Big Weekly Blend - Vol. 1 Issue 5, June-July 2023

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Vol. 1 / Issue 5 / June - July 2023 DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun • Price Sculpture Garden Exploring Scotland • Fabrizia Spirits Inspiring The Next Genera�on of Naturalists American Journey • Historic Jefferson Highway The Ancestry of America’s Famous Five



5. Editors Block

7. Road Trippin’ & Summer Vibes


8. DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun

10. Price Sculpture Forest


14. Inspiring the Next Naturalists


16. Fabrizia Spirits & Baking Company


18. Exploring Scotland

22. American Journey

24. Jefferson Highway Conference


26. The Ancestry of The Famous Five



“Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.”

Welcome to the fi�h issue of the new BIG WEEKLY BLEND Variety Magazine! Covering Big Blend’s most recent ar�cles and podcasts, it’s also a companion publica�on to our Big Weekly Blend Podcast, with this week’s episode featuring musician Joey Stuckey, the official music ambassador of Macon, Georgia.

From the Price Sculpture Forest in Washington to DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun in Tucson and The Kelpies in Scotland, this issue explores the arts through travel. Summer is road trip season here in the US, and we have two features covering its heritage and culture. Hear author and historian Wes Davis talk about his new book “American Journey,” which shares the epic story of Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and naturalist John Burroughs taking road trips through rural America. Plus Roger Bell and Arlene Gould give us a recap on the recent annual Jefferson Highway Associa�on conference and sociability caravan in Iowa.

Other highlights in this magazine feature the family business story of Fabrizia Spirits and Baking Company; how Dr. Doug Tallamy is inspiring the next genera�on of naturalists through his book “Nature’s Best Hope;” and the Homegrown Na�onal Park movement, and family history research lessons learned from going down the ancestry rabbit hole of America’s “Famous Five.”

Happy Canada Day and 4th of July to our Canadian and American Friends!

Nancy J. Reid and Lisa D. Smith Big Blend’s mother-daughter publishing, podcas�ng, and travel team.

BIG BLENDMISSION STATEMENT: Big Blend is a company based on the belief that education is the most formidable weapon that can be waged against fear, ignorance and prejudice. It is our belief that education starts at home and branches outward. Education leads to travel, and travel leads to understanding, acceptance, and appreciation of cultures and customs different to our own, and ultimately to world peace. Our company is further based on the principle that networking, communication, and helping others to promote and market themselves leads to financial stability; thus paving the way to better education, travel, and the spirit of giving back to the community. This magazine is developed by Big Blend Magazine™, copyrighted since 1997. No part of it may be reproduced for any reason, without written permission from Big Blend Magazine. Although every effort is made to be accurate, we cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies or plagiarized copy submitted to us by advertisers or contributors.


FRONT COVER IMAGE: The Kelpies in Scotland, by Cheryl Ogle, story on page 18.


Enjoy Big Blend Radio’s BIG WEEKLY BLEND podcast with this episode focusing on road trips, ca�ish, and summer vibes. This week’s featured guest is Joey Stuckey, an award-winning blind guitarist, songwriter, singer, composer, producer, radio and television personality, music columnist, educator, and sound engineer. He’s also the official music ambassador for Macon, Georgia, the “Southern Rock Capital of the World.” Joey joins us every 4th Sunday. More:


Listen to thepodcast here in the YouTube player or download it on Acast and check out the page on for links to this episode’s related ar�cles, recipes, and puzzles that connect with, celebrate, and honor this week’s holidays & observances, birthdays & birth anniversaries, and more!”

Plus, check out this week’s eclec�c music playlist on YouTube or on Spo�fy. It features over 40 songs that complement the podcast conversa�on with Joey (especially when it comes to road tripping), and celebrates this week’s holidays, observances, and birth anniversaries.


Take a Cool Walk through the Southwest Art & Architecture of Famous Arizona Ar�st, Ted DeGrazia

As summer temperatures rise in the “Old Pueblo,” DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun makes for a cool respite where you can enjoy a slow stroll to soak up the enchan�ng spirit of the southwest, through the art of famous Arizona ar�st Ted DeGrazia, as well as his wife Marion’s artwork. Nestled in the foothills of Tucson, Arizona's Santa Catalina Mountains, this 10acre Na�onal Historic District was designed and built by Ted DeGrazia in the 1950s, using tradi�onal adobe bricks that were cra�ed onsite.

