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About George Gardner


George Gardiner, 5th son and youngest child of Rev. Michael and Margaret Browne, was baptized in Holy Cross Church, Greenford Magna, County Middlesex, England, Feb. 15, 1599 O.S. (Feb. 26, 1600 N.S.). The record of his baptism is found in the ancient register of the Church. As it was customary in England in those days to baptize children almost immediately after birth, and as his father was Rector of Holy Cross Church, it is probable that he was born only a day or two before his baptism.

He married, first, at St. James’ Parish Church, Clerkenwell, London, March 29, 1630, Sarah Slaughter, who was probably of the ancient family of Slaughter Manor in the One Hundred of Slaughter, County Gloucester. A certified copy of marriage of George Gardiner and Sarah Slaughter reads:

Marriage solemnized at St. James’ Parish Church, in the Parish of Clerkenwell, London, in the County of Middlesex, March 29, 1630, George Gardiner, Sarah Slaughter (Licensed from Mr. Hunt’s office, 28th March, 1630, married in the Parish Church according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the established Church. I, Osmond Andrew Archer, of St. James’s, Clerkenwell, in the County of London, do hereby certify that this is a true copy of the Entry in the Register Book of Marriages of the said church. Witness my hand this 21st day of February, 1927. (Signed) Osmond Andrew Archer, Curate of St. James’s, Clerkenwell, London, E.C.I.

Note: Research shows that two children were born to this couple: Edward Gardner, born about 1631, London, Middlesex, England, died 1637. Robert Gardner born about 1633 London, Middlesex, England, died 1637.

Some researchers list Benoni Gardner born 1636, London, Middlesex, England, married 1667 to Mary _______, died 1731 as a member of this family. This is controversial as later in the Gardner history …”It has been repeatedly said that George Gardner married Herodias Long in 1640. This date has been fixed upon because of the universal belief that Benoni, eldest son of George, was Herod’s child, also Benoni’s birth is recorded about 1642, Kingston, Washington, Rhode Island, death 1731. Reva F. Hansen, 1970.

George Gardiner appears to have lived in London where his brothers, Henry Thomas of the Temple and Michael, a vintner, and several cousins resided. Greensford Magna, the home of his parents, was not far distant. About 1637 he immigrated to New England. The “Noyes-Gilman Genealogy,” page 78, says that there is a tradition that he came from Bristol to Nantucket with Roger Williams in the “Lion” in 1631, but this is highly improbable as there is no mention of him in the colonial records until years later. The abridged Compendium of American Genealogy, Vol. I, p. 979, says, “George Gardiner from England in the ‘Fellowship’ to Boston, 1637,” and, “The Gardiners of Narragansett,” by C.E. Robison, giving this same record, adds “arrived at Boston, June 29, 1637.”

He probably stopped for a time at Braintree and perhaps at Quincy (Massachusetts). But the first mention of his name in the public records is when he went into Rhode Island in 1638 and settled at Portsmouth. No mention of his wife Sarah is found in the colonial records. She may have died previous to his immigration or during the long voyage across the Atlantic. If she sailed with her husband and survived the voyage, she certainly died soon after their arrival in New England, as George went to Rhode Island without a wife. His name is found in the “Rhode Island” Colony Records, Vol. I, pp 91, 95, 100, 111, 120, 127, 451, 492, as follows:

1638 Aug. 1st, his name is fifth in a list of 59 men admitted “To be Inhaybtants of the Island now called Aqueeneck.”

1639 Dec. 17th, he was one of six men ”admitted and embraced as Freeman into this Body Politike at the General Quarter Court held at Niewport, 17th of 10th month, 1639.” (This was Old Style of counting time. The 10th month was December.)

1640 March 10, it is recorded that he owned 58 acres of land (“Austin’s Genealogical Dict. of R.I.” p 81). March 12th, he was present at the General Court of Election.

1641 March 13th, his name is on the Court Roll of Freemen, as present and voting.

1642 Mar. 16th, he was elected Constable, and the next day, March 17th, he was made Senior Sergeant of the Newport Train Band.

