Ben Franklin

Benjamin Franklin’s funeral was held 231 years ago on April 21, 1790, after his death on April 17. The funeral was the largest of its kind ever seen in Philadelphia.

The concourse of spectators was greater than ever known on a like occasion. It is computed that no less than 20,000 attended and witnessed the funeral,” Philadelphia’s Federal Gazette reported on April 22, 1790.

This number is remarkable when compared to the city’s population of 28,000. More than 70% of Philadelphia attended Franklin’s funeral. 

“The order and silence which prevailed, during the procession, deeply evinced the heartfelt sense, entertained by all classes of citizens, of the unparalleled virtues, talents and service of the deceased.”

The pallbearers were the president of the state, the chief Justice of Pennsylvania, and other leaders. 

“All the clergy of this city, including the ministers of the Hebrew Congregation, (walked) before the corpse.”

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