Deerfield — Father Rasle's War

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

      The following Deerfield men are known to have served in this war:

      Capt. Samuel Barnard, Capt. Timothy Childs, Capt. Thomas Wells, Sergt. Joseph Glessen, John Allen, Joseph Allen, Samuel Allen, Joseph Atherton, John Beaman, Daniel Belding, John Brooks, Nathaniel Brooks, John Catlin, John Combs, James Corse, Samuel Dickinson, Aaron Denio, Edwin Fogg, Nathaniel Hawks, Michael Mitchel, Daniel Severance, Asahel Stebbins, George Swan, Joshua Wells.

      With release from harassing military service, our hardy yeomanry returned to the tillage of their farms. To men accustomed to the hardships of scouting, bearing heavy burdens for weeks, and hundreds of miles through the forests, often in mid-winter and on snow-shoes, it was mere pastime to handle the axe, the hoe, the scythe, and sickle. Agriculture prospered under their willing and industrious hands, and plenty once more smiled in the land. The common land was laid out in several divisions, and settlers began to scatter.
      In 1727 a settlement was made of the lands now Greenfield Meadows, and the town voted to build a bridge at Cheapside. In 1736 the east part of Greenfield and Gill was lotted out to the proprietors. Eight acres were allowed to each cow-common, but no one could locate more than ten commons in one body. Lots were cast for choice, and each man had one day in which to locate his "pitch," to be laid out by a committee. The law of irregularity was strictly followed in this matter, and the selected lots left remnants of every possible variety of size and shape,—a success in this direction never before achieved. The "gerrymander" of later years* was a feeble failure of an attempt at imitation.
      Aug. 25, 1735, Gov. Belcher, with a committee of the council and house, met here several tribes of Indians, and held a conference for a week, arranging and reviewing treaties of peace. Col. Ontawsovgoe was spokesman for the Cagnawagas. The Housatanics doubtless had one of the Kelloggs for interpreter. At the close of the conferences, on Sunday the 31st, John Sergeant was ordained as missionary to the Stockbridge Indians, under the patronage of the "Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts," Gov. Belcher being the chairman of the commissioners of the society in New England. Dr. Appleton, of Cambridge, preached the sermon, the charge being given by Stephen Williams, of Longmeadow.
      In 1736, Ashfield was granted to Capt. Samuel Hunt and others. The line between "Huntstown" and Deerfield soon became a subject of controversy. May 25, 1737, Thomas Wells was chosen a committee to get a plat of the town, as granted in 1712, laid before the General Court and confirmed. This was done, but the question of the actual boundary was not settled for many years. In a memorial to the General Court, in 1742, the Ashfield agent says they are clearing lands on the easterly bounds to set the meeting-house, so as to be near the neighboring towns, and the people of Deerfield, by way of banter, tell us to clear away as fast as we can, and that they shall soon come and take possession, "whereby many are discouraged and drawing off." He also complains that the Deerfield people would not show them their west line when they came to lay out their grant, hoping we should "leave a gore which they could swallow up."
      In 1738 a plan was agitated for building a new court-house at Northampton for the benefit of the northern towns of Old Hampshire. One-half of the cost was to be paid by the county, the rest by the eight towns most accommodated. Deerfield opposed the measure, and it was given up.

*"Gerrymanderng" was named after Elbridge Gerry, former governor of Massachusetts.

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03 Aug 2005