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.

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.

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