American diplomat, statesman and scientist,born on the 17th of January 1706 in a house in Milk Street, opposite the Old South Church, Boston, Massachusetts. He was the tenth son of Josiah Franklin, and the eighth child and youngest son of tenchildren borne by Abiah Folger, his father's second wife. The elder Franklin was born at Ecton in Northamptonshire, England, where the strongly Protestant Franklin family may be traced back for nearlyfour centuries. He had married young and had migrated from Banbury to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1685.
Franklin as Printer and Publisher
Benjamin Franklin returned to Philadelphia in 1726, andtwo years later opened a printing shop. The business became highly successful producing a range of materials, including government pamphlets, books and currency. In 1729, Franklin became the owner andpublisher of a colonial newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette, which proved popular. Franklin achieved fame and further financial success with "Poor Richard’s Almanack," which he published every yearfrom 1733 to 1758.
In 1730, Franklin began living with Deborah Read (c. 1705-74), the daughter of his former Philadelphia landlady, as his common-law wife. Read’s first husband had abandoned her;however, due to bigamy laws, she and Franklin could not have an official wedding ceremony. Franklin and Read had a son, Francis (1732-36), who died of smallpox at age 4, and a daughter, Sarah (1743-1808).Franklin had another son, William (c. 1730-1813), who was born out of wedlock. William Franklin served as the last colonial governor of New Jersey, from 1763 to 1776, and remained loyal to the Britishduring theAmerican Revolution. He died in exile in England.
Benjamin Franklin: Scientist and Inventor
In 1748, Franklin, then 42 years old, had expanded his printing business throughout the...