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Someone sent this to me and I thought members of the list might enjoy it.
I don't vouch for the accuracy.

 What the Fourth means

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

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

                                        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

                                        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

                                        Norris and Livingston suffered
similar fates. Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American

                                        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.

* Kathy Graves                  *
* kgraves@sisnet.ssku.k12.ca.us *

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