Sarah Franklin Bache


© History Oasis
"Sarah, my dear daughter, is a beacon of light, illuminating the world with her wisdom and benevolence. Her unwavering spirit and tenacity have proven that even in the shadows of greatness, one can forge their own path and make an indelible mark on the world."

—Benjamin Franklin

As I sit down to write this account, I am reminded of the inescapable truth that history is a peculiar beast, prone to favoring those with the loudest voices and the grandest deeds.

Yet, it is often in the shadows where the most intriguing tales reside. It is here, in the penumbra of historical records, that we find the remarkable and peculiar life of Miss Sarah Franklin Bache, the daughter of the esteemed Benjamin Franklin.


portrait of Sarah Franklin Bache
© History Oasis

Our story begins with a mystery, one that has puzzled scholars and idle minds alike: the peculiar nature of Sarah's middle name.

In a time when women were seldom afforded the luxury of a middle name, young Miss Franklin bore her father's surname as her own. A testament, perhaps, to the singular bond between father and daughter or a nod to the resilience of her mother, who was unable to bear more children after Sarah's birth.

Regardless of its origin, this unusual moniker foreshadowed the extraordinary life that lay ahead for Miss Franklin.


Sarah Franklin Bache's library
© History Oasis

Raised in the hallowed halls of her father's library, Sarah was nourished on a diet of literature, philosophy, and science.

Her appetite for knowledge was insatiable, and her mind was sharpened by the finest literary works of the time.

It was said that she could devour a book in a single sitting, her eyes dancing over the pages like a hummingbird seeking nectar from a flower. As a result, Sarah's intellect was as keen as her father's, and she wielded it with grace and wit.


Richard Bache, the husband of Sarah Franklin Bahce
© History Oasis

In 1767, the city of Philadelphia found itself all aflutter with gossip of a most unusual courtship.

Miss Sarah, a fair and comely Quaker lady, had cast her eyes upon a distant relation, the gallant Richard Bache. As fate would have it, Richard was not of the Quaker persuasion, an unfortunate detail that caused more than a few tongues to wag in disapproval.

With the strength of a thousand suns, however, love began to burn in their hearts, and soon enough, whispers of a possible union filled the very air of that fair city.

A Scandalous Proposal

It was not long before Sarah received a most scandalous proposal from the dashing Richard, and the city held its breath.

The prim and proper folk, with their noses turned up in distaste, shook their heads and tutted at the audacity of the couple.

How could a Quaker maiden unite herself to a man of such differing principles? Would their love be strong enough to weather the storm of controversy that was sure to follow?

Love Conquers All

But love, as it often does, proved to be a force more potent than the wagging tongues of their critics.

Boldly and without regard for the naysayers, Sarah and Richard declared their intentions to marry. Their steadfast commitment to each other soon won over even the most hardened of hearts, and the once-reluctant community began to open its arms to the couple.

A Family Grows

Together, Richard and Sarah planted the seeds of a lineage that would stretch far and wide. They welcomed eight bright-eyed children into the world, each born with the fire of their parents' love and determination.

As they grew, these young Baches would take up their own mantles, stepping forth into the world to make their mark and carry on the proud tradition of their scandalous union.


© History Oasis

As the fledgling nation found itself in the throes of revolution, the air became heavy with the scent of change.

And it was these very winds that stirred the charitable heart of our fair Sarah.

Like the mighty oaks of the land, she would not be swayed from her purpose: to lend aid and comfort to the brave soldiers who fought for the cause of freedom.

The Ladies Association of Philadelphia

Guided by her compassionate spirit, Sarah took it upon herself to gather the kind-hearted women of Philadelphia, forming a sisterhood of mercy, the Ladies Association.

United by their benevolent hearts, these women toiled day and night, weaving a tapestry of hope and solace for the beleaguered soldiers of the Continental Army.

The Fruits of Their Labor

As the Ladies Association worked tirelessly, the fruits of their labor began to show.

They sewed clothes for the soldiers, warm and sturdy, to shield them from the biting winds of winter.

They organized events that brought laughter and light to the darkest corners of the city, raising precious funds to support the men fighting for their freedom. In a time of uncertainty, the ladies provided hope and reassurance, lifting the spirits of all who crossed their path.


portrait of Benjamin Franklin
© History Oasis

In a life filled with accomplishments and renown, Sarah found herself standing in the formidable shadow of her father, Benjamin Franklin.

But rather than shrink from the task, she rose to the challenge, embracing her role as the steward of his legacy.

With quiet determination, she set about ensuring that the world would not soon forget the man whose intellect and wit had illuminated the darkest corners of human understanding.

The Dutiful Daughter

As a devoted daughter, Sarah managed her father's affairs with meticulous care.

She corresponded with his many acquaintances, their letters weaving a tapestry of his life and times.

Through her diligence and foresight, she preserved his papers, a treasure trove of wisdom that would inspire and enlighten generations to come.

