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Signers of the
Declaration of Independence

(Have you ever read this email going around? Here it is, as I received it. To do yourself justice, read it. Then read what I have added at the bottom. I thank a reader for the information, as I would rather have accuracy than emotional well-feeling. I would love to have both, actually!)

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 intake 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 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." They gave you and me 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!

Some of us take these liberties so much for granted...We shouldn't. So, take a couple of minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid.

Okay. I love a good story, and I really love stories about heroic people. That's one of the reasons I put this up on this website back in 1999. (Or was it in 2000, I'm not sure.) But, I have had it pointed out to me that there are some inconsistencies, no, inaccuracies in the above details.

I want to take nothing away from the people that decided that a government that over-taxes you doesn't deserve your loyalty. They stated in the Declaration of Independence why they felt compelled to do it and that they felt compelled to explain to the King of England why they rebelled.

I am glad they did. But I do not want to continue myths about people, because I think the truth is so much better. The best, fairest response to the above story, written by someone who has apparently researched this subject far, far better than I have, can be found at this link, at  https://slate.msn.com/code/chatterbox/chatterbox.asp?Show=7/3/2001&idMessage=7930. Since you have read the full article above, I suggest you be fair and follow the link above for further information about the 56 men who signed the declaration.

As Paul Harvey used to say,
here's the rest of the story:

At least 30 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence had previous legal experience; almost all were experienced in public affairs. Out of those 56 came two presidents (Adams and Jefferson), three vice presidents (Adams, Jefferson and Gerry), 10 U. S. congressmen, 19 distinguished jurists, 16 governors ... plus other high office holders. Working together - in both agreement and dissent - they forged the foundation of our American Republic as we know it today.

God Bless America, and all who follow Him!