William Franklin Grave

Benjamin Franklin’s son William (known as “The Governor” in some circles, do distinguish him from his son, William Temple Franklin) was imprisoned in New York during the Revolutionary War, and returned to England through an exchange of prisoners. He remarried there (to widow Mary D’Evelin on August 14, 1788) and his days ended there.

In his will, William specified:

My Body I desire may be buried with as much frugality as is consistent with decency and should I die in or near London it is my request to be buried in the same grave in St. Pancras Church Yard (if it conveniently may be) in which my late beloved wife was deposited.

Source: Roper Website

The wording in this will suggests that the grave of Mary Johnson D’Evelyn may be the exact location of her husband’s.

In Volume 16, #4 of the Franklin Gazette, L. David Roper reported his efforts to find William’s Grave. He reports:

In February 2005, Lady Joan Reid and I found in the English archives the burial record of William Franklin (born 1 September 1731 Philadelphia, died 17 November 1813 London, England), son of Benjamin Franklin.

The church is what is now known as the Old St. Pancras Church, which is on Pancras Road behind St. Pancras railway station in London. We went to the cemetery but were not able to find the grave, probably because it was dug up when the railway was expanded in the middle of the 1800s. There were many tomb stones stacked up against a tree inside a fence; William’s may be among them.

This report is expanded on Professor Roper’s William Franklin page, with a little more on that disturbance of the churchyard. FindAGrave has entries for the churchyard and for his grave. They are listed in my Virtual Cemetery of Franklinians as well. Another Franklin associate, the transvestite and spy Chevalier d’Eon, is buried in St. Pancras, as well as the pickpocket from the Beggar’s Opera, Jenny Diver.

Closer to Home

The melancholy grave of William’s first wife, Elizabeth Downes Franklin, is a prominent feature of St. Paul’s Chapel and Churchyard on Manhattan Island (FindAGrave site). In The Private Franklin, page 214, Eugenia W. Herbert and Claude-Anne Lopez penned this sad epitaph for Elizabeth Franklin:

Far from her own people in Barbados, far from her husband’s grave in London, far from the Franklin family tombstone in Philadelphia, she lies buried in St. Paul’s church in New York — all by herself in a strange land, just as she had feared.

B. Crump on B. Franklin

Civil Rights attorney Benjamin Crump delivered a speech called “the evolution of Benjamin Franklin and the hope of America” in Fayetteville, Arkansas at Fayetteville State University. His respectful notes are in this article from the Fayetteville Observer. Excerpts:

Crump described Franklin, one of the country’s founders, as a Renaissance man at a time during which other “racist, white men owned black people.”

Though white men aspired to be Franklin’s apprentice, he was encouraged by English literary figure Samuel Johnson to visit a school for African-Americans in Philadelphia, Crump said.

Franklin took the school’s young, black boys under his tutelage, he said.

He concluded that given the right resources, supervision and encouragement, these black youth could be the intellectual equal of their white peers, Crump said.

During the last 10 years of Franklin’s life, he made it his mission to pass legislation to abolish slavery, Crump said. Franklin was president of the first anti-slavery abolitionist movement in America, Crump said.

He said he believes that when Franklin observed the African-American youth, he believed the words in the Declaration of Independence, that all men are created equal.

 

Friends of Franklin Wrap-Up

Claude-Anne Lopez at the Papers

Claude-Anne Lopez

As perhaps its final action as an incorporated group, the Friends of Franklin will present its remaining funds to the Papers of Benjamin Franklin as a donation in honor of Claude-Anne Lopez on November 8, 2018.

Questions and comments are welcome by reaching me directly.  My contact information is at the bottom of the About Us page.

MM

 

Get Off My Lawn

I browse the news feed of Franklin mentions daily, and almost stop because of the flurry of bogus quotes from Franklin. So convenient a thing it is to concoct a Franklin quote for anything one has a mind to say.

I happened across the @bfcircles Twitter group on my phone this morning, and on the view of their graphics, saw several pretty images of Franklin with sayings attributed to him that I have seen coming through other posts, also purporting to be Franklin’s words. These sayings are a little too modern, and are unfamiliar to me. I question that they are actually from Franklin. Searching the Papers Digital Edition would be an excellent step towards clarifying whether they are authentic.

