also went by the name of Faifax Ben. Benjamin Borden was born on 6 April 1675 at Middletown, Monmouth County, New Jersey. He was the son of Benjamin Borden
and Abigail Grover
. Benjamin Borden married Zeuriah Winter
, daughter of William Winter
and Hannah Grover
, before 1700; 1st cousins. Benjamin Borden left a will on 3 April 1742 at Orange County, Virginia.
In the name of God Amen the third day of April in the year e of our Lord one thousand seven hundred & forty two I Benajmin Borden of Orange County in Virginia yeoman being in good estate of helth and of sound mind & membery thangs be given to God for it therefore calling unto mind the mortality of my body I do make this my last Will and Testamen tthat is to say princiablely & first of all I give & recommend my sole unto God that give it and for my body I recommend it to the Earth to be buried in a Christianlike manner at the decretion of my Ex'rs nothing douting but at the General Reserrection I shall recive the same again by the Mighty Power of God and touching such worlly estate it hath pleased God to bless me with in this life I give & dispose of the same in the manner & form following: Imprismiss I will all the funeral charges & my just debts should be paid and satisfied.
Item I give & bequeath to Zeruiah Borden my wife all the improvement & what lands shee has or shall have a leation (? ) to ... as long as shee remains my widow & if shee should get married then shee shall have but half the improvement and what Land shee & her husband should have leation (? ) to clear of this plantation I now live on in Orange County in Virginia on Spaught Run during her natural life Item I give & bequeath to my son Benajmin Borden & my son Joh n Borden & my son Joseph Borden to them & there heirs & assigns forever this plantation and the lot on the said Spaught Run that my ...... lands on of one hundred and fifty acres that I have agreed to rent to my said three sons to be equilly devided between son Benajmin Borden & my son John & my son Joseph Borden in qualtity to be divided by way of lots drawing between my sons Benjamin & John & Joseph Borden guardians that is all this plantation I now live on excepting eight hundred acres I give to Edward Rogers and his wife Hannah Rogers and the heirs of her body forever, and five hundred acres I give William Fearnley & my daughter Marcey his wife to them & there heirs for ever. Item I give to my daughter Hannah Rogers but five shilling shee having her posion before. My Will is all my lands & estate that I have in New Jersey then to be sold and all my land at Bulsken and my land on Smith Creek & North Sherrando and all my enterrys every where and all my lands on the waters of James River should be sold excepting five thousand acres of land that is all good I give to five of my daughters that is Abegal Worthington and Rebeckah Branson and to Debourah Borden & Ledy Borden and to Elezabeth Borden that is one thousand acres of good land apease to every one of the sd five daughters above mentioned to them & their heirs and assigns forever. And all the rest of my land to be soldd aforesaid excepting this I now live on to be all sold and eaquelly divided between my wife & my son Benjamin my son John & my son Joseph and my daughter Abagal Worthington and daughter Rebeckah Branson and my daughter Marcey Fearnly & my Deburah Borden & my daughter Elizabeth Borden & my daughter Lidy Borden and my moveables to be devided between my said wife and sons Benjamin Borden Joseph Borden and my aforesaid six daughters Abegal Rebeckah Marcey and Deburah Lidy & Lezabeth Borden first before my movabl eestate be devided there must be taken out my grate brown riding horse and my bay mare that cam of my grate hip shot May and the best bed witt firniture to it good that I have in the house that I give to my wife first & all the test to be eaquelly between my wife & my aforesaid three sons and my six daughters as aforesaid devided. I constitute and apoint my wife Executrick & my son Benjamin Borden & my son in law William Fearnly Executors to this my last Will & Testament and to Execute deeds for the land I have sold and all other wills made by me void between the sixteen and seventeen line the words this plantation is interlined & lower down the words be & all & my & acres is interlines before ssealing & signing in the sixth line it is blated the word God in the firfteen line the Words and no longer is blated out and the words shee haveing five shillings is blated out the word Exectuors all blotted out before seeling & signing and the words and assigns is blotted out before sealing & signing - Benjam Borden
Sealed and Delivered in the presents of us - Thomas Sharp [his mark]Lancelot WestcottEdward Corder [his mark]Thomas Haenkins [his mark]Thomas Raxcer [could this be a Roger?]
At a court held for Frederick County on Fayday the 9th day of Oc'ber 1743.
