A Heroine of the Revolutionary War


Where DeboraH trod.

Samson Art, Books, and Memorials

Deborah Samson was a self driven woman with many life goals that kept her on the move throughout New England, New York and beyond.

Written Records of Deborahand Family

Deborah Samson Gannet Diary + FAMILY LORE

Accurate Samson art!

What was written about her gives us some amazing insights, of her character and  situation in life.

Deborah always kept written records, and Descendents like the Moody's Monks, Nelsons, Gannett's Thayers and more kept Deborahs's  family lore alive

Our Patriot Deborah Samson, stands tall!  She is unafraid!

        A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet.  William Shakespeare) 

   But our Deborah was a Samson....



1760             Born, Plympton, MA December 17, 1760.  Direct descendent of Mayflower  

                      passengers, Gov. William Bradford and Alice Southworth, Capt. Myles    

                      Standish, Hon. John Alden and his wife Pilgrim Pricilla Mullins.

ca. 1765       Father Jonathan Samson Jr. deserts family; broken home.  Deborah and 6

                     siblings are "scattered" by their mother. (Deborah Bradford Samson.  This was a

                     legal practice at the time, and helped her mother pay off debt). 

1765-1768  Deborah was moved to live with (distant aunt) Ms. Ruth Fuller in Plympton, who

                     died 3 years later.

1768-1770  Deborah moved to Middleboro, Massachusetts to live with Mrs. Thatcher,

                     (widowed wife of late Congregationalist minister Rev. Peter Thatcher).  Under Mrs

                     Thatchers tutelage, she learns how to write simple script and spin cloth.  Mrs.

                     Thatcher dies two years later.  Deborah later said of this time in her life "Iwas

                     alone in my wretchedness".

1770-1778  Deborah moved to another home in Middleboro (while aged 10 -18), to work as

                     indentured servant with Jeremiah and Susannah Thomas, and their five sons.  This

                     was a patriotic and Congregationalist family.

1780           A 20 year old Deborah, teaches school at Middleboro's "Jenks House"  school for

                    two  years.  Works at Sproat's Tavern, The Andrew Leach Store and and various

                    other stores and homes in town, as a Waitress and Spinner.  Leaves

                    Congregationalist church (and is called a "come-outer") and joins 3rd Baptist  

                    Church of Middleboro.  Her 2nd cousin, Noah Alden, is an elder of this church.

1782           Deborah try's to enlist in the Continental Army, in Middleboro, disguised as a man

                    with fictitious name of Timothy Thayer, but was discovered.  Subsequently she is

                    banished from the 3rd Baptist church and quickly exits town for her own safety,

                    since this cross dressing offense is punishable by law.

1782-1783  Disguised as "Robert Shurtlieff" she successfully enlists in the 4th Massachusetts

                     Regiment of the Continental Army, on May 23, 1782, in Bellingham, MA, fulfilling

                     the town of Uxbridge, MA quota for soldiers.  12 days later...reports to duty at the

                     cantonment camps in Hudson Valley NY near West Point.  Fights in at least 5

                     recorded skirmishes with the elite Light Infantry, in New York.  Is wounded in

                     action.  Volunteers to suppress a mutiny of discharged (unpaid) veterans, in PA.

                     Also serves a "waiter" (military servant) to Brigadier General John Patterson

                     (while disguised as a man).   Catches malignant fever in Pennsylvania, and almost

                     dies in Philadelphia.  Her sex is discovered by Dr. Barnabas Binney who writes

                     letter explaining Deborah's true identity, to her officers.  She returns with the

                     letter, to West Point and is honorably discharged; October 23, 1783.  


1783-1789  Deborah Samson, ventures to Stoughtonham to live with her mothers sister (Aunt

                     Alice Bradford Waters in 1783.  On April 7, 1785 she marries Benjamin Gannett Jr.

                     of Sharon, MA, at aunt Alice and Zebulon Waters home, on Bay Rd. in Sharon.  Has

                     3 children, and adopts a 4th child.  Teaches school in town of Sharon

                     (1788-1789),  at East District School, on East Street.


1791-1792  Appeals to Massachusetts Legislature for compensation for her Army services.  On

                     January 19, 1792, they grant her "back pay" totaling a paltry 34 pounds, for money

                     she should have received as a soldier during active duty, but never received.  

                     Her request was approved by John Hancock.

1797             Collaborates with Herman Mann (a teacher from Walpole and later newspaper

                     mogul in Dedham) and publishes "Memoir of an American Young Lady".  (Later

                     called The Female Review).  He then ghost-rights her speech for lecture tour. 

                     Meets Philip Freneau, a poet of the American Revolution, who writes an ode in her


1802-1803  Undertakes one year, lecture tour (NY, MA and RI).  On tour she tarries as

                      honored guest of several of her former officers, like Captain George Webb, of

                      Holden, MA and retired Brig General John Patterson (then Judge Patterson) of

                      Lisle New York.

1804            Neighbor and friend, Paul Revere, of Canton, MA, helps Deborah, and Gannett

                     family, after meeting her at Cobbs Tavern; by writing a letter on her behalf, to

                     secure veterans pension for her.

1805-1818  Annual pension of $48 per year for her military service is approved.  In 1816,

                     Congress increases her pension to $76.80 per year.  In 1818 the "New Pension Act"

                     passed.  She petitions for eligibility and her pension is increased to $96 per year.

1809-1813  Deborah works for Beaumont Mills in Canton, carding Cotton (removing seeds), at

                     home in Sharon.  In 1813 Deborah moves into new home at 300 East Street, built

                     by her son.  Its affectionately called "Earls Mansion"

1820             Deborah petitions Congress and Senate, for missing compensation from 1783-1803

                      (her invalid (wounded in action) veterans pension payments).  Her request is

                      denied by Senate.

1827             Deborah Samson Gannett dies, April 29, 1827, at home, at 300 East Street in

                      Sharon, MA.

1836-1837  Her husband, Benjamin Gannett requests wifes pension supports (on several

                     occasions) as "the widower" of this female Revolutionary Soldier, from 1827-1837. 

                     He dies in 1837 weeks before special legislation is passed in his favor.  Heirs of Ben

                     and Deb request $466 awarded compensation.  Their request is granted, by special

                     act of special legislation by John Quincy Adams.

1850            Deborah's story popularized by Mrs. Liz Elliett for her series "Women of the

                     American Revolution".

1944-1987   A Liberty Ship "USS Deborah Samson Gannett" is commissioned by Gannett

                      family in 1944.  In 1983 Gov. Michael Dukakis, prclaims May23rd: Deborah

                      Samson Day, and names her the State Heroine of Massachusetts.  Gannett

                      Foundation donates $10,000 for Statue, built in her honor, in 1987.  Its designed 

                      by artist, Lu Stubbs.