Benjamin Franklin is known for many things. He is widely known as an inventor and statesman. As an inventor he is known for his Kite flying experiment. As a statesman, Benjamin's greatest contribution was the work he did on the Declaration of Independence.
Benjamin was born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 17, 1706; old style calendar January 6, 1706.(1) When he was born England still ruled the thirteen colonies that made up America. Later in his life, trouble started to develop in the colonies following the French and Indian war.
He was the tenth son, fifteenth child, to his father, Josiah who was a candle and soap maker.(8) Josiah had been married twice. His first marriage was with Ann Child; had seven children with her. Josiah married Ann in England where they had three children before moving to Boston and had a total of seven children.(4) He had ten more children with Abiah Folger, during his second marriage.
Josiah had wanted Benjamin to enter into the clergy. Clergymen need years of schooling and Josiah could only afford one year of school. Ben had learned to read at a young age, he did have one year in grammar school and another year with a private teacher. His formal education ended when he was ten.
At the age of twelve he worked with his brother James, who was a printer. James started the New England Courant, the first newspaper in Boston.(8) Although two papers were in the city before James's, they only reprinted abroad news. The New England Courant printed news of the colonies. Benjamin wanted to write for the paper, but knew that his brother would never let him. At night Ben would write letters and would sign them with the name of a fictional widow, Silence Dogood.(8) In his letters,