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upon a bond which lies in Tho: Franklins band
he is content to accept the securitys wo I haue of
Barth. Coles by mortg. for 200£ Mr. Dods mort-

for 100 & Mr. Gardners bond for 100£.

In witness hereoff I have sett my hand this 7th day of Aug: 1678.

"1678. March 10. Paid Tho. Franklins bill for Deeds

of Conveyance, Copyes & his proportion of charg
of Fine &c.

4.03.02 “ 1689. Tho. Lark.

N. B. Hee pays all his Tiths to Mr. Franklyn y

were behind. Touching this Thomas Franklin, the younger, who received tithes, and carried bags of money, and brought in a bill for drawing deeds of conveyance, we must say a few words, for he was the only Franklin of Ecton who ever rose to social importance in his county. Thomas Franklin, the elder, had four sons : Thomas, John, Benjamin, and Josiah. There lived at Ecton, during the boyhood of these four sons, a Mr. John Palmer, the squire of the parish and lord of an adjacent manor; who, attracted by their intelligence and spirit, lent them books, assisted them to lessons in drawing and music, and, in various ways, encouraged them to improve their minds. All the boys appear to bave been greatly profited by Squire Palmer's friendly aid ; but none of them so much as Thomas, the eldest, inheritor of the family forge and farm.

In families destined at length to give birth to an illustrious individual, nature seems sometimes to make an essay of her powers with that material, before producing the consummate specimen. There was a remarkable Mr. Pitt before Lord Chatham; there was an extraordinary Mr. Fox before the day of the ablest debater in Europe; there was a witty Sheridan before Richard Brinsley; there was a Mirabeau before the Mirabeau of the French Revolution. And, to cite a higher instance: Shakspeare's father was, at least, extraordinarily fond of dramatic entertainments, if we may infer anything certain from the brief records of his mayoralty of Stratford; for he appears to have given the players the kind of welcome that Hamlet admonished Polonius to bestow upon them. Thomas Franklin, the eldest uncle of our Benjamin, learned the

blacksmith's trade in his father's shop, but, aided by Squire
Palmer and his own natural aptitude for affairs, became, as his
nephew tells us, a conveyancer, “something of a lawyer, clerk of
the county court, and clerk to the archdeacon,* a very leading
man in all county affairs, and much employed in public business.”
He was a man of great public spirit, set on foot a subscription for
a chime of bells, and devised a method of saving the meadows from
being overflowed. Such an opinion of his skill and wisdom pre-
vailed in the county, that his advice was sought on all occasions by
all sorts of people, and many looked upon him as a conjurer.f He
left a fortune of fifteen hundred pounds. Sixty years after his
death, when the son of Benjamin Franklin heard the history of his
Uncle Thomas, and saw in the county the evidences of his ingenuity
and public spirit, he was struck with the resemblance to the char-
acter and career of his father. If Uncle Thomas, said he, had died
on the day of my father's birth, one might have supposed a trans-
migration. I

John, the second of the four sons of Thomas the elder, became a
dyer at Banbury in Oxfordshire. Into his house, at Banbury, he
received his aged sire when he could wield the hammer no longer,
and there the old man died. Benjamin, the third son, also a dyer,
was the scholar of the family, a pure, earnest, shy, and gentle spirit,
greatly beloved all the days of his life, author of many a pious
acrostic and homely psalm. In one of his poetry books he pasted
the hand-bill of his trade. It is headed by an exceedingly rude
wood-cut, which represents an Indian lady walking, one servant

* "This archdeacon, as I learn from the inscription on his monument in Ecton church, was also

named John Palmer. He was archdeacon of Northampton and rector of the parish of Ecton.
eldest son, who was also named John, succeeded him in the rectorship of Ecton; and this son was
succeeded by a second son named Thomas All of these have monuments in Ecton church."
History and Antiquities of Ecton.

+ Franklin to his wife.-Sparks, vii., 179.

* Thomas Franklin and his wife Eleanor lie buried in Ecton churchyard. The following are
the inscriptions on their tombstones:
Here lyeth

The body of

Lyeth the body of
Thomas Franklin

Eleanor Franklin
who departed this

The wife of Thomas
Life January the 6

Franklin who departed
Anno Domini 1702

This life the 14th of
In the sixty-fifth

March 1711
yeare of his age.