“The gallery was designed by me. I wanted to have the feeling of the Southwest. I wanted to build it so that my pain�ngs would feel good inside.” – E�ore “Ted” DeGrazia

The DeGrazia art and architectural experience starts from the minute you drive up to the property where you’ll see the adobe buildings and ramadas decorated with colorful �n flowers and stars. From saguaros to roadrunners, you’ll see all kinds of local desert plants and birds, which all add to the Sonoran desert se�ng.

The coolness will welcome you as you step into the gallery through the iron entry gates, which were designed a�er the Yuma Territorial Prison. Soon you’ll be moseying down a corridor of vibrant art, walking upon a unique floor built out of local cholla cactus.

To get DeGrazia’s backstory, watch the Gallery’s documentary about his life, which began on June 14, 1909, when he was born to Italian immigrants who made their home in the Morenci mining camp of Territorial Arizona.

DeGrazia is most likely the most reproduced ar�st in the world, and the Gallery showcases six permanent collec�ons of his pain�ngs that trace historical events and na�ve cultures of the Southwest. Rota�ng exhibi�ons display some of the 15,000 DeGrazia originals housed at the gallery, including oils, watercolors, sketches, serigraphs, lithographs, sculptures, ceramics, and jewelry.

Lance Laber on Big Blend Radio: Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Acast.

You can also go into DeGrazia’s art studio where you can see his easel and pain�ng tools. A consignment room displays DeGrazia originals available for purchase, while the gi� shop offers a wide selec�on of reproduc�ons.

Outside the main Gallery area, the Yaqui Deer Dancer sculpture and fountain stand prominent within the shaded cactus corral and courtyard area, where there’s almost always something in bloom. Along with the Mission in the Sun which was built in honor of Padre Kino and dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe, the Gallery’s grounds also feature DeGrazia’s original home where he lived with his wife Marion who was also an ar�st, as well as their gravesites, and The Li�le Gallery which hosts visi�ng ar�sts during the winter months.

A true Tucson treasure, DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun is listed on the Na�onal Register of Historic Places and is included in the Na�onal Geographic Map Guide of the Sonoran Desert. It is a must-see gallery for those interested in art, architecture, and southwest history, and shares the inspiring and fascina�ng story of an ar�st who ignored boundaries and thrived on being authen�c and independent in crea�vity.

Take a virtual tour and watch our video (bo�om right), “60 Seconds of a #OneHourWalk at DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun.”


“DeGrazia’s Beggars” – In 1940, Tucson ar�st Ted DeGrazia began a series of beggar pain�ngs that would con�nue un�l his death in 1982. “DeGrazia’s Beggars” is a selec�on of pain�ngs that traces the evolu�on of the ar�st’s ar�s�c style and approach to the subject across four decades.

“DeGrazia Underground: Miners and Prospectors of the Old West” – Miners and prospectors of the old West are the subject of this new exhibit. This new selec�on of drawings and oil pain�ngs by Tucson ar�st Ted DeGrazia dates from 1936 to 1972.

“On the Trail with Ted DeGrazia” – Da�ng from 1948 to 1972, riders on horseback are featured this new exhibit. These pain�ngs include cowboys, Na�ve Americans, and Mexican revolu�onaries

“Abstract Pain�ngs of Ted DeGrazia” – A rare collec�on of abstract work by Tucson ar�st Ted DeGrazia is featured in “Abstract Pain�ngs of Ted DeGrazia”. Beginning with his master’s thesis pain�ngs in the mid-1940’s and con�nuing through the mid-1950’s, these works range from small sketches and studies to large format pain�ngs and screen prints.

Plan your visit at h�ps://

Yaqui Deer Dancer Fountain
Degrazia’s Beggars
Historic Coupeville

Whidbey Island is a popular des�na�on for Sea�le area residents, as well as for visitors to Washington State. They find this idyllic locale, with its mix of bucolic and coastal landscapes, a charming getaway. The island is an outdoor paradise, with plenty of opportuni�es to hike, bike, kayak, and sail. But it’s a cultural mecca, too, as ar�sts, writers, and other crea�ve types are drawn to this peaceful haven. Add in a vibrant culinary scene for the complete trifecta.

