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Benjamin Franklin, 1767, painting by David Martin

Benjamin Franklin, 1767, painting by David Martin

A painting of Benjamin Franklin created in 1767 by David Martin. During the 1760's and at the time of the painting, Franklin was in London to speak before the British Parliament concerning the views of several of the American Colonies on such issues as taxation and the hated Stamp Act.

Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 17, 1706 as the 15th of 17th children born to Josiah Franklin. (Josiah Franklin was married twice: first to Anne Child by whom seven children were born; secondly to Abiah Folger by whom ten additional children were born. Benjamin Franklin is the eighth child born to Abiah. Of the seventeen total children, Benjamin Franklin was youngest son of ten sons and seven daughters.)

At the age of seventeen, Benjamin Franklin began work in a Philadelphia print shop where he developed a lifelong interest in the art of printing and the power and ability of the printed word to change the hearts and minds of men. A man of many interests, Franklin is also known for a wide variety of inventions including bifocal glasses, the Franklin Stove and the lightning rod. Politically, Franklin served in a number of offices including as the Sixth President of Pennsylvania (equivalent to Governor); as a Minister to France and Sweden; and as the first Postmaster General of the United States.

In 1776, at the age of 70, Franklin was the oldest of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. By comparison, the ages of other prominent individuals of the time were: Thomas Jefferson, 33; George Washington, 44; John Adams, 40; and John Hancock, 39.

Benjamin Franklin died on April 17, 1790, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was 84 years old. Franklin is buried in Christ Church Burial Ground, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Grave and Tombstone of Benjamin Franklin, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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