Janet and Robert Wolfe Genealogy --- Go to Genealogy Page for Robert Homes --- Go to Genealogy Page for Mary Franklin

Notes for Robert Homes and Mary Franklin

1716 Robert Homes and Mary Franklin were married on April 3 in Boston, Massachusetts. Robert's father William Homes wrote in his diary, [1]

My son Robert was Marryed in Boston to mrs Mary Franklin April 3d at 9 at night by the Revd mr Ebenr Pemberton.

1716/17 William Homes, son of Robert and Mary, was born on January 10 and baptized on January 13 by Increase Mather in the old north church in Boston. William Homes wrote in his diary, [2]

My Grand Son William Homes was born on Jany 10 1716/17 at 2 afternoon. He was baptized in the old north church by Dr Increase Mather the 13th day of the same month.

c1724 Robert Homes corresponded with his young brother-in-law Benjamin Franklin during Franklin's first months in Philadelphia. In his autobiography, Franklin described this correspondence and its results. [3]

I began now to have some acquaintance among the young people of the town, that were lovers of reading, with whom I spent my evenings very pleasantly; and gaining money by my industry and frugality, I lived very agreeably, forgetting Boston as much as I could, and not desiring that any there should know where I resided, except my friend Collins, who was in my secret, and kept it when I wrote to him. At length, an incident happened that sent me back again much sooner than I had intended. I had a brother-in-law, Robert Holmes, master of a sloop that traded between Boston and Delaware. He being at Newcastle, forty miles below Philadelphia, heard there of me, and wrote me a letter mentioning the concern of my friends in Boston at my abrupt departure, assuring me of their good will to me, and that everything would be accommodated to my mind if I would return, to which he exhorted me very earnestly. I wrote an answer to his letter, thank'd him for his advice, but stated my reasons for quitting Boston fully and in such a light as to convince him I was not so wrong as he had apprehended.

Sir William Keith, governor of the province, was then at Newcastle, and Captain Holmes, happening to be in company with him when my letter came to hand, spoke to him of me, and show'd him the letter. The governor read it, and seem'd surpris'd when he was told my age. He said I appear'd a young man of promising parts, and therefore should be encouraged; the printers at Philadelphia were wretched ones; and, if I would set up there, he made no doubt I should succeed; for his part, he would procure me the public business, and do me every other service in his power. This my brother-in-law afterwards told me in Boston, but I knew as yet nothing of it; when, one day, Keimer and I being at work together near the window, we saw the governor and another gentleman (which proved to be Colonel French, of Newcastle), finely dress'd, come directly across the street to our house, and heard them at the door.

Keimer ran down immediately, thinking it a visit to him; but the governor inquir'd for me, came up, and with a condescension and politeness I had been quite unus'd to, made me many compliments, desired to be acquainted with me, blam'd me kindly for not having made myself known to him when I first came to the place, and would have me away with him to the tavern, where he was going with Colonel French to taste, as he said, some excellent Madeira. I was not a little surprised, and Keimer star'd like a pig poison'd.

I went, however, with the governor and Colonel French to a tavern, at the corner of Third-street, and over the Madeira he propos'd my setting up my business, laid before me the probabilities of success, and both he and Colonel French assur'd me I should have their interest and influence in procuring the public business of both governments.[31] On my doubting whether my father would assist me in it, Sir William said he would give me a letter to him, in which he would state the advantages, and he did not doubt of prevailing with him. So it was concluded I should return to Boston in the first vessel, with the governor's letter recommending me to my father. In the meantime the intention was to be kept a secret, and I went on working with Keimer as usual, the governor sending for me now and then to dine with him, a very great honour I thought it, and conversing with me in the most affable, familiar, and friendly manner imaginable.

About the end of April, 1724, a little vessel offer'd for Boston. I took leave of Keimer as going to see my friends. The governor gave me an ample letter, saying many flattering things of me to my father, and strongly recommending the project of my setting up at Philadelphia as a thing that must make my fortune. We struck on a shoal in going down the bay, and sprung a leak; we had a blustering time at sea, and were oblig'd to pump almost continually, at which I took my turn. We arriv'd safe, however, at Boston in about a fortnight. I had been absent seven months, and my friends had heard nothing of me; for my br. Holmes was not yet return'd, and had not written about me. My unexpected appearance surpris'd the family; all were, however, very glad to see me, and made me welcome, except my brother. I went to see him at his printing-house. I was better dress'd than ever while in his service, having a genteel new suit from head to foot, a watch, and my pockets lin'd with near five pounds sterling in silver. He receiv'd me not very frankly, look'd me all over, and turn'd to his work again.

The journeymen were inquisitive where I had been, what sort of a country it was, and how I lik'd it. I prais'd it much, and the happy life I led in it, expressing strongly my intention of returning to it; and, one of them asking what kind of money we had there, I produc'd a handful of silver, and spread it before them, which was a kind of raree-show[32] they had not been us'd to, paper being the money of Boston.[33] Then I took an opportunity of letting them see my watch; and, lastly (my brother still grum and sullen), I gave them a piece of eight[34] to drink, and took my leave. This visit of mine offended him extreamly; for, when my mother some time after spoke to him of a reconciliation, and of her wishes to see us on good terms together, and that we might live for the future as brothers, he said I had insulted him in such a manner before his people that he could never forget or forgive it. In this, however, he was mistaken.

My father received the governor's letter with some apparent surprise, but said little of it to me for some days, when Capt. Holmes returning he show'd it to him, asked him if he knew Keith, and what kind of man he was; adding his opinion that he must be of small discretion to think of setting a boy up in business who wanted yet three years of being at man's estate. Holmes said what he could in favour of the project, but my father was clear in the impropriety of it, and at last, gave a flat denial to it. Then he wrote a civil letter to Sir William, thanking him for the patronage he had so kindly offered me, but declining to assist me as yet in setting up, I being, in his opinion, too young to be trusted with the management of a business so important, and for which the preparation must be so expensive.

1726 Robert's father William Homes wrote in his diary about a letter from Robert. [4]

May 15 1726 … The day was fair clear and cool, for the season. I heard this day from son Robert and understand that he has sold his sloop and designs to setle on shore and leave off the sea.

1727 Robert Homes died before October 22, on which date his father William wrote in his diary, [5]

October 22, 1727 … I heard the melancholy news of son Roberts death, but no account of the circumstances of it.


[1] Charles Edward Banks, "Diary of Reverend William Homes," New England Historical and Genealogical Register 48 (1894), 446-453; 49 (1895), 413-416; and 50 (1896), 155-166, at 48:448, [InternetArchive].

[2] Charles Edward Banks, "Diary of Reverend William Homes," New England Historical and Genealogical Register 48 (1894), 446-453; 49 (1895), 413-416; and 50 (1896), 155-166, at 48:448, [InternetArchive].

[3] Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, manuscript 1771-1789, folio 33-36, [Huntington_Digital_Library_Image].

[4] "Diary of Reverend William Homes," manuscript, 1715-1746, New England's Hidden Histories, Congregational Library & Archives, image 126, [CongregationalLibrary&Archives].

[5] Charles Edward Banks, "Diary of Reverend William Homes," New England Historical and Genealogical Register 48 (1894), 446-453; 49 (1895), 413-416; and 50 (1896), 155-166, at 50:161, [InternetArchive].