Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day

The Signers of the Declaration of Independence
Have you ever wondered what happened to those men who signed the

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 in the Revolutionary Army, another had two sons captured. Nine of the fifty-seven fought and died from wounds or the hardships of the Revolutionary War.

What kind of men were they? 24 were lawyers and jurists. 11 were merchants, 9 were farmers and large plantation owners, men of means, well educated. But they singed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, 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 McKean 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 his reward.

Vandals or soldiers, or both, looted the properties of Ellery, Clymer, Hall, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Rutledge, 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. The owner quietly urged General George Washington to open fire, which was done. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and soon after, she died.

John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their thirteen children fled for their lives. His fields and his grist mill were laid waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home after the war to find his wife dead, his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart.

Morris and Livingston suffered similar fates.

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 a security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight and unwavering they pledged:

"For the support of this declaration, with a 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 us an Independent American
Can we keep it?

Primary Documents in American History
* Declaration of Independence
* U.S. Constitution
* The Bill of Rights
* The Federalist Papers
* Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774-1789
* Guide to American Historical Documents Online
* Charters of Freedom from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration


Wireman said...

Perfect information for celebrating the 4th of July. Thank you for putting this together.

Dottie said...

Thank you so much for posting this. It was the perfect thing to read this morning! Awesome.

Diane said...

Thanks for posting that, Kelley. As Steve and I read it, he said, "It reminds me of another group of pioneers". We owe so much to those who paved the way for our freedoms.

monstermash said...

I shared this with my kids Saturday before we began our fun festivities. It made the day all the more grand. THANKS.

sewpink said...

That was so fun to read. It really gives you something to think about doesn't it!

stacey said...

This is wonderful.

wendy said...

WOW - I did not know all of that. good stuff. the best and most valuable things of our life seem to come with sacrifice

Laurel @ Ducks in a Row said...

Fun read - I've never read this blog before - I always read the other one. It's fun to see you more.