Even her name hints at controversy, for it was an unusual choice in a highly religious era. The only person in the Bible who is
more reviled is Judas Iscariot. The Biblical Herodias had instigated the execution of John the Baptist, the man who baptized
Jesus Christ. Her reason? John the Baptist had scolded her for marrying her own uncle, then divorcing him to wed the man’s
brother. We can only guess why Herodias' parents chose that name.
And all those husbands – John Hicks, George Gardner, and John Porter. No proper woman in those days would wed three
times, unless her first two husbands died prematurely. Rhode Island’s officials called Herodias scandalous for separating from
two men when they proved unsuitable. Today, nobody would notice. Herodias was a modern woman, steering her own
destiny in a world where most women were little more than their husbands’ property.
It is widely believed that Herodias was the daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Long of Charlestown, Massachusetts. However,
a petition for divorce that Herodias filed in 1665 refutes this. In it, Herod testifies that her father died shortly before she was
sent to London, where she married John Hicks in 1637. She also says that her mother and brother had died "in His
Majestyes service" some time before John Hicks abandoned Herod in 1644. Horod's own words tell us that her parents died
in England. Furthermore, there is an excellent account of Robert Long's family in "The Great Migration" series by Robert C.
Anderson, and Herodias is not found among Robert's children.
Thanks to Herodias' divorce petition, we know something of her early life. However, she did not say where she was born or
spent her earliest years. A hint may be found in the will of John Ayshford, dated Jan. 26, 1639, and filed in Somersetshire.
Sadly, the document did not indicate where John lived. However, just a few miles from the Somerset/Devonshire county line
lie the tiny towns of Ayshford and Burlescombe, Devonshire, where an extended family of Ayshfords dwelled.
John Ayshford left five pounds to “Odias Longe.” That was a generous gift in those days, enough to buy a fine cow or a
scrap of land. It is not certain that “Odias” was our Herodias Long, but there is no reason to doubt that this is our woman,
If John and Herodias truly came from Devonshire, their ancestry is probably lost. Devon’s birth, marriage, and death records
were stored at the county seat of Exeter, which was bombed and burned during World War II. Only a summary of John
Ayshford’s will remains, for the document was destroyed, along with Devon’s vital records.
John’s will also mentioned his land in “Little Ockenbury,” which is not found in British atlases. However, near Exeter lies
Okenbury town, with another 17th century enclave of Ayshfords who had moved there from Burlescombe and Ayshford.
The only other trace of John I found was in the Barbados land records. He was included in a 1638 list of landowners in St.
Thomas Parish, where he owned more than ten acres. Poor John didn’t leave much when he died. He had no wife or
children, just scraps of land, a sword and belt, and a bequest for a friend:
“John Ayshford. Will dated Jan. 26, 1639, proved Feb. 23, 1639 by his brother, Anthony Ayshford. To my brother
Robert Ayshford, my belte & Rapier. To Odias Longe, L5. To my brother Anthony Ayshford, all my right & interest
in Little Ockenbury, and all my plantations in Barbadoes, he to be executor.”
extracts of Somersetshire Wills
In 1665 Herodias began the account of her life with a tragedy: “I was upon the death of my father sent to London by my
mother in much sorrow and grife of speritt.” Bubonic plague hit England hard in 1636, one year before Herodias married
John Hicks in London. With Herodias’ father dead, the Long family may have been hard-pressed to support itself. It was
common practice for adolescents to work for family members, and Horod’s mother may have sent her daughter to London to
reduce her family’s numbers.
In London, Herodias met John Hicks. His English origins are no more known than Herod’s. A history of Flushing, New
York said that John graduated from Oxford, but I did not find him in graduate lists. In his marriage allegation, John described
himself as a Salter of the parish of St. Olaves in Southwark (across the Thames River from London). John A. Brayton's
article says that the index of the Worshipful Company of Salterers, London include a John Hicks who was made free as a
Salterer on June 13, 1636 in London. The complete records burned in 1666, and there is no record of his parents, parish of
birth, or apprenticeship.
In 1665 Horod stated: “ther [at London] taken by one John Hickes unknowne to any of my friends and by the said hicks
privitly married in the under Church of paules Called saint faiths Church.”
St. Faith’s was once a separate church, but it was swallowed up by the expansion of St. Paul’s Cathedral. It was given its
own chapel within the vast cathedral, and kept its own records.
Mar. 14, 1637
Wch daie, appeared p[er]sonally John Hicke of ye parish of St. Olaves in Southwark Salter and a batchelour aged
about 23 yeares and alledged that he intendeth to marrie with Harwood Long spinster aged about 21 yeares ye
daughter of William Long Husbandman who giveth his Consent to this intended marriage And of ye truth of the
pr[e]mises as also that he knows of no Lawfull let or impediment by reason of anie pr[ior] contract Consanguinity
affinitie or otherwise to hinder this intended marriage he made faith and desires license to be married in ye parish
Church of St ffaith London [signed] John Hickes
London Marriage Allegations, Vol. 19: pg 92
However, a different name appears in the following extract of London marriage licenses:
Mar. 14, 1637 "Herodias Long married to John Hicks by license at St. Faith's-Under-Paul's, London."
London Marriage Licenses, pg. 153, British Records Society
These transcripts present discrepancies in what we know of Herodias Long's life. In her 1665 testimony, she said that she
between was 13 and 14 when she married John Hicks without the knowledge of her family or friends at the church of St.
Faith-Under-Paul’s, London, and she said that her father was already dead when she married. Either she or John Hicks (or
both) slanted sworn testimonies to their own ends, thus proving that sometimes even contemporary records can not always be
The new bride was named as Harwood Long by John Hicks in his marriage allegation, and Rhode Island court records used
that spelling while John Hicks remained in Newport. When Hicks received a divorce in the Dutch colony of New Netherland
[now New York], he called his wife “Hardwood Longh.” Possibly Herodias told John the shortened version of her name that
he provided in his marriage allegation, and she supplied the full version entered on her marriage license. The actual license
was destroyed during World War II, and we cannot ask Herodias herself. Unless a baptismal record for Herodias is found,
we may never know what her birth name actually was. Click here for more information about John Hicks.
The newlyweds did not stay in England for long. Horod testified that: “In a Little while after [my marriage] to my great
grife, brought to new England, when I was betweene 13 and 14 years of age, and Lived two yeares and halfe at
waymoth, 12 milles from boston.”
John Hicks was granted land in Weymouth, Massachusetts. He probably owned several small parcels, for men were usually
given a plot for house and garden, a piece of forest for firewood, swampland for thatch or hay, and meadow for grazing.
John’s land grant was never entered into Weymouth’s town records, but when James Nash was granted land circa 1638, he
received: “Six acres in the same place [the mill field] 3 acres of it first given to Thomas Clap 3 acres of it to John
Hickes.” Weymouth town records
While John and Herodias Hicks dwelt in Massachusetts, the Puritan colony experienced a leadership crisis, and many
prominent citizens fled to Rhode Island or New Hampshire. The Hickses were not overt followers of Anne Hutchinson, who
led the opposition to the Puritan government. However, they were probably suspect, since neither was admitted to
Weymouth's Puritan church, and John was not allowed to vote. They did not abandon Weymouth when Anne was banished,
but followed her to Rhode Island a year later. The Hicks may have departed for better farmland, but perhaps they preferred
a non-Puritan setting.
Anne Hutchinson, “a woman of ready wit and bold spirit,” was born in 1591, child of an Anglican minister who thoroughly
educated his intelligent daughter. Raised on tales of martyrdom, with her own father cast in a starring role, Anne must have
felt destiny’s touch when she was cast out by Massachusetts’ Puritans. Click here for more info about Anne.
1638-40 Hannah Hicks, Herodias and John's first daughter, was probably born in Weymouth during this time period,
but her birth was not recorded.
Feb. 23, 1639 John Ayshford’s will was proved on this date, leaving five pounds to “Odias Longe.” That sum would have
enabled the Hicks family to relocate to Newport. Horod probably didn’t get this bequest for another year, and referred to the
money as “that Estate which was sent mee by my mother.”
mid-1639 John Hicks’ name is on a list of Newport, Rhode Island inhabitants admitted after 3/1/1639. His position on
the list hints that he was admitted during the summer of 1639. John’s land grant was never entered into Newport records, but
was referenced in a 1640 grant to Robert Stanton, John’s neighbor.
Locations of Newport’s earliest four-acre lots were not entered into the town records. Prominent residents’ home sites are
known today, but not the poorer sorts, like John Hicks or another of his neighbors, George Gardner. However, Hicks,
Stanton, and Gardner owned pieces of land south of Newport’s harbor.
On Apr. 9, 1639 George Gardner witnessed the signing of a deed when William Coddington, a prominent merchant from
Lincolnshire, sold his Massachusetts lands to William Tyng. A month later, Gardner witnessed Richard Collacot’s note to
William Coddington on May 1, 1639. G. Andrews Moriarty suggested that George was a young man in the employ of
Coddington at this time.
G. Andrews Moriarty. “Herodias (Long) Hicks-Gardiner-Porter.” Rhode Island History XI (July 1952): pp 84-92
May 20, 1638 On this date George Gardner was admitted as an inhabitant of Portsmouth. In October 1639 “land which
was George Gardiner’s” in Portsmouth was granted to another man, since George had departed. On 12/17/1639 Gardner
was made a freeman at Newport. Click here for more information about George Gardner
George Gardner’s English origin is not known. An impressive English lineage has been cited for George, but it does not hold
water. George, the son of Reverend Michael Gardner of Greenford Magna, Middlesex, England, has been claimed to be
identical with Newport’s George Gardner. However, there is no proven connection between Michael’s son and our George
except for a shared name.
A George Gardner did marry Sarah Slaughter at St. James Clerkenwell, London in 1630. It is said that the couple had three
sons, including Benoni, and sailed from Bristol, England to Boston on the “Fellowship” in 1637. Lastly, it is claimed that
Sarah and two of their children died in passage, and that poor Benoni was the only surviving child. Asa Bird Gardiner said
that he found the family on the passenger list of the "Fellowship," but that record cannot be relocated. The births of the three
sons have not been found in London. Until proof can be found, George Gardner's ancestry is best described as unknown.
Herodias Hicks probably met the famed Quaker martyr, Mary Dyer, in Boston. Mary and her husband, William Dyer, were
among the group that followed Anne Hutchinson to Portsmouth, Rhode Island. In 1639 the Dyers relocated to Newport,
where she and Horod certainly became reacquainted.
