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Joseph Stebbins (1749-1816) of Deerfield, Massachusetts, saw considerable action in the American Revolution. He was present at the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775 and participated in the decisive defeat of General Burgoyne's army at Saratoga in 1777. Stebbins had already been promoted to the rank of Captain when Governor John Hancock commissioned him in 1781 as a Lieutenant Colonel in the 5th Regiment of Massachusetts militia. Because Americans had rejected inherited titles and aristocratic ranks, military titles were an important measure of status and gentility in American society. Joseph Stebbins retained the title "Colonel Stebbins" until his death in 1816.