Ben Franklin’s Mom Was Born Less Than 50 Miles From New Bedford
One of my favorite Founding Fathers was Benjamin Franklin.
I knew Ben Franklin was born on Milk Street in Boston; there is a marker on the building where Franklin's childhood home stood across the street from the Old South Church, which remains today.
I had no idea, however, that Franklin's mom was born in our neck of the woods.
Abiah Folger was born August 15, 1667, on Madaket Road in Nantucket, 49.6 miles southeast of New Bedford as the crow flies.
Abiah's father, Peter Folger, was a miller and school teacher, and her mother, Mary Morrell Folger, was a former indentured servant.
At 21 years old, Abiah moved to Boston, living with a sister and her husband, who were members of the South Church. Albiah married candlemaker Josiah Franklin and they had 10 children, including Benjamin, who was born in 1706.
In his autobiography, Franklin referred to his mothers as a "discreet and virtuous woman" with "an excellent constitution."
Abiah died on May 18, 1752, at age 84.
Abiah and Josiah were buried at the Granary Burying Ground, a short walk from Boston Common.
In 1898, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) established the Abiah Folger Franklin Chapter in Nantucket and erected a monument in Abiah's honor near her birthplace.
Ben Franklin left Massachusetts as a young man, settling in Philadelphia.
In addition to signing the Declaration of Independence, Franklin was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, diplomat, inventor, writer, printer, postmaster, firefighter and more over his long life.
Benjamin Franklin died on April 17, 1790, and was buried in Philadelphia.