Mary was probably a few years younger than her husband, and perhaps ten years older than Herodias. Her passionate
writings prove that she was well educated in a time when few women, including Herodias, could even sign their names.
William Dyer, born about 1609, must also have been educated, for he was repeatedly made the colony’s secretary, and was
also the general attorney and general solicitor. He had beautiful handwriting, and his style often stirs the reader’s soul.
William and his contemporaries spelled his surname “Dyre,” and many genealogists now accept that as the correct spelling.
Mary signed her name as “Dyar.” I use Dyer here as a more familiar spelling.
While in Boston, Mary was one of Anne Hutchinson’s most devoted friends. In his journal, Governor Winthrop described
her as: “The wife of one William Dyer, a milliner in the New Exchange, a very proper and fair woman, and both of
them notoriously infected with Mrs. Hutchinson’s errors, and very censorious and troublesome, (she being of a very
proud spirit, and much addicted to revelations)."
When Anne was excommunicated from Boston’s Puritan church, she walked proudly from the meetinghouse. Only Mary
dared to accompany her friend on that lonely journey. The women walked arm-in-arm to the door, where Anne paused to
declare, “Better to be cast out of the church than to deny Christ.”
William Dyer signed a petition against the Puritans, for which he was stripped of his right to vote and ordered to surrender his
guns. Not long afterward, the Dyers removed to Rhode Island. Later it was revealed that Mary had suffered a miscarriage
while in Boston. There were stern sermons about this visible sign of God’s wrath, and Winthrop’s description of the
malformed child was worthy of today’s tabloid coverage. Click here for more info about Mary Dyer's "Monster"
1640 Elizabeth Hicks was born to John and Herodias near this date. Her existence is revealed only by John Hicks’
will, dated April 29, 1672. Hicks, then of Flushing, New York, named Josias Starr as his son-in-law (though at the time, the
term could also have referred to the fact that Josias was John Hicks' step-son). In 1662 John Hicks married his third wife,
Rachel Starr, mother of Josias. If Josias' Starr's wife Elizabeth was actually John Hicks' daughter, she was married to her
Sep. 14, 1640 John Hicks was made a freeman in Newport. To vote, a man had to be a church member, own land, and be
approved by the government. John had waited a long time to vote, since he was never made free in Weymouth. Women had
to wait for that privilege another three hundred years.
Titles were given to people according to their status: Mr. and Mistress/Mrs. were reserved for the affluent. Goodman was the
title of a freeman, and Goodwife, shortened to Goody, was a Goodman’s wife. The poorer sort would be called by their first
or last name. “Goodman Hicks” must have sounded sweet to John when he finally received that title.
1641-42 William Hutchinson died soon after June 1641. Ministers from Boston visited Anne, hoping that in her
bereaved state she would be easily converted. They implied that Massachusetts would soon annex Rhode Island, so Anne
left the English colonies rather than endure Puritan rule again.
In 1642 Anne and her family moved to New Netherland [now New York], then ruled by the Dutch. They settled outside of
the fortified Manhattan, on the shores of Long Island Sound. Anne was warned that the local Siwanoy Indians were feuding
with the Dutch, but she thought that they would not bother her, since she was English. The Indians attacked outlying areas,
killing settlers and livestock. In August 1643 they came to Anne’s farm and asked the family to tie their dogs. When this was
done, a larger force emerged from the woods and killed Anne, her family, and farm hands. They piled sixteen bodies in the
house, drove the cattle inside, then burned the buildings.
Only Anne’s nine year-old daughter Susanna survived the attack, and was taken captive. She lived with the Siwanoy and
forgot her native tongue. She was redeemed after peace was made between the Dutch and Siwanoy, and went to Boston to
live with her brother Edward.
The Puritans gloated over Anne’s death. One minister said, “Let her damned heresies, and the just vengeance of God, by
which she perished, terrify all her seduced followers from having any more to do with her.” Another wrote, “The
Lord heard our groans to heaven, and freed us from this great and sore affliction.” John Winthrop described Anne as
a remorseless “American Jezebel.” When he died six years after Anne’s death, it was said that he regretted his persecution of
her. When asked to sign a banishment order on his deathbed, he said that “he had done too much of that work already.”
In 1987 Governor Michael Dukakis formally pardoned Anne.
Dec. 3, 1643 On this date Harwood Hicks complained to Rhode Island’s governor that her husband was beating her. It is
likely that she intended to have her petition heard by the General Court sitting in Newport at that time, but the case was
apparently not aired until the next spring.
Herodias’ accusation was entered into the colonial records in 1655, when George Gardner was charged with keeping John
Hicks’ wife as his own. George was acquitted, since Herodias had been legally separated from John sometime after March
1644. The following document was transcribed by Josephine C. Frost for her article, "John and Harwood Hicks," which was
printed in 1939 in the New York Genealogical & Biographical Record, Volume 70, pg. 116. The article was missing a few
words and phrases, but with the help of a 100-year old dictionary, I was able to supply them: (My additions are in bold print)
"This witnesseth tht in the yeare 1643, decemb. the 3d/ Harrwood Hicks, wife to John Hicks, made her Complaint to
us of Many greevances, & Exstreeme violence, that her Husband used towards her, uppon which she desired ye peace
of him uppon ye Examination whereof we found such due grounds of her Complaints by his Inhumane & barbarous
Carriages such Crewell blows on Divers parts of her body, with many other like Cruelties, that we fearing the
ordenarie & desperate afects of such barbarous Cruelties, murthering, poysioning, drowning, hanging, wounds &
Losse of Limbes, Could not but bind him to ye peace, Moreover we found him soe bitterly to be Inraged, & soe
desparate in his Expreshions, uppon which the poore woman fraught with feares, Chose Rather to subject herselfe to
any Miserie than to Live with him; He also as desirous thereof as She, Solicited us to part them, with much
Impretunyty we therefore diligently observing & waighing, ye prmeses Conceived & Concluded, that it were better,
yea farr better for them to be separated, or devorced than to Live in such bondage being in such parfect hatred of
one another, & to avoayde & prevent the said desperate hazards premised, yet observing & knowing how Odious this
act was amongst men, Refused to order theire separation, but tould them theire act should be theires wherein if they
agreede we would be witnesses thereof uppon which they Came to an accord, & declared it to us which Accordingly
we doe testifie the same, being perswade that god had separated them soe Inmeewtablie, that they were free from
that marriage bond before god, Now we being Majestrates in this place, & in Commission for ye peace, & by order
we are to walke accordinge to ye Lawes of England, under grace of our Soveraigne, had no direct Rule to walke by to
devorce them did therefore under grace by our Authoritie declare them duly separate in wittness where of we therfor
sett to our hands
this is a True Coppie Pr me William Coddington
Wm. Lytherland John Coggeshall
Record[er] Nicho. Easton”
Rhode Island colonial records
Mar. 7, 1644 On this date John Hicks stood before the Rhode Island General Court to answer his wife’s December abuse
complaint. He was commanded to pay a ten-pound bond to keep the peace until Harwood appeared at court in June to
present her evidence: “Memo John Hicks of Nuport was bound to ye pease by ye Govr & Mr Easton in a bond of £10
for beating his wife Harwood Hicks and prsented [at this] court was ordered to continue in his bond till ye next
C[ourt] upon which his wife to come & give evidence concerning ye case”
Rhode Island colonial records
Herodias never testified in June; presumably John had abandoned both her and Newport before then. In 1665 she described
her stormy marriage to John: “not Long after my Coming to Rhod Iland ther happened a differance betwene the said
John Hickes and my selfe; soe that the authority that then was under grace saw Cause to part us, and ordered I
should have that Estate which was sent mee by my mother delivered to mee by the said John Hickes; but I never had
it, but the said John Hickes went away to the ducth [Dutch], and Carried away with him most of my Estate, by which
meanes I was put to great hardshipe and straight.”
John’s abuse of Herodias is a matter of Rhode Island public record, and he and Herodias were finally separated because of
it. That separation was the first in Rhode Island’s history. Coddington was reluctant to part them, since the colony had no
laws regulating divorce, and separation was thought odious. In the end, he decided that Herodias was truly in physical peril,
and that God Himself had separated the couple. John and Herodias agreed to separate, and were so permitted by the
governor. Click here for more info about Governor Coddington
1644-46 After John Hicks had gone to New Amsterdam, George Gardner and Herodias appeared before their
friends, including Robert Stanton: “who declared one night at his house both of them did say before him and his wife
that they did take one the other as man and wife.”
Such informal marriages may have been fairly common in 17th century Rhode Island. People were coming to the colonies by
the shipload, and did it really matter whether a newly arrived couple had actually spoken vows before a preacher? As the
years passed, common-law marriages were less tolerated, and new laws demanded that such couples wed and have their
children baptized, or face punishment. In 1665 Herodias portrayed her relationship with George:
"I being one not brought up to Labour and Young, knew not what to doe to have something to live Having noe
friend; in which straight I was drawne by Georg Gardener to Consent to hime soe fare as I did for mayntenance; yett
with much oppression of spiritt, Judging hime not to be my husband never being married to him according to the Law
of the place.”
Oct. 19, 1644 William Dyer sold George Gardner a 10-acre "neck" of Newport land he bought from Thomas Applegate.
Dec. 12, 1644 Part of a letter sent by John Hicks to John Coggeshall, then Governor Coddington’s assistant, was entered
into Rhode Island’s records in early summer 1647. Hicks’ letter, sent from Flushing, New Netherland [now New York], was
dated December 12th but the year was not given. It is often said by historians that the letter was written in 1645, since John
Hicks was named on Flushing’s patent in summer of that year, but it is likely that he was already there in December 1644.
Perhaps Hicks’ letter was entered into the records in 1647 because Rhode Island’s new governor, John Coggeshall, was then
updating the colony’s laws. Common-law marriages became punishable by fine, and children of such a relationship were
declared illegitimate unless their parents obtained a legal marriage. Death was now Rhode Island’s punishment for adultery.
John Hicks’ letter was evidence that he had been legally separated from Herodias, so she and George were not in danger of
the death penalty. Still, the couple failed to legally wed when given a second chance.
John’s bitter words about Herodias and their failed marriage:
"Flushin Decemb 12
“Now for parting what way there is seeing she have carried ye matter so subtilly as she have I know not, but if there
be any way to bee used to untie that Knott, which was at the first by man tyed, that so the world may be satisfied I
am willing there unto, for the Knot of affection on her part have been untied long since, and her whoredome have
freed my conscience on the other part. so I Leave my self to your advise beeing free to condissend to your advice if
there may be such a way used for the finall parting of us.”
