Sunday, February 27, 2022

Hearty Canadians

TL;DR -- An oversight became apparent, recently, as we were researching. Quora had a discussion where we saw mention of the York Factory Express which started on the Columbia River, near the Pacific, and ended up at Hudson's Bay. Now, that's a feat. We looked for particulars and have generated some notes for future work which overlaps our interest in the specifics of moving to new areas as well as keeping lines of communication open. We have the diary of a person who did the trek plus well as modern overviews on the subject. 


This post lifts to awareness something that has been on the back burner and needs more attention. Our focus early on was New England plus issues related to whence. Then, we had to learn specifics about Massachusetts' early times, in particular Essex County and Cape Ann. Following that, the attention was on the 400 years of generations in a mode that covered the whole of the threads which one might call being interested in the influence of collateral families. Not only have we done this for the major thread, we have worked with dozens of other families. Too, we have noted specifics related to events connected with frames of time, mainly (years ago) 100, 200, 250, 300, and 400. The 250th has to do with the coming lookback at the conflict with the Crown. The closer years deal with the wild west (think, internet) and the frontier which are still with us. Then, the 300th is the time of the witches, after all, we are dealing with  Salem, MA. And, the 400th is right around the corner. 

The past few years have dealt with a variety of subjects that are related where we have seen reference to Canada but tabled a closer look. Now, we can venture down that path as the information is there for scrutiny. From time to time, we run into a topic which overlaps what we have run across. The past year or so, we have traversed the west in the U.S. within the framework of the 200th anniversary of the expansion of the U.S. through the Louisiana property and other deals. We started out looking at early explorers and the whole of the frontier as civilization moved. That included studying rivers as a means to  move as well as a barrier to doing so. And, the whole of the land management concerns a lot of which centered upon activity in St. Louis, MO (Carving the land). We considered various types of transportation

The York Factory Express
On a forum for discussions (Quora), we saw a reference to boating from the terminus of the Columbia River (Eric Painter) at the Pacific to the Hudson Bay. What? That would have been a major feat, impossible in the winter except for a small party.  But, the claims were that there were regular treks, enough to be coined as an express (we had our Pony Express). The eastern terminus was the York Factory north of Montreal which was under the auspices of Hudson's Bay Company

One could do that up there, similarly to the traffic from New Orleans to Los Angles very early? Got to see that.    

So, let's consider a few pointers to set up a bit of research. We had known that the northern boundaries in the west were settled late. We also have followed the explorers and the trade people and the ranchers across the northern and southern routes of the U.S. We knew of the fluid flow from the north with regard to immigrants. 

This topic allows us to now connect more dots and, also, to study the History of Washington State and related areas. In doing so, we can get a better hold on our Canadian cousins, many of whom had been Loyalists during the conflict with the Crown. Some Patriots were forced down south (Maine Gardners, say Ebenezer, descendant of Samuel). 

These are markers for reminding us of the subject area and pieces of its puzzles. We have the view of a diarist who can tell us of the existential aspects. We have diaries from many of the major historical points. The movie Revenant touched upon this area as does a recent TV series (which we have not watched). A review mentioned names of the characters who were real people from families back east. Or, they were newcomers. We had already started to look north for several reasons. Too, as we look at families in the west, many have families that were in Canada or came through to the U.S. via Canada.

But, the focus will be on those who did the trek, both ways, with a commercial interest. Such determination by people is what drives the progress of civilization, in part. 

And, not chasing technology as some type of panacea under the guise of a utopian dream hood.    

