We are gearing up with one very special Sunday morning. Oh yes, and we follow this special time of worship with PCC at the Park. Wow, what a grand day ahead. But this week our nation will celebrate the 242nd anniversary of our independence. What a wild ride it has been. But I think we forget the guts it took to sign that declaration 242 years ago. There were 56 signers of that significant document. Have you ever wondered what happened to the 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 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. But what kind of men were they?
- Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.
- Eleven were merchants
- Nine were farmers and large plantation owners
They were 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 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. 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.
We will have an amazing morning and afternoon together, but at a great price. These patriots, and many like them throughout the years, gave up much for our freedom. Let us use our freedom to honor them. And to honor the One who paid the price for the deliverance of our souls. Freedom is never free. We have much to be thankful for this weekend. Much.