Rhode Island colonial records
1643-4 Benoni Gardner, son of George and Herodias, was born. No information on the Gardner children’s
birthdates survived the destruction of Newport’s records. In 1727 Benoni Gardner estimated his age as “ninety years and
upward,” making his birth year about 1637, but it was likely an exaggeration. His brother Henry was probably more accurate
with an estimated birth year of 1645.
The Biblical Benoni was the son of Jacob and Rachel. Rachel died giving birth to Benoni, and New Englanders sometimes
named their sons Benoni when their mothers died in childbed. However, Herod had definitely survived Benoni’s birth.
Herodias probably noted the highly troubled circumstances surrounding Benoni’s arrival by giving him the Hebrew name
meaning “child of my sorrow.”
Oct. 19, 1645 John Hicks was named on the Dutch patent for Flushing, New Netherland [now New York]. Long Island
town histories say that Hicks was a religious refugee to Holland, then to New England, and that he was an Oxford graduate,
but I could not find him on graduate rolls. Even so, John led a far more respectable life in Flushing than in Newport. In 1647
he was an adjuster of Indian claims, and on Nov. 26, 1653 John was the delegate from Newtown to a meeting in New
Amsterdam with the governor. By 1656 he was of Hempstead, where he was a magistrate, delegate and justice of the peace.
1645-6 In 1738 Henry Gardner, son of Herodias and George, estimated his age at about 93, giving him a birth year
near 1645. He may have been named after Sir Henry Vane. That charismatic young man had just been replaced as
Massachusetts’ governor by the Puritan John Winthrop when Herodias and John Hicks came to Boston. Vane returned to
England a couple of months after their arrival. As a member of Parliament, Vane supported Rhode Island’s anti-Puritan
rebels, and helped that colony obtain legal status in 1644. Mary Dyer had a son born in 1647, and also named him Henry.
Jun-Jul. 1647 John Hicks’ excerpted letter to Coggeshall regarding his abandonment of Herodias was entered into Rhode
Jun. 24, 1648 On this date, George Gardner sold his home lot to Robert Stanton, and bought four acres of night common
[land where animals were kept at night] from Stanton.
1647-8 George Gardner’s third son was named after him. George Jr.’s birth year is unknown, but is estimated
around 1647-8. His wife Tabitha Tefft estimated her age at sixty-nine in 1722 [born in 1653].
Dec. 1, 1649 George Gardner sat on a petit jury.
1651-2 Herodias and George’s fourth son, William was born.
1654 Herodias and George’s 5th son, Nicholas was born. In 1711 he estimated his age at 57 years.
1655 At some time between October 1654 and May 1655 a list of Rhode Island’s freemen was entered in the
colonial records. That list contains a few oddities. George Gardner definitely lived in Newport at the time, but he was not on
the list. John Coggeshall Sr.'s name was on it, but he had died in 1647.
Jun. 1, 1655 In New Amsterdam John Hicks obtained a divorce from Herodias. Soon afterward he married Florence
“We the councilors of New Netherland having seen and read the request of John Hicks sheriff on Long Island, in
which he remonstrates and presents that his wife Hardwood Longh has ran away from him about nine years ago with
someone else with whom she has been married and had by him five or six children. His wife having therefore broken
the bond of marriage (without him having given any reason thereto) he asks to be qualified and given permission to
marry again an honorable young girl or a widow (in accordance with political and ecclesiastical
ordinances).” New York colonial records
Oct. 12, 1655 On the last Tuesday of June 1655 George Gardner was accused of adultery at the Quarterly Court of Trials
held at Portsmouth. The case was heard three months later in Newport. The court ruled in favor of George Gardner, since
Herodias had been officially separated from John Hicks. The account of Herodias' separation in 1644 was entered into the
colony’s records as evidence. Thomas Painter had to pay damages of six pence to George, and should also have paid the
court’s costs. In a goodwill gesture, George volunteered to pay those costs. Click here for more info about Thomas Painter
"George Gardner presented as followeth:
“I present George Gardner for keeping John Hicks his wife as his owne Contrarie to Law
"Portsmouth this 26 of June 1655
"Thomas Painter T his marke
“This presentment being found by the Grand Inquest, it is traversed. The Petitt juires verdict thereon as followeth
“The pla[intiff] not having made good his charge, we therefore find for the Deff’t: Damage 6d & costs of the Court,
further it being proclaimed by an Opus Eust that if any could further accuse or had further to say they might be
heard, but none apeering he was quitt by proclamation in the court. The Deff’t not withstanding of his own free will
paid the costs of Court.” Rhode Island colonial records
1656 Dorcas Gardner’s actual birth year is unknown, but it is estimated at about this time.
Jan. 20, 1657 John Porter formed a partnership with four other men, and the Pettaquamscut Purchasers started buying land
on the west side of Narragansett Bay from the Indians. On this date, they made their first purchase, buying the entire
Pettaquamscut Hill for seventeen pounds. Within ten years, Herodias and her Gardner children began settling on this land.
John Porter was already a wealthy man, but he and his partners became even more affluent by selling their land to settlers.
The Pettaquamscut Purchasers admitted two more investors, including Benedict Arnold, governor of Rhode Island, and
ultimately owned some fifty square miles of prime land. Click here for more information about John Porter
Spring, 1651 Mary Dyer returned to England, virtually abandoning her husband and children. No doubt Herodias Gardner
missed her friend intensely.
On Feb. 19, 1652 William Coddington wrote that William Dyer had sent his wife to England on the “first ship” with “Mr.
Travice.” From this description, it is hard to say exactly when Mary departed. Perhaps Coddington referred to the first ship
that left from Massachusetts Bay in the previous spring, since few captains or passengers risked stormy winter crossings.
Nicholas Trerise was that ship’s master. Mary may have meant to visit her family, and return quickly. Instead, she began
studying the teachings of George Fox and his Society of Friends. She became an ardent Quaker, as they were derisively
called by Puritans, and did not return to Newport until 1657.
This was a stormy period in Rhode Island’s history. Coddington was increasingly disliked and many men, including William
Dyer, were practically accusing him of treason. He went back to England in January 1649. In summer 1651 he returned with
a new wife, and a commission from Parliament making him Rhode Island’s governor for life.
Feb. 18, 1653 In fall 1652 Roger Williams, William Dyer and John Clarke sailed to England with petitions begging
Parliament to overturn Coddington’s charter. On this date they returned with orders revoking the ambitious governor’s rule.
Bonfires were lit in the streets to celebrate as more gathered to hear Dyer read those orders. Mary, now deeply involved with
the Society of Friends in England, did not return with her husband.
Spring 1657 Mary Dyer, now a Quaker minister, arrived in Boston with Anne Burden, a Friend who was coming to New
England to settle her dead husband’s estate. The pair was arrested and jailed simply for stepping on the dock, since Quakers
were outlawed in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Mary’s Quaker literature was burned, and she was jailed for ten weeks.
With visitors forbidden and the windows boarded over so she couldn’t speak with curious citizens, Mary had to slip a letter
for her husband through a crack in the boards.
William Dyer met with Governor John Endecott, who agreed to release Mary under a heavy bond, and upon William’s word
that she would go straight to Newport and not speak with any Bay colonist. However, Mary did not stay in Newport; a few
months later, she was banished from New Haven, Connecticut for protesting harsh Puritan punishments there.
In 1638 John Winthrop, then governor of Massachusetts, described Anne Hutchinson as “very censorious and troublesome,
she being of a very proud spirit, and much addicted to revelations.” Anne was banished for saying that she’d received those
revelations straight from God, and Mary had followed her friend into exile. Now Mary had adopted another mystical religion
and was determined to bring Quaker teachings and tolerance to Massachusetts, even if the Puritans sent her to the gallows.
1657-58 Rebecca, Herodias and George Gardner's final child was born, about the same time that Herodias’ first
daughter, Hannah Hicks, turned twenty.
Hannah Hicks probably married William Haviland in Flushing, New York. A William Haviland was churchwarden in
Newport in 1646, but is not found again before 1653. In that year, Hannah Haviland's husband William was a freeman in
Newport, and was still there in 1656. The Haviland family lived in Narragansett by 1663, but removed to Flushing, NY in
1667. Whether William stayed in Newport between 1646 and ’53, or was in Flushing for a while and met Hannah Hicks
there, cannot be proven.
May 11, 1658 No doubt Herodias was delighted to see Mary Dyer after her friend’s long absence. While it is not certain
that she embraced Mary’s controversial religious beliefs (her name is not found in Quaker records), Herodias believed that the
whippings and long jail sentences given to Quakers was wrong. In May 1658 Horod’s anti-Puritan sentiments inspired her to
a grand act of defiance. Taking Robert Stanton’s twelve-year old daughter Mary for help, Herodias carried her infant,
Rebecca, sixty miles to Weymouth, Massachusetts. There she protested against the Puritans who had cast her friends Mary
Dyer and Anne Hutchinson out of Boston, and against their harsh anti-Quaker laws:
“Horred Gardiner, a mother of many children, and an inhabitant in Newport upon Road-Island, being moved by the
measure of God to go on his message unto Weymouth, took with her the youngest babe that fed upon her breast, such
a journey that no flesh that had looked upon it with the fleshly eye, could have expected (considering her condition)
she could have accomplished, but her faith was made strong through weakness, and according to the will of God
finished her testimony at Weymouth in Boston Colony, where the witness in the people answered unto her words; but
the baser sort hurried her away the day following, before John Endicott, Governor of Boston, who after abusing her
with unsavory language, and much threatening, committed her and the girl that assisted her to bear her child (Mary
Stanton by name, with reviling language) unto the Gaoler where they received 10 stripes apiece with the threefold
cord of their covenant; Such a barbarous article of their faith is this, as I have not heard the like, as to whip a woman
who bare two babes, sucking the breast at the time, one visible, and the other invisible, who after that execution of
this their cruelty, kneeled down saying, “The Lord forgive you for you know not what you do.” A woman standing
by, said, Surely if she had not the spirit of the Lord she could not do this thing; Thus they continued them in prison
about fourteen days, not suffering any of their friends to come at them; this and such as this, puts a clear difference
and demonstration between their faith and ours.”
Humphrey Norton. “New England’s Ensign.” Feb. 1659
Though Quaker writings described Herodias’ judgment by Governor Endecott, her case did not appear in Massachusetts’
colonial records. Perhaps Endecott sentenced her informally and her case was not recorded.
