4 JOSEPH STEBBINS
Deerfield, as a town, was at the forefront of this rebellion. Deerfield was not alone, but this sketch of her history is given as an illustration of what was going on all around her.
As early as 1770 the Deerfield rebels had made up their minds for business, and had gradually come into civil power. For ten years previously the loyalists had held control of the town, but in 1770 the rebels defied the loyalists and King George and elected rebel town officers.
Prominent among the men of Deerfield who were active in this movement was my grandfather, Joseph Stebbins. July 28, 1774, when Stebbins was twenty-four years old, the spirit of patriotism of the "Sons of Liberty" had reached such a height that preparations had been made for setting up a tall "Liberty Pole" upon the village street. Party spirit ran high, and little courtesy was shown on either side. There were a few Tories in town, and this Pole, which had been brought here too late in the day to be erected, was sawed asunder by one of them when darkness could conceal the actor who boastingly made record of the act in his diary. This diary is now in my possession.
The next morning the rebels procured another stately tree from the forest, and planted it firmly on the Street within six rods of my grandfather's house, with a liberty flag floating defiantly therefrom.
Stebbins was one of those who well knew that proceedings like these would call down upon the heads of the rebels the vengeance of one of the most powerful nations of the earth, and he early saw the necessity of preparing to resist force by force. He was one of the leaders in organizing and drilling a company of the "Sons of Liberty." The strength of the town of Deerfield was behind them as we have already seen.
Oct. 7, 1774 a town meeting was called and a rebel elected to the Provincial Congress. Oct. 17, a new military company "to be under the orders of the new Congress" was organized here. Nov. 11, Col. David Field and Major David Dickinson were sent to a rebel military field meeting at Northampton.