Benjamin Franklin's Walking Stick

A French admirer presented this gold-capped walking stick to Benjamin Franklin while he was serving as ambassador to France. Franklin later bequeathed the cane to his friend and fellow revolutionary George Washington.
A celebrated writer, inventor, scientist, and advocate for U.S. independence, Franklin rose from humble beginnings to become one of the most famous Americans of the 18th century. Through advice and example, Franklin helped define the American ideal of self-improvement through virtue and hard work.
Date made
Washington, George
Franklin, Benjamin
Physical Description
gold (head material)
gold (label material)
wood (walking stick material)
overall: 46 1/2 in x 1 3/8 in; 118.11 cm x 3.4925 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
U.S. Department of State
See more items in
Political History: Political History, General History Collection
National Treasures exhibit
Government, Politics, and Reform
American Stories
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


Your description: "A French admirer" is a travesty. In fact, she (the admirer) was the mother of the left most French officer (commanding officer, Regiment Royal Deux-Ponts) in Turnbull's "victory at Yorktown" painting in the rotunda of the U.S. capitol. And it was her second son who personally led the French attack on redoubt No. 9 at Yorktown. Obviously, she had some very serious "skin in the game" of the American Revolutionary War. No wonder George Washington valued and held onto this memento bequeathed to him by Ben Franklin. Madame de Forbach, the dowager duchess of Deux-Ponts [Zweibrucken/Pfalz, Germany, in present day geographical parlance] was a memorable and energetic supporter of the American independence cause.
"Once bequeathed to George Washington, what did Washington do with the Walkingstick upon his death and how did it end up in your possession?"
Genl. Washington's 1799 Will left the walking stick to his brother Charles. Charles, however, died a few weeks before the General did, so he obviously never took possession.

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