Born Dec.17, 1760 in Plympton, Massachusetts in Plymouth County, Deborah Sampson was the first American woman to serve as a soldier and participate in combat. Her parents were descendants of Governor William Bradford and Captain Myles Standish, who sailed aboard the Mayflower and helped establish the Plymouth Colony.
Despite her Pilgrim lineage, Sampson's family was poor, and her mother indentured the children after her father failed to return from a voyage. Sampson worked as a farmhand until earning her freedom. Sampson worked as a teacher but felt compelled to join the fight for independence. Sampson journeyed to West Point in 1782 and enlisted in the Army disguised as a man. She participated in several skirmishes and was wounded several times but managed to avoid detection. After an honorable discharge in 1783, Sampson returned to Massachusetts, and married Benjamin Gannet of Sharon in 1785. She died April 29, 1827.