Samuel Whittemore - The Oldest Revolutionary, The Most Courage

Samuel Whittemore - The Oldest Revolutionary, The Most Courage

Samuel Whittemore was an American Revolutionary who fought with more courage than your average soldier, despite being almost 80 years old.

Samuel Whittemore

Samuel Whittemore first came to North America in his late 40’s.

As a Captain in the British Army, he was sent to fight in King George’s War. After the British Victory, he carried home a French sword as a souvenir.

Whittemore liked what he saw in the colonies and decided to take up residence in Massachusetts. He married and lived a normal farmer’s life.

When the French and Indian War broke out, Samuel (now in his mid-60’s) again went to fight for King and Country.

As he approached 70 years old, the lifelong soldiers went out to fight once more in Pontiac’s War. He returned with another souvenir, this time a set of pistols.

Passing Troops

When he saw British soldiers marching through his hometown of Menotomy, MA, Samuel Whittemore thought little of it. Troops had moved through that part of the colony before and nothing came of it.

Later that day, however, another group of soldiers passed through.

This was strange.

If the British needed reinforcements, something must have happened.

To Arms

Sure enough, word began to arrive of the Battle of Lexington and Concord.

The British were in retreat.

They would be passing back through Menotomy.

The town Militia took up arms and stationed themselves on the hillside, gaining an advantage as the British took the road back to Boston.

Well, except Samuel Whittemore.

Surprise Attack

Despite the frenzied recommendations of his neighbors to take up a more strategic position on higher ground, Samuel Whittemore situated himself behind a stone wall not far from the road.

When the British passed through the colonists fired down at them. The Redcoats began to make their way up the hillside.

Suddenly, an almost-80-year-old Samuel sprang up and fired his musket at point-blank range, killing a man instantly.

The surprised enemy did not react before Whittemore drew his two souvenir pistols and fired them both. Each shot struck a Redcoat, one of whom died instantly and another who was mortally wounded.

Last Stand

Whittemore was surrounded and the British began to pounce on him.

Samuel drew his souvenir sword to engage his opponents.

A musket was held to his face and fired.

Whittemore went down in a pool of blood. The British proceeded to bayonet him thirteen times.

Samuel Whittemore was left for dead.


After the smoke cleared and the dust settled, the people of Menotomy searched for survivors.

Many of the militiamen who saw Whittemore ‘John Wayne’ in the face of his adversaries went to collect his body.

Shockingly, Samuel wasn’t dead.

Though he was badly wounded, they found him sprawled on the ground…attempting to load his musket!

The old man was taken to a nearby doctor who (though confident Whittemore would die) stitched him back up.

Samuel was brought home to finish his life surrounded by family but, somehow, the Patriot survived.

Whittemore would proudly wear the scars on the face for the rest of his life. That life spanned eighteen more years, long enough to see a new nation formed.

Samuel Whittemore passed away just short of the century mark.

To read about other Revolutionaries who were shot but continued to fight, check out our articles on Thomas Heyward, Jr and Caleb Brewster.

If you’d like to learn more about the first days of the American Revolution, and some regular people who participated in the Battle of Lexington and Concord alongside Samuel Whittemore, pick up a copy of ‘American Spring’ through the affiliate link below.

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