These Men Signed and Pledged
their Lives, their Fortunes,and their Sacred Honor. What kind of men were they? Here is a brief overview. . . . .
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.
Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants Nine were farmers and
large plantation owners.
All were 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 McKeam 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
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.
Some of us take these liberties for granted, we shouldn't.
Please take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and reflect on the price these patriots paid for our Freedom. Remember, nothing is ever free!