On 9 October 1743
At a court held for Frederick County on Fayday the 9th day of Oc'ber 1743
This Last Will & Testament of Benjamin Borden l'y de'd was in open court proved by Thomas Hankins, Thomas Sharp, & Lancelot Westcott three of the witnesses thereto & Zeruiah Borden Executrix & Benjamin Borden Ex'r therein named having made oath thereto according to law the same is admitted to record.
He died in November 1743 at Winchester, Frederick County, Virginia, at age 68.
(1) Paula Evans, Rt. 2, Box 152, Hale Center, TX. Cites: (a) 'Genealogical Dictionary of R hode Island.' (2) Terry Mason, Bountiful, UT. Cites: (a) 'Benjamin Borden, Shenandoah Valley Pioneer: His Ancestry and Descendants,' by J.A. Kelly (1931), 'Genealogies of Virginia Families from th e William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine' (Genealogical Pub. Co., Baltimore , 1982) 2nd Series, Vol. VI, p.259-264. (b) Philadelphia, PA Deed Bk F-5, p.297. (c) 'Virgini a Wills and Administrations,' comp. Clayton Torrence (Genealogical Pub. Co., Baltimore, 1978 ) p.43, citing Will Bk I, p.4-5, Frederick Co. Circuit Court, Winchester, VA. (d) 'The Woods- McAfee Memorial.' (e) NJ Archives, 1710, Vol. 2, p.362. (f) 'History of Burlington and Merce r Counties,' p.454. (g) Philadelphia Deed Bk I, p.552. (h) Ralph & Mildren Branson Wandling , 'Ancestors and Descendants of Thomas & Rebecca Borden Branson, 1380-1965.' FHL film 928,077 , item 11. Cites research by John A. Kelly of Haverford College, PA; Hopewell Friends History , p.25; Virginia Magazine, Vol. XIV (1906) p.15. (i) Bob Baker Goff, 'The Burden Family of Wh ite County, Tennessee and their Bourdoon-Borden Ancestry, 1380-1980' (Knoxville, TN) p.10-13 .
Birth: (1,2) 6 Apr 1675, s/o Benjamin BORDEN/Abigail GROVER. (2a) In the 'Borden Genealogy ' by Hattie Borden Weld (1899), Benjamin BORDEN of VA was confused with his 1st cousin of th e same name b. 1692, s/o John BORDEN/Mary EARLE. A careful examination of NJ court records i s the basis for this correction.(2) Middletown, Monmouth, NJ. (2a) Monmouth Co., NJ. (2d) A n Englishman who emigrated to NJ. Marriage to Zeuriah or Zerviah WINTER: (2) Bef. 1700. She was his 1st cousin. Death: (2) Nov 1743, Winchester, Frederick Co., VA. (2a) Near Winchester, VA.
(2a) Resided at Freehold, Monmouth Co., NJ. (2d) Engaged in the mercantile business. (2f) 1700, 8 Jan: Bought 1,000 acres from Anthony WOODWARD in Great Docwra Patent, south o f Arbeytown. (2e) 1710: Moses BUTTERWORTH was accused of piracy & having sailed with Capt. KIDD. Durin g examination at the Court of Sessions of Monmouth, NH, , WILLET said the Governor & Justice s had no authority & he would break up the trial. He signaled to armed men to rescue the pris oner. Benjamin BORDEN and his brother Richard took hold of the prisoner at the bar and trie d to take him by force, and were wounded in the scuffle. The other men in the company rescue d the two BORDENs and tore to bits the examination papers of the prisoner. The prisoner escap ed and 100 men held the Governor and the Justices, the King's Attorney General and the Sherif f and the Clerk of the Court for 5 days. Later this group (BORDEN, Capt. Safety GROVER, Jame s GROVER and William WINTER), all relatives, petitioned the King of England to appoint a suit able person as Governor. (2b) 1715, 28 May: Benjamin BORDEN of Freehold Twp., Monmouth Co., bought 1200 acres of lan d near Montatawny, on the east side of Schoolkil River. Recorded 10 Aug 1731. (2b,g) 1721, 19 Aug: Benjamin BORDEN, yeoman, and his wife Zeruiah sold 500 acres of land , part of his 1200 acres near Montatawny on the east side of the Schoolkil River, Philadelphi a Co., for the same price he paid for the total 1200 acres, 100 pounds, to Thomas RUTTER. (2d) Was Lord Fairfax's agent in America and was therefore known as 'Fairfax Ben'. (2d) Became an intimate friend of William GOOCH, Gov. of VA. (2a) 1734, 21 Jan: Was appointed one of the justices of the newly formed county of Orange , VA. Said to