Peter Francisco Sr
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Pedro Francisco Sr (1760 - 1831)

Pedro (Peter) Francisco Sr
Born in Porto Judeu, Angra do Heroísmo, Terceira, Azores, Portugalmap [uncertain]
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married Dec 1784 in Virginia, United Statesmap
Husband of — married 8 Dec 1794 (to 1821) in Richmond, Virginiamap
Husband of — married 1823 in Buckingham, Virginia, United Statesmap [uncertain]
Descendants descendants
Died at age 70 in Richmond, Virginia, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 18 Nov 2008
This page has been accessed 29,318 times.
US Southern Colonies.
Peter Francisco Sr resided in the Southern Colonies in North America before 1776.
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1776 Project
Peter Francisco Sr served with 10th Virginia Regiment (1777), Continental Army during the American Revolution.
Notables Project
Peter Francisco Sr is Notable.

"Virginia Giant" or “Giant of the Revolution” - an American Patriot 6 Foot six inches tall, weight 260 pounds.

In June 1765, Peter (Pedro) Francisco was found abandoned at a wharf in present-day Hopewell, Virginia (then City Point). He was then about five years of age, and was believed to have been Portuguese, possibly from the Azores, and possibly kidnapped from his homeland and taken to America. Raised as an indentured servant by Judge Anthony Winston, Peter was trained as a blacksmith.

In 1775, he heard Judge Winston's nephew, Patrick Henry, give his famous speech, “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death”, and became a supporter of the colonies breaking away from England. By 1776, Peter had joined the 10th Virginia Militia as a private. A five-foot sword was given him by Gen. George Washington, after Francisco's complaint that ordinary swords were too light.

At the age of 15 he was permitted to enlist, in 1776, as a private in the 10th Virginia Regiment. He re-enlisted two more times and was injured at least four times, once being left for dead. His feats were legendary. He reportedly picked up a one thousand pound cannon and hauled it on his back off the battlefield in New Jersey. Another story tells how he singelhandedly escaped from nine British soldiers that were holding him prisoner and escaped with their horses. His strength, size and bravery led to him being called "Hercules of the Revolution" and "The Giant of Virginia." After the war he became a wealthy store owner and was named the Sergeant-of-Arms for the Virginia House of Delegates. He was a national hero in the 1800s with children's books written about him and several states setting aside March 15th as "Peter Francisco Day." Several monuments and parks are named in his honor and in 1975 the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp to celebrate his service to his country. An original eighteenth century engraving of this soldier is on display at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Peter was wounded at the Battle of Brandywine, and was at Valley Forge with Washington and Lafayette. He was wounded again, in 1778, at the Battle of Monmouth, then in the big Battle of Cowpens, after starting his third enlistment. At Cowpens he was part of Lt. Col. William Washington’s troops.

He was at the Battle of Stony Point, where he was wounded again, with a British bayonet (that soldier he then killed, who had been under Lt. Col Basastre Tarleton). Further wounds were received at the Battle of Camden, and then, with Colonel Watkins, at the Guilford Courthouse Battle, where he was bayoneted again in the leg. In the various battles he killed 11 men.

After the Guilford Courthouse battle, he defeated Tarleton’s Raiders in what was called “Francisco’s Fight” and made off with most of their horses. Peter was at Yorktown to see the British surrender. (Then) Colonel George Washington was so impressed that he offered him a commission, but Francisco declined (due to his lack of education), and stated that, ‘Without him, we would have lost two crucial battles, perhaps the war, and with it our freedom," and "He was truly a one-man army."[1]

At war’s end, in 1783, Peter went home to Buckingham, Virginia. He had inherited a farmhouse and land, named “Locust Grove”, in Richmond, Virginia, from his first wife, Susannah.

  1. Susannah (Anderson) Francisco (1763-1791), by some reports, they married when she turned eighteen and she died five years later[2]
  2. Catherine Fauntleroy (Brooke) Francisco (abt.1773-1821), whom he married two years after Susannah died[2]
  3. Mary Beverly (Grymes) West Francisco (abt.1782-abt.1858), whom he married in 1823[2][3]
Children of Susannah Anderson
  1. James Anderson Francisco, who was an heir to his mother's Cumberland County land that she had inherited from her father[2]
  2. Polly Francisco
Children of Catherine Fauntleroy Brooke
  1. Susan Brooke Francisco
  2. Benjamin M. Francisco
  3. Peter Francisco, II
  4. Catherine Fauntleroy Francisco

He was a legend in his own time.

Peter died of appendicitis Jan. 16, 1831 in Richmond, Virginia.

Research Notes

This person may not belong in the family group. See the text for details.

The American historiography[4][1][5], associates Peter Francisco with a Pedro, that was born on 9 July 1760 in Porto Judeu, Terceira, Açores, Portugal, he was the godson of his uncle Pedro Francisco, and son of Francisco Machado Luís and Maria da Ascenção.

