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He was born about 1592 (deposed age 68 on 26 Nov 1661) [EQC 2:320], origins unknown.
He married first by 1614 ___ ___; she probably died in Salem in 1636, perhaps at the birth of the youngest child.
He arrived in 1624, initially residing in Cape Ann, removing to Salem by 1626.
He married 2 (probably) by 1639 Margaret ____, who joined the church at Salem 24 Mar 1639/40 [SChR 8]. See TAG 30:156 for discussion of yet-to-be-confirmed claims she was Margaret Friar.
He married (3) Damaris (_____) Shattuck. She was "widow Shattock" when she joined the Salem Church 2 Jul 1641 [SChR 11]; she died Salem 28 November 1674, one month before her husband. (See TAG 30:165-68 for discussion of this woman and her many connections to the Pope and Gardner families.)
He was an innkeeper, repeatedly licensed during the 1660s to retail strong drink, but in June 1667, the license was amended to allow him to sell only to "strangers" and not to townsmen. [EQC 3:339, 431, 4:36, 37, 161, 269, 397].
He served as deputy for Salem to the General Court 26 Sep 1637 [MBCR 1:204]. He served on several juries in the 1640s and 1650s. He was also Salem selectman, constable, fenceviewer, highway surveyor, and rater in Salem.
"The wife of Thomas Gardner Sr" was fined for frequent absence from the public ordinances on Lord's days, along with a number of other Quakers, November Term 1660 [EQC 2:265]. This was merely the beginning of a long string of such fines and official harassment that eventually convinced several of the sons to move with their families away from Salem. Thomas Gardner Sr. is never named as having absented himself from public worship, and history is silent on his opinion on the matter."
He died in Salem 29 Dec 1674, "husband of Damaris."
Anderson claims that all Thomas' children were by a first, unnamed wife, and NOT of Margaret:
"In the Salem land grant of 1637 Thomas Gardner received acreage for a household of seven. His sons Thomas and George were already old enough to receive grants of their own and be considered separate households. Seven younger children of Thomas Sr were still under age and presumably residing at home, which would make a household of eight. One or more of the children could have been serving in another family, but this accounting raises the possibility that Thomas did not have a wife living in 1637. This hypothesis is supported by the admission to church membership of a Margaret Gardner on 24 Mar 1639/40; had she been with Thomas Gardner since his arrival in New England, we would expect that he would appear in the list of church members compiled in late 1636 at the reorganization of the church. Consequently, we propose that Thomas Gardner had three wives, the first of them of unknown name, who died at the birth of the youngest child Seeth, whose baptism is one of the first recorded in late 1636.
Thomas, b abt 1614 (adult in 1637); eldest son with a double share in his father's will; m1 by 1643 Hannah Hapscott[?]; m2 Elizabeth Horne, dau of John Horne; died 1682.
George, b abt 1616 (adult in 1637); made free 27 Dec 1642; m1 by 1644 Hannah ____; m2 by 1654 Elizabeth (Freestone) Turner, bp Horncastle, Lincolnshire, 17 Oct 1619, dau of Richard and Margery (Freestone) Freestone, and widow of Robert Turner, shoemaker, of Boston; m3 after 1663 Elizabeth (Allen) Stone, widow of Rev. Samuel Stone. (For the identity of these three wives, Anderson followed the work of George E. McCracken [TAG 30:158-66].) Died 20 Aug 1679 in Kingston, Rhode Island.
John, b abt 1624 (d Nantucket 6 Jul 1706, aged 82); m 20 Feb 1653/4 Priscilla Grafton [NanVR, citing "William C. Folger genealogical records in the possession of the Nantucket Historical Association"; this marriage probably took place in Salem.] Known as Captain John Gardner. He died May 1706 in Nantucket and is buried in the old burial ground on "Forefather's Hill." The original gravestone is still in existence, the only original gravestone of any of the early settlers. At present, it is kept in the old Coffin House (horseshoe house). A granite stone stands in its place at the grave, upon which is inscribed: "Here lyes buried ye body of John Gardner, Esq., age 82, who died May 1706. This stone erected in 1881 replaces one removed for preservation, which marked this spot for 175 years." His will was dated 2 December 1705 and probated on 2 October 1706.
Sarah, b abt 1627; abt 1650 as first of his three wives Benjamin Balch, son of John Balch. Sarah died 15 Apr 1686 in Massachusetts.
Samuel, b abt 1629 (aged 50 in 1680); m1 bef 1658 Mary White, dau of John and Elizabeth (____) White; m2 Salem 2 Aug 1680 Elizabeth _____ Paine.
