Grand Rapids Michigan Real Estate Blog


Remembering Our Founding Fathers on Independence Day


                           Happy Independence Day to you all.

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 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.


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 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,

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.

So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and

silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid.


                          Remember: freedom is never free!

Taken from "Patriotism Facts." Author unknown.



The authors of the this blog write about Grand Rapids Real Estate,

the Greater Grand Rapids MI area, and what it is like to live in

West Michigan.  We believe: Grand Rapids is a Great Place to Live!

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                          Contact Terry   616-292-7263






Comment balloon 6 commentsTerry & Bonnie Westbrook • July 03 2009 09:41AM


I did not know all this.   Thanks for sharing the historical background.   And for the reminder that freedom isn't "free".   

Posted by Li Read, Caring expertise...knowledge for you! (Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring)) over 11 years ago

Thanks Terry, these are tales of dedicated men who saw the honor of Independence even at such a high price.

Posted by Steve Loynd, 800-926-5653, White Mountains NH ( Alpine Lakes Real Estate Inc., ) over 11 years ago

LI, thanks for the comment. We do forget our freedom in our busy lives one day of remembering is not enough.

Posted by Terry & Bonnie Westbrook, Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re (Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner) over 11 years ago

Steve, It makes sense the British would go after the men that signed it but until I read this Ihadn't given it much thought.

Posted by Terry & Bonnie Westbrook, Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re (Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner) over 11 years ago

Thank you for the reminder that freedom is not free and you have to wonder why so many people are fighting to give up our freedoms that for the past 200 years we have been fighting to keep.

Todd Clark -

Posted by Todd Clark, Principle Broker Oregon (eXp Realty LLC) over 11 years ago

Todd, We do need to keep reminding ourselves of the sacrifices people before us so we can appreciate our freedom even more.

Posted by Terry & Bonnie Westbrook, Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re (Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner) over 11 years ago

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