Samuel Whittemore (1694 - February 3, 1793) was a farmer. He was eighty years old and living in Menotomy, Massachusetts (present-day 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, the opening engagements of the war. On their march, they were continually shot at by colonial militiamen.
Whittemore was in his fields when he spotted an approaching British relief brigade under Earl Percy, sent to assist the retreat. Whittemore 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 held out no hope for his survival. However, Whittemore lived another 18 years until dying of natural causes at the age of 98.
A monument in Arlington, Massachusetts reads:Near this spot, Samuel Whittemore, then 80 years old, killed three British soldiers, April 19, 1775. He was shot, bayoneted, beaten and left for dead, but recovered and lived to be 98 years of age.
In 2005, Samuel Whittemore was proclaimed the official state hero of Massachusetts.