Remarks: Modified 02/27/2022

02/27/2022 -- 

Friday, February 25, 2022

CMS, a favorite subject

TL;DR -- We started with MicroSoft and were happy, but they pushed people off of OfficeLive in order to get Office 360 in place. So, we did the right thing and limped along with a hacked out static mode in order for not let publishing get in the way of acquiring knowledge (the old fashion way, not machine learning - heavens forbid). The next motive for change came with the decision that Google would require some semblance of mobile friendliness to play in their part of the universe. Okay. After that, we did a website for a group that got us looking at alternatives. Then, things were fairly low-level looking to require lots of plug-ins (with regular costs accumulations). So, we just hacked more functions using javascript. When we started our portal, we had another chance at change. So, we had intermittent opportunities to consider CMS over our time. Now, we're at it again. The difference? The mobile environment has matured enough to be really interesting. Technology choices and issues abound; truth engineering is even more imperative; and notions, such as what was old is new again, apply. We'll stay at this until we get a resolution which will found the future work. Too, stay tuned; there is no limit to the ways that someone can contribute technically. We might just be the perfect lab for spawning lots of ways and means for considering how to attain some type of sustainable future. 


This post is technical in content, with enough of the 'meta' (proper usage) issues covered to cover the extent of the current dilemmas. For now, we will have a list which is unordered and which will be extended throughout this iteration. We have touched upon the subject a few times, even recently mentioning that it's time to open the Pandora's box, again. As well as having the technical focus which will include the posts from our Technology Blog (hosted via WordPress on our site ( that is presented via webhostinghub), we will look at motivation and talk the huge issue of managing across the levels related to development and deployment. The top level? We call it content, so CMS, to us, means Content Management System. One might stress the top down aspect of this. That is, the Thomas Gardner Society, Inc. has a focus of the Cape Ann start of the American experience where we look across 400 years in terms of history, family dynamics, genealogy, and cultural issues, such as science. The overarching view is called 'truth engineering' which will show that AIn't is the reality unless some serious changes to the assumptions occur, thereby telling us that we need to lift to public awareness just how the marvels come to be that are associated with computing. 

Some might use 'configuration' which emphasizes the technical aspect due to the decisions required at that set of levels which are many. At the basic level will be the hardware, but it is supported by science and engineering. Software? In the list below, look at the Periodic Table of WordPress plugins. That refers to one set of frameworks (which can be generalized) pertaining to one offering on the market, albeit a popular one. 

Aside, one national group of interest uses WordPress at level of one of the States involved, whereas the overarching scope is handled by Drupal. Of note? We looked at Drupal back in 2012 (see notes with regard to this) as well as WordPress and a few others. Our choice was to fall back to a custom approach which turns out to be useful with respect to steps to the future. As one lecturer noted, what's old is new again.  

For now, consider the uses of 'C' interchangeable since we are using to demonstrate issues, as well, from the bottom up (Wikipedia - Content Management (notice web content management and knowledge management); Configuration Management (notice the use for software). 

Motivation (see Summary discussion): Provide modes for managing a nonprofit in a cost effective manner while supporting the operational needs that go along with such a focus. At the same time, provide a full suite of media approaches to presenting information that has been curated, manually. Albeit, types of machine learning may be applied but with any use being noted explicitly. Meaning, of course, no implicit uses that can confuse. ...

To us, content and configuration denote two heads or two hats for one head. The reality is that there are content issues that do not need to consider configuration issues. The inverse is true, too. Now, the overlap? It's more than semantics, though we will use CMS for both views because those playing the different roles may be on the same team (or the same person, such as yours truly). 

A better metaphor might be the floor where we have an above and a below where there is an almost impenetrable barrier. Sometimes, one uses silos which are monoliths that isolate. Many times, isolation is good (philosophical notion); actually, partitioning by classes is an example of many. 

You know, we haven't paid attention until this year, but RootsTech 2022 is coming up. This graphic shows the many approaches that have been developed. There has been some effort at establishing a commonality. To us, this means more content management than the other, except where standards might be under discussion. Don't know, yet, but will be paying attention. 

Remarks: Modified 02/25/2022

02/25/2022 -- 

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

The Downings

TL;DR -- Earlier, we looked at The Willards with respect to our research on the History of Harvard as it relates to the 400 years of the U.S. We see another family of the same time period with interesting tales, including a stint at Harvard. A theme of importance is the delivery of information which we curate ourselves (a theme that is more important than realized now). Hence, we look briefly at The Downings with further stories coming down the pike. 


