Timeline:  Major events in the illustrious life of Ben Franklin.

1706: Ben is born on Milk Street in Boston to Josiah and Abiah Franklin

1718: Ben's father, Josiah apprentices Ben to older brother James, a printer.

1723: Ben runs away to Philadelphia, gets a job as a printer, and finds a home with John Read, father of his future wife, Deborah.

1727: Forms the Junto, a philosophical/political discussion group.

1728: Sets up own printing shop.

1729: Publishes the first edition of the Pennsylvania Gazette.

1730: Marries Deborah Read. Son William Franklin is born. Begins printing money for the colony of Pennsylvania.

1731: With the Junto, forms the Library Company of Philadelphia.

1732: Son Francis Folger Franklin is born. Ben prints first edition of Poor Richard's Almanack.

1736: Francis dies of smallpox. Ben establishes the Union Fire Company. Begins promoting his city-wide sanitation scheme. Prints counterfeit-proof money for the colony of New Jersey.

1737: Becomes postmaster of Philadelphia.

1741: Invents the Franklin stove.

1743: Daughter Sally is born. Ben establishes framework for the formation of the American Philosophical Society.

1748: Becomes a soldier in militia regiment he organizes.

1749: Convinces citizens that a state school is needed. This school eventually becomes the University of Pennsylvania.

1750: First suggests the use of lightning rods to keep houses safe.

1751: Helps Dr. Thomas Bond establish the Pennsylvania Hospital.

1752: Performs famous kite experiment, proving lightning is electricity.

1753: Ben is appointed deputy postmaster general for America and begins overhaul of the postal system.

1754: France and England begin fighting for control of North America. Appointed to the Albany Congress, Ben forms his Albany Plan of Union. Creates "Join, or Die" cartoon.

1756: French and Indian War declared.

1757: Pennsylvania Assembly sends Ben to England to discuss colonial disputes with Parliament.

1765: Stamp Act is passed by Parliament.

1766: Testifies in favor of the repeal of the Stamp Act before the House of Commons. Testimony is published and applauded in America.

1767: Parliament passes the Townshend Acts, laying taxes on lead, paint, tea, and other items.

1768: The British send troops to Boston.

1770: The Boston Massacre occurs. Ben tries to bring compromise between England and the colonies.

1773: Parliament passes the Tea Act, leading to the Boston Tea Party. Ben tries one last time for reconciliation between the two countries.

1775: The Battles of Lexington and Concord occur in April, marking the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Ben returns to Philadelphia and takes his seat in the First Continental Congress.

1776: Ben and Thomas Jefferson are appointed by Congress to draft the Declaration of Independence. After Washington's defeat on Long Island, Ben is appointed commissioner to France.

1777: Ben hears grim news of British occupation of Philadelphia. Also hears joyous news of American victory at Saratoga, New York.

1778: France formally recognizes the United States and signs Treaty of Alliance.

1781: General Charles Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, putting an end to the Revolutionary War. Congress appoints Ben along with John Jay, John Adams, and Henry Laurens, as commissioner to negotiate peace.

1783: Ben and the American commission complete negotiations and sign peace treaty with England.

1784: Invents bifocals.

1785: Ben returns home from France. Is elected president of the executive council of Pennsylvania.

1787: Serves as the oldest delegate to the Constitutional Convention. Becomes president of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition Slavery.

1788: Retires from public office.

1790: Dies on April 17; buried next to Deborah in Christ Church Cemetery, Philadelphia.