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

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

Birthplace: Stratford Hall, Westmoreland, Colony of Virginia, British Colonial America
Death: January 11, 1797 (62)
Menokin, Richmond, Virginia, USA
Place of Burial: Warsaw, VA, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Hon. Thomas Lee of Stratford Hall and Hannah Harrison Lee
Husband of Rebecca Taylor and Rebecca Plater Lee
Father of Lucy Lee
Brother of Philip Ludwell Lee of Stratford Hall; Hannah Ludwell Corbin; Cpt. John Lee; Thomas Ludwell Lee; Richard Henry Lee, signer of the "Declaration of Independence" and 10 others

Occupation: Signer of the Declaration of Indepenence
Managed by: Private User
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About General Francis Lightfoot Lee, Signer of the "Declaration of Independence"

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.

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:

 Thomas Lee (1690 - 1750)
 Hannah Ludwell Lee (1701 - 1750)
 Rebecca Tayloe (1752 - 1797)
 Rebecca Plater Tayloe Lee (1751 - 1797)*
 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)*
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Burial: Mount Airy, Tayloe Family Estate Warsaw Richmond County Virginia, USA

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Maintained by: Find A Grave Record added: Apr 28, 1998 Find A Grave Memorial# 2809



GEDCOM file imported on 16 Oct 2002. 18 FEB 2019 06:22:28

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

October 14, 1734
Stratford Hall, Westmoreland, Colony of Virginia, British Colonial America
Virginia, USA
Age 48
Upper District, Richmond County, VA
January 11, 1797
Age 62
Menokin, Richmond, Virginia, USA
Richmond County, VA