Friday, August 31, 2012

Written out of history

Foreword (or forewarn): This is one of the backbone series. The post is motivated by thoughts related to material used for the coming Gardner's Beacon issue, which will be on houses from the early start.

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The effort at learning about Thomas and Margaret is about three years old. The main issue seemed to be that not much was known in the sense of mentions, in the writings, being sketchy, at best. That is, even though Thomas led the group into Cape Ann, not much was recorded. Mention of his effort came later with an early 18th century publication by Rev. Hubbard (saved from a fire, thank God for that!). John White mostly denigrated the crew (ah, we can write a bunch about that). What we hear about is the arrival of Conant (and Lyford), the move to what became Salem, and then post-Endicott times.

This message was apparent in retrospectives by several families, such as Woodbury, Trask, and more. The site for the John Balch house was a reminder. That is, on the write-up of this house, nothing is mentioned of Sarah, Thomas' and Margaret's oldest daughter. John's son came to Cape Ann with the party. As well, Sarah was born at Cape Ann (pre-Endicott Massachusetts). Sarah married Benjamin Balch. John Sr. gave the couple the house. Hence, I'll refer to it as Sarah's house.

Actually, the Beverly oversight (wake up!) is more appalling when you consider that John's wife came with him to Cape Ann. She and Margaret represented the females. And, they went through all of the same crap (perhaps more than) as did the men.

Also, we find this: When the company was recalled to England, the Balches, Roger Conant, John Woodbury, Peter Palfry, and others stayed in Massachusetts and moved south to Naumkeg, now Salem, in 1626.

Four families are mentioned here. Trask was left out. The 'others' would have included the Gardners. That story needs to be told; it's part of our task list. The Paine sisters, Thomas descendants, wondered if the family had gone back to England for some period of time. Had that been so, Woodbury, who did go back and forth, might have mentioned this. However, the Woodbury lookback doesn't mention Gardner, at all.

Too, Thomas' kids would have said something about going back. John, the Magistrate, would have known. So, too, would have his older siblings.

We ought to try to document the fact that, after the group moved, someone would have gone back and forth between Cape Ann and Salem. What is it? 17 miles or so? Look, the house was nice enough for Endicott to want it moved.

Too, and this is a big TOO, the group was NOT unsuccessful. Did Conant report that he found starving people? On the contrary, they were bolsterous enough to want to tangle with Standish and his crew. They had their food sources, dwellings (however meager), and themselves (true independent souls of the American which was to be).

What the group did not achieve was the capitalistic dream (and John White's, to boot) that, essentially, tries to get something for nothing. Yes, folks. The success of the model requires an unending supply of hapless exploitees. So, Cape Ann's little group was not able to ship back produce or seafood. But, they fed themselves.

In fact, that Thomas and Margaret got their nine kids to adulthood is evidence enough. They were very good parents. And, each of their kids was a healthy, and effective, adult.

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Another topic deals with the regime, and regimen, imposed upon the freedom-loving people. We all know the stories. But, Thomas' life, as a focus of study, will allow a re-look.

In 1637, when Thomas deigned (yes, used purposefully) to get himself drummed into the group mindset -- freeman's oath -- he did it for his kids. His boys were adults and needed the social involvement. You see. That is a long time after the 1626 move. Thomas had class, abilities, and showed self-reliance long before Emerson wrote about it.

It's telling that Thomas was made Deputy to the General Court, with Major Hawthorne, in the year when he took the oath. People wanted his involvement since he was an elder by action and more. For some reason, post 1637, his effort was local to Salem and the area. We can, and might, speculate about why this was so.

Again: Not a descendant. Objective third-party. However, married to one who has a whole slew of these folks in the ancestral tree.

Remarks:

10/13/2014 -- Tabula raza, and more, will be of concern.

07/17/2014 -- The book about the Invisibles (the unsung heroes) offers another viewpoint. Of course, it is set in the modern context. But, we all know that history covers only a fraction of reality. What we see now is that technology will allow us suitable ways to go back and fill in the blank slates.

