Caleb Gardner, Jr., 1729–1801




Newport, Rhode Island, Providence, Rhode Island

View objects associated with Caleb Gardner, Jr. >


Caleb Gardner, Jr. was probably born in Brookline, Massachusetts, in 1729. His parents were Caleb Gardner (born 1682) and his first wife Abial (Phypps) Gardner.(1) The elder Caleb removed to Newport with his family around the time of his second marriage to Elizabeth Phipps, niece of his first wife.(2)

The 1758 upholstery on a chair is attributed to Caleb Gardner, Jr., based on a graphite inscription that reads, "Gardner Junr / Newport May / 1758."

In 1772, Newport husbandman John Anthony twice brought suit against Caleb Gardner, identified as a Newport upholsterer. In May, Anthony sued to recover ten pounds due to him by Gardner. The court found in Anthony's favor, but Gardner appealed the decision.(3)

Gardner was twice identified as a Newport upholsterer in May, 1774, when Newport merchant Gideon Sisson brought him to court for failure to pay rent. Gardner was evicted, and Sisson awarded twenty five pounds six shillings and three pence.(4)

By 1783, Gardner had moved to Providence, where he advertised that, Caleb Gardner, Upholsterer, Begs Leave to inform the Public that he carries on his Business, in all its Branches, at the House of Paul Tew, Esq; opposite Mr. Samuel Young's. The Favours of the Public will be gratefully acknowledged, and those who may please to employ him may depend on having their Orders executed in the best Manner, and after the newest fashion.(5)

When he died in Providence in 1801, it was reported that he died, Friday Morning last, Col. Caleb Gardner, in the 73d Year of his Age. Through a long Life, he supported the Character of an honest and upright Man, and met the Approached of Death with the Calmness and Fortitude which peculiarly characterise the Christian- he died regretted, as he lived respected by all his Friends and Acquaintance, and has left a Widow and Children to lament a Loss to them irreparable.(6)

Benjamin W. Colman and Patricia E. Kane

1. Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850,

2. Elaine T. Francis, "Two Patriots of Brookline, Mass.," The Magazine of History 12, no. 2 (1910): 98-101.

3. John Anthony v Caleb Gardner, May 1772, Inferior Court of Common Pleas, Newport County, Record Book, vol. I, 173, Judicial Archives, Supreme Court Judicial Records Center, Pawtucket, R.I.

4. Gideon Sisson v Caleb Gardner, May 1774, Inferior Court of Common Pleas, Newport County, Record Book, vol. I, 526, Judicial Archives, Supreme Court Judicial Records Center, Pawtucket, R.I.

5. The Providence Gazette and Country Journal , "Caleb Gardner, Upholsterer," May 24, 1783,

6. United States Chronicle, "Died," October 29, 1801,