Robert Fulton was born on a farm in
Little Britain, Pennsylvania, on November 14, 1765. He had three sisters – Isabella, Elizabeth, and Mary, and a younger brother,
Abraham. Fulton's father, Robert, had been a close friend to the father of painter
Benjamin West. Fulton later met West in England and they became friends.
A drawing of Fulton's invention "
Fulton stayed in
Philadelphia for six years, where he painted portraits and landscapes, drew houses and machinery, and was able to send money home to help support his mother. In 1785 he bought a farm at
Hopewell Township in
Washington County for £80
Sterling and moved his mother and family into it. While in Philadelphia, he met
Benjamin Franklin, (1705/1706-1790), known for both his political and writing abilities and his scientific and inventing knowledge, as well as other prominent figures. At the age of 23 he decided to visit