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Francis Lightfoot Lee - One of America's Founding Fathers

Posted on Thursday, January 30, 2020

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Birth: October 14, 1734
Death: January 11, 1797 (age 62)
Colony: Virginia
Occupation: Plantation Owner, Politician
Significance: Signed The Declaration of Independence (at the age of 41)

Francis Lightfoot Lee

Francis Lightfoot Lee was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Born in Virginia to the highly influential Lee family, Lee was privately tutored at his family's plantation. Lee was the younger brother of fellow signer of The Declaration of Independence, Richard Henry Lee.

Lee moved into politics after the passage of the Stamp Act, to which he was strongly opposed. Lee began to organize protests and became one of the earliest voices in Virginia pushing for Independence from Britain. In 1765, Lee was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses along with his brother, Richard.

In 1775, Lee was elected and served in the Second Continental Congress. Lee voted for Independence, and he signed The Declaration of Independence. After signing The Declaration of Independence, Lee remained in the Continental Congress until 1779. During this time, Lee was also a signatory to the Articles of Confederation

After Lee left the Continental Congress, he served in the Virginia Senate until 1782 at which point he retired from public life, and he spent the rest of his life managing his plantation until his death in 1797 at the age of 62.

Francis Lightfoot Lee in Philadelphia

Lee first came to Philadelphia in 1775 as a Delegate to the Second Continental Congress. While serving as a member of the Second Continental Congress, Lee worked at Independence Hall, and he signed The Declaration of Independence.

A plaque commemorating Lee for signing The Declaration of Independence can be found on Signers' Walk on the 600 block of Chestnut Street (between 5th and 6th Street). Signers' Garden pays tribute to the Founding Fathers, including those such as Lee who signed The Declaration of Independence. Today,  Independence Hall, Signers' Walk and Signers' Garden are all stops visited along The Constitutional Walking Tour!

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