Written by cycleguy on July 4th, 2011

I decided to postpone for a day my thoughts from my sermon Sunday, since today is Independence Day.   I don’t suspect much traffic (which is okay since I myself will probably be scarce), but I thought I would help you (and me) remember the price paid for our Independence over 235 years ago.  You may have heard or read of this already but if it helps one person to see, then it will have been worth it.


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 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 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 Congress without pay, 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 the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters.  He quietly urged General 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 field and gristmill were laid to waste.  For more than a year, he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and 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 valued liberty more.

They gave you and me a free and independent America.  Some of us take these liberties for granted…We shouldn’t.  So, take some time to celebrate and while you are enjoying your 4th of July celebration, take a few minutes and thank God for these patriots who paid the price to set the whole Independence idea in motion.




25 Comments so far ↓

  1. Mercy says:

    Wow! I just have two words to describe the patriots’ action: Sacrifice and Love. Happy Independence Day!

  2. Glynn Young says:

    A terrible price was paid so that we could be free. We do well today to honor them. Thanks for this, Bill.

  3. Michael says:

    Amen Bill.

  4. jay sauser says:

    Good post. Not commenting as much lately, but still reading man. Take care Bill.

  5. dustin says:

    Bill, I’ll be honest- I didn’t know any of that. Thanks for sharing. There was a price paid for our freedom.

  6. Larry Hughes says:

    I see a close relation of those great men that died for what they believed in with what happened to those that took up the faith in biblical times.

    Yes these were great men that knew the consequences of their actions but their belief was far greater than what consequences they may face. How many of us today would step forward and do the same if our freedom and faith was in peril?

    These men were only human and had faults possibly but they had a vision inspired by God for all to embrace freedom with out oppression.

    Sadly in current times a few political factors are attempting to rewrite history and discredit what these brave founders created as well as removing God from our lives.

    We must never allow that to happen and our military troops who we trully suport must be the front line defenders against all that challenge our freedom and our liberty.

    • cycleguy says:

      Very close relation Larry. Many died in the early church for their commitment to Christ and His church. We have to wonder if we would be. Thanks.

  7. lindaM says:

    Hi Bill,
    I didn’t know about these stories either. About the cost and sacrifice taken on by those who signed the Declaration of Independence. It’s inspiring for sure.

    They definitely had a vision for their land that was godly. And I believe that they themselves were godly men. The God that was served at that time in the nation was the Christian God.

    These stories speak to the need for sacrifice and cost for any great cause. Jesus had to sacrifice and die on the cross for our freedom too.

    These stories speak to the fact that there is great opposition to what is good and right (by the world) because of the ‘..cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does..’ I John 2:16

    Is there any doubt that there will likely be a need for sacrifice and cost to paid by individuals for what is right going forward into the future?

    Happy Independence Day USA!

    • cycleguy says:

      Thanks Linda. I used this to introduce my Communion thought yesterday and tied it to Jesus being willing to pay the price for our freedom from the penalty of sin.

  8. Allen says:

    A really good message, Bill. I’m currently reading Andy Stanley’s “Next Generation Leader” and it’s theme is to get off our duffs and do something – be courageous. Both of these stories seem to share that theme.


    • cycleguy says:

      Read that several years ago and then again within the last two. Maybe I need to go back for a refresher. 🙂 Thanks for the input. Hope you are recovering from Venezuela.

      • Allen says:

        Thanks! Slowly but surely. Have spent the last few days sleeping late. Its funny how tired I am.


  9. Jason says:

    Every time I hear those stories it just wrecks my heart. It disgusts me how many people take our freedom for granted.

  10. Ed says:

    These men sacrificed everything they held dear just so future generations can have their freedom. WOW!

  11. jasonS says:

    A very important reminder, Bill. Thanks for the history lesson. It is much appreciated and fascinating. Hope you’ve had an amazing day.

    • cycleguy says:

      You’re welcome jason. My day was as it should be-a 30 mile ride, a good grilled meal (buffalo burger & turkey brat), a leisurely ride in the car with my wife, and sitting around. Thanks. Hope you had a great day as well.

  12. Dan Black says:

    I enjoy learning about history. Thank you for taking the time and sharing what happened to the men who signed the declaration. Hope you had a good 4th.