Trafton was born in Bangor, Maine (then a district of Massachusetts) to Theodore and Margaret (Dennett) Trafton. When he was fifteen years old he was apprenticed to a Mr. Weed, a shoemaker of Bangor, Maine.
Trafton studied at Kent's Hill Seminary, and was ordained pastor of the Methodist Episcopal church in Westfield, Massachusetts. In the early 1850s he traveled in Europe and published his letters home as Rambles in Europe: In a Series of Familiar Letters (Boston, 1852). The volume is dedicated to George W. Pickering, a cousin and prominent merchant in Bangor, Maine, who may have financed the trip. Trafton never lost touch with his home town of Bangor, returning to speak at its centennial celebration in 1869.
In 1836 Trafton married Eliza Young of East Pittston, Maine. The Traftons had six children including sons John and James Trafton, and daughter, writer Adeline Trafton. Eliza Trafton died in 1882.
Member of Congress
Trafton was elected as the candidate of the American Party (aka the Know-Nothing Party) to the Thirty-fourth Congress (March 4, 1855 – March 3, 1857). All eleven U.S. Representatives in the Massachusetts delegation were members of the American Party, including Speaker of the House Nathaniel P. Banks. According to his New York Times obituary, Trafton "had been an active leader in the anti-slavery reform, and while a member of Congress he secured the cordial hate of his opponents by his bold assaults upon the slave power". He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1856 to the Thirty-fifth Congress, and resumed his ministerial duties as pastor of a church in Mount Wollaston, Massachusetts.
Career as a Clergyman
Trafton served as the pastor of the Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church in Charlestown. Trafton served as pastor for the North Russell St. M. E. church in Boston in 1850 and 1851. The ladies of the church presented he and his wife with a red and white signature quilt upon his leaving his tenure there. The quilt now resides at the International Quilt Museum, in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Death and burial
- United States Congress. "Mark Trafton (id: T000351)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- Boston Evening Transcript (March 9, 1901), Rev. Mark Trafton., Boston, Massachusetts: Boston Evening Transcript, p. 6.
- Special to The New York Times (March 9, 1901), DEATH LIST OF A DAY.; The Rev. Mark Trafton., New York, New York: The New York Times
- The Lewiston Daily Sun (March 9, 1901), Reverend Mark Trafton., Lewiston, Maine: Lewiston Daily Sun, p. 3
- John William Leonard, ed. (1903), Who's Who in America, 1903-1905, Chicago, Illinois: A N Marquis, p. 853.
- George Bancroft Griffith, ed. (1888), The Poets of Maine: A Collection of Specimen Poems from over Four Hundred Verse-Makers of the Pine-Tree State: With Biographical Sketches, Portland, Maine: Elwell, Pickard & company, p. 143.
- James Vickery, ed., The Journals of John Edwards Godfrey, ft. p. 279
- See Adams-Pickering Block
- Centennial Celebration of Bangor (Me.) (1869), p. 90
- Works by or about Mark Trafton at Internet Archive
- Mark Trafton entry at The Political Graveyard
- Mark Trafton at Find a Grave
|U.S. House of Representatives|
John Z. Goodrich
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 11th congressional district
March 4, 1855 – March 3, 1857
Henry L. Dawes
This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov.