Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Gardner's Beacon, Vol. III, No. 1

See Vol. III, No. 1 of Gardner's Beacon for a continued look at the legacy of Thomas and Margaret () Gardner using an Annals format. This time the focus is on the period prior to the arrival in 1623/24, for the most part considering the context and motivations of the arrival. Future looks will be at the Dorchester Company and then at Thomas and Margaret, specifically.


The best known immigration event in the U.S., to many, is that of the Pilgrims and their Mayflower voyage. Too, Jamestown got recent recognition with the 400th anniversary of the settlement's start. In both of these attempts, the people involved endured a lot of hardship and suffering. It took years to become what might be considered successful.

We, across the distance of time, can easily ignore the troubles and look at the accumulated glory. After all, the majority of U.S. educated people can tell us the stories behind the first Thanksgiving, even if some of the details may be a little off the mark.

The fact is that New England, which was North Virginia, did not offer an easy time for any early settlement attempt. We will look at some of these over a fifty year period.

English transisitons
Aside: The original intent was to cover +/- fifty, but there is just too much information for that. So, we'll continue with this theme for awhile in the Beacon. Some of the views will cover a wide expanse of time while others are expected to zoom in on a particular period or series of events. There were many changes going on in England and the world. The image depicts changes on the throne for the period that would cover the life of Thomas and two generations before.


Comparatively, though it has been couched, by many, as being otherwise, the Cape Ann venture, led by Thomas Gardner, was successful in several ways. For one, those there made it through the winter. Then, they established themselves, built a great house, put up other dwellings, made plantings, and more. They were healthy enough to be rambunctious when relating to those who may have wanted to encroach (to wit, Roger Conant's peacemaking role). And, they did go on to found Salem.

In fact, when Winthrop showed up in 1630, he feasted on strawberries from Cape Ann. Most likely, these had been cultivated. He also was wined (or beer'd) and dined in a house (see Wikipedia) that was the first of its type in New England.


Be that as it may, to understand the origins, we need to look at those earlier times of exploration and of trial residence that went on for several decades. This look is not conclusive; to be comprehensive is beyond the scope of any Beacon issue. There is an intent to fund necessary research to fill in gaps about the lives of Thomas and Margaret including looks at the contexts, situations, and collateral families.

References:  see Sources (Current Issue)  


09/28/2014 -- A week ago, the record for the marriage of Thomas Gardner and Margaret Friar was discovered in Sherborne by John Cook of Minneapolis, Dorset files. This sets a type of focus. Looks as if some transcription work might be in order.  

03/18/2014 -- More thoughts on Cape Ann, Thomas and Margaret, and, not least, strawberries.

03/23/2013 -- Beacon issue, Vol. III, No. I, is available. 1st Edition still there in PDF format. This issue looks at events prior to the arrival. Looking at the arrival and early times in more detail makes it even a stronger thought that the group was overlooked and denigrated. That statement is not meant only in relation to Thomas. The whole group had their position in history lost. We'll re-look at all that has been said and reconstruct, as needed, a view that ought to be left for future historians to discuss.

03/21/2013 -- 1st edition (or draft) migrated in order to get all the pieces into place. The completion of edits will be noted by the removal of the watermark.

Modified: 09/28/2014

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