Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thomas and the Quakers

Having been deep into research the past couple of months, I have had more than ample opportunity to get more familiar with Anderson's work (one example). In a sense, the Great Migration work is a nice compilation [strike that, it's a condensation] and index. Serious lookers still need to follow sources back to the origin, or one might say, the first principle.

Unfortunately, this need seems to be true for genealogical work, in general. It would be as if every theorem that one looks at needs to have its proof lineage known ad infinitum. But, we know that is not true, as we can take proofs at face value due to the process, and its verification style. Of course, people are working on ways to bolster the genealogy discipline (I heard a biologist argue that a lot of it is like gossip: this one said that about the other one and so forth). Going totally Gutenberg (as in a recoil from the Internet and technology) is not a step forward either. We'll get back to all of that later, as this post is not about genealogy. Rather, it's about interpretations and world views.

The NEHGS has both history and genealogy in its name.


Methinks that the genealogists have a larger problem with viewpoints than do those working with the minute things (consider, if you would, the abundance of quantum interpretations). And, it has been shown by some research that conflict (which can escalate to warfare at the extreme - added here to nod to the Quaker tradition) is due to differences in interpretation. The main issue? Whose worldview is sufficient for the rest? The corollary: can there be peace in the valley when multiple viewpoints are allowed?

Aside: group versus the individual - ah, so much to discuss.


Now, in regard to Thomas' relationships with the Quakers, there seems to be a pot boiling. I've read one talk (are there others?) in which a Friend include[d] Thomas in their Quaker ancestry. On the other hand, Lloyd de Witt Bockstruck, quoting Anderson, says that there is no evidence that Thomas was a Quaker (in actuality, Anderson says that history is silent - ah, a tabula raza situation - in which we have the duty and opportunity to fill in the pieces) .

Perhaps, Anderson ought to have said that there is mostly circumstantial evidence (which can be strong enough to get fingers pointed in the context of crimes) which would imply the need to get more information. The Great Migration book did not say that "no evidence" exists and mentioned the silence of history. Ah, we know that Thomas has been written out, so to speak. What we might be trying to do is speak for the guy, in our own words (tongues).

Let's look at a few things. Thomas married a Quaker. In fact, they got along quite well it seems. Several of his children were Quakers. George being driven off to CT left poor Ruth so that she could be grabbed by Hathorne (great-uncle, so it's a family thing). Thomas was peaceful, though no pipsqueak. He definitely did not follow the Puritan's dogmatic view.

In essence (not to Hofstadter's use of surface and essence), did Thomas exemplify the Quaker ideal? Mind you, before you answer, consider this: is Quakerism a way of life founded upon a certain viewpoint or is it being enclosed within some groupal framework that subsumes the self?

Remarks:      Modified: 07/12/2015

11/13/2013 -- Tabula raza? Well, let's say, blank slate. That was my first reaction four years ago when I saw two things: a dearth of material and controversy about what was there. Neither of those are bad things, but the void was obvious. And, the 400th ought to be the time to fill in some of the pieces. We can say the 300th belonged to Roger Conant. Next up will be Thomas and the others. But, for Thomas, the blank slate is multiple. Think of adding pieces of what is known (see 27 Nov 2012), for starters. What would go on different slates could be determined by strength, source, or what have you. Then, easily filled holes would be next. And, so forth, incrementally looking at the stuff. The fluidity, flexibility of cloud-oriented approaches would be great for this. ... Now, this type of thing just might suggest where to look for information. Funding? That is one factor of importance. Verification? Again, part of the solution mix. ... Did anyone say that it would be easy? The big difference now, versus when Dr. Frank was working (who, by the way, will be the backbone of the research work - as in, things would delta off of that - not Anderson), is that there is more material available (after all, 100+ years of people digging in), there are means for collaboration (again, after all, that was the motivation (primarily) for the Internet), there are fewer physical limitations (as in, research can be done against the large, and every growing, cloud'd source - as opposed to sink ;-), and more.

