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William Franklin
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U.S. Governor
    (circa 1730-November 16, 1813)
    Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Oldest son of Benjamin Franklin
    Last Royal Governor of New Jersey (1763-76)
    Imprisoned during the American Revolution (1776-78)
    After the Revolution, went into exile in England
    While studying law in London, he fathered a son, Temple Franklin, out of wedlock (1759).
    He was appointed governor largely due to his father lobbying the British Prime Minister, Lord Bute.
    He remained loyal to the Crown, while Benjamin became one of the Founding Fathers, leading to a permanent estrangement between them.
    In his will, the only property Benjamin left William was ‘all my books and papers which he has in his possession.’
    After his second marriage, to Mary Johnson d’Evelin, a widow with children from her previous marriage, his son Temple and his stepdaughter Mary had a daughter, Ellen, out of wedlock, making William Ellen’s paternal grandfather and maternal step-grandfather.
    He joined the Pennsylvania militia during King George’s War (1746-47).
    He assisted his father in his famous kite experiment (1752), although most depictions of the event show him as a young child when he was actually 21.
    He signed the charter for Queen’s College, which developed into Rutgers University (1766).
    He was a founding member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1783).

Credit: C. Fishel

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