Lewis, Francis, 1713-1802

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Francis Lewis (March 21, 1713 – December 31, 1802) was an American merchant and a Founding Father of the United States. He was a signatory of the United States Declaration of Independence and Articles of Confederation as a representative of New York to the Continental Congress.

Born in Llandaff, Wales, he was educated at Westminster School in London before entering a mercantile house in London. Working there until he turned 21 and inherited some properties left by his father, Lewis sold the properties and used the proceeds to acquire merchandise, set sail for New York City, and arrived there in 1734 or 1735. He left some of the goods in New York to be sold by Edward Annesley, his business partner, and brought the rest to Philadelphia. After two years in Philadelphia, he returned to New York. Lewis made several trans-Atlantic trips, visiting several northern European ports, Saint Petersburg, northern Scotland, and Africa. He was taken prisoner while he served as a British mercantile agent in 1756 and sent to France for imprisonment. On his release and his return home, he became active in politics.

Lewis was a member of the Committee of Sixty, a member of the New York Provincial Congress, and a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1775 to 1779. In 1776 he signed the United States Declaration of Independence, and in 1778 he signed the United States Articles of Confederation. In 1779, he served as the chairman of the Continental Board of Admiralty. He helped his son Francis Lewis Jr. open a dry goods business named Francis Lewis and Son. His younger son, Morgan, served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War and later held many offices in New York State, including Governor.

Lewis died on December 31, 1802, although his memorial in Trinity Church Cemetery gives his year of death as 1803.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf United States. Continental Congress. Secret Committee. Letter : Philadelphia, to the Assembly of Massachusetts Bay, 1776 Dec. 4. Rosenbach Museum & Library
referencedIn Palfrey family papers, 1713-1915 Houghton Library
creatorOf Gwinnett, Button, ca 1732-1777. ALSs, 1776 July 12 : Philadelphia, to John Ashmead. Copley Press, J S Copley Library
referencedIn Thomas Addis Emmet collection, 1483-1876 (bulk:1700-1800) New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Lewis, Francis, 1713-1803. Signature. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn W. B. O. Field portrait collection, ca. 1600-1900. Houghton Library
referencedIn Henry A. Willard II Collection, 1743-1888, (bulk 1770-1840) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Bond, 1758 Feb. 14, New York, N.Y. Rosenbach Museum & Library
creatorOf Lewis, Francis, 1713-1803. Correspondence, 1778 Nov. 20-Dec. 16, with George Clinton. Rosenbach Museum & Library
referencedIn Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866. Collection of documents concerning the American Revolution, 1740-1866 Houghton Library
referencedIn Vol. XLVI. (ff. 302). May 1807-Mar. 1808.William Windham, Secretary of State, etc: General political correspondence: 1782-1810.includes:f.1 Thomas Tuckfield: Letter to W. Windham: 1807. f. 3 Lieutenant Francis Lewis: Letter to W. Windham: 1807. f. 4 ... British Library
creatorOf Lewis, Francis, 1713-1803. ALS, 1779 Aug. 10 [and 24] and 1780 July 10, Philadelphia, to Stephen Sayre, Amsterdam. Rosenbach Museum & Library
referencedIn Frederick M. Dearborn collection of military and political Americana, Part I: The Revolution and the Administration, 1669-1958. Houghton Library
creatorOf Lee, Richard Henry, 1732-1794. ALS, 1777 January 7 : In Secret Committee, to James and Robert Purveyance. Copley Press, J S Copley Library
referencedIn Signers collection, 1770-1826. Johns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries and the Milton S. Eisenhower Library
referencedIn Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866. Jared Sparks collection of American manuscripts, 1582-1843 Houghton Library
referencedIn Vol. ii. (ff. 480). 1776-May, 1777.Louis XVI of France: Negotiations with America, during the war: 1777.British America, and United States: Papers, etc., relating to the war and public affairs: 1776-1781.includes:ff. 1, 5, 18, 102, 141, 288, 289 Fred..., 1776-1777 British Library
referencedIn Livingston, Peter Van Brugh, 1710-1792. Account book, 1751-1752, 1775-1778. New-York Historical Society
referencedIn Willard, Henry A. (Henry Augustus), 1902-. Henry A. Willard II collection, 1743-1888 (bulk 1770-1840). Library of Congress
creatorOf Lewis, Francis, 1713-1803. Document signed, 1743 Sept. 8. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Lewis, Francis, 1713-1803. Account of Francis Lewis, 1777. Library of Congress
creatorOf Rosenbach, A. S. W. (Abraham Simon Wolf), 1876-1952,. Signers of the Declaration of Independence autograph collection, 1756-1818. Rosenbach Museum & Library
creatorOf Lewis, Francis, 1713-1802. DS, 1770 August 23 : New York. Copley Press, J S Copley Library
referencedIn Archives at Queens Library. Revolutionary War, signers of the Declaration [vertical file] / [compiled by the Archives at Queens Library]. Queens Borough Public Library
creatorOf Lewis, Francis, 1713-1803. Letter to Frank Lewis, 1778 March 6. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Erskine, Robert, 1735-1780. Papers, 1756-1782. New Jersey Historical Society Library
referencedIn Gould, Jack, 1914-1993. Gould, Jack, family papers, 1812-1993. University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Mills, Ogden Livingston, 1884-1937. Ogden Livingston Mills and Ruth Livingston Mills family papers, 1713-1938. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
creatorOf Lewis, Francis, 1713-1803. Autograph letter signed, 1781 Feb. 17. Pierpont Morgan Library.
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Alexander, William, 1726-1783, person
associatedWith Archives at Queens Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Clinton, George, 1739-1812, person
associatedWith Dearborn, Frederick M. (Frederick Myers), b. 1876 person
associatedWith Emmet, Thomas Addis person
associatedWith Erskine, Robert, 1735-1780. person
associatedWith Field, William B. Osgood, collector. person
associatedWith Gould, Jack, 1914-1993. person
associatedWith Gwinnett, Button, ca 1732-1777. person
associatedWith Lee, Richard Henry, 1732-1794. person
associatedWith Lewis, Frank, person
parent-in-law of Lewis, Gertrude Livingston, 1757-1833. person
parentOf Lewis, Morgan, 1754-1844 person
associatedWith Livingston, Peter Van Brugh, 1710-1792. person
associatedWith Mills, Ogden Livingston, 1884-1937. corporateBody
correspondedWith Palfrey family. family
associatedWith Rosenbach, A. S. W. (Abraham Simon Wolf), 1876-1952, person
associatedWith Sayre, Stephen, 1736-1818. person
associatedWith Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866 person
memberOf United States. Continental Congress corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Continental Congress. Secret Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith Willard, Henry A. (Henry Augustus), 1902- person
associatedWith Wright, Charles Cushing, 1796-1857. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Newport WLS GB
Philadelphia PA US
New York City NY US
London ENG GB
Delegates, U.S. Continental Congress


Birth 1713-03-21

Death 1802-12-31






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