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date: 17 August 2019

Franklin, Williamlocked

(1731–16 November 1813)
  • Willard Sterne Randall


Franklin, William (1731–16 November 1813), Loyalist leader and last royal governor of New Jersey, was the son of Benjamin Franklin, a printer and later statesman and diplomat, who addressed his autobiography to “My Dear Son.” Born out of wedlock in Philadelphia, William always referred to Deborah Read, Benjamin’s common-law wife, as his mother, but the real identity of his mother is unknown. A close friend of Benjamin’s said William was born of a disagreeable woman “not of good circumstances” who did not want her maternity known. As a boy William liked to read books from his father’s and uncle’s bookstores and had his own race horse, a rarity for the son of a tradesman. Years later, Benjamin wrote about childrearing to a young mother, “Pray let him have everything he likes: I think it of great consequence, while the features of the countenance are forming.” He was tutored by mathematician ...

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