Deborah Gannett (Sampson) (1760 - 1827) MP

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Nicknames: "Robert Shurtleff", "A Revolutionary Soldier", "who disguised herself as a man to join the Continental Army."
Birthplace: Plympton, Plymouth, Massachusetts
Death: Died in Sharon, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States
Managed by: Tammy Swingle (Tucker)
Last Updated:

About Deborah Gannett (Sampson)

Deborah Samson Gannett (December 17, 1760 - April 27, 1827), better known as Deborah Sampson, was an American woman who impersonated a man in order to serve in the Continental Army during the American Revolution, and was the only woman to fight in the Revolutionary War. She served 17 months in the army, as "Robert Shurtliff", of Uxbridge, Massachusetts, was wounded in battle and discharged honorably at West Point.

DAR Ancestor #: A043501

Added by Elwin C. Nickerson about this Ancestor-  American Revolutionary War Heroine- Continental Army- Battle Hardend "Soldier of The Line"    - Served under Command of  Harwich Massachusetts Captain   George Webb /Col. Shepards Regiment - Massachusetts 4th Light Infantry AFoot- !!  Deborah Sampson, alias Robert Shurtleff, soldier of the American Revolution, was honored in a proclamation signed by Governor Michael J. Dukakis on May 23, 1983 to be the "Official Heroine of the State of Massachusetts" - -------------------- Added by Elwin C. Nickerson-Heroin "Soldier of The Line"- Massachusetts 4th Regiment A Foot- DAR-SAR Register!                                                                                                                                             http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deborah_Sampson

Early life

Deborah Sampson was born in Plympton, Massachusetts a small village in New England on December 17, 1760. Although her family name was originally spelled without the 'p', Mann's biography of her used a mistaken spelling and it is under this spelling that she is most commonly remembered. She was the oldest of six children of Jonathan and Deborah Bradford Sampson, both of old Colonial stock; the elder Deborah was a descendant of William Bradford, once Governor of Plymouth Colony. Her siblings included Jonathan, Sylvia and Jeremiah. The family lived in Middleborough, Massachusetts, during her youth. Her family was poor, and when they received word that Jonathan Sampson had drowned in a shipwreck in 1765, the family was forced to go into service as indentured servants. Jonathan Sampson, Deborah's father, told the family that he was going to England. However, some sources say that Jonathan instead sailed to Maine and lived the remainder of his life there.

Deborah lived in several different households; first with a spinster, then with the widow of Reverend Peter Thatcher, and finally, in 1770, she ended up an indentured servant in the household of Deacon Jeremiah and Susannah Thomas.

When she turned eighteen and was released from her indentured servitude with the Thomas family, she took a position as a schoolteacher, rejecting the suggestion that she marry.

Army

In 1778, she felt the need to do her part for the war and wanted to enlist in the Army. Women were not allowed to enlist, so she disguised herself as a man. She had little trouble doing this, since she was tall, educated, and just as strong as most of the men. Even her own mother failed to recognize her while she was disguised as a man. In disguise, the local recruiting office enlisted her under the name of "Thomas Thayer" of Carver. Because of the notable manner in which she held a quill pen, she may have been recognized and did not report the next day for service. On May 20, 1782, she tried again, this time successfully enlisting in the Continental Army on the Muster of Master Noah Taft under the name of her deceased brother, Robert Shurtliff from Uxbridge, Massachusetts. Her signature still exists in Massachusetts records.

She was chosen for the Light Infantry Company of the 4th Massachusetts Regiment under the command of Captain George Webb. The unit, consisting of fifty to sixty men, was first quartered in Bellingham, Massachusetts and later the unit mustered at Worcester under the Fourth Massachusetts Regiment, commanded by Colonel Shepard. Although she had some trouble with the men in her regiment after she looked in on the men changing, her distant cousin, Reverend Noah Alden, a minister in Bellingham, kept her secret.

