In the wake of the Fourth of July holiday I stumbled across an interesting study about the fate of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence.

I have often wondered what the lives of our country’s founding fathers were like. Many times those original 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence have been elevated to a hero status in this nation’s collective minds.

They accomplished the impossible and created the best nation on the planet.

We owe a lot to these 56 men and this is what became of them.

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.

These men signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

So 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.

As we all go through our daily lives, please try to remember what these men gave up so that you can call yourself an American.

Completing the hunt

of a lifetime

For more than 20 years I have been hunting for something and two weekends ago I finally found it!

No I have not been on the trail of the illusive Holy Grail or anything like that.

I have long hunted to replace the many precious objects of my youth. I’m not on some mission to go back in time and be young again. I have been seeking those items I consider fun, whimsical and important growing up.

That is probably why over the past few decades I amassed about 20 G.I. Joes. It was always my favorite toy as a child and it remains difficult to pass by an abandoned Joe in a flea market or antique mall.

G.I. Joes need a home too!

The one thing I lost years ago and have been almost heartbroken about was my lunchbox.

I had the coolest auto racing lunchbox and it even had a racing game on the back of it that filled the time between eating lunch and going back to class.

I loved my lunchbox.

Sadly, it simply disappeared so I set out years ago to find one like it.

Well it wasn’t that easy. That lunchbox is rather difficult to find as it wasn’t very popular back in the 1960s.

After two decades of searching, I was traversing an antique mall in Lincoln two weeks ago and there it was on a bottom shelf in a booth. It was like light from heaven was shining down on it when it caught my eye.

“Oh my God!,” I shouted out loud. “There it is!!!”

I was willing to pay anything to have this precious piece of my past back, yet the price tag was just $23.

I actually started shaking.

The lunchbox was not in great shape but I didn’t care. It was clearly loved as much as mine was and used a lot. This could have even been the box that I originally owned as I did grow up in Nebraska.

So my auto racing game playing lunchbox in now back where it belongs. I put it right next to my G.I. Joe lunchbox I found in Onawa five months ago.

Seriously, I could never walk past a G.I. Joe or a G.I. Joe lunchbox without considering its purchase.

(1) comment


your 'stumbled across' article is proven about 50% drama and false information -

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