About this Famous Person
American author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America
Benjamin Franklin was born on Milk Street, in Boston, Massachusetts and baptized at Old South Meeting House. Josiah wanted Ben to attend school with the clergy, but only had enough money to send him to school for two years. He attended Boston Latin School but did not graduate; he continued his education through voracious reading. Although "his parents talked of the church as a career" for Franklin, his schooling ended when he was ten. He worked for his father for a time and at 12 he became an apprentice to his brother James, a printer, who taught Ben the printing trade. When Ben was 15, James founded The New-England Courant, which was the first truly independent newspaper in the colonies.
Franklin's father, Josiah Franklin was a tallow chandler, a soap-maker and a candle-maker. Josiah was born at Ecton, Northamptonshire, England, on December 23, 1657, the son of Thomas Franklin, a blacksmith-farmer, and Jane White. Benjamin's mother, Abiah Folger, was born in Nantucket, Massachusetts, on August 15, 1667, to Peter Folger, a miller and schoolteacher, and his wife Mary Morrill, a former indentured servant.
Josiah Franklin had 17 children with his two wives. He married his first wife, Anne Child, in about 1677 in Ecton and emigrated with her to Boston in 1683; they had three children before emigrating, and four after. After her death, Josiah married Abiah Folger on July 9, 1689, in the Old South Meeting House by Samuel Willard. Benjamin, their eighth child, was Josiah Franklin's 15th child and tenth and last son.
Benjamin Franklin's mother, Abiah Folger, was born into a Puritan family among those that fled to Massachusetts to establish a purified Congregationalist Christianity in New England, when King Charles I of England began persecuting Puritans. They sailed for Boston in 1635. Her father was "the sort of rebel destined to transform colonial America"; as clerk of the court, he was jailed for disobeying the local magistrate in defense of middle-class shopkeepers and artisans in conflict with wealthy landowners. Ben Franklin followed in his grandfather's footsteps in his battles against the wealthy Penn family that owned the Pennsylvania Colony.