Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Thomas here and a Thomas there

This post continues our look at Gardner families and considers only the Thomas Gardners who arrived early.


But, first, here are four posts dealing with the subject of Thomas of Salem. They are in order with the latest post first. However, the book that is the principle focus of each post has an inverse order (somewhat, this is the result of taking data items back to their source; if we can grab the complete view, then the correct telling of the story will come to fore).
  • Thomas and Thomas (Jun 2013) - Felt suggests, from his review of the materials, that the Thomas of Salem came over with his father, who was also named Thomas.  Felt also notes that the older Thomas came from Scotland. 
  • John Farmer (May 2013) - Farmer has two Thomas Gardners in Salem. The older one was the lead at Cape Ann, Farmer says. And, the son who was the husband of Damaris died in 1674. 
  • Stories and Unwindings (Oct 2010) - One expects to find misinformation on the web; it's a different thing when such is published. But, first, one has to establish what is misinformation and what is not. Mention is made of Dr. Frank's books and one by William Folger about Nantucket settlers. Too, though, a 1999 article by the Jamaica Plain Historical Society mixes the Thomas Gardners. 
  • Gardners and Gardners (Sep 2010) - Dr. Frank's book had a list of the early Gardner families in which there were two Thomas Gardners: Salem (1624), Roxbury (died 1638). Dr. Frank also mentions what he considers an error: that there were two Thomas Gardners (of Salem), the earlier of whom died in 1635 (see image on post from Dr. Frank's book; elsewhere, he used 1638, but are people talking two old Thomas Gardners?). 
Note: Statements, by earlier writers, that turn out to be less than correct ought not be suppressed. Rather, we need to bring these to fore so that the reasons for their incorrectness is accessible. The cloud/web seems to allow such methods with its large storage capacity. The problem? Given that the proper view is established, where does one put it? Where does a researcher go to find the most-supported view?


Roxbury to Salem
Now that we have reviewed what has been gathered so far, let's look at the early arrivals, and we can point to the two Thomas Gardners who are mentioned in Dr. Frank's list (Salem and Roxbury). Some researchers have suggested a relationship between these two families. Others seem to have their descendants mixed up. The map is included for those who may not be familiar with the area.

Note: The crow distance must be about 14 miles or so. Yet, the terrain would have slowed any movement. Perhaps, the fastest way would be to get down to Dorchester and take a boat to Salem. Nowadays, these two are on an arc, somewhat; one can take a highway in an almost circular path around Boston. That distance is 50 miles or so.


What is the true picture? How can we find out? Well, data gathering, analysis, and discussion is one mode that we will continue to pursue.

For now, let's use the NEHGS-published Great Migration books. The format of this material that has been followed for all of the principle arrivers is Origin, Migration, First Residence, Return Trips, Occupation, Church Membership, Freeman, Offices, Education, Estate, Birth, Death, Marriage, Children, Associations, and Comments. People who are not handled separately are still mentioned along with a reference to source of the material. As we have said, this series' look at hundreds of people is exemplary in presenting only items that can be supported. That being said, there are other sources that might have enough weight to make a reasonable stab at filling in gaps (as long as they are not too big - formally, interpolation).
  • Thomas Gardner of Salem (died 1674) is covered in the early volumes: 1620-1633, Vols. I-III, pg. 731 (6 pages). His children are as noted by Dr. Frank, albeit with a different placement for Richard
  • Thomas Gardner of Roxbury (died 1638) is mentioned several places. He is noted as the father of Peter Gardner (died 1698): 1634-1635, Volume III, G-H, pg. 14 (4 pages). (Note: Thomas had several children, including Thomas Gardner of Muddy River who married Lucy Smith). 

The next thing to look at will be all of the Thomas Gardners that were in the area up to about 1700. To get an idea of how many there were, we can look at Savage: Before 1692, Volume #2, Gardner-Garven. Just in this section, Savage mentions seven Thomas Gardners.

Of course, there are other works to consider.


01/18/2019 -- Added to the index at

03/11/2015 -- Sourced ahnentafels (published in TEG and The Gardner Annals): Thomas Gardner of Salem descendant (Benjamin Brown Gardner - grandfather of Dr. Frank) and Thomas Gardner of Roxbury descendant (Susan Charlotte Graves Gardner - aunt of Dr. Frank).

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

08/25/2013 -- On a site dealing with descendants of Alice Freeman, Abigail Gardner is on the list due to marrying John Wise. Hence, her father and grandfather are there, too. Thomas (before 1595 to 1638), father of Thomas and Peter. The site, by Chris Chester, is wonderful in its use of sources; too, I really like the format. We need to do something similar for the Thomas Gardners.

08/22/2013 -- Forgot to mention: nothing new under the sun.

08/21/2013 -- Other works would include contributions by researchers, such as we find from Heather Rojo: Nutfield Genealogy: Amanuensis Monday - A mystery from Rev. Bentley's diary. On-line is not bad, by definition, old genealogists (gosh, I'm 71 and know better than that).

Modified: 01/18/2019

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