We just did a post on The Willards as we considered the long hall of the Heads of Harvard as a place to look at the history of the American spirit over the years from its inception, during its growing, and, hopefully, observing, finally, some maturing. We're not so sure of that last, as of yet, for many reasons, such as technological messes. Thanks a lot, bright guys and gals; we want you to study the Magna Carta and see how it just might apply. Discussion pending. 

So, The Willards involved two Heads from one family: grandfather - Samuel (1640-1707); grandson - Joseph (1738-1804). Nice. Today, we look at a family, briefly (as there will be a lot more coming), one of whose members was of Harvard. We'll look at him, later in the post. Now, it's his sister that gets the attention, today. 

Ten years ago, we were doing our second volume of Gardner's Beacon and decided to use some old Valentine's Day cards that had been in the files, for a while. The issue looked at some details about the day, the namesake (and issues), and cultural aspects. New England had a booming business in cards, starting in the late 1800s. 

At the time, it seemed appropriate to look at Joseph Gardner (WikiTree: Gardner-580) and Ann Downing (WikiTree: Downing-212), who married about 1656. The couple had no issue, so they are of the forgotten. What does that mean? There are folks who need special attention, as history passes them by; for us, that means that we will have more posts on them and their families. 

Before going further, until a recent issue, we have provided a static mode of publication for Gardner's Beacon but had always planned something more interactive. If you look at the portal (, you will find that the image index points back to this blog, for now. As well, there are various scrolling texts with information pulled from the various centuries. We have 400 years to fill in through research and all types of media at hand. Too, a decade of work has accumulated material to guide further work, somewhat. A first step is to link each issue with its sources - see the list in the Structure and GB post for issues that have been modified to date. 

Today, we did the first issues of Vol. I and Vol II, essentially starting over while reviewing the work to date. One thing that we have done is this: when updating the PDFs, only use posts up to that date. Now, we might have added remarks through time, but the basics of the post relate to the time of the issue.  

Now, back to Ann. Her father and mother were Emanuel Downing and Lucy Winthrop (sister of John Winthrop). Emanuel and Lucy gave their house to the couple on their marriage. Felt mentioned the house in his Annals of Salem. Emanuel and Lucy had several other properties in the area which we will go into. The augmented post (above) has links to the material.  

With respect to the house that was mentioned in the original post, the StreetsofSalem blog devoted one post to it: First-Period Fantasy. Called a 'mansion' and built by 1640, the house was quite impressive in its environment. The blog post provides several quotes and a photo by Frank Cousin of a Samuel Bartoll (1765-1835) painting of the house which would have been from a earlier sketch as the house was torn down in 1753. We will research further to collect information about Ann, as more than owner of a house which was given to a nephew (Abel), son of Joseph's brother (Samuel).   

Why "The Downings," as the title of this post? Ann has several siblings. One was an early Harvard graduate, namely George Downing. You know the name, for the most part. He is the namesake of the Brit administrative area, Downing Street. That is, George went back. A researcher later reported that of the nine graduates of that early class, seven went back to England. 

One of the topics for research that has not gotten much attention, as we dove into history as it is fleshed by people that are known, would be a balance through time of going-ons at different places through time. George, Ann's brother, was quite active in events of the period over there. We ought not lose sight of that. At the same time, his siblings were here (see Nutfield Genealogy). One of our tasks will be to keep major themes visible, too, such as philosophy and its notions, during the different times when we compare the lives of the people involved. Communications may have been slow, but it was there. If we skipped ahead about two hundred years, we would see the huge communications gap in the continental U.S., itself, as the dynamics of the frontier played out before technology closed the communication gap. 