have been a justice of Spotsylvania Co., but the published records of that coun ty make no mention of his name. (2d) 1734: While on a visit to Williamsburg, he made friends with John LEWIS, founder of St aunton, VA. LEWIS was so pleased with BORDEN's business sagacity, enterprise and social qual ities that he invited him to an extended visit at the LEWIS home in Augusta Co.. (2h) 1734, 3 Oct: Was granted what became his home plantation known as 'Borden's Great Spri ng Tract' of 3143 acres, which joined Greenway Court, the home of Lord Fairfax on the SE. BOR DEN's house stood at or near the present residence in what is now Clark Co. (2i) 1736: Benjamin BORDEN, the agent of Lord FAIRFAX, came up from Williamsburg by invitat ion, in the spring of 1736, on a visit to John LEWIS. He took with him, on his return, a buff alo calf, which he presented to Governor GOOCH, and was so successful in ingratiating himsel f with the Governor as to receive the Royal Patent for a large body of land in the valley, so uth of Beverly Manor, consisting of 92,100 acres in what is presently Rockbridge Co., VA.. (2 d) BORDEN captured a buffalo calf, trained it, and sent it as a gift to Governor GOOCH. Thi s and other civilities 'buffaloed' His Excellency who then issued 3143 acres as 'Borden's Gre at Spring Tract.' This area now in the city of Lexington, VA is Washington & Lee University a nd Virginia Military Institute. He also had 1132 acres in what is now Summit Point, WV. (2d) 1736: Went to Europe and broght back or induced to follow him at least 100 families. H e agreed to deed each resident settler 100 acres of land and promised the privilege of buyin g land at the rate of 50 shillings for 100 acres. Each cabin meant 1,000 acres granted to BO RDEN. (2g) 1737, 3 Nov: Benjamin BORDEN petitioned that due to unforseen accidents and difficulti es which had prevented the Board's seating 100,000 acres of land granted to them on the Wes t Side of the Blue Ridge Mountains on the branches of the James River by a former order of th e Board, he requested further time for settling the tract. He was granted a one year extensio n. (2a,i) 1739, 6 Nov: Was granted by George II 'Borden's Great Tract' of 92,100 acres in wha t later became Rockbridge Co., VA. (2d) Granted a patent for 92,100 acres at the head of th e James River at Rockbridge Co., VA, provided he bring in immigrants within the next 10 years . (2i) This tract became known as 'Borden's Manor.' The city of Lexington, VA is located on B ordens Great Tract. (2a) Died about the time of his appointment as one of the original justices of Frederick Co ., VA. (2c) Benjamin BORDEN's will leaves his lands in NJ and in Bullshire, Smith's Creek, North S henandore and James River, except 5,000 acres which is devised to his daughters Abigail WORTH INGTON, Rebecca BRONSON, Deborah BORDEN, Lydia BORDEN and Elizabeth BORDEN. Leaves to wife Ze uriah and daughter Marcy FEAMLEY, the wife of William FEAMLEY. Leaves to sons Benjamin, Joh n and Joseph. (2c) William FEARNLEY refused to be executor of Benjamin's will. The executorship was accep ted by Benjamin and Zeuriah. (2h) 1744, 7 Feb: 750 acres of land was sold by the late Benjamin BORDEN, Gent., deceased , to executor Benjamin BORDEN Jr., his son, and Zuriah BORDEN, Benjamin's widow. (2c) 1746: Zeuriah, on account of bodily infirmities, resigned as executor of Benjamin's es tate. (2c) 1753, Apr: At the death of son Benjamin, John and Joseph conveyed their interest in th eir father's estate to Mr. William RUSSELL.
Much of this has to do with real estate acquisitions. Benjamen/Benjamin, Jr. outdid his father in amassing wealth, eventually owning a big chunk of Virginia. In among the transactions below are some interesting stories
From Paulette Ownby:
Benjamin Borden II, settled at Middletown, Monmouth County, N.J. On Jan. 8, 1700, bought from Anthony Woodward a tract of 1000 acres in the Grest Docwra Patent, south of Arbeytown. Ref: Hist. of Burlington and Mercer Counties, p. 454.
