by Janelle Whitelocke
Francis Lewis was a New York delegate to the Continental Congress. Lewis was among the 56 brave men who signed their names on the Declaration of Independence.
Francis Lewis was born on March 21, 1713 in Llandalff, Wales. As a child he was educated in Scotland. Later, he attended Westminster School, which is in England. In 1734, Lewis moved to Whitestone, New York.
When Francis moved to America, he was working for the British government as a mercantile. In 1756, he was shipped in a box to France after being taken prisoner for being a British mercantile.
This traumatized Lewis slightly, and when he was finally released and returned home he took an interest in politics. Lewis was elected to the New York Committee of Sixty. Later, he also became a member of the New York Provincial Congress.
In 1775, Francis Lewis was sent a delegate to the Continental Congress, along with William Floyd, Lewis Morris, and Philip Livingston. In 1776, Francis Lewis signed the Declaration of Independence. Due to this moment, we still write about him today, almost 300 years later.
The following year, Francis signed the Articles of Confederation. In 1779, Lewis was elected Chairman of the Continental Board of Admiralty. He served in this office until 1780.
Francis Lewis was one that paid dearly for signing the Declaration of Independence; not with his own life, but with his wife. His home in Queens, New York was destroyed, and his wife was taken captive. During her captivity, she was not even allowed a change of clothing. During weeks of captivity, she did not receive proper sustenance. Upon the ending of the war, she was returned to New York. However, she never fully recovered from her time there and she died two years later.
Lewis spent his remaining years after the war in various public offices. He passed away on December 30, 1803. He was 90 years old.