Deborah Sampson

Deborah was born on the 17th of December 1760 in a small village known as Plympton in Massachusetts. She was brought up just like any other female in the 18th century. Unfortunately, her mother could not afford to carry on looking after Deborah and her siblings so Deborah was sent away to live with close relatives along with her siblings.

At the age of 10, she started working at a farm house, making her a very strong girl. She learnt a lot of skills that a woman could never learn, hunting and riding a horse, until she turned 18 and became a teacher.

Soon the revolutionary war came around, and Deborah wanted a chance to fight. Unfortunately for her though, women were unable to fight in the war. So she decided to disguise herself as a man- a man named Robert. Luckily for Deborah, she was tall enough so that if she dressed like a boy, practised walking and talking like a boy, she would easily be classified as a boy.

‘Robert’ was an amazing soldier, and Deborah was doing very well until she got wounded in battle. On July 3rd 1782 she was injured with a major cut on her forehead and two musket balls in her thigh. In fear of being discovered, she removed one of the musket balls using her sewing skills, of which she had also been taught at the farmhouse. One of them was too deep for her reach and she could not trust anyone else, so the second musket ball just had to stay- her leg never healing properly. Still- everyone admired ‘Robert’s’ bravery so ‘he’ was made the General’s personal helper.

Over another year and a bit, Deborah had earned great trust in all her soldiers in the army but soon became quite ill. She was treated by a doctor called Barnabas Binney. He had to remove her clothes for treatment and Deborah was discovered. Binney was shocked but took her back to his home with his daughters and wife where a nurse called Ms Parker took care of Deborah.

When Deborah went back to fight in the war it was all nearly over, but after a year and a half serving in the army, she had been found out and given honorable discharge.

Life after the war was hard, she had married Benjamin Gannet who was a farmer and they had three kids- Early, Polly and Patia. Although a farmer’s wife’s life is pretty calm, Deborah was the first woman to go on a lecture tour about the war that lasted almost a year. 

Deborah was finding money hard because she did not have a pension, but finally got one in 1805 of 4 dollars a month.

I chose Deborah because she had the bravery to do what she really wanted to do, even if it was illegal and she could get in trouble for it. She saved herself and showed how if you want to do something, just go do it.