What’s also fun about Whidbey is discovering its lesser-known treasures. Like Price Sculpture Forest, for example. This community park, which is located near the town of Coupeville, is a gem. And it’s free to the public. Here, nature and outdoor art converge in a unique interac�ve museum.

The Sculpture Forest was created by Sco� Price in collabora�on with other partners. Price was inspired by his own personal travels, which o�en combined an apprecia�on for the natural world with the joy of exploring and discovering sculpture within the outdoors. Years of planning and effort went into crea�ng the park, which finally opened in October 2020.

Enter the park under a wooden archway that encourages visitors to “Wander and Roam.” Pathways wind through the forest and the sculptures provide deligh�ul surprises along the way. Each is iden�fied with its �tle and the name of the ar�st who created it.

“Wind Shear” by Jeff Kahn is a large-scale kine�c installa�on made from aluminum and stainless steel. Watch it move in the breeze and marvel at its elegant grace.

Ar�st Jeff Neal’s “A�acking Eagle” depicts an eagle in predatory mode. Though constructed from stainless steel, the bird appears realis�c and full of power and mo�on. You can just imagine its fierce determina�on and single focus as it goes a�er its prey.

Kirk Seese’s colorful, geometric “Feather” looks like it’s made of stained glass, though it’s not. The epoxy resin outer coa�ng on the panels acts like a mirror and reflects everything around it.

Con�nued on Next Page…

A�acking Eagle

One of my favorite pieces is “The Founda�on of Animalia and Fungi” by David D’Os�lio. The sculpture consists of two human legs in a walking posi�on. Made from oak logs, the legs are coated in beeswax and have white bumps all over them to give the appearance of fungi.

In Jenni Ward’s piece, “Lichen Series: Spore Pa�erns,” fungus also takes centerstage. The over three hundred ceramic wedge-shaped pieces of the sculpture are based on a type of fungus that has a leathery surface and is known to anchor itself to the side of decaying trees. They are spread out in a mushroom-like forma�on across the forest floor.

Ar�st Jeff Tangen’s “Playa Flowers,” provides pops of color in the woods. Made of reused materials, it sparkles when the sun shines through the glass forms. The piece actually began life as a Burning Man installa�on, on display at the annual fes�val in Nevada. It has now “blossomed” here in the Forest.

Get ready for “Tyrannosaurus Rex,” who waits behind an old stump, hidden by foliage. He’s ready to pounce on you and just look at the size of his teeth! Ar�st Joe Treat specializes in dri�wood and bark sculptures and his inspira�on for crea�ng this fearsome creature was a li�le plas�c T Rex – the kind he played with as a child. This sculpture originally sat in Treat’s front yard, where it a�racted much a�en�on.

“Pen�llium” by Gary Gunderson reminds me of one of those gigan�c, sci-fi movie creatures that come to destroy all life on Earth. My traveling companion, on the other hand, thought it resembled an upsidedown flower. Gunderson is a metal sculptor who focuses on art and kine�c sculpture, with the inten�on to create a “wow” experience for viewers.

“Vertebrae” by Sarah Fe�erman is a twenty-footlong steel and fabric crea�on that’s suspended among trees. The inspira�on for this work came from a sec�on of elk vertebrae the ar�st came across while walking in the woods.

“Nature’s Keystone” by Anthony Heinz May was constructed from a tree that fell in a windstorm in the forest just weeks before the sculptor arrived to work onsite. The tree has been pixelated and is in the form of connected blocks that spill out from both sides of the main trunk. All of the blocks were re-constructed back in the exact order that they came from the original whole tree.

Another favorite of mine is “Icarus Was Here.” Ar�st Pat McVay has used the character of Icarus in Greek for inspira�on. Sca�ered among the branches and on the ground are large feathers represen�ng the remains of Icarus, who is said to have fallen to his death a�er ignoring his father’s warning not to fly too close to the sun. The feathers are carved from previously fallen cedar trees and then painted and varnished.

