Thursday, December 27, 2012

Clamorous bunch

Thomas sticks out because of the dearth of information about him. He did not leave behind anything of a glib, or even querulous, nature. No, he was there and effective; and, he left his progeny. We have already mentioned that being free with words was a trait that seemed to come to fore here, in the first land of freedom.

Hence, Thomas can serve as a proxy for our look backs. Just like the "WWJD?" question, we can ask: what did Thomas think?


On reading Thomas Prince yesterday, I marveled at his scholarship and energy. His 1736 publication (Vol. I of the Chronological History of New England) had several pages of references. Luckily for us, Prince had read Rev. Hubbard's manuscript (finished in 1680, it was almost lost in the mayhem related to the tax issue - at Hutchinson's house which was trashed and burned) and used it.

Hence, we have the first reference of the role of Thomas and John (Tylly, of course) in a look back that was only 100 years after the fact. Of course, all sorts had their memoirs. I'll keep looking for the first reference, but, right now, it seems to be Hubbard (printed first by Prince).

Now, coming over to this land brought out several latent characteristics that had evolved over centuries. Think of the youngsters now running off to college and parties (and dire straits, many times). Same sort of thing; yet, some were more mature about it (hint, Thomas and his ilk). Others took their new-found power a little to far (despots, essentially - who? do I have to enumerate the whole set for you?).


I will redo Prince's bibliography in a modern format. It's really impressive. Many of these are in digital form, hence we can read them (so, we'll link to the on-line material).

But, looking at his work reinforced some notion that I've rolled around [in my mind]: you have to go back to the original sources, folks, to see what the person said by reading it yourself. As we would know from information theory, we have people expressing their opinion, then that opinion generates a retort (many times the original source is not reviewed to see what is what) and so forth, ad infinitum (it seems). We have to go back to the original source (which implies having it available and not just quoted by some later dude -- now, there may be additional information about motivation, milieu, etc., which all can be facilitated with the internet -- listening Zuck? -- what is this crap of claiming territory and making oodles of money -- yes, the cyber realm's landscape is being as screwed up as was the 1st world's).


The coming Gardner's Beacon issue will provide, hopefully, a new start on some of this stuff. The original basis will be minimal (somewhat).


The clamor accelerated with the advent of New England's reality, prowess, (in Thomas Prince's work, the scope includes all, not just the northern part that was started by the errant Pilgrims of 1620). The clamor reached some peak around the War of Revolution. However, the internet age has caused a worldwide surge (that is, beyond the huge amount daily captured in the Congressional Record). Lord help us (as in, who can eat or wear this vaporous thing that does not even have any semblance of being? -- ah, money as an analog).


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

Modified: 01/01/2013

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Gardner's Beacon, Vol. II, No. 6

See Vol. II, No. 6 of Gardner's Beacon for a look at the legacy of Thomas and Margaret () Gardner using an Annals format and being accompanied by a bibliography (with links to digitized versions of references).


In 1995, the Great Migration series had its first publication. Over the next few years, the early settlers (1620-1633) were covered in three volumes. If we take the first three "governors" and their coverage, we have this: Thomas Gardner (six pages), Roger Conant (eight pages), John Endicott (seven pages). This publication covers what is known about the settlers at this time.

As such, though, there is a lot of material that is not referenced. Too, a look back, such as the Great Migration one, can cover 1000s of people and cannot get into as much detail as we might want. We have to go elsewhere, and, frankly, the sum total of information that I have seen can be less than clear, for many reasons. One such controversy is how many wives that Thomas had. There are others.

For instance, on March 20, 1999, a talk at the ESOG (Essex Society of Genealogists) by David Goss looked at the Old Planters of Beverly (TEG, Vol. 19, pg. 123 -- our earlier take on the subject in 2011). He described how the term came about and to whom it applied. From the Beverly-group's perspective, the names are familiar as they've been used in many papers and books (Conant, Balch, Trask, Woodbury, Palfray). These were, in other words, the stalwarts of John White or the group led by Roger Conant (Reminder: the Beverly group did not get their land until 1635 - we need to talk about the time from 1624 up til then, more or less).

Along this same theme, we saw, in 1899, the founding of an Old Planters Society whose membership included those who had ancestors who came before 1630. That effort was led, in part, by Dr. Frank. A. Gardner. Dr. Frank A. is noted for his books on Thomas Gardner and his descendants using material that he had gleaned through a lifetime of research. It is of interest, that in the early 1900s, the group seemed to be a Balch/Gardner reunion (Benjamin Balch's/Sarah Gardner's descendants). The latest events have a flavor of the History of Beverly. The 1899 group talked about the injustice of history overlooking these early planters and wanted to correct the matter, ostensibly before the 300th anniversary. We're preparing now for the 400th.


