Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ocean Born Mary ~ born on her way to Londonderry, New Hampshire

Starting today you will be able to listen on line to the internet radio show Fieldstone Common, and Marian Pierre Louis will interview the author Jeremy D'Entremont about his new book Ocean Born Mary:  The Truth behind a New Hampshire Legend.   You can find the recording at this link HERE

This story has a special place in the hearts of Londonderry residents, since Ocean Born Mary Wilson lived in Londonderry after arriving in New England.  According to the legend, a ship full of Ulster Scots was way to New England was laid by pirates.  The head pirate changed his mind about killing and looting the passengers when he saw the newborn baby in her mother's arms.  He asked the mother, Elizabeth Wilson, to name the babe "Mary" after his own mother.  In return the pirate gave the child a bolt of green Chinese silk to make her wedding dress. The rest is history, or myth, take your pick.

I'm currently the president of the Londonderry Historical Society.  This organization was started when the Ocean Born Mary house was removed from Londonderry to Little Compton, Rhode Island in the 1930s. A group of concerned citizens was worried about preserving the remainder of the history of Londonderry, and started the Historical Society.  Again, the rest is history!  

You can now see a bit of the famous silk wedding dress in our Morrison House Museum on Pillsbury Road in Londonderry, and also other snippets at the Derry History Museum, the New Hampshire Historical Society Museum in Concord, New Hampshire, the Henniker Historical Society, the Tucker Free Library in Henniker, New Hampshire, and the DAR Museum in Washington, DC.  Mary's dress appears to have been cut up into many, many pieces for museums and descendants.  

A bit of Ocean Born Mary's silk wedding dress
at the New Hampshire Historical Society Museum in Concord.
The stocking was knit by Mary (Wilson) Wallace for
her son-in-law, Thomas Patterson, to wear on his wedding day.  

The Wilson House, Wilson's Corner, Londonderry before it was moved
(intersection of Auburn Road and Wilson Road)
from Willey's Book of Nutfield

For the truly curious: 

You can read all about Ocean Born Mary and her genealogy at a previous blog post, at this link:

The Fieldstone Common episode of Ocean Born Mary at this link:

Ocean Born Mary: The Truth Behind a New Hampshire Legend, by Jeremy D'Entremont, Charleston, South Carolina: The History Press, 2011

Jeremy D'Entremont mentions Horace Greeley in the recorded interview. Click this link to read one of my earlier blog posts about Horace Greeley's family tree, and a genealogical connection between Greeley and Ocean Born Mary:


To Cite/Link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Ocean Born Mary ~ born on her way to Londonderry, New Hampshire", Nutfield Genealogy, posted October 10, 2010, (, accessed [access date]).  

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