The 4th of July remembrance of the Signing of Independence of thee United States is a Great Historical Celebration for Patriots all around…
But what happened after the Fourth of July 1776?
Well — Let’s See …
Fifty-six delegates to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia signed the United States Declaration of Independence — a statement announcing that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain were now independent states, and thus no longer a part of the British Empire. The Continental Congress declared its freedom from Britain on July 2, 1776, when it approved a resolution and delegates from New York were given permission to make it a unanimous vote. John Adams thought July 2 would be marked as a national holiday for generations to come. July 4 is when the Declaration was adopted.
After voting on independence, the Continental Congress needed to finalize a document explaining the move to the public. It had been proposed in draft form by the Committee of Five comprised of John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson, and it took two days for the Congress to agree on the various edits. Six people signed the Declaration and also the Constitution. But Benjamin Franklin was literally among a handful of people who signed both historic documents. The others were George Read, Sherman, Robert Morris, George Clymer and James Wilson.
Although the wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved by Congress on July 4, 1776, the date of its signing has been disputed. Most of the members of the Continental Congress signed a version of the Declaration in early August 1776 in Philadelphia. The names of the signers were released publicly in early 1777.
But still what happened after the 4th of July to the signatories is rather important as it shows that Liberty and Freedom are hard won and there are costs — heavy cots, that have to be borne by those who believe in it…
So if You have ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence — here it goes:
Their story. . .
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 judges, lawyers, and jurists.
Eleven were merchants.
Nine were farmers, and plantation farm owners; men of means, well educated, with large families and dependent employees & staff.
But they all put their lives on the line and signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that if they were captured — the penalty would be death.
And for some that was their fate…
Still others survived but lost everything they owned.
For example: Carter Braxton of Virginia, a 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 was tortured and 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 the afterglow, and silently thank these great patriots.
It’s not much to ask for the price they paid.
Remember: freedom is never free!
Liberty come with a Death Warrant at the Ready for those who will it….