1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

    List of finding aids

    R.I.H.S. Library page

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 Oliver Gardner Papers

 Farmer of North Kingstown, R.I.

 Papers, 1743-1833. Bulk, 1772-1820.

 Size: 0.25 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 1015

 Processed by: Rick Stattler, February 1998

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            Oliver Gardner (1757-1823) was the son of Ezekiel Gardner (1712-1780) and Dorcas (Watson) Gardner of North Kingstown, Rhode Island. He became a dairy farmer, apparently specializing in sale of cheese. He served as a justice of the peace for North Kingstown from 1792 to 1800, and served in the Rhode Island General Assembly from at least 1806 to 1811. According to the family genealogy, he never married, and had an illegitimate daughter named Lydia with a woman named Martha Kinyon.  That information was also corroborated by the North Kingstown Town Council Minutes for 1811.


Robinson, Caroline E. The Gardiners of Narragansett (Providence, 1919), 54.

North Kingstown Vital Records

Smith, Joseph Jencks. Civil and Military List of Rhode Island, 1647-1800 (Providence: Preston & Rounds, 1900)

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Scope and content:

            The volume in folder 1 is probably the most interesting part of this collection. In the back of a very mundane school cyphering book can be found a variety of interesting accounts and memoranda. There are eight pages of weaving accounts dated 1772 to 1779; apparently Gardner did piece work at home to provide extra income as a youth. The same volume also has three pages of family death records for Gardner's grandparents, parents and siblings. The genealogical data from this family record is abstracted at the end of this inventory. It differs in a few minor details from the Gardiner genealogy; most noteworthy is a mention of a previously unknown brother named Jesse who died young.

            The two volumes that follow, combined with the first, seem to give a fairly complete record of Gardner's financial transactions from his adolescence until shortly before his death. The bulk of the entries relate to his sale of farm products. Volumes two and three both include several memoranda relating to cheese production and sale, and also several accounts with farm laborers.

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            The accession books list a gift of "Oliver Gardiner material" from Mrs. Richmond Viall in 1950. No other gifts of his manuscript papers were found on the books, and it seems likely that this entire collection arrived from Mrs. Viall in 1950. The cyphering book was originally cataloged in the printed collection, and was transferred to Manuscripts on July 1, 1993.

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Processing note:

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Folder 1. Cash book, 1772-1786; cyphering book, undated; and family record, 1743-1830.

Folder 2. Ledger, 1785-1805

Folder 3. Ledger, 1802-1820.

Folder 4. Loose papers:

            1753-1754      Six pages of loose accounts, presumably w/Ezekiel Gardner.

            1797/03/23   Lease to Ezekiel Gardner.

            1801/04/11   Agreement with Walter Watson re land leased to Elisha Watson.

            1806/02/13   Deed from George Gardner and Eleazer Ingraham.

            1806/02/22   Letter from William Hammond, re petition to assembly.

            1806/05/23? Letter from sister-in-law Katherine Gardiner (wife of Zebulon), of Exeter. Invitation to daughter Dorcas' wedding on first Thursday in June (June 5).

            1806/10/21   Letter from George Irish, Middletown, re relief for John Bourse.

            1808/10/11   Sheriff's deed from estate of Dorcas Watson

            1809/10/22   Letter from nephew Nicholas C. Northrup, North Kingstown.

            1810/02/24   Lease to Stephen C. Gardner

            1811/01/24   Lease to Stephen C. Gardner

            1811/05/02   Draft of letter to Gov. William Jones, resigning seat in the Senate.

            1812/04/??   Draft of lease to Stephen C. Gardner

            1812/10/01   Agreement with heirs of Stephen Watson.

            1814/03/26   Letter from Lydia Carr, Otego, N.Y.

            1814/09/30   Letter from nephew William Carr, Otego N.Y.

            1814/10/01   Letter from Lydia Carr, Otego, N.Y. (on reverse of William Carr's)

            1815/03/25   Lease to John W. Shearman.

            1831/??          Letter from William G. Carr. Nearly illegible.

            1833?/12/19 Letter from William G. Carr.

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Carr, Lydia

Carr, William G.

Cheese industry - Rhode Island - North Kingstown

Cyphering books - ca.1770

Gardiner, Dorcas (Gardiner) (1785-1866)

Gardner, Ezekiel (1712-1805)

Hammond, William

North Kingstown, R.I. - Social life and customs

Northrup, Nicholas C.

Rhode Island General Assembly

Textile industry - Rhode Island - North Kingstown

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