Gardner whose roots were Swansea and not Excelsior.

I’ll have to add that task to my list.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,