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Sarah Bradlee Fulton acted as a key player in the Boston Tea Party and a leader of the Daughters of Liberty. The Lowell Milken Center quotes her as “Mother of the Boston Tea Party” and an “Unsung Hero” who made major contributions to the success of the Revolutionary War.[1]

Bio of a Revolutionary Family

Born Sarah Bradlee on December 24, 1740, she grew up in one of Boston, Massachusetts’s most notable neighborhoods at the time, Dorchester. Not many facts are available about her early life until her marriage to John Fulton on July 25, 1762. The couple moved to Medford about 10 years after their marriage. They frequently visited her brother, Nathaniel Bradlee, who lived in Boston.[2] He owned a carpenter’s shop where local patriots gathered to discuss their revolutionary ideas over codfish suppers on Saturday nights.[3]

Active Participation

Sarah Fulton became famous and earned her name, “Mother of the Boston Tea Party,” on May 10, 1773, the night of the Boston Tea Party. She and her brother’s wife disguised their husbands and fellow patriots as Mohawk Indians with proper attire and face paint. This allowed them to successfully achieve their mission without revealing their true identities. When the men returned, the women removed their disguises covertly and calmly. Even fooling a local spy, who suspected Nathaniel Bradlee’s involvement, when he attempted to discover proof. He peered through a window and saw nothing more than two women working normally.[4]

Sarah Bradlee Fulton is known as the "Mother of the Boston Tea Party."

She greatly assisted her fellow revolutionaries following the June 17, 1775 Battle of Bunker Hill. She gathered women to volunteer as nurses, made a makeshift hospital station, and supplied many medical necessities to care for the wounded soldiers.[5]

Another instance of boldness by Sarah Fulton occurred during the 1775-1776 winter siege of Boston. British soldiers frequented Medford for fuel and, during one of these visits, a shipment of wood arrived meant for the revolutionary troops stationed in Cambridge. She sent her husband to purchase the wood, hoping the British soldiers would respect private property, but they seized it while he carried it home.

Sarah would not stand for this and, upon her husband’s return, set out to find the soldiers and bring back the wood. She reached the party and demanded the return of the wood to her husband, grabbing the oxen carrying the wood by the horns and pushing them around. The soldiers threatened to shoot her as she did, but she simply cried, “Shoot away!” Bemused and astonished the troop surrendered the wood and she returned home.[6]

Later Life

Again in March 1776, Sarah Bradlee Fulton volunteered when Major John Brooks approached her husband to deliver dispatches to General George Washington within enemy territory on the Charleston front lines. Her great bravery allowed her to leave immediately in the middle of the night and walk the dangerous road to Charleston.

Sarah Bradlee Fulton bravely assisted the Revolutionary War effort without being captured.

Bradlee Fulton then rowed across the river, found the meeting location, delivered the dispatches, and managed to return home by dawn.[7] Additionally, during the siege of Boston, she and her husband frequently delivered supplies to the revolutionaries in Medford with their own ship.[8]

Death and Legacy

Sarah Bradlee Fulton died in November 1835 a true revolutionary in every sense of the word, surpassing gender boundaries in her huge contributions to the success the Revolutionary War. A memorial stone dedicated to her in 1900 can be found in the Salem Street Burying Ground in Medford, Massachusetts.[9]



Sarah Bradlee Fulton. (n.d.).[3]

Wild, H. T. (n.d.). Sarah Bradlee Fulton. Dorchester, 1740. Medford Society Papers, Volume 1.[4]


  1. Petrelis, A. (2016). Sarah Bradlee Fulton.[1]
  2. Wild, H. T., 1898, p. 53
  3. Wild, H. T., 1898, p. 53
  4. Wild, H. T., 1898, p. 54
  5. Sarah Bradlee Fulton, n.d.
  6. Sarah Bradlee Fulton, n.d.
  7. Wild, H. T., 1898, p. 55
  8. Sarah Bradlee Fulton, (n.d.)
  9. Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine. (n.d.). Dedication of the Tablet Stone to Memory of Sarah Bradlee-Fulton.[2]

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