David's paper, which I ran across recently, was the latest find during a three-year search and review, by the blogger, of all material related to the Cape Ann group. This long effort, essentially, looked in all corners and created a huge pile of material (searched with a very-wide net). Now, the task is sifting through the huge pile, developing a bibliography, laying out a timeline, and building a view that can go further as support for future research. That motive of this work is to honor Dr. Frank's work and to present a coherent, and as complete as we can, view of Thomas.

Too, many conjectures have been presented which do not fit the bill, otherwise there would not be the controversy (unless one expects that these types of things are not resolvable).


The current issue presents the material in a timeline by year, up until the present. In doing so, it hopes to show a view that makes sense. The timeline is not complete; rather, think of it as an outline from which we can define research projects that will clarify, fill in, information. If done correctly, this type of timeline would become more and more strong such that future people with interests in Thomas and Margaret can use it as a launch point.

That brings up a new view though. Thomas' crew put together a house their first year. Too, they did come prepared and were successful in establishing themselves. The only failure was not having sufficient output to send back to the capitalists in England. What White may have wanted was for them to send what they needed to sustain themselves, but reasonable folks do not do that without the threats of the taxman or strong arm (those who came here were not serfs, in other words).

When Conant showed up, he didn't find starving people. He found a boisterous group. The use of insubordinate shows White's failure (hey, the descendant of Thomas has White on the tree more than once). The effort was not a military expedition. It was a plantation building effort.

Here is the thing, though. When Conant and his group went down to Naumkeag, it was not an all-in-one trip. Whoever thought that has not had to deal with the real world. We're talking a trip that could be taken by a good man in a day. By water, the trip could be less in the right conditions (look at the image which shows an entry from Winthrop's diary - courtesy of Judy Jacobson - in which he talks of going to Salem, eating, then going to Cape Ann, for dessert, so to speak). Too, Thomas' group had established themselves at Cape Ann (which is a real nice place, by the way). There was the house and other dwellings. They had gardens. They had cattle. They could fish. There was game. Who the heck sees this as failure?

The movement over to Naumkeag took time and many trips. What ought to be considered is that Thomas had a presence at both places, but he was principally in Cape Ann. He could take care of (and feed) himself and his family very well. Now, when Endicott showed up and pushed Conant aside, he saw Thomas in the Cape Ann house. He liked the house and had it moved to Naumkeag.

Too, though, Endicott knew that Thomas was of the "Mr" variety. Hence, Endicott wrote about him (the 1629 meeting mention). Due to the lack of "press coverage" as we expect nowadays, Thomas might be considered peripheral by some, but so what? He was taking care of his own. Most likely, he helped other people, too. And, why would he follow Conant? Too, as said before, Thomas' proof of being is his progeny. And, being, folks, is still the reality (we have seen plenty examples, of late, of effective people who do not announce their deeds prior, or even ex post facto, to accomplishment).

Thomas was not a freeman (as if he needed someone to set him free) until 1637. He joined the Church the year before. But, he was signing things, like land grants, before this. In other words, he and Endicott got along, so Endicott gave him some responsibility. But, as we know how people are, the Church people noted that Thomas hadn't shown up (in modern parlance, took a boondoggle to Cape Ann to look at the crops when service time came around - okay?) so they had to rope him in. Also, Thomas knew that his kids would have to be of the social element in order to have any success. So, he deigned to join.

Not long afterwards, though, he married a Quaker. Do we hear of anyone threatening Thomas (Endicott would know better!) on this? We have not seen such documented. And, this type of thing would have been recorded. Also, it was not that Thomas was a bully causing people to fear him. Rather, his stature (I would presume from what I know of Gardners) was above normal; he have a solid, and large, character; and he was a man's man of the peaceful type (the Natives loved him).

In other words, the preeminent individual so loved by Emerson (in his mind - by the time of Ralph Waldo, too many of the elite had ruined things for the rest - that is part of the Thomas story) was here within the first generation (actually was the first generation).


