Mother of Invention

The birthplace of an American hero's mother

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J

osiah Franklin, was an English candlemaker who had seven children by his first wife and seven by his second, Abiah Folger, who he married after moving to Nantucket. One of those seven children was Benjamin Franklin. The daughter of a miller named Peter Folger and a former indentured servant, Mary Morrill, Benjamin Franklin’s mother was part of a Puritan family that fled to New England in 1635 and immediately started making trouble. Her father, for example, was jailed for protesting against the power of wealthy landowners over middle-class tradesmen. The Folger-Franklin Memorial commemorates Benjamin Franklin’s little-known connection to Nantucket, marking the site of the house where his mother was born in 1667. Overlooking fields originally granted to Peter Folger in 1663, it’s a good place to imagine what Nantucket looked then. As for the Folger family, it went on to found the eponymous coffee company.

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Another well-known American you didn’t know had Nantucket roots: R.H, Macy, who was born there and went to sea at 15 on a whaling ship, where he had the red star tattooed on his hand that is now the logo of the department store chain he founded.

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