Deborah fought in several skirmishes. During her first battle, on July 3, 1782, outside Tarrytown, New York, she received 2 musket balls in her thigh and an enormous cut on her forehead. She begged her fellow soldiers to just let her die and not take her to the hospital, but they refused to abandon her. A soldier put her on his horse and they rode six miles to a hospital. The doctors treated her head wound, but she left the hospital before they could attend to the musket balls. Fearful that her true identity would be discovered, she removed one of the balls herself with a penknife and sewing needle, but her leg never fully healed because the other ball was too deep for her to reach. On April 1, 1783 she was promoted and spent seven months serving as a waiter to General John Patterson. This job entitled her to a better quality of life, better food, and less danger.

After the peace treaty was signed, everyone thought the war was over. However, on June 24 the President of Congress ordered General Washington to send a fleet of soldiers to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to aid in squelching a rebellion of several American officers. During the summer of 1783, Deborah came down with malignant fever and was cared for by a doctor, Barnabas Binney. He removed her clothes to treat her and discovered the band she used to bind her breasts and, thus, discovered her secret. He did not betray her secret; he took her to his house, where his wife and daughters further treated her.

After Sampson recovered she returned to the army, but not for long. In September 1783 peace was assured through the signing of the Treaty of Paris. November 3 was the date for the soldiers to be sent home. When Dr. Binney asked her to deliver a note to General John Patterson, she thought that her secret was out. However, General Paterson never uttered a word; instead, she received an honorable discharge from the service, a note with some words of advice, and a sum of money sufficient to bear her expenses home. Thus, on October 25, 1783, General Henry Knox honorably discharged Deborah Sampson from the Army at West Point, after a year and a half of service.

Marriage

Deborah was married in Stoughton, Massachusetts to Benjamin Gannett (1757–1837), a farmer from Sharon, Massachusetts, on April 7, 1785. They had three children: Earl (1786), Mary (1788) and Patience (1790), as well as Susanna Baker Shepard, an adopted orphan.

Later life and death

Eight years later, in January 1792, she petitioned the Massachusetts State Legislature for back pay which the army had withheld from her because she was a woman. Her petition passed through the Senate and was approved, then signed by Governor John Hancock. The General Court of Massachusetts verified her service and wrote that she "exhibited an extraordinary instance of female heroism by discharging the duties of a faithful gallant soldier, and at the same time preserving the virtue and chastity of her sex, unsuspected and unblemished". The court awarded her a total of 34 pounds.

Ten years later, in 1802, Sampson began giving lectures about her experiences in the army. Deborah enjoyed speaking about serving her country. These speeches were initiated because of her financial needs and a desire to justify her enlistment. But even with these speaking engagements, she was not making enough money to pay her expenses. She had to borrow money from her family and from her friend Paul Revere on many occasions. The soldiers in the Continental Army had received pensions for their services, but Sampson did not because she was female.

In 1804, Paul Revere wrote to Massachusetts' representative William Eustis, on Sampson's behalf. Revere requested that Congress grant her a military pension. This had never before been requested by or for a woman, but with her health failing and family being destitute, the money was greatly needed. Revere wrote, "I have been induced to enquire her situation, and character, since she quit the male habit, and soldiers uniform; for the most decent apparel of her own sex; and obliges me to say, that every person with whom I have conversed about her, and it is not a few, speak of her as a woman with handsome talents, good morals, a dutiful wife, and an affectionate parent." On March 11, 1805 Congress in Washington obliged the letter, and placed her on the Massachusetts Invalid Pension Roll. This pension plan paid her four dollars a month.

In February 22, 1806, she found herself in even more financial trouble, so wrote once more to her friend Paul Revere asking for a loan of ten dollars. Part of her letter read, "My own indisposition and that of my sons causes me again to solicit your goodness in our favor though I, with Gratitude, confess it rouses every tender feeling and I blush at the thought of receiving ninety and nine good turns as it were, my circumstances require that I should ask the hundredth." He replied as kindly as he did the many other times she had asked the same favor, and sent Deborah the ten dollars.

