Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed
the Declaration of Independence?
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured
before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.
Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had
two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or
hardships of the Revolutionary War. They signed and they pledged
their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
What kind of men were they?
Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine
were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well
educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing
full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his
ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and
properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
Thomas McKean was so hounded by the British that he was forced
to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress
without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were
taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer,
Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr, noted that the British
General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his
headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open
fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy
jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their
13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to
waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to
find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he
died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Norris and Livingston
suffered similar fates.
Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution.
These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were
soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but
they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering,
they pledged: "For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance
on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each
other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."
They gave you and me a free and independent America. The history
books never told you a lot about what happened in the
Revolutionary War. We didn't fight just the British. We were British
subjects at that time and we fought our own government! Some of us
take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn't. So,
take a few minutes this year while enjoying your 4th of July holiday
and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price
Remember: freedom is never free!
I hope you will show your support by please sending this to as many
people as you can. It's time we get the word out that patriotism is
NOT a sin, and the Fourth of July has more to it than beer, picnics,
and baseball games.