Francis Lewis

Francis Lewis

Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales
Death 30 Dec 1803 (aged 90)
Manhattan, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Manhattan, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Memorial ID 621 · View Source
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Signer of the Declaration of Independence from New York. Born in Llandaff, Wales, Great Britain, and both of his parents died when he was young. Francis grew up with relatives in Wales, and went to school in London. As a young man, he worked in a London counting house. In his twenties, he turned to being a merchant, and made a good living. He came to America in 1738, settling in New York City, where he became a wealthy merchant. In 1745, he married Elizabeth Annesley, his partner's sister, and they would have seven children. As a merchant, he would ship goods to many parts of the world, and he is believed to be the first American businessman to visit Russia. He also visited Africa and Scotland, twice being shipwrecked off Ireland. He also traveled through the Artic Ocean. Returning to America, he served as a military aide to the British Commander of Fort Oswego, New York, during the French and Indian War. In 1756, the French attacked the fort, and he was captured, and was turned over to the Indian allies of the French. The Indians wanted to kill him, but speaking to them in Welsh, he was able to convince them to spare his life. He was sent to France as a prisoner, but was released in 1763 when the war ended. For his war service, the British awarded him 5,000 acres of land. In 1765, he retired from business and moved from New York City to Long Island, NY. When Britain passed the Stamp Act, Francis Lewis joined protest groups. In April 1775, he was elected to the Continental Congress, where he worked to supply the Army with weapons and supplies. He would spend most of his life's savings to purchase supplies for the American Army, and would end the war virtually penniless. In the autumn of 1776, the British approached his Long Island home, taking his wife prisoner and burning the home to the ground. Held in a damp, unheated, filthy prison, Elizabeth Lewis became sick and died about two years later. Their only daughter had married a British Navy Officer, and had settled in England, refusing to see or correspond with her parents. Lewis retired from Congress in 1781, and lived with his two sons the rest of his life. He died on New Year's Eve of 1802, at the age of 89.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 621
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Francis Lewis (21 Mar 1713–30 Dec 1803), Find a Grave Memorial no. 621, citing Trinity Churchyard, Manhattan, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .