Lewis Morris

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Founding Fathers
Lewis Morris
State New York
Religion Christian- Episcopalian [1]
Founding Documents Declaration of Independence

Lewis Morris (April 8, 1726 – January 22, 1798) is a founding father of America, he was the first Board of Regents member for the University of the State of New York, a member of the New York legislature, a county judge, also serving as a brigadier-general in the New York militia and the New York delegate to the Continental Congress that signed the Declaration of Independence.

Early life

Lewis Morris was born at Morrisania in Westchester County, New York. His was a family of wealth and politics. The grandfather of Lewis was the first royal governor of New Jersey. Morris graduated from Yale College in 1746 and married the wealthy Mary Walton, raising 10 children. Morris showed little interest in politics until 1769 when he won a seat in the provincial assembly opposing taxation of the colonies.[2]

American Revolution

In 1775, Morris took his elected seat to the Second Continental Congress. He was placed on two committees, one chaired by General Washington for the war effort and defense of New York, and the other for Indian affairs. The task for Morris would be to convince the Indians to side with the colonists and not the British.

At the time Lewis Morris signed the Declaration of Independence, a large armada of British ships had stationed themselves within canon-fire of his estate. The British army had just landed miles away. Morris would remark

Damn the consequences, give me the pen.

The British burnt down 1000 acres of his waterfront woodlands, ransacked his house, drove away his family into hiding, his livestock and extensive possessions pillaged. The Morris family suffered severely for the next six years until the evacuation of New York City. Morris chose independence for America and in the process gave up his vast wealth and his way of life.


In 1777, he was succeeded in congress by his brother, Gouverneur Morris. Later served as a judge in Worcester and served intermittently as a member of the upper house of the new legislature. Lewis spent several years working to rebuild his estate and farm destroyed in the revolution. Also, he would serve as the first Board of Regents for the University of New York until he died at age 72.[3]


  1. http://www.adherents.com/gov/Founding_Fathers_Religion.html
  2. Lewis Morris, thedeclarationofindependence.org
  3. Lewis Morris, USHistory.org