1644 March 13th, he received a commission as Ensign.

1649 Dec. 1st, “Mr. George Gardiner” was a member of Petit Jury and acted as such in two cases. This was the “Court of Tryalls” held at Newport “(Rhode Island Court Records, Vol. II, p 12.)

1660 June 29th, he with others, was witness to a deed given by Soche, an Indian Chief, which conveyed a tract of land called Misquamicoke, now Westerly, R.I., to William Vaughn, Robert Stanton and others, all of Newport, R.I.

1662 Aug. 22nd, he and Robert Stanton bought of Wannemaching, an Indian Sachem, a parcel of land five miles in length and one and one half in breadth “The bounds of it Lyeth on the One side to a River called Westotowtucket and the other side to a River called Ashuniunck or Elsa Adjoyning to Mr. Sam’ll Wilbur’s line and Mr. John Porter’s.

I, Wannemaching have sold to Robert Stanton and George Gardner…I doe bind myself to maintain the Right and title of the …Land above upon forfeiture of all the Rest of my land in the Narragansett Country.”  (Rhode Island Land Evidences, Vol. I, p 216.)

Gardiner’s share of this property he willed to the children of his third wife.

1662 Oct. 14th, he was a member of the Grand Jury at the “Court of Trialls” held at Warwick. Oct. 28th, he was Commissioner (as the Deputies to the General Court, or Assembly were called) from Newport at the court held at Warwick, R.I. (R.I. Court Rec. Vol. II, p 5.)

1668 May 11, he was again a member of the Grand Jury at the General Court of Trials held at Newport. (R.I. Court Rec. Vol. II, p 63.) This year he was made “overseer” of the will of Robert Ballou, father of his third wife.

1669 Oct. 20th, he was again a member of the Grand Jury at Newport. (R.I. Court Rec. Vol. II, p 79.)

1773 Oct. 22nd, he was a member of the Grand Jury and called “Mr. George Gardiner,” (Austin’s Geneal. Dict. of R.I.)

From these records we learn that George Gardiner did not long remain at Portsmouth. It is possible that he was a convert of Mrs. Hutchinson and after her quarrel with Governor Coddington at Portsmouth, followed her to Newport.

It may well be, as some have thought, that he was driven out of Massachusetts for religious reasons. Although we do not find him affiliated formally with any sect or church in Rhode Island, yet he and his children, with the exception of Henry, were neither Episcopalians nor Presbyterians, and most of them were identified with the Quakers.

(Henry Gardiner, son of George, baptized by Dr. Mac Sparran, Rector St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Feb. 27, 1721, and his wife Abigail, Nov. 28, 1726.  (Records of St. Paul Church.)

Sometime between 1644 and 1646, George Gardiner and Herod (Herodias) Long contracted a “common law” marriage. They continued to live together “in good repute, as man and wife,” for 18 or 20 years.

Early in 1664, Herod, having left him and gone to Pettaquamscot to live, petitioned the Commissioners of Rhode Island to compel George Gardiner to give her the little property she had when she went to live with him and to support her and her child apart from him. It has been many times asserted that she asked for and received a divorce, but a reading of her Petition and the account of the trial of her case shows that no mention was made of a divorce; nor could there be, as she declared in the petition that she was never married to Gardiner.

The petition was referred by “his Majesty’s Most Honorable Commissioners” to Governor Benedict Arnold and he, perhaps because of his importance to the welfare of the community of the questions involved, not wishing to take the responsibility of deciding the matter, took it to the General Assembly for trial.

The Assembly sitting at Newport May 3, 1665, agreed to listen to the petition of Herod “before any other business should be brought before it.” Herod being brought before the Assembly “after there had been much debate on her petition, was asked whether she would return to George Gardiner and live with him as a wife should do.”

George Gardiner being called and asked if he would live with her as a husband should, said that he “was free to accept her if she were free, and did desire her to return, notwithstanding that agreement of theirs to live apart.” He was also asked whether he could prove that they were married according to the manner and custom of the place.

“To that he plainly answers that he cannot say that they went on purpose before any magistrate to declare themselves, or to take each other as man and wife.”

