Memorial stone marker on the site of the home of Sarah Bradlee Fulton, active participant in the American Revolutionary War, via WikiCommons by Mmangan333.

Women’s stories, like that of Sarah Fulton, are not always known as well as the men’s stories in the American Revolution. However, women like Sarah Fulton served their country and were successful in their attempts in the fight against the British. Sarah Bradlee Fulton was thirty-five years old when the American Revolution broke out in 1775. Known as the “Mother of the Boston Tea Party” and the leader of the Daughters of Liberty, Fulton played several key roles in the revolution. Her unwillingness to surrender aided her in the fight against the British. 

Sarah was born on December 24, 1740, in Dorchester, Massachusetts, which is now a part of Boston. Before the revolution broke out, Sarah married John Fulton on July 25, 1762, and moved to Medford, Massachusetts. Medford opposed the Stamp Act in 1765 and was a hotbed place for anti-British activity. Importantly, Sarah’s brother, Nathaniel Fulton was a Boston patriot, and Sarah and John often visited Nathaniel. Her work against the British did not begin in 1775 with the American Revolution. On December 16, 1773, Sarah helped to coordinate the dumping of tea into the Boston Harbor. She disguised her husband John and her brother Nathaniel as Mohawk Native Americans—later in the evening the two men joined a large group of patriots (Sons of Liberty) disguised as Mohawk Native Americans. The group boarded three ships located on the Boston Harbor and proceeded to dump the tea into the harbor. Sarah later helped both men to get rid of their disguises so that their activities against the British would remain unknown. 

Sarah’s heroism did not end at the Boston Tea Party, she remained devoted to the patriot cause. At the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775, Sarah helped to care for the wounded soldiers. The Daughters of the American Revolution note that Sarah was a field nurse. Whether she identified herself as a field nurse or not, her role in the Battle of Bunker Hill was crucial to saving the men’s lives she served. She also stood up to the British troops in the siege of Boston in 1775-1776. She overtook the British troops who stole wood bought by her husband John and when they threatened to shoot her, Sarah told them to do so. As a result of her bravery, the British troops surrendered the wood back to the Americans. Sarah repeatedly risked her life as a patriot. She went inside enemy lines to deliver messages to General George Washington in the town of Charlestown. Her heroism did not go unnoticed—both George Washington and General Lafayette visited Sarah. 

Sarah died in 1835 at the age of ninety-five. Her heroism in the American Revolution shows that women played an important role against the British. Sarah is recognized as the “Mother of the Boston Tea Party.”

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