The Bond That Transcends Time

Sarah's dedication to her father's memory was unwavering, a testament to the bond that they shared.

Her every effort was guided by the love and admiration she held for him, a connection that transcended the mere confines of time and space.

In her quiet way, Sarah ensured that the unseen hand of Benjamin Franklin would continue to shape the world long after his departure from it.


Beyond her philanthropic endeavors, Sarah's appreciation for the arts was evident in her patronage of local artists.

One of her most notable commissions was a portrait of her father, which now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery.

Through her support, she helped to nurture the creative spirits of her time, fostering a vibrant artistic community that would leave an indelible mark on the cultural tapestry of the nation.


Sarah Franklin Bache on her death bed
© History Oasis

In an era when life was often cut short by the whims of fate and the capriciousness of disease, Sarah's tenacity and resilience saw her through to the ripe old age of 81.

This impressive achievement is a testament to her vigor and strength, qualities that she no doubt inherited from her father and mother.

Indeed, it seems that the fire of the Franklin spirit burned brightly within her, propelling her through a life of extraordinary accomplishments.

A Voice From Beyond the Grave

Sarah's influence continued to resonate long after her passing.

Her extensive correspondence with her father and other prominent figures of her time was eventually published, providing invaluable insights into the lives of these historical giants.

Her letters, filled with wit, wisdom, and a keen understanding of the world, serve as a lasting tribute to her intellect and her enduring connection to the great minds of her era.


The story of Sarah Franklin Bache does not end with her death, for her descendants have continued to play pivotal roles in the shaping of America's destiny.

From political and diplomatic positions to careers in journalism and publishing, the Bache family's influence can be felt across the breadth of the nation.

It is a fitting legacy for a woman who spent her life in the service of others and who made her mark on the world in a quiet, unassuming, but undeniably powerful way.


Sarah Franklin Bache's family
© History Oasis

There's a grand, winding tale hidden behind the great Sarah Franklin Bache’s lineage—a tale not of just one, but many remarkable folks, each with a story as fascinating as the next.

Not a soul can deny the extraordinary lives led by Sarah Franklin Bache's offspring, a veritable brood of doctors, journalists, and naval officers, who sprouted roots in the very heart of our nation's history.

And mark my words, good sirs and ladies, the legacy didn't stop with her children, oh no, it branched out further into a forest of illustrious grandchildren, each leaf a testament to the Franklin-Bache legacy.

Sarah Franklin Bache’s Children

Benjamin Franklin Bache (1769–1798)

Was a journalist and publisher. He took on the leadership of his grandfather Benjamin Franklin's newspaper, the 'Philadelphia Aurora.' He was known for his criticism of the Federalist policies, including President John Adams' administration.

William Franklin Bache (1773–1814)

Served as a surgeon in the United States Navy. He had a son named George Mifflin Bache who also joined the navy and a daughter, Sarah Franklin Bache.

Sarah Franklin Bache (1775–1776)

Died as an infant.

Eliza Franklin Bache (1777–1820)

Married John Harwood and had four children.

Louis Franklin Bache (1779–1818)

Was a lieutenant in the United States Navy. He served during the War of 1812.

Deborah Franklin Bache (1781–1863)

Married William J. Duane, a prominent lawyer and politician, and had several children. One of their sons, William Jr., served as Secretary of the Treasury under President Andrew Jackson.

Richard Bache (1784–1811)

Served in the United States Navy. His service was cut short by his early death.

Sarah "Sally" Franklin Bache (1788–1850)

Was named after her mother. She married Thomas Sergeant, who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and later as the Solicitor of the United States Treasury.

Each of Sarah Franklin Bache's children lived remarkable lives in their own right, and many of them served in various public roles in the United States.

Sarah Franklin Bache’s Grandchildren

Benjamin Franklin Bache (1801–1881)

Son of William Franklin Bache, was a naval officer who was noted for his contributions during the Mexican–American War. He also played a vital role in establishing the U.S. Coast Survey.

George Mifflin Bache (1809–1846)

Also a son of William Franklin Bache, was a career naval officer who died while serving in the Mexican–American War.

Sarah Franklin Bache (1804–1880)

The daughter of William Franklin Bache, married Thomas Leiper Kane, a noted abolitionist and military officer.

William J. Duane Jr. (1808–1882)

The son of Deborah Franklin Bache, served as Secretary of the Treasury under President Andrew Jackson, but his refusal to remove federal deposits from the Bank of the United States resulted in his removal from the position.

Richard Bache Duane (1811–1900)

Another son of Deborah Franklin Bache, was a noted naval officer.

Franklin Bache (1792–1864)

Son of Benjamin Franklin Bache, was a prominent medical doctor and scientist who made significant contributions to the field of medicine.

These were just a few of Sarah Franklin Bache's numerous grandchildren, many of whom had accomplished careers in public service, journalism, or science.

Given the size and span of the family, there could be more individuals not included in this list.