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Deborah Sampson (1760-1827)

A former indentured servant, Deborah Sampson assumed the name of "Robert Shurtleff" and enlisted in the Continental Army in 1782. She became the only woman to serve formally in the Revolution. Nicknamed "Molly" by her fellow soldier's because of her hairless face, she fought with the Fourth Massachusetts and managed to maintain her disguise. A fever finally revealed her true indentity and she was subsequently discharged in 1783. She was married the next year and received a small military pension. In 1802, she began a lecture tour in the colonies, becoming one of the first women to do so. Her performance included donning a soldiers uniform and recounting her experiences. Congress granted her heirs a full military pension in 1838.

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