Wake Forest 27587 Magazine

Spring 2018

The quarterly 27587 MAGAZINE is a must-read, in-you-hands publication that strives to give a deeper identity to rapidly growing Wake Forest, N.C. It highlights in-depth stories, targeting higher-income households.

Issue link: https://27587magazine.epubxp.com/i/958716

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Page 12 of 84

12 Spring 2018 | Wake Forest 27587 Magazine B en Franklin has lived a life acutely aware of his famous namesake, the founding father who helped pen the Declaration of Independence and whose well-documented experiment in a thunderstorm demonstrated that lightning was in fact electricity. All through school, Franklin — the present day one — was known by the nickname Benny, and all was right with the world. Then came college, where his formal name was more readily bandied about. "That's when I started to hear the jokes, the 'Oh, fly any kites lately?'" Franklin said. Being named after a famous American, it turns out, is not always as it seems. Just ask Daniel Webster. "I've put up with jokes all my life, 'Oh, what's the word for today?" Webster — the present day one — said, noting that his namesake, the famed orator, is often confused with Noah Webster, the one behind Webster's Dictionary. Today, the living Franklin and Webster — who by coincidence live in the same development on the outskirts of Wake Forest — are well aware that their names raise eyebrows of familiarity. "I get a lot of recognition if I go up East," said Webster, noting that schools and streets often carry the name of the New Englander. "I run into the same thing around Philadelphia," said Franklin of the city where his famous predecessor published "Poor Richard's Almanack" with such witty sayings as "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." Differences emerge, however, in how Franklin and Webster came about their names in the 20th Century. In Webster's case, he claims no direct lineage with the famous orator, though some in his family have tried to discover a link. Plus, it turns out, Webster actually goes by his middle name, rather than his given first name, Willis. His father, a minister, he said, wanted his son to have a biblical name, and Daniel it was. In Franklin's case, he was named after his great-grandfather and suspects an ancestral tie to founding father Franklin through James Franklin, the brother whom Ben Franklin had a falling out over the sibling's "harsh and tyrannical" behavior. "That would make Ben Franklin my 7th great uncle, give or take," he said, noting that his genealogical research is "inconclusive." Yet there are many people who wind up with famous names — or parts of them — with much less of a connection. The year before Woodrow Wilson was elected president, 121 boys were named Woodrow. In 1912 — the year he was elected — the number jumped to 1,832 boys and 11 girls being named Woodrow. In 2007, the name Barack was bestowed upon just five children. In 2008, the year Barack Obama was elected president, How About That! Quick, sometimes quirky reads Meet Daniel Webster and Ben Franklin, really PHILIP M. READ Daniel Webster, left, and Ben Franklin discuss their famous names at Franklin's Wake Forest home. COURTESY OF BEN FRANKLIN (THE CURRENT ONE) A portrait of founding father Ben Franklin, acquired by his namesake at an art gallery in Talking Rock, Ga. "Convince me I need to buy this," the present-day Ben Franklin said of his conversation with the shopkeeper, "and I showed him my license." The deal was done. "They even gave me a discount."

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