Despite owning a sizable property in southern Chester County, there is no proof that Benjamin Franklin ever actually slept here, writes Michael P. Rellahan for The Phoenix Reporter & Item.
Franklin’s connection to the area was highlighted last week by Chester County Archives and Records.
“John Morton was not the only signer of the Declaration of Independence with ties to Chester County,” the office wrote in a Facebook post. “Did you know Benjamin Franklin was a Chester County landholder?”
Franklin took control of two 200-acre properties in what was then New London.
The acquisition came from William Dunlap, his wife’s niece’s husband. Franklin installed Dunlap as Philadelphia’s postmaster in 1757 after he (Franklin) ran up considerable debt to the Philadelphia Post Office.
So much for “A penny saved is two pence clear” (the correct quotation).
Dunlap then ceded the land to Franklin to satisfy what was owed.
Franklin’s claim to the land was not even as a private citizen. Rather, he owned the properties as a representative of the Post Office. Nevertheless, his name appears in the Chester County provincial tax records between 1766 and 1771 as the landholder.
He never managed the time to actually visit his holding.
Hello? “Do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.”
Years later, the area of New London that includes the property was parceled out. Part of it became Franklin Township, in honor of the founding father.
Read more about Benjamin Franklin in The Phoenix Reporter & Item.