Samuel Whittemore: The Octogenarian Soldier

He was born in 1695 in the area of North America that would later become Massachusetts.

But the tale of Samuel Whittemore doesn’t truly begin until late into his life.

whittemore

The man himself: Samuel Whittemore

He served as a Captain in His Majesty’s Dragoons; A cavalry of men well known for their elite fighting abilities and their bloodthirst in battle.

Whittemore fought in King George’s War (1745) in which he lead a charge on the frozen shores of Nova Scotia, beating the everliving shit out of the French at their stronghold of Louisbourg. He emerged from the battle holding a bloody longsword claiming he had taken from a french officer who had, quote, “died suddenly”.

He did all of this at the age of 50, in a time when being 50 was comparable to being so past his expiration date that he was probably a ghost.

After the war, he spent some of his time on board a ship hunting pirates. A great thing to put on ones resume at the time.

13 years later, after the French had managed to steal back and reinforce the Louisbourg stronghold, Whittemore, returned now at the youthful age of 64, and served in the second siege of Louisbourg (during what is known to us as the 7 Years War (which actually lasted 9 years but whatever)), and pummelled the French into submission, yet again.

Samuel Whittemore was ever ready to drop his farming tools, grab his weapons, and return to war.

Just 4 years after trouncing the French for the second time, Whittemore served in the Indian Wars against the great Chief Pontiac (who we named a car after I guess), a war which raged across the Great Lakes. He returned home to his farm on what was referred to as the best horse anyone had ever laid eyes on, and with a matching pair of dueling pistols he had ‘liberated’ from an Indian warrior he had met.

chief pontiac

In all, Whittemore served in 3 wars in America before America had even existed. But his story doesn’t end there.

He soon settled down in Massachusetts, married two women (at different times of course), had eight children. But the bloodlust was strong in him, and he soon found another outlet for it. The American Revolution, in which, he became a national hero.

In April 1775, the British/American colonies had had enough of British rule, and revolted.

On April 19th 1775, 1800 British troops marched from Boston to Concord to capture rebel munitions. Upon their arrival in Concord, they searched, but found no munitions, which had been cleverly hidden. Giving up in their search for the munitions, the British then began an orderly retreat to Boston.

They were harassed constantly on their retreat by American militiamen who took potshots at the idiots who were dumb enough to wear uniforms that made them amazingly easy targets. None harassed them more than Captain Samuel Whittemore himself, now teetering at a respectable 80 years old. 

When the British Regiment came storming through his home town of Menotomy, Whittemore, never one to be left out of a war, grabbed his rifle, and took action.

Whittemore, flying solo, positioned himself behind a stone wall, waited in ambush, and then single-handedly engaged the entire British 47th regiment with nothing more than his musket.

He fired one shot, taking out a soldier instantly, but there was a problem. Muskets took at least 20 seconds to reload, so he drew his twin duelling pistols and continued his assault, killing another 2 men. It was at this point that a British detachment charged him, and it was also at this point that Samuel Whittemore, aged 80, unsheathed his longsword and went to work. He stood his ground, in hand-to-hand combat, against a dozen of well-trained soldiers, all of whom were young enough to be his grandchildren.

The encounter did not end well for Samuel Whittemore. He was shot in the face, knocked down, and bayoneted 13 times. The British then, assured of his fate, left him for dead, and continued their march back to base.

whittemore-2

When his fell militiamen rushed from their hiding places to check on his body, they found a half dead Whittemore, still trying to reload his weapon and exact his vengeance, all the while sitting in a pool of his own blood.

Whittemore recovered from his wounds, survived the entire war, and lived until 1793, at which point he finally died from an overdose of being tremendous. He was 98 years old.

He was declared a state hero in 2005 by the Massachusetts state legislature, and given his own memorial marker. On it reads:

Near This Spot

Samuel Whittemore,

Then 80 Years Old

Killed Three British Soldiers

April 19, 1776.

He Was Shot, Bayoneted,

Beaten And Left For Dead,

But Recovered And Lived

To Be 98 Years Of Age.

Resources:

http://www.badassoftheweek.com/whittemore.html

http://dwhitmore.thewhitmorefamily.com/internet/samwhit.htm

http://boston1775.blogspot.com/2010/04/samuel-whittemore-and-memory-creep.html

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