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Benjamin Borden, Jr

Middletown, Monmouth County, New Jersey, USA
Death Nov 1743 (aged 68)
Winchester, Frederick County, Virginia, USA
Burial Unknown
Memorial ID 60781030 · View Source
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New information of Jan 2016:

The Borden family, because of its prominence is well-documented. They were from New Jersey and previously New York. Both son and his father, Benjamin Sr. were born on this side of the Atlantic. If James Patton’s wife Mary Borden-Osborn was a daughter of Benjamin Borden “Sr.,”—the “real” Sr.,” she was born in Rhode Island or New Jersey. Benjamin Borden Sr. (in Virginia, Jr. in New Jersey), came with and initially settled on the Opequon Quaker settlement in what is now Frederick County in 1732-33. He acquired a bit over 3,000 acres there, and then went to a famous “frolic” involving a few card games in Williamsburg. He won what became known as the Borden Grant from the son-in-law of Governor and Earl Gooch. He contracted with John McDowell, (contract dated October, 1737 and done at his home, called “Great Spring” literally right next to Lord Fairfax’s, “Greenway Court” in northern Virginia) for John to be his first and principal surveyor and help bring in enough settlers to fulfill the terms of the grant and have the deed for it recorded. John McDowell and his wife, Magdalene, then were responsible for bringing into the grant most of the 92 original families in 1738-1739, and the deed for the grant was recorded in 1739 for a total of 92,100 acres. John McDowell was killed on December 25, 1742 and just about a year later his widow married Benjamin Borden Jr. who had been long pursuing her. In fact when the surveying was being done for the first 92 families, and the paperwork being written up, Benjamin Borden Sr. had his son Benjamin Jr. live with the McDowells to help with the paperwork and such. So the second marriage was founded on relationships in the first.

The inheritance suits of the Bordens, actually start with squabbles among the siblings of Benjamin Borden Jr., over the 3,400 acres in northern Virginia and 5,000 acres of the 92,100 acres of the Borden Grant divided among his daughters and younger sons. The rest was of the 92,100 was owned or being slowly sold by Benjamin Borden “Jr.”. The suits, some of which were begun in the 1740’s went on until, 1897 when the last, involving hundreds of heirs of the original disputants, were finally settled. Two siblings, Abigail, who had a long history of disagreements with her brother Benjamin and was actually mistreated by him, and Joseph—the Borden so weasely and dishonest that he was mistrusted by all his own siblings and then virtually driven out of the Virginia settlements as he wore out his good will with everyone else (court testimony) and wound up in North Carolina, seem to have been most responsible for the suits. They take up VOLUMES in the Augusta County courthouse records, a volume or two in Frederick County as well, and detail MANY family relationships and much family history. The abstracts for the suits that were in Augusta County, are in Lyman Chalkley’s Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish published in 1911, and now on-line.

“Benjamin Borden was born in 1692 the son of Benjamin Borden and Abigail Grover of Freehold, New Jersey. He married Zeruiah Winter in West New Jersey and came to Virginia sometime in 1732….” From his will, proved in Frederick County, in 1743 his family: daughters: Abigail, wife of Jacob Worthington; Hannah, wife of Capt. Edward Rogers; Mercy, wife of William Fearnley, Rebeckah, wife of Thomas Branson; Elizabeth, wife of ____Branson; Deborah and “Liddy” (Lydia) still single. He also left three sons: Benjamin Jr., John and Joseph; and wife Zeruiah. …

Benjamin Borden was the son of Benjamin Borden I b. 16th May, 1649 in Portsmouth, Newport County, Rhode Island. He married there, Abigail Grover, who was also born there. On 3rd May, 1677, the first Benjamin Borden purchased land in Monmouth, New Jersey from “Indians.” He died in 1730 and soon after his oldest son, Richard sold some of the estate he had just inherited. Benjamin Borden I left three sons, Richard, Benjamin II and Safety Borden. (So the Benjamin Borden called “Jr.” in Virginia who was Magdalene’s second husband is actually Benjamin Borden III).