Robert Stanton, the close friend of George Gardiner, testified that one night “being at his house both did say before him and his wife that they did take one the other as man and wife.” This agreement, before two witnesses, established the legality of their marriage according to the custom of many of the Quakers both in the Colonies and Great Britain. (Common Law marriage was strictly legal at that time under the English marriage laws, and others besides the Quakers availed themselves of its privilege.)

In the community in which they lived, where such “common law” marriages were not unusual, theirs was accepted in good faith as legal and proper; therefore, the Assembly was confronted in this trial with a most difficult problem affecting many other couples besides the one immediately involved. It is not surprising that the “much debate” covered the time of two days, and that Herod and George were brought before the court in the hope that they would agree “to live together as a husband and wife should do,” and thus make it unnecessary for the Assembly to hand down a decision in the case. The account of the trial shows plainly the belief of the assembly in the legality of the marriage and the determination to hold George and Herod to it if possible.

George Gardiner died in 1677 at Newport, Rhode Island. He married his third wife Lydia Ballou in 1665 at Newport, R.I. She was born about 1636 at Newport, R.I. She died in 1722 at Providence, R.I. She was the daughter of Robert Ballou and Susanna Bolton.

It is believed that the descendants of George Gardiner are more numerous than those of any other Gardiner, or Gardner, who settled in New England in Colonial days. He was called “Mister” as long as he lived.

This title was given to those with the right to be called “gentlemen” and in New England was also used as a title of respect. He was a man of education and wealth and took an active part in public affairs all the years of his residence in Newport.

Researched from Wyoming Historical and Geological Society, 69 South Franklin St., Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, 1972 by Reva F. Hansen.

Added to Family Tree by Stan Roberts, 29 July 2013.

George sailed in the ship "Fellowship" of Bristol, and arrived in Boston June 29, 1637. In October, 1638, he was residing on Aquedneck Island,R.I. ...In 1662 he acquired by deed from one of the Narragansett sachems, a tract measuring five by one and one-half miles in the"Narragansett Country".

His parents were Father: Michael GARDNER b: 1552 and Mother: Margaret BROWNE b: 1562 both of England.

Another of George's sons was Benoni GARDINER, born before 1645.

On I found that NATHANIEL GARDNER, s of Benoni Gardiner, of Kingston (see GARDNER of Narragansett formerly of Collynbyn Hall), of South Kingston, Rhode Island, and Providence Plantation; b 1674.

George Gardiner was evidently an educated man and took an active part in the affairs of the Colony. He was admitted an inhabitant of Newport in 1638. In 1640 he was present "att the Generall Courte of election," and from that time until his death, about 1677, his name often appears in the State records.

Some time, not far from 1640, George Gardiner married Herodias (Long) Hicks. She made the statement that she had been married to John Hicks, in London, without the knowledge of her friends, when between thirteen and fourteen years of age. Soon after coming to R.I., Hicks deserted her, going to New Amsterdam, or as she expressed it, "to the Dutch," taking with him most of the property left to her by her mother. Her marriage to George Gardiner was rather irregular in form, to say the least, consisting of going before some friends and declaring themselves husband and wife. As she was a Quaker, and a fanatic at that, cheerful walking from Newport to Boston, with a young child in her arms, to receive a whipping at the post for her religious beliefs, possibly she would not consent to be married after any established forms. She later divorced George and married John Porter - a very wealthy man. George then married Lydia Ballou, a daughter of Robert and Susannah Ballou.


  1. The Gardiners of Narragansett: being a genealogy of the descendants of George Gardiner, the colonist, 1638.  By Caroline E. Robinson. Ed. with notes and index by Daniel Goodwin.  Published 1919 by The Editor in Providence, R.I . Page 2.


Came from Eng on ship "Fellowship" in 1637.

Married 1st Sara Slaughter, 2nd Herodias Long, 3rd Lydia Ballou

New England Families, RI Edition, p 253.