That first group, all of them, had remarkable characters. They did not fail at Cape Ann. When Endicott got here, he did not find starving, helpless people. But, guess what? Not long after Endicott arrived, here came boats of people (too many) who swamped resources. At this time, Thomas would still have been house-sitting where they were well-provisioned. He probably helped move the great house (1628/1629) from Cape Ann to Naumkeag (at least, he probably was able to do this - of the many that we read about, they would be about as effective as a slug for any useful purpose -- unfortunately, history's details are about such and not those who can get, know how to get, things done).

The winters of 1628 and 1629 were dire due to the influx of the unprepared, and the results were catastrophic. We'll have to touch on this in our research. By the time Winthrop arrived, though, things were going great again, though, due to efforts of people like Thomas.


Aside: Salem, the wallflower? This little city ought to be as beloved as is San Francisco, for many reasons. Why is it not?

References:  see Sources and Bibliography (further delineation, soon)  


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

01/25/2013 -- By the way, we're going to document this more thoroughly on Wikipedia - Great House (Cape Ann). We have John Goff's expertise available to assist us. This house was the first of its kind in New England.

.01/08/2013 -- Added a forum to facilitate discussion, etc.

12/30/2012 -- 2nd edition, with changes, published today (see Afterthoughts & Modifications for this volume).

12/29/2012 -- In Afterthoughts & Modifications, mentioned the David Goss talk in 1999.

12/29/2012 -- Beacon issue uploaded with the start of a Bibliography with links to digitized versions of reference material.

12/26/2012 -- Someone else had the same idea: Balch Leaflets (1896): That Cape Ann was left utterly deserted at this time is very improbable; it could be plainly seen from their new abode and was distant but a few hours coast-wise by boat or canoe. ... There was a frame building there of considerable size and other property that demanded care. (This particular leaflet is dated 1877)

12/25/2012 -- The issue will be completed this week; this advance notice is a Christmas gift to Thomas descendants, and friends, who wondered about the times after Cape Ann.

Modified: 06/15/2013

Monday, December 24, 2012

No shadow over Thomas

I'm researching for the next Beacon issue which will have a brief timeline of the lives of Thomas and Margaret (it does a grand sweep of their times and after all the way to today). Hopefully, it'll point to areas where we'll focus effort in the future in order to expand upon the theme so as to leave the proper legacy.

I can thank Rev. Felt for phrasing some thought (read today) that I've had for three years in regard to Thomas (see Backbone series). That is, Felt gave me the proper concept to use. You see, how is it that there is such a lack of information? How can all of the written literature be so sparse in regard to his life over all of this time (from the beginning down to recent publications)? Even Anderson, et al, (Great Migrations) seems to write begrudgingly.

The below image is taken from Thornton's (1854) The Landing at Cape which tries to document the experience at Cape Ann (which has a bunch of unknowns). This book references Thomas only once as the plantation overseer, with Tylly, at Cape Ann. And, it is in the beginning, as in, pre-Conant. Other than that, there is nothing (based upon quick scan - so I may have missed something - the issue would remain, even so).


Aside and disclosure: The wife of the blogger is a direct descendant of Thomas and Margaret, however she is also descendant of Conant and others of the old and new planters. One might say that I'm continuing Dr. Frank A.'s argument about the injustice, in general. We'll get to that in the Beacon issue.


Felt writing
about Conant
Felt is talking about Roger's continuing displeasure at his treatment. But, the dear guy ought to have considered his treatment of Thomas and Margaret (he got the house!). The image quotes that Roger "retained a conviction of the great injustice done to him, even in his old age, and he could not refrain from reference to the neglect and ingratitude" referring to Endicott's arrival.

Notice that Felt says that "the new charter cast a shade upon Conant" which implies his followers (Balch, Palfray, Woodbury, Trask). A 1999 talk on the old planters of Beverly (we'll use this in the Beacon issue) said just that: Conant and his followers. These people worried that they might have been enslaved with the change in the power structure. It was so troublesome that Craddock had to address their worries, explicitly. Too, they were given the land in Beverly in order to bolster their spirits, so to speak.

And, old Thomas? Cool as a cucumber (as I've said, a guy who was effective, knew himself, and was the chief manifest'er of what was to become the American -- you think that London, et al, liked this?).

Now, none, nor any incident, that I can see, cast a shadow over Thomas. References to him imply dignity, respect, and more. On the other hand, he was ignored in writings, perhaps to put him in his place, as if that could happen.

Too, Thomas' stance was of the true American that we were to see develop over the succeeding centuries. One attribute of that stance was to be distant from the Churches (yes, plural -- ah, we can go on about that ad infinitum, but won't). Thomas was no follower; his blood and pedigree prevented that.

