Franklin's father, Josiah Franklin was born at , , on , , the son of Thomas Franklin, a and , and Jane White. His mother, Abiah Folger, was born in , on , , to Peter Folger, a miller and schoolteacher, and his wife a former .
In around , Josiah married Anne Child at Ecton; and over the next few years, this couple had three children, all of whom being half-siblings of Benjamin Franklin. They included: Elizabeth (, ), Samuel (, ), and Hannah (, ).
Sometime during the second half of 1683, the Franklins left for , ; and while in Boston, they had several more children, including: Josiah Jr. (, ), Ann (, ), Joseph (, ), and Joseph (, ) (the first Joseph having died soon after birth).
Josiah's first wife Anne died in Boston on , . He then remarried, to Abiah, on , in the of Boston by the Rev. Samuel Willard.
They had the following children: John (, ), Peter (, ), Mary (, ), James (, ), Sarah (, ), Ebenezer (, ), Thomas (, ), Benjamin (, ), Lydia (, ), and Jane (, ).
Benjamin Franklin was born on Milk Street in on January 17, 1706. His father, Josiah Franklin, was a chandler, a maker of candles, who married twice. Josiah's marriages produced 17 children; Benjamin was the tenth and youngest son. His schooling ended at ten and at 12 he became an to his brother James, a printer who published the New England Courant. While a printing apprentice he wrote under the pseudonym of 'Silence Dogood' who was ostensibly a middle-aged widow. His brother and the Courant's readers did not initially know the real author. His brother was not impressed when he discovered his popular correspondent was his younger, brother. He left his without permission and in so doing became a .
At the age of 17, Franklin ran away to , seeking a new start in a new city. When he first arrived he worked in several printer shops around town. However, he was not satisfied by the immediate prospects. After a few months, while working in a printing house, Franklin was induced by Pennsylvania Governor Sir William Keith to go to , ostensibly to acquire the equipment necessary for establishing another newspaper in Philadelphia. Finding Keith's promises of backing a newspaper empty, Franklin worked as a compositor in a printer's shop in what is now the Church of St Batholomew the Great, Smithfield. Following this he returned to Philadelphia in 1726 with the help of a merchant named Thomas Denham, who gave Franklin a position as clerk, shopkeeper and bookkeeper in Denham's merchant business.
Upon Denham's death, Franklin returned to his former trade. By 1730, Franklin had set up a printing house of his own and had contrived to become the publisher of a newspaper called The Pennsylvania Gazette. The Gazette gave Franklin a forum for agitation about a variety of local reforms and initiatives through printed essays and observations. Over time, his commentary, together with a great deal of savvy about cultivating a positive image of an industrious and intellectual young man, earned him a great deal of social respect.
Franklin established a common law marriage with a woman named Deborah Read in September, 1730. In 1724, while a boarder in her mother's home, Franklin had courted Deborah before going to London at Governor Kieth's behest. At that time, Miss Read's mother was somewhat wary of allowing her daughter to wed a seventeen year old on his way to London. Her own husband having recently died, Mrs. Read declined Franklin's offer of marriage.
While Franklin was finding himself in London, Deborah married a man named John Rodgers. This proved to be an regrettable decision. Rodgers shortly fled debt and prosecution by going to , leaving Deborah behind. With Rodgers' fate unknown, and bigamy an offense punishable by public whipping and imprisonment, Deborah was not free to remarry.
Franklin himself had his own actions to ponder. During 1730, Franklin acknowledged an illegitimate son named , who eventually became the last Loyalist governor of .