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 (https://TGSoc.org), 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. 

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