Deerfield — Revolutionary War

Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.

      The opening of the Revolution found the town divided in sentiment. Many of the leading men were loyal to the king and opposed to the change of government. They had held military and civil commissions in his Majesty's name and were intimate with the royal governors. The town, however, never failed in its duty in filling its quota of men and supplies. Oct. 7, 1774, Samuel Barnard was chosen delegate to the Provincial Congress at Salem.
      Jan. 28, 1775, Col. David Field and Maj. David Wells were chosen delegates to the Congress at Cambridge, which was to meet February 1st, and money voted to buy a stock of powder and lead. May 5th the collectors were forbidden to pay out any public money without an order from the town, and soon after were directed to pay it to Henry Gardner, of Stowe. A committee was chosen to "see that the resolves of the Continental Congress were strictly adhered to." This was called the committee of correspondence, inspection, and safety, and chosen annually during the war. It was invested with large judicial and executive powers. David Field was chairman for several years, and kept a regular record of its proceedings.
      On the Lexington alarm a company of Minute-Men under Capt. Lock, Lieut. Bardwell, and Ens. Stebbins marched at once to Cambridge. Lock soon enlisted in the commissary department, Bardwell returned, and Stebbins was made captain, and began enlisting a company April 27th, with which he was at Bunker Hill. April 20th, to encourage the Minute-Men at home, pay was allowed for time spent in drilling. May 23, 1776, the selectmen were directed to procure a supply of intrenching-tools.
      June 26th should be our "Independence day." On that day the town voted to "solemnly engage with our lives and fortunes" to support Congress should it "declare these colonies free and independent of Great Britain." The clerk was directed to forward a copy of the vote to be laid before the Legislature. October 7th voted to consent that the council and House should enact a form of government, provided it be made public.
      March 3, 1777, it was voted that the town will not dispose of the two pieces of cannon. April 20th a bounty of £20 was voted to each volunteer. April 22, 1778, the new constitution was read "paragraph by paragraph," and, in order that it be considered, the meeting adjourned twelve days. May 20th, £210 borrowed to pay bounties. August 12th, Col. David Field chosen delegate to the Constitutional Convention at Cambridge. Sept. 1, 1780, the new constitution was read "with pauses between paragraphs," and a committee of nine chosen to examine it and report what changes ought to be made. June 5th voted not to accept the third article in the Bill of Rights, "and that in the qualification for governor, he should declare himself to be of the Protestant religion instead of the Christian." This change was made in the constitution. June 19th voted a bounty of $30, hard money, for three years' men. July 23, 1781, voted £125, hard money, to buy beef for the army, and £82 to pay for horses. September 6th, any persons furnishing articles of clothing called for from the town to have the price allowed in their next tax. These votes illustrate the position and action of the town during this critical period.

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03 Aug 2005