This document names Francisco Machado Luis and Maria da Ascenção as his parents.

Transcription of the baptism record:[6]

“PEDRO, son of Francisco Machado Luis and his wife Antonia Maria, natives and parishioners of this parish of St. Anthony of the place of Porto Judeu, was born the 9th day of the month of July of the year of 1760, and was baptized on 20th of the same month by me, Antonio Gardoso de Castro, the Vicar of the Parish. Godparents: Pedro Francisco, son of Francisco Machado Luiz (grandfather of the baptized) and Marianna de St. Joseph, daughter of Pedro Pacheco and his wife Maria de St. Joseph natives and parishioners of this said parish; to state made this record on the same day, month, and year above
Vicar Antonio Gradoso de Castro
Joao Roiz da Costa
Joao Joseph Machado"

This document suggests that Francisco Machado Luiz and Marianna de St. Joseph were his grandparents.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Peter Francisco: American Revolutionary War hero", by Michael D. Hull; Military History magazine;; July/August 2006 issue.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 W Edwin Hemphill, ed. Daniel, J. R. V. The Giant of Virginia [Peter Francisco, Alias the Hercules of the Revolution]. Vol. 1. Issue 2. Virginia Cavalcade: History in Picture and Story. 1951, p. 39. Richmond, Virginia: Virginia State Library.
  3. See also (no direct source identified): Wikipedia: Peter Francisco.
  4. Moon, William Arthur. Peter Francisco, the Portuguese Patriot. Colonial Publishers, 1980. pp 49,52,53,. .
  5. Ornelas Mendes, António, and Jorge Forjaz. Genealogias da Ilha Terceira. Vol. V. Lisboa: DisLivro Histórica, 2007. p551,552.
  6. "Batismo de Pedro", 1760/7/20. Açores, Terceira, Angra do Heroísmo, Paróquia do Porto Judeu 1643-05-03/1911-03-31, Batismos 1643-05-03/1911-03-29, PT/BPARLSR/PRQ/AGH06/01-001/0005, fl 70v. Biblioteca Pública e Arquivo Regional Luís da Silva Ribeiro, Angra do Heroísmo, Açores, Portugal. (Centro de Conhecimento dos Açores: TER-AH-PORTOJUDEU-B-1751-1770):

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Memories: 5
Enter a personal reminiscence or story.
At Guilford Court House, he was gravely wounded and "left for dead" on the battlefield, but was recovered and recuperated by a local farmer.

In "Francisco's Fight" at West Creek Tavern in Nottoway County, VA, he "... single-handedly subdued nine of Tarleton's feared Dragoons in hand-to-hand combat" (a scouting or "recon" party), while his cohort stole off to warn Gen. Horatio Gates of Tarleton's whereabouts. One of the Dragoons attempted to shoot him, but the pistol mis-fired. Should be Banastre Tarleton (erata in story above).

posted 5 Jan 2011 by Chuck Shorter
His modest (but restored)"Locust Grove" house is on Locust Grove Rd (local Rt. 626) off of U.S. Rt 60 in Buckingham County, VA (not Richmond).

He is buried in Shockoe Cemetary in Richmond, VA, which grave site has an impressive monument with freemason symbology (although there is no record that he was a mason - possibly an honorarium).

posted 5 Jan 2011 by Chuck Shorter
The above story does not mention Peter's wounding in the heroic taking of the Trenton Redoubt (NJ), one of three survivors of a 25-man force under indirect command of Gen. George Washington (NO Redcoat survivors). After recuperating in Virginia, Peter went South to join the forces of Gen. Horatio Gates (Guilford Court House, NC), where he complained of his swords "breaking like toothpicks" when he cleaved Redcoats. Upon hearing word of this in Pennsylvania, Gen. Washington had a 6-foot broadsword especially forged and sent to Peter, so he could "cleave Redcoats from brow to breastbone".
posted 5 Jan 2011 by Chuck Shorter
Life story sources cited: "Peter Francisco, Portuguese Patriot" by William Arthur Moon, related to China missionary Lottie Moon, late of Crewe, VA (site of "Lottie Moon's Tomb").
posted 5 Jan 2011 by Chuck Shorter
The monument to Patriot Peter Francisco was erected at the site of Guilford Courthouse by Peter Francisco Pescud, a grandson of the Revolutionary hero. It was unveiled in 1904.
posted 18 Nov 2008 by Alice Luckhardt
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Comments: 11

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In the May 1814 court session for Cumberland County (Order Book 1811-1815, p. 412), a Charles Smith, son of Letty Smith and aged 23 (thus b. ca. 1791), proved satisfactory completion of indenture to Peter Francisco and thus established his own freedom. I have several questions:

