Backbone has already been used with a different context: fedaerated. Why? The study of those times that were 150 years prior to the Revolution are very much apropos to understanding of the current problems. Even Naisbitt thinks so, though I don't agree with his slant.
Disclosure: The author is a 3rd generation American whose ancestors were basically post the Civil war. Hence, looking at Thomas and Margaret affords a new view into the history of northern Europe and the new world. As an aside, there has been a lot written about the past 400 years, even about that New England locale. Hence, one can easily get lost in all of the verbiage. And, there are conflicts in what was written. So, we seriously need some new overviews that try to help guide one through the mess (more below).
So, today, while I was reading the Annals of Salem (the overview) by Felt, I had some thoughts that will be expanded upon further. First of all, there were tyrannical doings almost from the beginnings. True, the aboriginal peoples were trampled. But, there was serious infighting among the settlers, even though they were from a common background.
Earlier, I had noted to myself that Thomas seemed to be above the fray (we'll expand upon this thoroughly). However, let me say that he was there, and of notice, even without corroboration of those writing the historical accounts (meaning, of course, that we can thank Rev. Hubbard (he died in 1704) for the first real reference -- it is said that he had talked to all of the principals -- Thomas, Roger, and John). In other words, Thomas, and Margaret, had been successful in bringing up their kids in the midst of turmoil and peril (we'll characterize this, to boot). Of course, many other families were equally adept. For this, we can be grateful.
It is of definite interest that the first year that Thomas deigned to undergo the 'freeman' yoke (1637), he was elected, with William Hathorne (Samuel's father-in-law), to be Deputy to the General Court. We'll go more into that later.
Some have wondered about what happened to Thomas after the group left Cape Ann because he's not in the record (see Remarks 12/03/2011). One author (Paine family) considered that the family might have gone back to England. As we know, some did. Rev. Lyford went to Virginia.
Think of it, though, that Thomas was the ultimate example of a self-sufficient, mature person. In other words, he was an archetypal New England'r before it had even become popular to think of those good traits. He was able to guide himself and his family through those dark times (and, we'll be getting into this in depth). When it became apparent that he had to conform to the powers that be in a public sense for the sake of his children, he did so. Then, his kids all excelled. Joseph stands out in that he married the sister of Sir Downing (there are several messages there). Samuel's wife had in-laws (the Corwins) who have royal descent. Richard and John did very well on Nantucket. George has his memorial (kidding). The girls have their esteemed offspring, too.
Of course, this brings up things related to the background. How did Thomas get his position from Rev White? And then, how could Rev White forget him so soon? When Conant came on the scene, Thomas showed a lot of maturity even though Conant is more touted for his acceptance of Endicott when he stormed on the set.
By the way, we'll go into some of the other parties who have their names blasted upon the pages of history. From where I sit (and that does mean that you can infer personal knowledge), some of these people were not much better than were their Christian brothers who sustained the energy behind the Inquisition for so long. What were the English doing? Trying to show up the Spaniards? Yes, a few things might be discussed along that line.
From what I've seen, Thomas has no recorded peccadilloes of this nature. In fact, given that the American Indians on Nantucket really liked John, we can assume something about John's upbringing.
Now, another thing that came up today was seeing a reference (in Felt's work) to the Magna Charta at a 1635 meeting (finally, I thought -- hey, that's 11 years later -- same issues as we face now with our leaders, don't you think?). Whoever brought that up may have had to duck (I'll research this more). But, it was wonderful to see the reference. In case it has not been noted, we're coming up on the 800th anniversary (2015) of this very important document.
Yes, it was brought up, in the meeting, that by-the-seats-of-the-pants governance, by second-rate people, was not conducive to a sustainable society, more or less. But, the U.S. did emerge, eventually.
Too, those with the real sense, such as Williams and Bachiler, went off to found Rhode Island and New Hampshire, respectively.
What? Did I read that Cromwell almost came over? It seems that the king prevented this, to his dismay a little later. That little bit sort of indicates that we must not forget some of the motives for coming over here (not just freedom, religious or otherwise). England was a mess, in many ways. So, would not New England exhibit that messiness, too?
There is a lot to read. So, at some point, a bibliography related to the 'backbone' theme will be presented. These posts will be like notes with a theme, hopefully.
07/12/2015 -- Of course, when Roger brought his people to Salem, Thomas was not there. Why? He and Margaret kept the Cape Ann house. Of course, when John Endicott came over, he saw Mr. Gardner in his nice house. John said, that is mine. Take it over to Salem. So, by splitting his time (Salem is not that far), Thomas had an idyllic time with his wife and kids; too, he had time to get himself and his family settled in the new realm.
04/20/2015 -- Yes, Cape Ann's life was idyllic, except any cohesive group must always endure the changes brought by new arrivals. Thomas and Margaret got to enjoy their house, once again, after Conant and crew left and Endicott saw the house and wanted it moved.
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.
11/06/2013 -- 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.
11/27/2012 -- Let's itemize what we know, re-iterate some basics, and the proceed constructively.
05/01/2012 -- Two things to be thankful for: Rev Hubbard's look back (his brief mention is sufficient) and the fact that the manuscript was not lost (otherwise, would Thomas had been even more unknown?).
03/07/2012 -- Where was Thomas? 1626 or so and 1641 or so.
12/03/2011 -- The thing that grates? Thomas led the group into Cape Ann. When the group went to Naumkeag, Gardner is not on the list of planters. We see Conant, Balch, Woodbury, and Palfrey (each got 1K acres -- as well, all of the families have inter-married with the Gardners). When I say 'grate' I'm referring to my initial reaction a couple of years ago when I first started to read about this stuff. Gardner forgotten, ignored, shunned, what? And, Rev White was the instigator of that division. Well, it'll bear more scrutiny, no doubt.