Mary Morrill

Mary Morrill

Mary Morrill (akas: Morrel/Morrills/Morill) (b. circa 1620 – died 1704) was the grandmother of Benjamin Franklin, American printer, journalist, publisher, author, philanthropist, abolitionist, public servant, scientist, librarian, diplomat, statesman and inventor.

Mary immigrated to Massachusetts Bay Colony as an indentured servant probably belonging to Hugh Peters. Mary married Peter Folger in 1644. He had been one of the few white men in Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, Massachusetts (as a successor of Thomas Mayhew), and who was a teacher and translator for the Wampanoag Indians. Peter Folger paid Hugh Peters the sum of 20 shillings to pay off Mary's servitude, which he declared was the best appropriation of money he had ever made. Their daughter, Abiah Folger (Benjamin Franklin's mother), was born on August 15, 1667 in Nantucket.

Mary was mentioned by name as a historical figure in Herman Melville's fictional Moby-Dick in chapter 24 which is entitled The Advocate. This chapter is a defense of Nantucket's whaling industry. In it, Melville sets up a series of objections to that industry, one of which is "No good blood in their veins?" His response to this objection is:

"They have something better than royal blood there. The grandmother of Benjamin Franklin was Mary Morrel; afterwards, by marriage, Mary Folger, one of the old settlers of Nantucket, and the ancestress to a long line of Folgers and harpooneers--all kith and kin to noble Benjamin--this day darting the barbed iron from one side of the world to the other."

Read more about Mary Morrill:  Other Notable Descendants

Famous quotes containing the word mary:

    He was high and mighty. But the kindest creature to his slaves—and the unfortunate results of his bad ways were not sold, had not to jump over ice blocks. They were kept in full view and provided for handsomely in his will. His wife and daughters in the might of their purity and innocence are supposed never to dream of what is as plain before their eyes as the sunlight, and they play their parts of unsuspecting angels to the letter.
    —Anonymous Antebellum Confederate Women. Previously quoted by Mary Boykin Chesnut in Mary Chesnut’s Civil War, edited by C. Vann Woodward (1981)