Richard Henry Lee
|Richard Henry Lee|
|Lee at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.|
|President pro tempore of the United States Senate|
April 18, 1792 – October 8, 1792
|Preceded by||John Langdon|
|Succeeded by||John Langdon|
|United States Senator
March 4, 1789 – October 8, 1792
|Preceded by||None; first|
|Succeeded by||John Taylor|
|President of the Continental Congress|
November 30, 1784 – November 4, 1785
|Preceded by||Thomas Mifflin|
|Succeeded by||John Hancock|
January 20, 1732|
Westmoreland County, Colony of Virginia
|Died||June 19, 1794
Westmoreland County, Virginia
|Spouse(s)||Anne Aylett (died 1768)
Anne (Gaskins) Pinckard
Richard Henry Lee (January 20, 1732 – June 19, 1794) was an American statesman from Virginia best known for the motion in the Second Continental Congress calling for the colonies' independence from Great Britain. He was a signatory to the Articles of Confederation and his famous resolution of June 1776 led to the United States Declaration of Independence, which Lee signed. He also served a one-year term as the President of the Continental Congress, and was a United States Senator from Virginia from 1789 to 1792, serving during part of that time as one of the first Presidents pro tempore.
Early life 
Lee was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia to Thomas Lee and Hannah Harrison Ludwell Lee on January 20, 1732. In 1748, at age sixteen, Lee left Virginia for Yorkshire, England, to complete his formal education at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Wakefield.
Early career 
In 1757, Lee was appointed justice of the peace in Westmoreland County. In 1758 he was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses, where he met Patrick Henry. An early advocate of independence, Lee became one of the first to create Committees of Correspondence among the many independence-minded Americans in the various colonies. In 1766, almost ten years before the American Revolutionary War, Lee is credited with having authored the Westmoreland Resolution which was publicly signed by prominent landowners who met at Leedstown, Westmoreland County, Virginia on 27 Feb 1766. This resolution was signed by four brothers of George Washington as well as Gilbert Campbell.
American Revolution 
In August 1774, Lee was chosen as a delegate to the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia. In Lee's Resolution on the 7th of June 1776 during the Second Continental Congress, Lee put forth the motion to the Continental Congress to declare Independence from Great Britain, which read (in part):
Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.
Lee had returned to Virginia by the time Congress voted on and adopted the Declaration of Independence, but he signed the document when he returned to Congress.
Political offices 
- Justice of the Peace for Westmoreland County, Virginia (1757)
- Virginia House of Burgesses (1758–1775)
- Member of the Continental Congress (1774–1779, 1784–1785, 1787)
- A Signer of the Declaration of Independence (1776)
- Virginia House of Delegates (1777, 1780, 1785)
- United States Senator from Virginia (March 4, 1789 – October 8, 1792)
- President pro tempore during the Second Congress (April 18 – October 8, 1792)
Marriages and children 
Richard married first on December 5, 1757, Anne Aylett (1738–1768), daughter of William Aylett and Elizabeth Eskridge (1719). Anne died December 12, 1768 at Chantille, Westmoreland Co., Virginia. The couple had six children, four of whom survived infancy:
- Elizabeth Virginia Lee (1755), who died in infancy.
- Thomas Lee (1758–1805).
- Col. Ludwell Lee, Esq. (1760–1836), who married Flora Lee (1771–1795), daughter of Hon. Philip Ludwell Lee, Sr., Esq. (1727–1775) and Elizabeth Steptoe (1743–1789), who married secondly, Philip Richard Fendall I (1734–1805).
- Mary Lee (1764–1795).
- Hannah Lee (1765–1801), who married Hon. Corbin Washington (1764–1799), son of Col. John Augustine Washington (1736–1787) and Hannah Bushrod (1738–1801).
- Marybelle Lee (1768), who died in infancy.
Richard re-married in June or July 1769 to Anne (Gaskins) Pinckard. The couple had seven children, five of whom survived infancy:
- Anne Lee (1770–1804), who married Hon. Charles Lee (1758–1815), U.S. Attorney General under John Adams. Charles was the son of Maj. Gen. Henry Lee II (1730–1787) and Lucy Grymes (1734–1792).