It seems clear that Herodias’ single flogging was enough for her. While other Quakers repeatedly returned to Boston’s court
to protest their harsh laws, Herodias was never mentioned again in accounts of Quaker sufferings. Neither her name nor her
children's names appear in Rhode Island Quaker records. It seems that Herodias' interest lay in protesting the cruel treatment
of Friends, not in joining their new faith. Click here for another account of Herodias' ordeal
Jun. 1659 Near the end of June, 1659 Mary Dyer went to Boston to visit jailed Quakers, was arrested, and forcibly
joined them in prison. In a letter dated August 30th 1659, her husband William complained to the Massachusetts Court of
Assistants: “Had you no commiseration of a tender soul that being wet to the skin, you cause her to thrust into a room
whereon was nothing to sitt or lye down upon but dust. Had your dogg been wett, you would have offered it the
liberty of a chimney corner to dry itself, or had your hoggs been pend in a sty, you would have offered them some dry
straw, or else you would have wanted mercy to your beast, but alas, Christians now with you are used worse than
hoggs or dogs…” Massachusetts colonial records
On September 6th the court sentenced Mary, William Robinson and Marmaduke Stevenson to banishment, then released
them. If the trio wanted to survive, they would have left Massachusetts immediately, never to return. However, Robinson and
Stevenson then visited Friends in Salem, where they were quickly rearrested and taken back to Boston’s jail.
Mary returned to her family and friends, but only briefly. When she heard of Robinson and Stevenson’s arrest, she ferried
across Narragansett Bay and rode back to Boston. Christopher Holder, whose ear had been severed under Puritan law, was
in Boston, seeking passage to England to consult with George Fox. Holder and Mary went to see their imprisoned friends,
and were jailed. Highborn enough that the Puritans feared Parliament’s retribution if they executed him, Holder was eventually
allowed to leave.
When sentenced to death if she returned to Boston, Mary Dyer said, “If God calls us to return, I have no question that He
whom we love will make us not count our lives dear unto ourselves of his Name’s sake.”
“We shall be as ready to take away your lives as you will to lay them down,” replied Governor Endecott.
Oct. 8, 1659 On this date Mary Dyer returned to Boston. The next morning she went to visit Christopher Holder in
prison. She was immediately recognized and jailed in the House of Correction, along with seven other Quakers. She told the
court, “Your end shall be frustrated, that think to restrain them, you call Cursed Quakers, from coming among you, by any
thing you can do to them...”
William Robinson and Marmaduke Stevenson were arrested a few days later with several Friends, including Alice Cowland,
who had “brought linen to wrap the dead bodies of those who were to suffer.” On Oct. 19th Mary, Robinson and Stevenson
were sentenced to death.
While in jail, Mary wrote a letter to the General Court that clearly illustrates her intellect: “Let my Counsel and Request be
accepted with you to repeal all such Laws, that the Truth and Servants of the Lord, may have free Passage among
you and you be kept from shedding innocent Blood…Were ever such laws heard of among a people that profess
Christ come in the flesh? Have you no other weapons but such laws, to fight against spiritual wickedness withal, as
you call it? Woe is me for you…
“With [God] is my Reward, with whom to live is my Joy, and to die is my Gain, tho’ I had not had your forty-eight
Hours Warning, for the Preparation of the Death of Mary Dyar…God will not be mocked, but what you sow, that
shall you reap from him, that will render to everyone according to the Deeds done in the Body, whether Good or Evil,
Even so be it, saith Mary Dyar.” Massachusetts colonial records
William Dyer was surely discouraged by Mary’s repeated brushes with martyrdom. Having received no answer to his
August plea to the General Court, he did not go to Boston. However, Mary’s 18-year old son, William, visited her in prison
the night before she was to be hanged. He had also visited Governor Endecott earlier in the day, and concocted a plan to
save Mary’s life.
Executions were public affairs in those days. On Oct. 27th a mob gathered to watch the Quakers hang, bringing their children
so the youngsters could learn a lesson in crime and punishment. A drum corps beat their instruments loudly so the Friends
could not preach on the way to the gallows. Mary walked proudly between the Stevenson and Robinson, rejoicing that she
was about to die for the Lord.
The two men were hanged, then Mary climbed the ladder. Her hands were bound, and her skirt tied around her ankles so her
legs would not be immodestly exposed during her death struggles. Reverend John Wilson’s neckcloth was draped over her
face, then the noose tightened around her throat. She stood for a long, silent moment, waiting to be pushed from the ladder.
Then came a cry from a horseman galloping toward the gallows, “Stop! She is reprieved!”
Mary’s bonds were loosened and her mask removed, but she refused to come down from the ladder. She was still willing to
suffer as her brethren had, unless Massachusetts would annul its wicked law. The marshal pulled her down and she was
carried back to prison. Her companions’ bodies were stripped and tossed into a shallow pit. Some offered to bury the men,
but even that was denied. Within forty-eight hours, Mary was placed on a horse and led out of Boston by four men. She
dismissed her escort and rode home to Rhode Island alone.
May 21, 1660 Mary did not stay in Newport for long. Perhaps she was completely alienated from her husband and children
by her quest for martyrdom. No doubt Herodias Gardner pleaded with her to cease her quest to change Puritan laws, for the
next time, there would be no reprieve. Deaf to the pleas of those who loved her, Mary spent the winter with Quakers on
Long Island. In April 1660 she visited Katherine Scott in Providence, Rhode Island. Scott was the sister of Anne
Hutchinson, and was also a Quaker. Then Mary returned to finish her “sad and heavy experience in the bloody town of
Boston.” She arrived on May 21st and was promptly arrested.
Once more William Dyer wrote to the court. On May 27th he begged Governor Endecott, as one husband to another, for
mercy for his stubborn, wayward wife, “It is with no little grief of mind and sadness of heart, that I am necessitated to
be so bold as to supplicate your honored self…to extend your mercy and favor once again to me and my
children…Now, my supplication to your honors is, to beg affectionately the life of my dear wife. ‘Tis true, I have not
seen her above this half-year and therefore cannot tell how, in the frame of her spirit, she was moved thus again to
run so great a hazard to herself & perplexity to me & mine, & all her friends and well-wishers…
“I only say that yourselves have been, and are, or may be, husbands to wives; so am I: yea, to one most dearly
beloved: Oh Do not deprive me of her, but I pray give her me once again and I shall be so much obliged for
ever…Pity me! I beg it with tears.” Ruth Plympton. “Mary Dyer, Biography of a Rebel Quaker”
The governor and his assistants were set on their course. Mistress Dyer had been given more than enough chances, and
whether she was insane or merely rebellious, she would make the final payment for defying their orders. Mary's hearing on
May 31st appears to have been brief. She identified herself as Mary Dyer, who had stood before the court before. Endecott
said, “I must then repeat the sentence once before pronounced upon you. You must return to prison, and there remain till
tomorrow at nine o’clock; from thence you must go to the gallows and there be hanged till you are dead.”
Mary replied, “This is no more than thou saidst before.”
"But now it is to be executed; therefore, prepare yourself for nine o’clock tomorrow.”
The next morning, a “strong guard” of soldiers took her to the gallows on Boston’s commons, again beating drums so none
could hear her speak. Facing the gallows for the last time, Mary was offered her life if she would leave the colony. She
declared, “Nay, I cannot, for in obedience to the will of the Lord God I came, and in His will I abide faithful to death.”
“Mary Dyer! Oh repent! Oh repent!” called Reverend Wilson, “and be not so deluded and carried away by the deceit of the
Mary was unrepentant, saying, “I have been in Paradise these several days, and now I am about to enter eternal happiness.”
She was permitted to speak a little further then, at the age of forty-nine, Mary was pushed from the gallows-ladder to die.
General Humphrey Atherton sneered at her dangling body, “She hangs like a flag.”
Another said, “She hangs as a flag for others to take example by.”
Jan. 22, 1662 John Hicks of Hempstead and Rachel Starr signed a prenuptial agreement in Flushing, New York to prevent
differences betwixt the children of Rachel and John.
Aug. 22, 1662 George Gardner and Robert Stanton bought 200 acres of swamp from the Narragansett sachem
Wannemaching. This land, a strip 5 miles long and 1½ wide, lay on the western edge of the Great Swamp, between the
Westotowtucket and Ashuniunch rivers [now the Beaver and Usquepaug/Whiskey rivers]. The land is now drained for sod
farms, but then it was wet and tree-covered. It was also nearly inaccessible, as it lay miles away from easy access from
Narragansett Bay. The principal town of the powerful Narragansett Indian tribe was also sited near George’s land.
George’s purchase was ill-considered at best. John Porter and his partners had been selling far better land near the
Narragansett Bay shore for the last four years, and a small settlement was already growing on Tower Hill and the
Pettaquamscut River bank. Perhaps George refused to buy land from Porter, and it is easy to imagine Herodias’ frustration
with George for missing an opportunity to better the family’s fortunes. Within a few years Herodias and her Gardner sons
obtained their own land from John Porter.
May 5, 1663 George Gardner Jr. was granted 1000 acres of Pettaquamscut land by John Porter, along with a "house lot
30 rods wide 8 score rods long, at the lower end next [to] mine." Young George, who was aged ca. 14-15 at this time,
was not allowed to sell the land within three years without the Pettequamscutt Purchasers' approval.
Rhode Island colonial records
May 1, 1663 A few days before George Gardner Jr. received his land, William Haviland, Herodias Gardner's son-in-law
was granted Pettequamscut land near grants made to Jireh Bull and William Bundy.
July 20, 1664 John Porter was described as "lately of Portsmouth" when he and William Baulston settled a land boundary in
Portsmouth. Porter was probably living in Pettequamscut. Portsmouth town records
Nov. 1664 John Porter (in the name of the Pettequamscut Purchasers) laid out 200 acres of land to Benoni Gardner,
bounded southerly and easterly by Horrod Long’s land, westerly on the Saugatucket River, northerly and easterly by his
brother George Jr.’s land. In the same month, George Gardner Jr. received 214 acres bounded southerly by Benoni,
westerly on the Saugatucket River, and easterly by Horod Long. These deeds reveal that Herodias also owned land on the
western side of Narragansett Bay, and that she was no longer using Gardner as a surname.
Mar. 20, 1665 King Charles II had been restored to England’s throne in 1660. In 1665 his commissioners were in Rhode
Island, and as royal representatives, they were able to grant divorces. Horod, who was now living at Pettequamscut,
presented them with a petition asking for a separation from George:
“The humble Remonstrance petition of horod Long to the Right honorable Sir Robert Carr, Coronall Cartwright, Mr.
