Have You Ever Wondered What Happened To The 56 Men Who Signed The Declaration of Independence?

The Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence

Happy July 4th !

A friend forwarded this July 4th message to me this morning. You may have seen this already but it’s the first time I read about what happened to the brave 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence.  Many had a lot to lose and they did for standing up for what they believe in. I wonder if we could get 56 politicians or business men today to sign a document that they knew was the right thing to do but could cost them their lives and fortunes?

You may have seen this piece before but it’s never too many times that we stop and remember some of the major contributors and patriots that helped to make this country great.

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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 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 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.

So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It’s not much to ask for the price they paid.

Remember: freedom is never free!

I hope you will show your support by sending this to as many people as you can, please. 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


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