In early 18th century New England, it was the law for all children to learn to read. And it was the law for every boy to learn to write. Benjamin and Jane Franklin were born in Boston to the same parents, six years apart. He became an internationally known statesman. She married at age fifteen, tried to keep the family together through her wastrel husband's repeated falls into debt, and outlived ten of her twelve children.
Benny and Jenny were two of seventeen children. Their father was a candle and soap maker. Jane was the youngest in the family. She was left behind to care for her parents when her siblings were married and gone—or dead and gone, as so many were before reaching old age. She had her parents, her husband, and her children to care for.
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