Sculpture Garden Con�nued… The Founda�on of Animalia and Fungi Tyrannosaurus Rex

When you’re done with your lovely stroll through the Price Sculpture Forest, head to Coupeville and con�nue your meanderings in this quaint seaside town. This is Washington State’s second-oldest community and hundred-year-old buildings that were once livery stables and barber shops are now eclec�c shops, cafes, and wine tas�ng rooms.

The town sits along the shores of Penn Cove and ju�ng prominently from the water is the Coupeville wharf. This iconic, red building is hard to miss. Grab a cup of coffee and a delicious, homemade goodie at the Li�le Red Hen Bakery. Then enjoy your treat on the outside deck, as you soak up the charming ambiance.

Plan your visit:

Debbie Stone is an established travel writer and columnist, and regular contributor for Big Blend Radio and Big Blend Magazines, who crosses the globe in search of unique des�na�ons and experiences to share with her readers and listeners. She’s an avid explorer who welcomes new opportuni�es to increase awareness and enthusiasm for places, culture, food, history, nature, outdoor adventure, wellness, and more. Her travels have taken her to nearly 100 countries and all seven con�nents.

Pen�llium Nature's Keystone Lichen Series: Spore Pa�erns


Saving the planet starts at home, and kids can help! On this episode of Big Blend Radio’s Nature Connec�on Show, Dr. Doug Tallemy discusses the young readers’ edi�on of “Nature’s Best Hope” and Homegrown Na�onal Park movement. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Acast.

Nature’s Best Hope is a guide to figh�ng the decline in wildlife popula�ons through the use of na�ve plants. Now, kids can join the Homegrown Na�onal Park movement and learn how to protect the planet through small and approachable acts of conserva�on in their own backyards!

Featuring over a hundred explanatory photographs and illustra�ons, “Nature’s Best Hope Young Readers’ Edi�on” breaks down the complex topics of conserva�on, ecology, and biodiversity into kidfriendly terms and real-world examples, making it perfect for parents, caregivers, and educators looking to explore these subjects with children.

Doug Tallamy, professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, seeks to inspire the next genera�on of conserva�onists with “NATURE’S BEST HOPE YOUNG READERS’ EDITION: How You Can Save the World in Your Own Yard” (Timber Press). The new book is a middle-grade adapta�on of his New York Times bestseller, Nature’s Best Hope that inspired Inspiring thousands of homeowners to embrace a grassroots approach to conserva�on.

Not only does Doug share the science of climate change, but he also encourages children to take direct ac�on. With projects as big as plan�ng a na�ve oak tree to as small as growing bee-loving asters, kids will learn how to fight climate change in their own backyard! By helping the next genera�on see that they have power and agency over our collec�ve future, this empowering movement will drive home the posi�ve point that kids are truly nature’s best hope.

More at h�ps://www.HomeGrownNa�



Phil Mastroianni, who along with his brother Nick, owns and operates Fabrizia Spirits and Fabrizia Baking Company that specialize in producing a variety of Limoncello products including canned cocktails and cookies using lemons from their own lemon grove in Italy! Phil takes us behind the scenes of their manufacturing facility, talks about their delicious and quality drinks and baked goods, and shares their family business story that started in a �ny garage many years ago. Today, they are the leading producer of Limoncello in America! Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Acast.

Fabrizia now produces the following canned cocktails that are all-natural, made with real fruit, preserva�ve-free, and do not contain any ar�ficial sweeteners.

- Vodka Soda Canned Cocktails - Ready-to-Drink, 100 Calories, and low sugar, 4.5% ABV. Made with crisp sparkling water, vodka, and real fruit, and are available in 3 flavors: Sicilian Lemon, Blood Orange, and Raspberry.

- Italian Style Canned Cocktails - Ready-To-Drink, 7% ABV. Made with their Limoncello, Sicilian lemon juice, and either premium vodka or tequila and are available in 5 flavors - a Margarita, Lemonade, Breeze, and the newly launched Blueberry Lemonade and Lemonade tea.

