We may never know.
His family had lived for at least three centuries in the Parish of Ecton, Northamptonshire, England, on a freehold of about thirty acres.
For several generations the head of the family seems to have been the village blacksmith, the eldest son being always inheriting the family business.
Benjamin's grandfather, Thomas, born inremoved late in life to Banbury, in Oxfordshire, while his eldest son, Thomas, remained on the estate at Ecton. Thomas Franklin received a good education, and became a scrivener. He became one of the most prominent men in his County, and formed a friendship with the Earl of Halifax.
He is said to have borne a strong likeness to Benjamin Franklin, his nephew. The December video was an impromptu capture by a member of the audience of Penn students, professors and guests that numbered about The third son, Benjamin, for some time a silk dyer in London, immigrated to Boston at an advanced age, and left descendants there.
He took a great interest in politics, was fond of writing verses, and invented a system of shorthand. The fourth son, Josiah, born inserved an apprenticeship with his brother John, at Banbury, but removed to New England in From the beginning of the Reformation the family had been zealous Protestants, and in Mary's reign had incurred considerable danger on that account.
Their inclination seems to have been toward Puritanism, but they remained in the Church of England until late in the reign of Charles II, when so many clergymen were dispossessed of their holdings for nonconformity, and proceeded to carry on religious services in conventiclers forbidden by law.
Among these dispossessed clergymen in Northamptonshire were friends of Benjamin and Josiah, who became their warm adherents and attended their conventiclers.
The persecution of these nonconformists led to a small Puritan migration to New England, in which Josiah took part.
He settled in Boston, where he followed the business of soap boiler and tallow chandler. He was twice married, the second time to the daughter of Peter Folger, one of the earliest settlers of New England, a man of some learning, a writer of political verses, and a zealous opponent of the persecution of the Quakers.
By his first wife Josiah Franklin had seven children; by his second, ten, of whom the illustrious Benjamin was the youngest son. At the age of ten, after little more than a year at the grammar school, Benjamin was set to work in his father's shop, cutting wicks and filling molds for candles.
Benjamin, bored with the job, became an insatiable reader, and the few shillings that found their way into his hands were all laid out in books. His father thought of sending him to Harvard and educating him for the ministry but the family finances of such a large family proved inadequate for the tuition.
Franklin began to show symptoms of a desire to run away and go to sea. To turn his mind from this, his father at length decided to make him a printer. His elder brother, James, had learned the printer's trade, and in returned from England with a press, and established himself in business in Boston.
InBenjamin was apprenticed to his elder brother, and, becoming interested and proficient in the work, making himself very useful. He indulged his taste for reading, which often kept him up late into the night.
While practicing himself in arithmetic and the elements of geometry, he was also striving to acquire a prose style like that of Addison. Franklin wrote little ballads and songs of the chapbook sort, and peddled them about the Streets, sometimes with profit to his pocket.
He also read Shaftesbury and Collins, which strengthened an inborn tendency toward freethinking. For this paper Benjamin wrote anonymous articles, and contrived to smuggle them into its columns without his brother's knowledge of their authorship; some of them attracted attention, and were attributed to various men of eminence in the colony.
The newspaper was quite independent in its tone, and for a political article that gave offence to the colonial legislature James Franklin was put into jail for a month, while Benjamin was duly admonished and threatened. Finding himself somewhat unpopular in Boston, and being harshly treated by his brother, whose violent temper he confesses to have sometimes provoked by his sauciness, Benjamin at length made up his mind to run away from home and seek his fortune.
Signed type Benjamin Franklin, President. Unable to find employment there as a printer, he set out for Philadelphia, crossing to Amboy in a small vessel, which was driven upon the coast of Long Island in a heavy gale. Read, with whose daughter Deborah he proceeded to fall in love.
It was not long before his excellent training and rare good sense attracted the favorable notice of Sir William Keith, governor of Pennsylvania.
The Philadelphia printers being ignorant and unskillful, Keith wished to secure Franklin's services, and offered to help set him up in business for himself and give him the government printing, such as it was.
Franklin had now been seven months in Philadelphia, and, his family having at length heard news of him, it was thought best that he should return to Boston and solicit aid from his father in setting up a press in Philadelphia.
On reaching Boston he found his brother sullen and resentful, but his father received him kindly. He refused the desired assistance, on the groined that a boy of eighteen was not fit to manage a business, but he commended his industry and perseverance, and made no objection to his returning to Philadelphia, warning him to restrain his inclination to write lampoons and satires, and holding out hopes of aid in ease he should behave industriously and frugally until twenty-one years of age.
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