Of those 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence:
- 9 died of wounds or hardships during the Revolutionary War
- 5 were captured and imprisoned (and experienced brutal treatment)
- Several lost wives, sons, or entire families
- 1 lost his 13 children
- 2 wives experienced brutal treatment
- ALL were at one time or another the object of manhunts and driven from their homes
- The homes of 12 were burned down
- 17 lost everything they owned
They had pledged lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor ... and many had to step up and deliver their lives and fortunes. But their honor ... keeping their word, they paid the price. We reap the harvest.
The reading of names is often part of memorial services. Seems to me we might want to read the names of these men as part of our July 4 celebrations. Saying them aloud could be a meaningful way to continue the legacy.
DELAWARE: George Read, Ceasar Rodney, Thomas McKean
PENNSYLVANIA: George Clymer, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Morris, John Morton, Benjamin Rush, George Ross, James Smith, James Wilson, George Taylor.
RHODE ISLAND: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton.
NORTH CAROLINA: William Hooper, John Penn, Joseph Hewes
GEORGIA: Button Gwinnet, Lyman Hall, George Walton
MARYLAND: Charles Carroll, Samuel Chase, Thomas Stone, William Paca
VIRGINIA: Richard Henry Lee, Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Jefferson, George Wythe, Thomas Nelson, Jr.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Edward Rutledge, Arthur Middleton, Thomas Lynch, Jr., Thomas Heyward, Jr.
NEW YORK: Lewis Morris, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, William Floyd
NEW JERSEY: Abraham Clark, John Hart, Francis Hopkinson, Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon
CONNECTICUT: Samuel Huntington, Roger Sherman, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
MASSACHUSETTS: John Adams, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
And here's an idea for those of us who love history: Take a name ... and learn about that person. Learn about his wife, too ... for surely she bore part of the burden invited by her husband's signature on that document.
Have you studied the lives of any of the signers of the Declaration of Independence? Did you have to memorize part of it in school? (I did.)
God Bless America. Land that I love.
Stephanie Grace Whitson celebrated her 20th anniversary as a published novelist in 2014. Her most recent book, Daughter of the Regiment, tells the story of two women caught up in the events of the Civil War--from opposite sides of the conflict. Learn more at www.stephaniewhitson.com.