More discussion re: Thomas Gardner 1591-1675

+4 votes

We have been having a great discussion on Wikitree with regard to Thomas Gardner.  See here and here for prior information/discussions.  I think it's time we start a new thread to share more information and discuss possibilities with regard to the data.  So here we go!  smiley

One thing we need to try and figure out is exactly who are the Gardners that came on the Zouch Phoenix in 1624, reported as  Thomas Gardner and his wife, George Gardner, Richard Gardner, Joseph Gardner (all either of Weymouth or of Martock, Somerset).

I would like to toss out the possibility that, while these people were most likely related, George, Richard and Joseph could potentially not all be sons of Thomas.

On Wikitree, we show son Joseph born c 1632 and it states that he is believed to be Thomas' youngest son.  If that is the case, then the Joseph that arrived in 1624 can't be the same person . . .  I haven't located a baptismal record in Sherborne, Dorset for a Joseph Gardner . . .

We have located baptismal records for George Gardner (looks like son of Thomas) on 1 Jan 1619 and Richard (son of Thomas) on 20 Jul 1622.

To be continued . . .

WikiTree profile: Thomas Gardner
asked in Genealogy Help by Darlene Athey-Hill G2G6 Pilot (254k points)
edited by Darlene Athey-Hill

OK. Let's summarize the Sherborne baptismal records for children reported as son of Thomas:

  • Thomas son of Thomas 8 Mar 1617
  • George son of Thomas 1 Jan 1619
  • Richard son of Thomas 20 Jul 1622
  • John son of Thomas 7 Dec 1624
  • Samuel son of Thomas 28 Jul 1627

Per Thomas' will, he had sons Thomas, George, Richard, John, Samuel, Joseph.  Due to what his father left him, we can surmise that Thomas was the oldest son.  Most people state that Joseph was the youngest and born in Massachusetts. With that in mind, all of these names and dates fit to be the children of 'our' Thomas.  Note too that these births concur with the belief of Dr. Frank A. Gardner as to the birth order of Thomas' sons.

Further to this, Thomas named daughters Sarah, Seeth and Miriam in his will.  No baptismal records for children of Thomas exist after 1627 in Sherborne.  So the daughters would have been born in Mass.  Sarah married Benjamin Balch, son of John Balch.

Interesting to note, and also to strengthen the case of the Thomas of Sherborne being the Thomas of Salem is the fact that the family of John Balch, Mrs. Agnes Balch, Benjamin Balch and John Balch were also on the same Zouch Phoenix in 1624.

I find it interesting that the children baptised are the same names, and same approximate dates of birth, as the sons of 'our' Thomas.  And that this family 'vanishes' from the records in Sherborne, but we start having them appear in records in Salem, Mass.

In 1637, Thomas receives acreage for a family of 7.  It is believed that Margaret was dead by that time, so that would leave six children.  I believe I read (can't locate the notes right now) that sons Thomas and George received land by this date.  That leaves father Thomas and his six other children to make up the seven people.

My remaining questions concern:

a) The difference between the bp. dates for Thomas (1617) and George (1619), vs. Anderson's calculation of their probable birth dates (1614 and 1616 respectively) based on the years (both: 1637) when land records show them to have been adults.  If the christenings came significantly after the births, this issue of course disappears. Relatedly:

b) If the Thomas who married Edith Webber in 1613 is the Thomas who married Margaret Frier in 1617, there is the possibility that she was the mother of Thomas and George... but that neither was christened until 1617/1619.

It would be a strong endorsement of the case if a Sherborne death/burial record could be found for "Edith Gardner" before 1617.  Deaths that early are not available on the free OPC site yet.  Is there anything on Ancestry??

Without that, Edith may perfectly well be the wife of a different Thomas.

Darlene, It's in RCA GMB, page 735. That was the motivation for my original post about two or three wives.

To me, it's interesting that Thomas does not show up until 1637. So, Margaret was a little later. She had kids to care for. And, if Thomas were around, who would monkey with him? I think he did the bowing of his head so that his kids would be acceptable.

In other words, remember, we're are talking psychological dynamics here, too. Forget the bullies. There are some who do not succumb to that. And, it ought to be part of the discussion.

Besides, it was the initial seeding of the whole notion of the American experience. So, I got a sense of Thomas being archetypal in that sense, real early. He was capable. Could even make good strong water ;>).

We have more than one Thomas Gardner that could have married Edith Webber.  There was one baptised 3 May 1584 and another baptised 28 Jan 1588 and another one baptised 30 Oct 1591...
I would like to see us broaden the search. Look at this. There are lots of Gardners. This was just a quickly retrieved sample.

