1st wife of Thomas Gardner

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1st wife of Thomas Gardner

Birthdate: (47)
Birthplace: Ixworth Parish, Suffolk, England
Death: circa 1636 (43-51)
Town of Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony, (Present USA)
Immediate Family:

Wife of Thomas Gardner, "Old Planter"
Mother of Thomas Gardner, of Salem; George Gardner of Salem; Richard Gardner, Sr., of Nantucket; Capt. John Gardner, of Nantucket; Samuel Gardner, of Salem and 4 others

Managed by: Linda Sue
Last Updated:

About 1st wife of Thomas Gardner

NOT Margaret Fryer.

The first wife of Thomas Gardner (1591-1674) of Salem was born c 1600 probably in England; and died, probably in childbirth 1636 and before 1639, probably in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts Bay Colony. She is the mother of all his nine known children.

Parents: not known.


  1. in England to Thomas Gardner (1591-1674) of Salem. His parents were Thomas Gardner (1565 - 1635) and Elizabeth White (1564 - 1648).

Children of Thomas Gardner and his first wife include:

  1. George Gardner, b. England, m. Hannah Shattuck [1] joined the Salem Church in 1637; selectman 1662. Hannah was presumably the "Hannah Gardner" who joined the Salem Church in 1639.[4]
  2. John Gardner, b. about 1624, poss. in Naumkeag (Salem, Essex Co, MA), and d. 6 May 1706 on Nantucket, Nantucket Co., MA[1]. He joined the Salem Church in 1643[4] He married Priscilla Grafton 20 Feb 1653/54 on Nantucket.[1]
  3. Sarah Gardner , born about 1627, died 5 Apr 1686 at Beverly, Essex Co., MA. She married Benjamin Balch about 1650 as his first wife. He was the son of John Balch and Margery Lovett. Ch: Samuel, Benjamin, John, Joseph, Freeborn, Sarah, Abigail, Ruth, Mary, Jonathan, David.[1][6] Benjamin married (2) Abigail Clarke on 5 Feb 1688/9 in Marblehead (she d. 1 Jan 1690), and married (3) Grace Mallett on 15 Mar 1691/2.[6]
  4. Samuel Gardner married Mary White[1] "born ab. 1627, freeman 1675, representative, 1681 and 1682."[5] Joined Salem Church in 1649.. selectman in 1676-77, and "Capt. Samuel Gardner" selectman "1697".[4]
  5. Joseph Gardner died on 19 Dec 1675. He married Anne Downing bef. Aug. 1656. She was born about 1634 and died on 19 Apr. 1713 age 79. She was the daughter of Emanuel Downing.[1][2] # Joseph and Ann had no children. Anne Downing Gardner married (2) Governor Simon Bradstreet. He was at that time a man in his late 70's. They had no children.
  6. Seeth Gardner was b. 25 Oct 1636 at Salem, Essex Co., MA and was baptized on 25 Dec. 1636 in Salem. She died on 17 Apr.1707 in Salem. Savage indicated she married Joseph Grafton, however another source states that she married (1) Joshua Conant and (2) John Grafton on 1 Oct. 1659 in Salem.[1]
  7. Miriam Gardner was born in about 1632, Salem and died in about 1664 in Salem, she married John Hill.[1][Vitals not sourced so regard as tentative dates only]
  8. Richard Gardner b. England, d. 23 Jan. 1688/89 Nantucket, Nantucket Co., Ma.; m. Sarah Shattuck in 1652 Salem, Essex Co., MA. She was born in about 1631 to 1632 and died in 1724 on Nantucket Island. Her father has been given variously as Samuel Shattuck, John Shattuck and unknown. Her mother was DAMARIS (_____).
  9. Thomas Gardner Jr. [4][5], joined the Salem Church in in 1637; selectman 1682; with his brother John was the most heavily involved in the family shipping interests. The family had "financial interest" in the Ketches 'Mary' and 'Expectation' about 1689.[4]


The Great Migration Begins states:

"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 March 1639/40; had she been with Thomas Gardner since his arrival in New England, we would expect that she 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."

Additional Information

There is a great deal of confusion concerning the wives of Thomas Gardner. Most older sources assign only two wives with the first, the mother of his children, given as Margaret Fryer. However Robert Charles Anderson in his highly respected "The Great Migration Begins" assigns three wives to Thomas as follows: the name of his first wife, the mother of all of his children is unknown. She came with him to New England, (while Anderson doesn't say when it probably wasn't when Thomas first arrived at the Cape Ann Colony, but later, after he had removed to Naumkeag (Salem)). Wife #1 died, probably in Salem, before 1639. Thomas married (2) Margaret (_____) by 1639; and after her death married (3) the wid. Damaris (_____) Shattuck.[6]

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1st wife of Thomas Gardner's Timeline

January 25, 1589
Ixworth, Suffolk, England
Ixworth Parish, Suffolk, England
Age 25
Dorchester, Dorset, England
Age 31
Dorset, England
June 13, 1621
Age 32
Sherborne, Dorset, England
Age 36
Nantucket, Nantucket , Massachusetts
Age 38
Salem, Essex, Massachusetts
Age 39
Massachusetts Bay Colony, USA
Age 42
Salem, (Present Essex County), Massachusetts Bay Colony