Benjamin Franklin was born in 1706 in Boston. He showed promise as an inventor at an early age, inventing a pair of swim fins for his hands when he was 11. At the age of 17, he ran away from an apprenticeship and went to Philadelphia where he obtained employment as a printer.
After a short time in Philadelphia he journeys to London and continued work as a printer. in 1726 he returned to Philadelphia and worked as a bookkeeper and shopkeeper. He later established a printing business and published the first edition of "Poor Richard's Almanack" in 1732. He began buying property on Market Street for his print shop and retail stores. This area came to be known as Franklin Court. During this same period, Franklin organized the first fire company and was appointed as postmaster of Philadelphia. From 1739 through 1746, Franklin was busy. He invented the Franklin Stove, he led enviornmental protests against polluting, organized plant collecting trips for botanists, and helped found the American Philosophical Society. By 1746 he was conducting extensive experiments with electricity.
Franklin's ideas and inventions were matched only by his activities in the colonies. He created a fire insurance company, received honorary degrees from Harvard and Yale, and in England acted as agent for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Georgia.
Most significantly, he served on a committee of five who drafted the Declaration of Independence. In 1779 he was appointed to negotiate a peace treaty with England. He died on April 17, 1790 an is buried at Christ Church Cemetery. Over 20,000 people attended his funeral.