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THE FIGHT AT BENONI STEBBINS HOUSE

From George Sheldon's History of Deerfield (more information):

"The house of Benoni Stebbins stood about eight rods southwest of Ensign Sheldon's. It was occupied by Sgt. Stebbins, his wife and five children; David Hoyt, his wife and child, and probably Joseph Catlin with his wife, and Benjamin Church, a soldier."
(Note: a seasoned soldier who came to Deerfield to help after the Nims/Williams capture the previous fall.)

"There were besides three other men, and perhaps other women and children. This house being "attaqued later than some," the inmates were aroused, made ready to defend themselves, and the assailants were driven back with loss. It was again beset by a strong force, but the little garrison was a match for that. Again later in the morning nearly the whole army surrounded the house, pouring bullets upon it from every quarter. The fire was bravely returned, and several of the enemy fell before the sharp shooters; among them a French lieutenant, the second in command of the expedition. Desperate attempts were now made to set the house on fire, which cost the lives of a Macqua chief and several of his men. The fury of the assailants increased with their losses, but they were forced to leave the field and take shelter in the Sheldon house and the meeting house. From these covers they continued to shower their bullets upon the heroic garrison, which, however, kept them at bay until relieved by the reinforcement. Sgt. Stebbins was killed. Mr. Hoyt was wounded, and also a soldier, probably Church.

"In all the wars of New England there is not a much more gallant act recorded than this defense of an unfortified house, by seven men and a few women, for three hours, against, not only the fury and wiles of an unorganized horde of savages, but also a large force of French soldiers, under officers of the line trained in the wars of France.

"The check received here by the enemy, probably tended strongly to stay the tide of devastation, and so saved the south part of the town."

"Feb. 29, 1703-4:
The unfortified house of Benoni Stebbins
standing on this lot was held by
7 men besides women and children
for three hours
against the assault of 200 soldiers
and the wiles of 140 Indians
under a French officer of the line
Stebbins was killed
Mary Hoyt and one man wounded
When forced to draw off
the French had lost their Lieutenant
and the Indians their chief"

 

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