Samuell Maverick, his majestyes Commissioners, Charles the Second, King of England Scotland and france and
Ireland, humbly sheweth: wheras I was upon the death of my father sent to London by my mother in much sorrow
and grife of speritt; and ther taken by one John Hickes unknowne to any of my friends and by the said hickes privitely
married in the under Church of paules, Called saint faiths Church; and In a Little while after to my great grife,
brought to new England, when I was between thirteene and fourteene yeares of age, and Lived two yeares and halfe
at waymoth, twelve milles from boston; and then Came to rhod Iland about the yeare 1640 and ther Lived Ever
since, till I Came hear to pettacomscott. not Long after my Coming to Rhod Iland ther happened a differance
betwene the said John Hickes and my selfe; soe that the authority that then was under grace saw Cause to part us,
and ordered I should have that Estate which was sent mee by my mother delivered to mee by the said John Hickes;
but I never had it, but the said John Hickes went away to the ducth [Dutch], and Carried away with him most of my
Estate, by which meanes I was put to great hardshipe and straight. Then I had thought to goe to my friends but was
hindered by the warres and the death of my friends. My mother and brother Loosing ther lives and Estates in his
majestyes service, and I being one not brought up to Labour and Young, knew not what to doe to have something to
live Having noe friend; in which straight I was drawne by Georg Gardener to Consent to hime soe fare as I did for
mayntenance; yett with much oppression of spiritt, Judging hime not to be my husband never being married to him
according to the Law of the place; alsoe I told him my oppression, and desiered him, seeing that hee had that Little
that I had, and all my Labour, that hee would alow mee some maintanance, Either to Live apart from hime, or Elese
not to meddle with mee; but hee have allwayes Refused. Therefore my humble petition to your honours is that, of
that Estate and Labour hee has had of mine hee may allow it mee; and that house upon my Land I may Injoy without
mollestation, and that hee may alow mee my Child to bring up with maintainance for her, and that hee may bee
Restrained from Ever meddling with mee or trobleing mee more. soe shall your poore petitioner Ever pray for your
honours peace and prosperity
"Wee desire You would take this petition Into your Consideration and doe Justice to the poor petitioner according to
the best of your Judgments.
"given vnder our hands the 20 of march 1664 at pettacomscott
"To Benedict Arnold Esquire Robert Carr
"governor of his majestyes Collony George Cartwright
"of R[hode Iland] and P[rovidence] plantations Samuell Maverick
Rhode Island colonial records
May 1, 1665 George Gardner and Herodias Long appeared at Rhode Island’s General Court subsequent to her petition:
“Whereas The Governor upon a petition Refered to hime by his majestyes most Honourable Commissioners
subscribed Horod Long hath sent for the partye to appeare before this assembly for a hearing, and the partye being
presant, the Court doe agree to heare the petitioner and the matter Related therin, before they heare any other
“Ther having ben much debate upon the petition of horod Long alias Gardener, and the Court having demanded of
the aforesaid horod whether she Returne to Georg Gardner and Live with him as a wife ought to doe; her plaine and
absolute answer is that to accept or Imbrace that motion, whatever becom of her she would not, but saies she was at
the Courts pleasure to doe with her what they see good.
“and the answer of Georg Gardener was that he was free to accept of her if she were free, and did desire her to
Retorne, notwithstanding that agreement of thers to live apart.
“George Gardener being Called before the Court and being asked whether he Can prove that Ever he weare
according to the manner and Custome of the place married, to that hee plainly answers that he cannot say that Ever
hee went one purpose before any majestrate to declare them selves or to take Each other as man and wife or to have
ther aprobation as to the premises.
“Robert Stanton being Called before the Court and being asked whether he Could Informe the Court whether hee
knew that Ever Georg Gardener and horod his Reputed wife weare Ever married according to the Custome of this
place; to which hee answered that hee knew noe other marradge, but onlye one night being at his house, both of them
did say before him and his wife that they did take one the other as man and wife.
"Whereas upon the Inquiry into and finding the True state of the offence Committed by by [sic] Georg Gardener and
horod that was once the wife of John Hickes that Lived in Newport one Rhod Iland twentye or more years agoe; and
being very sensable that some presant Course be taken to Correct and put a stop to the said offence, and the
Governor Considering the wayt of the Cause as it was sarcomstantiated, both to the nature of the Crime and the
declaration therof in writting by the said horod in a petition to the Right honourable his majestyes Commissioners Sir
Robert Carr Knight, Coronall Georg Cartwright and Samuel maverick Esquire, and the Referance mad by there
honours therupon unto the govrnor &c; he therfore moving it to this assembly that for the more solleme and sound
Judgment upon the matter. That the assembly as Consisting of majeystrates and deputyes will please to proceed
unanimously to pasing a posative sentance or sentances accordingly therein. and it being put to the vote by the
governor, The Assembly doe by a Cleare vote declare That Judgment shall pass on the said matter by the vote or vots
of the assembly Consisting of majestrates and deputyes as is before Expresed, being the Law making asembly of this
Jurisdiction By his majestyes Commission or Letters pattents under the broad seale of England &c, and being the
forementioned petition hath ben presented and peruseed by this assembly and found to be a very larg grownd to
proceed against the notorioues practice therin Confesed and Intimated. The asembly doe order that the petition and
Referance theron be Entered on Record in the next place after this order and the originall Retorned to the
Governor.” Rhode Island colonial records
Rhode Island took quick action after Herodias’ revelation. On the same date that her petition was presented at court, a law
was passed banning cohabitation. Adults who wed without delay would not be fined, and their children would be declared
legitimate. If not, a 40-shilling fine or whipping of 15 strokes would be levied on both parents. For the second offense, the
couple risked a 4-pound fine or two whippings. A third offense would be dealt with at the court’s discretion.
Jun. 5, 1665 Herodias was granted her separation, but not as cleanly as she might have wished:
“Whereas horod Long heartofore the wife of John Hickes and since the Reputed wife of Georg Gardener of newport
in Rhod Island, by a petition presented unto the Right honourable his majestyes Commissioners, did most Impudently
discover her owne nakednes by declaring therin unto ther honours that altho she had lived for a long space of time
with the aforesd Gardner as in a married Estate, and had owned him as her Lawfull husband; Yett shee was never
Lawfully married to him, nither Could owne him in such a Relation. and soe Consequently that she had Lived all this
tim in that abominable Lust of fornication, Contrary to the generall apprehension of her neighbors, she haveing by
the aforesaid Gardner many Children : and whereas it hath pleased the Right honourable Commissioners to Refer the
aforesaid petition to the Care of our honoured governor, who hath alsoe Requested the asistance of this presant
generall asembly in the Examination, and for the full Issuing of the matter Relating therto : wee have accordingly
taken the matter Into our serious Consideration, and upon Diligent search have found it to be Even soe as the
abovesaid horod hath declared, and that by the confession alsoe of the aforesaid Gardner, soe that that horaball sin
of uncleannes in which they had lived for the space of 18 or 20 yeares together, and had under the Covert of
pretended marridge, Owning Each other as man and wife; being now and not before by ther owne acting and
Confessiones brought to light and most shamefully Expresed to the publicke view, to the Extreme reproach and
scandall of this Jurisdiction.
"Therefore This presant assembly Laying to heart the fowlnes of the aforesaid sin, and manifesting ther great
abhorance and detestation of such licke practices, do order as a mult [punishment by fine] far Inferiour to their
demerrits, that the aforesaid Georg Gardner and horrod Long shall pay or Cause to be paid into the publicke
Treasury the sum of Twentye pounds, Each of them, betwene the sitting of this presant Court and the first day of the
Court of Trialles sitting in october next Ensuing. and in Case the aforesd sume or sumes be not paid by the day
prefixed that then it shall be lawfull for the Governor or deputye Governor to grant forth ane Exicution to the
Generall sargant to distraine the 20 pounds apece one Each of ther Estats, and that ye sargant shall take beside Two
shillings upon the pound for his labour for all that he takes thus upon distraint, which sumes are by him Lyckwise
forthwith paid into the Treasury : and farther it is ordered by this presant asembly and the authority therof That the
aforesaid Gardner and horod are hearby straightly Required that from hencforth they presume not to Lead soe
scandalose a life, Lest they feel the Extreamest penalty that Either is, or shall be provided in such Cases.”
Rhode Island colonial records
Jun. 5, 1665 On the same day that George and Herodias Gardner were declared separated, the following from Margaret,
the wife of John Porter appears in the court records. It reveals that John had already abandoned his wife:
“Wheras ther hath ben a petition presented to this presant Asembly margrett porter the wife of John porter of This
jurisdicyion of Rhod Iland &c; in which The said margrett doth most sadly Complaine that her said husband is
destitute of all Conjugall Love towards her, and sutable Care of her; is gone from her and hath Left her in such a
nessesetous stat that unavoydably she is Brought to a meane dependance upon her Children for her Dayly suply, to
her very great griffe of heart. and the Rather Considering that ther is in the hands of her said husband a very
Competant Estat for both ther subsistance; and Thervpon the said margrett hath most Earnnestly Requested this
gennerall asembly to take Care of her and to take her deplorable Estate Into your serious Consideration, as to make
some sutable provition for her Reliefe out of the Estate of her husband, and that spedily before both hee and it be
“The Court therfore Taking the matter in to ther serioues Consideration and being Thoroughly satisfied, both by
Common fame and otherwise, That the Complaints are True; and that the feares premised of convaying at least his
Estate away are not without grownds; and haueing a deep sence upon ther hearts of this sad Condition which this
poore anciante matrone is by this menes Reduced into…bee it by the said Court and the authority thereof decreed and
Enacted that all the Estate, bothe personall and Reall of the above said John porter, Lying and Being in this
Jurisdiction is hearby secured as if actually seazed upon and deposited for The Reliefe of the aforesaid
Complainant…untill hee hath settled a Competent Reliefe upon his ageed wife to her full satisfaction…"
Rhode Island colonial records
Jun. 27, 1665 John Porter was released from the restraint he was put under as to disposal of his estate, “he having settled
on his wife for life, such an estate as doth fully satisfy her.” When John Porter abandoned his wife to move to his
Narragansett land and cohabit with Horod Long, his fine reputation suffered a severe blow. However, as Rhett Butler noted,
you don’t need a reputation if you have enough money. Porter had plenty of that, even before his Narragansett land dealings.
