Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Paying our respects to Benjamin Franklin

While walking around Philadelphia during our long weekend, we came across the burial site of Benjamin Franklin.  When he died in 1790 he was buried in his family plot at the north west corner of the cemetery.  He was 84 years old when he passed away and 20,000 people attended his funeral.  

At this link is a biography.  In his lifetime he achieved many accomplishments and was an inventor, a political leader, scientist and writer.  

Much to our surprise we met two English ladies from Manchester at the gravestone, a small world as Manchester isn't too far from where I grew up.  After having a nice chat I asked them if they would mind me taking their photo for me to put on the blog.  They were very happy for me to do that so if they check in when they get home, as I did give them this address, I would like to thank them for kindly allowing me to share their photo on today's post.

As you can see below, the grave is covered with a very simple slab of marble, and I was surprised to see several pennies scattered over the top.  I read that in 1858 Franklin's descendants requested that an opening be placed in the brick wall so the public could see Franklin's grave day and night, and a metal fence was installed.  

After opening the wall it was easier for Franklin's many fans to show their respect and remembrance of him by tossing a penny onto his grave, and this tradition goes on to the present day.  

This comes from a famous old quote of his, "A penny saved is a penny earned."

 You can find a history of the graveyard here.

There are several other signers of the Declaration of Independence buried nearby, and you can see their names among others if you click here.

One of the ladies from Manchester pointed this marker out to me, another English lady from long ago.

I also read the following online, "Known as "The Nation's Church" because of the famous Revolution-era leaders who worshiped here, Christ Church was founded in 1695.  It was the first parish of the Church of England (Anglican) in Pennsylvania.  It is also the church where the American Episcopal Church was born."

Others who worshiped at Christ Church regularly included George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Betsy Ross, Robert Morris, Absalom Jones, Benjamin Rush, John Penn (William Penn's grandson), Francis Hopkinson and many others.  Click on each name if you would like to read their biography.

Many quotes can be attributed to Benjamin Franklin, and here are several.

"A Penny saved is a penny earned."

"Lost time is never found again."

"Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain, and most fools do."

"All who think cannot but see there is a sanction like that of religion which binds us in partnership in the serious work of the world."

"A learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one."

"Honesty is the best policy."

"A good conscience is a continual Christmas."

"A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.

"A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle."

"A place for everything, everything in its place."

"Admiration is the daughter of ignorance."

"Eat to live and not live to eat."

"Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead."

"Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise."

"Little strokes fell great oaks."

"Tim was so learned that he could name a horse in nine languages.  So ignorant that he bought a cow to ride on."

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."


  1. You have some great information here. I saw the grave through the fence, we were to mean to pay to get into the cemetery. But now I have seen behind the wall thanks to you. I had no idea all those quotes were attributed to Franklin. "What a guy!"

  2. Awesome post Denise. I enjoyed the photos and the information. Thanks for sharing, I hope you have a great day!

  3. Early to bed, early to rise.... I had no idea this was one of his sayings. All this information is really interesting, Denise. Ben Franklin was indeed a great man.

  4. Very nice post Denise. I liked the guy. Ben Franklin.

    Since I was hacked I had to give up my old user name and the blogs that went with it.

    So this is the new birds blog and I hope you can come visit. Birds Birds Birds and Birds

  5. Wow how I love that cemetery. In Baltimore we meandered around the cemetery that Edgar Allen Poe is in. Sooo old. Next time I go to DC I want to go to Philadelphia to find my great grand fathers grave. I'm sure not going to miss this one either.

  6. Gosh, I didn't know I'd been quoting BF my whole life!
    Jane x

  7. he was a very intelligent and gifted man. :)

  8. A very interesting and informative post, Denise - thank you:-)

  9. A large amount of history in this tiny area.

  10. You know, he is one of the most interesting people in our history! Maybe in any history. Really a fascinating person! I am glad you got to visit his grave, and thanks for all of the wonderful links you included in this post. How neat that you met two Manchester ladies there!

  11. Thanks Denise for sharing all of this very interesting information. I enjoyed reading this very much.

  12. Oh Denise, the photos are great! I love to browse about old graveyards. Each grave marker tells a story, doesn't it? I also loved the flower show post. You did a great job with the photos!

  13. What a very interesting post about our history - thank you! I learned a thing or two.

  14. I read through the comments to see if your two English friends had checked in yet (not yet). I like the idea of throwing pennies on BF's grave. As always, great pictures and information to go with them.

  15. 20,000 people came for his funeral? Wow! That so amazing. This was such an interesting post, Denise.