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David Kinnison

David Kinnison was the last survivor of the Boston Tea Party and lived until he was 115 years old. Kinnison was born in Old Kingston, near Portsmouth, Maine on November 17th, 1736. He owned a farm in Lebanon, Maine and was one of seventeen men who formed a political club and gathered for secret meetings in a local tavern named “Colonel Gooding” in their own private room. This club decided that no matter if they were assisted or not, they would destroy all the tea at any cost. The men arrived in Boston and met up with the other revolutionaries and proceeded to dump the tea into the harbor. These men had sworn that if any one of them faltered or hesitated that “they would be thrown into the sea with the tea.” Kinnison famously said, “But we cared not more for our lives than three straw and are determined to throw the tea overboard. We were all captains and everyone commanded themselves.” They all agreed to not reveal any of the participants’ names until it was safe to do so. David Kinnison was an active militiaman during the Revolutionary War. Towards the conclusion of the war, he moved to Danville, Vermont where he returned to farming for another eight years. He then moved to Wells, Maine and lived there until the War of 1812. He served in the War of 1812 as well and was actually wounded in Williamsburg. He lived in Chicago, Illinois for the rest of his life. He was married four times and produced 22 children in total. He was illiterate until he was 60 years old and only ever learned to sign his name. He was actually photographed in August of 1848 when Kinnison was 111-years-old and his signature is at the bottom of the picture. He died in Chicago on February 24, 1851 at the incredible age of 115.


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