300 Years Ago Today
He was his father's youngest son, one of 17 children born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts.
It was decided early on that he would learn candle and soap making. It was assumed he would eventually take over the family business. At age 12 he was dutifully cutting wicks and filling molds.
He was extremely unhappy.
Fortunately, at about that same time, his brother James returned home from a trip to England. He had with him a printing press and everything that would be needed to start a publishing business.
And so the brothers together began printing. (They actually founded the nation’s second newspaper, The New England Courant.)
But their relationship was contentious. James, the older of the two, was abusive. The younger brother's 10-year apprenticeship lasted only five years. It didn't help matters that the younger brother had been secretly publishing stories in the newspaper under the pseudonym "Mrs. Silence Dogood."
When James found out, he was furious.
So at the age of 17, the younger brother left Boston for New York. Unable to find work there, he continued on to Philadelphia.
He arrived there, still only 17 years old, 300 years ago today.
He arrived by boat in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, population 2,500, on October 6, 1723.
Having not planned on being out of work for so long, he had just enough money to buy something to eat. He bought three rolls and gave two of them away.
Then he had nothing. What did he do?
He did everything right.
And the City of Brotherly Love treated him well.
He went on to greatness.
He founded Philadelphia's first library.
He organized the city's fire department. He helped to reform their law enforcement.
He led efforts to pave, clean, and light public streets.
He raised money to build a city hospital.
He founded the academy that became the University of Pennsylvania.
He became an inventor.
He helped to draft the Declaration of Independence
He became our Nation's first United States Postmaster General.
He was none other than Benjamin Franklin.
Dwayne Magee is now in his 17th year as director of Messiah University Press and Postal Services. His department was recipient of the 2018 IPMA Organizational Impact Award, the 2015 IPMA Innovation Award, the 2017 ACUP Green Service Award, and the 2015 ACUP Collaborative Service Award. Prior to joining Messiah, he worked for 17 years at Alphagraphics as an assistant manager and ISO coordinator. He is president of the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He is currently an English major (part-time) with a concentration in writing at the college where he works. Outside of work, Dwayne enjoys exploring spiritual, environmental and social concerns through creative writing and the arts. He can often be found speaking on the topic of diversity in bookstores, public libraries and elementary schools, where he makes use of his award-winning children’s book “A Blue-Footed Booby Named Solly McBoo.” His travel writing and fictional essays have made appearances in various publications including the Northern Colorado Writers Anthology and the Goose River Anthology published by Goose River Press. Dwayne is the father of two boys and he resides in Mechanicsburg, Pa., with his wife Sue and their two dogs. Contact him at: DMagee@Messiah.edu