Francis Lewis (March 21, 1713 – December 31, 1802) was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of New York.
Born in Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales, he was the child of Morgan Lewis and Anne Pettingale. He was educated in Scotland and attended Westminster School in England. He entered a mercantile house in London, then moved to Whitestone, New York in 1734. He was taken prisoner and shipped in a box to France while serving as a British mercantile agent in 1756. On his return to America, he became active in politics.
He was a member of the Committee of Sixty, a member of the New York Provincial Congress, and was elected a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1775. In 1778, he signed the United States Articles of Confederation. From 1779 to 1780, Lewis served as the Chairman of the Continental Board of Admiralty.
His home, located in Whitestone, on Queens, New York, was destroyed in the American Revolutionary War by British soldiers, who also arrested his wife and denied her a change of clothing or adequate food for weeks while in captivity.
His son Morgan Lewis served in the army during the Revolutionary War and later held many offices in New York State, including Governor.
Francis Lewis’s great-grandson, Manning Livingston, died at the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War. He also has many relatives stretching all the way to Idaho. His great-great-great grandson was Hollywood director William A. Wellman, and his great-granddaughter was author and actress Anna Cora Mowatt.
In Queens, New York, Francis Lewis High School and P.S. 79 “The Francis Lewis School” are named for Lewis. There is also Francis Lewis Boulevard, which locals tend to refer to as “Franny Lew,” stretching almost the entire north/south length of the borough, as well as Francis Lewis Park, which is located underneath the Queens approach of the Bronx Whitestone Bridge. A Masonic Lodge, Francis Lewis #273, is also located in Whitestone