Benjamin Franklin

Key People

Deborah Read Franklin  -  · The daughter of Franklin's first landlords in Philadelphia, Deborah joined Ben in a common-law marriage in 1730. She was uneducated. According to Franklin their marriage was happy, though Deborah went for years at a time without seeing Ben. She died in 1774, having been separated from Franklin for ten years.
James Franklin -  · James was Ben's half-brother, the son of Josiah Franklin from his first wife, Anne, who had died in 1689. Ben was apprenticed to James, a printer, for several years. During this time he learned the printing trade, developed his writing style, and argued frequently with James. James's warning to other printers in Boston not to hire Ben forced Ben to leave the city.
Josiah and Abiah Franklin  -  · Franklin's parents, Josiah and Abiah, were married in 1689. Josiah was born in Ecton, Northamptonshire, England and emigrated to Boston in 1683; Abiah, Josiah's second wife, was born on Nantucket.
William Franklin  -  · William, Ben Franklin's illegitimate son, was born at some point during 1728–1729. He would later become governor of New Jersey and a Royalist. His refusal to support the American Revolution led to a falling out with his father.
Samuel Keimer -  · A Philadelphia printer, Keimer give Franklin his first job after the young man arrived in Philadelphia nearly penniless. Franklin twice worked for Keimer, whom he believed was lazy, and later bought his failing newspaper.
William Keith -  · Keith, while governor of Pennsylvania, promised to help Franklin establish his own printing business in Philadelphia. Keith failed to supply Franklin with the help he promised however, leaving Franklin stranded in London.
Arthur Lee and Silas Deane -  · Franklin's co-commissioners in France, Lee and Deane helped (and sometimes hindered) Franklin negotiate the treaty of alliance with France, which was eventually signed in 1778.
Paxton Boys -  · A group of disgruntled frontiersman, the "Paxton Boys" slaughtered a group of unarmed Christian Indians in 1765. Franklin was outraged at this and wrote an article denouncing the killers. Franklin later confronted the rioting Paxton Boys when they marched on Philadelphia, displaying remarkable personal courage in the process, and convinced them to return peacefully to their homes.