Their lemons are a founda�on for all their spirits products. The Zest is infused with pure alcohol, which produces the bright yellow color found in their Limoncello and the remainder of the lemon is juiced to form the base of their canned cocktails. This combina�on of all-natural ingredients produces a delicious and dis�nct flavor with an Italian twist!

Fabrizia also just launched a new Spiked Lemonade variety pack which includes their exis�ng Italian Style Lemonade and two of their newly launched canned cocktails - a Blueberry Lemonade and a Lemonade Tea. Their new Blueberry Lemonade canned cocktail contains Fabrizia Limoncello, premium vodka, Maine blueberries, and Sicilian lemon juice. Their new Lemonade Tea contains Fabrizia Limoncello, premium vodka, cold brewed tea, and Sicilian lemon juice.

Follow the Lemons:

h�ps:// h�ps://


Six Must-Do Experiences

One of the friendliest countries I have ever visited is Scotland! Not only do you feel like you’ve never met a stranger, but the country itself is absolutely beau�ful as well! Follows are six highlights from my recent visit.

largest monument dedicated to a writer, it dates back almost 200 years. The detail is phenomenal. You may climb to the top if you like. No�ce the black on the monument. Many buildings in UK ci�es have black from soot. Washing them is not an op�on, as it destroys the shale exterior.

Loch Ness! One of some 30,000 lochs (lakes), no visit to Scotland would be complete without a visit to Loch Ness! There have been no Nessie sigh�ngs…yet. What do you think? Is she real? The loch is over 700 feet deep, so who knows what lurks out there! There are stunning views from every angle.

The Kelpies! About an hour out of Edinburgh, you can visit the Kelpies. These massive sculptures were made to represent the mythical shapeshi�er creature that takes the shape of a horse on land.

Sir Walter Sco� Monument, Edinburgh! The

Castles! At one point, there were over 3,000 castles that were home to royalty in Scotland. The most famous, of course, is Edinburgh Castle. Si�ng at the top of the Royal Mile, this 11th Century castle houses the Crown Jewels of Scotland, as well as the Stone of Des�ny. You may have no�ced a large, gray stone under the Corona�on Chair recently. I had the privilege of seeing the Stone itself at Edinburgh Castle, and the chair at Westminster Abbey.

on Next
Cheryl Ogle on Big Blend Radio: Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Acast.
The Loch Ness The Kelpies
Edinburgh Castle

Whisky!Although I am not much of a drinker, when in Scotland, one must take a tour of one of Scotland’s 140 dis�lleries! We visited The Clydeside Dis�llery on this last visit, and I found it to be smoother than others I have tried. (My favorite way to drink whisky is in Irish Coffee!) I haven’t found a whisky I like yet, but maybe when Rod Stewart’s new Wolfies Whisky comes out I’ll give it a taste!

Spring is Lambing Season! A�er seeing hundreds of mamas and babies in the fields, we finally had our chance to visit a sheep farm and learn about the process of sheep herding. This included helping shear a sheep! Then they let out the baby lambs and handed us baby bo�les. Once the lambs were se�led, the Border Collie puppies were let out and we got to play with puppies! The farm owner showed how the dogs are trained – puppies are trained to their own whistle by the �me they are 23 weeks old. It’s a day I’ll never forget!

For this trip, I took an escorted coach tour which simplifies travel a lot. You are told what �me to be ready to depart; breakfasts and a few other meals are included; addi�onal ac�vi�es/excursions are available at a very fair price; someone else handles all the details. Although I escort clients from �me to �me, I must admit it’s a treat to sit back and let someone else do the thinking and hard work!

On Big Blend Radio every third Wednesday, Cheryl is a world traveler, accredited travel advisor, and owner of Hey Wanna Go which specializes in travel to Europe and the UK, as well as river and ocean cruises. More: h�ps://

Travel Advisor - Cheryl Ogle Sir Walter Sco� Monument, Edinburgh
Scotland Con�nued… PAGE 8
Whisky Tas�ng at Clydeside Dis�llery


On the Road with Henry Ford, Thomas Edison & John Burroughs

Wes Davis on Big Blend Radio: Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Acast

most people could not access. In response, Ford sent Burroughs a new Model T, which indeed changed the old naturalist’s life by promp�ng him to set out on wide-ranging road trips beyond his Hudson River homestead.