Philadelphia Deed Book F-5, p. 297. May 28, 1715. Andrew Morton, John Morton, and Mathias Morton for himself and his executor of Lawrence Morton, deceased, all the county of Chestertown of Ridley and Martha Morton and Lawrence Morton---(Morton owned 1200 acres of land 'more or less'; left it by will to his four sons, Andrew, John, Mathias and Lawrence; reference to will of Lawrence Morton)---(sold) to Benjamin Borden of the Township of Freehold in the County of Monmouth---land situate lying and being near the place called Montatawny---on east side of the River Schoolkil---1200 acres---for 100 pounds current money. Recorded August 10, 1731.
Book I, p. 552. August 19, 1721. Benjamin Borden of Freehold in the County of Monmouth in the Eastern District of New Jersey yeoman and his wife Zeruiah to Thomas Rutter of the City of Philadelphia---tract of land near Schuilkill River and Mahanatawney Creek in the County of Philadelphia---for 100 pounds---500 acres. Benja Borden (Seal) Zeruiah Borden (Seal).
Benjamin Borden lived in New Jersey until 1732. All of his children were born in N.J., except his youngest child, Joseph. Benjamin was an influential citizen of Monmouth County, and, according to tradition was a large landholder and had other valuable interests in East Jersey.
N.J. Arch., Vol. 2, p. 362. Proceedings of the Court of Sessions of Monmouth County at Middletown, March 25, 1701. 'One Moses Butterworth who was accused of piracy (confessed that he had sailed with Captain Kidd) was bound to make his appearance and be examined according to His Majesty's orders. During the examination Sam Willet said that the Governor and Justices had no authority to hold court and he would break it up, accordingly he signalled a company of men, down stairs, then in arms, who intervened and rescued the prisoner. Benjamin Borden and Richard Borden (his brother) took hold of the prisoner at bar and tried to take him be force, and were wounded in the scuffle. The other men in the company rescued the two Bordens and tore to bits the examination papers of the prisoner. The prisoner made his escape while the hundred armed men seized the Governor and the Justices, the King's Attorney General and the sheriff and clerk of the court and kept them prisoners from Tuesday, March 25, till Saturday following, March 29, then released them'.
Some of the men making up the hundred armed men were: Richard Borden, Benjamin Borden, Capt. Safety Grover, James Grover (his brother) and William Winter, all of whom were related to the Bordens who form an important branch of the Peck ancestral tree.
Same Vol, p. 394. June 20, 1701. Petitiion of the inhabitants of East Jersey asking (the King of England) to be taken under the Government of the King, should the proprietors not appoint a suitable person as Governor. Signed, among others, by: Benjamin Borden, James Borden, James Grover, and William Winter.
Hopewell Friends History, Frederick County, VA, p. 25 states: 'Benjamin Borden 850 acres. This land lies upon the western slope of Apple Pie Ridge in Frederick County, and 750 acres of that tract were sold to Exec. Benjamin Borden, Jr., his son, and Zuriah Borden, his widow, on Feb. 7, 1744. In this deed the grantee is referred to as 'Benjamin Borden, Gent, late of Orange County, Colony of VA., deceased'. Neither Benjamin Borden nor his family ever resided on this tract, which appears to have been one of his many speculations in land. His home plantation known as 'Borden's Great Spring Tract', of 3 143 acres, granted him Oct. 3, 1734, joined Greenway Court, the home of Lord Fairfax, on the SE. Borden's house stood at or near the present residence of Thompson Sower, ESQ, in what is now Clark County. He also had a tract of 1132 acres on Bullskin Marsh near Summit Point, now W. VA., and a large tract on Smiths Creek, near New Market, Shenandoah County, VA. On Oct. 6, 1739, he secured a patent for 92,100 acres on the head water of the James River, which became known as Borden's Manor, and lay mostly within Rockbridge County, VA. He appears to have been on intimate terms with Lord Fairfax, and by persistent tradition is generally believed to have acted in some way as Fairfax's agent'.
Note: The City of Lexington, VA is located on Bordens Great Tract, where two great schools are located, viz:-Washington and Lee University and Virginia Military Institute. The original grant to Benjamin Borden for this great tract may be found in the Washington and Lee Library.