Aside, with respect to history and the fifth generation bearing the brunt of the U.S. turmoil, called the Revolution - whose upcoming 250th needs us to pay attention, we are using Ann and Joseph as the second, with their fathers being the first. We have already noted Gardner Loyalists; we will look at the fifth generation of British Downings, at some point. 

Incidentally, it was Leonard Hoar, the 3rd Head, who initiated the Catalog which we use to identify members of Harvard's classes. George is mentioned as being of the class of 1642. As we step through the classes, we will look further at how the graduates mapped to the families of interest. 

 Remarks: Modified - initial (02/22/2022): 03/13/2022

02/23/2022 -- A little more information about the house. We will gather more about Ann, including about her in-laws (other than the Gardners). For instance, she was a poet, it was said (source?). Again, Joseph and Ann represent the situation that bears additional notice since genetic lines ceased with them. Yet, cultural involvement (many types)? Something to study, especially as technology runs wilder than some students on spring break. 
03/13/2022 -- Drew Gilpin Faust, first female head of Harvard, is a descendant of a sister of George Downing. 

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Magna Carta, technical

 TL;DR -- We saw the 800th of the Magna Carta a few years ago. Another event looking back comes in 2025, two years before the 250th of the U.S. Revolution. In any case, technology has created new Lords and such that are outside of any constraint. Or so, some of them might think. One gross case was observing an auto-truck with attitude on a public highway. This was not the first time nor was it the only location where we have watched such shenanigans, of which there are several other cases. Whatever, technology seems to have gone wild as do the youngsters every spring break. That, folks, is not a sustainable state of affairs. 


We were involved with the Magna Carta celebration in 2015 several ways. Jon Gardner attended the ceremony at Runnymede and wrote a report for The Gardner Annals, Vol. III, No. 1. We helped edit generational material in the bios of the Sureties found on Wikipedia. Along that line, Wikipedia started its Magna Carta study

The Magna Carta was an early English document which specified constraints for the King that were expected to be followed. The authors were Lords who were dissatisfied with the notion of unlimited powers for the King. After some conflict, the Magna Carta was drawn up and sealed by King John in 1215; this was celebrated, after much planning, in 2015 under the auspices of Queen Elizabeth II and the American Bar Association. Another historic reflection will be done in 2025 to celebrate King Henry III declaring his support for the document and its intent. 

Not only were restraints specified for royalty, there were conditions set for the aristocracy. This brings us to the topic. 

The other day, we followed an auto-truck (to be autonomous, at some point) on an Interstate highway. How this entity was identified can be explained, but there was more than one. But, with regard to one that got our attention, the thought was "auto-truck with attitude" for several reasons. In a technical sense, a data-driven process under the name of machine learning looks at data and obtains useful information that is actionable. An example? The technique is applied quite generally, of late, and was behind the first computer's winning of the Chinese game of Go.  

That win got a lot of attention and spawned lots of copy-cat efforts which led to new definitions and approaches for what we call AIn't. We have had several posts on the subject, but the one dealing with "How dumb is AI?" is a good start on looking at the matter. Just let us say that there is little science in this effort which has been marketed with glee and mischief (when one considers constraints that apply to truth in advertising). In short, technology has gone wild, of late. 

AIn't is only one of several examples. The Internet, in general, is a mess of gigantic proportions. Does one even have time to do a litany of the issues? Well, one inhibitor? The effort and time needed to try to establish a stable basis is a huge detractor with costs that seem unbounded in a few of the cases that have been studied. Our response, in the workings, will be to assume that technology and its sustainable use is a worthy subject for attention and with enough purpose for establishing a mission focus. 

Back to the truck event that we watched unfold, briefly. The thing would not have passed a driver's test. That is, no truck being driven by a human in such a manner would be seen as desirable. And, given that the human doing the driving is the responsible party, a license would not be forthcoming based upon what we saw. Too, though, this is only one example. There were other trucks. Two of them played a tandem chase, blocking two lanes of traffic, for miles. 

