Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead

Biography of Deborah Sampson: Early Life

Deborah Sampson was born on the 17th of December, 1760 to Jonathan and Deborah Bradford Sampson. She had seven more siblings.

Her family was poor and their father left them when Deborah was just 5 years old. At the age of 10, she was indentured as a servant with the household of Jeremiah and Susannah Thomas. With the Thomas family, she gained a good education. She often learnt from the books lying around the house and would go along with the Thomas' sons to school. There she learnt a lot. She would also do work around the house - both men's and women's work, and she grew to be quite strong.

She had grown to become very interested in the politics of the time.

When she turned 18, she could not serve as with the Thomas household. But she lived with them for 2 more years, and worked as a weaver and a teacher at the local school.

When she was 21 though, she wanted a more adventurous life, and set out to seek one.

Deborah Sampson: Army Life

In 1782 she enlisted as Robert Shurtlieff and became a part of the Light Infantry Company of the Fourth Massachusetts Regiment. She was tall, and strong as the rest of the men, and no one could make out her disguise.

She fought in several encounters while in the army. In July 1782, she was hit by a musket ball in her thigh and got cut in her forehead. She left the hospital after her head wound was treated so that her secret would not be revealed. She then removed the musket ball with a penknife and sewed the wound herself. Her leg never healed fully but her secret was safe.

In 1783 she served as a waiter for General John Patterson.

During the same year, she came down with a fever and was taken care of by a doctor called Barnabas Binney. He discovered her secret, but did not reveal it. He took her to his home where his wife and daughters took care of Deborah.

In September 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed and Dr. Binney sent Deborah to George...

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