2 January 1762?
6 August 1876
114 years, 217 days?
George Fruits, Jr. (2 January 1762?/1779 – 6 August 1876) was an American longevity claimant who claimed to be the last known surviving soldier of the American Revolutionary War. Subsequent research indicates that he was possibly confused somewhat with the identity of his father. The George Fruits of this article was born in Baltimore, Maryland; his parents were George and Margaret Fruits, young immigrants from Germany. His father was known as "Flag Bearer George" during the Revolutionary War and purportedly fought in numerous important battles. Some of the exploits attributed to Fruits may have been performed by his father.
In 1865 the US government paid out the last claim for the American Revolutionary War. Fruits, however, did not apply for a war pension.
Fruits died at the attributed age of 114 years, 7 months, and 4 days. He is buried in Bunker Hill Cemetery, two miles east of Alamo, Indiana. Commencing with the 1979 edition, the Guinness Book of World Records said "new research released by A. Ross Eckler, Jr. in 1978 has shown him to be 17 years younger than the age shown on his gravestone."
There is some controversy over the identity of the last surviving veteran of the Revolutionary War. It is possible that Fruits is the son of a Revolutionary War veteran named George Fruits and that the last surviving veteran is Daniel F. Bakeman (as listed by Department of Veterans Affairs).
Claimed service record
If claimed earlier year of birth and the subsequent service record are correct George Fruits joined the militia belonging to Captain George Miars (of Washington County, Pennsylvania) as a private on November 2, 1781, aged 19.
Fruits's war record indicates he received pay in 1781 and 1783 while in the Revolution. He states that he was not involved in any battles because the war was almost over when he joined and that his service involved "just mopping up operations" in 1781-83.
In 1787, George Fruits joined a company under Captain Kennedy to fight the Indians in Kentucky and along the Ohio River. While in Kentucky, he became acquainted with Daniel Boone. During this service, Fruits was cut off from his company. To avoid capture, he purportedly swam across the Ohio River to the other side with his boots on, not losing his knapsack or rifle.
George Fruits enlisted in the War of 1812 and was in the Battle of the Thames where the Indian chief Tecumseh was killed. In this battle, Fruits was wounded by an Indian musket and carried to his grave the one-ounce lead ball lodged in his hip.