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William Franklin
WilliamFranklin.jpeg
13th Colonial Governor of New Jersey
In office
1763–1776
Monarch George III
Preceded by Josiah Hardy
Succeeded by William Livingston
As Governor of New Jersey
Personal details
Born ca. 1730
Philadelphia
Died 13/16/17 November, 1813 (aged 82–83)
London
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Downes, Mary Johnson d'Evelin
Children William Temple Franklin
Parents Benjamin Franklin
Occupation soldier, colonial administrator

William Franklin (c.1730 – November 1813) was an American soldier, attorney, and colonial administrator, the acknowledged illegitimate son of Benjamin Franklin. He was the last colonial Governor of New Jersey (1763–1776). Franklin was a steadfast Loyalist throughout the American Revolutionary War.

Early life

William Franklin was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the illegitimate son of Benjamin Franklin, a leading figure in the city. His mother's identity is unknown. In 1750, Ben told his own mother that William was nineteen years old, but this may have been an attempt to make the youth appear legitimate.

William was raised by Benjamin Franklin and Deborah Read.

Marriage and family

As a young man, William became engaged to Elizabeth Graeme, daughter of prominent Philadelphia physician Dr. Thomas Graeme and granddaughter of Pennsylvania's 14th Governor, Sir William Keith.

While in London, Franklin sired an illegitimate son, William Temple Franklin, who was born 22 February 1762. His mother has never been identified, and he was placed in foster care.

Later that year, Franklin married Elizabeth Downes on September 4, 1762 at St George's, Hanover Square in London.

Career

William Franklin completed his law education in England.

Governor of New Jersey

In 1763, William Franklin was appointed as the Royal Governor of New Jersey, due to his father's influence with the British Prime Minister. He replaced Josiah Hardy, a merchant and colonial administrator. As governor, Franklin signed the charter for Queen's College, which would develop as Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

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