Thursday, January 3, 2019

29 December 1674

That date is the date of Thomas' death in Salem, MA and is 344 years ago (this past week). It will be a while before it has its 400th anniversary: 400 or so. But, there are things that we can do now with the 400th of the arrival coming up.

One thing is that we will have a rolling bit of information in brief snippets. On our new site,, we had a paragraph taken from the WikiPedia article on Thomas. It has been the same since we started that site. Today, we changed the text to look at what was going on prior to 1623/24. When one looks at this, one sees that lots of stuff was going on. There was almost regular traffic across the Atlantic, mostly looking for fish. The issues related to round-tripping in one year, plus preserving the catch, motivated the commercial interest that got Thomas and Margaret to these shores.

Gardner's Gate
(portal to truth)
As of January 2019, see December view (below)
The snippets will bounce around in time. Overall, they'll be collected coherently. Soon, we will start some about Thomas' whereabouts. We have written a lot about this subject. Expect some overview posts this month, as well as a timeline of what we know and why we know.
The Thomas record on findagrave quotes a web site that says that Gardner's Hill is in Harmony Grove. Below is a map that shows Perley's view over 100 years ago against a modern overview from photos. The markings detail the relationship in a manner that we can measure. Actually, we intend to walk it just like Sidney Perley did over 100 years ago. Ann's childhood home is right there in the clipped region, so we will be getting into the details.

Gardner's Hill (per Perley) and
Harmony Grove
(on different sides of the river)

We'll start with this little bit from the NEHGS overview of Thomas. Notice the use of "painful" cast down for a historic view. By this time, Thomas was deceased. It says elsewhere that many had been buried on Gardner's hill. Who might these be? Until when were there burials?
You see, Samuel Pickering Gardner, about whom we will write more (ancestor of John Lowell Gardner II), recorded his visit in 1830 to Gardner's hill. And, he noted that grave stones had been moved and piled. Some had already been broken. Suggesting? Grave locations lost, for one thing. He, too, told us who sold the land. I have followed that lead (as well as, looked at what Dr. Frank wrote of the person).

Since the first look in 2010, I have been picking up pieces. So, I'll put together a summary and suggest where we look. It must be done for the 400th anniversary. Okay?

We have three types (at least) of grave disturbance.
  • Some like the grave of Thomas, himself, are unknown. His stone had been moved by the 1830s. And, it was broken. How many of this case are there? Where are the bones? 
  • Some were moved over to Trask. This is per Perley who was a sleuth of major proportions. His work was picked up by Lucie Gardner, sister of Dr. Frank. Did their stones go with them?
  • Some were moved with their stones to Harmony Grove. 
Now, we know, in some cases, just stones were moved. This needs to be made visible. Sheesh, the NEHGS blew right by this. 

I understand that there had been a court case at the time. 1840s? This needs to be researched. And, there are other subjects to look at. 

Our take on the matter is that this has been known and put in the closet. Why not look at it further? There are several things that might have been left unsaid. That is, then, especially given the times. 

This is now. And, we have the resources of all sorts to get this story told. Stay tuned. 

Remarks: Modified: 12/29/2019

01/04/2019 -- The Perley image had a typo. Also, added more text.   Too, the next issue of Gardner's Beacon will have the bit of the graves as its main theme. We will also post updates to WikiTree (see link on the sidebar), as well, as get others involved via a G2G.

01/18/2019 -- Joseph died in combat on 19 December 1675, about one year later, leaving his wife, Ann Downing, as a widow. They had no progeny, so we will remember them specially.

02/22/2019 -- Gardner's Beacon, Volume IX, Number 1 addresses the problem of "Where is Thomas?" that has been needing attention, now, for a couple of hundred years, almost.

12/29/2019 -- We have made several improvements to the look and feel. Lots more pending. The portal (to truth) provides a few historic tidbits per load. This is a small start.

December 2019 view
illustrating several improvements 


  1. Thomas Gardner is my 13th Great Grandfather and I am trying to get information about the 400th reunion/anniversary coming up

  2. Last year saw many planned events cancelled. People have worked out methods that use virtual as a replacement (as we know, unfulfilling). Perhaps, we will see more personal interaction in 2021. It could be next year, too, given some of the uncertainties that seem to have emerged recently.

    We want to present via the web (and other means, such as we see with apps - general sense) related to the 400th that would continue into the future. Lots of material could be organized there. For one thing, getting a good look at what happened 100 years ago for the 300th is in order:

    Gloucester is still targeting 2023. We can pay attention to, and support, those efforts.

    Appreciate the comment.

    As an aside, our work of the past decade has shown us that we need to bridge these. We need a 100th (300th plus WWI), 200th (western expansion plus change in world dynamics), 250th (the 5th generation's revolution), 300th (interactions here of the continental players), and, finally, the 400th (first commercial attempt, somewhat, new beginnings).