Samuel Whittemore

9 Jan

For over five decades, Samuel Whittemore had served as an officer in the British Army.  He relentlessly fought for the crown during King George’s War and the French and Indian War. How he received the honor of state hero of Massachusetts is quite amazing. Whittemore was an 80 year old farmer in Menotomy, which is known today as Arlington, when he became the oldest known colonial combatant in the American Revolutionary War. On April 19, 1775, British forces were returning to Boston from the Battles of Lexington and Concord, both are considered the opening engagements of the American Revolutionary War. On their march, they were continually shot at by colonial militiamen. Whittemore was on his farm working the fields when he spotted an approaching British relief brigade. The brigade serving under Earl Percy was sent to assist the retreat. Whittemore quickly loaded his musket and ambushed the British from behind a nearby stone wall, killing one soldier. He then drew his dueling pistols and killed a grenadier and mortally wounded a second. He managed to fire five shots before a British detachment reached his position. Whittemore then attacked with a sword. He was shot in the face, bayoneted thirteen times, and left for dead in a pool of blood. He was found alive, trying to load his musket to fight again. He was taken to Dr. Cotton Tufts of Medford, who perceived no hope for his survival. However, Whittemore lived another 18 years until dying of natural causes at the age of 98. In 2005, Samuel Whittemore was proclaimed as the official state hero of Massachusetts. 

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