The Price of Freedom (click here)

by Chris | July 5th, 2009

Our Freedom was purchased with the Lives, Fortunes and sacred Honor of many men and women during the course of about 180 years.  The key event however was the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th 1776.  Below is the price that these men paid, not just for signing the Declaration, but in the course of their struggle for your Freedom.



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, deeply religious, understanding their destiny

 

Five signers were captured by the British during the Revolutionary War, and endured ill treatment and deplorable conditions.

  • George Walton was captured after being wounded while commanding militia at the Battle of Savannah in December 1778.
  • Thomas Heyward, Arthur Middleton, and Edward Rutledge were taken prisoner at the Siege of Charleston in May of 1780.
  • Richard Stockton was “dragged from his bed by night” by local Tories for signing the Declaration of Independence and imprisoned in New York City’s infamous Provost Jail (“the engine for breaking hearts”).  Stockton was the only signer to recant his signature after suffering physical and psychological abuse in jail.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. 

Abraham Clark saw two of his sons captured by the British and incarcerated on the prison ship Jersey. 

John Witherspoon saw his oldest son, James killed in the Battle of Germantown in October 1777.  

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships captured or sunk from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts losing most of his wealth.

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 Hart, Morris, Livingston, Ellery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Rutledge, 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 on his home which still bears the marks of the shelling.


Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed for signing the Declaration of Independence, and the British jailed his wife.
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.

 

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