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Ocean Born Mary Wallace

Legendary (c. 1720 - 1814)

Ocean Born Mary Wallace

There really was an Ocean Born Mary. History reports she was born at sea on July 28, 1720 to James and Elizabeth Wilson. Legend tells us they were passengers on a ship filled with immigrants to New England when privateers appeared. The pirate reportedly promised not to harm the passengers if the Wilsons named their new baby after his mother (or was it his wife?). The Wilsons disembarked in Boston and moved to Londonderry, NH where red-haired Mary wed James Wallace in 1742, wearing a dress made from the silk presented to her at birth by the privateer. This much of the story may be true. Mary had four children and was in her 70s when her husband died. She moved in with a son in Henniker, NH until her death in 1814. Mary did not, as one version of the story goes, marry the pirate himself. She also did not live in the old colonial in Henniker often called The Ocean Born Mary House. That building, still standing, was owned by another of her sons, and was exhibited to tourists for an admission fee by the owner during the 20th century. Imagined tales of ghosts and treasure were offered to tourists as facts, and the legend grew. In 1939 popular children's author Lois Lenski published a fictional biography of Ocean Born Mary. Today, Internet sites spread the legends further.

No haunted house, no treasure,
but still a great legend.

More Famous NH People 



The Truth About Ocean Born Mary
Our own version of how a great story became a great legend.

Ocean Born Mary House is a Hoax
The best most reasoned essay on this topic tells the historical tale of Mary and explains why she did not live in the famous Henniker house

The Actual Story of Ocean Born Mary
The faction side of the New Hampshire legend

The Full Ocean Born Mary Legend
A retelling of the romantic fiction by Eibhlin MacIntosh.

Henniker, NH Homepage
The town of Henniker, site of the Ocean Born Mary home

Henniker historical Society
These are the people that know the story best.

New Hampshire Historical Society
A superb collection of NH artifacts, including a piece of the wedding gown reportedly worn by Ocean Born Mary.

Londonderry Town Web Site
Mary's real home town does not mention her, but is proud to claim revolutionaries John Stark and Matthew Thornton, poet Robert Frost and astronaut Alan Shepard.


Lois Lenski, Author
Wrote and illustrated a popular book on Ocean Born Mary released in 1939 and now a highly prized and a pricey rare book

Lois Lenski
More on the Ocean Born Mary children's book author

Ocean Born Mary by Lois Lenski
Includes a bibliography and some pictures from Lenski's popular book

From "Ghosts of Prarie"
in Alton, Illinois billing itself as "One of the Most Haunted Small Towns in America"

Warrens New England Society for Psychic Research.
New England's ghost busters talk about the Ocean Born Mary house

Three Haunting Stories From New Hampshire's Past

Ocean Born Mary and Ghosts - Taking "the Road Less Traveled"..

Lost Treasure in Henniker?
One of many wild claims on treasure hunting sites insisting loot hidden in Henniker

More Treasure Tales

Captain Dave's Treasure Tale

Haunted Henniker
The myth just gets wilder and wilder

NH Ghosts and Hauntings

The Paranormal Project
Henniker makes it on to Spooky Sites: Haunted and Ghostly Locations of North America

More Famous NH People 

Created by J. Dennis Robinson
Copyright © 2001 All rights reserved.

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