A Flossy Fourth party gift from us to you: a free, printable Declaration of Independence Guest Book! [PDF here.]
Some fun stories about a few of the lesser-known real signers of the Declaration of Independence from the book Signing Their Lives Away: The Fame and Misfortune of the Men Who Signed the Declaration of Independence:
• One of only three signers to live into his nineties, William Ellery of Rhode Island is a wonderful addition to your “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” arsenal – he's an ancestor of Bacon’s wife, actress Kyra Sedgwick.
• Carter Braxton of Virginia had 18 children.
• Roger Sherman of Connecticut was the only cobbler by trade of the signers, and the only person to sign the Articles of Association, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution.
• Thomas Lynch, Jr. of South Carolina was ultimately lost at sea in 1779 when he and his wife embarked on a trip to France.
• Josiah Bartlett of New Hampshire was the first to cast a vote for Independence and second to sign after John Hancock, but today his name may be more closely associated with the president played by Martin Sheen on The West Wing (Josiah "Jed" Bartlet, with one fewer 't').
• Richard Henry Lee of Virginia had six fingers – total. Four fingers on one hand were blown off in a hunting accident.
• John Morton of Pennsylvania was the first of the signers of the Declaration to die – in April of 1777. On his deathbed, he dictated a message to those who criticized his signing of the Declaration. “Tell them that they will live to see an hour when they shall acknowledge it to have been the most glorious service I ever rendered to my country.”
• Samuel Chase of Maryland was nicknamed “Old Bacon Face.”
The crew at your Fourth party surely has some stories of their own and will enjoy putting their John Hancocks on your Declaration guest book [PDF]!