signers of the Declaration

Signers of the Declaration of Independence

Short biographies on each of the 56 Declaration signers

Lewis Morris


Representing New York at the Continental Congress

by Ole Erekson, Engraver, c1876, Library of Congress
Born:April 8, 1726
Birthplace:Morrisania (Bronx County), New York
Education:Graduate of Yale College (Farmer)
Work:Member of Provincial Legislature; Deputy to New York Convention, 1775; Delegate to the Continental Congress, 1775-77; County judge, Worcester, 1777; Served in New York Legislature, Member of the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York.
Died:January 22, 1798

Lewis Morris was born in New York in 1726. He inherited great wealth, most of which was lost during the war. He graduated at Yale College in 1746, and returned to the farm of his father, in Lower West Chester, near Harlem. When his father passed on he became engaged in politics. He served in the Provincial legislature shortly before the troubles with Gr. Britain began and before it was dissolved by the royal governor. Morris joined with the patriots when conflict began, siding , in many cases, against his wealthy neighbors. He convinced local politicians to send representatives to the re-formed Legislature in April of 1775. That congress appointed delegates to the second Continental Congress, and Morris was one. He served on committees for the defense of New York, one for provisioning colonial forces, and another for Indian affairs. These tasks carried him throughout New England in the first few years of the war. He also served as a brigadier-general in the New York militia and so was often torn between his duties in congress and those to the defense of his own colony. In 1777, he was succeeded in congress by his brother, Gouverneur Morris. He returned to his local duties, later served as a judge in Worcester, and served intermittently as a member of the upper house of the new legislature until 1790. All of the Morris property and nearly all of his wealth had been destroyed in the revolution. Lewis spend several years working to rebuild his farm. He also served on the first Board of Regents for the University of New York. He died in January 1798 at the age of 72.

Arthur Middleton
Robert Morris

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