The Quick 10, Sort Of: 10ish Famous People Related to Ben Franklin
I was researching the homeschool article from yesterday when I came across some fascinating stuff about Ben Franklin "“ he's related to a lot of interesting people. Actually, most of that is because of his relation to the Folger family, but it's interesting nonetheless. I thought it was perfect fodder for a Quick 10 - hope you guys are as entertained by this as I was!
1. J.A. Folger, the founder of the Folger's Coffee empire. OK, follow along with me, here. Ben's uncle Eleazar Folger had a son, Nathan. Nathan had a son, Abishai. Abishai had a son, George. George had a son, George. That George had a son, Samuel, who was the dad of J.A. Folger. I think that makes coffee magnate Ben's cousin, fives times removed, the same as Ezra Cornell.
2. Abigail Folger, one of the Manson Family's victims "“ she was the one that escaped and ran outside, only to be stabbed on the Polanskis' front lawn. She was the great-great granddaughter of J.A. Folger.
3. Ezra Cornell, the co-founder of Cornell University, was Ben's first cousin, five times removed. OK, go back to Uncle Eleazar. His other kid, Sarah, is the great-great-great grandmother of Ezra. His cousin, Paul Cornell, was a famous land developer in Chicago. He's responsible for Hyde Park, Washington Park and Jackson Park, among others.
4. Maria Mitchell, Astronomer. She was a first cousin, four times removed (Ben's Aunt Joanna's great-great-great granddaughter), and quite an impressive woman in her own right. She discovered a comet in 1847 (only the second woman to ever do so), was the first professional female astronomer in the U.S., uncovered the true nature of sunspots, was the first woman member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences AND of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She traveled in Europe with Nathaniel Hawthorne, became the first person ever to be appointed to the faculty at Vassar College and was named the Director of the Vassar College Observatory. When she found out that she wasn't making as much money as males who didn't have her experience, she demanded a raise. And got it.
5. Mayhew Folger was the captain of the ship that found the Pitcairn Islands after the Bounty mutineers had decided to settle there. Only one of the original mutineers was still alive. Mayhew was Ben Franklin's first cousin, three times removed.
6. Lucretia Coffin Mott. That Eleazar Folger had some pretty potent genes. In addition to Ezra Cornell and J.A. Folger, he also begat one of the most important suffragists and abolitionists ever. Lucretia was a great inspiration for Elizabeth Cady Stanton, she was the first president of the American Rights Association, was an acclaimed author and helped to incorporate Swarthmore College (among many other accomplishments).
7. Henry Clay Folger was the nephew of J.A. Folger. He was the president and chairman of Standard Oil of New York, but is probably best known for founding the Folger Shakespeare Library.
And here are three questionable descendants: Actress Rachel Miner (also Macaulay Culkin's ex-wife). I can't seem to easily trace that. I don't doubt it, though "“ the Miners have a very long, documented history.
And I found one site that casually mentioned Samuel Clemens and Will Rogers as descendants, but couldn't find a single bit of information to prove either one. What do you think, _flossers? Probable? Ridiculous? Share in the comments!