The story of an epic road trip of several American giants in August 1918.

In this somewhat nostalgic portrait of a lost rural America, Davis, author of“The Ariadne Objec�ve,” portrays the touching friendships that sprang up among automobile tycoon Henry Ford, naturalist John Burroughs, inventor Thomas Edison, and �re industrialist Harvey Firestone as they took road trips together in Ford’s miraculous vehicle, exploring parts of rural America that had been largely inaccessible.

The galvanizing rela�onship began in 1913 between Burroughs, then 75, and Ford, nearly 50 and enjoying a banner year for the Model T. Both men, notes the author, were deeply influenced by the wri�ng of Emerson, but they disagreed about the role of the automobile in American life.

To Ford’s chagrin, Burroughs wrote in an ar�cle in“Atlan�c Monthly” that the automobile “was going to kill the apprecia�on of nature”; Ford believed it would open up facets of America that

Meanwhile, Ford and Edison, who had both “imbibed” the rural values of the Midwest, and Firestone, “the head of the largest �re manufacturing concern in the country,” were longstanding friends, busy plo�ng numerous new business ventures. A�er a long lead-up that contains a few too many unnecessary details, Davis chronicles the memorable road trip of summer 1918, when the fast friends—who held wildly different views about the impending war—drove from the Allegheny range through West Virginia and into the “rus�c magic of the Great Smoky Mountains,” all in the spirit of curiosity and explora�on.

A rare account of brilliant minds as they set off in search of America.

Wes Davis is the author of “The Ariadne Objec�ve,” a narra�ve account of the underground war to rescue Crete from Nazi occupa�on during WW II, and is the editor of the Harvard University Press “Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry.” He received a Ph.D. in English Literature from Princeton University and taught for more than a decade at Yale University. His wri�ng has appeared in publica�ons that include the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and The Na�on.



Recap of the 2023 Annual Conference & Sociability Caravan in Iowa

This episode of Big Blend Radio's "Jefferson Highway" Show features Roger Bell and Arlene Gould who give an overview of the ac�vi�es and experiences at the recent Annual Jefferson Highway Associa�on Conference in Mason City, Iowa, as well as the Sociability Caravan that drove up from Lamoni to Mason City. Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Acast.

the Jefferson Highway. Natchitoches was host to the Annual Jefferson Highway Associa�on Conference in 2019. See: h�ps://

Mark your calendar for the 2024 Conference which will be held the week of April 24, 2024, in Alexandria, Louisiana.

The Big Blend Radio "Jefferson Highway" Podcast airs every 4th Thursday at 6pm CT. Follow the show on Acast.

Roger Bell is the President of the Jefferson Highway Associa�on which originally founded the Jefferson Highwayin 1915. Jefferson Highway is an interna�onal highway, also known as "The Pines to the Palms Highway," that runs from Winnipeg, Canada to New Orleans, Louisiana. Learn more at: h�ps://

Arlene Gould is the Execu�ve Director of the Natchitoches Conven�on and Visitors Bureau that represents Louisiana's Oldest City, which is also on



Although, in England, “The Famous Five” will bring to mind the books by Enid Blyton, for this ar�cle I am looking at the ancestry of America’s Famous Five: John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Livingston, and Roger Sherman. Well, that’s how it started out at any rate. It has morphed into looking at how we are o�en told things with nothing to back up those “facts”.

My first thought, when this subject was suggested to me, was obviously the thought that one of them must have Norfolk roots, so that was what got me delving deeper.

I will start with Benjamin Franklin, as he was the first name I looked at.

There are thousands of entries for the Franklin family tree online and they all men�on Benjamin’s mother, who was Abiah Folger. Her ancestry is the side which I looked at because it was wri�en, on most of the websites, that her father, Peter, came from Norwich, which is my local city.

Peter Folger is supposed to have emigrated in the 1630s and, although most websites say that he came from Norwich, I didn’t see one which gives a source of that piece of informa�on and many say that there is li�le known about him before he emigrated, although they con�nue to tell us that he came from Norwich.

This is a common thing seen in family histories. One site says one thing and then every other site publishes that informa�on without any research or inves�ga�on, just ci�ng the other website as the source of that informa�on. It doesn’t take long for a “fact” wri�en by someone to become the truth and be taken as such by everyone without any inves�ga�on.