1. Where was Peter Francisco in the 1810 Census? I cannot find him. 2. Is there a body of papers attributable to Peter Francisco that might detail his personal and financial dealings? 3. Are there records of who was bound to Peter Francisco while in Cumberland or Buckingham? 4. Does anybody have any leads on these Smiths? Were they possibly related to the James Anderson family?

posted by Robert Smith
US Southern Colonies Project Managed Profiles Team adding PMP/PPP—historical figure. Please continue to manage normally.
posted by Ken Spratlin
The bio states "At war’s end, in 1783, Peter went home to Buckingham, Virginia. He had inherited a farmhouse and land, named “Locust Grove”, in Richmond, Virginia, from his first wife, Susannah" This statement is incorrect.

If Peter Francisco was in Buckingham County in 1783, he was NOT living on land he inherited from Susannah Anderson. Her land was never in Buckingham County. Peter Francisco, still a resident of Cumberland County, on 8 September 1791, sold this 60 acre parcel in Cumberland County to George Walker. Deed confirms that this is "the land that James Anderson deceased devised to his daughter Susannah Anderson who afterwards married Peter Francisco and since died". Prince Edward County Virginia Deed Book 1789-1812, p 26-27, FHL 33221, images are here

Susannah Francisco was not allotted this 60 acre parcel located in Cumberland County until October 1787. Cumberland County Virginia Will Book 2, p. 432-433, FHL 30738, Oct 1787, images are here

The update just completed added the WikiTree ID web interlinks for his spouses, and a source that actually names all three marriages (I can reexamine the article to see if it contributes dates for all three, which I seem to recall that it does).

Another user identified that the profile for his 3rd wife exists: Mary Beverly (Grymes) West Francisco (abt.1782-abt.1858). She is sourced in the cited article that was added. Can you please add her or let me know when profile protection is lifted long enough to add her as his documented spouse?

Thank you!


posted by Porter Fann
I was able to add the 3rd spouse. So far as PPP status, the person who placed it has been contacted. I went ahead and added the US SoCol project box, as this seems a reasonable project to which Francisco should be affiliated. 1776 Project might be an alternate, as is Notables Project.

Given the question about whether he is attached to parents vs. grand-parents, a project management that best represents him seems to be needed.

posted by Porter Fann
An unmarried Susannah Anderson is among the legatees of James Anderson of Cumberland County Virginia in his will written 16 May 1782 and proven in court 25 November 1782, Cumberland County Virginia Will Book 2, p. 304-305.FHL film 30738, images begin here

No marriage record has yet been located for Peter Francisco to Susannah Anderson. The marriage took place sometime after the will was written in 1782 but prior to March 1787 when Peter Francisco and wife Susannah, along with two of her siblings, filed a chancery court case for division of James Anderson's estate. James Anderson et al vs executor of James Anderson Sr, Cumberland County Virginia Chancery Court case (1787-001), published by The Library of Virginia images begin here

This will left a 300 acre tract of land in Cumberland County to be divided equally between the five daughters of James Anderson. While it is possible that Peter Francisco and wife Susannah, after their marriage, may have lived somewhere on her father's land, Peter did not legally own any of this land until October 1787 when a 60 acre parcel in Cumberland County was allotted to Susannah Francisco. Cumberland County Virginia Will Book 2, p. 432-433, FHL 30738 Oct 1787, images are here

If Peter Francisco was in Buckingham County in 1783, he was not living on land he inherited from Susannah Anderson. Her land was never in Buckingham County. Peter Francisco, still a resident of Cumberland County, on 8 September 1791, sold this 60 acre parcel in Cumberland County to George Walker. Deed confirms that this is "the land that James Anderson deceased devised to his daughter Susannah Anderson who afterwards married Peter Francisco and since died". Prince Edward County Virginia Deed Book 1789-1812, p 26-27, FHL 33221, images are here

You may find this of interest:

4. The family of Peter Francisco, the "Virginia Giant", who was a hero in the Revolutionary War. His origins are obscure -- some say he may have been Portuguese. Click on the following link for the Society of his descendants:

posted by Jeanne (Lunn) Aloia
Francisco-1 and Francisco-38 are not ready to be merged because: Conflict of spouse
posted by [Living Woodhouse]
Francisco-1 and Francisco-38 appear to represent the same person because: Same dates of birth/death
posted by Albert Colbert II
According to marriage records in my grandmother's (Flossie Virginia Shorter, nee Hobbs) family bible, I'm a 5th great grandson of Peter Francisco. I'm related to other great grand-children in the Shorter/Hobbs lineage as well as Bobby Lloyd of Virginia and Travis Bowman of Charlotte, NC. With 3 wives and 8 children, there's likely many more descendants.
posted by Chuck Shorter