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Thursday, March 1, 2018

Women's History Month ::: Deborah Sampson

There have been many individuals who have stood out in history. Both men and women have attributed building this great country. March 1987 the National Women's History Project petitioned congress to designate the month of March as Women's History Month. After that time schools and communities together began to celebrate Women's History Month. 

The first "Women's History Week" took place in Sonoma California 1978. Since that time every state honors womens history month

One area that women have helped this country grow was in the military. Women from the beginning have served in the U.S. Army in positions such as cooks, laundresses, nurses, and seamstresses. These roles were important to help service member's have tolerable lives. As early as the American Revolution women have chose to forgo traditional roles and serve in combat roles. There they fought along side their husbands or disguised their selves as men. There were other courageous women who took on roles as spies. The number has grown since that time and now include women in many U.S. military branches. 

One of these courageous ladies was Deborah Sampson. Sampson was a hero of the American Revolution. During the war she disguised herself as a man and fought side by side her fellow patriots. For her bravery she received a full military pension. The only woman to do so in the Revolutionary War. 

Deborah Sampson Gannett was born December 17, 1760. She was a Massachusetts women who served 17 months in the army under the name "Robert Shritliff" In 1782 Sampson was wounded and honorable discharged at West Point New York in 1783. 

Deborah Sampson was one of seven children. She was born to parents who were members of the preeminent pilgrims. The family struggled financially and the father was lost at sea. Deborah ended up being as an indentured servant to a farmer with a large family. The indenture was complete when Deborah turned 18 and worked as a teacher during summer sessions for a couple of years and a weaver in the winter. 

The Revolutionary war had begun and was in full when in 1782 Deborah Sampson decided to enter the war. She could not enter as herself as women in that time could not engage in war so she disguised herself as a man and joined the 4th Massachusetts regiment. She was assigned to light infantry and scouted neutral territory to assess British surplus. This was a dangerous task for sure. Sampson along with two sergeants led 30 men into confrontation. Deborah helped dig trenches at Yorktown , helped storm a British redoubt and endured canon fire all jobs women were not allowed to do. 

In 1827 Deborah Sampson died of yellow mountain fever. She was buried in Rock Ridge cemetery in Sharon Mass. Several statues and monuments have been placed in the area. The local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution war and many others have considered her a Daughter of Liberty The Massachusetts legislature declared Sampson the official state heroine in 1982. May 23 has been declared "Deborah Sampson Day" On this day many will dress up in costume and retell her story. 

Resources in writing this informational post come from many sources including
Michals, Debra.  " Deborah Sampson."  National Women's History Museum.  National Women's History Museum, 2015

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