Clement Gardiner and Henrietta Boone Gardiner arrived in Kentucky about 1797. Like many Catholics, they left Maryland because of religious oppression. In the years prior to the revolution, Catholics were double taxed and prohibited from certain professions. The area around Bardstown, Kentucky was a destination for many Catholics.
Clement and Henrietta settled along Coxs Creek in what is now Fairfield. They were generous to the church. Visiting priests celebrated mass at their house. Later they donated land for St. Michael's Church and cemetery. They also donated money to build the church. (The first church in Louisville started as a mission of St. Michael's.) Clement and Henrietta wanted a school for girls in the Fairfield area so again they provided land so that could happen. They had difficulty finding teachers for the school. The Sisters of Loretto answered the call but after illness took the lives of several sisters the school had to be closed. After the death of Clement Gardiner and the closure of the school, Henrietta moved to Loretto and lived out her remaining days in prayer and solitude with the sisters.
Clement's and Henrietta's legacy in the church lived on for many generations. Numerous descendants joined the religious life. Son Harry joined the Trappist Monastery although he died young. At least three granddaughters joined the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. A great-grandson became a priest. This legacy even lived on into my generation as my sister became a Dominican nun. The parish hall at present day St. Michael Church in Fairfield is named Gardiner Hall.
1. "Gardiner Descendants plus Hatton Family and Weire Family Histories", Mary Louise Donnelly, 2004
2. "The Centenary of Catholicity in Kentucky : Webb ... - Internet Archive." 2012. 29 Aug. 2013 <http://archive.org/details/centenaryofcatho00webb>