7. Francis Lewis Park honors a New York representative who signed the Declaration of Independence

Francis Lewis Park

Francis Lewis Park is one of Whitestone’s most scenic destinations, located right near the Whitestone Bridge. The park honors Francis Lewis, a merchant and representative from New York at the Continental Congress who signed the Declaration of Independence. Lewis was born in Wales but received his education in London before setting sail for New York around 1734. He created a successful trading company in New York City and Philadelphia, all the while making trips to places like Saint Petersburg and the coast of Africa. He married Elizabeth Annesley, and despite being imprisoned in France during the French and Indian War, moved to Whitestone where he used his wealth to build a mansion.

It wasn’t until 1774 that he officially started his political career. He began as a New York delegate to the Provincial Congress, then from 1775 to 1779 was a delegate to the Continental Congress. He was a signatory of the Declaration of Independence, followed two years later by the Articles of Confederation. Despite his success in politics, his Whitestone home was destroyed and his wife was arrested by the British. His wife was eventually released in a prisoner trade, but she died shortly after due to the poor treatment she received while imprisoned. During the American Revolution, after he rebuilt his home, he served on the Secret Committee and the Marine Committee. He was also the Chairman of the Board of Admiralty. After the war, Lewis helped his son (who fought for the Continental Army) start his business, and he became a vestryman for Trinity Church.