In 1809, she sent another petition to Congress, asking that her pension as an invalid soldier, given to her in 1804, commence with the time of her discharge, in 1783. Had her petition been approved, she would have been awarded $960, to be divided into $48 a year for twenty years. However, it was denied until 1816, when her petition came before Congress again. This time, out of kindness, generosity, and maybe a little guilt, they approved her petition, awarding her $76.80 a year. She found this amount much more satisfactory, and was able to repay all her loans and take better care of the family farm. She died on April 29, 1827 at the age of 66 of yellow (mountain) fever and was buried in Rock Ridge Cemetery in the town of Sharon, Massachusetts. Her grandson, George Washington Gay, erected a monument to her and the Civil War veterans many years later.

Her long and ultimately successful public campaign for the American Revolutionary War pension bridged gender differences in asserting the sense of entitlement felt by all of the veterans who had fought for their country.

The town of Sharon, Massachusetts now memorializes Sampson with Deborah Sampson Street, a Deborah Sampson Statue in front of the public library, Deborah Sampson Field, and the Deborah Sampson House.

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Deborah Sampson Gannett (December 17, 1760 - April 29, 1827) was the first known American woman to impersonate a man (Robert Shurtliff), from Uxbridge, Massachusetts, in order to join the Army and take part in combat.

Deborah Sampson was born in Plympton, Massachusetts on December 17, 1760, as the oldest of seven children of Jonathan and Deborah Bradford Sampson, both of whom were direct Mayflower descendants. Her siblings were Jonathan, Hannah, Elisha, Ephraim, Sylvia and Nehemiah. The family lived in Middleborough, Massachusetts. Her family was poor and her father was rumored to have gone to Maine where he lived for three years until he drowned in a shipwreck in 1765, when Deborah was not yet five years old. Because her mother lacked the means to support the family, her children were sent to live at different households. Deborah lived in two different households; with a spinster first and then with the widow of Reverend Peter Thatcher, before she became an indentured servant in the household of Deacon Jeremiah and Susannah Thomas, the parents of ten sons, in 1770. She became strong and mastered work in plowing fields, spreading manure fertilizer, milking cows and stacking hay. With the books that were found around the household, she learned the things that other children learned in school. She did both women's and men's work and mastered carpentry, spinning, sewing and weaving cloth. Most importantly, she was permitted to tag along with the Thomas' sons to the town schoolroom, where she devoured every bit of information possible. With this education, she began to develop a great interest in politics and in the events of the war that had begun between the American colonies and the British.

When she turned 18 and no longer had to serve the Thomas family, she got a job as a local school teacher, where she taught both boys and girls. In the Colonial Period, Deborah was at the age where most young women got married. Her mother wanted her to settle down, although she had no interest in it. After all those years, she wanted an adventure.

Deborah Sampson wanted to be able to fight, but she was not allowed to do so because she was a woman. She then acted and played the role of a man in order to get into the war, and she achieved it.

In 1778, she felt the need to do her part for the war and wanted to enlist in the Army. Women were not allowed to enlist, so she disguised herself as a man. She had little trouble doing this, since she was tall, intelligent, and just as strong as most of the men. Even her own mother failed to recognize her while she was disguised. In disguise, the local recruiting office enlisted her under the name of "Robert" of Carver. Because of the notable manner in which she held a quill pen, she may have been recognized and did not report the next day for service. On May 20, 1782, she tried again, enlisting in the Continental Army on the Muster of Master Noah Taft, this time under the name of Robert Shurtliff from Uxbridge. (This was the name of her brother who had died before she was born.) Her signature still exists in Massachusetts records. When she entered the Army on May 20, she was chosen for the Light Infantry Company of the 4th Massachusetts Regiment.

Deborah Sampson enlisted as a soldier and by pretending to be a man, she joined one of the classes required for the war from the Town of Uxbridge. Captain George Webb was the leader of the company, which contained 50 to 60 men. She joined in Bellingham, Massachusetts, and the unit then mustered at Worcester under the Fourth Massachusetts Regiment, commanded by Colonel Shepard. Her distant cousin, Reverend Noah Alden, a minister in Bellingham, kept her secret.

