In 1765, Peter Francisco, at about five years of age, was found abandoned at a wharf in
Hopewell, Virginia (at the time called City Point), and he is believed to have been Portuguese.
Francisco fought in the Revolutionary War as part of the Tenth Virginia Regiment. He became
wealthy and eventually was appointed sergeant-at-arms of the Virginia House of Delegates. He
very well-known during his own time. Francisco was buried with military honors in Shockoe Hill
Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.
March 15 is Peter Francisco Day in several states. There are also monuments and parks named after this Revolutionary War hero, including a park in New Bedford, Massachusetts and a monument in Greensboro, North Carolina. The original of a much-circulated engraving of Francisco is housed in Independence Hall in Philadelphia. The Portuguese Continental Union of the United States gave out its first Peter Francisco Award in 1974. Also in 1974, the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp honoring Francisco.
Lionel Holmes and Joseph D'Alessandro, Portuguese Pioneers of the Sacramento Area (Sacramento, Calif.: Portuguese Historical and Cultural Society, 1990), 24.
Leo Pap, The Portuguese-Americans, reprint (Boston: Portuguese Continental Union of the U.S.A., 1992): 15-16.