m. 27 OCT 1751
Facts and Events
Deborah Sampson Gannett ( December 17, 1760 – April 29, 1827), better known as Deborah Sampson, was a woman who disguised herself as a man in order to serve in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. She is part of a small number of women with a documented record of military combat experience in that war. She served 17 months in the army, as "Robert Shurtliff " of Uxbridge, Massachusetts, was wounded in 1782 and honorably discharged at West Point, New York in 1783.
Deborah Sampson was born in Plympton, Massachusetts, a small village in the county of Plymouth, Massachusetts, on December 17 , 1760. She was the oldest of seven children born to Jonathan Sampson, Jr. and Deborah Bradford Sampson, both of old Colonial stock. Her mother was a descendant of William Bradford, once Governor of Plymouth Colony. Her siblings were Jonathan, Elisha, Hannah, Ephraim, Nehemiah, and Sylvia. When Deborah’s father failed to return from a sea voyage, her mother, unable to provide for her children, placed them in various households. She was first placed in the home of her aunt, who died shortly thereafter. Afterwards, she was placed in the home of the widow of Reverend Peter Thatcher until 1770, when she was removed to the home of Deacon Jeremiah Thomas, at the age of ten. Deacon Thomas had a farm in Middleborough, MA and a large family, with ten sons. At age 18, when her time as an indentured servant was over, the self-educated Deborah made a living by teaching school during the summer sessions in 1779 and 1780 and by weaving in the winter.