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Sent to Benjamin Franklin, 1713.
""T is time for me to throw aside my pen,
When hanging sleeves read, write, and rhyme like men.
For, if the bud bear grain, what will the top!
If plenty in the verdant blade appear,
What may we not soon hope for in the ear!
If trees good fruit un'noculated bear,
You may be sure 't will afterward be rare.
If fruits are sweet before they 've time to yellow,
What laden boughs, Engedi-like, may we expect in the end!" These lines are more prophetic, perhaps, than the writer imagined. He continued to make verses, and to turn the Psalms into rhyme, after he came to New England. The precise time of his death is not known. He was living in 1727, and probably died the year following, at the age of seventy-eight.
His son, Samuel, had a son of the same name, born October 21st, 1721. He was an only child. He followed the trade of his father, and died in Boston, February 21st, 1775, leaving four daughters. 1. Eunice, married to Benjamin Callender. 2. Hannah, married to Samuel Emmons. 3. Sarah, married to Jerome Ripley. 4. Elizabeth, married to William Clouston. The last three are now living, in 1839.
The ancestors of Abiah Folger, the mother of Dr. Franklin, emigrated from England to America. In a letter to his sister, dated in London, January 13th, 1772, he says; "No arms of the Folgers are found in the Herald's Office. I am persuaded it was originally a Flemish family, which came over with many others from that country in Queen Elizabeth's time, flying from the persecution then raging there." For the following facts relating to the family in America, I am chiefly indebted to Mr. William C. Folger, of Nantucket, who has made a diligent search in the early records of that Island and of Martha's Vineyard.
There is a tradition in the family, that John Folger, and his son Peter Folger, (the name was then written Foulger,) crossed the Atlantic in the same vessel with Hugh Peters, in the year 1635. They came from Norwich, in the county of Norfolk, England. Peter was then eighteen years old, and of course was born in the year 1617. The father and son settled at Martha's Vineyard.
The time is not exactly known, but it is supposed to have been very soon after they came to the country. It has not been ascertained whether John Folger's wife came with him, or whether she had died in England, and he married again in America. The name of his wife, Meribell, is mentioned in the records of Martha's Vineyard. He died about 1660. His wife was living in 1663. Peter was his only child.
In the year 1644, Peter Folger married Mary Morrell, who had been an inmate in Hugh Peters's family. He resided at Martha's Vineyard till 1663, when he removed to Nantucket, being among the first settlers of that Island. He was a man of considerable learning, particularly in mathematical science, and he practised surveying both in the Vineyard and Nantucket. He was one of the five commissioners first appointed to measure and lay out the land on the Island of Nantucket; and it was said in the order, that "whatsoever shall be done by them or any three of them, Peter Folger being one, shall be accounted legal and valid." This mode of wording the order shows the confidence that was placed in his integrity and judgment.
He acquired the Indian language, and served as interpreter, both in affairs of business, and in communicating religious instruction to the Indians. He rendered assistance in this way to the Reverend Thomas Mayhew, the distinguished missionary at Martha's Vineyard. Mr. Prince, in his account of Mayhew, says, that he had "an able and godly Englishman, named Peter Foulger, employed in teaching the youth in reading, writing, and the principles of religion by catechizing; being well learned likewise in the Scriptures, and capable of helping them in religious matters."* He is said to have preached on some occasions. There is a long letter from him to his son-in-law, Joseph Pratt, containing religious counsel, with much use of Scripture, according to the practice of those times. Indeed his poem, entitled A Looking-Glass for the Times, published in 1676, shows that he was not only well informed in theology, but in political affairs, such as they then were in New England. He died in 1690, and his widow in 1704.
The children of Peter and Mary Folger were, 1. Johannah, who married John Coleman. 2. Bethiah, married John Barnard, February, 1668-9. They were both drowned four months afterwards by the upsetting of a boat, while crossing from Nantucket
* See MAYHEW's Indian Converts, p. 291.
to the Vineyard. 3. Dorcas, married Joseph Pratt. born 1648, married Sarah Gardner. 5. Bethshua, married Pope. 6. Patience, married Ebenezer Harker. 7. John, born 1659, married Mary Barnard. 8. Experience, married John Swain. 9. Abiah, born August 15th, 1667, married Josiah Franklin.
Joseph Pratt lived at one time in Nantucket, but is supposed to have removed to Boston. Some of the descendants of Pope also lived in Boston. John Pope was a physician of some eminence. Joseph Pope was ingenious in mechanics, and constructed the orrery in Harvard College. Robert Pope was a watchmaker, skilful in his art. The other children of Peter Folger and their descendants have nearly all resided in Nantucket. A son of Eleazer, of the same name, served as register of probate fortyseven years, and died in 1753, aged eighty-one. He was succeeded by his son Frederick, who held the same office thirty-seven years, and died in 1790, at the age of sixty-five. Peleg, a brother of Frederick, wrote many pieces in prose and verse, and was distinguished for his piety and estimable character; he died in 1789, aged fifty-five. Nathan, another son of the first Eleazer, had several children. His son Abisha was justice of the peace, and for thirty years represented the town in the legislature. Barzillai, another son of Nathan, commanded a vessel in the London trade. Abisha had a large family of children. Among them were William, George, and Timothy; the last of whom was justice of the peace and a merchant. He took an active part with the patriots at the beginning of the Revolution. There is a portrait of him by Copley. Barzillai likewise had many children. Among them was Walter, a man of great strength of mind, of strict probity and honor, a good mathematician, at one time commander of a vessel, and for many years a merchant and ship-owner. He died much respected in 1826, in the ninety-second year of his age. His son, Walter Folger, known as the astronomer of Nantucket, was born in 1765, and is still living (in 1839). Many years ago he invented and constructed a very ingenious astronomical clock. He also made a telescope with a magnifying power of about five hundred. The above are descendants of Eleazer, the son of Peter. His other son, John, had children, from whom have sprung descendants, but they are less known.
