Lee, Francis Lightfoot

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Lee, Francis Lightfoot

LEE, FRANCIS LIGHTFOOT. (1734–1797). Member of Congress, Signer. Virginia. One of the famous four brothers of the Lee family, he was tutored at Stratford, the family home, and then left to settle at Coton, a Loudoun County estate he inherited from his father. For ten years starting in 1758, he represented Loudoun in the House of Burgesses. In 1769 he married Rebecca Tayloe and settled at Menokin, a home built for the newlyweds by Tayloe's father in Richmond County, where the Tayloe family was influential. He represented that county in the Burgesses from 1769 to 1776, taking a bold and effective part in colonial resistance to the Stamp Act and in subsequent measures of defiance to the mother country. He attended the Virginia Convention in 1774, and in 1775 he was elected to the Continental Congress to fill the place of Patrick Henry, serving to 1779. While in Congress he served on numerous committees and became one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Although Lee was fiercely patriotic and considered by his brothers to be their superior in matters of political judgment, he was by nature reticent and he tended to avoid public recognition. A niece later described Lee as the "sweetest of all the Lee race." After leaving Congress, Lee served in the Virginia Senate.

SEE ALSO Lee Family of Virginia.


Dill, Alonzo Thomas. Francis Lightfoot Lee: The Incomparable Signer. Williamsburg: Virginia Independence Bicentennial Commission, 1977.

                      revised by Frank E. Grizzard Jr.