Cecil O’Dell who wrote Pioneers of Old Frederick County, Virginia published in Marceline, MO by Walsworth Publishing, 1995, had several pages of Borden family history, pp 341-344, which has since been cited by others. There are additional sources of material; Waddell, and others have all had something or other on the Bordens, but O’Dell’s recitation is compact and decently documented. The several cites go on to explain how a Richard Borden, the father of Benjamin Borden I first settled in New York, then soon went to Rhode Island, and that Benjamin Borden I was a younger son of his.

As for the Borden Grant, it included Augusta County, and most of several adjacent counties originally. The terms of the grant were that each original settling family were to receive 100 acres free and clear for agreeing to settle, and could purchase up to 1,000 acres total at the rate of 50 shillings per 500 acres. Many families had a few hundred acres, few purchased the full 1,000 acres. This meant that when Benjamin Borden III died, in 1753, his wife still owned or held mortgages on well over 60,000 acres, as some of the purchases were being made over time through mortgages. John McDowell, for his services was granted 1,000 acres outright (1737 contract).

I hope this helps some,

(Cecelia Fabos-Becker, historical and Virginia family history researcher, 25 Jan 2016)


Benjamin Borden was born in Monmouth County, New Jersey, the son of Benjamin Borden and Abigail (Grover) Borden. Little is known about his early life, but in April 1726 his name appeared on a deed as an inhabitant of Freehold, New Jersey, where he was probably acting as a land agent and speculator. Borden married a cousin, Zeruiah Winter, and they had (three sons and seven daughters).

By April 1734, Borden had taken up residence in Virginia in the northern, or lower, portion of the Shenandoah Valley. On October 3, 1734, Borden received a patent for 3,143 acres in an area of what is now Clarke County that came to be called Borden's Great Spring Tract. He raised tobacco and lived there until his death. In addition to acquiring other tracts in the lower Valley near Apple Pie Ridge, Bullskin Run, and Smith's Creek, Borden received 100,000 acres along the branches of the James River in the upper part of the Shenandoah Valley in May 1735 from the governor's Council. According to an apocryphal story, he obtained this large grant by winning the favor of Lieutenant Governor William Gooch through the gift of a buffalo calf. For the next four years Borden gave much of his attention to fulfilling the settlement requirement for the grant of one family for every 1,000 acres. On November 6, 1739, he solidified his claim to this land by receiving a patent for 92,100 acres of what by then was called the Borden Tract.

Borden was among the most important of those land promoters, also including William Beverley, Jost Hite, and Alexander Ross, whose activities helped populate Virginia's first frontier settlements west of the Blue Ridge. By actively recruiting among recent emigrants from the north of Ireland, Borden furthered the emergence of an ethnically and religiously pluralistic society in the region. After his death the duty of settling the Borden Tract fell to his namesake son, who also served as a militia captain and justice of the peace in Augusta County. Legal disputes over surveys and deeds on the Borden lands were not fully resolved until 1885. Other complaints about large land grants also arose. In 1786, residents of Rockbridge County in the upper part of the Shenandoah Valley protested to the General Assembly that the large colonial grants represented "hard and oppressive" monopolies characteristic of monarchies, "where the natural rights of men are so much abused." They complained that the speculators had avoided paying taxes on their land and had sold the actual settlers small tracts at excessive prices. The petitioners requested the legislators to resurvey the tract and dispose of ungranted land at reasonable prices. Borden's reputation had become that of a beneficiary of privilege rather than an entrepreneur opening to ordinary immigrants the possibility of landownership.

Borden was appointed a justice of the peace for the area northwest of the Blue Ridge in April 1734 and was a member of the Orange County Court in January 1735. His name appeared second in seniority in the list of the first justices of the peace for Frederick County in October 1743, but he did not serve in this capacity. Benjamin Borden wrote his will on April 3, 1742, and died probably about the time that the new county's court began to function in November 1743. His will was proved before the justices of the Frederick County Court on December 9, 1743.

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  • Maintained by: Terry Mason
  • Originally Created by: Sue McDuffe:)
  • Added: 28 Oct 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 60781030
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Benjamin Borden, Jr (6 Apr 1675–Nov 1743), Find A Grave Memorial no. 60781030, ; Maintained by Terry Mason (contributor 48012738) Unknown.