Founding Fathers Black Hills

Benjamin Franklin


Age at signing – 70

We must now hang together, or we shall most assuredly all hang separately.”

Benjamin Franklin, perhaps the most famous American of his time, was the oldest signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Franklin was the 10th son of a poor candle maker from Boston. He had little formal education but became wealthy as a printer and publisher of Poor Richard’s Almanac and famous as a scientist, philosopher, philanthropist and inventor.

Franklin made his home and fortune in Philadelphia, but he spent many years living abroad in England and France. Always an astute politician, Franklin enjoyed close ties with the British early in his career but would later became one of the leading voices for American independence.

Franklin returned to America in 1775 after 10 years in London, and was elected to the Continental Congress where he was appointed to a committee to draft the Declaration of Independence and gave Thomas Jefferson advice on his original draft.

Franklin spent the war and post-war years as America’s chief diplomat to France and died at age 84 in 1790 in Philadelphia.