Skip to comments.The surprising ages of the Founding Fathers on July 4, 1776
Posted on 07/06/2014 8:35:05 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
For the Journal of the American Revolution, Todd Andrlik compiled a list of the ages of the key participants in the Revolutionary War as of July 4, 1776. Many of them were surprisingly young:
Marquis de Lafayette, 18
James Monroe, 18
Gilbert Stuart, 20
Aaron Burr, 20
Alexander Hamilton, 21
Betsy Ross, 24
James Madison, 25
This is kind of blowing my mind...because of the compression of history, I'd always assumed all these people were around the same age. But in thinking about it, all startups need young people...Hamilton, Lafayette, and Burr were perhaps the Gates, Jobs, and Zuckerberg of the War. Some more ages, just for reference:
Thomas Jefferson, 33
John Adams, 40
Paul Revere, 41
George Washington, 44
Samuel Adams, 53
The oldest prominent participant in the Revolution, by a wide margin, was Benjamin Franklin, who was 70 years old on July 4, 1776. Franklin was a full two generations removed from the likes of Madison and Hamilton. But the oldest participant in the war was Samuel Whittemore, who fought in an early skirmish at the age of 80. I'll let Wikipedia take it from here:
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. By the time Whittemore had fired his third shot, a British detachment reached his position; Whittemore drew his sword and attacked. 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 perceived no hope for his survival. However, Whittemore lived another 18 years until dying of natural causes at the age of 98.
I had no idea! Why did I think they were all over 45? They were young upstarts. :) Brave, young upstarts.
We need more Samuel Whittemores.....
However I can guarantee that “Hamilton, Lafayette, and Burr were perhaps the Gates, Jobs, and Zuckerberg of the War” was not written by any right winger. Or even someone center right.
There won’t be Samuel Whittemores until we need Samuel Whittmores. That’s how this works.
Agreed, unless he/she was trying to describe them to millennials.
They were quite highly educated for such young ages.
I second that pre conception!
the drawings and paintings wee see of these men portray them as being middle aged...so I Assumed....they were when their significant achievement was presented
Bump for the kids to read
Some of the Patriots listed were too young to be delegates to Congress in 1776 (the two youngest, both from South Carolina, were 26).
My grandfather's grandfather was 3 years old when the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783. Not only did he do nothing to aid the Revolution, he never even left Europe.
Jefferson would have been too young to be President when he wrote the Declaration of Independence. Wow.
Nathaniel Green was an amazing story. A brilliantly self-educated man (as many of them were) who taught himself math, metallurgy, law, and most impressively, war.
He was only 33 years old in 1775.
Despite what you may have heard, he didn’t write it by himself.
No, We need more James Madison's!!!!!
So what? Does that take away the point of my post? Does that change his age in any way?
Thanks for this post, 2nd Div. It takes some of us a while to catch on. I did not know of Whittemore. Should have, being a keen observer of US History and all. But now I’ve got him in my top 5 All-American Badasses along with the likes of Audie Murphy, Sgt York, Ernest Evans and Arthur MacArthur.
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