Borden was born in Monmouth County, New Jersey, the son of Benjamin Borden and Abigail Grover Borden. Little is known about his early life, but in April 1726 his name appeared on a deed as an inhabitant of Freehold, New Jersey, where he was probably acting as a land agent and speculator. Borden married a cousin, Zeruiah Winter, and they had at least three sons and seven daughters.
By April 1734 Borden had taken up residence inin the northern, or lower, portion of the Shenandoah Valley. On October 3, 1734, Borden received a patent for 3,143 acres in an area of what is now Clarke County that came to be called Borden’s Great Spring Tract. He raised tobacco and lived there until his death. In addition to acquiring other tracts in the lower Valley near Apple Pie Ridge, Bullskin Run, and Smith’s Creek, Borden received 100,000 acres along the branches of the James River in the upper part of the Shenandoah Valley in May 1735 from the . According to an apocryphal story, he obtained this large grant by winning the favor of Lieutenant Governor through the gift of a buffalo calf. For the next four years Borden gave much of his attention to fulfilling the settlement requirement for the grant of one family for every 1,000 acres. On November 6, 1739, he solidified his claim to this land by receiving a patent for 92,100 acres of what by then was called the Borden Tract.
Borden was among the most important of those land promoters, also including, Jost Hite, and Alexander Ross, whose activities helped populate Virginia’s first frontier settlements west of the Blue Ridge. By actively recruiting among recent emigrants from the north of Ireland, Borden furthered the emergence of an ethnically and religiously pluralistic society in the region. After his death the duty of settling the Borden Tract fell to his namesake son, who also served as a militia captain and justice of the peace in Augusta County. Legal disputes over surveys and deeds on the Borden lands were not fully resolved until 1885. Other complaints about large land grants also arose. In 1786 residents of Rockbridge County in the upper part of the Shenandoah Valley protested to the General Assembly that the large colonial grants represented “hard and oppressive” monopolies characteristic of monarchies, “where the natural rights of men are so much abused.” They complained that the speculators had avoided paying taxes on their land and had sold the actual settlers small tracts at excessive prices. The petitioners requested the legislators to resurvey the tract and dispose of ungranted land at reasonable prices. Borden’s reputation had become that of a beneficiary of privilege rather than an entrepreneur opening to ordinary immigrants the possibility of landownership.
Borden was appointed a justice of the peace for the area northwest of the Blue Ridge in April 1734 and was a member of the Orange County Court in January 1735. His name appeared second in seniority in the list of the first justices of the peace for Frederick County in October 1743, but he did not serve in this capacity. Benjamin Borden wrote his will on April 3, 1742, and died probably about the time that the new county’s court began to function in November 1743. His will was proved before the justices of the Frederick County Court on December 9, 1743.