Although Dr. Franklin's grandfather had five sons, and his father five, who grew up to man's estate, were married, and together had a large number of children, yet there is not an individual in the male line, bearing the name, now remaining. Thomas
Franklin was the only one in England as long ago as 1766. Dr. Franklin found him at Lutterworth, in Leicestershire, poor and destitute, and contributed to his relief for several years. He supported and educated his only child, Sally, till she was married. He was living at Lutterworth, very old, in 1791. His daughter died in 1782. There is none bearing the name in America, who descended from this family. Dr. Franklin's brothers, John and James, each had a son, but these died without children. His first cousin, Samuel, likewise had a son, but the children of this son were four daughters. Dr. Franklin's eldest son, William, died in London, November, 1813. His wife, whom he married in London, 1762, just after he was appointed governor of New Jersey, died in 1777. As he took the side of the loyalists in the Revolution, he went to England after the war, received a pension from the King, and remained there till his death. He had an only son, William Temple, who died without issue. Dr. Franklin's other son, Francis Folger, died in childhood. Sarah, was born September 11th, 1744; married Richard Bache, October 29th, 1767; died October 5th, 1808. The children of Richard and Sarah Bache, were, 1. Benjamin Franklin Bache, born 1769, married Margaret Markoe, died 1798, during the yellow fever in Philadelphia. 2. William, married Catherine Wistar, died 1814. 3. Elizabeth, married John Harwood. 4. Louis. 5. Deborah, married William J. Duane. 6. Richard, married the eldest daughter of Alexander J. Dallas. 7. Sarah, married Thomas Sergeant. Their descendants are numerous.
It appears by Dr. Franklin's Will, that, at the time of his death, there were living descendants of his brothers Samuel and James, and of his sisters, Anne, Sarah, Lydia, and Jane. He left a small bequest to each of them.
The basis of the subjoined Genealogical Table is a paper supposed to have been drawn up by Dr. Franklin. It has been enlarged, and in some instances corrected, particularly in the dates, from the Record of Births in Boston, from Dr. Franklin's letters in which he speaks of his family, and from the manuscript volumes of his uncle Benjamin, which contain various particulars illustrative of this subject.
PEDIGREE OF THE FAMILY OF FRANKLIN.
ARMS. Argent, on a bend, engrailed between two lions' heads erased gules, a dolphin between two birds or. Crest, a fish's head in pale, or, erased gules, between two sprigs vert.
1. ROBERT, son of Thom
as Francklyne, born at Ecton, 8 April, 1563. No account of his issue or death.
1st wife, JANE WHITE, was much younger than he, being born when he was at man's estate, but he waited for her, she being the child of a neighbour and particular friend. Married in 1636. She died and was buried at Ecton, 30 Oct., 1662.
2. MARGERYE FRANCKLYNE, married JOHN WALSH, 5 Feb., 1561, at Ecton. No issue.
5. HENRY, born 26
May, 1573, mar.
died 29 Jan., 1648.
2. A 2d THOMAS, b. 8 Oct., 1598, = 2d wife, ELIZABETH
5. JOHN, born at Ecton, had one ANNE.... 6. JOSEPH,lived in Suf- SARAH.... son and five daughters at Ban
bury died 7 June, 1691, t. 48.
1. THOMAS, died at Birmingham, about 1762. Left one son, THOMAS, a scarlet-dyer at MARY, born 24 Oct., 1673, == RICHARD Lutterworth, in Leicestershire; living in 1791, very old. He had a daughter by whom she had only FISHER. SALLY, married JAMES PIERCE, 1773; she died in 1782, leaving one son. one daughter. 2. HANNAH, married in London, died at Banbury. Left no issue. 3. ANNE, married .... FARROW; had, in 1758, one daughter at Castlethorpe, near BuckELEANOR, who died without issue, 4. MARY, married in London, died there. No issue. [ingham, within 7 miles. aged about 30 years. 5. JANE, married ROBERT PAGE; had no children; died at Banbury, 1757. 6. ELEANOR, died at Banbury.
Born in Christ Church parish, London. All died young, and without issue.
8 HANNAH, born
JOHN MORRIS, 1st wife, ANNE died 17 June, 1695.
2. JANE. S. HANNAH.
1. ELIZABETH, born at Ecton, 2 March,
2. SAMUEL, b. at Banbury, 16 May, 1681;
4 Josian, born 23 Aug. 1685 lost at sea about 1715. No issue.
5. ANNE, born 1686, married J. HARRIS, of Ipswich; had many children. 6. Josɛru, born 1687, died an infant,
7. Josgrn, born 30 June, 1680, died a child,
These 4, by Ist wife, born in Boston.
9. JOSIAH, b. 23 Dec.,1657;= emig. to N. Eng. about 1685; d. 16 Jan., 1744-5.
8. JOHN, born 7 Dec., 1690, married
2d wife, ABIAH FOLGER,dau of Peter Folger, b. at Nantucket, 15 Aug., 1667, m. 1690, d. 1752.
Goоcн, died Jan., 1756, had
but one son, JOHN, lost at sea, a young man grown.
13. EBENEZER, born 20 Sept., 1701; drowned when a child.
15. BENJAMIN, born 6 Jan., 1706; married DEBORAH READ 1 Sept.,