Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rebecca Tayloe Lee

                    Rebecca Tayloe was only nineteen years old when she married Francis Lightfoot Lee, signer of the Declaration of Independence, in May 1769.  She was the second of eleven children born to Colonel John and Rebecca Plater Tayloe of "Mt. Airy" in Richmond County. 

Francis was the fourth son of Thomas Lee as well as the younger brother of Richard Henry Lee.  Francis was a young boy when his father died and left him a fortune.  "Like all the Lees, he was public-spirited and patriotic and thoroughly loyal to his brilliant brother, Richard Henry, whom he supported in every measure which that able and far-seeing statesman held for the good of either his native Province or the Colonies at large."

Rebecca "was a highly accomplished and popular young woman and was an estimable wife to Mr. Lee."  Her family dated back to Hon. William Taylor of London, "who came to Virginia in the seventeenth century and accumulated a fortune."  He bought large land holdings in Lancaster and Richmond Counties in 1650.  No one seems to know "when or by whom the change was made in the spelling of the name, from Taylor to Tayloe."

William Taylor married Ann Corbin, daughter of Hon. Henry and Alice Eltonhead Corbin of "Buckingham House," Middlesex County with whom he had four children with one dying in childhood.  Two of the children were twins, John and Elizabeth.  Elizabeth married Colonel Richard Corbin of King and Queen County.  John, the founder of "Mt. Airy" married Rebecca Plater of St. Mary's County, Maryland.  "Mt. Airy was one of the "noted houses of Virginia."  It was built of red sandstone and white marble in 1758 and consisted of "a vast central building of fine proportions, with right and left wings joined by semicircular corridors.  The portraits of Mt. Airy are considered one of the finest collections in America."

"John Taylor (or Tayloe) was an influential member of the King's Council under Lord Dunmore."  John and Rebecca became parents of eleven children, most of whom grew up and married into "other old families of Virginia."

Francis Lightfoot Lee and Rebecca Tayloe Lee lived on his estate "Manokin," in Richmond County from the time of their marriage in 1769 until their deaths in 1797.  She passed away in January, and he died in February.  They had no children.

Facts and quotes are from Wives of the Signers:  The women behind the Declaration of Independence, pp. 254-256. 

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