Francis Lightfoot Lee

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Francis Lightfoot Lee
Francis Lightfoot Lee.jpg
Virginia Senator
Signer of Declaration of Independence
Virginia Senate
In office
1778–1782
Delegate to Continental Congress
In office
1774–1779
Personal details
Born (1734-10-14)October 14, 1734
Stratford Hall Plantation, Westmoreland County, Virginia
Died January 11, 1797(1797-01-11) (aged 62)
Richmond County, Virginia
Spouse(s) Rebecca Tayloe
Signature

Francis Lightfoot Lee (October 14, 1734 – January 11, 1797) was a member of the House of Burgesses in the Colony of Virginia. As an active protester of issues such as the Stamp Act, Lee helped move the colony in the direction of independence from Britain. Lee was a delegate to the Virginia Conventions and the Continental Congress. He was a signer of the Articles of Confederation and the Declaration of Independence as a representative of Virginia.

Family and education and early life[edit]

Francis Lee was born October 14, 1734 at Stratford Hall, located in Westmoreland County. He was educated at home, where Lee pursued classical studies under Dr. Craig. He was of English descent, and was born into one of the First Families of Virginia. Lee was the fourth son of Thomas Lee and Hannah Harrison Ludwell (of the nearby Greenspring Plantation).

In 1772, Francis married his cousin, Rebecca Plater Tayloe. They were 2nd cousins, once removed.

Lee lived his entire life in the region of Virginia between the Rappahannock River and the Chesapeake Bay (known as the Northern Neck).

Government service[edit]

In 1774, Lee was among those who called for a general congress and the first of the Virginia Conventions, which he attended. He served in the Virginia State Senate from 1778 to 1782, and was a delegate to the first Continental Congress held in Philadelphia, serving until 1779. As a congressional representative of Virginia, he signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation.

Death[edit]

Lee died at his residence (named “Menokin”) in Richmond County, Virginia, on January 11, 1797. He is buried in the Tayloe family burial ground at Mount Airy Plantation, near Warsaw, Virginia.

Relations[edit]

Lee Family Coat of Arms

Lee was the grandson of Col. Richard Lee II and a great-grandson of Col. Richard Lee I. Senator Richard Henry Lee, and diplomats William Lee and Dr. Arthur Lee, were his brothers. Another brother, Thomas Ludwell Lee, was appointed to a committee, along with Thomas Jefferson, to re-write the laws of Virginia. Francis Lightfoot Lee had no children; his namesake Francis Lightfoot Lee, II, was the son of his brother Richard Henry Lee and further men of the same name descend from him.


Further reading[edit]

  • Dill, Alonzo Thomas. Francis Lightfoot Lee, The Incomparable Signer. Edited by Edward M. Riley. Williamsburg: Virginia Independence Bicentennial Commission, 1977.
  • Twain, Mark. "Francis Lightfoot Lee". Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, I, no. 3 (1877). Reprinted in Charles Neider, ed., Mark Twain: Life as I Find It (New York, 1961).

External links[edit]