Samuel Whittemore, American Patriot and old Bad-ass

I think all that is to be said about this election has been said.  Therefore, I am going to tell you the tale of American Patriot Samuel Whittemore.

Whittemore was an immigrant to this country.  Born in England in 1695 he fought for the Crown through 50 years of military service. At the age of 50 he served as Captain in His Majesty’s Royal Dragoons (an elite cavalry unit feared through much of the world) in Canada against the French in the War Austrian Succession then came back 13 years later to whoop up the French again in the French and Indian War.  Beating down the French at the age of 64 is just a taste of where this story is going.

Four years after laying a pair of smackdowns on the French in successive decades he led troops against Chief Pontiac in the bloody Indian Wars that raged across the Great Lakes region.  Not one to stay behind the lines he ending up winning a pair of dueling pistols from a warrior he just dispatched in bloody hand to hand combat.  Note that he was 68 years old at the time.

After serving in three American Wars before America was even a country, Samuel Whittemore decided that the colonies were a pretty nice place to settle down so he did just that in Massachusetts.  He ended up having a large family with 8 children.

But while his service to the crown was impressive, that is not what Samuel Whittemore is most remembered for.  To that end, it was what he did for the Revolution and the fierceness in the defense of his home.

On April 19th, 1775 the British were returning to their headquarters after the Battle of Lexington and Concord while being harried by the Colonial Militia.  The Redcoats finally got some separation from their pursuers and were passing through the town of Menotomy, Whittemore’s town.

Not letting a thing like being 80 years old stop him from doing anything, Whittemore took his musket, his prized dueling pistols and sword and ran outside to join the fray.

Whittemore, by himself, with no backup, positioned himself behind a stone wall, waited in ambush, and then single-handedly engaged the entire British 47th Regiment of Foot with nothing more than his musket and the pure liquid anger coursing through his veins.  His ambush had been successful – he fired off his musket at point-blank range, dropping the nearest soldier before anyone was the wiser.

Now, when you’re using a firearm that takes 20 seconds to reload, it’s kind of hard to go all Leonard Funk on a platoon of enemy infantry, but damn it if Whittemore wasn’t going to try.  With a company of Brits bearing down in him, he quick-drew his twin flintlock pistols and sent two hot rounds down range, dropping two grenadiers dead.  Then he unsheathed the ornate French sword he had wrenched from a dead Frenchmen 30 years prior during the taking of Louisbourg in Canada, and this 80-year-old warrior stood his ground in hand-to-hand combat against a couple dozen trained soldiers, each of which was probably a quarter of his age.

The Redcoats had time to assess and fired upon Whittemore, shooting him in the face.  They then marched up and bayonetted him 13 times.  I’d like to imagine he wounded a couple more Englishmen as he went down. The Brits, convinced that this man was sufficiently filled with holes, left him for dead kept on their march back to base, harassed the entire way by Whittemore’s fellow militiamen.

When the townspeople rushed out after the Redcoats moved on they found two amazing things.  First, miraculously, Samuel Whittemore was still alive and perhaps even more remarkably, he was loading his pistols in order to carry on the fight.  Remember: SHOT in the FACE and STABBED THIRTEEN TIMES.

Not only did he recover Whittemore survived the war and lived long enough to see the US Constitution ratified and George Washington become the first President.  He finally passed in 1793 at the age of 98.

In 2005 Massachusetts recognized Samuel Whittemore as an “Official State Hero”.

Just a fun story to tell anyone who complains about how voting is tough.

Sam Whittemore is tough. Voting…not so much.


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