Francis Lewis - History

Francis Lewis - History

Lewis, Francis

The only child of a minister, Francis Lewis was born in Wales in 1713. He lost his parents when he was quite young, however, and was raised by relatives. He received his education at London’s Westminster School and was later employed in one of the city’s firms. By 1738 he had decided to set up his own business and established branches in both New York and Philadelphia. In the years that followed, he traveled between the colonies and London. During the French and Indian War, he was held captive by the French in France, but upon his release the British government awarded him a large piece of land in New York as compensation. He thus returned to the colonies to pursue business and made a fortune. In 1765 he moved to Long Island.

Lewis was a strong supporter of the Revolutionary movement to which he dedicated a large amount of time and energy. In 1765 he attended the Stamp Act Congress. In addition, he was probably a leader of the New York Sons of Liberty. In 1774 he attended New York’s provincial convention and helped to set up the state government. Lewis attended the Continental Congress from 1775 until 1779. He was active on several committees during this time, including those engaged in marine and commercial activities. On August 2, 1776 Lewis signed the Declaration of Independence despite orders coming from New York’s Tory government to do otherwise.

When the British landed at Long Island later in 1776, Lewis’ home was ruined and his wife taken prisoner. She was later given her freedom in exchange for the release of British women held by the colonies, but the strain of the whole incident caused her to die about three years later. Lewis was devastated and immediately left the Congress. In 1781 he retired from politics for good. He passed away in 1802, at the age of eighty-nine and was buried in Trinity Church’s graveyard in New York City.


Francis Lewis

Dates / Origin Date Created: 1868 - 1869 Library locations The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection Shelf locator: MEZP Topics United States. Declaration of Independence -- Signers Lewis, Francis, 1713-1803 Genres Drawings Portraits Prints Notes Content: Artist is Henry Bryan Hall. Citation/reference: EM1576 Physical Description Watercolors Ink drawings Extent: Watercolor Type of Resource Still image Identifiers RLIN/OCLC: NYPG97-F76 NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b13049840 Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 12582a60-c606-012f-c3f1-58d385a7bc34 Rights Statement The New York Public Library believes that this item is in the public domain under the laws of the United States, but did not make a determination as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. This item may not be in the public domain under the laws of other countries. Though not required, if you want to credit us as the source, please use the following statement, "From The New York Public Library," and provide a link back to the item on our Digital Collections site. Doing so helps us track how our collection is used and helps justify freely releasing even more content in the future.


Francis Lewis

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.


Francis Lewis - History

1968 In both Europe and America Japanese imported cars and other goods were continuing to rise and trouble the governments of UK and USA as they worried about industries in their own countries being effected and jobs lost. In the spring of 1968 The Rev Martin Luther King was assassinated and Robert Kennedy was mortally wounded also the peace movement had continued to grow and more and more Americans were against the war in Vietnam, and once again more riots occurred throughout cities in America. The music scene was once again set by the "Beatles" and the "Rolling Stones" , and fashion flirted with see through blouses and midis and maxis skirts joined the Mini Skirt as part of the fashion trends. There is a Flu Pandemic in Hong Kong and the first Black power salute is seen on Television worldwide during an Olympics medal ceremony

How Much things cost in 1968
Yearly Inflation Rate USA 4.27%
Year End Close Dow Jones Industrial Average 943
Average Cost of new house $14,950.00
Average Income per year $7,850.00
Average Monthly Rent $130.00
Gas per Gallon 34 cents
Average Cost of a new car $2,822.00
Movie Ticket $1.50


Francis Lewis

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About Francis Lewis, signer of the "U.S. Declaration of Independence"

Francis Lewis (March 21, 1713 – December 31, 1802) was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of New York.

