Be Like Sam!

Today is the 249th anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

On that April day, 80 year old Samuel Whittemore, a veteran of both King George’s War and the French and Indian War, heard a relief column of British grenadiers from the 47th Regiment of Foot moving to assist the retreat of the British regulars from Concord. He fetched up his musket, loaded his dueling pistols, strapped on his sword, and set off to ambush them.

After killing three of the British soldiers, he was shot in the face, bayoneted multiple times, and left for dead. Being of a strong constitution, he recovered from his wounds and lived to the exceedingly ripe old age of 98.

I have quite a few years to go before I hit the age of 80. It is my hope to have some of that strength and fortitude shown by Samuel Whittemore on that April day when I turn 80. It is certainly something we should all aspire to have.

As an aside, I don’t know whether it was intentional or just mere happenstance but the BATFE’s new rule defining what it means to be “Engaged in Business” as a dealer of firearms was posted in the Federal Register today. The rule become effective on May 20, 2024. Maybe it is just me but I feel as though we have failed Samuel Whittemore and his fellow patriots who fought the British attempts at gun control.

7 thoughts on “Be Like Sam!”

  1. I always have my doubts when extraordinary claims are made, but seems like there’s a bit of documentation from his life & obituary. DAR accepts him as a Patriot on this service, and we question everything. 🙂

    What I find odd is that the family doesn’t seem to be that into the history. His obit posted on Wikipedia said he had 185 descendants at the time of his death, but only 4 children have been used as paths to him for DAR.

    1. I wonder if the majority of his family were actually Tories. Though, I’m sure many descendants of Tories would claim to have fought on the side of Americans when the DAR was formed in 1890. I’m not sure how your organization determines who was a patriot and who was a Tory.

      1. DAR is extremely strict about proofs of service. If there’s any reason for extra scrutiny, like an area known to be held by the British until the end, then the application is getting a closer look by pros who specialize in that region’s records.

        We do have Patriots who were Tories to start, but you have to provide proofs their last act before the end was in support of the cause of Independence.

        Rob Lowe’s Patriot featured in Who Do You Think You Are? was a Hessian captured at the Battle of Trenton, held prisoner in a nearby church basement for a while, then moved out Lancaster area as a POW. Before the end of the war, he was like, “hey, nice cute girls who speak something like my language, lots of land, good food, I’m not going back.” The guy gave financial support to the Patriots before the end of the war and is credited based on the last act.

        It also means we have people in the records – mostly redlined now – who go the other way. Long Island, for example, had a ton of Patriots to start the war, but once the British took & held it, they made them sign loyalty oaths to the King at gun point. Unfortunately for many, it was their last documented act on any side in the war, so those ancestors can’t be used unless some other activity to help the Patriots is discovered.

        Everything must be from records of the time period. That’s why the guy’s obituary as a source is a little iffy. That and the engraving on the stone are what I call good leads, but not proof. (Looks like there’s other proof of his service though. DAR mentions other sources.)

        My guess from where he was, and reading the obit, his family were solidly Patriots. Because Massachusetts has AMAZING genealogy records, it’s easier to find multiple Patriots if that’s your thing, so his descendants might be using easier paths and never go back to prove to him. Children of Patriots also get a ton of scrutiny because they are tough to prove, so anyone descended from other kids just might not see a purpose.

        Not many members are like me and looking for new Patriots to prove all the time. It costs $75 to submit a new path to another Patriot, so not the cheapest to do.

        I have 2 pending right now, 5 already proven, I think 14 more I know about and just need to bring myself to finish the research on, and then my mom just sent me pics from a book the TN Daughters just published on Patriots who settled TN after the war that mentioned service for another ancestor has been reviewed and re-proven to better standards. (There were multiple men of the same name in the county with different service – father, son, and cousin.) And I have that many with a healthy chunk of my tree being late 1800s arrivals and moving to places without records nearly as good as Massachusetts. Bless the ladies before me who did most of the work – I won’t take credit for it all. I just try to clean up what I can, add to the gaps, and document with DNA.

        That said, I do twitch a little at some of the “history” used in Project Appleseed & Revere’s Riders because…let’s just say it doesn’t hold up to the proof standards I have to use for genealogy groups. 🙂

  2. Project Appleseed includes Sam in our stories of April 19, 1775. We love Sam. I am 67. I always add that I want to be Sam Whittemore, when I grow up.

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