Who was Deborah Chase?

Deborah Chase (1750–1818) was the older sister of Nantucket’s Revolutionary War hero Reuben Chase. Both siblings were notable for their size. Reuben was said to be six feet four inches tall. As an adult Deborah was said to weigh 350 pounds. While her brother had a naval career under John Paul Jones and was veteran of numerous engagements with British warships, Deborah is said to have carried on her own war with the British on her home island, once knocking a British sentry unconscious with the swing of a wooden bucket. Other feats of strength attributed to her included carrying home on her shoulders a full barrel of flour, singlehandedly turning over an offending horse-drawn freight cart, and tossing one man who was harassing her into an oil vat and another man up onto a roof.

Deborah Chase married John Morris Jr. in 1772 and was the mother of four children.

The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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