Rebecca Taylor Lee
Wife of Francis Lightfoot Lee, Signer of the Declaration of Independence
1763 – 1831 A.D.
Rebecca Tayloe, who at the age of nineteen years became the wife of Francis Lightfoot Lee in May, 1769, was the second of the eleven children born to Colonel John and Rebecca Plater Tayloe, of “Mt. Airy,” Richmond County, one of the most noted houses of Virginia. She was a highly accomplished and popular young woman and an estimable wife to Mr. Lee, who was the fourth son of Thomas Lee and a younger brother to Richard Henry Lee. His father died and left him a fortune while he was still but little more than a boy. 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.
The family of Rebecca Tayloe Lee dated back to Hon. William Taylor, of London, who came to Virginia in the seventeenth century and accumulated a fortune. In 1650, we find him buying large holdings of land in Lancaster and Richmond counties. It is not known when or by whom the change was made in the spelling of the name from Taylor to Tayloe. He married Ann Corbin, daughter of Hon. Henry and Alice Eltonhead Corbin, and had four children, one of which died in childhood, Two of the children were twins, John and Elizabeth. Elizabeth married Colonel Richard Corbin of King and Queen county, and John, the founder of “Mt. Airy,” married Rebecca Plater of St. Mary’s County, Maryland.
“Mt. Airy” was built, in 1758, of red sandstone and white marble, 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. He was the father of eleven children, nearly all of whom grew up and married into other of the old families of Virginia.
Francis Lightfoot Lee and his wife lived on his estate “Manokin,” Richmond County, from their marriage in 1769 until their deaths in 1797, she dying in January and he following her in February. They had no children.
Reference: The Pioneer Mothers of America: A Record of the More Notable Women of the Early Days of the Country, and Particularly of the Colonial and Revolutionary Periods by Harry Clinton Green and Mary Wolcott Green, A.B. Third Volume, Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons.