- Five signers were captured by the
British as traitors, and tortured before
- Twelve had their homes ransacked and
- Two lost their sons serving in the
Revolutionary Army, another had two sons
- Nine of the 56 fought and died from
wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary
They signed and they pledged
their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
What Kind of men were they?
These were men of means and
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 congress without pay, and his
family was kept in hiding.
His possessions were taken from him and
poverty was his reward.
Vandal or soldiers looted
the properties of Diller, Hall, Clymer,
Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge and
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 British jailed
his wife and she died within a few months.
John Hart was driven from
his wife's beside as she was dying. Their 13
children fled for their lives. His fields
and 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 had vanished. A few weeks
he died from exhaustion and a broken heart.
Norris and Livingston suffered similar
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.
"For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the
protection of the 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 of what happened in the
We didn't just fight 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....We
So, take a couple of minutes while enjoying your 4th of July
and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the
price they paid and remember today enemies are tomorrows allies.