Franklin Arrives in Philadelphia
Franklin Arrives in Philadelphia
On October 6, 1723, a 17-year-old Benjamin Franklin first arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, Franklin apprenticed in his brother’s print shop at the age of 12. During this time Franklin submitted many articles under the pseudonym “Mrs. Silence Dogood.” However, when his brother discovered that Benjamin was the author of the articles, he refused to publish them. The two brothers quarreled frequently, and at the age of 17, Franklin ran away.
Franklin first traveled to New York City but was unable to find a job. However, while there he learned that he could work for a printer in Philadelphia.
Franklin finally reached Philadelphia on October 6, 1723. As he later recalled, he was in his working clothes, with additional clothes stuffed into his pockets. Tired and hungry from the journey, he found a baker and offered all the money he had – three pence – for whatever that would get him. He received three loaves of bread, one of which he ate as he walked the streets.
Franklin eventually followed a group of people to a Quaker meetinghouse where he slept briefly and then met a friendly Quaker who showed him a place to spend the night. There, Franklin could rest, eat, and get ready to meet the printer. However, when he met the printer, he told him that he didn’t have any work available, but offered to let him stay there. The printer also told Franklin about another printer in town who might have work for him, and this one eventually did hire him.
In the coming years, Franklin became a respected member of the Philadelphia community, thanks in large part to the kindness of these strangers in his early days there. Aside from his publishing work, Franklin flourished, and his accomplishments and contributions to the city earned him the title “The first citizen of Philadelphia.”
Franklin’s many contributions to the city of Philadelphia include: founding the first subscription library in the American colonies; organizing the city’s fire department; law enforcement reform; leading efforts to pave, clean, and light public streets; raising money to build a city hospital, the Pennsylvania Hospital; and founding the academy that became the University of Pennsylvania.
Click here to read Franklin’s account of his first days in Philadelphia.
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6 responses to "Franklin Arrives in Philadelphia "
6 thoughts on “Franklin Arrives in Philadelphia ”
Remarkable. Young people today should take note.
I would recommend reading a biography of Ben Franklin. He was an amazing man. He was scientist, a diplomat, a patriot, and just a good man. His contributions to the well being of the people are so numerous that I only through more extensive reading will you know.
Franklin, a giant among the founders.
A fascinating and well rounded man.
Thank you Mystic. I was unaware that Ben was originally from Boston. I am amazed that given the small population of our country at it’s birth there was a collection of great men who walked this earth at the same time and contributed to the founding of our nation.
In his will (1790), Franklin left a sum of money, roughly $5000, to each city, Philadelphia and Boston. He stipulated that the money was to be loaned to needy apprentices, and that the interest they paid be used to augment the principal. He further stipulated that after two hundred years, the accumulated funds be dispersed as the city fathers thought best. He felt that affecting the future (to him) for a period of two hundred years was enough. How each city used the money, and what was done with it in 1990, is an interesting read. Philadelphia was much more aggressive in using the money than was Boston. The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia was constructed using some of the accumulated money.