To the Editor:
Let’s take a moment to remember the 58 men who signed the Declaration of Independence.
Five were captured by the British as traitors and then tortured and killed. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.
Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the war. Two lost their sons in the Revolutionary Army, and another two had their sons captured.
What kind of men pledged their lives and fortunes and sacred honor to begin a new nation?
Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, and nine were farmers and large plantation owners.
They signed the Declaration of Independence knowing the penalty would be death if they were captured.
Carter Braxton, a wealthy planter and trader, had his ships swept from the seas by the British navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts and died in poverty.
British General Cornwallis had taken over the Thomas Nelson Jr. home at Yorktown for his headquarters. It was destroyed by George Washington’s friendly fire and Nelson died bankrupt.
The home and properties of Francis Lewis were destroyed. His wife was jailed and died a few months later.
John Hart and his 13 children were driven from their home as their mother lay dying. His fields and grist mill were laid to waste. He lived in caves and forests for more than a year, returning home to find his wife was dead and his children had vanished. He died a few weeks later.
These men suffered and died to give us a free and independent America. Many of us take these liberties for granted.
Let’s take a moment from our cookouts and fireworks to thank these long forgotten patriots and our modern warriors, who sacrificed their lives and families for our freedom.
Dick De Witt
Editor’s note: The signers of the Declaration from Connecticut were Samuel Huntington, Roger Sherman, William Williams and Oliver Wolcott.