1706 -- 1790
Benjamin Franklin, age 84, the city of Philadelphia's greatest citizen of all time; printer, writer, artist, publisher, philosopher, scientist, inventor, soldier, diplomat, abolitionist, founder of a half-dozen Philadelphia institutions, influencer of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and more.
Benjamin Franklin was one of the most practical, prudent, dynamic, and influential men of his times. He left more than a legacy. He left a litany of legacies that more than two centuries later continue to benefit mankind and are destined to serve for posterity. Accordingly, "Franklin Legacy Society" is the appropriate name today for those persons whose caring will craft legacies for generations to come.
At 17, Ben left a printing apprenticeship in Boston and started his printing business in Philadelphia, published The Pennsylvania Gazette, and gained recognition with his Poor Richard's Almanack.
Through early years of his career he organized a literary club that evolved into the American Philosophical Society; laid foundations for what became the Philadelphia Library; initiated the first formal fire company; was instrumental in improving the lighting of city streets; invented the Franklin stove; and flew his famous kite. In 1748, he sold his business and turned to public life.
In public affairs at home and abroad, he forged lasting relationships, influenced decisions, and acted to shape the future. He was Pennsylvania's delegate to the Albany Congress in 1754 and then was in England for five years relative to the enforcement of taxes in Pennsylvania. In 1766, the House of Commons summoned him to England to explain colonial opposition to the Stamp Tax. When war was inevitable in 1775, he was in Philadelphia where, in due course, he was a member of the second Continental Congress, was on the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence and was one of its signers. He helped to negotiate a treaty with France and was sent to negotiate peace with Great Britain.
About a month after his 25th birthday, Franklin became a Mason, joining St. John's Lodge meeting at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia. By the next year, he had drafted the lodge's bylaws and was elected Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, then served his first term as the Grand Master in 1734, the same year that he published Anderson's The Constitution of the Free-Masons, the first Masonic book printed in America.
He was appointed Provincial Grand Master in 1749; then in organizational changes a year later, he was appointed Deputy Grand Master. He was on a committee to build the first Masonic building constructed in America, the "Free-Mason's Lodge" in Philadelphia, and took a prominent part in its dedication in 1755. In 1760 he was named Provincial Grand Master of Philadelphia.
As he traveled frequently on diplomatic missions, Brother Franklin visited lodges in England, Scotland and France. He became active with lodges in France: serving two years as Master of the Lodge of the Nine Sisters; as honorary Master of the Respectable Lodge de Saint Jean de Jerusalem; and an honorary member of the Loges des Bon Amis of Rouen.
Benjamin Franklin died quietly at 11 p.m. on Saturday, April 17, 1790. His legacies are with us today.
The Franklin Legacy Society recognizes and honors persons of vision and foresight who have taken the initiative to strengthen and enhance the good works of one or more of the Masonic Charities of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania through their estate plans, including the Masonic Homes, Pennsylvania Youth Foundation, The Pennsylvania Masonic Foundation for Children, The Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania, and The Masonic Charities Fund.
The Masonic Charities are the means whereby the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania carries out its rich tradition of caring for those in need within the Fraternity and throughout the world. Through their thoughtfulness, members of the Society are helping to assure that the vital missions of the Masonic Charities will be available for the benefit of future generations.
Who is eligible for membership?
We Would Like to Say "Thank You"
Recognition on a special donor wall.
Recognition in The Pennsylvania Freemason and Annual Report for the Masonic Charities.
Recognized with the Society's distinctive lapel pin, which depicts Bro. Benjamin Franklin at work at his printing press.
Note: Persons who wish, may remain anonymous while participating in the activities of the Franklin Legacy Society.
How May I Become a Member?
If you are considering providing for one or more of the Masonic Charities in your estate plans or through an appropriate planned gift arrangement and if you are interested in considering membership in the Society, the staff of the Office of Gift Planning stands ready to assist you and your advisors in complete confidence and of course, at no obligation to you.
The Masonic Charities of the R.W. Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania