Deborah Sampson Commemorative Coin, Fine Pewter Limited First Edition.

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Deborah Sampson Commemorative Coin, From The 'Great Women Of The American Revolution' Collection, Fine Pewter, Limited First Edition.

 

Deborah Samson Gannett, better known as Deborah Samson or Deborah Sampson (December 17, 1760 - April 29, 1827), was a woman who fought in the American Revolution disguised as a man. She was one of a minority of women who had their military combat experience in that war documented.

Born in Plympton, Massachusetts, Deborah was the fifth of seven children who's family disposition was not well off. Her mother was the great-granddaughter of Governor William Bradford of Plymouth Colony. Her father's history is uncertain. She was told that he had most likely disappeared at sea, but there was some evidence that suggested he actually abandoned the family and migrated to Lincoln County, Maine. This left her mother unable to look after all of them, so she placed them in the households of various friends and relatives, a common practice in 18th-century New England. First, Deborah was sent to a maternal relative. Shortly afterwards, her mother died and she went on to live with a Reverand's widow who was in her eighties at the time. Then she died as well, and Deborah was placed into the care of a Jeremiah Thomas in Middleborough, who didn't believe in woman's education and therefore didn't send her to school with his other children. However, she overcame that opposition by learning from his very own sons, who shared their school work with her. This method apparently proved successful, because she made a living as a summer school teacher after her years as an indentured servant under the Thomas family.

In early 1782, Samson joined an Army unit in Middleborough under the name Timothy Thayer; and by wearing men's clothes. But, her deception was uncovered, and she had to repay the portion of the bonus that she had not spent yet, but she wasn't subjected to any further punishment by the Army. She made another attempt to join the army in May of 1782 and enlisted in Uxbridge this time under the name "Robert Shirtliff" (also spelt as Shirtliffe and Shurtleff). This attempt proved more successful than the first and she became a member of the Light Infantry Company of the Fourth Massachusetts Regiment under the command of Captain George Webb (1740–1825). She fought in several skirmishes, and even took two musket balls in her thigh and a cut on her forehead during her first battle, on July 3, 1782, outside Tarrytown, New York. When she was sent to the hospital, she feared her real identity would be discovered. So she left there after her head wound was treated, and tended to her musket wounds herself using a penknife and sewing needle. She removed one but was unable to remove the other due to its depth in the wound. Her leg never fully recovered. She also served under General John Paterson by way of promotion as his waiter and was later sent to Philadelphia alongside a contingent of other soldiers to settle a rebellious dispute in the army over delayed wages and discharges. She fell ill during that time and was treated by a Dr Barnabas Binney (1751-1787), who discovered her true identity during his treatment of her. However, he didn't expose her then. It wasn't until September of 1783, following the signing of the Treaty of Paris, that he made that revelation known within a letter to General Paterson, and had her deliver it to him personally. Instead of receiving the usual reprimand, General Paterson gave her an honourable discharge on the 25th of October with enough money to travel home, and a note with some words of advice. 

Item Code - MEMSOU1E10654LGA

Coin Alone - Width: 1 3/4"  Height: 1 3/4"

Within Packaging - Width: 7 1/8"  Height: 3 3/4"  Weight: 54 g


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