Francis Lightfoot Lee

Hon. Francis Lightfoot Lee (October 14, 1734January 11, 1797), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Virginia. He was the son of Hon. Thomas Lee (1690-1750) and Hannah Harrison Ludwell (1701-1750). His brothers, William Lee (1739-1795), Richard Henry Lee (1732-1794), and Dr. Arthur Lee (1740-1792) were also American Patriots. Another older brother was Thomas Ludwell Lee Sr. (1730-1778) who was appointed to a committee with Thomas Jefferson to re-write Virginia laws but did not hold political office.

He was born October 14, 1734 at “Stratford,” in Westmoreland County, Virginia of English descent, and was educated at home, where he pursued classical studies under private teachers.

Early career

In 1765 he was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses, where he served until 1775. He was a radical patriot, siding with Patrick Henry in opposing the Stamp Act.

American Revolution

He called for a general congress and a Virginia Convention in 1774, which he attended. He served in the Virginia State senate from 1778-1782 and was a delegate to the first Continental Congress, serving until 1779.


Francis married Rebecca Plater Tayloe (1751-1797) in 1772. Rebecca was the child of Col. John Tayloe II (1721-1779) and Rebecca Plater (1731-1787).


Francis died at his home, “Menokin,” in Richmond County, Virginia, January 11, 1797. He was interred in his wife’s family (Tayloe) burial ground, at Mount Airy plantation, near Warsaw, Virginia.


Francis was the son of Col. Thomas Lee, Hon. (1690-1750) of "Stratford Hall", Westmoreland Co., Virginia. Thomas married Hannah Harrison Ludwell (1701-1750). Hannah was the daughter of Col. Philip Ludwell II (1672-1726) of "Greenspring", and Hannah Harrison (1679-1731).

Thomas was the son of Col. Richard Lee II, Esq., “the scholar” (1647-1715) and Laetitia Corbin (ca. 1657-1706). Laetitia was the daughter of Richard’s neighbor and, Councillor, Hon. Henry Corbin, Sr. (1629-1676) and Alice (Eltonhead) Burnham (ca. 1627-1684). Richard II, was the son of Col. Richard Lee I, Esq., "the immigrant" (1618-1664) and Anne Constable (ca. 1621-1666). Anne was the daughter of Thomas Constable and a ward of Sir John Thoroughgood.


The Menokin Bluegrass Festival is an annual event run by Deaf Dog productions and The Menokin Foundation to raise awareness and money for The Menokin Foundation which seeks to preserve and interpret the ruins of Menokin--once home to Francis Lightfoot Lee, a signer of the declaration of Independence, and his bride, Rebecca Tayloe Lee.

The festival is held on the grounds of Menokin every spring attracting thousands of festival-goers. Past performers have been Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys, Seldom Scene, Old School Freight Train and Jackass Flats.


  • Dill, Alonzo Thomas. Francis Lightfoot Lee, The Incomparable Signer. Edited by Edward M. Riley. Williamsburg: Virginia Independence Bicentennial Commission, 1977.

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