George Gardner was immigrant ancestor & founder of family in RI. He was native of Eng but in 1/3 decade of 17th century he came to America. It is doubtful he was son or grandson of Sir Thomas Gardner, knight. Tradition has it, though, he was youngest son of Joseph Gardner, son of Sir Thomas Gardner. He is 1st of record in RI, in 1638, when he was admitted an inhabitant of Island of Aquidneck. He received grant of 58 acres of land in 1640. He was made freeman Mar 16 1641, & following yr served as constable & sr sgt. He was ensign in 1644. He con't to rise in prominence in colony, & in 1662, was elected to office of commissioner. He died in King's Co, RI in 1679.


George Gardiner sailed on "Fellowship" from Bristol (Eng) w/wife, Sara (Slaughter) & 3 sons, Edward, Robert & Benoni. Voyage was tragic for George--wife (Sarah) & 2 older sons, Edward & Robert, died during passage. George arrived in Boston 29 Jun 1637 & settled in Newport, RI 1 Sep 1638 where he bought 6 sq mi of land from Narragansett Indians. He served as delegate to Gen'l Court of RI in 1662. Publication titled "Gardners of Narragansett" by Goodwin, 1919, provides add'l info about family. After arrival in America, Herodius (Long) Hicks became common law wife of George. At age 14, Herodius had been married to John Hicks in Eng with whom she came to America. She was deserted by her husband (Hicks) who went away to the Dutch, carrying with him most of the estate sent to her by her mother. After becoming George's wife, Herodius traveled from Newport to Weymouth 11 May 1658 with 6 month old child (Rebecca) to appear before religious body. Afterward, she was taken to Boston where she appeared before Gov Endicott who sentenced her to be whipped 10 lashes w/3-fold knotted whip. Thereafter, she was confined to prison for 14 days. She endured this punishment after long & difficult journey about 60 mi through wilderness almost impossible for man. George married his 3rd wife, Lydia Ballou. Lydia was daughter of Robert Ballou, early settler of Boston, MA & Portsmouth, RI. Robert Ballou died in 1668 in Portsmouth. George Gardiner died in 1677 after which in 1678, Lydia Ballou Gardiner married William Hawkins & had 3 more children. Lydia died in 1722. George had 16 children by his 3 wives as follows:

By 1st wife, Sara: 1) Edward, 2) Robert, 3) Benoni.

By 2nd wife, Herodius: 4) Henry, b c1645; d 26 Apr 1744; 5) George, d 1724; 6) William, b c1651, d 1711; 7) Nicholas, b 1654; d 1712; 8) Dorcas, b 1656; 9) Rebecca, child carried by Herodius to Boston; 10) Samuel.

By 3rd wife, Lydia: 11) Joseph, 12) Lydia, 13) Mary, 14) Peregreene, 5) Robert, 16) Jeremiah, b c1676.

George Gardiner was educated & took active part in affairs of Colony. He was admitted inhabitant of Newport in 1638. In 1640 he was present "at the General Court of election," & from that time until death, c1677, his name often appears in State records. In Colonial records name is spelled Gardner, or Gardener, until 1670, when we find it occasionally Gardiner. After 1780 name is indexed as "Gardner," or "Gardiner." In Burke's Commoners many families are given as Gardner, & as many more Gardiner. But as family arms have a curious similarity, evidence points to common ancestor.

He arrived in Boston Mass. on ship "Fellowship" June 29th, 1637. in 1638 he was settled at Aquidneck, RI. Of Newport in 1640. Senior Sergeant 1641-42. Ensign 1644, commissioner 1662. Of Kingstown 1671.
George Gardner, after his 1st wife died, lived with Herodias Long HIcks. It was either a common law marriage OR a Quaker marriage, that part is undefined. They had six or seven kids together. George Gardner and Herodias Long Hicks parted ways so Herodias could marry a "wealthy land owner." George Gardner then went on to marry Lydia Ballou and they had six or seven more children.

It is unknown if George Gardner's son (Born 1650, married to Sabetha) was Herodias Long HIcks' or Lydia Ballou's son.

1638- Admitted an inhabitant of Newport, RI.

1639, December 17- Admitted a freeman of Newport, RI.

