Have you ever wondered about the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence? What kind of men were they? What became of them?
Twenty-four of the 56 men were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants and nine were farmers and large plantation owners.
These were men of means who were well educated.
Nevertheless, they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
In signing the Declaration of Independence, these 56 men pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.
Five of the 56 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, while another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.
Thomas McKean was so hounded by the British that he was forced to keep his family on the move. He served in the Congress without pay, while his family was kept in hiding. All of his possessions were taken from him.
Vandals and/or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson noted that British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. Nelson quietly urged General George Washington to open fire.
The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. His wife died within a few months after being captured by the enemy.
John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children had to flee for their lives. For more than a year Hart lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children gone.
Take a few moments to consider the price that these 56 men were willing to pay for your freedom.
Consider where you and I might be today had these patriots not been willing to pay that price.