Long ago, Porter had learned that he could buy his way out of obligations, especially with a good excuse. On Mar. 17, 1656
he was excused from Portsmouth's militia training for a payment of 16 shillings per year. On May 19, 1657 he was elected to
represent at general court, but said he was sick, so his fine for not attending was remitted. Once more he was ill for the
General Court on May 18, 1658, but his fine was remitted. Perhaps he really suffered ill health, but he was healthy enough to
move to the Narragansett wilderness when he was 60-70 years old.
Sep. 20, 1665 Benoni Gardner was given the deed for his 200 acres of Pettaquamscut land, which had been laid out for him
in 1664. John Porter signed it for the rest of the Purchasers. George Jr. also received the deed for his 214 acres on this date.
Porter must have been pleased to see fine young men flocking to his Narragansett settlement. Perhaps he gave them land, or
money to buy acreage. Within the next few years many young Rhode Island men formed a fledgling town at Narragansett,
including William and Mary Dyer’s son Samuel, Jireh Bull, and Eber Sherman. Sherman was John Porter’s step-grandson-in-
law, and if Benoni Gardner’s wife Mary was really surnamed Sherman, Eber was now Benoni’s brother-in-law. The rest of
George Gardner's children would soon follow their brothers to Pettaquamscut.
1666-7 George Gardner Sr. married Lydia Ballou, daughter of Robert Ballou of Portsmouth. Lydia Ballou’s age is
unknown, but her parents’ marriage date is estimated near 1645. Lydia might have been as young as twenty when she
married George Gardner, who was perhaps 30-35 years her senior. The couple lived in Newport, where they had five or six
children. Did Newport mock George for being dumped by Horod, or was he envied for marrying a much younger girl?
Oct. 21, 1666 Horod Long alias Gardner was summoned to appear at the Court of Trials for co-habitation with John
Porter. Four days later John Porter was summoned to appear for cohabiting with Horod. Neither appeared, but Porter sent
a letter pleading bodily infirmity, so the case was continued:
“Upon an indictment against John Porter of Pettacomscutt, he being mandamassed to his court and did not appear.
But having by writing to some of the magistrates pleaded debility of body for his nonappearance. The court doe refer
the matter to the next Court of Tryalls where he is to make apeer the truth of what he elegith otherwise to be
proceeded with for his contempt." Rhode Island Court of Trials records
May 1667 Porter failed to appear at the May 1667 court to answer charges of living incontinently with Herod, pleading
“Mr. John Porter being mandamassed to appear at the last court of Tryalls and he not there appearing the matter
was refered to a hearing at this Court: The sayd Mr. John Porter being in Court called Did not apeere and it being
Eleged that he is weake and disabeled by Debility of Body: the court doe therefore order that if he apeere not at the
next Court of Tryales either by himself (or in case he be not able) by his Atturney, then he shall be proceeded with
according to law as A Guilty person.”
Rhode Island Court of Trials records
Oct. 30, 1667 Yet another summons was sent out to John Porter and Harrud Long alias Gardiner of Narragansett, but they
did not appear. They were given one more chance, since the court had not been notified whether the couple had received
“Whereas Mr. John Porter was by order of the last Genrl Court of Tryals [held in May] to apeere at this Court, and
he beinge in Court called did not appere nor any Aturney in his behalf, the Court doe sentence him to pay a fine of
five pownds and pay all [court] fees.
“Upon indictment by the Genrl Solicitor against Mr John Porter and Harrud Long alias Gardiner of Narragansett
for that they are suspected to Cohabitt and Soe to live in way of incontinency. Mandamassis being sent forth, and
they in court did not appere. The court upon consideration of the matter, not being informed that the Mandamasses
were delivered to the persons in time the Court doe order that Mandamus be sent forth to them againe to appeare at
the next Court of Tryalls where if they apeere Not they shall be proceeded with as guilty persons.”
Rhode Island Court of Trials records
May 11, 1668 John Porter finally appeared at the General Court of Trials in Newport, pled not guilty and asked for a jury
trial. He was declared not guilty of cohabitation with Horrud Long. A man of more modest means or without Porter’s stellar
record of public service would surely have been fined or whipped for contempt and might have spent time in jail.
Herodias did not appear; Porter claimed she was ill, and the court generously delayed her case until October. She may well
have felt sick, since a whipping was the result of her 1658 court appearance in Massachusetts. No doubt she was not anxious
to repeat the experience.
Interestingly, on the same day as Porter’s trial, Mr. George Gardner was a grand juryman, but Porter’s case was probably
not heard by the grand jury.
“Upon an indictment by the solicitor against Mr. John Porter for liveinge in way of incontenancy with Horrud Long
(alias) Gardner, The sayd Mr. John Porter being Mandamassed and in Court Called pleads not guilty and referrs him
Selfe to the Country for tryal. The jurris verdict John Porter is cleered by proclamation paying fees.
“Upon indictment by the solicitor against Horrud Long alias Gardner she being Mandamassed and in court cald did
not appeare, and It beinge pleaded by Mr. John Porter that she is sick and ill the Court doe order that she apeere at
the next Court of Tryalls. Either by her selfe or Aturney which if she doe not then to be proceeded with all by the
court for her contempt.” Rhode Island Court of Trials records
Oct. 21, 1668 Horrud Long’s case finally came to trial, but she did not. She did not attend court, and was represented by
John Porter. The evidence clearing her was not recorded, but the jury found her not guilty:
“Upon an Indictment by the solicitor in Octor: 1666 against Horrud Long (alias) Gardner she being Mandamossed
and in Court Cald did not apeere : And after Mr John porter apeereing with a paper signed Horrud Long the Court
doe owne him her Aturney : the sayd Mr porter in her behalfe : pleads Not Guilty of Liveinge in incontunancy and
Refers her Tryall to god and the Cuntry. The Juris verdict - Horrud Long not Guilty by punktual Testimonys :
Jugment Graunted: The sayd Horrud Long cleered by proclamation in open Court paying Fees.”
Rhode Island Court of Trials records
Mar. 22, 1669 Benoni Gardner had married by this date when he, his wife Mary, and Dorcas Gardner witnessed John
Porter’s deed selling land to William James. Unfortunately, the record of Benoni and Mary Gardner’s wedding is lost, and
Mary’s surname is unknown. Theories abound: Sherman, Dyer, Wilbour, Greene.
I favor Mary, the daughter of Philip Sherman. In 1681 Sherman’s will included a provision of ten ewe sheep for his daughter
Mary, to be paid the year after his death (circa 1687). Philip was stepson-in-law to John Porter, and Mary probably met
Benoni at gatherings in Newport, Portsmouth, or Narragansett.
Jan. 1, 1670 A deed on this date reveals that Herodias had either married John Porter, or she was now bold enough to
use his surname. John and Horod Porter granted land to Henry Gardner lying behind Pettequamscut, bounded on the west by
the Saugatucket River, on the north by a highway running behind Benjamin Gardner's land, on the south by Samuel Wilbour,
and on the east by John Porter's land. Rhode Island colonial records
Feb. 17, 1670 George Gardner Jr. married Tabitha Tefft, who was born ca. 1653 in Portsmouth.
Jan. 1, 1671 William became the fourth of George Gardner’s sons to relocate across the bay. There is no mention of
money changing hands, so perhaps this land was Porter’s payment to William for staying with his father until George could
manage his farm on his own, or hire help. Also, the witnesses signed by mark, rather than by signature. Later, when Henry
became his brothers’ agent in managing John Porter’s land, he was still unable to write his name.
“John Porter of Petiquomscott barganed and granted to William Gardner son of George Gardner in Newport a
certain tract of land, bounded westerly by Henry Gardner’s land, northerly on the High-way lying next Benony
Gardner, southerly by Samuel Wilbour and easterly on John Porter’s land. 200 acres I do give, grant & make over
the aforesaid land unto William Gardner. Witnessed by Henry Gardner, Benony Gardner and Horad Porter,
Consort.” Rhode Island Land Evidences
May 19, 1671 Nicholas Gardner received 1/16th interest in a 1,000-acre tract laid out by the Pettaquamscut Purchasers for
John Porter. It contained about 200 acres and was bounded on the north and east by highways, southerly by William
Brenton, and westerly by the Chippuxet River and the Hundred-Acre Pond.
Thus Nicholas became the last of George Gardner’s sons to move to Narragansett. On the same day, Benoni, Henry,
George, and Nicholas, along with John Porter, gave their oaths of allegiance to King Charles II and fidelity to Rhode Island.
Oddly, William Gardner was not one of the listed oath-takers, but he was also a Narragansett resident.
Sep. 26, 1671 John Porter of Pettaquamscut sold his land in Portsmouth for £400 paid by Richard Smith of Newport: “As
also Horrud Porter the wife of me the said John Porter in testimony of her full and free consent to these presents &
that the said land and every part & parcell thereof shall forever remain & continue unto him the said Richard Smith
his heirs & assigns notwithstanding any claims of jointure, dower, thirds or any other demand to be made by her or
Signed by John Porter, witnessed by Samuel Wilson, George Hicks, & George Gardner [by mark].
“I Horrud Porter do consent to the abovesd deed & do release all my right, interest & title in the aforesaid premises
notwithstanding my jointure or dower made by my now husband before marriage with me. Witness my hand & seale
this thirty day of Sept.
"The mark of Horad Porter” Rhode Island Land Evidences
Sep. 26, 1671 Herodias appeared as Hurrud Porter on the sale of John’s 240 acres of Portsmouth land to Richard Smith
for £400. On 9/30 she consented to the sale, “notwithstanding my jointure or dower made me by my now husband
before marriage with me.”
By this deed John liquidated his Portsmouth land, which he had left to Margaret for her support. Presumably Margaret Porter
had died by 1671, so John was free to marry Herodias.
1672 John Watson, tailor, was deeded land by John and Hored Porter. Dorcas, daughter of Herod and George
Gardner witnessed a deed on Nov. 7, 1673 as Dorcas Watson, John’s wife.
May 1672 John Hicks died, probably in Hempstead, New York. He wrote his will on April 29th, and it was proved on
Jun. 14, 1672 in Jamaica, New York.
Nov. 22, 1673 Nicholas Gardner was given 100 acres by John and Hored Porter. This, the “Rock Farm,” was Nicholas’
homestead, and he and his wife were probably buried there.
Dec. 27, 1674 John Porter and Horad Porter signed a deed giving Nicholas Gardner 1/6th interest in 1000 acres of land.
May 27, 1675 John Porter died some time after this date, when he and Horrod Porter sold "the Little Neck of Land" on the
north side of Point Judah Neck for five pounds to John Hull of Boston. In the same deed Mrs. Porter is also named Horrid.