1641, March 16- Freeman.

1642- Constable and Sergeant.

1644- Ensign.

1662- Commissioner.

Herodias (Long) Hicks was his common law wife for 18-20 years. They had six or seven children. Her lawful husband, John Hicks divorced her after she had lived with George Gardiner for 9 years and had 5 or 6 children. George and Herodias legally separated on 3 May 1665 by order of the General Assembly. They were each fined 20 pounds and ordered "from henceforth they presume not to lead soe scandolose a life, lest they feel the extremest penalty that either is or shall be provided in such cases."

Circa 1665- He married Lydia Ballou.

Born in Middlesex, England on 1620 to Michael Gardiner and Margaret Browne. George married Lydia Ballou and had 5 children. George married Herodias Long and had 8 children. George married Sarah Slaughter and had 3 children. He passed away on 22 Oct 1677 in Kingstown, Rhode Island, USA. ______________________________________________________________________________________

GEORGE GARDINER: b.____, d.1677. Admitted to the island of Aquidneck (Newport) where he purchased 58 acres of land. Present at General Court of Elections. Freeman, Constable, Senior Sergeant, Ensign, Commissioner and Juryman. Sharon W. Tetreault (12th gen.)/HERODIAS (LONG-HICKS) GARDINER: b.____, d.____. Delivered her religious testimony at Weymouth, for which she was carried to Boston, before Governor John Endicott who sentenced her to be whipped with ten lashes and held in prison 14 days. Petitioned her husband, George Gardiner, before the Assembly: having lived with her husband 18 or 20 years and by him had many children, desired of the Assembly, "The estate and labor he had of mine, he may allow it me and house upon my land I may enjoy without molestation and that he may allow me my child to bring up, with maintenance for her and that he be restrained from troubling me more."

Photo location: Family Court, Newport, Rhode Island.

Reference: The Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island, John Osborne Austin, Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1969 (Originally published in Albany, New York, 1887.). ______________________________________________________________________________________

George Gardiner came to Rhode Island and was admitted an inhabitant of Aquidneck in 1638. In 1639 he was made a Freeman of Newport, where he came to hold various town positions. From Cutter's

The first record of him is in RI, in 1638, when he was admitted an inhabitant of Island of Aquidneck. He received grant of 58 acres of land in 1640. He was made freeman Mar 16 1641, & following yr served as constable & sr sgt. He was ensign in 1644. He con't to rise in prominence in colony, & in 1662, was elected to office of commissioner.

There are many reasons to believe he was not the same "George Gardiner" as married Sara Slaughter in England, so I have removed that relationship. See article about it here:

"George Gardiner first appears in Portsmouth in 1638, nothing certain is known about him prior to this. He cmnmenced to live with Herodias (Long) Hieks about 1644. She was born about 1624. He was separated from her in May 1665 and married secondly about 1665-6 Lydia Ballou. He died about 1677 and certainly before 14 June 1678, leaving a will now lost."

"Accordingly, until more evidence, both of a positive and negative nature, is forthcoming, no critical genealogist can accept the identification of George Gardiner, son of the Rev Michael Gardiner, with George Gardiner of Newport, as proved."

Children of George and Herodias:

   1. Benoni born 1643-45 and about 1644.
   2. Henry born 1645-7 and about 1646.
   3. George born about 1649.
   4. William born about 1652.
   5. Nicholas born about 1654.
   6. Dorcas born about 1656.
   7. Rebecca born about 1658. 

1639, December 17- Admitted a freeman of Newport, RI.

1641, March 16- Freeman.

1642- Constable and Sergeant.

1644- Ensign.

1662- Commissioner.

Was there a second wife - Susan Hazard?


@R50363713@ Ancestry Family Trees Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry members.


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George Gardner's Timeline

February 15, 1599
Great Greenford, Middlesex, England
February 15, 1599
Greenford, Middlesex, England
February 15, 1599
February 15, 1599
Greenford, London, England, United Kingdom
Cleckenwell, Middlesex, England
Probably England
London, Middlesex, England
Middlesex, England