© 2008 Bryant White
Joseph Stebbins was one of seven children of Joseph Stebbins, Sr., and Mary (Stratton) Stebbins of Deerfield. His father was a prosperous farmer, tanner and shoemaker who was prominent in town affairs. Joseph was in his mid-twenties and an ardent Whig whose name figured prominently in the pre-war court closings and protests of the pre-war years. When the Revolution broke out he marched as a 2d lieutenant at the Lexington alarm. By May, he was at Cambridge and serving under Captain Hugh Maxwell of Charlemont. At the time of the battle of Bunker Hill, Stebbins was an acting captain; John Hancock signed Stebbins' commission in July 1775. In 1777, along with many other local men Stebbins actively participated in the Saratoga campaign and witnessed Burgoyne's surrender. He received a commission from Governor Hancock raising him to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1781. Following the war, Stebbins remained a staunch supporter of the Massachusetts government throughout the unrest of the 1780s. He raised a company to defend the Supreme Judicial Court at Springfield in September, 1786 and coordinated the administering of oaths to former Regulators and the confiscation of their firearms. Like other town officers, Stebbins took the oath of allegiance that the state now required of all elected officials. "Colonel Stebbins" remained a prosperous and respected member of the community, his Revolutionary War record adding increasing luster to his reputation as the Revolution became ever more mythologized. Joseph Stebbins died in 1831 at the age of 71.
Note: All narratives about people are, to the extent possible, based on primary and secondary historical sources.
See Further Reading for a list of sources used in creating this narrative. For a discussion of issues related to telling people's stories on the site, see: Bringing History to Life: The People of Shays' Rebellion