Deborah Read Franklin, Wife of Benjamin Franklin

by Janelle Pavao

Deborah Read Franklin was the wife of famed inventor and statesman Benjamin Franklin.

Deborah found him wandering the streets after he had run away as a teenager, and she invited him into her family's home. The Read family took him in and gave him employment. Due to this Deborah Read became very close to Ben.

Deborah Read FranklinPortrait of Deborah Read Franklin

When they were older Deborah began to speak of marriage, but Ben said he was not ready. When Ben returned from a trip from England a few months later, he found to his despair that Deborah was married to another man.

Ben stayed in the employment of her father anyway.

One day Deborah woke up to find that her husband had deserted her. She was heartbroken. A few months later she heard news that her husband had died of illness.

Soon after this, she began dating Benjamin Franklin again, and soon after that they were married. Together they were the perfect match. They loved each other truly and they made great business partners.

Deborah Read Franklin's Married Years

Deborah set up a small store in a building adjoined to Ben's print shop. Deborah worked hard on keeping her shop, raising Ben's son (born before they were married and whose mother is unknown to all except Ben) and their own two children.

She was the ultimate working mother.

She was terrified of traveling by ship, so Deborah was never able to go on any of Ben's frequent voyages across the Atlantic. After being married for 44 blissful years, while Ben was on one of his journeys to England, Deborah suddenly had a stroke and died.

This was very tragic to Ben, and he was even more upset that he could not be there for her and the children when she passed. In the end she was the best wife Ben could have asked for.

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