Fourth of July revisited
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
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.
Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we
So, take a few minutes while enjoying your Fourth of July
holiday and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price
Remember: freedom is never free!
Surely this is something worth remembering -- even if we are
not American, and even if we see ourselves as "strangers and pilgrims" and not
firmly pledged to any single nation, because our true citizenship is in the
Kingdom of God.
Nevertheless, every freedom we enjoy now -- in a secular sense
-- was bought with the blood of courageous men and women! For this we must thank
And of course the greatest "freedom" was bought with the
precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, as a lamb without spot or blemish,
sacrificed for us. And for that we thank God a hundred times over!