Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Special Father's Day Tribute to the Founders

First, I'd like to say Happy Father's Day to all the dads, stepdads, uncles, grandfathers, and any man out there who helps shape the future: our children. May God the Father continue to bless you and keep you safe.

The Founding Fathers of this country are getting a special tribute. These men risked death for signing a piece of paper that forever changed history: The Declaration of Independence. Not much seems to be taught about them, so I looked up a piece I have heard for years on the radio. has said that some stories are hard to validate, but it gives you a general sense of the sacrifice these men made.

The Price They Paid

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 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 McKean 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. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.

Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. 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."

These men get a special "Thank You" and "Happy Father's Day" from me. Let's keep their hopes and dreams alive so that their suffering was not in vain.

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Bungalow Bill said...

Good read!

blackandgoldfan said...

Thanks Clay!!! It's always been one of my favorite pieces about the founders.

Left Coast Rebel said...

This is so moving I'm inspired to cover this myself, great job!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I also thanked you over at "Left Coast Rebel."

Best regards,

RightKlik said...

Great post. Thanks for the reminder.

blackandgoldfan said...

Thanks everyone!!! :-D