During Deborah's time in the Army, she fought in several skirmishes. During her first on July 3, 1782, outside Tarrytown, New York, she received 2 musket balls in her thigh and a huge cut on her forehead from a bullet. She begged her fellow soldiers to just let her die and not take her to the hospital, but they refused to obey her. A soldier put her on his horse and they rode six miles to a hospital. The doctors treated her head wound, but she left the hospital before they could attend to the musket ball. Had she stayed, they might have discovered the secret that she was trying so hard to hide, so she removed one of the balls herself with a penknife and sewing needle, but her leg never fully healed because the other ball was too deep for her to reach. In 1783 she was promoted and spent seven months serving as a waiter to General John Patterson. This job entitled her to a better quality of life, better food, and less danger.

After the peace treaty was signed, everyone thought the war was over. However, on June 24 the President of Congress ordered General Washington to send a fleet of soldiers to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to aid in squelching a rebellion of several American officers. During the summer of 1783, Deborah came down with malignant fever and was cared for by a doctor, Barnabas Binney. He removed her clothes to treat her and discovered the band she used to bind her breasts and, thus, discovered her secret, but kept it safe and took her to his house, where his wife and daughters further treated her.

After Sampson recovered she returned to the army, but not for long. In September 1783 peace was assured through the signing of the Treaty of Paris. When Dr. Binney asked her to deliver a note to General George Washington, she knew that her secret was out. However, General Washington never uttered a word; instead, she received an honorable discharge from the service, a note with some words of advice, and a sum of money sufficient to bear her expenses home. Thus, on October 25, 1783, General Washington honorably discharged Deborah Sampson from the Army at West Point.

Deborah married at Stoughton, Massachusetts to Benjamin Gannet (1757-1837), a farmer from Sharon, Massachusetts, on April 7, 1785. They had three children: Earl (b. 1786), Mary (b. 1788) and Patience (b. 1790), and adopted an orphan, Susanna Baker Shepard.

-------------------- Deborah Sampson (b. 17 Dec 1760 d. 29 Apr 1827) was a remarkable woman serving in the Continental Army in the Revolutionary war. She disguised herself as a man.

History raves about the heroics of men in war... but few instances are mentioned in which female courage was displayed. Yet during every conflict, and the peaceful years between they too were there. In the beginning of the America we know there was a Revolution. And although the call to arms was for men, several women donned the uniform of a Revolutionary soldier and fought against the British. One of these women was Deborah Sampson." (While "SAMPSON" is the generally used spelling, the spelling "SAMSON" has also been said to be the correct spelling.)

Deborah Sampson, born in Plympton, Massachusetts (originally called Winnetuxet) on a wintry day - December 17, 1760 - as the oldest of three daughters and three sons of Jonathan and Deborah Sampson, was the first known American woman to impersonate a man in order to join the army and take part in combat. Deborah's ancestral line descends down from Plymouth Colony Governor William Bradford of the Mayflower through Governor Bradford's son Joseph Bradford and Jael Hobart, Elisha Bradford and Bathsheba LeBrocke.

Lucy Freeman and Alma Bond, Ph. D., in their book America's First Woman Warrior, describes Deborah's grandmother, Bathsheba (LeBrocke) Bradford as "a young French woman of beauty and elegance" and "was to have an innovative influence on her life and subsequent choice of career." Of this influence on Deborah's life, they further write [America's First Woman Warrior, Lucy Freeman and Alma Bond, Paragon House 1992, p. 70]:

"Deborah's grandmother, the spirited Bathsheba, was very close to her daughter Deborah, often visited her grandchildren in Plympton. She spoiled young Deborah outrageously, according to Deborah's mother, as Deborah, with her bright mind and warm, affectionate nature, became Bathsheba's favorite. Deborah remembered her grandmother telling her many times in her French accent the inspiring story of the heroine of France, Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans who in a pair of breeches led the French army to victory over the British. She was burned at the stake for her bravery because she insisted she was responsible only to God and not to the hypocritical rulers of the church."