In the 77 years

of her age.

holding an umbrella over her head, and another carrying her train.
Underneath are the following words:

Rought Things, Printed

English or India Calico's;
Cloth, Silk, and Stuff, Scoured ;
Linen, Cloth, Silk, and Stuff,
Dyed, Printed, or Watred;



Black Cloth, Silk, and Stuff,

Dyed into Colours;


Benjamin Franklin,

At the Indian Queen in Princes-

Street near Leicester-Fields.

* To Dr. Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, of Boston, I was indebted for a sight of Uncle Benjamin's
poetry book, and for the extracts which I wished from it.



The prosperity of Thomas Franklin, by raising the family above its hereditary rank, was probably the cause of its extinction in Ecton. It is not certain that any smith of the family succeeded to the ancient forge, though a son of Thomas appears to have inherited the little estate of thirty acres and the stone dwelling-house. The records of Ecton show that the house and land were sold in 1740 to the lord of the manor, and that the house was then used for a village school.

In 1766, when Dr. Franklin visited the home of his forefathers, he found a Thomas Franklin living in Leicestershire in impoverished circumstances, to whose maintenance he contributed for some years, and, in effect, adopted his only child, Sally. The old homestead was standing as late as the time of the American Revolution, but no trace of it now remains, and no Franklin dwells in the parish. The site of the house, however, is shown to inquiring strangers, and Ecton, we are told, values itself upon having been the residence of Dr. Franklin's ancestors. * The Tithes Book informs us that, two hundred years ago, there was a public house at Ecton called the World's End. There is still in the parish, a public house of that name. The village is, to this day, a quiet, sequestered nook, containing about 700 inhabitants.

John Franklin, dyer, of Banbury, was probably as thriving a man, in his way, as his brother Thomas; for, besides entertaining his aged father in his house, he drew away, first, his brother Benjamin, and afterward, his brother Josiah, to learn his trade.

Josiah Franklin, father of Dr. Franklin, was born at Ecton, in 1655. Having learned the trade of dyer, be established himself in that business at Banbury, and was married there, about his twenty

* “ History and Antiquities of Ecton."

first year. His brother Benjamin married, at the same town, “the daughter of a clergyman." These two brothers, apprenticed and wedded in Banbury, were brothers indeed; they cherished for each other an affection which time and distance never cooled. Three children were born to Josiah in Banbury: Elizabeth, born March 2, 1678; Samuel, born May 16, 1681 ; and Hannah, born May 25, 1783.*

Charles II. was king of England then ; the mean and profligate corrupter of his realm ; promoter of false priests and persecutor of honest ones.

Josiah Franklin and Benjamin, his well-beloved, and they alone, as it appears, of all their family, espoused the cause of the expelled pastors, abandoned the Church of England, and attended the Conventicles. The Conventicles were forbidden by law, were often disturbed, and to attend them placed a tradesman under the ban of the class whose good-will was most advantageous to him. About the year 1685, the year of the dissolute tyrant's death, Josiah Franklin bade farewell to his brother Benjamin, and to England; and, with wife and three little children, emigrated to Boston, accompanied by a number of his neighbors and fellow-dissenters.

Upon reaching Boston, then in the fifty-sixth year of its existence, and containing but five or six thousand inhabitants, Josiah Franklin, finding little encouragement to practice his trade of dyer, set up in the business of tallow-chandler and soap-boiler. The name of Josiah Franklin occurs once in the town records of Boston, under the date of April 27, 1691, when the town granted him liberty to erect a building eight feet square, near the South Meeting-House. Tradesmen were accustomed then to designate their places of business by objects, as well as by lettered signs. Thus, we learn from ancient advertisements, that clothing was sold at the sign of the Anchor, beer at the sign of the Mermaid, bread at the sign of the Golden Sheaf, and books at the sign of the Bible; but, generally, there was no similarity between the sign and the articles which it invited the public to purchase. To mark where he sold his soap and candles, Josiah Franklin fixed upon the sign of the Blue Ball; and the identical ball, of the size of a cocoa-nut, which once hung over his little shop, blue no longer, but bearing the name Josiah

Savage's " Genealogical Dictionary of New England," ii, 200.

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