For example, some quotes that strike me as bogus are:

  • “By failing to plan, you are planning to fail.” I see this quoted a lot.
  • “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” I see this quoted a lot.
  • “The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” OMG, the Pursuit of Happiness is in the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution.
  • “When you’re good to others, you’re best to yourself.”
  • “A wise man will desire no more than what he may get justly, use soberly, distribute cheerfully, and leave contently.” Ouch – that last word is not even a word.
  • “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement and success have no meaning.”

I see a few that are good, and the graphics are generally excellent. I was starting to ease my mind, but then this blunders in:

  • “Motivation is when your dreams put on work clothes.”

I’d be surprised to find ANY of those major words in Franklin’s writings. This is not to disparage the circles themselves. The ideas expressed are generally agreeable to me. But like Franklin never said, “hey you kids, get off my lawn!”

p.s. Instagram’s #benfranklin tag is another mother load:

 

This quote is lifted from Carl Reiner, in the HBO Documentary, If You’re Not In The Obit, Eat Breakfast.

YouTube of the Carl Reiner Quote

Printing Week Volumes

22-Volume set.

Three sets of the Printing Week Library of Benjamin Franklin Keepsakes have appeared in auctions recently. This is a sweet set of small books on Franklin, “Privately Printed in New York.” I also see some of these volumes listed on Amazon.

I have all 29 of these volumes in my library. Oak Knoll Press publishes a list, replicated below with expansions. The first number seems to be their inventory count, the second number is my personal inventory count. The asterisks indicate issues where I may have a copy available.

  1. 1953 WAY TO WEALTH (0)(1)
    1954. none issued. Keepsake took another form
    1955: not listed
  2. * 1956 B. FRANKLIN, 1706-1790 (2)(2)
  3. 1957. BEN FRANKLIN, WIT (0)(1)
  4. 1958. ON TRUE HAPPINESS (1)(1)
  5. 1959. DON’T GIVE TOO MUCH FOR THE WHISTLE AND OTHER ESSAYS (3)(1)
  6. 1960 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, INVENTOR, (3)(1)
  7. * 1961. B. FRANKLIN, INNOVATOR (1)(2)
  8. 1962 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN WAS THERE (n.l.)(1)
  9. 1963. AMERICA’S BIG BEN (2)(1)
  10. 1964. WHAT GOOD IS A NEW BORN BABE? (1)(1)
  11. 1965. WHAT GOOD IS SERVING GOD? (1)(1)
  12. 1966. ARTICLES OF BELIEF (1)(1)
  13. 1967. AN APOLOGY FOR PRINTERS (1)(1)
  14. * 1968 THE SILENCE DOGOOD LETTERS (7)(2) Dedicated to Lews F. White, the designer of “twelve earlier editions” of this keepsake.
  15. 1969 THE SILENCE DOGOOD LETTERS II (4)(1)
  16. 1970. LE BON DOCTEUR FRANKLIN, THE TOAST OF PARIS (3)(1)
  17. 1971 FRANKLIN OF PHILADELPHIA IN LONDON (4, 1 with bookplate) (0)
  18. * 1972 A QUART OF OYSTERS AND OTHER BON MOTS (6)(2)
  19. * 1973 SHEEP WILL NEVER MAKE INSURRECTIONS (5)(2!)
  20. * 1974 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, PRINTER AT WORK (4)(2!)
  21. * 1975 ADMIRAL FRANKLIN? YES, ADMIRAL FRANKLIN (6)(3)
  22. 1976 “THE DREAM”, “BENJAMIN FRANKLIN’S DREAM… (2)(1) Three stories by Isaac Asimov
  23. 1977. MY DEAR GIRL (5)(1)
  24. 1978. MY DEAR GIRL II, “25TH KEEPSAKE”, this count perhaps includes the keepsake for 1954. (4)(1)
  25. * 1979. FRANKLIN AND WOMEN (2)(2)
  26. 1980. HOW GEORGE WASHINGTON GOT HIS GUNPOWDER (3)(1)
  27. 1981. THE PRINTER AT WORK (sold out)(1)
  28. 1982 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, THE DIPLOMAT, by Vera Laska (5)(1)
  29. 1983 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, ANECDOTES AND EULOGIES (3)(1).

I would be happy to more about the organization producing these volumes.

Lewis Tappan

My eye was caught by this statement in this news article today:

Dun & Bradstreet dates back to 1841 when Lewis Tappan – the great grand nephew of Benjamin Franklin – set-up a business to provide credit information across the US via a network of reporters, just five years after the first commercial telegraphs were introduced.

I don’t have the name Tappan in my Virtual Cemetery of Franklin Descendants, and would appreciate any information about his relationship.