January 17, 1706 – April 17, 1790
Don’t you get tired of learning that the history we were taught as youngsters was a crock of shit? Like the time the pilgrims generously chose to share their Thanksgiving dinner with those savage Indians. I mean seriously, when are the Indians ever going to say “thank you?”
Ben Franklin invented everything. The fire department, the iron furnace, the odometer, the catheter, bifocals, AND he was on Bewitched. I say he invented everything, but not really. For instance, he didn’t invent electricity, or even discover it really. He did, however, invent the lightening rod.
So many quotes are attributed to him. I think (hope) that he had some form of Tourettes Syndrome. I imagine Ben calmly walking down the street, then suddenly scream at a horrified passerby:
“A STITCH IN TIME SAVES NINE! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”
Oh look, fresh scones are on sale here. Perhaps I’ll just pop in this shop and
“A PENNY SAVED IS A PENNY EARNED! AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!”
I think over the years, people just made up sayings and attributed them to Ben.
Most famously there is the elusive and seldom seen (in my world) One Hundred Dollar Bill.
Did you know that the Franklin Mint – purveyors of all that is classy (including a Kate Middleton vinyl doll!) – is named after Ben? True.
It’s what he would have wanted.
According to this fantastic website, in 1790 an abscess in Franklin’s lung burst and he passed into a coma.
Ben died on April 17, 1790. He was 84 years old.
20,000 people mourned Ben, and he is buried in Philadelphia in the Christ Church burial ground.
Or is it?
The reason Franklin graces our pages is another fun fact.
Ben was married for 44 years to his wife Deborah. (Hi! I’m Debbie Franklin!). They lived from 1757 to 1762 and again from 1764 to 1775 in this Georgian home just off Trafalgar Square in London.
In February of 1998, while a £1.9 million (about 3.5 Mil US $) renovation was being done on the home, a stripper made a disturbing discovery.
Buried deeply in the basement floor, were the mutilated remains of 10 people – 6 children and 4 adults.
The skeletons had been dissected, sawn, or cut. One skull had several holes drilled in it. The Coroner (from the same division that spread that awful untruth that Mama Cass choked on a ham sandwich) stated, “I cannot totally discount the possibility of a crime. There is still a possibility that I may have to hold an inquest.” Mmmhm. Hold this.
For a brief period of time people salivated at the thought that Ben Franklin – a Founding Father of America – was Dexterlicious. Fortunately (or unfortunately) this fantasy is not true.
As the story goes: a comparatively young friend of Franklin’s, Dr. William Hewson (a grave robber), ran a school of anatomy in nearby Soho. Hewson left that particular school to start one of his own. In Franklin’s basement. He lived in the house and logically, just brought these bodies into the house to cut them up. To avoid prosecution for stealing corpses, when he was done he buried them in the basement. Wouldn’t you?
In 2006 the unofficial cemetery known as The Benjamin Franklin house opened to the public (it boasts a visit from John Bon Jovi!). Now, just for giggles, you can see the bones in the basement yourself. Have fun KIDS!
Oh, and Hewson accidentally cut himself while dissecting a putrid body and died at age 34. HA ha.
‘course you do.
7 thoughts on “Benjamin Franklin”
The reason so many quotes go to Ben is because….he WROTE them all down and published most of them so he, and he alone, gets the credit. He may not have “invented” electricity but he sure as hell was the first to show that it’s power could be harnessed and controlled. This very idea was his and inspired others to take electric power further. This man was revered. Even in his own time people just had absolute respect for his ideas, wisdom and deeds. He was the first Postmaster General. He invented a stove that changed peoples practical lives in the winter. Don’t forget bifocals. Plus, he lived to almost 85 which was so very rare in those days. One of a kind!
Love this site, love this page, but I can’t believe the best Ben Franklin quote was omitted:
“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
Bono’s (aka Paul Hewson) fathers name was Bob Hewson.
Explains a lot, really.
Franklin was a printer in Philadelphia, and profitable, and sought-after Almanacs were a staple of every printer worth his salt. These almanacs contained general weather predictions, useful astrological schedules, interesting stories and witty sayings. People ate that sh!+ up, and Ben created, wrote, printed, reprinted, borrowed and stole as many as he needed for his yearly almanacs. Because of him, we have these sayings today when many other publications they appeared in are forever lost, some perhaps containing sayings and parables that were written by Ben Franklin, even though he did not create every one surviving today. Bottom line is, he was a worthy citizen deserving of every ounce of respect we can muster for him, even at this late date.
Benjamin’s wife never joined him in his oversea travels and they never lived together in London.
True. You beat me to it. Deborah Franklin was afraid of traveling by sea—-the eighteenth century equivalent of aviophobia, or fear of flying, from which I suffer—–and for this reason she never accompanied her husband on his overseas travels.
Don’t forget Ben’s finest invention: University of Pennsylvania (aka UPenn or Penn but it’s NOT Penn State) in beautiful West Philadelphia . Founded in 1740. One of the Ancient Eight (the Ivy League).