So, if we assume Thomas and Margaret (of Sherborne), we can continue to try to learn more about them. Now, I have seen inklings of dealings with the Oxfordshire Gardners beyond the one that the Dorchester write up mentioned.

Yes, I had adopted an almost 'all things Gardner' view, however we have enough now to, at least, start from Sherborne. Why the Weymouth reference that we see in a few places? So, we can look further in Dorset and then beyond.
Darlene, do those records show the parents? -- I'm familiar with the OPC transcripts from elsewhere in Dorset and Somerset in the same period, and the parents are listed.

That would certainly help distinguish one Thomas from another.

Christopher, unfortunately they don't.  On some of the records in Sherborne they do list a parent.  But not on the ones mentioned above.  (I'll always mention if a parent is listed!  wink )

1 Answer

+3 votes

Frances Rose-Troup went through the company records. I have not read the book, yet, but here is a summary (from Larry Gardiner of Minnesota, descendant of son Richard):

Francis Rose-Troup states the Dorchester Co. sent the ship "Fellowship" in the summer of 1623 to Cape Ann. Fourteen men were left at Cape Ann, and the ship returned to England. Thomas Gardner, the man in charge, would most likely be one of the 14 men left at Cape Ann.

The ship "Zouch Phoenix" arrived at Cape Ann in the Spring of 1624. Among the passengers listed were: Thomas Gardner, Mrs. Gardner, George, Richard and Joseph. My theory is the father is already at Cape Ann. The passengers are Thomas (the oldest son age 6), Mrs. Gardner (the mother & wife), George (the 2nd son age 4), Richard (the 3rd son age 3) and Joseph Gardner (an adult relative that accompanied the mother and children to Cape Ann, and then he returned to England).

As for John, the 4th son, born in 1624, the mother/wife was pregnant during the trip, and John was born at Cape Ann. From Thomas leaving in the Summer of 1623 to the Spring of 1624 - just under 9 months(?). This would solve the names of passengers.

By the time the 5th son Samuel was born in 1627, the family had moved to Naumkeag (Salem).

This is from 2015, so not too ancient. It is good to see the interest and the new tool mix.

answered by John M. Switlik G2G Crew (990 points)

There was the great house that we ought to consider. Endicott saw it and had it moved to Salem. Higginson, then, mentioned it in his report. The house was enlarged through time until it had the view shown in the book of the Conant family. The house was there when Roger arrived. I wonder if Thomas and Margaret stayed with the house when the crew went west (okay, southwest).

Some background.

Oh yes, Endicott feted Winthrop and his group in the house. Then, they feasted on Cape Ann strawberries. You see, the early colonists were successful in certain senses. 

See my message above.  Consider the possibility that it was Thomas, George and Richard (sons of Thomas) along with a relative named Joseph Gardner and his wife, that came over on the Zouch Phoenix.  Margaret remained behind in Sherborne for a couple more years, where they had John and Samuel and then all came over . . .

There is, also, the thing of two generations coming over (I have seen this story a lot of places, say Peirce and others). Too, on the move to Salem, Gardner is not in the list of old planters with Conant, Balch, etc. The Old Planters Society had that oversight (their main beef) in their mission statement. I have this thing documented in the blog (The Massachusetts Magazine was to be the voice - published 1908-1918). 

But, plenty of families have done research over the years. Like the Paine sisters and their "Where was Thomas?" When I first saw this, It just went by me. What did they mean? Of course, they had been digging. We need to look at that.  

I had thought that Thomas and Margaret were on Cape Ann, enjoying the house and the clime (almost heaven) while all of the contenders were over in Salem monkeying with each other. People were people then just like now. 

But, there are many 'what ifs' that can be considered. You know, I did this post, in that regard: A new science. With Ichnology, from a few bones, we get the glorious models of ancient life forms. We ought to think about how we might do something similar (this is where the history comes in). Not fiction so much, as conjectural history.  

One purpose for Gardner Research would be to support studies and the related papers (Gardner Annals). 


Well, Endicott had the house moved; so, Thomas was back to a wigwam affair. Also, Endicott mentioned Thomas in a 1629 letter. So, he was here. Felt seemed to have reported some activity of those two, John and Thomas. What I like is that in 1637, as soon as Thomas signed up to be a good citizen (as if there were needed), the people voted him to go with Hathorne to Boston. Guess what? One time was enough. Same as now. 

Love that we have views to 400, 300, 200, and 100 ago, for reflection (actually, there is symmetry that ought to be discussed). And, in-between, I might add. 