Francis Lewis was a native of Landaff, in South Wales, where he was born in the year 1713. His father was a clergyman, belonging to the established church. His mother was the daughter of Dr. Pettingal, who was also a clergyman of the Episcopal establishment, and had his residence in North Wales. At the early age of four or five years, being left an orphan, the care of him devolved upon a maternal maiden aunt, who took singular pains to have him instructed in the native language of his country. He was afterwards sent to Scotland, where, in the family of a relation, he acquired a knowledge of the Gaelic. From this, he was transferred to the school of Westminster, where he completed his education and enjoyed the reputation of being a good classical scholar.

Mercantile pursuits being his object, he entered the counting room of a London merchant where, in a few years, he acquired a competent knowledge of the profession. On attaining to the age of twenty-one years, he collected the property which had been left him by his father, and having converted it into merchandise, he sailed for New-York, where he arrived in the spring of 1735.

Leaving a part of his goods to be sold in New-York, by Mr. Edward Annesly, with whom he had formed a commercial connection, he transported the remainder to Philadelphia, whence, after a residence of two years, he returned to the former city, and there became extensively engaged in navigation and foreign trade. About this time he connected himself by marriage with the sister of his partner, by whom be had several children.

Mr. Lewis acquired the character of an active and enterprising merchant. In the course of his commercial transactions, he traversed a considerable part of the continent of Europe. He visited several of the seaports of Russia, the Orkney and Shetland Islands, and twice suffered shipwreck of the Irish coast.

During the French or Canadian war, Mr. Lewis was, for a time, agent for supplying the British troops. In this capacity, he was present at the time, when, in August, 1756, the fort of Oswego was surrendered to the distinguished French general, de Montcalm. The fort was, at that time, commanded by the British Colonel Mersey. On the tenth of August, Montcalm approached it with more than five thousand Europeans, Canadians, and Indians. On the twelfth, at midnight, he opened the trenches, with thirty-two pieces of cannon, besides several brass mortars and howitzers. The garrison having, fired away all their shells and ammunition, Colonel Mersey ordered the cannon to be spiked, and crossed the river to Little Oswego Fort, without the loss of a single man. Of the deserted fort, the enemy took immediate possession, and from it began a fire, which was kept up without intermission. The next day, Colonel Mersey was killed while standing by the side of Mr. Lewis.

The garrison, being thus deprived of their commander, their fort destitute of a cover, and no prospect of aid presenting itself, demanded a capitulation, and surrendered as prisoners of war. The garrison consisted at this time of the regiments of Shirley and Pepperell, and amounted to one thousand and four hundred men. The conditions required, and acceded to, were, that they should be exempted from plunder, conducted to Montreal, and treated with humanity. The services rendered by Mr. Lewis, during the war, were held in such consideration by the British government, that at the close of it he received a grant of five thousand acres of land.

The conditions, upon which the garrison at Fort Oswego surrendered to Montcalm, were shamefully violated by that commander. They were assured of kind treatment but no sooner had the surrender been made, than Montcalm allowed the chief warrior of the Indians, who assisted in taking the fort, to select about thirty of the prisoners, and do with them as he pleased. Of this number Mr. Lewis was one. Placed thus at the disposal of savage power, a speedy and cruel death was to be expected. The tradition is, however that he soon discovered that he was able to converse with the Indians, by reason of the similarity of the ancient language of Wales, which he understood, to the Indian dialect. The ability of Mr. Lewis, thus readily to communicate with the chief, so pleased the latter, that he treated him kindly and on arriving at Montreal, he requested the French governor to allow him to return to his family, without ransom. The request, however, was not granted, and Mr. Lewis was sent as a prisoner to France, from which country, being some time after exchanged, he returned to America.

This tradition as to the cause of the liberation of Mr. Lewis, is incorrect no such affinity existed between the Cymreag, or ancient language of Wales, and the language of any of the Indian tribes found in North America. The cause might have been, and probably was, some unusual occurrence, or adventure but of its precise nature we are not informed.

Although Mr. Lewis was not born in America, his attachment to the country was coeval with his settlement in it. He early espoused the patriotic cause, against the, encroachments of the British government, and was among the first to unite with an association, which existed in several parts of the country, called the "sons of liberty," the object of which was to concert measures against the exercise of an undue power on the part of the mother country.

The independent and patriotic character which Mr. Lewis was known to possess, the uniform integrity of his life, the distinguished intellectual powers with which be was endued, all pointed him out as a proper person to assist in taking charge of the interest of the colony in the continental congress. Accordingly, in April, 1775, he was unanimously elected delegate to that body. In this honorable station he was continued by the provincial congress of New-York, through the following year, 1776 and was among the number who declared the colonies forever absolved from their allegiance to the British crown, and from that time entitled to the rank, and privileges of free and independent states.

In several subsequent years, he was appointed to represent the state in the national legislature. During his congressional career, Mr. Lewis was distinguished for a becoming zeal in the cause of liberty, tempered by the influence of a correct judgment and a cautious prudence. He was employed in several secret services in the purchase of provisions and clothing for the army and in the importation of military stores, particularly arms and ammunition. In transactions of this kind, his commercial experience gave him great facilities. He was also employed on various committees, in which capacity, he rendered many valuable services to his country.

In 1775, Mr. Lewis removed his family and effects to a country seat which he owned on Long Island. This proved to be an unfortunate step. In the autumn of the following year, his house was plundered by a party of British light horse. His extensive library and valuable papers of every description were wantonly destroyed. Nor were they contented with this ruin of his property. They thirsted for revenge upon a man, who had dared to affix his signature to a document, which proclaimed the independence of America. Unfortunately Mrs. Lewis fell into their power, and was retained a prisoner for several months. During her captivity, she was closely confined, without even the comfort of a bed to lie upon, or a change of clothes.

In November, 1776, the attention of congress was called to her distressed condition, and shortly after a resolution was passed that a lady, who had been taken prisoner by the Americans, should be permitted to return to her husband, and that Mrs. Lewis be required in exchange. But the exchange could not at that time be effected. Through the influence of Washington, however, Mrs. Lewis was at length released but her sufferings during her confinement had so much impaired her constitution, that in the course of a year or two, she sunk into the grave.

Of the subsequent life of Mr. Lewis, we have little to record. His latter days were spent in comparative poverty, his independent fortune having in a great measure been sacrificed on the altar of patriotism, during his country's struggle for independence. The life of this excellent man, and distinguished patriot, was extended to his ninetieth year. His death occurred on the 30th day of December, 1803.

Source: Rev. Charles A. Goodrich Lives of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence. New York: William Reed & Co., 1856. Pages 193-197. (Some minor spelling changes may have been made.)

Francis Lewis (March 21, 1713 – December 30, 1803) was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of New York.

Born in Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales, he was the only child of Reverend Francis Lewis, but was orphaned at an early age. He went to live with his aunt and uncle soon after. 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 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, NY.

1775 Elected to the Continental Congress

Signer of the Declaration of Independence

Lost his wealth and most of his possessions during the Rev. War.

Birth: 򑜓 Death: 鷬. 30, 1803

Signer of the Declaration of Independence from New York. Born in Llandaff, Wales, Great Britain, and both of his parents died when he was young. Francis grew up with relatives in Wales, and went to school in London. As a young man, he worked in a London counting house. In his twenties, he turned to being a merchant, and made a good living. He came to America in 1738, settling in New York City, where he became a wealthy merchant. In 1745, he married Elizabeth Annesley, his partner's sister, and they would have seven children. As a merchant, he would ship goods to many parts of the world, and he is believed to be the first American businessman to visit Russia. He also visited Africa and Scotland, twice being shipwrecked off Ireland. He also traveled through the Artic Ocean. Returning to America, he served as a military aide to the British Commander of Fort Oswego, New York, during the French and Indian War. In 1756, the French attacked the fort, and he was captured, and was turned over to the Indian allies of the French. The Indians wanted to kill him, but speaking to them in Welsh, he was able to convince them to spare his life. He was sent to France as a prisoner, but was released in 1763 when the war ended. For his war service, the British awarded him 5,000 acres of land. In 1765, he retired from business and moved from New York City to Long Island, NY. When Britain passed the Stamp Act, Francis Lewis joined protest groups. In April 1775, he was elected to the Continental Congress, where he worked to supply the Army with weapons and supplies. He would spend most of his life's savings to purchase supplies for the American Army, and would end the war virtually penniless. In the autumn of 1776, the British approached his Long Island home, taking his wife prisoner and burning the home to the ground. Held in a damp, unheated, filthy prison, Elizabeth Lewis became sick and died about two years later. Their only daughter had married a British Navy Officer, and had settled in England, refusing to see or correspond with her parents. Lewis retired from Congress in 1781, and lived with his two sons the rest of his life. He died on New Year's Eve of 1802, at the age of 89. (bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson)