This close relationship with her grandmother, Bathsheba (LeBrocke) Bradford, no doubt, may have had a profound influence later in Deborah's decision to enlist disguised as a man and serve with the Massachusetts Troops in the Revolutionary War. She was also a great granddaughter of one of Plympton's first settlers, Isaac Sampson. Isaac had sailed from Leyden, Holland in 1629 - his brother Henry Sampson having sailed over on the Mayflower.

Lucy Freeman and Alma Bond [America's First Woman Warrior, Paragon House 1992, p. 87] further write: "Deborah, in a sense, was born to war. She had listened to many a conversation between her mother and grandmother about how the war had affected the Bradfords. Governor Bradford's son, William, commander of the Plymouth forces in King Phillip's War, was hit at the thy by a musket ball, which he carried the rest of his life." Deborah Sampson's mother's sister, Hannah Bradford, and her spouse Joshua Bradford had both been killed and scalped on 22 May 1758 in the Indian attack on Meduncook (Friendship), Maine. Captain Simeon Sampson, a cousin of Deborah's father, had been held hostage during the French and Indian Wars and had escaped the enemy by dressing as a woman. Deborah would later recall how, at the age of 4 years, she had asked Captain Sampson if she could be his cabin boy, to which she was met with rejecting laughter because she was a girl. These events which were so well-known by Deborah in her youth, surely must have had a profound influence on a determined Deborah's scheme to disguise herself as a man in order to enlist in the Revolutionary War.

Deborah's youth was spent in poverty. Her father having abandoned the family when he went off to sea, the poor health and inability to support the family forced Deborah's mother to send the children off to live with various neighbors and relatives. At the age of five and a half years, Deborah went to live with her mother's cousin, Ruth Fuller, in Middleborough, Massachusetts. Upon Ruth's death, Deborah, now age 8 years, went to live with Mrs. Peter Thacher, widow of the minister of First Congregational Church of Middleborough, Massachusetts, where she worked hard without complaint. At the young age of ten, Sampson became an indentured servant in the household of Benjamin Thomas with his wife and eight sons until the age of 18 years. For the remainder of her youth, she helped with the housework and worked in the field. Hard labor developed her physical strength. In winter, when there wasn't as much farm work to be done, she was able to attend school. Among the various accomplishments which she learned while living in the Thomas household were the arts of spinning and weaving, cooking, the handling of farm equipments - and how to handle a musket. Often going on hunting ventures with the Thomas sons, Deborah became as proficient at shooting as the boys. She learned enough skills so that after her servitude ended in 1779, she was hired as a teacher in a Middleborough public school.

From the peeling of the First Presbyterian Church tower bell on December 16, 1775 to the meeting hall where it was announced "that Boston patriots--Paul Revere and John Hancock among them--disguised as Indians dumped tea belonging to the East India Company into the harbor" [America's First Woman Warrior, Lucy Freeman and Alma Bond, Paragon House 1992, p. 80] to the famous ride of Paul Revere to the sounds of the British guns which Deborah could hear as they fired on Bunker Hill, Deborah's destiny with her decision to fight in the Revolutionary War became ever clearer. She had grown up with conflict, but in the winter of 1780 at Sprout's Tavern, Deacon Thomas arrived telling of the death of his two sons who were fighting with the Marquis de Lafayette in Virginia. Grief-stricken for the boys she had come to love as brothers brought Deborah another step closer to her destiny in the Revolution.

Selma R. Williams in Demeter's Daughters, The Women Who Founded America 1587-1787, pages 241-243 writes:

"Elizabeth Ellet, who compiled the first list of heroines and spies in 1848, found 160 women who qualified. Most conspicuous in this category was nineteen-year-old Deborah Sampson, who disguised herself as a boy "Timothy Thayer" and joined the Continental Army. She had no trouble entering the ranks in clothing borrowed from one Samuel Leonard.......However, somehow she was recognized and forced to return to civilian life."

