Francis Lightfoot Lee, Signer of the "Declaration of Independence"

Is your surname Lee?

Research the Lee family

Francis Lightfoot Lee, Signer of the "Declaration of Independence"'s Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Share

Francis Lightfoot Lee

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Stratford Hall, Westmoreland, Virginia, USA
Death: Died in Menokin, Richmond, Virginia, USA
Place of Burial: Mount Airy Plantatiom, Warsaw, VA, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Hon. Thomas Lee of Stratford Hall and Hannah Lee
Husband of Rebecca Plater Lee
Father of Lucy Lee
Brother of Philip Ludwell Lee of Stratford Hall; John Lee; Hannah Ludwell Lee; Lucinda Lee; Thomas Ludwell Lee, Sr. and 8 others

Occupation: Signer of the Declaration of Indepenence
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Francis Lightfoot Lee

Francis Lightfoot Lee Virginia 1734-1797

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Signed: Declaration of Independence


Frank Lee, as he was known to those close to him, was regarded by his brothers, including Richard Henry Lee, as the keenest of them in all political judgement. He was quiet, reticent, and had no taste for public life, but the responsibilities that came from bearing the Lee name during the turbulent times of the American Revolution eventually propelled him into service.

Francis Lightfoot Lee was born on a farm in Westmoreland County, Virginia, on October 14, 1734, into an ancient and distinguished Virginia family and raised at Stratford Hall Plantation. Unlike his brother Richard Henry, Frank was not sent abroad for education but instead was tutored at home by a Doctor Craig.

He lived in Loudoun County where he was chief of the local militia and from 1758 to 1769 served as member of the Virginia House of Burgesses. In 1758 Francis Lee and Philip Ludwell Lee were among the founders of Leesburg, Virginia. He was concerned about the rights of colonies and in 1766 signed the Westmoreland Association resolution against the Stamp Act.

In 1769, Frank, then in his thirties, married a girl of 16, Rebecca Tayloe, one of the eight daughters of John Tayloe of Mount Airy. In providing his blessing, Rebecca's father, John Tayloe II of nearby Mt. Airy, made a wedding gift to the couple of a plantation of 1,000 acres. Frank and Rebecca moved to Richmond County, where he was elected to the Virginia Legislature. He served as a member of the Virginia Conventions of 1774 and 1775 and as a member of the Continental Congress. The union with Rebecca was a marriage of love, and the letters they exchanged while Frank served in the House of Burgesses in Williamsburg reveal how much the separation cost them. He served reluctantly at first, preferring to spend time with his new wife and the building of their home, a Georgian mansion, Menokin. But as the Revolution neared, Frank cast his lot with the Virginia patriots.

He became a close associate of Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry, though he preferred library discussions and back-room strategy to the limelight of public debate. Frank's contributions to the formation of the American Republic, though subtle and often overlooked, were nonetheless critical. His staid countenance offered stability to the sometimes fractious debate among the delegates and, importantly, he modulated the fiery and sometimes divisive speech of his brother, Richard Henry. "He was," as his youngest brother Arthur attested, "calmness and philosophy itself."

In September 1776, Frank went to Philadelphia as a delegate to the second Continental Congress. There he joined forces with his brother, Richard Henry, and by all accounts they were well received and respected. "The Virginians," John Adams later recounted, "were the most spirited and consistent of any." In the late summer of 1776, Frank and his brother Richard Henry were the only brothers in the group of fifty-six Delegates who signed the Declaration of Independence.

Frank then returned to Virginia to continue his political career. He served, it seemed, from a sense of duty and conviction rather than one of ambition. It was not until 1785 when Frank was able to forsake politics "with delight" and return to Rebecca at his Menokin estate where the devoted couple raised the daughters of his infirmed brother, William. Frank spent his remaining days reading, farming, and enjoying the quiet country life.

In January of 1797, Rebecca and Frank Lee died only ten days apart. The couple is buried side by side in the Tayloe family graveyard at Mount Airy. One of Frank's nieces described her uncle as the "Sweetest of all the Lee race. ... Thy temper's as soft as the doves..."