Burial: Trinity Churchyard Manhattan New York County (Manhattan) New York, USA

Edit Virtual Cemetery info [?]

Maintained by: Find A Grave Record added: Jan 01, 2001 Find A Grave Memorial# 621 http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=621 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, 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 while serving as a British mercantile agent in 1756 and sent to France for imprisonment. 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, in 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. Her hardships in captivity ruined her health and led to her death in 1779.

His son Morgan Lewis served in the army during the Revolutionary War and later held many offices in New York State, including Governor.

Lewis died on December 31, 1802, although his memorial in Trinity Church Cemetery gives his year of death as 1803.


Contents

Francis Cardozo was born free in 1836 in Charleston as the second of three sons of Lydia Williams, a free woman of color, and Isaac Nunez Cardozo, a Sephardic Jewish man who had a position at the US Customhouse in the port city. [1] The children were born free because their mother was free. His parents had a common-law marriage, as state law prevented interracial marriage. Francis had two sisters, Lydia and Eslander, an older brother, Henry Cardozo, and a younger brother, Thomas Whitmarsh Cardozo. [1] Their father arranged for the boys to attend a private school open to free people of color.

Isaac died in 1855, disrupting the stability and economic safety of the family. [1]

Francis Cardozo went to Scotland for higher education. In 1858, he enrolled at the University of Glasgow. Later, he attended seminaries in Edinburgh and London. He was ordained a Presbyterian minister. [2]

After returning to the United States, in 1864 Francis Cardozo became pastor of the Temple Street Congregational Church in New Haven, Connecticut. He married Catherine Romena (aka Minnie) Howell. They had seven children through their marriage two died young, leaving four sons and a daughter. [2]

In 1865, Francis Cardozo returned to Charleston as an agent of the American Missionary Association (AMA). He succeeded his younger brother, Thomas Cardozo, as superintendent of an AMA school. The AMA established both primary schools and colleges for freedmen in the South in the post-Civil War years.

Cardozo developed this school as the Avery Normal Institute, one of the first free secondary schools for African Americans. It was established to train teachers, as freedmen sought education for their children and themselves as one of their highest priorities. [2] In the 21st century, the Avery Institute has been incorporated as part of the College of Charleston.

Francis Cardozo became active in the Republican Party in South Carolina and was elected as a delegate to the 1868 South Carolina constitutional convention. As chair of the education committee, he advocated establishing integrated public schools in the state. The legislature ratified a new constitution in 1868 that provided for public schools for the first time in the state, and supported them to be integrated.

He was elected Secretary of State in South Carolina in 1868, and was the first African American to hold a statewide office in the United States. Cardozo reformed the South Carolina Land Commission, which distributed limited amounts of land to former slaves. During his term as secretary of state, he was chosen as professor of Latin at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and advised the governor of his intention to resign. The governor helped approve an arrangement by which Cardozo could retain his state office and also teach at Howard. A deputy was appointed during this period. He taught at Howard until March 1872. [2]

Francis Cardozo was elected as state treasurer in 1872. After he did not cooperate with corruption, some Democratic legislators unsuccessfully tried to impeach Cardozo in 1874. He was reelected in 1874 and 1876, although the latter election was one in which Democrats swept most offices and took over control of the state legislature and governor's seat.

