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I found this in some old emails and thought it worth saving and sharing.

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration 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.                                                                    

                                                                            

                                                                            

  Remember: freedom is never free!

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