Nothing is grander than spending a beautiful spring afternoon with a delicious cup of chocolate and my dear friend and neighbor, Jane.
Mrs. Jane Franklin Mecom, the youngest sister of our famous Benjamin Franklin, lives in a small two-story brick house built by Ebenezer Clough (ca. 1716), just behind the Old North Church on Unity Street in the North End of Boston. Ben purchased the house in 1748 to support his older widowed sister Elizabeth Franklin Berry, but he never lived there. After Elizabeth’s death, the house on Unity Street was rented to help support Jane’s ailing son, and in 1784, Ben gave the house to Jane as a gift! I wish I had such a remarkable and affectionate brother.
Jane married at the young age of fifteen. She and her husband Edward have had 12 children over the course of their marriage. Edward was never a strong caretaker of the family. He was very sickly, some would say even mentally ill. The family has faced many challenges both emotionally as well as financially; however, through all these trials and tribulations, Jane has her letters from her brother. Their correspondence keeps her going. Yet it was only after the death of her husband Edward, who died in 1765 at the age of 61, that Jane started traveling and paid regular visit to her brother and his wife in Philadelphia. She loves Philadelphia and being a part of her brother’s life there.
Jane is such a passionate reader and an astonishingly shrewd political commentator; she always has the most fascinating news from her brother. I have to agree with Jane when she declares that her brother Ben is the most celebrated person in the world. I so adore our chats!
At our recent Old Church Foundation Lecture, author Jill Lepore spoke on the fascinating life of Jane Franklin.
Be sure to pick up a copy of Dr. Lepore’s newest book, a finalist for the National Book Award, in the Old North Gift Shop.