Benjamin Borden died in 1743 near Winchester, VA, about the time of his appointment as one of the original Justices of Frederick County. His wife, Zuriah Winter was his first cousin, being a daughter of William and Hannah (Grover) Winter. Hannah Grover was a sister of Abigail Grover who became the of Benjamin Borden I, and the mother of Benjamin Borden II.
The will of Benjamin Borden, dated April 3, 1742, is recorded in Will Book l, pp. 4 and 5, Office of Frederick County Circuit Court, Winchester, VA, a copy of which is shown herein.
'IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN the third day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and forty two I Benjamin Borden of Orange County in Virginia, yeoman, being in Good Estate of health and of Sound Mind & Memory thanks be to God for it therefore calling unto Mind the Mortality of my Body I do make this my last Will and Testament that is to say Principally & first of all I give and recommend my Sole unto God that gave it and for my body I recommend it to the Earth to be buried in a Christianlike Manner at the Discretion of my Ex'rs. nothing doubting but the General Reserrection I shall receive the same agin by the Mighty Power of God and touching such Worldly Estate it hath plesed God to bless me with in this life I give and Dispose of the same in a Manner & form following IMPRIMIS I will all the funeral charges & my just Debts should be paid and satisfyed ITEM 1 give and bequeath to Zeruiah Borden my wife all the Improvements & what Lands she has or shall have ocation to clear as long as she Remains my Widow & if she should get Married then she shall have but half of the Improvement and what Land she and her husband should have ocation to Clear of this Plantation I now live on in Orange County in Virginia on Spought Run During her Natural Life. ITEM I give & bequeath to my son Benjamin Borden & my son John Borden & my son Joseph borden to them and their heirs & assigns for Ever this Plantation And the Lot on the said Spought Run that my Mill Stands of the One Hundred & fifty acres that I have agreed to Rent to my said three Sons to be Equally divided between my Son Benjamin & my Son John & my Son Joseph Borden in quality to be devided by way of Lots drawing between my Sons Benjamin & John & Joseph Borden Guardians, that is all this Plantation I now Live on Excepting Eight Hundred Acres I give to Edward Rogers and his Wife Hannah Rogers and heirs of her Body for Ever, and Five Hundred Acres I give William Fearnley & my daughter Mercey his Wife to them & their Heirs for Ever. ITEM I give to my Daughter Hannah Rogers but five shillings she having her posion before. My will is all my Lands and Estate that I have in New Jersey should be sold & all of my Land at Bullskin & my Land on Smith Creek & North Sherrando & all my Enterrys every where and all my Lands on the Waters of the James River should be sold excepting five Thousand Acres of Land that is all good I give to five of Daughters that is Abigal Worthington and Rebecca Branson and to Debourah Borden & Liddy Borden & to Elizabeth Borden that is one Thousand Acres of good Land appease to every one of the five Dauighters above mentioned to them & their heirs & assigns for Ever. And all the rest of my Land to be sold aforesaid Excepting this I now live on to be all sold and Equali devided between my Wife & my Son Benjamin & my Son John & my son Joseph & my Daughter Abigal Worthington & Daughter Deburah Borden & my Daughter Elizabeth borth & my DAughter Liddy Borden & my Movables to be devided between my said Wife and sons Benjamin & John & Joseph Borden & my aforesaid Six Daughters Abigal, Rebeckah, Mercey Deburah Liddy & Elizabeth Borden. First before my Moveable Estate be Devided there must be taken out my Grate Brown Riding Horse & my Bay Mare that come of my Grate hip shot Mare and the best Bed with furniture be it good that I have in the House that I give to my Wife first & all the rest to be Equally between my Wife & my aforesaid three sons & my six Daughters as aforesaid devided. I Constitute and Apoint my Wife Executrix & my son Benjamin Borden & my Son-in-law William Fearnley Executors to this my Last Will & Testament & to Execute deeds for the Land I have sold & ordered to be Sold this Will I poublish to be my last Will & Testament & all other Wills made by me void. Signed, Benja. Borden (Seal)'
Sealed and signed In the presence of Thomas (X) Shery Edward Corder Thomas (X) Hankins Thomas Roycer
Proved in Frederick County Court on Friday the 9th day of Xber, 1743.