Dec. 1675 In June Massachusetts' Wampanoag Indians, fed up with the Englishmen's encroachment on their lands, had
begun battling with the settlers. King Philip's War, titled after the English name of the Wampanoags' leader, Metacomet, came
to the Porters and Gardners in December. A force of Wampanoags and local Narragansett Indians attacked Jireh Bull's
fortified home on the bank of the Pettaquamscut River, near the Porter-Gardner settlement. The garrison house was burned
and fifteen unidentified men, women and children were killed. The Porters and Gardners, like most English settlers on the
western side of Narragansett Bay, had already taken refuge at Newport or Portsmouth.
On December 19th the Narragansett's fort in the Great Swamp, about twenty miles inland from Narragansett Bay, was
reduced to ashes and many of its defenders killed by a combined English army. The Indians were scattered, and the war
continued as a guerrilla action until King Philip was killed on Aug. 12, 1676.
1677 George Gardner Sr. died about 1677, but his will has been lost. Lydia (Ballou) Gardner married secondly
William Hawkins on Jun. 14, 1678, and died before 1722.
Apr. 8, 1692 John Porter made the five Gardner boys and John Watson his heirs. At a meeting of the Pettaquamscut
proprietors, Benoni, George, William, and Nicholas Gardner, and John Watson named their brother Henry as agent to sign on
Mar. 27, 1694 Henry Gardner was charged by Abigail Remington as being the father of two children that she bore while
married to John Remington: “Being bound over to this court for being charged by Abigail Remington for getting on her
body two bastard children, and he being the Reputative father in the law he is sentenced by this court to keep ye town
of Kingstown Indemnified from any charge that may arise from ye maintenance of ye said children and that ye
children shall be maintained by the sd Henry Gardner.”
Abigail Remington, “being bound to appear at court to answer for the act of fornication committed with Henry Gardner and
being taken sick could not appear. The sd Gardner paid her fine in court being 26s and 8p and officers fees.”
Rhode Island Court of Trials
Abigail was lucky, perhaps because Henry Gardner was wealthy. The current law for fornication and adultery called for a
woman to be stripped to the waist, stand in public for 15 minutes and pay court fees. A second offense would bring a
whipping or 10-pound fine. Men were more gently handled – the law only required them to pay a bond so their child would
not be a burden to the colony’s taxpayers, and many escaped even this mild punishment.
After his first wife Joan died ca. 1715, Henry recognized Abigail as his wife, and mentioned her as such in his will.
Aug. 4, 1702 On this date John Watson and his second wife Rebecca Gardner deeded his 90-acre farm to his son John.
Sep. 18, 1705 Benoni and Mary Gardner deeded 100 acres and their dwelling-house to their son Nathaniel, and the
orchard, etc. to their son Stephen.
Nov. 17, 1705 Benoni, with his brothers and sister’s husband John Watson on sold 410 acres on Point Judith Pond to John
Potter for £150 to be paid to Thomas Hicks of Flushing, New York.
Thomas Hicks was the son of John and Herod Hicks. Elizabeth Hicks married Josias Starr in 1672, but had died by 1705.
Hannah Hicks, wife of William Haviland, was still living, but we cannot know why Herod didn’t ask her sons to sell land on
Hannah’s behalf. Perhaps Porter had given them the Havilands the land they had owned in Narragansett in the 1660s.
Thomas led a successful life on Long Island. He built a fine mansion on 4,000 acres in Hempstead after 1666, and was the
first Queens county judge.
The 1705 deeds seem to mark Herodias (Long) (Hicks) Porter’s death. Benoni was would have been able to sell his house
to his son because he had inherited the Porters’ home.
Family tradition, an extract of London marriage licenses made before World War II, and genealogies published between 1887
and present day give our woman's name as Herodias. However, that name has not yet been found in Rhode Island records
during Herodias' life. Instead, a shorter form - Horod, Horred, Harwood - is what Herodias was called. However, the name
Herodias was used by her daughter Dorcas (Gardner) Watson when naming her own daughter. Though the girl was named
Horred in her marriage to John Sheldon, and in their children's birth records, she was titled Herodias when her husband sold
land in 1726, and in her father's 1728 will. Two of Herodias'great-granddaughters were also named for their famed
Contemporary records are strongly preferred by genealogists when determining a person's name. Thus, some say that our
woman is properly called Harwood or one of the several variants of Horod that are found in RI records, and they further
believe that Dorcas was the first to use the name Herodias for her own daughter.
Let me cite G. Andrews Moriarty in a Jan. 1950 article from the NEHGR, "The True Story of Mary Dyer." He warns against
accepting tradition if it is "obviously fantastic," but also says, "With respect to 'tradition' this writer does not belong to that
school which rigorously discards it, for he has found so many cases where tradition, while usually erroneous in details, has
contained a bit of truth, which, properly followed, has led to important discoveries." In that vein, I also believe that although
Herodias used a shortened form of her name, the Gardner/Gardiner family knew well what her full name was when they
supplied it to John O. Austin for his 1887 "Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island."
Herodias/Horred Long, born 1623-4 in England; perhaps died in 1705 at South Kingstown, Rhode Island. She married 1)
on Mar. 14, 1637 at St. Faith’s-Under-Paul’s, Southwark, London to John Hicks, died between Apr. 19 and Jun. 17,
1672, probably at Hempstead, New York. They were separated in Newport, Rhode Island ca. 1644. John obtained a
divorce from Herodias on Jun. 1, 1655 in New Amsterdam, then m2) Florence (___), widow of John Carman. She soon
died, and he m3) after Jan. 22, 1662 to Rachel (___), widow of Thomas Starr.
Herodias formed a common-law marriage ca. 1644-6 at Newport with George Gardner, born ca. 1608-15 England; died
ca. 1677 at Newport. They were separated on Jun. 5, 1665 and George m2) 1665-8 at Newport or Portsmouth, Rhode
Island to Lydia Ballou. Lydia died after 1722, and was m2) on Jun. 14, 1678 at Newport to William Hawkins.
Herodias married 3) between Oct. 21, 1668 and Jan. 1, 1671 South Kingstown, Rhode Island to John Porter, born ca.
1608; died after May 11, 1674, probably at South Kingstown. Porter married 1) ca.1610-15 to Margaret (Lang)
Odding/Oddyn, perhaps b. ca. 1585, probably died before Jan. 1, 1671 Portsmouth; she was married 1) ca. 1608-10 in
England to William Odding/Oddyn.
Herodias and John Hicks had:
Hannah b. ca. 1638 Weymouth, Massachusetts; d. after Sep. 1, 1688, probably 1712 at Great Neck, Long Island, New
York; m. ca. 1653-4 William Haviland of Flushing, b. 1606-25 England; d. 1697 Great Neck. William may have
been bp. Sep. 7, 1606 at St Thomas Church, Salisbury, son of James Haviland and Thomasine Maindonail of Salisbury.
Click here for information about the Haviland family
Elizabeth born ca. 1640 Weymouth; died 1691; married pre. Apr. 1672 probably at Flushing Josiah/Josias Starr, son of
Josias Starr and Rachel ___. Click here for info about the Starr family
Thomas born ca. 1640-2 Weymouth or Newport, Rhode Island; will dated May 15, 1727, proved Jan. 28, 1741-2
Flushing; m1) between Oct. 30, 1658 and 1660 Mary (Butler) Washburn, b. ca. 1640, possibly Stratford,
Connecticut; d. pre. 1677; she m1) John Washburn; Thomas m2) at Flushing, by license dated Jul. 1677 Mary Doughty, b.
ca. 1658; died 1713, dau. of Elias Doughty and Sarah ___. Click here for info about Thomas' wives
This is a good link for more info about Thomas
Herodias and George Gardner had:
Benoni b. ca. 1643-4 Newport; d. ca. 1731 Portsmouth or Kingstown; m. ca. 1665 ?S. Kingstown, Mary ___, (possibly
the daughter of Philip Sherman and Sarah Odding, the step-daughter of John Porter); b. May 1645 Portsmouth; d. Jan. 16,
1729 Portsmouth, aged 84. Mary's surname is also said to be Eldred or Dyer.
Most sources give an approximate birth date for Benoni between 1642 and 44. From the order in which they signed the oath
of allegiance in 1671, Benoni was the oldest of George’s sons, and in 1727, Benoni claimed to be about 90. It would seem
that, like many old people, he overstated his age considerably and his brother Henry, who in 1738 called himself “aged about
93” (b. 1645) was considerably nearer the mark.
Benoni was a well-to-do cordwainer and farmer. He, his brothers and his sisters’ husband were the co-heirs of John Porter,
and received 1/7th of some 12 square miles of land when the Pettequamscutt Purchase was divided.
There are many theories for the surname of Benoni’s wife, Mary. She was not the daughter of Samuel Eldred; that Mary
married Rouse Holme/Helme. She was not the daughter of William and Mary Dyer of Newport; that girl married Henry
Ward by 1675, and a deed from her father and brothers dated 7/25/1670 names her as Dyer, not Gardner. Mary, the
daughter of Robert Stanton is another theory, but Mary Stanton m. Samuel Rogers.
Benoni’s wife was most likely Mary, daughter of Philip Sherman, and the Sherman Genealogy of 1991 accepts her as such.
Mary Sherman is also credited with marrying Samuel Shadrach Wilbour after 1698, as her second husband. Either Mary got
a divorce (this seems highly unlikely) or Wilbour married another Mary. Click here for info about the Shermans
Henry b. 1645-7 Newport; d. Apr. 26, 1744 S. Kingstown; m1) Joan ___ (possibly Greene, born ca. 1649; d. ca. 1715,
probably S. Kingstown; m2) Abigail (Richmond) Remington, b. 1656 Newport; d. 1749 probably S. Kingstown; Abigail
was daughter of Edward Richmond and Abigail Davis, and widow of John Remington, d. 1688.
J. Warren Gardner gives Joan's surname as Greene, the daughter of John Greene of Quidnesset. She is not found in Ray
Greene Huling's genealogy of John Greene in the Narragansett Historical Register, but perhaps Gardner saw John Greene's
will before it was destroyed by the Wickford fire of 1870.
Henry was the only male of this generation who was able to sign his name. He represented his brothers and his
sisters’ husband as John Porter’s heirs in the division of the Pettequamscutt Purchase lands. He served as a constable
in 1683, and like his brothers, Henry was an affluent farmer. He raised cattle and horses, owned slaves, and left his
children hundreds of acres in western Rhode Island.
