Ben Franklin

Ben Franklin

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Benjamin (Ben) "The Philosopher" Franklin
Born in Boston, Mass
Husband of — married [location unknown]
Died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Activists and Reformers poster Ben Franklin was a part of the Abolitionist Movement
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1776 Liberty Bell Event years 1773-1789
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On January 6th, 1705 (O.S.) / 17 January 1706 (N.S.), Benjamin Franklin was born on Milk Street, near the Old South Church in Boston, to Oxfordshire immigrant Josiah Franklin, and his second wife Abiah Folger, from Nantucket. Franklin was the tenth of his father's 17 children.[1]

Josiah wanted Benjamin to join the clergy, but could only afford a year's worth of schooling. Clergymen needed more. Since Ben loved to read, Josiah had his brother James take him on as a printing apprentice. Twelve-year-old Ben had to help make and type-set pamphlets, then sell them in the street. It was hard work.

Apprentice Printer

At 15, Ben's brother started The New England Courant. It was Boston's first "newspaper." Although there were two papers in the city, they rehashed news from abroad. James's paper had articles, opinion pieces by his friends, advertisements, and ship schedules.

Benjamin wanted to write for the paper too, but knew James wouldn't allow an apprentice. So Ben wrote letters at night, signing them with the name of a fictional widow, Silence Dogood. Then he would sneak them under the print shop door to hide his identity.

Dogood was filled with critical advice -- especially about the treatment of women -- and became a hit. Everyone wanted to find out who the real "Silence Dogood" was.

After 16 letters, Ben confessed. His brother's friends thought he was funny, but James got jealous and yelled at him. But before long, the Franklins were at odds with Boston's Puritan preachers, the Mathers.

Smallpox was deadly at this time. The Mathers supported inoculation, but the Franklins' believed it only made people sicker. While most of Boston agreed with the brothers, they didn't like the way James mocked the clergy during the debate.

Ultimately, James was thrown in jail for his views, and Ben was left to run the paper over several issues. But after his release, James was ungrateful to Ben ... harassing and occasionally beating him. So Ben ran away in 1723.

Escape to Philadelphia

Running away was illegal. In early American culture, society demanded that people have a place. Runaways didn't fit, but Ben caught a boat to New York to find a job as a printer. It didn't work, so he walked across New Jersey, then hitched another boat to Philadelphia. Once he landed, he used the last of his money to buy some rolls. Wet, disheveled, and messy, he met his future wife Deborah Read, on October, 6, 1723. To her ... he looked strange, and never thought they'd be married seven years later.

Franklin found work as an apprentice printer, and did so well Pennsylvania's governor promised to set him up in business for himself, if he would go to London to buy fonts and printing equipment. Ben went, but the governor broke his promise and Ben had to spend several months in England doing print work.

Before his trip overseas, Franklin lived with the Reads. Yes. The same Deborah Read who saw him arrive in Philadelphia was now talking marriage. But Ben wasn't ready, and she married another m

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Memories: 3

On February 18, 2012 Lois Hirsch wrote:

Birth: Jan. 17, 1706 Death: Apr. 17, 1790

Declaration of Independence Signer, Continental Congressman, US Diplomat, Printer and Inventor. Published the "Pennsylvania Gazette" and "Poor Richard's Almanac". Famous for his confirming lightning is electricity by flying a kite in a thunderstorm. Invented bifocals, Franklin Stove and other inventions. Served as a Delegate from PA to the Continental Congress from 1775 to 1776. Signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Served as U.S. Minister to France during the Revolutionary War. Instrumental in encouraging France to side with the U.S. One of the main negotiators of the peace treaty with Britain. Signed the Treaty of Paris in 1783. His son William Franklin was the last Royalist Governor of New Jersey, remained loyal to England and died in London. Uncle of Revolutionary War New Jersey Militia Major General and US Senator Franklin Davenport. 23 U.S. States have counties named after him. Image is on the current U.S. $100 dollar bill. One of the most famous and well known 18th Century thinkers, Renaissance men and Revolutionary Patriots. (bio by: Russ Dodge)