There was a long litigation over this land between Lydia Borden Peck and her husband and Harvey. Lydia and her husband died before the litigation ended, which was in 1810. The suit was decided for them, and their children received the land and moved to it and became citizens of Botetourt County.
Benjamin and Zuriah Winter Borden left 10 children.
A volume could be devoted to this ancestor of the Borden family. He has not had a 'good press' in Virginia. The explanation for the rather cavalier treatment, in history, of this sturdy pioneer may be that he, like several other early Bordens, especially his Uncle John, had an insatiable desire for land, and left behind him, among others, a very large wilderness tract on which none of his decendants remained permanently; but to which they seem, belatedly, to have made claim. No attempt is made here to treat this subject adequately. A few facts and few conjectures may suffice. The last reference to this Benjamin Borden as of Freehold, N.J. (where the Bordens seem to have flourished at one time) is of April 9, 1726, when he deeded a tract of land 'with a sawmill' to Francis Mills. He probably remained at Freehold (which seems to be on the border line between East and West Jersey) until his removal to Virginia, in 1733 or earlier. He was one of the original Justices of Orange County, Virginia, in 1734, and was appointed a justice of Frederick County, but died before that county was set up. His dealings in New Jersey lands were extensive, and he mentions in his will these lands. But a fairly extenseive search of old New Jersey deeds has yielded no mention of them after the death of Benjamin Borden. His first investment outside his native state was in 1715, he bought 1 200 acres of land in the present city of Philadelphia. On Oct. 3, 1734, he was granted 3 143 acres in Orange County, VA. This tract, called 'Borden's Manor', was in Frederick County from 1743 to 1836, and thereafter in Clarke and Warren counties. On a part of this land Jacob and Lydia (Borden) Peck were living in 1747. On Nov 6, 1737, a patent was issued to Benjamin Borden of 92 100 acres (in many local histories, augmented to 500 000 acres) in the present Rockbridge County. This was known as 'Borden' Great Tract', though often, in modern times, called 'Borden's Manor'. Other tracts acquired by Benjamin Borden are in the present Shenandoah and Botetourt Counties.
BENJAMIN BORDEN AND THE BORDEN GRANT By Borden Austin
Benjamin Borden was born April 6, 1675, in Monmouth County, NJ. His parents were Benjamin Borden Sr. and Abigail Grover. He was the eight child and his older brother Joseph is noted as the founder of Bordentown, NJ. 'Originally Benjamin Borden of Virginia was confused by Hattie Borden Ward, author of The Borden Geneology with his first cousin Benjamin Borden, son of John and Mary (Earle) Borden, born in 1692.'
Benjamin Borden Jr. married his first cousin Zeriuah Winter ( 1690-1751 ) in 1710. She was the daughter of William and Hannah (Grover) Gardiner Winter. Benjamin and Zeriuah Winter Borden had ten children of whom the first four daughters were married before April 3, 1742, the date of their father's will.
Borden came to Virginia in 1733 and is first mentioned January 21, 1734 when he was appointed justice for the newly created county of Orange. On October 9, 1734 Borden acquired a grant from Governor Gooch for a plot of land in Orange County known as 'Borden's Manor.' During this time, with the aid of John Lewis, he acquired the promise of a land grant just below the grant of William Beverly (see maps of Beverly and Borden's grant).
There have been many conjectures concerning how and why Borden acquired a grant which has been said to have been as much as 500,000 acres, but in the end was only 92, 100 acres. Originally there was an age-old story that after meeting John Lewis in Williamsburg, Borden visited the Lewis home. There he hunted, fished, and did all the other things enjoyed by the landed squires of Virginia. During one of his hunting expeditions, Borden caught a buffalo calf and decided to give it to Governor Gooch. The governor was so pleased he granted Borden the land. Another story is that Borden sent the buffalo to King GeorgelI and he was so pleased with it that he ordered Gooch to grant Borden the land.
Finally a third and what seems to be the most cynical yet logical hypothesis was put forward by Oren Marshall in A HISTORY OF ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY. 'He (Borden) visited the capital and ingratiated himself with the govemor. That officially, his son in law, and two other men were interested in getting into their personal control some of the land on the upper James so they arranged their interest to him.'
