Wednesday, April 19, 2006

An American Patriot

Today is Patriots Day - the day the Shot was heard around the World at Lexington and Concord, the day that Americans started to take control of their destiny.

The following narrative appeared in an obituary notice of the Columbian Centinel (a newspaper in Boston) of 6 February 1793:

"Died at Menotomy, the 2d instant, Capt. Samuel Whittemore, AEt. 96 years and 6 months. The manly and moral virtues, in all the varied relations of a brother, husband, father, and friend, were invariably exhibited in this gentleman. He was not more remarkable for his longevity and his numerous descendants (his progeny being 185, one of which is the fifth generation) than for his patriotism.

"When the British troops marched to Lexington, he was 79 years of age, and one of the first on the parade; he was armed with a gun and horse-pistol. After an animated exhortation to the collected militia to the exercise of bravery and courage, he exclaimed, 'If I can only be the instrument of killing one of my country's foes, I shall die in peace.' The prayer of this venerable old man was heard; for on the return of the troops he lay behind a stone wall, and discharging his gun a soldier immediately fell; he then discharged his pistol, and killed another; at which instant a bullet struck his face, shot away part of his cheekbone; on which a number of the soldiers ran up to the wall, and gorged their malice on his wounded head. They were heard to exclaim, 'We have killed the old rebel.'

"About four hours after, he was found in a mangled situation; his head was covered with blood from the wounds of the bayonets, which were six or eight; but providentially none penetrated so far as to destroy him. His hat and clothes were shot through in many places; yet he survived to see the complete overthrow of his enemies, and his country enjoy all the blessings of peace and independence.

"His funeral will be held to-morrow at 4 o'clock P. M. from his house at Menotomy, which his relatives and friends are requested to attend."

Samuel Whittemore was not my ancestor, but I greatly appreciate his attitude!

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