Few of us remember the courage it took to sign the Declaration of Independence. John Hancock knew the danger, and his signing his name in large letters put him at added risk.
From the Internet:
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.

Run into all kinds of stuff on the internet, don't you?