b.1617 Norwich, Norfolk, England
m. JAN 1617
Facts and Events
Peter FOLGER - b. 1618, Norwich, Norfolk, England; d. 1690, Nantucket, Nantucket Co., MA. Son of John FOLGER and Meribah GIBBS. A teacher, surveyor, missionary, and interpreter, Peter moved to Martha's Vineyard about 1642 and to Nantucktet about 1657. He was chosen Clerk of Courts at Nantucker on Jul. 21, 1673, serving for a number of years. From his activity as missionary and Baptist preacher, Peter is recognized as a qualifying ancestor by the Society of the Descendants of the Colonial Clergy. His poem "A Looking Glass for the Time" was published Apr. 23, 1676, showing him as an advocate of religious liberty. From The Nantucket Way, by Mooney and Sigourney: "Peter Folger was called 'white chief's old-young man' by the Nantucket Indians, meaning he was wise for his age. Peter was a surveyor, Town clerk, Clerk for the General Court. He ground his own eyeglasses and made the frames. He was a public servant, miller, machinist, blacksmith, schoolmaster, author, poet, and preacher all rolled into one." Married about 1642, Nantucket, Nantucket Co., MA.
The Colonial Clergy and the Colonial Churches of New England by Frederick Lewis Weis (1936, Lancester, MA), page 86.
Peter Folger, b. England 1617/8, son of John Folger of Martha's Vineyard; came to New England with his father from Norwich, Eng., 1635; was in the service of the missionary corporation as assistant to Rev. Thomas Mayhew, Jr., and was left in charge of Mayhew's mission when the latter sailed for England in 1657; missionary to the Indians at Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard, 1656-1661; sett. Nantucket, 1663; grandfather of Benjamin Franklin; was learned in the Indian tongue and served as an interpreter; author of "A Looking Glass for the Times," 1675; d. Nantucket Island 1690.
Lines from "A Looking-Glass for the Times; or, The former spirit of New England revived in this generation" by Peter Folger (1675)
Sure, 'tis not chiefly for those sins That magistrates do name, And make good laws for to suppress And execute the same.
But 'tis for that same crying sin That rulers will not own, And that whereby much cruelty To brethren bath been shown.
The sin of persecution Such laws established; By which laws they have gone so far As blood hath touched blood.
The cause of this their suffering Was not for any sin, But for the witness that they bare Against babes sprinkling.
The church may now go stay at home, There's nothing for to do; Their work is all cut out by law, And almost made up too. If that the peace of God did rule With power in our hearts, Then outward war would fall away And rest would be our part.
If we could love our brethren And do to them, I say, As we would they should do to us, We should be quits straightway;
But if that we do smiting go Of fellow servants so, No marvel if our wars increase And things so heavy go.
'Tis like that some may think and say, Our war would not remain, If so be that a thousand more Of natives were but slain.
Alas! these are but foolish thoughts; God can make more arise, And if that there were none at all, He can make war with flies.
It is the presence of the Lord, must make our foes to shake, Or else it's like he well ere long know how to make us quake.
Let us lie low before the Lord in all humility, And then we shall with Asa see our enemies to fly.
But if that we do leave the Lord, and trust in fleshly arm, Then 'tis no wonder if that we do hear more news of harm.
Let's have our faith and hope in God, and trust in him alone, And then no doubt this storm of war it quickly will be gone.
Thus, reader, I, in love to all, leave these few lines with thee, Hoping that in the substance we shall very well agree.
If that you do mistake the verse for its uncomely dress, I tell thee true, I never thought that it would pass the press.
If any at the matter kick, it's like he's galled at heart, And that's the reason why he kicks, because he finds it smart.
I am for peace, and not for war, And that's the reason why, I write more plain than some men do, That use to daub and lie.
But I shall cease, and set my name To what I here insert; Because, to be a libeller, I hate it with my heart.
From Sherbon town, where now I dwell, My name I do put here; Without offence, your real friend, It is Peter Folger.