Benjamin Franklin’s place in history is defined by his membership of that exclusive club, the Founding Fathers of the United States. The men hailed for spearheading the American Revolution against British rule. But our story here is about the man as an individual rather than the historical figure. And Franklin’s personal life was marked by both tragedy and an enduring sadness.
Benjamin Franklin was born in a modest clapperboard house on Milk Street in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 17, 1706. His father, Josiah, was a candle, tallow and soap maker who had migrated to America from Northamptonshire in England. His mother, Abiah Folger, had been born in Nantucket, MA, and was the widower Josiah’s second wife. Franklin was the candlemaker’s 15th child.
Franklin’s parents were evidently not rich, as we can see from the fact that he had only two years of formal education at the Boston Latin School. But considering they had such a large family, perhaps this is understandable. However, although Franklin’s formal learning ended when he was just ten years old, his seemingly insatiable appetite for reading ensured that he had a thorough, albeit autodidactic, education.