Was there any indication that the road was a test site? As in? Student drivers go around in a marked car. Testing is usually done in a private area. Test tracks and sites support the need. When we say that this is not isolated? We mean that we have seen it in several states. Are these types of test runs made public? 

There are many motivations for auto-trucks being sought as something beneficial. For one, we have a shortage of drivers. Too, supposedly, the auto-truck would have a better driving record. Oh yes, have you read of accidents? One thing is certain, the modes for the accidents of these types of vehicles is different. And, deadly, as such occurrences can be for human drivers. 

One thing needs to be added, these were not loaded. The out-of-control modes observed would be very problematic with a loaded trailer bringing in potential instability. Lots of effort has gone into training humans to be safe with their truck driving. Of course, we did have an incursion of untrained drivers due to circumstances that were associated, in part, with a new class of accidents. 

Okay, an artificial vehicle with attitude? Like a Lord of old? We have a whole new class of Lords which are the big-pocketed lords of industry. Are they amenable to looking at restraints that would make sense and produce mature behavior?  

auto-trucks are only one example. There are many more approaches pending, as no restraint seems to be taken in determining the future. It's wide-open. In fact, there is this moral: go fast and break things. 

Oh, Lord (proper use), deliver us. The whole of social media can be a mess beyond salvation, sometimes. Choices by Lords are hugely responsible for the problems.  

One might say that the virtual appeals to the reptilian brain and gets responses thus. Stimulus-response, with little judgment applied. The modes do not augment the abilities attained with any type of cognitive oversight. Actually, it's more functional with input matching up with an output, with the pairing having been determined by prior training based upon data. And data? Suspect, for many reasons. 

So, we have a multitude of issues that need attention on a continual basis without any existing paradigm being there that will not work without serious adjustments. And, judgment to do this modification? Whence might come this? 

If one looks at the problems, we have seen lots of examples of progress being effective as well as efficacious for everyone. In fact, a notion of the every human as King/Queen is not counter to how we might think about the future. Turning this to technology, the user seemingly has been given great ability and authority. But, not really, as the chains that bind given the situation are onerous, indeed. 

Remarks: Modified: 02/17/2022

02/17/2022 --

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Increase Mather

TL;DR -- We started our look at U.S. history by way of the Heads of Harvard with Conant who has a real early pedigree in Plymouth and Essex Counties and, with this post, continue or sampling. This time we confront the time of the Andover ordeal about which much has been written as it has a hold on the popular imagination. 


We are using the Heads of Harvard (Wikipedia) to establish our index for the U.S. through time. Initially, the interests were several, but we have started with this look: History of Harvard (ours); History of the Presidency (Harvard); graduates of Harvard (list initiated by Hoar); and Harvard in the long history of the U.S. We started with James B. Conant who descended from a member of the Cape Ann party. Then, we picked the next several using an associative approach. For each of the Heads considered so far, we have provided links to material on the web plus some of our own research when it is apropos. So far, we have not looked at the time of the end of the 17th century and do so with this post. 

Though we have not mentioned Increase Mather (Wikipedia, WikiTree) in particular, he is of interest for several reasons: son of a member of the Board of Harvard Overseers,  father of Cotton Mather, and in the Head position during the turmoil related to the Witch Trials. Earlier, we detailed the impact on the lives of an extended family in an article (Trials of the Wilson Family) which represents a continuing study that has more than importance than that related to the families. 

The brevity of this post does not represent lack of interest, rather we will be touching upon this theme in the context of the whole of U.S. history. 

Remarks: Modified: 02/18/2022

02/18/2022 -- Point to Wikipedia. Create 'Harvard' label. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Leonard Hoar

TL;DR -- As we walk the halls of the Heads, our fashion is not random but sensitive to the current research theme. The last Head was in his role during the turmoil prior to the Revolution. This post looks at an early Head who was before the time of insanity, namely Leonard Hoar. He was the first to be a late entry. 


