Adam Link | Last Survivors of the American Revolution


    About the author

    Edward St. Germain.
    Edward St. Germain

    Edward A. St. Germain created in 1996. He was an avid historian with a keen interest in the Revolutionary War and American culture and society in the 18th century. On this website, he created and collated a huge collection of articles, images, and other media pertaining to the American Revolution. Edward was also a Vietnam veteran, and his investigative skills led to a career as a private detective in later life.

    Adam Link.


      Editor’s note
      The following is a biography of Adam Link, one of the last surviving veterans of the American Revolution. It was written by Rev. E. B. Hilliard in 1864 – the author visited Link in person to interview him, and took his photo. Due to the period when this work was originally written, you may notice some use of old English, including different spellings of words than what you might be used to.

      The name of ADAM LINK introduces the closing sketch of the pensioners of the Revolution. Since his picture was taken he, also, has passed away by death.

      He was born in Washington County, near Hagerstown, Maryland, November 14, 1761. He died at Sulphur Springs, Crawford County, Ohio, August 15, 1864. His age was one hundred and two years, nine months, and one day.

      The circumstances of Mr. Link’s life were humble, and his part in the war unimportant. He enlisted at the age of sixteen, in Wheeling, Virginia, for the frontier service, and spent five years in that service, most in the vicinity of Wheeling. During this time, his, father, Jacob Link, was murdered by the Indians in his own house. Mr. Link was in no important battle of the war. The only interesting circumstance of his soldier life was his companionship with Poe, the famous Indian hunter, the incident of whose meeting with the Indian chief upon the shore of the lake whither both had withdrawn from the fight, to wash out their guns, (become foul through use) – Poe completing first the cleansing of his, and so gaining the first shot, which brought down the Indian, and saved his own life, is familiar.

      At the age of twenty-eight years, he married Elizabeth Link, a distant relative of his, her age being seventeen. After this event, being fond of change, he roamed about from place to place, living but a short time in each; and so spent the earlier part of his life. At the age of sixty, he walked from his home in Pennsylvania to Ohio, a distance of one hundred and forty-one miles, accomplishing it in three days, an average of forty-seven miles a day. When seventy years of age, he set about clearing a farm, living the while in a house the main wall of which was formed by the flat roots of an upturned tree. Although always a hard worker, he was always poor, the account of which his habits, which were always irregular, partly furnishing, and part may be set down to the score of that ill luck which seems to dog the steps of some men through life. However, he cleared quite a farm after passing the limit of three score years and ten, and remained for some time on it. Finally, he went to live with his son-in-law in Crawford County, Ohio, where he resided until his death.

      Perpetuating the habits of the frontier service, Mr. Link roughed it through life. His constitution must have been of iron to have endured his irregularities and excesses. He paid no attention to his manner of eating, either in quantity, quality, or time; and He was addicted to strong drink. He labored severely and constantly. Notwithstanding all, his health was good till near the very close of his life. A few years before, during a severe thunder storm, his sight was strangely affected by the lightning. For a long time, everything appeared distorted and askew; men had bent legs and bodies, chickens were twisted out of shape, and the keyhole of his trunk tormented him by the figures which it assumed. From this affection, however, he recovered, though never so as again to read. A short time before his death, he suffered a stroke of paralysis, which deprived him of the use of his limbs to some extent, and made his utterance difficult. However, it left his hearing good and his intellect unimpaired. Upon the artist (at his visit for the purpose of procuring his picture) telling him that he had come a long way to see him, he replied, “You can see me cheap now. Whatever else,” he continued, “they may say of me, no man ever could call me a coward.” He has persistently refused to have his picture taken – that given in this series being secured without his knowledge; the family fearing the proposal would provoke him, and thus defeat the attempt. In politics, Mr. Link declared himself a “Jeffersonian Democrat;” though his last vote was Republican. He said but little about the present war, frequently forgetting that one was in progress, and when reminded of it, he failed altogether to comprehend it. One of his great-grand-sons is in the army.

      At the writing of this sketch, he is the last of the survivors of the Revolution known to have died.

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