The list associated with Conant's move was small and did not include Gardner which brought up a lot of questions, such as where was he?
A mere three years later, Endicott lost 80+ souls due to improper preparation.
The Paine sisters may have thought that Thomas went back to England for a little while. But, no. He was in the Cape Ann house when Endicott arrived. He and Margaret had kept the property up from the departure of Conant until the arrival of Endicott.
Associated with all of this is the dearth of information about Thomas. We can be thankful for Rev. Hubbard who interviewed all of the players. Otherwise, those little bits would not be around. But, his manuscript was almost lost and was very much delayed in printing. So, we can thank the heavens.
But, it's not a tabula raza situation, as the information is there. We just need to pull it all together and organize the things. That we now have a cloud'd interface to a growing set of data sources portends to some good research in the future.
See Vol. IV, No. 1 of Gardner's Beacon for a look at the Cape Ann experience.
References: see Sources (Current Issue)
Remarks: Modified: 03/22/2014
03/22/2014 - I ran across this site in earlier searches: An American Family. Today, I saw that there was this page on Priscilla Grafton Gardner and wanted to add a link as she was the wife of John Gardner (born, Cape Ann).