Ben Franklin

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Ben Franklin

Benjamin Franklin was born on January 17, 1706, in Boston in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. His father, Josiah Franklin, a soap and candle maker had 17 children. Benjamin was his very last child. Ben was removed at 10 from the Boston Latin School to work with his father at candle making, but dipping wax and cutting wicks didn’t spark with him. Later on, Josiah apprenticed Ben at 12 to his brother James at his print shop. Ben loved it, despite his brother’s hard treatment. When James refused to publish any of his brother’s writing, Ben adopted the pseudonym Mrs. Silence Dogood, and “her” 14 imaginative and witty letters were published in his brother’s newspaper. But James was angry when he found out the letters were his brother’s, and Ben left his apprenticeship shortly afterward, going to New York, but settling in Philadelphia, which was his home base for the rest of his life. In late 1727, Franklin formed the “Junto,” a social and self-improvement study group for young men, and early the next year was able to establish his own print shop with a partner. After publishing another pamphlet, "The Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency," Franklin was able to purchase The Pennsylvania Gazette newspaper from a former boss, and was elected the official printer of Pennsylvania.

He was also able to take Deborah Read as his common-law wife in 1730, after her husband disappeared after stealing a slave. Their first son, Francis, was born in 1732 (although he died four years later of smallpox). Franklin’s and success grew during the 1730s, especially with the publication of Poor Richard’s Almanack at the end of 1732. Franklin amassed real estate and businesses, organized the Union Fire Company to counteract dangerous fire hazards, established a lending library so others could share his passion for reading, and was elected Grand Master of the Pennsylvania Masons, clerk of the state assembly and postmaster of Philadelphia. In The 1740s Franklin started...
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