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- SOURCE: Lives of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence, 1829 by Rev. Charles A. Goodrich -================================================================================== Francis Lightfoot Lee

                   Francis Lightfoot Lee, signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born on October 14, 1734, in Westmoreland County, Virginia.  He was the younger brother of another great patriot Signer, Richard Henry Lee.
                   Francis was too young to be sent to Europe to be educated when his father died, but he received every advantage of education available in the Colonies.  He was still young when he began studying under the direction of the Reverend Doctor Craig, a Scottish "clergyman of eminent piety and learning."  Craig educated Francis' heart as well as his head and laid the foundation of character people saw in the adult patriot.
                   When Richard Henry Lee returned from studying in England, Francis was just entering adulthood.  Francis was "deeply impressed" with his brother's "various acquirements and polished manner and adopted him as a model to imitate.  Francis leaned on the judgment of his brother to the point that the brothers often acted in unison for a common good.  Richard spoke with a "sweet voice and persuasive manner.  When he started warning about the impending dangers of British oppression, Francis caught his fervor in the cause of liberty.  When Francis became old enough to join the political scene, he was a "full-fledged patriot" who "espoused the cause of freedom" with a "pure heart and clean hands."
                   Francis was elected in 1765 as a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses to represent Loudon County; at the same time, Richard was a member of the House representing Westmoreland County.  Francis continued to be reelected annually until 1772 when he married Rebecca Tayloe, daughter of Colonel John Tayloe of Richmond and moved to that city.  He was immediately elected to represent Richmond in the House of Burgesses where he always acted with the patriotic burgesses.
                   Francis continued in that position until 1775 when the Virginia Convention elected him to represent Virginia in the Continental Congress.   He was not a fluent speaker and seldom engaged in debate, but he was a very useful member of any legislative assembly because of "his sound judgment, unwavering principles, and persevering industry."  He sympathized with Richard's yearnings for independence; therefore, he voted for and signed the Declaration of Independence "with great joy."
                   Francis continued as a member of Congress until 1779 and was also a member of the Virginian committee that framed the Articles of Confederation.  He resigned his position in Congress early in the spring of 1779 with the intention to retire completely from public life and enjoy his home and family.  His fellow citizens were not ready for him to leave public service and elected him as a member of the Virginia Senate.  He served in that position for only a "brief season" before he said goodbye to public employment and would not be convinced to enter it again. 
                   Francis enjoyed "his domestic pleasures" and passed his remaining days in agricultural pursuits.  He also enjoyed reading, studying, and visiting with friends.  He acted like a philosopher and a Christian when he used his "ample wealth" to dispense "blessings for the benefit of his country and his fellow men." 
                   In April 1797 Francis suffered an attack of pleurisy and died a few days later at age 63.  His wife died from the same disease within a few days later of his death.
                   Facts and quotes are from Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, pp. 194-197.

http://causeofliberty.blogspot.com/2011/10/francis-lightfoot-lee.html

====================================================================

Birth: Oct. 14, 1734 Death: Jan. 11, 1797

Signer of the Declaration of Independence from Virginia; and one of the only pair of brothers (see also Richard Henry Lee) to sign the Declaration of Independence. He was also the brother of General "Lighthorse Harry" Lee of Revolutionary War fame, and the uncle of Civil War Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, he was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses (the colony's legislature) in 1858, taking his seat there with his brother, Richard Henry Lee, who had also been elected. He joined another brother and two cousins that year in the House of Burgesses. In 1769, he married his cousin, Rebecca Tayloe, and although they would have no children of their own, they would raise two nieces. Although quiet and reserved, Francis was active in the Virginia House of Burgesses, and led much of the protests against the hated Stamp Act and the Townshend Acts, which were unpopular in much of the colonies. In 1775, he was elected as a member of the Second Continental Congress, along with his brother, Richard Henry Lee, and supported the cause for independence. As a member of the Board of War, he played a vital role in obtaining supplies for the American Army, and during the Revolutionary War, he served as a Congressman, actively supporting the independence cause. The two brothers resigned from the Continental Congress on the same day, May 15, 1779, and while Richard Henry Lee would later return to Congress, Francis returned briefly back to the Virginia legislature, and then retired to his plantation in Virginia, to tend to its concerns. After the Revolutionary War, Francis Lightfoot Lee supported the adoption of the Constitution, and encouraged Virginians to vote for it. He died at his plantation in 1797 at the age of 62. The town of Leesburg, Virginia, was named in honor of the Lee family and for all they had done to support Virginia. (bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson)