South Carolina elections, as in other southern states, had been increasingly marked by violence as Democrats sought to suppress the black Republican vote. The 1876 gubernatorial election season was also violent and featured widespread fraud at the polls and disputes over counts. In the end, conservative white Democrats regained control of the state government after a compromise at the national level in 1877 led to the federal government abandoning Reconstruction. This included the removal of remaining federal troops from the South that year and other steps, including supporting Democrat Wade Hampton III's claim for the governorship in a disputed election. As customary in a change of administrations, Hampton demanded the resignation of Cardozo and other members of the earlier government Francis left office on May 1, 1877. [2]

The Democrats prosecuted Cardozo for conspiracy in November 1877. Despite questionable evidence, he was found guilty and served over six months in jail. After the federal government dropped election fraud charges against some Democrats, Cardozo was pardoned in 1879 by Democratic Governor William Dunlap Simpson.

In 1878 Cardozo was appointed to a Washington, D.C., position in the Treasury Department under Secretary John Sherman. [3] He served in that position for six years, during which time he worked on education policy for the city of Washington. It was administered by the federal government [2] [3]

In 1884, Francis Cardozo returned to education as a principal of the Colored Preparatory High School in Washington, DC. [3] [2] He introduced a business curriculum and made it a leading school for African Americans. He served as principal until 1896.

Cardozo was a distant relative of future United States Supreme Court Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo, who was born in New York of another branch of the family. [4] Francis's granddaughter, Eslanda Cardozo Goode, studied chemistry in college and was an anthropologist, author, actor and civil rights activist. She married renowned singer and political activist Paul Robeson.

In 1928, the Department of Business Practice was reorganized as a high school in Northwest Washington, D.C. It was named Cardozo Senior High School in Francis Cardozo's honor. [5]

In the 1994 historical drama North and South, Book III, Francis Cardozo was portrayed by actor Billy Dee Williams.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Delafield, Julia, Biography of Francis Lewis and Morgan Lewis. 2 vols. New York: Anson, Randolph & Co., 1877.

revised by Michael Bellesiles

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Francis Lewis - History

Few other signers felt the tragedy of the War for Independence more directly than Francis Lewis, whose wife died as a result of British imprisonment. To further the cause, he also expended a considerable portion of the fortune he had acquired as a merchant.

Lewis was the only child of a minister. He was born in 1713 at Llandaff, Glamorganshire, Wales. Orphaned at an early age and raised by relatives, he studied at Westminster School in London and then took employment with a local firm. In 1738, deciding to go into business for himself, he set up branches in New York and Philadelphia and for a few years shuttled between those cities and northern European ports. In 1745 he married a New York girl, his partner's sister.

During the French and Indian War, in 1756, while functioning as a clothing contractor for British troops at Fort Oswego, in present New York, Lewis was taken captive and sent to France for imprisonment. Upon his release, apparently in 1763, as a recompense the British Government awarded him a large land grant in America. He returned to New York City, reentered business, and quickly earned a fortune. In 1765 he retired to the village of Whitestone (now part of Flushing), on Long Island, but in 1771 he temporarily returned to New York City to help his son enter the business world, even probably making a voyage to England with him.

Back home, Lewis devoted most of his energies to the Revolutionary movement, which he had joined in 1765 by attending the Stamp Act Congress. He was also likely one of the leaders of the New York Sons of Liberty. In 1774 he became a member of the New York Revolutionary committees of fifty-one and sixty, the next year attended the provincial convention, and subsequently helped set up the State government.

In the Continental Congress (1775-79), Lewis rarely took the floor but served on the marine, foreign affairs, and commerce committees, as well as sitting on the Board of Admiralty and engaging in troop supply matters. He defended Gen. George Washington from the attacks of the Conway Cabal. Because of Tory dominance in New York, Lewis and the other Delegates were instructed not to vote for independence on July 1 and 2, 1776, but Lewis signed the Declaration on August 2.

