John Stark, American Patriot
John Stark (August 28, 1728 – May 8, 1822) was a general who served in the American Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He became widely known as the “Hero of Bennington” for his exemplary service at the Battle of Bennington in 1777.
After serving with distinction throughout the rest of the war, Stark retired to his farm in Derryfield. It has been said that of all the Revolutionary War generals, Stark was the only true Cincinnatus because he truly retired from public life at the end of the war.
In 1809, a group of Bennington veterans gathered to commemorate the battle. General Stark, then aged 81, was not well enough to travel, but he sent a letter to his comrades, which closed “Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils.” The motto, “Live Free or Die,” became the New Hampshire state motto in 1945. Stark and the Battle of Bennington were later commemorated with the 306-ft. tall Bennington Battle Monument in Bennington, Vermont.
Excerpted from: Wikipedia