There are not many Heads of Harvard (Wikipedia) to cover, so this series has a limit. But, our interests are several: 

As we have gone through the names where the focus was related to the context of interest at the time, we have done posts consecutively. This will happen now where we do this post and get off onto other topics that can bear our attention. The last post was on Rev. Samuel Locke. He was in the role of Head during the turmoil leading up to the Revolution. We have written of the training ground for the upheaval. That is, the French and Indian affair afforded the colonials an opportunity to learn military manners under the auspices of the Crown against which they would rebel. 
Leonard Hoar

Now, we step back and look at the earlier times and a training ground, of sorts. Leonard Hoar (Wikipedia, WikiTree) was the third Head. Or the fourth, if we count Eaton. This post will begin the presentation of the case of why Nathaniel is important to the History of the U.S. Hoar followed Chauncy and Dunster. The thing to note is that Eaton, Dunster and Hoar incurred some type of controversial reactions by those of the time. 

The image on the left is from the 2nd catalog and shows a lot of familiar names, one of which has been mentioned here with respect to the Revolution: Rev. John Wise

It is that theme that leads to the "training ground' statement. Not long after Hoar's death, we had the witch hunt. One colleague of Hoar's participated, namely Cotton Mather. In short, those who disliked Hoar shunned him; he had a reaction which needs further study. A little look at the controversies over the years.

Oh yes, the witch hunt? We know lots more about that now due to recent research that filled in details related to the persons involved. That type of historical perspective will continue to progress and offer us a much fuller sense of the reality. 

Leonard Hoar was a late comer, so to speak. He actually had been a student at Harvard, left the country, and came back. And, he was of noted abilities. Lots to look at as we proceed. 

Remarks: Modified: 06/28/2022

06/28/2022 -- Added link to, and image from, the FindAGrave profile of Leonard Hoar and added link toe New England Historical Society article (Harvard Student Beaten in 1674, President takes Fall). 

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Rev. Samuel Locke

TL;DR -- Samuel Locke was Head of Harvard in the period prior to the Revolution in which he is noted to have been a Patriot. He is one of the neglected Heads about whom little has been written or has been lifted to public attention. Given that our 250th view of those times is coming up, we expect to spend some time looking at Samuel. He was from Woburn, MA as was Count Rumford. 


As we continue our look at Harvard, we have started to build a list of pertinent posts: History of Harvard (ours), Heads of Harvard (Wikipedia), History of the Presidency (Harvard), Catalogues of Harvard (Hathi Trust, mainly for the classes, years and graduates) and several posts in this blog concerning specifics of Presidents, their times, lives, and families (including information from WikiTree). We had been picking interesting Presidents due to their being pertinent to some point that we were researching starting with James Bryant Conant who had been mentioned in a New Yorker article in 2021. 

Grave of Samuel Locke
The subject of today's post comes from the period right before the Revolution which was 250 years ago, to which event SAR and DAR are  paying attention. Samuel Locke (WikiTree: Locke-1406, the Collection of his papers) came into his role in 1770 which was 150 years (six generations) after the noted arrival, but he had a short reign. 

Locke graduated from Harvard in 1755 during the reign of Edward Holyoke who has not been covered yet in this series of post (will be soon). Locke was ordained at Sherborn, MA. His Harvard position started in 1770 during a time of turmoil. We will look at that further. 

Locke has minimal information published about him in Wikipedia. The Biography at the Collection is much better and mentions his patriot stance in the Revolution. Locke was the first Head where we thought to look for information in the SAR/DAR databases and in the multi-volume Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailor collection; however, he died in 1777 (we will review other Heads of that time). The material on him given at the History of the Presidency site at Harvard can support more research. 

Future work will look at Woburn, MA, the birthplace of Locke. Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford, was born there. Locke was followed by Winthrop, for a brief time. Thompson, when young, had attended, unofficially, lectures by Winthrop. 

Remarks: Modified: 06/28/2022

06/28/2022 -- Added link to post on Edward Holyoke.