Image courtesy of Colonial National Historical Park, Yorktown.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Meeting Notes: May 8, 2019

"Francis Lightfoot Lee and His Home Called Menokin," Samuel McKelvey

Pre-Guest Speaker Notes:

  • 10/12/2019 Field Trip to Norfolk/Great Bridge area has been announced
  • ARRT-Richmond presented a check to Samuel McKelvey (representing The Menokin Foundation), our 2018-2019 Preservation Partner

Speaker Bio:
Before coming to Menokin, McKelvey managed multiple museums within the Henrico County Virginia Historic Preservation and Museum Services section. McKelvey holds an MA in History from Virginia Commonwealth University and a BS in Geography and History from James Madison University.

“He did no brilliant things, he made no brilliant speeches; but the enduring strength of his participation was manifest; his fearlessness in confronting perilous duties and compassing them was patent to all, the purity of his motives was unquestioned, his unpurchaseable honor and uprightness were unchallenged.” --Mark Twain on Francis Lightfoot Lee, 1877

“The subscriber requests it as a favour of all his acquaintance, that they will never take any letter directed to him out the post-office, as he is determined never willingly to pay a farthing to any tax laid upon this country, in any unconstitutional manner.” --Francis Lightfoot Lee, Virginia Gazette, May 1776.

Francis Lightfoot Lee Biography:
Lee signed both the Westmoreland Resolves (Feb. 27, 1766) and the Declaration of Independence (1776). He served in the Virginia House of Burgesses, first from Loudoun County, and then from Richmond County. He was in Philadelphia in 1776 as a Virginia delegate to the second Continental Congress, returning to Virginia In 1779.

As a member of the Continental Congress he ran the“supply committee”assisting Washington’s army.

Lee was the grandson of Colonel Richard Lee II and a great grandson of Colonel Richard Lee I. Senator Richard Henry Lee and diplomats William Lee and Dr. Arthur Lee were his brothers.

Menokin Foundation Update:
Construction of Menokin began in 1769 and continued into the 1780s. Initial occupancy occurred as early as 1771.

Menokin was unoccupied after 1960 and was extensively damaged by a falling tree in the 1960s. By 1995,when the Menokin Foundation received it, the house was in ruins. The Foundation erected  a steel canopy to stabilize the structure in 2000.

Menokin was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1971.

Currently the Menokin Foundation is in the middle of the “Raise the Glass”campaign. This is an $8.5 million historic initiative to replace the building’s missing walls, floors, and roof with structural glass.

--Noah Rogers


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