- Henrietta "Harriotte" Lee (1773–1803), who married Hon. George Richard Lee Turberville (c. 1770), son of Hon. George Richard Turberville, Jr. (1742–1792) and Martha Corbin (1742).
- Sarah Caldwell "Sally" Lee (1775–1837), who married Edmund Jennings Lee I (1772–1843), son of Maj. Gen. Henry Lee II (1730–1787) and Lucy Grymes (1734–1792).
- Cassius Lee (1779–1850).
- Francis Lightfoot Lee II (1782–1850), who married Jane Fitzgerald (died 1816), daughter of Col. John Fitzgerald and Jane Digges. (grandparents of Francis Preston Blair Lee)
- ? Lee (1784), who died in infancy.
- ? Lee (1786), who died in infancy.
Richard honored his brother, Francis Lightfoot Lee (another signer of the Articles of Confederation and the Declaration of Independence), by naming his youngest son after him.
The younger Francis married Jane Fitzgerald on 9 Feb 1810. In 1811 he purchased the estate Sully in Fairfax County, Virginia from his second cousin Richard Bland Lee. Jane died on 25 Jul 1816, shortly after the birth on their fifth child.
- Children of Richard HenryLee's son Francis Lightfoot Lee
- Jane Elizabeth Lee (January 1, 1811 – June 25, 1837); married Henry T. Harrison
- Samuel Philips Lee (February 13, 1812 – June 5, 1897); Rear Admiral; married Elizabeth Blair, daughter of Francis Preston Blair
- John Fitzgerald Lee (May 5, 1813 – June 17, 1840)
- Arthur Lee (February 18, 1815 – August 3, 1841)
- Frances Ann Lee (June 29, 1816 – December 5, 1889); married Goldsborough Robinson
Hannah was the daughter of Col. Philip Ludwell II (1672–1726) of "Greenspring", and Hannah Harrison (1679–1731).
Thomas was the son of Col. Richard Lee II, Esq., "the scholar" (1647–1715) and Laetitia Corbin (c. 1657 – 1706).
Laetitia was the daughter of Richard’s neighbor and, Councillor, Hon. Henry Corbin, Sr. (1629–1676) and Alice (Eltonhead) Burnham (c. 1627 – 1684).
Richard II, was the son of Col. Richard Lee I, Esq., "the immigrant" (1618–1664) and Anne Constable (c. 1621 – 1666).
Anne was the daughter of Thomas Constable and a ward of Sir John Thoroughgood.
Jason Barfield II (1626–1700)
Lee County, Georgia is named in his honor. Richard Henry Lee Elementary School in Rossmoor, California and Richard Henry Lee School in Chicago, Illinois are also named in his honor. Richard Henry Lee Elementary in Glen Burnie, Maryland is also named after him.
Representations in fiction 
Richard Henry Lee is a key character in the musical 1776. He was portrayed by Ron Holgate in both the Broadway cast and in the 1972 film. The character performs a song called "The Lees of Old Virginia," in which he explains how he knows he will be able to convince the Virginia House of Burgesses to allow him to propose independence.
- Westmoreland Resolution
- Alexander, Frederick Warren (1912), Stratford Hall and the Lees Connected with Its History, F. W. Alexander, pp. 145–146, retrieved 2008-03-01
- Gamble, Robert S. Sully:Biography of a House (Chantilly, Virginia: Sully Foundation Ltd., 1973)
- Lee, Edmund Jennings (1895), Lee of Virginia, 1642–1892, Franklin Printing Company, p. 398, ISBN 978-0-8063-0604-9, retrieved 2010-09-06
- Richard Henry Lee at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Richard Henry Lee
- Biography by Rev. Charles A. Goodrich, 1856
- Richard Henry Lee at Find a Grave
- Richard Henry Lee Bio
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Lee, Richard Henry". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
|President of the Continental Congress
November 30, 1784 – November 6, 1785
|President pro tempore of the United States Senate
April 18, 1792 – October 8, 1792
|United States Senate|
|United States Senator (Class 2) from Virginia
March 4, 1789 – October 8, 1792
Served alongside: William Grayson, John Walker, James Monroe