born 1760

Deborah Sampson was animated by a spirit of independence. From age 10, she supported herself ~ a farm servant and self-taught teacher. Most famously, she rejected a marriage proposal to win her own + her country's independence. 

Donning men's clothes, Deborah became a celebrated soldier in the Continental Army and went to heroic lengths to stay there. Preferring death to detection, she refused medical care for everything from rampant contagions to musket-ball wounds. After her sex was discovered, she became a Revolutionary War legend. A rebel with a cause, Deborah reminds us that sometimes we have to combat convention to fight for better futures.

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Deborah Sampson (7)

"Must I forever counteract inclination and stay within the compass of the smoke of my own chimney?"

Deborah Sampson, A Heroine of the American Revolution | circa 1780

"Your Memorialist has made some Application to receive pay for her services in the Army, but being Female, & not knowing the proper steps to be taken to get pay for her services, has hitherto not receiv'd one farthing."

petition to the Legislature of Massachusetts | january 1792

"As I was born to be unfortunate, my sun soon clouded."

The Female Review | 1797

"I had less dread of receiving half a dozen more balls than the penetrating glance of his eye."

The Female Review | 1797

"If any imagine that in my situation nothing short of a continued miracle could have kept me unpolluted, I must content myself with the inward satisfaction which conscious purity and virtue always afford."

The Female Review | 1797

"My companions taxed me with presumption and folly, but I was determined, then and always, not to be a coward."

The Female Review | 1797

"O Woman! Thy smile is more powerful than the conqueror's sword. Thy sway is mightier than the monarch's sceptre."

The Female Review | 1797
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curated with care by Alicia Williamson {september 2014}