Lion Gardiner

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Lion Gardiner in East Hampton
The tomb of Lion Gardiner in East Hampton, New York.jpg
The tomb of Lion Gardiner in East Hampton, New York was built in 1886 and designed by James Renwick, Jr. depicts him in recumbent effigy pose (Photo, April 2006).
Background information
Lion Gardiner in the Pequot War by Charles Stanley Reinhart (painted circa 1890)

Lion Gardiner (1599–1663), an early English settler and soldier in the New World, founded the first English settlement in what became the state of New York on Long Island. His legacy includes Gardiners Island, which is held by his descendants.


Early life[edit]

Lion Gardiner was born in England in 1599[1] and died in East Hampton, New York, in 1663.[1] He and his wife Mary left Woerden, the Netherlands, and embarked, probably at Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in the ship Batcheler. It was bound for New England by way of London and departed on July 10, 1635. The ship arrived at Boston at the end of November in 1635.

Governor John Winthrop, the elder, noted Gardiner's arrival in his Journal under the date November 28: "Here arrived a small Norsey bark of twenty-five tons sent by Lords Say, etc, with one Gardiner, an expert engineer or work base, and provisions of all sorts, to begin a fort at the mouth of the Connecticut. She came through many great tempests; yet, through the Lord's great providence, her passengers, twelve men, two women, and all goods, all safe."[2][3][4]

Marriage and family[edit]

Shortly before departing from the Netherlands, he married Mary Willemsen Deurcant, the daughter of Dericke Willemsen Deurcant and Hachin Bastiens, who was born at Woerden about 1601. She died in 1665 in East Hampton, New York. She was buried next to her husband.[5] They were the parents of three children: David, Mary and Elizabeth.

Their only son, David Gardiner, was born on April 29, 1636 at Saybrook.[1][6] He married on June 4, 1657, Mary Leringman, a widow, at St. Margaret's Parish in the City of Westminster, England.

Mary Gardiner[7][8] was born on August 30, 1638 at Saybrook, Connecticut. She married in 1658, Jeremiah Conkling, the son of Ananias Conkling, who was from Nottinghamshire, England.

Elizabeth Gardiner,[9] was born on September 14, 1641 at the Isle of Wight, New York. She married in 1657, Arthur Howell, a son of Edward Howell of Southampton, England.


A military engineer in service of the Prince of Orange in the Netherlands, he was hired by the Connecticut Company in 1635 to oversee construction of fortifications in the new colony. He finished and commanded the Saybrook Fort at the mouth of the Connecticut River during the Pequot War of 1636–1637.[10] In 1639 he purchased from the Montaukett tribe an island which they called Manchonat, located between the North Fork, Suffolk County, New York and South Fork, Suffolk County, New York. The original grant by which Gardiner acquired proprietary rights in the island made it an entirely separate and independent "plantation," in no way connected either with New England or New York. He was thus empowered to draft laws for Church and state. He called it the Isle of Wight. It has since become known as Gardiners Island.

In 1660 he wrote a firsthand account, Relation of the Pequot Warres. The manuscript was lost among various state archives until rediscovered in 1809; it was first published in 1833.[11]


Lion Gardiner was buried in East Hampton, New York. In 1886 a recumbent effigy was erected to his memory,[12] and his supposed grave was opened. In it, a skeleton was found intact. It was that of a man over six feet in height, with a broad forehead and strong jaws. Gardiner (and many of his progeny) are buried in the South End Cemetery by Town Pond.[13]


Lion Gardiner's descendants number in the thousands today. Some of his notable descendants include:


  1. ^ a b c Gardiner, 84
  2. ^ Dunn, 207
  3. ^ Dunn, 161
  4. ^ Dunn, 783
  5. ^ Mary Willemsen Deurcant Gardiner at Find A Grave
  6. ^ Gardiner, 86
  7. ^ Gardiner, 93
  8. ^ Mary Gardiner Conkling at Find A Grave
  9. ^ Gardiner, 94
  10. ^ Gardiner, 6
  11. ^ Lion Gardiner, Relation of the Pequot Warres, 1660 Ed., W. N. Chattin Carlton, Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Electronic Texts in American Studies University of Nebraska - Lincoln Year 2007
  12. ^ Gardiner, 74
  13. ^ Lion Gardiner at Find A Grave
  14. ^ a b Gardiner, 145
  15. ^ Senator David Gardiner at Find A Grave
  16. ^ Julia Gardiner Tyler at Find A Grave
  17. ^ "Gardiner Greene Hubbard Biography", National Geographic
  18. ^ a b c Gardiner, 112
  19. ^ "Mrs. A.G. Bell Dies. Inspired Telephone. Deaf Girl's Romance With Distinguished Inventor Was Due to Her Affliction.". New York Times. January 4, 1923. Retrieved 2007-07-21. Mrs. Mabel Hubbard Bell, widow of Alexander Graham Bell ... Mrs. Bell was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, November 25, 1859 [sic], the daughter of Gardiner Green Hubbard [sic] ... 
  20. ^ Obituary: "Winthrop Gardiner, Jr." New York Times. October 18, 1980.
  21. ^ Selah B. Strong at Find A Grave
  22. ^ History of the city of New York: its origin, rise and progress, Volume 3 By Martha Joanna Lamb, New York: THE A. S. BARNES COMPANY. 1877
  23. ^ Gardiner, 124
  24. ^ Sherwood Forest Plantation - Home of president John Tyler at
  25. ^ "Robert D.L. Gardiner, 93, Lord of His Own Island, Dies". New York Times. August 24, 2004. Retrieved 2014-01-29. Robert David Lion Gardiner, the last heir to bear the name of the family that has owned Gardiner's Island, off the coast of Long Island, for nearly four centuries, died yesterday at his home in East Hampton, N.Y. He was 93. ...Mr. Gardiner called himself the 16th Lord of the Manor and saw himself as a custodian of his family's history on what is said to be the largest privately owned island in the world. 
  26. ^ Newsday, May 24, 2005
  27. ^ "Debating the Future Of Gardiners Island", New York Times, September 5, 2004


  • Dunn, Richard The journal of John Winthrop, 1630-1649.Abridged Edition: published by Harvard University Press[when?]
  • Gardiner, Curtiss C. Lion Gardiner, and his descendants with Illustrations 1599-1890. St. Louis, Missouri : A.Whipple, Publisher

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]