That same year, when the British invaded Long Island, they destroyed Lewis' home in Whitestone and took his wife into custody. She was eventually released in an exchange for wives of British officials, but the hardships she had endured ruined her health and brought about her death in 1779. The grief-stricken Lewis immediately left Congress, but remained on the Board of Admiralty until 1781, at which time he abandoned politics altogether. He lived in retirement with his sons, and died in 1802 at the age of 89 in New York City. He was buried there in an unmarked grave in the yard of Trinity Church.

Drawing: Oil, 1906, by Albert Rosenthal, after an engraving from John Sanderson, Biography of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence (1824), Independence National Historical Park.


Contents

St. Francis Preparatory originated as St. Francis Academy, a small all-boys high school on 300 Baltic Street in Brooklyn, New York, founded by the Franciscans Brothers of Brooklyn (O.S.F.). [6] The college section became St. Francis College, a private predominantly undergraduate college in Brooklyn Heights. It took its current name in 1935, then moved to a larger facility in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 1952. [7] The school moved to its current location in Fresh Meadows, Queens in 1974 when it acquired the facility that formerly housed Bishop Reilly High School, a co-educational Catholic high school. The school began admitting female students that same year. [7] A fitness center was added recently and the science labs are being updated. [ citation needed ] There are currently plans to add a three-story addition to the rear of the existing building. [ citation needed ] The upgrades to the art rooms will support students in the studio, digital and the performing arts. [8]

St. Francis Prep has a rivalry with Holy Cross High School, fueled particularly by their football teams. Known as the "Battle of the Boulevard" due to the two schools being located only 2 miles apart on Francis Lewis Boulevard, [9] the rivalry between the Prep Terriers and the Holy Cross Knights has been called "arguably the greatest rivalry in New York City football." [10]


Francis Lewis - History

The patriotic sages and daring heroes of the American Revolution were from different countries and of various pursuits. One feeling pervaded the bosoms and influenced the actions of all--the love of LIBERTY. This main spring of action was confined to no business or profession. All classes who loved their country and hated chains flew to the rescue. Self interest lost its potent powers and thousands pledged their lives and fortunes to defend their bleeding country against the merciless oppression and exorbitant demands of an unyielding monarch. No class of men better understood the injustice of the mother country than those engaged in commerce. Many bold spirits rushed from the counting house to the forum and the field, resolved on victory or death.

Among them was Francis Lewis, born at Landaff, in the shire of Glamorgan, South Wales, March 1713. His father was an Episcopal clergyman, his mother was the daughter of the Rev. Dr. Pettingal of the same sect who officiated at Cærnarvonshire in North Wales.

Francis was an only child and lost both his parents when only fifteen. A maternal aunt, named Llawelling, became his guardian. She had him early instructed in the Cymraeg language which he never lost. He was subsequently sent to a relative in Scotland where he was taught the original Celtic language. From there he entered the Westminster school at London and became a good classical scholar. He then entered a counting house and became thoroughly acquainted with the entire routine of commercial transactions which prepared him to enter into business understandingly and with safety.

When arrived at his majority he inherited a small fortune which he laid out in merchandise and embarked for New York where he arrived in the spring of 1735. He found his stock too large for that city--entered into partnership with Edward Annesley, leaving with him a part of his goods, proceeding with the balance to Philadelphia. At the end of two years he settled permanently in New York and married Elizabeth Annesley, sister of his partner in trade. To these ancestors may be traced the numerous and respectable families of the same name now residing in and about New York.

Commercial transactions frequently called Mr. Lewis to the principal ports of Europe and to the Shetland and Orkney Islands. He was twice shipwrecked on the coast of Ireland. His great industry, spotless integrity and skill in business, gave him a high position in commercial circles, showing clearly the great advantage derived from a thorough apprenticeship in business before a young man sets up for himself.

At the commencement of the French war he was the agent for supplying the British army with clothing. At the sanguinary attack and reduction of Oswego by the French troops under Gen. Dieskau, Mr. Lewis was standing by the side of Col. Mersey when he was killed. He was taken prisoner and held a long time by the Indians enduring the severest sufferings. As a small compensation the British government granted him five hundred acres of land.

