JOSEPH STEBBINS 7
less here many false stories which we would not have you pay much Regard to,
they have took Saml Murry, and John Ruggles prisoners who are under gard—we
should be be very glad to see you if you think Best, as I have heard that Col
Williams does, please to inform all our friends of our wellfare, Excuse this,
as it is Late at night
I remains in Behalf of the Company your
Isaac Parker Clerk
Under this call for enlistment at headquarters, Lieut. Stebbins was the first of the Deerfield company to respond.
It has now been shown that Deerfield was in the front ranks of the rebellion, and that Joseph Stebbins was an officer in a military company which was zealously drilling before Washington received his commission as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army.
Many towns, like Deerfield, foresaw the coming struggle and made like preparations to meet it. Sunderland, nearby, organized a company of Minute men in the fall of 1774, and employed a "deserter" to drill them.
In Greenfield a company of Minute men were drilling under the direction of Capt. Timothy Childs, a veteran of the French War.
A paper in Memorial Hall signed by Jesse Billings and twenty-nine others shows how the matter was arranged in Hatfield before the authority was assumed by the Provincial Congress. "We the subscribers apprehending the military exercise is specially Requisite at this Day, and altho Capt. Allis, Lieut. Partridge and Ens. Dickinson have publicly declared that they will not act as military officers under the acts of Parliament in the support of the same. But we desire that they should call us together and exercise us by themselves or such others as they shall judge likely to teach and in struct us in the military art."
Worcester County, the home of Artemas Ward, was all on fire. Miss Ellen Chase, in her "Beginnings of the Revolution," recites the fact of seven regiments of one thousand men each drilling in local companies twice a week