Esteemed Friend: - I received, through the kindness of Benjamin Hallowell, of Sandy Spring, Md., a note of inquiry concerning my ancestors. Some years since I went to Rhode Island for the purpose of learning their history, and traced it with certainty to five brothers, Benoni, Henry, George, William and Nicholas Gardner. William was my great-great-grandfather; he had three sons, William, John and Thomas. John was my great-grandfather. He had three sons, William, John and Allen. William was my grandfather, and his son, Elisha Watson Gardner, was my father.
The first mentioned five brothers purchased a part of the Pettequamscud purchase, where they probably settled. The first William mentioned lived on McSparran Hill, three miles east of Little Rest, now called Kingston, Washington Co., R.I.
There was a George Gardner in Rhode Island as early as 1662 who might have been father to the five brothers, but I could not trace the connection; no doubt the particulars may be found in the first and second volumes of the "Historical collections of the settlement of Rhode Island," but I have only the third volume, being unable to obtain the others. There is a tradition in our family that Mary Dyer was a relative, but whether upon the Gardner side I have not learned - I have not even heard what was her maiden name.
I have no doubt that our family may be traced to the Nantucket Gardners or to England by records that may yet be found in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Nantucket or Boston, and if I had time and means to devote to it, the work would be a pleasure. The Gardner coat of arms, an engraving of which I have, might assist us. The P in my name is from my mother's maiden name - Pattison. This family settled in Connecticut in an early day; Thomas, her grandfather, and William and John his brothers. William Pattison was the first man who made tin ware for sale in America.
William Gardner, senior, died in Third month, 1748; his son John died Eighth month, 1800. My grandfather William died in 1832; my father, Elisha W. Gardner, died Twelfth month 15th, 1864. The whole of our line, so far as I know, lived to over eighty years. I am seventy-three years of age and am considered an old man, yet I am able to labor on the farm, and have traveled during most of the winter in attending funerals and meetings from home. I send this by the hand of my much-esteemed friend and elder brother in the truth, Benjamin Hallowell.
From thy friend,
Sunderland P. Gardner.
Farmington, Third month 25th, 1876.
[Note in relation to the foregoing letter, by A. H. Gardner]
Afterward he was informed that Mary Dyer's maiden name was Long, and that she was a sister to Hored, who married a Hicks, ancestor to Elias Hicks, and afterward married George Gardner, an ancestor to Sunderland - this was why Mary Dyer was called Aunt Mary in the olden time.
Hored was taken from her spinning wheel and carried to Boston, where she was publicly whipped, because she was a Quaker; a female servant volunteered to accompany her on this terrible journey and carry her infant child. After Hored had suffered her cruel punishment she knelt and prayed for her persecutors. It is said that this day's work turned many away from the persecuting sect and brought many to favor the cause of Friends.