Mark Trafton (August 1, 1810 – March 8, 1901) was a Methodist Episcopal minister who, as a member of the American Party served one term as a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts.
Trafton's mother Margaret Dennett, was the daughter of Jacob Dennett, one of Bangor, Maine's original settlers.
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.
Death and burial
Trafton died in West Somerville, Massachusetts, March 8, 1901. He was interred in Peabody Cemetery, Springfield.