Joseph, b abt 1630 (age 16 in 1645/6); m Ann Downing,, dau of Emmanuel Downing; she m2 6 Jun 1676 Simon Bradstreet. Samuel died c Oct 1689 in Essex, Massachusetts.
Richard, b abt 1621; d 23 first month (March) 1688 in Nantucket. [Anderson claims born 1636 having died 1724 age 92, BUT Anderson did not examine the sources cited in his source; it was Richard's wife who died in 1724; Nantucket VR clearly lists a 1688 death for Richard and a 1724 death for his wife.] He married about 1652 (probably in Salem) Sarah Shattuck, daughter of his stepmother Damaris (_____) (Shattuck) Gardner. [TAG 30:168]
Miriam, b abt 1636; m by 1657 as his first wife John Hill; he m2 Salem 26 Aug 1664 Lydia Buffum. Miriam died before Aug 1664.
Seeth, bp Salem 25 Dec 1636 [SChR 16]; m1 Joshua Conant, son of Roger Conant; m2 1 Dec 1659 John Grafton, son of Joseph Grafton. She died 17 Apr 1707.
Last Will & Testament
Thomas made his will on 7 Dec 1668. It was proved 29 Mar 1675 [EQC 6:31]. Inventory was taken 4 Jan 1675 (see below for details).
His will reads (spelling is as shown in will):
"Weighing the uncertainty of man's life I doe therefore in the time of my health, make this my last will as followeth:
First, I leave unto my wife Damaris, all that estate shee brought with her according to dower agreement: likewise I give unto her eight pounds, by the year during her life, to be pd her by my six sonns out of that estate I shall leave with them, which eight pounds I give on this condition, that shee give up to them her right to the third pt of my housing and lands during her life.
2---I give to my daughter Sara Balch: fifteene pounds.
3---I give to my daughter Seeth Grafton fifteene pounds.
4---I give to my daughter Miriam Hills two daughters, Miriam Hill and Susanna Hill to each of them five pounds to be pd to them, when they shall accomplish the age of eighteen yeares, or at theire marriage.
I give unto my sons George & John Gardner that pt of my salt meddow, lying on the west side of Capt. George Corwin's meddow, which I value at twenty pounds.
I give unto my sonns Samuell and Joseph Gardner, the other pt of my salt meddow lying on the east side of Capt. Corwin's meddow, wch I do likewise value at twenty pounds.
My will is further that my houseing with the rest of my lands & goods & estate with the meddow before mentioned, shall be divided into seaven equall pts: which I doe give to my six sons, as followeth: first I give to my son Thomas two pts of ye seaven, he paying to his mother in law forty-six shillings by the yeare, during her life.
2nd. I give to my son George Gardner one pt of the seven, he paying to his mother in law 23 shill. by the yeare during her life.
3rd. I give to my son Richard ..." (as above; also John, Samuel and Joseph have similar bequests in the order named).
"I doe appoynt my sons George and Samuell to be the executors of this my will & doe desire my loveing friends Mr. Joseph Grafton Sen and Deacon Horne to be my overseers to see this my will performed."
Signed: Thomas Gardner
Wit: Robert Pease, Samuell Goldthrite.
"On the 29 March 1675: Robert Pease & Samuell Goldthrite came before the worshipfull Edward King Esq. and Maj. Hathorne Esq. & Hilliard Veren clearke of the court at Salem, being present & gave oath that the above written was assigned to & declared the last will and testament of ye sd Tho: Gardner & that there is no latter will of his that they know of. Attest Hilliard Veren clerk."
to my wife Damaris [still living at time he wrote the will, although she died one month before he did]
my six sons
my daughter Sara Balch
my daughter Seeth Grafton
my daughter Mirian Hills (and her daughters Miriam and Susanna Hill)
sons George and John Gardner
sons Samuel and Joseph Gardner
my son Thomas
An inventory of the goods & estate of Thomas Gardner was taken 4 Jan 1675 by Hilliard Veren, Sr. and John Pickering and totalled £274 16s., including real estate valued at £201: "an old dwelling house with about 10 acres of land adjoining with the orchard, fences &c.," £31; ten acres of ground in the Northfield, £27; about 100 acres of upland and meadow, £100; about 20 acres of land lying in the woods, £3; and about 2 3/4 acres of salt marsh lying above the mill," £40. The inventory also included "2 old barrels of guns" valued at 5s.
Following Thomas Gardner's probate, at the November 1677 term of Essex court his sons George ("now of Hartford, Connecticut") and Samuel sued John Pudney of Salem, husbandman, over a farm let to Pudney by lease dated 1 March 1672 and described as Gardner's now dwelling house in Salem, with all his land in Northfield, about 20 acres, also his 10 acres of meadow ... for seven years from Apr. 15, 1672 at £11 per year, and two barrels of cider, said Gardner furnishing the cask, of which £4 were to be paid in wood at 8s. per cord, 40s. in butter and cheese, with one firkin of butter, 40s. in pork, and the remainder in corn. Said Pudney was not to remove any muck, and Gardner reserved the right to take the meadow near Needham's if he so desired.
On 2 September 1678 Lt. George Gardner, late of Salem & now of Hartford, merchant, and Samuel Gardner of Salem, mariner, joint executors of the last will of Mr. Thomas Gardner deceased, sold to John Swinnerton of Salem, physician, "all that part of the estate that said Gardner died possessed of and which the said executors have power to sell," including a dwelling house and ten acres in the North Field, another ten acres in the North Field, about an acre of upland by the Strongwater Brook, a farm containing one hundred acres of upland and meadow, and twenty acres of upland and meadow.
Thomas' son, Samuel, presented the will to the clerk of court and it was proven on 29 Mar 1675.
Samuel and Lieut. George Gardner, the executors, sold to Job Swinnerton, physician, 19 Jul 1678, the following: "10 acres of land with housing in north field by land of John Pease. 10 acres of land in north field by land of Robert Stone. 1 acre of land by 'Strong water brooke, adjoining to ye medow formerly of ye sd Thomas Gardner deceased,' called 'ye salt meddow.' 100 acre farm more or less in town of Salem by land of Anthony Needham. 20 acres in Salem by land of Widow Pope. 'alsoe all debts dues or demands owing or in anywise belonging to ye estate of ye sr. Tho. Gardner deceased." (Ref. Essex Registry of Deeds, book 5, leaf 3.)
All of the above property with exception of the ten acre lot in the north field by land of Robert Stone was bought back by Samuel on 22 July 1678, with Thomas Gardner Sen'r his brother being one of the witnesses.
(Source: County Court records, Case no. 54, March 1675)
Pending Information on Origins
The article Thomas Gardiner of Salem  shows information found in 2014 that may explain that Margaret Friar was the first wife of Thomas Gardner and the mother of all of his children, and that he only had one other wife, Demaris ____ (widow Shattock). Pending further information from the Thomas Gardner Society, all of Thomas' children will be left attached to Margaret, not to an unknown first wife, which was the conclusion of Robert Charles Anderson in "The Great Migration Begins" page 735. The Thomas Gardner of Salem article indicates that Margaret's parents were Walter Friar and Grace Mullins and also states "...there is a record that may show Thomas' parents: Thomas Gardner and Christine Saule."
"Banks states without authority that Gardner might have come from Hurst, Martock parish, Somersetshire [Topo Dict 143], and other origins have been claimed. An origin in the West County is certain, but the name is common and none of the suggestions made to date has a firm foundation.
"George McCracken suggested that the unusual name of the Gardner's last child, Seeth, was an indication that in previous generations there had been a marriage to someone with that surname [TAG 30:157]
Margaret and Sherborne
More recent research has discovered the marriage of Thomas Gardiner and Margaret Frier on April 28, 1617 in Sherborne, Dorset, followed by baptisms of sons Thomas and George-- known to be the two oldest sons of the later Salem couple. There is a 1591 Sherborne baptism of a Thomas Gardiner that would fit this Thomas and a 1598 baptism of Margaret Frier; unfortunately neither baptism lists the parents. That said, there is a Sherborne marriage record for a Walter Frier and Grace Mullins on 31 Jan 1591, a reasonable timeframe to be Margaret's parents.Image linked to Margaret's profile and available at Family History Centers on-site
Question: Can we confirm that this Sherborne family (Thomas and Margaret with sons Thomas and George) disappear from Sherborne records after 1624, known migration year of the Salem, Massachusetts family?
↑ The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Volumes I-III. (Online database: AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2010), (Originally Published as: New England Historic Genealogical Society. Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Volumes I-III, 3 vols., 1995).
Volume III, pp 731-737 subscription needed
↑ "Massachusetts Deaths and Burials, 1795-1910," database, FamilySearch : 10 February 2018), Thomas Gardner in entry for Damaris Gardner, 28 Nov 1674; citing Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, reference ; FHL microfilm 877,468.
↑ 3.03.1 The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Volumes I-III. (Online database: AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2010), (Originally Published as: New England Historic Genealogical Society. Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Volumes I-III, 3 vols., 1995).Volume III, pp 735-736 subscription needed
↑ "Massachusetts Deaths and Burials, 1795-1910," database, FamilySearch : 10 February 2018), Thomas Gardner, 29 Dec 1674; citing Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, reference ; FHL microfilm 877,468.