So, I decided to look into this and see what I could find out about Peter Folger. Was he actually from Norwich?

What do we know? It is pre�y well documented that Peter Folger arrived around 1635 and se�led in Watertown.

The Declara�on of Independence by John Trumbull, 1819 Glynn Burrows on Big Blend Radio: Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Acast.

He learned to speak the na�ve language, was a teacher, and was a Bap�st Minister. He married in 1644 and died in 1690.

It is said that his father was John Folger Jun and Maribah (nee Gibbs) and his father was a widower when he came over.

I looked in all the Norfolk indexes I could find online, and I couldn’t find a marriage between a John Folger and a Maribah Gibbs. I checked for a burial of a Maribah Folger before 1636 and could not find one.

I looked for the bap�sm of Peter Folger around 1617, but again, no luck.

The sources which appear to have been used for most of the informa�on rela�ng to the Folger family, are a series of le�ers, which are in The Founders’ Archives. These le�ers are part of a fantas�c collec�on of documents, many of which date back to the C17th, assembled by The Founding Fathers and many others, to shed light on the forma�on of the country.

These Folger le�ers mainly date from the middle of the C18th, so are over a century a�er the emigrants, but they tell of a Folger family in Norfolk, corresponding with Franklin about his ancestry, so there is, in all probability, a connec�on with that family.

In my research, I found that there was a family in the Diss area of Norfolk which could have been connected, but I have not located a Peter bap�sed

there in the years around 1617.

There was also a Gibbs family in that area, at the same �me and I have seen men�on of a will of John Gibbs, dated 1609, in which he men�oned his daughter, "Merraba Folger”, so that needs following up. (The will isn’t online, so that will require a trip to the local record office.)

So, Benjamin Franklin’s mother’s family did probably come from Norfolk, but it will require a lot of research to check all the informa�on, as few writers have added sources to back up their findings, making it almost impossible to check.

Looking at the Franklin family themselves, they do appear to be well-researched, and their origins are said to have been in Acton, Northamptonshire.

Of the other four, John Adams’ family is said to have originated in Braintree and that is quite likely as, when they came over to America, they se�led in a place which they called Braintree.

Robert Livingston has ancestors from Ancrum in Scotland and again, his family history appears, on the face of it, to be agreed by scholars.

Roger Sherman is another one with Essex origins according to all of the indexes I have consulted, and the early family appears to have been in the East Bergholt and Dedham area of the county. (This is a very interes�ng area, as it is where, in the C18th, John Constable did a lot of his pain�ng.)

Con�nued on Next Page…
John Adams by Gilbert Stuart
Benjamin Franklin by Joseph Siffrein Duplessis

Thomas Jefferson is one of the five who has a lot of debate about his origins. His mother’s family appears to be well-researched and documented, but his paternal line is less so. The Jefferson family would be a great project for another day…………….

So, reading biographies online are a good way to find out basic informa�on about people, but, if you want to find out more about the subjects, carry out a lot of your own research. During my internet trawls it soon became obvious that many websites were just “copy-paste” and there were very few showing sites that showed any original work.

There are a lot of online depositories which now make their collec�ons available, so, if there are references and sources men�oned in books or on websites, they can o�en be checked, but, for many of the “facts” there are no sources men�oned, so it is impossible to check the original documents.

Although this was supposed to be an ar�cle about The Founding Fathers, it has turned out to be a cau�onary tale for any historian. The lesson, as we all know, is to check the original records (and don’t believe what you read on the internet).

Glynn provides customized, private tours and also helps his clients trace their English family history. Past guests have visited and experienced stately houses and gardens, castles and churches, ruins and villages, birding and wildlife, World War II airfields, and general area taster tours too.

Accommoda�ons can be in all types of establishment, from character buildings such as windmills, thatched co�ages and castles, selfcatering or five star luxury – just say what you want and it can be arranged. Nothing is too much trouble for Glynn! Visit

Famous Five Con�nued…. Robert R. Livingston, a�ributed to Gilbert Stuart
Official Presiden�al Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Pealef
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