56 Men

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!                    
                              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. 


4 thoughts on “56 Men

  1. Thanks for remembering how we got here as a nation. While my blog for today was not of the “patriotic” type … it was to honor my dad … I only go back one generation as an American …

    He traveled the seas to come here, frightened, poor and hopeful. Terrified to try and make it through the legal way on Ellis Island, he jumped ship and did not become a naturalized citizen until my older brother was in junior high school.

    He was a patriot who taught me about American politics, who loved his country and who thought living here was the most incredible gift of birth we were given.

    Thanks for your beautiful blog.

  2. Florence,
    What an amazing story and he sounds like an amazing man. I read your post on your dad…well done.

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