11/14/2013 - A collection of related material: Quaker DNA, NSDEQ (is that Thomas I (d 1674) or Thomas II (d 1682)?), Quakers: the Quiet Revolutionaries, ... William & Mary Barrett Dyer (blog),

11/21/2013 -- It may be that Anderson's work is a compilation, when not much is known about a person. Otherwise, a few pages cannot hold what we know of many (not without converting to some condensed type of language - to wit, English-Mathematics and other examples). ..., For heritage societies, in general, one might remind them of the 5th (4th, in some cases) Commandment. Genealogy is, in part, honoring the parents, transitively through generations. Some seem to have an exclusivity notion. Of course, one either is or is not descended from someone. However, the mere fact of the documentation (or that the documentation is possible) does not make the reality. People, in their own being, know their heritage (this, yes, has to do with memes as well as genes - open to discussion as required). ... Mind you, there have been pretenders in the past, after all, that is a human trait which has not been rooted out. Too, genealogists have been led astray many times, for various reasons. But, the fact of the matter is that strictly-supportable lines are the exception (for most people, Prince William does not have any holes show up until many generations out). Then, there are those with no documentation. The in-between is where the action is (and where genealogist make their money). However, given any line, one can generate strong conjectures (yes, even with DNA, we'll have to appeal to various interpolative schemes) such that someone can know themselves better. Now, does that mean that they can join a society? No, in some cases, perhaps, in others. Can such allow insights so that one can continue looking in other than the mode of complete enumeration or, worse, random casting about (though, serendipity, and being cognizant of patterns, can bring out useful information from such)?
Puritan entertainment

01/05/2014 -- anceSTORY Archives has a recent article on treatment of the Quakers. The image comes from an article written by Melissa Berry for the Newburyport News. One might title this, Puritan entertainment. No, they did not allow the usual pleasures; rather, inhuman (and inhumane) activities seemed to be their attraction. ... One thing that we can be strongly assured of [is this]: Thomas and his kin were not of those who tied women (in an unclad state or otherwise) to carts and dragged them through the streets (er, muddy cowpaths).

01/06/2014 -- The Beacon issue Vol. III, No. 4 deals with the subject and reminds us that the son of Damaris, step-son of Thomas, brought the writ from Charles II to Endicott (too late for Mary Dyer) telling him to lay off, so to speak. Much more can, and will be, said.

01/08/2014 -- We added Earlier Settlers of Nantucket to our Bibliography. It's interesting to see the Folger stories of the early Gardners. ... In another place, we saw both Richard and John being described as well-educated. From whence that education? The parents? If you say no, you're not very much insightful about human nature. A child's first teacher is the mother, then the father. So, if Richard and John were Quaker, well-educated, and good citizens of their community, the mother deserves a lot of credit. Now, who was she? In Hinchman's book, Margaret is noted as the mother. We'll have to look to see the source for that. If it does come down as family history, then one would think that the children would have known their mothers. In any case, Margaret, or whomever it was, needs to have recognition as being early-Quaker (definitely, before Fox made his splash upon history).

02/15/2014 -- Another thing to consider is that George Fox was born when Thomas was over here trying to adapt to the new world's requirements, as in helping his family and himself survive the elements (plus the machinations of the ilk that were their compatriots). So, later, even if the message of George may have resonated with Thomas (as it did with those around him), why would the old guy who had not succumbed to the pressures of the likes of Conant, Endicott, Winthrop, et al, want to bow to some young whippersnapper? Then, again, what is a Quaker? Given that George didn't suffer the same fate as Mary (think Endicott's madness), does that make him lessor of a Quaker? ... Bordering on silly? Yes.

09/01/2014 -- Gardner Research announced. "The Trials of the Wilson Family" published (TEG (2014) 34:155).

07/12/2015 -- Okay, turtle speed. But, we get there. Announcing a new project: Sherborne, Dorset. No doubt, it is about time. When finished with the data collection and analysis, we will present the strongest story (the prerogative of the family) that the facts, and abductive reasoning, will support. As such, we hope to demonstrate some very much needed research viewpoints.

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