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Founding Fathers – Francis Lewis

Francis Lewis, March 21, 1713 – December 31, 1802

Lewis was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of New York.

Born in Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales, he was the only child of Reverend Francis Lewis, but was orphaned at an early age. He went to live with his aunt and uncle soon after. He was educated in Scotland and attended Westminster School in England. He entered a mercantile house in London, then moved to Whitestone, New York in 1734. He was taken prisoner and shipped in a box to France while serving as a British mercantile agent in 1756. On his return to America, he became active in politics.

He was a member of the Committee of Sixty, a member of the New York Provincial Congress, and was elected a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1775. In 1778, he signed the United States Articles of Confederation. From 1779 to 1780, Lewis served as the Chairman of the Continental Board of Admiralty.

He was a Delegate from New York; attended Westminster School, London; entered the countinghouse of a London merchant; immigrated to the United States in 1735 and established mercantile houses in New York and Philadelphia; secured a contract to clothe the British Army in America in 1753; participated in the French and Indian War as an aide to General Mercer; was captured in Oswego, N.Y., and taken as a prisoner to France.

On his return the colonial government gave him 5,000 acres of land in recognition of his services; delegate in the Stamp Act Congress that met in New York City in 1765; retired from business in 1765 and located in Whitestone, Long Island, N.Y.

Member of the Continental Congress 1775-1779; was a signer of the Declaration of Independence; delegate to the provincial convention in 1775; member of the Committee of One Hundred in 1775; served in the Provincial Congress in 1776 and 1777; and, commissioner of the board of admiralty in 1779.

His home, located in Whitestone, on Queens, New York, was destroyed in the American Revolutionary War by British soldiers, who also arrested his wife and denied her a change of clothing or adequate food for weeks while in captivity.

His son Morgan Lewis served in the army during the Revolutionary War and later held many offices in New York State, including Governor.

Lewis died in New York City on December 30, 1803, and was buried in Trinity Churchyard.


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