Franklin, William (c. 1731-1813)

Son of Franklin and an unknown mother.

Although illegitimate, William Franklin was brought up in his father’s household. Comptroller of the General Post Office (1754-56). Went with his father to England where he studied law at the Middle Temple (1757).

From 1763 until the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, he served as the governor of colonial New Jersey. Throughout his governorship, Franklin tended to side with the British Government against the interests of colonial patriots, and during the Revolutionary War he was a prominent Loyalist.

The New Jersey Provincial Congress ordered his arrest in 1776, and he remained in captivity until his exchange in 1778, after which he went to New York and finally England.

His Loyalist stand all but ended his once- warm relationship with his father, and prevented the formation of such a relationship with his son, William Temple, who served the American cause as Benjamin Franklin’s secretary in France.

Married Elizabeth Downes in 1762; Married Mary D’Evelin in 1788. No issue by either marriage: his one child, William Temple Franklin, was illegitimate.