In acquiring the grant, Borden's legal requirement as proprietor was to (1) put up a penal bond of 1800 pounds ($6,000); and (2) settle within a stated time a minimum number of families on the tract. In return for each cabin on the tract, Borden was to receive a thousand acres of land. The people who settled in the grant would receive a cabin right of 100 acres and the right to buy any extra adjoining acreage for 50 shillings per hundred acres.
After obtaining this promise of a grant, Borden left to survey the area and begin settlement. During his journey he became lost and stumbled upon the camp of Ephrim McDowell at Linville Creek. Ephrim was travelling with his son John and his son-in-law James Greenlee and their families to a plot of corn planted by Ephirim's son James. This plot was located in that valley located opposite of Woods Gap. The McDowells were Scotch-Irish immigrants who had arrived in America in 1729. Ephrim was of advanced age and knnown to have been a defender of Londonderry. Most of the material used in this paper concerning the early history of this tract comes from a deposition taken from Mary Greenlee (Ephrim's daughter and James' wife) for one of the many lawsuits concerning the Borden property.
During his stay with the McDowell's Borden mentioned that he was trying to find the area he was granted, and he would give a thousand acres to any man who would help him find it and survey the land. John McDowell was a surveyor and took up Borden's offer. From Linville the party went to John Lewis' home and after several days a contract was drawn up between Borden and McDowell. In this contract John McDowell agreed to help Borden in surveying the area and settling it. He was given one thousand acres while every other member of the party got six hundred acres. Borden and McDowell left the Lewis home and travelled until they found the area; they circumvented it and returned. The McDowell's settled on Timber Ridge originally known as 'Timber Groove'. They were the first settlers in the area.
After this Borden is said to have returned to England either once or twice, depending on your source, returning with settlers. There is no written evidence of this occurring. Instead it is believed that with the steady influx of immigrants into Philadelphia, all that Borden needed was a little advertisement and an agent to draw prospective settlers.
The land was finally surveyed in the fall of 1738, and recorded December 16, 1738. It was surveyed by James Wood, the surveyor of Orange County and John McDowell [Perhaps the John McDowell whose widow Benjamen III married.]. The pilot was James Wood, a hunter. Borden lived in the grant with 'a Mrs. Hunter whose daughter married a Guin, to whom he (Benjamin Borden) gave the land they lived. Borden received his patent on November 8, 1739. The patent was for 92,100 acres of land, indicating there were 92 cabins in that area.
An interesting story had been told by Mrs. Greenlee in her deposition concerning the counting of cabin rights. It seems that a certain John Patterson was in charge of counting cabins, then reporting the results to Mary's brother John McDowell. A servant girl of James Bell named Peggy Millolhan dressed herself in mens clothing and ran ahead of Patterson staking claims to five or six cabin rights. She tricked Patterson by using a different surname each time. Patterson was surprised by so many Millohan's but the trick was discovered after the return was made.
In 1740 Borden returned to Borden Manor, leaving John McDowell in charge of the settlement, drawing of deeds, and counting of cabin rights. Besides the Borden Grant, Benjamin Borden owned a number of tracts on the lower forks of the James River. He owned several small tracts of four hundred acres each as well as three large tracts, one of 8100 acres, another of 1880 acres, and a plot of 3553 acres.
In assessing Benjamin Borden's personality and education there have been many contradictory statements. He definitely was a shrewd, alert, and tactful businessman. He has often been called a plunger and a man of low birth with little education. As it has been noted in my genealogy the Bordens always had a very keen sense of property but they never stooped so low as to deserve the name plunger. It should also be noted that Benjamin Borden Jr. came from a very distinguished Rhode Island family. When one considers Borden's education it has to be taken into account the period and environment which he lived in was very crude and he was simply the victim of it. Although Benjamin Borden had a limited formal education, his natural ability was great as exemplified by the large amount of land he acquired and settled. William Edmondson relates that 'old Mr. Borden was cunning and polite' and that he had heard older men laugh in the telling of Borden's fertility of resource in meeting all objections.
Benjamin Borden II died 1743, the same year he was appointed Justice of Fredrick County. His will was dated April 3, 1743. 'In his will he left a vast estate of lands (estimated at 120,000 acres) to his widow Zuriah and sons Benjamin, John, and Joseph; and daughters, Hannah, Martha, Abigail, Rebecca, Deborah, Lydia, and Elizabeth. The five younger daughters got 5000 acres of land to share. All the rest of the lands were to be sold and the proceeds were to be divided among the survivors.