I've been watching the DVD of John Adams, and thinking of my own ancestor, John Hart. He's not well known, but he signed the Declaration of Independence as one of the delegates from New Jersey. He had a thirteen children. He was a simple farmer, but evidently well respected, as his fellow citizens first elected him an alderman and then to other political offices in this small state. When he signed the Declaration, the British put a price on his head, as they did many of the other signers. He fled into the hills of New Jersey, a rugged territory filled with caves, and known for sheltering anyone evading the law.
When he returned, he found his wife and two or three children had died. The number differs in different accounts. His farm was in ruins, having been used as bivouac by both armies. Crops were tramped down and non existent, and most of the fencing had been used for firewood.
John evidently assembled some kind of life for himself and his remaining family, although he had no more political impact. My feeling when ever I think of my great, (I don't know hwo many greats to put in here) grandfather is more a feeling that most of us forget, or don't know, the sacrifices so many of the Signers of the Declaration made. A sobering thought indeed.