Now, too, his sympathy toward the Quaker thought, and the fact that his last wife was of that faith and that some of his sons were, to boot, talk of a mind that encompasses the shebang (put it this way: the every man view with both breadth and depth -- the latter, of course, meaning all classes -- those higher casting a shadow over the lower - hey, only those that you allow can cast a shadow over you). Yes, the Quakers were forward thinking and exhibited more than any a spirit of inclusiveness and peace (we'll have to get back to John Goff's take on King Philip -- we overlook, too much, our mistreatment of the natives - starting with whom? Endicott?).

However, we do not to want steal thunder from Gardner's Beacon. These topics all deserve careful study so that going forward we can have the proper view and respect for this UNKNOWN couple. As it says: honor thy father and thy mother (albeit transitively if necessary).


03/28/2014 -- See Vol. IV, No. 1 for a discussion of the movement from Cape Ann to Salem.

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.

03/02/2013 -- This may have appeared in another post, or Beacon. However, we'll repeat the thing here. When Thomas took the freeman oath, that is, that year, he was voted to the General Court with Hathorne (see above, another great-grandfather) who was a swashbuckler. It is interesting that Thomas, after that, kept a more local focus. There may be many reasons. But, getting up close with the clamorous ones may not have fit his mindset. You see. Throughout history, certain people get written about. Yet, in any situation, there are teeming amounts of more people who are not in the spotlight. Now, do you think that not having attention diminishes your being? If you say yes, let's have a little discussion. Of course, we would have to define, up front, whose attention. Social media comes to mind; frivolous content that invokes brain altering reactions (say what? -- I'm happy that I'm not susceptible, being too many decades old, long-in-tooth, if you would) to those who participate. So, back to Thomas and William. You see. John Endicott knew Thomas. John picked on poor Mary Dyer and others. William probably did similar deeds. Thomas? There are not bad tales. Too, and this is a big too, he deigned to be involved with people who were outcasts, namely the Quakers, as were his sons. Now, the sons left. Thomas was right there in Salem, of major stature in the phenomenal sense. Actually, his recoil (my take which can be explained) from the politicking tells a lot; it has a lot of meaning, not unlike George (the first Prez) stepping down even though he was adulated sufficiently for people to want him to be sovereign (thank you, George - for showing us that term limits ought to be part of the deal - professional politicians? say again?).

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.

12/25/2012 -- John Endicott knew Thomas to be exemplary (though, not military).

12/24/2012 -- We'll also point to academic studies, such as that shown in the image (Essex Institute and Johns Hopkins University). It says, don't look at the character (ah, John White? uncle? who needs enemies with family like that?) but consider the place as not appropriate (no aspersions meant for the lovely Cape and its environs).

Modified: 03/28/2014

Friday, December 21, 2012

Old Planters, Massachusetts

As suggested in the Wikipedia article, Old Planters (Massachusetts), there are many types of old planters. In the case of New England, this Wikipedia article needs to be expanded to include many other places, such as Boston.

Earlier, we mentioned Old Planters with the context of a reunion at Beverly. Too, we broached the subject while asking about the history of the area, essentially Essex county. Research, to date, seems to indicate that a recap of mentions of Thomas from early times on might be an appropriate undertaking.


For this post, we'll make use of what might be the first publication of the Old Planters Society that was active during the early part of the 20th century. The book is on-line (archive.orgGoogle Docs): The Alliance between Pilgrim and Puritan in Massachusetts, 1900, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Salem, MA.

The book contains an address by Thomas, the President, to the Society in which he looks at cooperative efforts, and the influence thereof, between parties who ventured over. These parties would not have been so inclined to such behavior across the pond. In essence, the coming over brought forth means to establish a new society, albeit troubled in many ways. The topic will arise again, in regard to Thomas' and Margaret's lives, so we'll leave it at those few words.


The real interest, at this point, is the summary of the Society which was instituted in 1899 (our task will be to pull together a more full history). Evidently written by Dr. Frank, the summary explicitly mentions Thomas. One thing in vogue then (many references which will be collected) was to cure the oversight of many people who were in the parties. That is, the historically covered people shadow the reality of the others (always has been the case - but, changes, such as we see with technology, indicate that this will not be so much so in the future).

See page 13; it says that "injustice" was done to some planters. It also uses sympathy which is not the intent here; rather, the focus is to establish a more full interpretation that removes the oversights, or, at least, explains their longevity.


