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Deborah Sampson to come to life in living history program

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NEW MILFORD—New Milford Celebrates America 250 will tell the tale of a strong woman from history March 23 at 2 p.m. at the New Milford Library. That’s when the Sherman Chapter of the DAR will sponsor a living history program on Deborah Sampson, the only woman to receive a government pension for her honorable service in the Revolutionary War.

Sampson eluded detection as a woman for more than a year and a half after enlisting in 1782, near the end of the war. Her father had died when she was a small child, and Sampson was bound out for service by her impoverished mother. At the time of her enlistment, she was an independent female who taught school in the summers and was a weaver in winter. 

No beauty, she easily disguised herself as a man and enlisted in the Fourth Massachusetts Regiment under the name of Robert Shurtleff. During the war she was in combat and had many adventures scouting and even leading a raid. Her sex was only discovered when she fell ill. 

After the war, she married and had children. Four years after her death, her husband applied for her military pension, but only with difficulty, and Paul Revere had to intervene on her behalf.

Register here for the program. The library is located at 24 Main St.

Kathryn Boughton
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