Interestingly, Lucy Freeman and Alma Bond, Ph.D. in America's First Woman Warrior: The Courage of Deborah Sampson, p. 89-90, portray Deborah, then residing in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Leonard, coming to her final decision to attempt the disguise. Donning the clothes of Mr. and Mrs. Leonard's son, Samuel, who had already left for the war, Deborah's plan would be test her disguise by visiting a fortune teller at Sprouts Tavern. Once assured the fortune teller did not recognize Deborah, she proceeded to enlist in the army using the fictitious name Timothy Thayer of Carver. Perhaps, had the comment made by a Mrs. Wood as Deborah signed the Articles of Enlistment - "Thayer holds the quill with his finger in that funny position, like Deborah Sampson" - not gone unnoticed, the course of Deborah's future may have forever been altered that day.

On May 20, 1782, when she was twenty-one, Sampson enlisted in the Fourth Massachusetts Regiment of the Continental Army at Bellingham as a man named Robert Shurtleff (also listed as Shirtliff or Shirtlieff), taking the name of her mother's first-born child, Robert Shurtleff Sampson, who had deceased at the age of 8 years. Deborah's mother had continued to grieve the loss of her first born son, Robert, and this was perhaps another reason for Deborah to gain her mother's admiration in Robert's place by enlisting to fight in the Revolutionary War. On May 20th. 1782, she signed the "Articles of Enlistment" for a three year enlistment which were presented to her at Worcester and was mustered three days later into Captain George Webb's company.

The National Geographic article written by Lonnelle Aikman entitled Patriots in Petticoats, Vol. 148, No. 4, Oct. 1975 reads: "From then on, Deborah Sampson's adventures rivaled fiction, later filling a 1797 biography by Herman Mann, The Female Review: or, Memoirs of an American Young Lady. Her strength and firm chin, shown in a contemporary portrait, explain how she passed for a "smock-faced" boy, too young to grow a beard. Being 5 foot 7 inches tall, she looked tall for a woman and she had bound her breasts tightly to approximate a male physique. Other soldiers teased her about not having to shave, but they assumed that this "boy" was just too young to grow facial hair. She performed her duties as well as any other man. On November 12, 1780, Deborah had renounced the Puritan religion and, subsequently, joined the Baptist Church. Rumors circulating back home about her activities and she was excommunicated from the First Baptist Church of Middleborough, Massachusetts, because of a strong suspicion that she was "dressing in man's clothes and enlisting as a Soldier in the Army." At the time of her excommunication, her regiment had already left Massachusetts.

Sampson was sent with her regiment to West Point, New York, where she apparently was wounded in the leg in a battle near Tarrytown. She tended her own wounds so that her gender would not be discovered. As a result, her leg never healed properly. Having served at West Point for eighteen months and participating in several battles, Deborah was wounded twice on raids along the Hudson. In a skirmish near Tarrytown, she suffered a sword cut to the head, and at Eastchester she took a bullet in her thigh that troubled her the rest of her life. Army records apparently confirm these details of Deborah's military service. Her sexual identity went undetected until she came down with a "malignant fever", then prevalent among the soldiers, and was sent to a hospital in Philadelphia where the attending physician, Dr. Binney, of Philadelphia, discovered her charade, but said nothing. Instead he took her to his own home where she would receive better care. When her health was restored, the doctor met with the commanding officer and subsequently an order was issued for Robert Shirtliffe to carry a letter to General Washington.

When the order came for her to deliver a letter into the hands of the Commander-in-Chief, she knew that her deception was over. She presented herself at the headquarters of Washington, trembling with dread and uncertainty. General Washington, to spare her embarrassment, said nothing. Instead, he sent her with an aide to have some refreshments, then summoned her back. In silence Washington handed Deborah Sampson a discharge from the service, a note with some words of advice, and a sum of money sufficient to bear her expenses home.

Deborah Sampson was honorably discharged from the army at West Point on October 25, 1783 by General Henry Knox and after the war, in 1784, married Benjamin Gannett of Sharon; they had three children - Earl, Mary and Patience - and lived a life of meager existence with her family.