Family links:

 Josiah Franklin (1657 - 1745)
 Abiah Folger Franklin (1667 - 1752)

 Deborah Read Franklin (1708 - 1774)*

 William Franklin (1731 - 1813)*
 Francis Folger Franklin (1732 - 1736)*
 Sarah Franklin Bache (1743 - 1808)*

  • Calculated relationship

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Burial: Christ Church Burial Ground Philadelphia Philadelphia County Pennsylvania, USA Plot: Very near 5th and Arch Streets corner

Maintained by: Find A Grave Record added: Jan 01, 2001 Find A Grave Memorial# 364

On September 18, 2011 Chérie Naegele wrote:

from page 3 of Benjamin's auotbiography, he writes:

"Josiah, my father, married young, and carried his wife with three children into New England about 1682. The conventicles having been forbidden by Law, and frequently disturbed, induced some considerable men of his acquaintance to remove to that country, and he was prevailed with to accompany them thither, where they expected to enjoy their mode of religion with freedom. By the same wife he had four children more born there, and by a second wife ten more, in all seventeen; of which I remember thirteen sitting at one time at his table, who all grew up to be men and women, and married. I was the youngest son, and the youngest child but two, and was born in Boston, New England. My mother, the second, was Abiah Folger, "

On September 18, 2011 Chérie Naegele wrote:

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DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Ben by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA test-takers in his direct paternal line. Mitochondrial DNA test-takers in the direct maternal line:

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Images: 9
Sophisticated, Erudite Ben
Sophisticated, Erudite Ben

Signing the Constitution
Signing the Constitution

Franklin's design for ‘bifocals’
Franklin's design for ‘bifocals’

Franklin's Lightening Rod
Franklin's Lightening Rod

Franklin's Odometer
Franklin's Odometer

view all


On February 28, 2015 at 18:25GMT Brad Foley wrote:

Franklin-5401 and Franklin-1 appear to represent the same person because: There are three Benjamin Franklins, all born 1706 (son of Josiah Franklin etc.) Franklin 1, Franklin-5351, and Franklin-5401. Clearly Franklin-1 is the official profile, and the others need to be merged into this profile or deleted.

On February 1, 2015 at 13:04GMT Lisa Franklin wrote:

Franklin-5351 and Franklin-1 appear to represent the same person because: I'm not even sure how anyone can add him as he has been added so many times already, but now there is yet another lineage of Ben, his parents, sibilngs and grandparents to merge. Why isn't the system catching these like it does other duplicates and not allowing the add? Anyway, please merge and clean up all of these family members yet again... Thx!

On November 25, 2014 at 23:46GMT Vincent Piazza wrote:

Franklin, Benjamin (from his own quill)


…I was not to expect money with a wife unless with such a one, as I should otherwise think agreeable. In the meantime, that hard-to-be-governed Passion of Youth, had hurried me frequently into intrigues with low Women that fell in my Way, which were attended with some Expense and great inconvenience, besides a continual Risque to my Health by a Distemper which of all things I dreaded, tho’ by great good Luck I escaped it.

On January 24, 2013 at 22:04GMT Jim Alexander wrote:

I concur with X X, Ben had one wife Deborah. The confusion comes from the fact that she is probably the mother of William who was born before his parents wed.

On January 24, 2013 at 22:03GMT Jim Alexander wrote:

Historians now believe that William Franklin's mother was in fact Deborah Read. We have no record os a Sally Franklin in the children of Benjamin. All known descendants of Benjamin come from his daughter Sarah. His son William has no heirs.

On September 11, 2012 at 18:02GMT x x wrote:

Deborah Read is mentioned twice as his wife, as if he had two wives of that name. Please someone merge the two profiles.

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