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In the Classroom > Course Overview > Unit Overview
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Lesson 11: New England Colonials: John Stebbins and Ebenezer Wells (1691-1758)

Lesson Central Question:

In This Lesson:

Who were these early colonials and what can we learn about them through the use of documents and artifacts?

Lesson Length
Key Ideas
Activity 1
Lesson Length

1 class period (85 minutes)

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Key Content Ideas Taught in this Lesson and Teacher Background

Two figures that were prominent in Deerfield's colonial history are John Stebbins (and Ebenezer Wells ( 1691-1758). Through examination of the Stebbins' and Wells' documents, homesteads and artifacts, students can gain insight into these colonial men's families, their community involvement, their social position, and their belief systems. Students will use the Memorial Hall website to find evidence and then analyze their findings to develop an understanding of each of these men. In addition, the students will be taught how to read a genealogy such as the one found in Sheldon's History of Deerfield.

Teacher Background Essay: Creating a Geneology

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Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will understand:

  • that in Massachusetts there was no division of church and state as we understand it, and this condition influenced every aspect of daily life.
  • that land ownership conferred power because it was a determinant of wealth, and a prerequisite for political participation.
  • that it is valuable to study the lives, actions, ideas, political experiences, and judgments of people in the past.
  • that it is important NOT to judge people in the past by today’s notions and beliefs.
  • how historians approach their work, using both artifacts and documents.
  • that both primary source materials and interpretive materials of all types are rich sources of historical evidence.

Students will be able to:

  • transcribe a primary document.
  • use a variety of primary source materials, to analyze these sources, and to make logical inferences and supported conclusions.
  • make reference to previously presented material.
  • utilize technology to research information and present project.

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In Preparation for Teaching

Read the Teacher Background Essay: Creating a Geneology, using John Stebbins as a model.

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Primary and Secondary Sources:

1. Memorial Hall Web site for information about Ebenezer Wells and John Stebbins.

2. History of Deerfield, by George Sheldon, Volume II, pages 317 - 318 (about Stebbins).


1. Newsprint and markers.

2. Access to computers.

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Activities Materials in Context

Activity 1

1. Demonstrate to students how to read and interpret the genealogy of John Stebbins, using the sample from Sheldon's History of Deerfield.

2. Using an example in their own family, or one that the students make up, develop a genealogy that extends four generations, demonstrating an understanding of the
design of a genealogy.

3. Go to the Memorial Hall website to find information about both Ebenezer Wells and John Stebbins. Describe the search for information. Using the information found, write a biography of each of these men.

4. As a class, share the biographies with one another.

1. Draw a tombstone for John Stebbins, using a paint program. Include an appropriate epitaph. In a short narrative, tell about the symbolism on the stone and the type of stone used. How does his stone compare with that of Ebenezer Wells' gravestone on the web site?

2. Continue work on the Colonial person for the final presentation.



History of Deerfield, Volume II, pages 317 - 318






Ebenezer Wells' gravestone

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The assessment will be based on the development of the descriptions of the two men as well as the final art project depicting Stebbin's stone.

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