The book has the Constitution of the Society. Article III, Sect. 1. defines an old planter as follows: lineally descended from, in the male or female line, a proprietor, a planter, or other settler in New England prior to the transfer of the Charter of the Massachusetts Bay Company from England to New England, in 1630.


The book lists the Officers and Members of the Society. Higginson was President. The VP was Dr. Frank. The following list is taken from the members' list and includes those who have Thomas on their application.
Some of the others may also be descendants (marked as **, we'll scrutinize the list, at some point) as they may only be listing a primary ancestor and not considering supplemental applications via other ancestors.


01/08/2013 -- Added a forum to facilitate discussion, etc.

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

12/25/2012 -- John Endicott knew Thomas to be exemplary (though, not military).

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. 

Modified: 01/08/2013

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Aunts, Uncles, Cousins

1675: December 19 - Captain Joseph Gardner, who set out from his home on the present site of the Essex Institute, is killed. (pg 28, Chronicles of Old Salem, F.D. Robotti).

On that day, the colonists lost a lot of officers. The Great Swamp Fight was an engagement in the King Philip war. At this particular fight, 220 colonists were killed or wounded. John Goff and Julianne Jennings wrote about King Philip and the conditions that led to the war, earlier this year. As we noted, the Gardners, and others, had peaceful relations with the native population on Nantucket.


Looking at family history, and genealogy, can by transitivity be seen as obeying the 5th Commandment. In a more full sense, that would include all of the children of a couple. Many folk do not have progeny who are here now that would remember them. So, we'll be sure to start that, perhaps as a meme.

So, given the honoring of those without issue, we would have the aunts and uncles. Perhaps, by extensions, cousins without issue would be remembered, too.

Finally, friends of the family deserve attention, as we show below, with one example.


Gardner's Beacon featured Joseph and his bride, Ann Downing, in the Valentine's issue. The couple lived in a great house that they received as a gift from her parents, Emanuel and Lucie (Winthrop) Downing. Joseph and Ann did not have issue.

When he died, Joseph left a widow, Ann. As the Beacon issue noted, Ann was very well educated. Yet, she, and her house, are now mostly known as having been associated with Gov. Bradstreet. It's interesting to note that Ann, prior to her second marriage, presented Simon with what was essentially a pre-nup. Was this the first of its kind on this continent?


We have mentioned many times the fact that Thomas and Margaret have been written out of history (my take, personally -- various motives will, eventually, be conjectured for this). The tone of the current post is remembrance. One friend of the family is John Tylly who came over with Thomas and Margaret to Cape Ann. John was a co-leader. He was killed in 1636, as an early casualty of conflicts with the native population.


Genes and memes seem to be topics of increasing attention nowadays. Perhaps, the interest might be cyclic, such as the up rise in publications at century markings. Around the 300th anniversary of colonial times (plus or minus, of course), books on family and genealogy came into vogue and appeared in droves. Any large library has several thousand of these. We are coming up on the 400th anniversary. It'll be interesting to see how celebrations of the event unfolds.

Memes (to be discussed further) will be one key thing, IMHO.


03/11/2014 -- anceSTORY mentions that what is referred to as the Governor Bradstreet house (Simon's will says that he had a pre-agreement with Ann prior to marriage) has another story than suggested by Perley (and a study of Essex Registry of Deeds). Need to check this out.

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.

Modified: 03/11/2014

Friday, December 14, 2012

Summary, 2012

The blog got its start on September 25, 2010. We're a little late with a two-year look back (see Posts of Interest - 2011), however it might be appropriate to review some of the statistics over the period. Before today, there were 75 posts. These have generated six categories, the largest of which is Descendants who have mostly been of earlier times. Perhaps next year, we can feature some recent descendants.
Past 30 days                                All time                           
The image shows two lists which contain the most-read posts which can also be taken to be the most popular.

  • Of late (left column), the How many wives? subject has been of interest. Some say that there were three. The post explains why we say that there were two. 
  • Since the beginning (right column), there have been two popular posts. Historical genealogy tells the story of the demise of Richard III and the involvement of a Gardner. Gardners and Gardners is an ongoing effort to identify all of the Gardner families, say before 1700, and their relationships. 

From time to time, we will do a snapshot like this so that we can show interest by time. Based on the above, Gardners and Gardners post might be the most popular as it is on both lists.

There were 13 posts in 2010 over a three month period. Last year (2011), there were 38 posts. So far this year (2012), we've had 25.


02/26/2013 --  See Wikipedia for a discussion about William Gardner whose page has been deleted. 

Modified: 02/26/2013