Selma R. Williams in Demeter's Daughters, The Women Who Founded America 1587-1787 writes:

"Besides her unusual wartime career got special recognition in the 1790s. On January 20, 1792, the Massachusetts General Court voted to pay her 34 pounds for past services in the United States army where she 'did actually perform the duty of a soldier.' The all-male legislature added approvingly: 'The said Deborah exhibited an extraordinary instance of female heroism, by discharging the duties of a faithful, gallant soldier, and at the same time preserving the virtue and chastity of her sex unsuspected and unblemished, and was discharged from the service with a fair and honorable character....'"

She also taught at a nearby school. In 1802, Sampson traveled throughout New England and New York giving lectures on her experiences in the military. During her lectures, she wore the military uniform. During George Washington's presidency she received a letter inviting Robert Shirtliffe, or rather Mrs. Gannett, to visit Washington. About nine years after her discharge from the army, she was awarded a pension from the state of Massachusetts in the amount of thirty-four pounds in a lump payment. After Paul Revere sent a letter to Congress on her behalf in 1804, she began receiving a U.S. pension in the amount of four dollars per month. During her stay at the capital, a bill was passed granting her a pension, in addition to certain lands, which she was to receive as an acknowledgment for her services to the country in a military capacity as a Revolutionary Soldier. The abstract of Deborah Sampson's, alias Robert Shurtleff's, pension is found in Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files Volume II: F-M, Abstracted by Virgil D. White, The National Historical Publishing Company, 1991, 1305 which reads:

"GANNET, Deborah alias Robert Shurtleff, 832622, MA line, this lady enl under the name of Robert Shurtleff & was wounded in 1783 & she rec'd a pension under the act of 18 Mar 1818 & had previously been pensioned by the state of MA, she had m Benjamin Gannett on 7 Apr 1784 & she d 29 Apr 1826 & he rec'd a pension from 4 Mar 1831 at $80 per annum for life, a P. Parsons stated she lived in the family of Benjamin Gannett more that 46 yrs after he m Deborah Sampson at his father's in Sharon MAY, they lived at Sharon in Norfolk Co MA, the said Deborah was the daughter of Jonathan Sampson who was b 3 Apr 1729 at plympton MA & her mother was also named Deborah who was the daughter of Elisha Bradford of Kingston MA & her parents were m 27 Oct 1751, she (the sol Deborah) was the granddaughter of Isaac Sampson one of the 1st settlers of Plympton MA, her husband Benjain Gannett d in Jan 1837 & in 1838 final payment was made to Earl B. Gannett, Mary Gilbert & Patience Gay ."

Deborah Sampson Gannett died April 29, 1827 in Sharon, Massachusetts, at age sixty-six. Her children were awarded compensation by a special act of Congress "for the relief of the heirs of Deborah Gannett, a soldier of the Revolution, deceased." Selma R. Williams in Demeter's Daughters, The Women Who Founded America 1587-1787 writes, "After her death on April 29, 1827, at the age of sixty-seven, her husband petitioned Congress for an increased pension, on the grounds that he had burdensome medical bills as a result of her service-connected sickness. A year after his death, Congress on July 7, 1838, responded with an "Act for the relief of the heirs of Deborah Gannett, a soldier of the Revolution," paying a total sum of $466.66 to her three children.

Deborah Sampson, alias Robert Shurtleff, soldier of the American Revolution, was honored in a proclamation signed by Governor Michael J. Dukakis on May 23, 1983 to be the "Official Heroine of the State of Massachusetts" -

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Added by Elwin C. Nickerson-Heroin "Soldier of The Line"- Massachusetts 4th Regiment A Foot- DAR-SAR Register!

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Pvt. Deborah Sampson (Continental Army)'s Timeline

1760
December 17, 1760
Plympton, Plymouth, Massachusetts
1785
April 7, 1785
Age 24
Massachusetts
November 8, 1785
Age 24
Sharon, Norfolk County, MA, USA
December 19, 1785
Age 25
Sharon, Norfolk County, MA, USA
1790
November 25, 1790
Age 29
Sharon, Norfolk County, MA, USA
1827
April 27, 1827
Age 66
Sharon, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States
????
????
Sharon, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States