A long time may be required to collect and display our enormous DEBT!!!!
(From 1940 postcard)
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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. 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 they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged:
"For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."
They gave you and me a free and independent America. The history books never told you a lot about what happened in the The Revolutionary War - and today our children learn much less! We didn't fight just the British. We were British subjects at that time and we fought our own government! Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn't. 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.
Freedom is never free!
Approximately 730 students graduated May, 1956 from Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Information about our school, classmates, annual social events and upcoming reunions is available through-out our homepage.
Of particular note, representative of everyone of our classmates, our class was presented the as the outstanding 1956 senior class of the USA in October, 1957.
If you are a class member or friend of our class, be sure to stop by our Lost Classmates page and Email any information you might have. Help us find our missing classmates and friends.
Our 60th reunion, September 30 and October 1, 2016, was a great success. Echoing many comments during the two days of visiting with close and distant classmates, their spouses and families and friends, this email received shortly after the reunion from Vernon Parsley says it all:
"Only through an event like the reunion could I experience the joy of being with my classmates of ’56. Some, through the magic of the internet, I have maintained a virtual bond; some were past friends who contributed to shaping my life; and there were those who I met for the first time at the reunion. With all we came together and reminisced. We seem to all have the same set of values. The love and respect we feel for each other is magic.
Attending the WHRS class of 1956 60th reunion caused me to realize just how special our class was. And you, the committee members who did all the hard work that made it a very successful reunion are EXTRA special. From deep in my heart and soul I thank you.
I do not have the address of other classmates whose efforts contributed to a successful reunion. Please pass-on my thanks.
Open the 60th reunion link in the Reunion Information section for videos and photos taken during the reunion.
Please forward photos taken at any of our reunions to Larry Chesebro'
for posting in the Reunion Information section for all visitors to see.
Also contact Larry Chesebro' for access permission to an online classmate only Contact List.