The pioneer settler here was Samuel Hinsdell, of Medford. He had bought shares, and, impatient of delay in making the division, he became a squatter, and in 1669 turned the first furrow in the virgin soil of Pocumtuck. Samson Frary was a close second, if not a contemporary; “Samson Frary’s cellar” is mentioned in the report of the Committee, May, 1671.
The settlers increased rapidly. May 7, 1673, the General Court gave them “Liberty of a Towneship,” which is Deerfield’s only “Act of Incorporation.” Soon after, a rude meeting-house was built, and Samuel Mather served as a minister among them.
A loose sheet of paper has been found dated Nov. 7, 1673, with a record of a town-meeting. This was signed by the following, who must be called the earliest settlers:
The action of this meeting was chiefly on the division of land, but it was voted that “all charges respecting the ministers sallerye or maintenance bee leuied and raised on lands for the present.” Another page shows a meeting November 17, 1674, when the plantation was called Deerfield. We have no clue as to why or by what authority it was so called.