The Cost of Signing The Declaration of Independence

Olivia's picture
Submitted by Olivia on Sat, 2009-07-04 01:02

This was in my inbox this morning. Food for thought if ever I've read it:

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.

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.

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Robert's picture

Is an old American term for the mercenaries hired by George III. One of the many differences in terminology between English and American accounts of the unpleasantness in 1775-1783. To the English it is "The American War of Independence" whereas to Americans it is simply "The Revolution."

I suspect that the English need to distinguish this revolution from all the other uprisings they've had to deal with...


Marcus's picture

Don't you mean Hanoverian, if anything?

Has Obama messed with US history that much since taking office? Smiling

Forgetting the

Robert's picture

16,000 Hessian hirelings that George III sent to bolster his lobster-backs?

I didn't know that...

Marcus's picture

"Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton."

I didn't know that Germanic tribes such as the Vandals were still active in America during the war of Independence!

I thought it was a rebellion against the British. Any Vikings at Concord or Ostrogoths at Gettysburg? Smiling

Happy fourth of July!

Thanks Ross..

Olivia's picture

that's excellent.

"...our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."

Ross Elliot's picture

Right here.

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