FOLGER - Scraps of Family History

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From Fouges, a town in Normandy, France


John Folger and his son Peter crossed the Atlantic with Hugh Peters in 1835. They were from Norwich in the county of Norfolk, England. Peter was then 18 years of age. They first settled in Watertown, Massachusetts and from thence accompanied Thomas Mayhew Jr. to Marthas Vineyard in the year 1641 or 1642. John Folger was a widower when he came over and subsequently married Maribel Gibbs who was "stilling living" in 1644. He died in 1660. His son Peter married Mary Morrill, a member of the family of Hugh Peters. He was a Baptist in sentiments, a school teacher and practiced surveying. He assisted in laying out the Island of Nantucket and on July 4, 1663 he was one half share of land or half as much as one of the twenty purchasers.

On July 21, 1673 he was chosen "clira" of the Courts. He understood and spoke the Indian language and played a very important part in the negotiations between the purchasers and the Indians in securing from their rights by a satisfactory agreement.

Peter Folger seems to have been very versatile as he was a miller, weaver, blacksmith and keeper of the Island’s records. In the fight between the Coffin and Gardner factions, a demand was made upon him to deliver up the records of the court which were in his possession. He refused to comply therewith on the grounds that he did not recognize the authority of the court as now constituted. Wether he hid the book so carefully that he was unable to find it afterward himself or wether it was lost or destroyed, it is not known but from that day to this, the book has never been found.

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Mill like the one operated by Peter. This one was erected in 1796

Peter Folger was fined five pounds, remanded to jail and disenfranchised for his part in the fight between Gardner and Coffin but by order of Governor Andros, the above action was declared null and void.

Peter’s daughter Abiah was the mother of Benjamin Franklin and the picture below (?) Taken by the water in 1916 shows the fountain erected to her memory and the site of Peter Folger’s house which was about 150 feet back from the fountain.

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This fountain was erected by the state of Massachusetts
in honor of Abiah Floger Franklin

We are descended from Peter’s son Eleazur, who married Sarah Gardner. Eleazur represented the county in court and his son Peter was Register of Probate and then

Daniel who was lost at sea and his son

Daniel who was owner of a whaling ship. About 1774 this Captain Daniel Folger gave up that occupation and with Captain William Coffin and Captain Starbuck settles at Easton New York purchasing 144 acres for 230 pounds which was sold in 1822 near Saratoga where Daniel’s son


Aaron married Mary Lapham and our Clarinda Folger was born.

The Folgers, Coffins and Gardners were the most numerous of the Island of Nantucket and contributed to its growth, not only in population but in building up its prosperity.


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