JOSEPH STEBBINS 5
Dec. 5, the town voted to direct the selectmen to procure a stock of powder and lead.
A Minute company was formed and might have been seen actively drilling with Jonas Locke as Captain and Joseph Stebbins as Lieutenant.
It so happened that on a day which turned out to be one of the most eventful in the history of Deerfield—April 20, 1775—a town meeting was held in the schoolhouse, when it was,—"Voted that ye Minute Company, so called in this Town (as an Encouragement to their perfecting themselves in the Military Art) be allowed by the Town ye following sums, viz.: to ye Capt & two Lieuts each two shillings, to ye clerk one shilling & six pence, and to the non-commissioned Officers & Privates one shilling each for one-half day in a week, until ordered otherwise by ye Selectmen who are hereby appointed a Committee to determine how long ye said Company shall Draw ye above mentioned wages."
It was then provided that the company should receive back pay for time spent in exercising, at one-half the above rates. Thus the town adopted and backed up all the rebels had done.
Deerfield had now a little paid rebel army of its own which had been drilling for months and my grandfather was an officer. Bear in mind this was more than fourteen months before the Declaration of Independence.
The little far away town had this day provided for a contingency which had already occurred. Even while the meeting was deliberating men on horseback were hurriedly spreading the startling news in every direction that the war had begun. The schoolhouse door had scarcely closed when the resounding hoof beats of the galloping horse, and the hoarse call "To Arms!" of the excited rider were heard on our village green. "Gage has fired upon the people! Minute men to the rescue! Now is the time! Cambridge the place!" and the twain are off like a meteor. Then there was hurrying to and fro and arming in hot haste, and before the hours of the day were numbered forty-nine men under Capt. Jonas Locke and Lieut. Joseph Stebbins were on their way to the scene of bloodshed to join the