Happy Birthday Hope Borden



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Hope Borden (1747-<1810)

Hope Borden was born on 28 Oct 1747 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island, USA as the first child of John Borden and Susanna Pearse. She had ten siblings, namely: Thomas, Richard, Benjamin, Ann, Joshua, Mary, Sarah, Susannah, John, and Ruth.

When she was 20, she married Ezra Brownell, son of George Brownell and Sarah Bailey, on 20 Oct 1768 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island.

Ezra Brownell and Hope Borden had fifteen children:

  1. Ezra Brownell was born on 19 Jan 1769 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island. He married Amanda Davidson. He then married Nancy Dorn. He died on 09 Mar 1813 in Florida, Montgomery, New York. I don’t usually talk much about the kids in these posts, but Ezra’s will contained a most unusual request. In his will he ordered that his youngest son’s name be changed from Alexander to Ezra. Luckily, little Alexander/Ezra was only a year old at the time, so he probably didn’t have too much time adapting to his new name.
Ezra Brownell, will excerpt.
Ezra Brownell, will excerpt.
  • Susan Brownell was born 5 Apr 1771. She married Daniel Hoyt on 26 May 1797. She died on 08 Aug 1847 in Fredonia, Calhoun, Michigan.
  • Richard Brownell was born on 19 Jan 1772 in Killingly, Windham, Connecticut. He married Ruth Smith. He died in 1858 in Pittstown, Rensselaer, New York.
  • William Alansing Brownell was born on 11 Apr 1773 in New York. He married Margaret Hunt. He died in Mar 1813 in Florida, Montgomery, New York.
  • George Brownell was born on 13 Apr 1774 in Killingly, Windham, Connecticut. He married Sarah Ann Husted. He died on 13 May 1864 in Delhi, Delaware, New York.
  • Gardner Brownell was born in 1775. He died in 1832 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Charlotte Brownell was born on 25 Dec 1776 in New York. She married Alvah Nathaniel Mudge in 1797. She died on 27 Dec 1857 in Rome, Oneida, New York.
  • Mary Brownell.
    • Pierce Brownell was born on 16 Mar 1781 in New York. He married Margaret Spike on 28 May 1797 in Schuylerville, Saratoga, New York. He died about 1802 in New York.
  • John Brownell. He married Mary Clark. He died about Mar 1848 in Coxsackie, Greene, New York.
  • Lucy Brownell was born in 1784. She married to Mr. Simpson. She married Gideon Palmer in 1825 in Greene, New York. She died on 05 Dec 1859 in Coxsackie, Greene, New York.
  • Sally Brownell was born in 1786. She married to Mr. Shaver.
  • Phoebe Brownell was born on 19 Nov 1788 in New York. She married Abner Lawton on 15 Nov 1806 in Dutchess, New York. She also married Zebedee Macomber. She died on 30 Dec 1868 in Skaneateles, Onondaga, New York.
  • Absolm Brownell was born about 1790. He died about 1790 (Died in infancy).
  • Martha Brownell was born in 1792 in Greene, New York. She married Jonathan Palmer on 01 Feb 1843 in Leeds, Greene, New York. She died on 21 Dec 1869 in Coxsackie, Greene, New York.
  • While they married and started their family in Rhode Island, Hope and Ezra moved west. From Rhode Island, they moved to Killingly, Windham, Connecticut. They were there by 1772 when their son Richard was born and there still in 1774 when George was born. But, by the end of 1776, when Charlotte was born, they were living in New York. Hope’s parents also made the move to New York. We know that her dad, John Borden, died on 11 Jun 1801 in Washington Hollow, Dutchess, New York because he left his last will and testament there. Hope was named in his will and given five pounds in addition to that already received.

    Maybe it was the Revolutionary War that helped encourage the extended family to move west? No evidence has been found that Ezra Brownell served, and their kids were too young to fight. Hope and Ezra kept adding kids to their family right through the war. Perhaps a move to New York got them farther from the battles?

    Hope Borden Brownell dropped off the face of the earth at some point between when her dad wrote his will in 1801 and about 1810. It can be very frustrating sometimes because records were not always kept and, even if they were, sometimes they’ve been lost over the years. In New York, statewide civil registration began in New York in 1880-1881, but some locations didn’t comply with that until 1913 or later. For early records, the church was often the place that kept track of births, marriages, and burials, but as people moved to new areas, they didn’t always have a church available to attend. So, lots of people were born, married and died without any record ever being kept. And, even when records were kept, that doesn’t mean they are readily available to a researcher. If I had a transporter (yes, living with Star Trek fans has rubbed off on me), I would be able to hop over to New York and visit county after county to search through their dusty books to try to find when Hope died. But, alas, I don’t have that option.

    So, Hope’s story is sparse. We know that she grew up in Rhode Island, married and had fifteen children, and lived through the American Revolution. We know that later in life, she and her family moved westward. Someday, with more time to research and study, I may be able to learn more, but for now, I don’t know exactly how she lived or died and can just say Happy Birthday Hope!

    P.S. Hope had an Infamous Relative

    Since we are so close to Halloween, I’ll mention again, like I did when we wished Hope’s dad a Happy Birthday back in May, that Hope was indeed related to Lizzie Borden. You know, the Lizzie Borden of the famed rhyme, “Lizzie Borden took an axe…” Hope and Lizzie were second cousins, four times removed. That means, they shared a common ancestor way back in the tree. Hope’s great-grandpa was also Lizzie’s 5th great-grandpa. Whew! Not a close relative. They didn’t live at the same point in time either. Lizzie wasn’t born until 1860, at least 50 years after Hope’s death.

    Lizzie Borden took an axe

    And gave her mother forty whacks.

    When she saw what she had done,

    She gave her father forty-one.

    Where is she in the tree?

    Relationship chart, Lona Iona Fawcett to Hope Borden.
    Pedigree chart, Hope Borden.


    Brownell, George Grant, Genealogical record of the descendants of Thomas Brownell, 1619 to 1910 [ancestry] (Jamestown, N.Y.: unknown, 1910), ancestry.com, pp. 71, 124.

    Ancestry.com, U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970 (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.Original data – Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970. Louisville, Kentucky: National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. Microfilm, 508 rolls).

    Ancestry.com, 1810 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004), www.ancestry.com, she was not included in the Ezra Brownell entry in Schodack, Rensselaer County, New York.

    Ancestry.com, Rhode Island, Vital Extracts, 1636-1899 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014).

    Weld, Hattie Borden, Historical and genealogical record of the descendants as far as known of Richard and Joan Borden who settled in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, May 1638 (Los Angeles, Calif.: unknown, 1899?), ancestry.com, pp. 126-7.

    Wilbour, Benjamin Franklin, Little Compton Families. Vol. I. (ancestry) (Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2003), ancestry.com, p. 94.

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