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upon a bond which lies in Tho: Franklins band
for 100 & Mr. Gardners bond for 100£.
In witness hereoff I have sett my hand this 7th day of Aug: 1678.
of Conveyance, Copyes & his proportion of charg
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
John, the second of the four sons of Thomas the elder, became a
* "This archdeacon, as I learn from the inscription on his monument in Ecton church, was also
+ Franklin to his wife.-Sparks, vii., 179.
* Thomas Franklin and his wife Eleanor lie buried in Ecton churchyard. The following are
Lyeth the body of
The wife of Thomas
Franklin who departed
This life the 14th of
In the 77 years
of her age.
holding an umbrella over her head, and another carrying her train.
Rought Things, Printed
English or India Calico's;
Black Cloth, Silk, and Stuff,
Dyed into Colours;
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
FRANKLIN'S FATHER AND MOTHER.
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.