Bullet-Point Bio: Francis Lewis

-Signed both the Articles of Confederation and the Declaration of Independence.

-Another one of our delegates from New York.
-He was born in Llandaff, Wales.
-Francis was the only son of an Episcopal minister.
-He was orphaned at a young age and was raised by various relatives.
-He attended Westminster School in London.
-Marilyn Boyer writes in For You They Signed,

“After graduating, Francis entered the counting room of a merchant in London, where he acquired an extensive knowledge of commerce.  Upon receiving a modest inheritance, he purchased a cargo of goods for trading and sailed to America in the spring of 1735.”

-Francis became friends with Edward Annesley, and they entered in a partnership together.  Francis later married Edward’s sister, Elizabeth, and they had seven children. Four of the children died as infants.
– Again Marilyn Boyer writes,

“Mr. Lewis was an enterprising and active merchant who traveled widely and had many adventures, including visiting Russia, most of Europe, and several islands; he was shipwrecked off the Irish Coast twice.”

-Francis supplied British troops with clothing during the French and Indian War.
-Marilyn Boyer writes of him during this time in his life,

“He was present when Fort Oswego was captured in 1756, under the command of British Colonel Mersey, who was killed at Lewis’ side.  The garrison of 1,004 men, including Francis Lewis, surrendered as prisoners of war.  Lewis was one of only 30 prisoners turned over to the chief warrior of the Indians to do with them whatever he pleased.  Tradition reports that because Lewis spoke Welsh, which was similar to the Indians’ dialect and understandable to them, he was kept alive and sent to France.  Some time later, he was exchanged for other prisoners and sent back to America.  For his services during the French and Indian conflict, the King of England rewarded him with a grant of 5,000 acres on Long Island, New York.”

-Francis joined the Sons of Liberty in the 1760’s.
-He was a delegate from New York to the Stamp Act Congress 1765.
-He was elected as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1775.
-His son, Morgan Lewis, fought in the Continental Army during the American War for Independence.
-His daughter married a British General and settled in England.  Because of this, she was estranged from her family.
-Marilyn Boyer writes of Francis’ service during the war,

“He served on many committees and rendered valuable service to his country over the next few years, including the establishment of a navy for the colonies, working in secret services, purchasing provisions and clothing for the army, and importing of military stores, especially arms and ammunitions.”

-Francis’ home and belongings were destroyed by the British during the American War for Independence.  Wanting to take vengeance on Francis for his assistance in the patriotic cause, but not finding him at home, the British took his wife captive instead. She was treated very poorly, and, although General Washington was eventually able to arrange for her exchange, her health had suffered so much that she died soon after her release.
-Francis Lewis suffered dearly for his devotion to liberty!
-A park, a boulevard, a high school, and a Masonic Lodge are all named after him.

 

 

~Savannah

Sources:

-Photo credit: Wikipedia public domain – {{PD-old-70}}
– Wikipedia.org
For You They Signed, Marilyn Boyer
Founders of Freedom in America: Lives of the Men Who Signed the Declaration of Independence and so Helped to Establish the United States of America, David C. Whitney, 1964

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