Mr. Lewis was among the early and determined opposers to the unjust pretensions of the British ministers. He was a distinguished and active member of the Colonial Congress that assembled in New York in the autumn of 1765 to devise and mature measures to effectuate a redress of injuries. A petition was prepared to the King and House of Commons and a memorial to the House of Lords. The language was respectful but every line breathed a firm determination no longer to yield to injury and insult. The chrysalis of the Revolution was then and there formed. The eruptions of the volcano occasionally subsided but as the lava of insubordination would again burst out the crater was enlarged and the volume increased until the whole country became inundated by the terrific flood of war, red with the blood of thousands.

In 1771 Mr. Lewis visited England and became familiar with the feelings and designs of the British ministry. From that time he was fully convinced that the infant Colonies in America could never enjoy their inalienable rights until they severed the parental ties that bound them to the mother country. On all proper occasions he communicated his views to the friends of freedom and did much to awaken his fellow citizens to a just sense of impending dangers.

When it was determined to convene the Continental Congress Mr. Lewis was unanimously elected a member by the delegates convened for that purpose on the 22d day of April 1775. He immediately repaired to the Keystone city and entered upon the important duties assigned him. The following year he was continued in Congress and recorded his name upon the chart of Independence. His great experience in commercial and general business united with a clear head, a patriotic heart, a matured and reflecting mind richly stored with intelligence--rendered him a useful and influential member. As an active and judicious man on business committees he stood pre-eminent. As a warm and zealous advocate of his country's rights he had no rival.

He was continued a member of Congress to April 1779 when he obtained leave of absence. He had suffered much in loss of property which was wantonly destroyed by the British troops.

Time or angel's tears can never blot out the damning stigma that rests upon the escutcheon of Great Britain for personal abuse and the wanton destruction of private property during the Revolutionary War. Talk of savage barbarity. He is a Pagan and knows none but his own mode of warfare. England has professed to be the conservatory of Christianity for centuries. Compared with the brutality of her armies in America, looking at her in the light of even a _civilized_ nation, savage barbarity is thrown in the distance so far that it could not be seen through a microscope of a million power.

Not content with destroying the property of Mr. Lewis, the British seized his unprotected wife and placed her in close confinement without a bed--a change of clothes--almost without food and exposed to the cowardly and gross insults of wretches who were degraded so far below the wild man of the wilderness, that could an Archimedian lever of common decency have been applied to them with Heaven for a fulcrum and Gabriel to man it, they could not have been raised, in a thousand years, to the grade of common courtesy. No true American can trace the cruelties of the British troops during the times that verily tried men and women's souls, without having his blood rush back upon his aching heart--his indignation roused to a boiling heat.

Mrs. Lewis was retained in prison several months and finally exchanged, through the exertions of Gen. Washington, for a Mrs. Barrow, the wife of a British paymaster retained for the express purpose but treated in the most respectful manner and made perfectly comfortable with a respectable family. The base imprisonment of Mrs. Lewis caused her premature death.

At the close of the war Mr. Lewis was reduced from affluence to poverty. He had devoted his talents, his property to the cause of Liberty and what was infinitely more--the wife of his youth--the mother of his children had been brutally sacrificed by the hyenas of the crown. Notwithstanding these heart rending misfortunes the evening of his life was made comfortable by his enterprising children and on the 30th day of December 1803, calm and resigned, peaceful and happy, he closed his eventful and useful life.

He left a well earned fame that will survive, unimpaired, the revolutions of time. His private character was a fair unsullied sheet as pure and valued as his public life was useful and illustrious. As a man of business he stood in the front rank. He was the first merchant who made a shipment of wheat from America to Europe. He was the pioneer in the transporting trade. He was a full man in all that he undertook. His shining examples are worthy of our imitation in all the walks of a good and useful life.


Watch the video: Francis Lewis Squad 2012