11/13/2013 --  Phippen would be part of the slate fill.

11/06/2013 -- While working on the next Beacon issue, I ran across some books. The one by Staloff was timely; imagine, I was wondering why the backbone series? Has the talented set ever allowed the lessors to have some semblance of a good life? Oh, you say yes? Winthrop, et al, were against this from the beginning. The stalwart of what could be (or could have been)? Thomas Gardner, of course.

09/09/2013 -- Forgot to update this earlier. But, the post related to Gardner's Beacon, Vol. II, No. 6, discusses that Thomas had no shadow over him as was feared by some old planters (would Dr. Frank, today, still want to include Thomas in the group?).

06/15/2013 -- John Farmer wrote that Thomas was from Scotland. Origins are, and will be, a focus.

02/10/2013 -- Having finished a book on the 1692 events and doing a post on the subject, I can add to this look at Thomas. I've mentioned that he didn't queue right up to join the church and that he was recognized by Endicott. As well, he married a Quaker without any repercussions that we know of. Of course, his sons left the area due to the Puritanical (hypocritical) mindset.

01/01/2013 -- David Goss' talk at the 1999 Essex Society of Genealogists gives a perspective that also motivates. See the TGS bibliography.

12/24/2012 -- Thomas, unlike Conant, was not overshadowed in the world of being. We'll spend some time characterizing this fact and what it means to reasonable folks.

12/22/2012-- We need to differentiate between Old Planters of Beverly (see The Old Planters of Beverly in Massachusetts, 1930, Alice Gertrude Lapham, The Riverside Press) and the Old Planters of Massachusetts. One could even talk, Old Planters of New England.

12/19/2012 -- Sarah married Benjamin, son of John.

11/27/2012 -- Let's itemize what we know, re-iterate some basics, and the proceed constructively.

10/28/2012 -- September issue had a theme of houses.

09/13/2012 -- About Margaret. We'll honor her as the ancestor, with Thomas, of the Gardner family.

09/01/2012 -- Vol. II, No. 4 of Gardner's Beacon deals with houses.

Modified: 10/13/2014

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

King Philip, Joseph and Ann

August 12 is the 334th anniversary of Wampanoag King Philip's death (execution). The war with King Philip was a major event in New England in the latter part of the 17th century.

John Goff (a Thomas descendant and president of Salem Preservation Inc.) co-authors an article with Julianne Jennings (Strong Woman) that looks at the time and some of the facts.

       On the anniversary of Wampanoag King Philip's death

The two authors ask some interesting what-if questions, such as: what would New England (and the rest of the continent) be like if there had been more peaceful relations between those who migrated here and those already in residence, the Native Americans? As we all know from stories of the Pilgrims, things started off peaceful enough.

We know that Thomas and his children had good relations with the Native Americans. We mentioned, earlier, John's (son of Thomas) effort on Nantucket.

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The authors also remind us that Native Americans, even those who surrendered, were sold, into slavery, to plantations in Bermuda (and the Caribbean). That may not seem to be in character and definitely not something to be proud of.

But, we know from history that the Puritans were not without fault, to say the least, in some of their dealings. Quakers and their children got this same type of treatment.

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We featured Joseph (son of Thomas) and Ann in the February issue of Gardner's Beacon. Joseph and Ann had a house in Salem that had a long and interesting history. Unfortunately, it did not stand the test of time (however, its usefulness has been documented - coming issue on houses). The Joseph and Ann house was built by her father, Emanuel Downing, and had a remarkable structure for the time. Joseph, a captain in the militia, was a casualty in the Great Swamp Fight leaving Ann a widow. She later married Simon Bradstreet after having him sign a pre-nup. Her father, as a lawyer, trained his daughter well. The house became, then, known as Governor Bradstreet's house (such is the way of the world).

Remarks:

12/19/2012 -- Changed article pointer to go to the Salem Gazette.

10/28/2012 -- September issue had a theme of houses.

08/14/2012 -- Drawn and quartered, after the swamp fight.

Modified: 12/19/2012