Peter Folger

Peter Folger

Norfolk, England
Death 1690 (aged 72–73)
Nantucket County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial Nantucket, Nantucket County, Massachusetts, USA
Memorial ID 10904442 View Source
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Maternal grandfather of Benjamin Franklin.

I think Peter deserves a "Famous" for writing "A Looking Glass For the Times."
Info from M Camero (#47432545)findagrave member :

The text below is extracted from a biography of Peter Folger.
I thought you might want to include it in Peter Folger's memorial.


"A Grandfather for Benjamin Franklin" by Meador Press, Boston, 1940. "This is a biography of Peter Folger, the first Folger in Nantucket Island, and of many of his contemporaries, as well as a history of the Island's early days."

The books copyright is in the Public Domain, Google-digitized


Peter Folger, the only child of John Folger, 1590-1660, and Meribah Gibbs, accompanied his father to America, arriving at Boston in 1635. Peter and his father settled in Watertown, MA that year. In 1642 Peter, and probably his father too, went to Martha's Vineyard with Thomas Mayhew. He married there in 1644 to Mary Morrill who had been a governess in the family of Hugh Peters and according to tradition a fellow passenger with him from England. Peter bought her from Hugh Peters, to whom she owed service, and paid the sum of 20 pounds which he very gallantly declared "was the best appropriation of money he had ever made."

Whilst at the Vineyard he taught school and also practiced as a surveyor of lands. He also assisted the younger Thomas Mayhew in his work of Christianizing the native Indians. Rev. Experience Mayhew, in a letter to John Gardner, Esq. dated 1694, stated that when Thomas Mayhew, Jr. left for England in 1657, he left the care of his church or mission with Peter Folger. Peter had become a Baptist in his sentiments and after his removal to Nantucket is said to have baptized two persons in Waiptequage pond.

Whilst a resident at the Vineyard he acquired the Indian language, which was of great service to him in business affairs and in enabling him to communicate religeous instruction to the natives. In the summer of 1659, he is said to have accompanied Tristram Coffin and others to Nantucket to serve as an Indian interpreter when they visited the Island to view it about the time of their purchase of the island from Mayhew.

At a meeting of the proprietors of the Island of Nantucket held in Salisbury in the latter part of 1660 or early 1661, fivepersons were chosen to measure and lay out the land, and in the order it is said, ".. that what shall be done by them, or any three of them, Peter Folger being one, shall be accounted legal and valid.". This vote shows the confidence they placed in his judgement and integrity. Peter was there in 1661 and 1662, surveying, and on the 4th of July, 1663, the proprietors of Nantucket granted him half a share of land on Nantucket, or half as much as had those who were one of the twentypurchasers, provided he would "...come to inhabit with his family on the aforesaid island within one year after that date, and attend the English in the way of interpreter between the Indians and them upon all necessary occasions.". He accepted the grant and moved there with his family within the specified time.

On the 21st of July, 1673, he was chosen clerk of courts, which office he held some years.

In his poem "A Looking-Glass for the Times", published on April 23, 1676, he shows himself an advocate for religious liberty and strongly condemns the prosecuting spirit exhibited in New England in his day. Dr. Benjamin Franklin, his grandson and great American patriot, when in England, found no arms for the Folgers at the Herald Office and concluded that they were a Flemish family who came over in the time of Queen Elizabeth.

Peter Folger was the grandfather of Benjamin Franklin through his daughter, Abiah. The line goes: Peter Folger & Mary Morill;their child, Abiah Lee Folger, born 15 Aug 1667 in Nantucket, died 18 May 1752 in Boston, married Josiah E. Franklin, born 23 Dec 1652 in Boston, died 16 Jan 1745 in Boston; their child, Benjamin Franklin, born 6 Jan 1705/1706 in Boston, died 17 Apr 1790 in Philadelphia, married Deborah Reed, born (?), Died (?). Benjamin Franklin was a first cousin seven times removed of Winfield D. Gallup.

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