Thomas Gardner, husband of Elizabeth White died in 1633, He left a will. According to the transcription by Michael Russell, his three sons were Josiah, Stephen and Timothy. (The marriage of Katherine to John Casper Hopf took place in July 1633 , according to William Whiteway's diary)

There is no Thomas and these children are too young to be the 'planter' Thomas Gardner as suggested on wikipedia

Russell, suggests that it was the above Thomas  himself that went to Cape Ann and that he returned home again.

Whiteway also frequently refers to a Mr Gardner ( first mention 1625 when his servant died after being bitten by a mad dog ) This Gardner is indexed in the published edition as John but Whiteway always refers to him as Mr. He appears to have been a customs collector.

The baptism dates for John and Samuel come from Sherborne.  If Thomas and Margaret had sons John and Samuel in New England, as per John's idea above, we don't know when they were born, because the ones in the Sherborne register must be the coincidental sons of some other Thomas.
RJ. Correct. Interesting coincidences.

In New England, we had some families report baptisms in a couple of places: the same kid (in one case the name was so unique and the date was the same that it was very obvious). After I saw that first case, I have looked for more. Or, it may be one is from the Church and the other from the City record.

BTW, Rev Hubbard was the first to mention Thomas (and John Tylly). This was a contemporary write up that we almost lost during the internecine, inter-cousin conflict (War of the Roses brought over here) in which a mob in Boston trashed the Governor's house (and the only manuscript from the 1600s).

The Rev talked to the principals. Of course, there are many writings which I have been trying to organize in a bibliography (slow progress as I only add something after I read the thing).
Helen, yes, to me that implied something of the two Thomas deal. Dr. Frank said no, but the Peirces (and others) said yes.

BTW, to lift matters. I propose that we use WDTT. Thomas, the puzzle.

Or, is that a Hollywood thing?


You are right about the Thomas Gardner (Planter) article on Wikipedia. When I started that page, the only book I had (knew about) was Dr. Frank's. And, I was doing further reading. Some of the material has changed, for instance that related to a William Gardner who was at Bosworth.

And, that article needs other updates, to boot. As I edit for these, I'll remove references to Rev. John White's family.

Everyone, I just re-read the Elizabeth White part (6th under His Five Siblings). Is the list of kids from the will? If so, Thomas (the one left here) could have been left out of the will. Plenty of early families have noted that two Thomas Gardners came over. 

To me, we're back to where I started, anyway, when I saw the 'mess' (being frank). That is, gather all of these research results that have taken place over the past centuries. For instance, Felt (1827) had to see/hear that thing about Thomas and Margaret someplace. He did not just dream it up. We know people have been poking around for ages in the various records. Let's hope they didn't leave too much of a muddle.  

Is it from the will?


( I looked at it too.I  didn't transcribe it in writing. I wouldn't disagree with Russell's version)

It would be very odd to not mention a son when 3 sons in order are mentioned and 4 daughters.
It would not be so odd if the son was away. And, knowing people, there could have been a rift. I have already seen this type of thing in my short stint of looking at this type of material.
That 'anonymous' comment to the Helen Ford comment was from me. Don't know why that happened. Did not notice until now.

And, not long after having written that comment, I talked on the phone to someone about a gent who was the 4th generation from Thomas. And, he left Salem, MA, had been in a tiff with his father, and was left out of his father's will. It was only in the last part of 20th century that the story was told.

John, you show up as 'anonymous' when you aren't signed into Wikitree before responding to a G2G question.  I know this, as I've done the same thing!  wink

I don't find the suggestion that an older son would be disinherited  without some other evidence for his existence convincing. I've seen a couple of wills from this period where the testator has said that an older son has already had their share and so just gets a token and even where he says the  eldest doesn't deserve any more. Missing a son out completely might leave the will open to challenge.

This will names 7 children and specifically  refers to Josiah as the eldest son  and that he was under 24.

Josiah appears to have been baptised at Cropedy in Feb 1617 (1617/18) making him about 15 when his father died.

"Josia Gardner the sonne of Thomas Gar[page torn] & Elizabeth his wife was baptised [page torn] day of Februarie An' D'ni" [page torn] .( mistranscribed on ancestry as John Definitely 1617 as page in chronological order . )

His second son  Steven was baptised on the 25th June 1620. ( both Oxford Family History Society and Oxford History Centre. Cropedy Parish Register PAR/78/R1/2)

Not found any of the other 5 children .Some of the girls would have been born earlier as 3 were married at the time of their father's death.  (Have not  checked the register page by page)

A Thomas Gardner was  buried on the 1 Oct.1633 which fits in with grant of probate on 27 Nov.

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