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The Adolescent Nation Mourns the Loss of a Founding Father

After the death of his wife Deborah, the elderly Ben lived with his daughter Sarah's family. Sarah nursed him as his health weakened. Finally, Ben died peacefully in his sleep on April 17, 1790. He was 84 years old.

His funeral in Philadelphia attracted the largest crowd of mourners ever known. An estimated 20,000 people crowded around the Christ Church Burial Ground where he was buried beside his wife Deborah Read Rogers Franklin who had died sixteen years before him. The tombstone on their grave said "Benjamin and Deborah Franklin: 1790."

When Ben was 22 years old he wrote an epitaph for himself, but, later in life, he changed his mind and left instructions in his Last Will and Testament that only the simple inscription above be used. With his death, America lost one of its most loyal citizens.


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