The Fate of the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence

The Fate of the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence

July 4, 2007 by Michelle

0px583canbwgo8cawqg78aca28nhk1caqjeb5fcaau7l80ca8x5tiecaj7s4brca39n8rqcamgm61dcanxp7cbcad5dkmaca11xunbca2swlc4ca6t3sx4carbtqrwcacey09rcaxb12a3ca4g0vzw.jpgA friend of mine sends me this e-mail every Fourth of July.  It’s worth remembering.  This is the kind of leadership and citizenship we need if our nation is to survive:

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. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart.

Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.

Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution.

These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing

They were soft-spoken men of means and
education. They had security, but they valued
liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and
unwavering, they pledged: 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 about what
happened in the Revolutionary War.

We didn’t fight just 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, but we shouldn’t. 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!

H/T to Michelle St. Pierre and The Reagan Wing


You can read a fuller and very moving account of what happened to the 56 signers and their families, here.


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9 years ago

I am ashamed that I did not know that.

9 years ago

So, these are the fat, rich, slave-owning, white guys who were stupid bigots and had no clue about what the future would be like? To those who believe that, I pity you, and I weep for the ignorance that has swept this country. We have held our freedoms so carelessly, making laws banning lightbulbs and declaring a 25-second session a full day’s work in the Senate. And the question must be asked: Is it too late? My only true hope is in G_d. And I pray I’m a fraction as brave as those men and their families.