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The Terrible Fate of the Men Who Signed The Declaration of Independence

Updated July 6, 2015
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The Terrible Fate of the Men Who Signed The Declaration of Independence



All others of the world's revolutions, before and after the American Revolution, were initiated by men who had nothing to lose.  But our Founding Fathers had everything to lose and nothing to gain except one thing - a country they could call their own.

The men who signed the 'Declaration of Independence' were well educated, 24 were lawyers and jurists, 9 were farmers and owners of large plantations, 11 were merchants.  But signing the 'Declaration of Independence' made them rebels and traitors in the eyes of King George.  They were now wanted men.  Punishment for treason against the King was hanging. 

The men who signed their name to the 'Declaration of Independence' knew they were risking everything.  And they knew if they won this fight, the best they could expect were years of hardship in a struggling new nation, and if they lost - they would face a hangman's rope.

Here is the documented fate of what happened to signers of the 'Declaration of Independence':
 

  • The British caught five of the signers and tortured them as traitors before they died.

     
  • Nine of the 56 signers fought and died from wounds or hardships of the war.

     
  • Two of the signers lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army.  Another had two sons captured.

     
  • Carter Braxton a signer from Virginia, was a wealthy planter and trader, but saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy.  Braxton sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

     
  • The British hounded Thomas McKeam to the point where he was forced to move his family almost constantly and keep them in hiding.  McKeam was not paid for his services in the Congress.  With his possessions taken, poverty was his reward for signing the 'Declaration of Independence'.

     
  • Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed, and his wife died within a few months of being jailed by the British.

     
  • John Hart had to flee into the forest and lived in caves for a year.  When he returned, his wife had died and his 13 children (who fled for their lives) had vanished.  Within a few weeks of returning, John Hart died.

     
  • Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of other signers including Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
     

And the list goes on.  Such are the stories of the American Revolution.  These were men of means, but they gave up their lives and fortunes so that future generations would have a country to call their own.

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