Benjamin was born into an English craftsmen family; his grandfather Thomas worked as a blacksmith, scrivener, and notary public.
Josiah wanted his sons to follow in the family trade, yet Benjamin was more drawn towards printing and writing than following in it. Additionally, his natural aptitude for math gave him an edge that no other could match.
In 1721, his brother James established a newspaper known as The New England Courant that invited donations. Benjamin began setting type for it.
Early Life and Education
Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston on Milk Street on 1706. Due to a lack of funds to send him to school, he apprenticed with his half brother James’ printing shop instead.
In 1721, James launched The New England Courant newspaper which invited readers to submit articles and essays. Ben wanted to contribute, but James denied him permission. Instead he assumed the persona of an elderly widow known as Silence Dogood and wrote 14 essays for publication under this pseudonym.
Though he did not receive formal education, he was an inquisitive boy who devoured books voraciously and rapidly gained knowledge. Over time he became adept in various foreign languages; while living in Philadelphia he met Deborah Read who would become his life partner.
Benjamin and James Franklins were close, yet had their differences. James founded a newspaper, the New England Courant, in 1721 inviting readers to contribute essays; when Ben was 16 he secretly contributed 14. James ran into trouble with local authorities for advocating anti-Puritan views and smallpox inoculation, which led him to release Ben as nominal publisher while continually beating up Ben until finally Ben decided to run away in 1723.
Benjamin kept up a constant correspondence with Deborah while on his various travels across the Atlantic, while Sally married Richard Bache in Philadelphia to assist Deborah after suffering from a stroke; unfortunately their time together was divided by three lengthy trips by Benjamin to London.