What Happened to the Signers- The Declaration of Independence

                       THE PRICE THEY PAID

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 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 or both, looted the properties of Ellery,
Clymer, Hall, 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. The owner 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 ruffians. 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."

Targetshooter's notes:

They gave you and I a free and independent America. The history
books never told you a lot of what happened in the revolutionary
war. We didn't just fight the British. We were British subjects at
that time and we fought our own government! Perhaps you can now see
why our founding fathers had a hatred for standing armies, and
allowed through the second amendment for everyone to be armed.

Frankly, I can't read this without crying. Some of us take these
liberties so much for granted.

We shouldn't.

Peace my friends,
Garry Hildreth
Erie, Pa