Family links:

Parents:
 Thomas Lee (1690 - 1750)
 Hannah Ludwell Lee (1701 - 1750)

Spouses:
 Rebecca Tayloe (1752 - 1797)
 Rebecca Plater Tayloe Lee (1751 - 1797)*

Siblings:
 Philip Luddwell Lee (1726 - 1775)*
 Hannah Lee Corbin (1728 - 1782)*
 Richard Henry Lee (1732 - 1794)*
 Francis Lightfoot Lee (1734 - 1797)
 Alice Lee Shippen (1736 - 1817)*
 William Lee (1739 - 1795)*
 Arthur Lee (1740 - 1792)*
  • Calculated relationship

Burial: Mount Airy, Tayloe Family Estate Warsaw Richmond County Virginia, USA


Edit Virtual Cemetery info [?]


Maintained by: Find A Grave Record added: Apr 28, 1998 Find A Grave Memorial# 2809 http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?GRid=2809&page=gr

view all

Francis Lightfoot Lee, Signer of the "Declaration of Independence"'s Timeline

1734
October 14, 1734
Stratford Hall, Westmoreland, Virginia, USA
1769
May 25, 1769
Age 34
Menoken, Westmoreland, Virginia, USA
1770
1770
Age 35
Virginia, USA
1776
July 4, 1776
- 1776
Age 41
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States

Descent Only 15 of the 56 signers have male descendants today. These Signers have no descendants: William Whipple, John Hancock, Samuel Huntington, James Smith, James Wilson, Caesar Rodney, George Wythe, Francis Lightfoot Lee, Joseph Hewes, Thomas Lynch, Jr. Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, and George Walton. These Signers have no same surname (male) descendants: Josiah Bartlett, Matthew Thornton, Samuel Adams, Elbridge Gerry, William Williams, William Floyd, Francis Lewis, Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, George Clymer, George Taylor, George Ross, Thomas McKean, Samuel Chase, Thomas Stone, Thomas Jefferson, William Hooper and John Penn. These Signers have very doubtful same surname (male) descendants: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery, Oliver Wolcott, John Witherspoon, Abraham Clark, John Morton, Carter Braxton, Edward Rutledge. The remainder of the Signers is known to have same surname (male) descendants. (Talk about being blown away when you find out almost all of the signers are part of your family's history. You sit back shake your head and wonder am I dreaming. Then you double check in disbelief wondering how that could be. What does that mean for you and your.) =================================================================== Did Your Ancestor Sign the Declaration of Independence? By James Pylant And can you prove it? Kathy M. Cornwell's "Disspelling a Myth and Finding An Ancestor," in Seventeen Seventy-Six, Vol. 2, No. 2 (pp. 69-73), tells of a family tradition that her husband's ancestor, Jane Wilson Cornwell, was the daughter of James Wilson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. "Admittedly, there was plausibility for the claim, for descendants of all of Jane's children whom we could locate had heard the story, and firmly believed it. One relative knew it was true because his grandmother told him, and she was Jane's daughter." Her research did reveal her husband's ancestor was the daughter of James Wilson — only that he and the signer were not one and the same. Signer James Wilson, according to one source Cornwell found, had no living descendants. "Our search to prove or disprove it spanned several years," wrote Cornwell, "but at the end of the genealogical journey we found the real ancestor, another James Wilson, who turned out to be just as colorful and fascinating as the celebrated Wilson." Yet, some legends prove to be true. “I too had a family story that the Rev. Dr. John Witherspoon was an ancestor," says librarian Beatrice M. Beck. "It took three years to document this story. But it was one hundred percent correct.”* The Rev. Frederick W. Pyne’s Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, a nine-volume series, was published by Picton Press. The author’s work incorporates data from the application files of the Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, the Frank W. Leach manuscript, and many other published references. In 1987, the LDS Reference Unit at the Family History Library, in Salt Lake City, compiled the "Founding Fathers Project." The project encompasses genealogical data on signers of the Declaration of Independence, signers of the Articles of Confederation (1778), and members of the American Constitutional Convention (1787). The Reference Unit's objective was to identify names of wives, children, and parents. This reference is available on microfilm loan at the various Family History Centers. The film number is 1592751, item 3. However, for more complete data on descendants (up to 1900 in some cases), refer to the following microfilms: 001751: John Adams, Samuel Adams, Josiah Bartlett, William Ellery, Elbridge Gerry,John Hancock, Stephen Hopkins, Samuel Huntington, Robert Treat Paine, Roger Sherman, Matthew Thornton, William Whipple, William Williams, and Oliver Wolcott. 001752: Abraham Clark, William Floyd, John Hart, Francis Lewis, Phillip Livingston, and Lewis Morris. 001753: George Clymer, Benjamin Francis Hopkinson, Robert Morris, John Morton, and John Witherspoon. 001754: Charles Carroll, Samuel Chase, Thomas McKean, William Paca, George Read, Caesar Rodney, George Ross, Benjamin Rush, Thomas Stone, George Taylor, and James Wilson. 001755: Carter Braxton, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Jefferson, Francis Lightfoot Lee, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Nelson Jr., and George Wythe. 001756: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, Joseph Hewes, Thomas Heyward Jr., William Hooper, Thomas Lynch Jr., Arthur Middleton, John Penn, Edward Rutledge, and George Walton * Beatrice M. Beck to James Pylant, 4 June 2001. http://www.genealogymagazine.com/didyouransig.html
==============================================================
http://history.org/foundation/journal/Winter11/painting_magnify/

