Did you know that ole Benjamin’s mother’s maiden name was Abiah Folger? Or that one of her great-great-nephews founded Folger’s Coffee?
Abiah Folger was the daughter of Peter Folger and Mary Morrill. Mary came to the United States as an indentured servant, until her debt was paid by Peter, who then married her. Benjamin talks fondly of his maternal grandfather, Peter.
Peter Folger came to America in 1635 with his father, living in Watertown, Massachusetts, and later moving to Martha’s Vineyard,where he worked as a teacher and surveyor. At the Vineyard, Folger taught school and surveyed land. He also worked with Thomas Mayhew to convert the native American population to Christianity. He even learned the native language.
Peter was a Baptist missionary, teacher, and surveyor his dealings with the native population. He promoted harmony between the Native Americans and European settlers.
There are many stories about Benjamin and his kite, and perhaps the most famous is that he tied a brass key to a kite and flew the contraption into a lightning storm to see if lightning was made of electricity. Well, now we know that lightning is made of electricity, so we do not need to repeat that dangerous experiment.
But in his autobiography Benjamin also wonders if he could use a kite to move a rowboat, like a sail moves a ship. Our adventurers stumbled on Benjamin as he was carrying out one of his famous experiments.