On Mar. 20, 1689 Abigail, widow of John Remington late of Rochester presented her husband’s inventory and
requested administration of his estate. The inventory dated Feb. 18, 1689 was appraised by Henry Gardner and Henry
Bull, Jr. On Mar. 27, 1694, Henry “Being bound over to this court for being charged by Abigail Remington for getting
on her body two bastard children, and he being the Reputative father in the law he is sentenced by this court to keep ye
town of Kingstown Indemnified from any charge that may arise from ye maintenance of ye said children and that ye
children shall be maintained by the sd Henry Gardner.” Abigail Remington “being bound to appear at court to answer
for the act of fornication committed with Henry Gardner and being taken sick could not appear. The sd Gardner paid
her fine in court being 26s and 8p and officers fees.” Click here for information about the Richmond family
George b. 1647-9 Newport; d. 1724 S. Kingstown; m. Feb. 17, 1670 probably S. Kingstown Tabitha Tefft, b. 1653
Portsmouth; d. after 1722, probably S. Kingstown. Tabitha was daughter of John Tefft and Mary Barber.
On Oct. 14, 1662, at the Warwick Court of Trials, “a bill was presented against George Gardner Jr. by John
Sanford, Attorney General for speaking and using words of reproach against Mr. Benedict Arnold, President, in the
execution of his office, which words were spoken about 10th July last, the said George Gardner being bound to the
court and called. He said to the bill of indictment whether guilty or not guilty, he pleads not guilty and traverseth the
bill. He was found not guilty by the jury.”
Tabitha’s brother, Joshua Tefft, was a notorious figure in King Philip’s War. The 2-year war began in 1675 when
the Wampanoag Indians tried to drive settlers from their lands in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Rhode Island’s
Narragansett Indians were supportive, and were perhaps planning to join them. In Dec. 1675 a small army of English
settlers destroyed the main Narragansett town deep inside Rhode Island’s Great Swamp.
On Jan. 14th, 1676, Joshua Tefft and a few Narragansetts were caught while trying to steal cattle near Warwick,
RI. He claimed to have been captured by the Indians only 27 days before, and had promised that he would be a slave
to the Narragansett chief if they would spare him.
However, Joshua was tried for treason, and it was ruled that he had actually joined the Indians 14 years earlier,
married a Wampanoag woman, renounced his nation and religion, and had killed a miller as a pledge of his loyalty.
Many of the tales were possibly inflated, but Joshua admitted that he had helped the Indians design the fort in the Great
Swamp, and fought against his own people during the battle there. Click here for an interesting page about Joshua Tefft
Four days later Joshua was executed.
William b. 1651-2 Newport; will proved Mar. 11, 1711 S. Kingstown; m. by 1679 probably S. Kingstown Elizabeth ___,
perhaps Wilkinson, b. 1659-60 North Kingstown, Rhode Island; d. May 9, 1737 S. Kingstown.
Like his brothers, William was also an affluent farmer, who left his children hundreds of acres of prime Kingstown
land, livestock, and slaves.
Nicholas b. ca. 1654 Newport; d. 1712 S. Kingstown; m. 1680-82 Hannah Palmer, b. Oct. 10, 1663 S. Kingstown,
dau. of George Palmer and Bethia Mowry
Dorcas b. ca. 1656 Newport; d. pre. 1702 S. Kingstown; m. by 1673 Kingstown John Watson, d. 1728-9 N.
Kingstown; he m2) Rebecca Gardner, Dorcas’ sister.
John Watson is said to have m3) pre. 1710 to Rebecca Wells, daughter of Hugh Wells of Wethersfield, CT.
John, a tailor, was an equal heir in the Pettequamscutt Purchase lands. He served his community as a constable,
conservator of the peace, member of the town council, and deputy to the General Court. Click for a Watson Ahnentafel
Rebecca b. ca. 1658 Newport; d. pre. 1728-9; m. by 1702 John Watson as his second wife.
Rebecca was the child whom Herod carried to Weymouth, Massachusetts when she protested ill treatment of the
Quakers. The Quaker accounts of his event say that Herod was given 10 lashes on her naked back, while sheltering
her infant in her arms.
Rebecca may have been as old as 44 when she married John Watson after her older sister died. The couple did
not have any children.
George Gardner and Lydia Ballou were the parents of:
Joseph b. ca. 1666-9 Newport; d. Aug. 22, 1726 Newport; m. Nov. 30, 1693 Newport Catherine Holmes, b. 1673,
probably Newport; d. Oct. 28, 1758 Newport, daughter of John Holmes and Frances Holden; she m2) Rev. Daniel
Wightman, b. Jan. 2, 1668; d. Aug. 31, 1750 Newport.
Joseph represented Newport at the General Court several times, and held the title of Lieutenant.
Click here for Holmes information
Click here for Wightman information
Lydia b. ca. 1670-72 Newport; d. 1723 Providence; m. Apr. 4, 1689 Providence Joseph Smith of Providence, b. 1670;
d. Jan. 13, 1749-50 Providence Click here for information about Joseph Smith
Mary b. ca. 1670-72 Newport; d. probably Providence; m. Jul. 18, 1690 Providence Archibald Walker, b. ca. 1668
perhaps in Scotland; probably d. at Providence. Click here for information about Archibald Walker
Robert b. May 1671 Newport; d. May 1731 Providence; did not marry
Peregreene/Peregrin b. ca. 1674-5 Newport; d. after 1689; did not marry
Robert C. Anderson The Great Migration Vol. IV, 2005
John Osborne Austin. Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island, 1887
Alden G. Beaman. “Lines of Descent from George Gardner of Newport.” Rhode Island Genealogical Register, 1986
Thomas W. Bicknell, LL.D. The History of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, 1920
George Bishop. New England Judged by the Spirit of the Lord, 1661
James Bowden. The History of the Society of Friends in America. London, Charles Gilpin, 5, Bishopsgate Street Without,
Carl Boyer Ancestral Lines, 1981
John Anderson Brayton. "Robert, William, and Thomas Hicks of Flushing, Long Island, NY, and Granville Co., NC" North
Carolina Genealogical Society Journal, Vol. 29 (August 2003): pg. 278
The British Records Society. A Calendar of the Marriage Licence Allegations in the Registry of the Bishop of London
1597 to 1700 pg. 153
________________. London Marriage Allegations Vol. 19, pg. 92 FHL microfilm number 544132
________________. London Marriage License extracts, Pg. 153
Sir John B. Burke. American Families with British Ancestry, 1975
Arthur A. Carr. The Carr Book, 1947
Edison I. Carr Carr Family Records, 1986
Meredith B. Colket. “The ‘Royal Ancestry’ of George Gardiner.” The American Genealogist Vol. 14 (1937): pg. 243-46
Jane Fletcher Fiske. Rhode Island General Court of Trials Records 1671-1704, 1999
Josephine C. Frost. “John and Harwood Hicks.” New York Genealogical and Biographical Review Vol. 70 (4/1939): pg.
L.M. and C.M. Gardner. Gardner History and Genealogy, 1907
Sheridan Gardiner. The Gardiner Family
______________. "Correspondence with G. Andrews Moriarty." Pamphlet in the New England Historical and
Genealogical Society collection
William Leonard Gardner. Gardner and Allied Families, 1902
G. Andrews Moriarty. “The Parentage of George Gardner of Newport, Rhode Island.” The American Genealogist Vol. 21
(1944): pg. 191-200
________________. “Herodias (Long) Hicks-Gardner-Porter: A Tale of Old Newport.” Rhode Island History Vol. VII
(July 1952): pg. 84-92
Humphrey Norton. New England’s Ensign, Feb. 1659
John B. Pierce: "One Line of the Gardiner Families" Genealogies of Rhode Island Families from Rhode Island Periodicals
Vol. 1. Baltimore Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1983
Ruth Plympton. Mary Dyer – Biography of a Rebel Quaker, 1994
Massachusetts Colonial Records, 1630-1665
Charles Pope. Pioneers of Massachusetts, 1900
Rhode Island Colonial Records, 1637-1705
Rhode Island Land Evidences Vol. 1: 1648-1696 Rhode Island Historical Society, 1970
Caroline E. Robinson. The Gardiners of Narragansett, 1919
William Robinson. A Call from Death to Life. Printed by Friends in London, 1660
Melinde Sanborn. Supplement to Torrey’s New England Marriages, Volume I. 1991
_____________. Supplement to Torrey’s New England Marriages, Volume II. 1995
_____________. Supplement to Torrey’s New England Marriages, Volume III. 2003
James Savage. Genealogical Dictionary of New England, 1862
William Sewell. A History of the Quakers in America, 1718
Alonzo and Patricia Sherman. Sherman Genealogy, 1988
Roy V. Sherman. The New England Shermans, 1974
Clarence A. Torrey. New England Marriages Prior to 1700, 1987
Frederick Adams Virkus. Compendium of American Genealogy, 1925-1942
John Winthrop. The Journal of John Winthrop. 1630-1649
Otis O. Wright. History of Swansea, Massachusetts, 1917
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About
Herodias/Horod (Long) (Hicks) (Gardner) Porter:
A couple of notes before you begin:
In 1752 the calendar year was adjusted to begin on January 1st, rather than March 25th. Dates before 1752 which fell
between New Years’ Day and March 25th , such as Herodias’ wedding day, are rendered as Mar. 14, 1636-7 by
contemporary genealogists and historians. That can lead to confusion as to the actual year. All dates on this site are
converted to reflect that change: for example, Herodias’ marriage date is entered here as Mar. 14, 1637.
Newport’s early vital records, along with the town’s land records, wills and other irreplaceable information, were seized by
the British during the Revolutionary War. The records were stored on a ship in New York City’s harbor, but when the boat
sank they were severely damaged. Therefore, birth, death, and marriage dates for nearly all of Newport’s citizens can only
be estimated. A detailed account of Herodias’ marriages and children can be found at the end of this page.
The Historical Evidence:
|Married at thirteen, separated from two men when they proved
unsuitable, a martyr for the Quaker cause, mother of ten, and ancestor
to millions, Herodias/Horod Long is a beloved - and notorious - figure
in Rhode Island history.
Here is all of the information I have found about Herodias in colonial
and historical records, along with information about her contemporaries;
Mary Dyer, Anne Hutchinson, and William Coddington, to name a few.
You will also find extensive information about Herodias's three
husbands - John Hicks, George Gardner/Gardiner, and John Porter -
as well as her children. If you know of any events in this remarkable
woman's life that I have missed, please contact me.