Josiah Franklin

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Josiah Franklin
Born Josiah Franklin
(1657-12-23)December 23, 1657
Ecton, Northamptonshire, England
Died January 16, 1745(1745-01-16) (aged 87)
Boston, Province of Massachusetts Bay.
Resting place Granary Burying Ground on Tremont Street
Residence Boston, MA
Nationality English
Ethnicity English
Citizenship English
Occupation Tallow chandler and soap boiler
Known for Father of Benjamin Franklin
Religion Old South Church in Boston, Congregational
Spouse(s) Anne Child 1677-1689; Abiah Folger 1689-1744 (d 1720)
Children Elizabeth Franklin Douse, Samuel Franklin, Hannah Franklin Cole, Josiah Franklin Jr., Anne Franklin Harris, Joseph Franklin I, Joseph Franklin II, John Franklin, Peter Franklin, Mary Franklin Holmes, James Franklin, Sarah Franklin Davenport, Ebenezer Franklin, Thomas Franklin, Benjamin Franklin, Lydia Franklin Scott, Jane Franklin Mecom
Parent(s) Thomas Franklin, Jane White Franklin
Relatives Benjamin Franklin

Josiah Franklin (December 23, 1657 - January 16, 1745) was an English-born businessman best known as the father of Benjamin Franklin. Josiah was born in the village of Ecton, Northamptonshire, England on December 23, 1657. Josiah was the ninth and the last child of his parents, Thomas Franklin, blacksmith and farmer, and Jane White Franklin. Thomas Franklin remarried and had more children. Josiah Franklin was an industrious young man who worked as a fabric dyer in Ecton. In Boston, he was a member of Old South Church where he served as a tithingman.[1] Franklin emigrated to the American colonies in 1682. He married twice and had 17 children, ten boys and seven girls, in total.

Marriage to Anne Child[edit]

In 1677, Josiah Franklin married his first wife, Anne Child, in Ecton, England. Over the next few years, the couple had three children: Elizabeth, Samuel, and Hannah. Upon moving to Boston, he took up the trade of tallow chandler and soap boiler because the trade he was born to was not in demand in New England. After the family moved to Boston, Massachusetts, the couple had four more children, including Josiah Jr., Ann, Joseph (I), and Joseph (II). The first Joseph died soon after birth, and the next child was named for him. In 1689, Anne Child Franklin died of complications while giving birth to her seventh child in Boston.

Marriage to Abiah Folger[edit]

In November 1689, Josiah Franklin married his second wife, Abiah Folger, in the Old South Church. Abiah of Nantucket, Massachusetts, was the daughter of Peter and Mary Morrill Foulger. Peter Foulger was a schoolmaster, a miller and a surveyor.

Abiah went on to bear ten children: John (1690), Peter (1692), Mary (1694), James (1697), Sarah (1699), Ebenezer (1701), Thomas (1703), Benjamin (1706), Lydia (1708), and Jane (1712).

Benjamin Franklin[edit]

Josiah insisted that each of his sons must learn a trade. He had great dreams of Benjamin becoming a minister,[2] but Josiah could only afford to send his son to school for two years. As his young Benjamin loved to read, Josiah apprenticed him to his brother James, who was a printer. Later, Benjamin Franklin borrowed books from his friends and taught himself arithmetic, grammar, and philosophy. Benjamin, whose full name was Benjamin Josiah Franklin,[3] had a very strong relationship with his father, who had a great influence on Benjamin.[4]


  1. ^ Dictionary definition of "Tithing" and Dictionary definition of "Tithingman". Webster's Online Dictionary. Retrieved June 9, 2008
  2. ^ Franklin, US History
  3. ^ Franklin, US History
  4. ^ Franklin, US History