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Founding Father Notes

For my July 4 blog, I started thinking about the individuals that each played a part in the United States’ fight for freedom. Typical for me, I got distracted while reading about the individuals. It never got finished as a blog. So, I finished my thoughts for the next blog.

I have always been fascinated by John Hancock. He is known to most of us as the largest signature on the Declaration of Independence. At the time of his signing, he supposedly exclaimed something about signing so big, so the King could see it without his spectacles.

I am sure that you have heard the expression before signing some document, “Put your John Hancock right there”. Men like Hancock had great personal stories that brought them to that point in life.  In fact, he had much to lose. He was a wealthy man, due in part to having grown up in a wealthy shipping family.

Hancock was the first and third governor of Massachusetts. Supposedly, he got motivated by the fight over taxation. His boat was stopped to be taxed. There was a question over whether it was really only bringing in 25 bottles of wine, but the men on the boat did swear to it to the British authority. It meant less tax than an entirely filled boat.  Unfortunately for Hancock, one of those men changed their story and Hancock was brought to trial. Needing an attorney to represent him, he hired local attorney John Adams.

Adams must have done a good job as his lawyer. Because it was an admiralty case, the law did not provide for a jury trial. However, history tells us that the charges were dropped without explanation. Apparently, this served as motivation to Hancock. Plus, he probably developed a friendship with Adams that carried over to the Continental Congress.

Each of the men had their own story of motivation, but they were also very individualistic; and, of course, human. Sunday’s Parade Magazine recited some of the personal details of some of them.

Alexander Hamilton was known as a dashing figure. He was the first public figure to be embroiled in a public sex scandal. He confessed to his misconduct but then went on to describe his indiscretions in such detail that it made his other colleagues uncomfortable.

George Washington was known for his great courage. In battle, he had two different horses shot from beneath him. He apparently was also a bit of a sentimentalist. He called one of his hunting dogs “Sweet Lips”.

John Adams was known as “His Rotundity” because of his stout stature. However, letters to his wife have revealed that he was also a lawyer with a silver tongue. He wrote such lines to her as “I am, with an Ardour that Words have not power to express, yours”. Ardour is a word that I had to look up. Defined as “feelings of great intensity and warmth”. Hopefully, his wife had a better vocabulary than I.

Principled, committed and motivated are just some of the words that I have heard to describe our founding fathers. The stories just made me want to put a few in a blog. There are so many good ones to read.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to have a set of pic o’s of the founding dogs… well, maybe that still needs more work:


Happy Birthday, U.S.

     D.L. Moody tells the story of a young boy that was raised in an English orphanage, in the 1800’s. He had never learned to read or write except that he knew the letters of the alphabet.

     One day, a minister came by the orphanage and told the children that if they prayed to God when they were in trouble, he would send help.

     After a time, the boy was old enough by work standards then, to be apprenticed to a farmer. He was sent out into the field to find the farmer’s sheep. Since this was something new to him, he was having a hard time. He remembered what the minister had said about how God would help him.

     A man walking by the hedge, heard a voice. He look behind the hedge and saw the boy on his knees, saying, “A, B, C, D” with the remaining alphabet.

     The man asked the boy what he was doing. The boy looked up from his prayer and said to the man that he was praying.  The man looked at him and said, “That’s not praying. you’re just saying the alphabet”. 

     The little boy told the man what the minister had said about praying for help. He said that he wasn’t exactly sure what to say in his prayer, but if he named the letters of the alphabet,  he figured that God would put them together and know what he wanted.

     When the wording of the Declaration of Independence was formally approved on July 4, the thirteen colonies were saying “No More” to the British Empire. They concluded the document with the following:

     “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each  other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor” 

    Today, we see a nation that is politically divided. I sometimes feel a bit helpless as I watch gas prices and the rocky economy. When reflecting on those events in 1776, it also should cause us to say a prayer for our country.

     With the current events, I feel a bit like the little boy. I’m not sure what to pray. It’s a good time to just pray for help.

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