Women of the Revolution: 1780s Massachusetts

Deborah Sampson Gannett

Martha Ballard

Deborah Sampson:

She served 18 months in the army during the American¬†Revolution. Was an influential female figure of her time because of her heroic work in the war, although her efforts were great, she did not participate in the typical lifestyle of women in 1780’s Massachusetts. However Sampson is arguably the most influential woman in Massachusetts of her time.

Martha Ballard:

A mother, healer and women of trades, Martha Ballard was an exceptional woman who exemplified the true characteristics of a women in colonial Massachusetts. Her dedication to recording her everyday actions in her journal, has left historians with an unbelievable opportunity to see into the life of colonial women, especially in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts was tormented with plague during Ballard’s time, and much of her time was spent caring for those around her who were battling illness. She also was experienced in delivering babies and she practiced this very often as well.

However for much of Ballard’s life, she was in house taking care of the family by accomplishing traditional mother tasks throughout the day. She would churn butter, sew cloths for the family, feed the animals, make each meal of the day from scratch for the entire family and take care of other chores that would come up.

Education of Women in the 1780’s

From 1765 TO 1780 Massachusetts saw major change when it came to women’s education and literacy rates. During this time most women acquired enough writing skills to write coherent sentences and read some english. Money was not allocated from town halls such as Northampton who turned down the idea of funding schooling for girls in 1785 and again in 1788. There was no available education for a majority of women in 1780’s Massachusetts outside of the knowledge that can be gained through house learning and community lessons.

VIDEO CAROL BERKIN ON Women in Revolutionary America. CLICK HERE 






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