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 for their baby girl.
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 had 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.
Some early genealogists thought that Herodias was the daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Long of Charlestown,
Massachusetts, and the notion persists online. A petition for divorce that Herodias filed in 1665 refutes this theory. In it,
Herod testified that her father died shortly before she was sent to London, where she married John Hicks in 1637. She also
said 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's will 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 on earth after his death. 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
claimed 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). An article by John A.
Brayton 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, but the complete records burned in 1666. No record has been found that can identify
John's parents, parish of birth, or apprenticeship. Click here for information about John Hicks
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.
March 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 ~ British Records Society ~ pg. 153
These transcripts present substantial 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. She also 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 even contemporary records can not always be trusted.
The new bride was named 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, but 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 full name actually was.
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 Hickses 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 Hutchinson.
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.
February 23, 1639: John Ayshford’s will was proved on this date, leaving five pounds to Odias Longe. Horod probably
didn’t get this bequest for another year, but that sum would have enabled the Hicks family to relocate to Newport. In 1665
Herodias 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, R.I. 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 colonial records, and the town records were destroyed. 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.
April 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 Vol. 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 origins are not known. An impressive English lineage has been cited for George, but it does not hold water.
George, the son of Reverend Michael Gardiner of Greenford Magna, Middlesex, England, has been claimed to be identical
with Newport’s George Gardner. However, the Michael Gardiner descent is badly flawed, and there is no proven connection
between Michael’s son and our George except for a shared name. Meredith Colket's excellent analysis of the Michael
Gardiner line is found on the George Gardner information page.
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. However, a passenger list of the
Fellowship cannot be located and 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 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: It is said that Elizabeth Hicks was born to John and Herodias near this date. Her existence is revealed only by John
Hicks’ will, dated April 29, 1672, when 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). A recent transcription of John
Hicks' will says that the name of his daughter was actually Dorothy. I have not seen the will, and wrote Rebel Puritan before
that recent transcription was made. I used Elizabeth Hicks as a character in Rebel Puritan and The Reputed Wife, mention
her as a recurring character in The Golden Shore, but Elizabeth's actual existence is in doubt.
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 step-brother-in-law.
September 14, 1640: John Hicks was made a freeman in Newport. To vote, a man had to be approved by the government.
John had waited a long time to vote, since he was never made free in Weymouth. Women waited for that privilege for 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, and ministers from Boston visited Anne, hoping that in her bereaved
state she would be easily converted. They implied to her 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.
December 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
March 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 New England's early days. 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.
October 19, 1644: William Dyer sold George Gardner a 10-acre "neck" of Newport land he bought from Thomas Applegate.
December 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 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.”
October 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.
June - July 1647: John Hicks’ excerpted letter to Coggeshall regarding his abandonment of Herodias was entered into Rhode
June 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 at around
1647-8. His wife Tabitha Tefft estimated her age at sixty-nine in 1722 [born in 1653].
December 1, 1649: George Gardner sat on a petit jury.
Spring 1651: Mary Dyer returned to England, virtually abandoning her husband and children. No doubt Herodias Gardner
missed her friend intensely.
1651-2: Herodias and George’s fourth son, William was born.
Feburary 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.
February 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.
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.
June 1, 1655: In New Amsterdam John Hicks obtained a divorce from Herodias. Soon afterward he married Florence
Carman. 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
October 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.
January 20, 1657: John Porter formed a partnership with four other men, and the Pettaquamscutt 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
Pettaquamscutt 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
Pettaquamscutt 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 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 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 met Hannah Hicks in Flushing 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 clearly 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 made a public protest 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 ~ February 1659
Quaker writings described Herodias’ judgment by Governor Endecott, but 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
June 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 Mary, William Robinson, and Marmaduke Stevenson were sentenced to banishment, then released. 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.
October 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 they concocted a plan to save
Executions were public affairs in those days. On October 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. Christy K. Robinson ~ Transcript of William and Mary Dyer letters
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, said Endecott.
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.
January 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.
August 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 Pettaquamscutt 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 Pettaquamscut 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 Pettaquamscutt. Portsmouth town records
November 1664: John Porter (in the name of the Pettaquamscutt 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.
March 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 Pettaquamscut,
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 [now 1665] 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 matter.
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.
June 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
June 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
June 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.
September 20, 1665: Benoni Gardner was given the deed for 200 acres of Pettaquamscutt land, which had been laid out for
him in 1664. John Porter signed it for the rest of the Purchasers George Jr. also received a 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,
money to buy acreage, or a cheap price. 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 Pettaquamscutt.
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?
October 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
October 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, where he pled not guilty. His jury
declared him 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
October 21, 1668: Horrud Long’s case finally came to trial, but she did not. She was represented by John Porter at court.
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
March 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.
January 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 Pettaquamscut, 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
February 17, 1670: With his brother Henry officiating as magistrate, George Gardner Jr. married Tabitha Tefft in Warwick,
R.I. She was born ca. 1653 in Portsmouth.
January 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 Pettaquamscutt 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.
September 26, 1671: John Porter of Pettaquamscutt 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 her assigns.
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
September 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 June
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 that deed Mrs. Porter is also named Horrid.
December 1675: In June, Massachusetts' Wampanoag Indians, fed up with the Englishmen's encroachment on their lands,
began battling with the settlers, who were equally annoyed with Indians trespassing on lands they felt they had fairly bought.
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
Pettaquamscutt 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.
April 8, 1692: John Porter made the five Gardner boys and John Watson his heirs. At a meeting of the Pettaquamscutt
proprietors, Benoni, George, William, and Nicholas Gardner, and John Watson named their brother Henry as agent to sign on
March 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.
August 4, 1702: On this date John Watson and his second wife Rebecca Gardner deeded his 90-acre farm to his son John.
September 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.
November 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, and
sold when they went to NY. Thomas Hicks had 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 ancestress.
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 New England Historical and Genealogical Register, The
True Story of Mary Dyer. Moriarty 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 Hicks
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 (shoemaker) 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 Pettaquamscutt 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 Pettaquamscutt 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
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 the spring. 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.
Joshua was tried for treason, and the Puritan officers who tried him 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. Four days later Joshua was executed.
Click here for an interesting page about Joshua Tefft
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 Pettaquamscutt Purchase lands. He served his community as a constable,
conservator of the peace, member of the town council, and deputy to the General Court.
Rebecca b. ca. 1658 Newport; d. pre. 1728-9; m. by 1702 John Watson as his second wife.
Rebecca was perhaps 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.
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
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 March 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 March 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.
Original documents, and quotes taken directly from them are rendered in italics.
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.