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Pratt, Daniel (11 April 1809–20 June 1887), wanderer, eccentric, and lecturer, was born in the Prattville section of Chelsea, Massachusetts, the son of Daniel Pratt, Jr., and Mary Hall. The roots of the distinguished Pratt family go back to revolutionary times; Daniel’s father was a humbler member of the strain. Daniel was the second of his ten children and outlived all of them except possibly one....

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Sampson, Deborah (17 December 1760–29 April 1827), revolutionary heroine and public speaker, was born in Plympton, Massachusetts, the daughter of Jonathan Sampson and Deborah Bradford, farmers. Born into a family that claimed a distinguished lineage from the days of the early Pilgrims in Massachusetts, Sampson endured a painful and impoverished childhood. Her father died when Deborah was five. She lived with an elderly female relative for three years and with a pastor’s widow for two more years before she was bound out as a servant to the family of Jeremiah Thomas in Middleborough, Massachusetts. Sampson thrived during the period of her indenture, learning manual skills and her letters. She became literate enough to teach school for a period of six months after she became free from her indenture in 1779. To this point in her life, little distinguished her from her fellows other than her physical strength. She was five feet seven inches, and observers commented on her sturdy physique....