=====================================================
http://research.history.org/pf/publishing/goddardsPrinting.cfm

==========================================================
http://research.history.org/pf/publishing/dunlap.cfm

==========================================================
http://research.history.org/pf/signers/

====================================================

William Woodruff's Facsimile

An upsurge in public interest in the Declaration of Independence occurred in the early nineteenth century. Among the various editions printed was one by Philadelphian William Woodruff, a journeyman engraver. Allegorical symbols of the new nation surround the text and signatures. The cursive signatures on the printing at the right indicate that it was one produced after Woodruff's initial 1819 printing.

http://research.history.org/pf/viewer.cfm?image=lg_woodruff.jpg&amp...

=====================================================
July 4th, 2012 at the National Archives: Dramatic Reading of the Declaration of Independence

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drIdEZ_om9w
========================================================
Declaration of Independence

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9ovu0a6pL8
=============================================
John and Abigail (Adams)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9ddILn141w
=============================================
Correspondence between John and Abigail Adams

http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/archive/letter/
======================================================
Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams, 31 March - 5 April 1776

http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/archive/doc?id=L17760331aa
=====================================================

July 4, 1776
- 1776
Age 41
Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Descent Only 15 of the 56 signers have male descendants today. These Signers have no descendants: William Whipple, John Hancock, Samuel Huntington, James Smith, James Wilson, Caesar Rodney, George Wythe, Francis Lightfoot Lee, Joseph Hewes, Thomas Lynch, Jr. Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, and George Walton. These Signers have no same surname (male) descendants: Josiah Bartlett, Matthew Thornton, Samuel Adams, Elbridge Gerry, William Williams, William Floyd, Francis Lewis, Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, George Clymer, George Taylor, George Ross, Thomas McKean, Samuel Chase, Thomas Stone, Thomas Jefferson, William Hooper and John Penn. These Signers have very doubtful same surname (male) descendants: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery, Oliver Wolcott, John Witherspoon, Abraham Clark, John Morton, Carter Braxton, Edward Rutledge. The remainder of the Signers is known to have same surname (male) descendants. (Talk about being blown away when you find out almost all of the signers are part of your family's history. You sit back shake your head and wonder am I dreaming. Then you double check in disbelief wondering how that could be. What does that mean for you and your.)

July 4, 1776
- 1776
Age 41
Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1797
January 11, 1797
Age 62
Menokin, Richmond, Virginia, USA
????
Richmond County, VA
????
Warsaw, VA, USA