Franklin was first settled by Europeans in 1660 and was officially incorporated during the American Revolution. The town was formed from the western part of the town of Wrentham on February 16, 1778; its designated name at incorporation was to be Exeter. However, the town chose to be called Franklin in honor of the statesman Benjamin Franklin, the first municipality in the United States to be so named. It was hoped that Benjamin Franklin would donate a bell for a church steeple in the town. But, Franklin decided that “sense” was more important than “sound” Dr. Franklin donated 116 volumes, which began a debate over who should be allowed to use these books. On November 20, 1790, it was decided that the volumes would be lent to the residents of Franklin for free. The library has been in operation since then. The Ray Memorial Library building was dedicated in 1904 and this is where the library has been since then. In 1990, on the library’s bicentennial, the staff published “A History of America’s First Public Library at Franklin Massachusetts, 1790 ~ 1990” to commemorate America’s first public library and book collection. Today, the town still prides itself as being the home to America’s first public library. The city is also home to the birthplace of America’s father of public education, Horace Mann. Franklin is home to what may be the nation’s oldest continuously operational one-room school house (Croydon, NH’s school dates to 1780, but there is debate as to whether it is truly “one room”). The Red Brick School was started in 1792 and the building was constructed in 1833 and was operational until 2008. St. Mary’s Catholic church, located in central Franklin and built by Matthew Sullivan, is the largest Catholic parish in the Boston Archdiocese with some 15,000 members.