Founding Fathers Black Hills

It’s a Battle of the Francises


No, not Pope Francis. He may be famous, but he didn’t sign the Declaration of Independence. But this week here at Independence Hall, home of Founding Fathers Black Hills, we’re playing off the popularity of the Catholic pontiff who is visiting the United States.

And why not? Pope Francis is visiting Philadelphia, the city where a couple of other guys named Francis spent some time signing the Declaration of Independence Hall back in 1776.
That would be Francis Hopkinson of New Jersey and Francis Lewis of New York. In our weekly Founding Fathers Contest the two Francises will pair up at the ballot box. Here’s a little about each of these little-known but very deserving Founding Fathers.
Hopkinson was just 38 when he signed the Declaration. He was a lawyer by trade, but a songwriter and satirist by vocation and he wrote several popular ditties that were popular during the Revolutionary War. Some historians call him America’s first pop music star.
Lewis was one of the “old men” signers at age 63. He helped found the Sons of Liberty and he gave much to the independence movement. So did his wife, Elizabeth. Francis Lewis 3During the war, their Long Island farm was pillaged and burned, and Elizabeth was taken prisoner for several months by the British who had come looking for her husband but found her at home, instead. So much for British gallantry, huh? Her captivity probably contributed to her early death in 1779. Lewis himself lived to the ripe old age of 89.
In other recent weekly contests, Benjamin Harrison of Virginia defeated William Ellery of Rhode Island and George Clymer of Pennsylvania narrowly defeated Arthur Middleton of South Carolina in a squeaker of a vote.
Thanks for voting, and stop in to see us before we close for the 2015 tourism season on Sept. 30. If you’re already planning your 2016 Black Hills vacation, we’ll open next spring on May 1. Please visit us then!