This fella probably puts a lot of us to shame! No lack of fire in the belly of this character, that's for sure!
Samuel Whittemore was born in England on July 27, 1695 and went on to become a captain for His Majesty’s Dragoons. He saw action against the French in 1745 during the capture of Fort Louisbourg, again in 1758, and as part of the colonial armies during the Indian Wars. After a lifetime of war, the Englishman decided to retire in the colonies, purchasing a farm in what is now Arlington, Massachusetts. He learned to love this new land he called home and the ideals for which it stood.
On April 19, 1775, British forces were regrouping in Boston after the Battles of Lexington and Concord when they were met by a ragtag group of 50 militiamen. Whittemore might have heard the ruckus of the battle, or perhaps the news spread among the townsfolk, but however he was alerted, the 80-year-old farmer sprang into action. He loaded his musket, armed his dueling pistols, and strapped his French saber around his waist before telling his astounded family that he was “going to fight the British regulars” and advising them to remain indoors until it was safe.
Whittemore opened his door to an unbelievable sight: Redcoats marching along the street while minutemen provided inaccurate fire from a distance. He saw his chance when the British were close. He aimed his musket, killing a British soldier. He then drew his dueling pistols and fired at two more soldiers, killing one and mortally wounding another. With no time to reload and the British upon him, he brandished his French saber, slashing at anyone who dared come near.
The British did dare, and much more—one shot him point-blank in the face, while others bayoneted him. They then clubbed the poor farmer in the head and left him for dead. The townsfolk and Whittemore’s family feared the worst, but upon closer inspection, they found him alive and trying to reload his musket despite 13 bayonet wounds, a bloody head, and a torn face. Whittemore was rushed for treatment, and death would have to wait nearly 20 more years to claim him.
News of Whittemore’s courageous stand inspired many, though it took centuries for him to receive his greatest honor. In 2005, Whittemore was declared the State Hero of Massachusetts. Every year on February 3, the anniversary of his death, the state celebrates his legacy.
I'm telling ya, these old boys sure had some nerve and thanks to the folks over at Listverse, I can share their stories with you.
Coffee out on the patio this morning, OK?