Fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence:
❖ Five 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,
❖ Two had their sons captured,
❖ Nine fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War,
❖ Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.
❖ Eleven were merchants.
❖ Nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated.
They signed the Declaration of Independence and pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, 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 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 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 thirteen 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.
Remember, freedom has never been free. Someone had to pay the price of freedom with their property, bodies and lives. Please take a moment to silently thank these patriots, our Veterans and the men and women serving in our armed forces.