Who are the Green Mountain Boys Militia?
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When a New York sheriff, leading 300 militiamen,
attempted to take possession of Grants farms in 1771, he was met with
resistance. A determined group of Bennington militia led by young
firebrands Ethan Allen and Remember Baker blocked his efforts.
Several Grants towns then organized committees of
safety and military companies to protect their interests against the
Yorkers. These military groups called themselves “The New Hampshire
Men” while New York authorities referred to them as the “Bennington
Mob” and rioters. By 1772, they were called the “Green Mountain
Boys.” When they continued to terrorize, beat, and burn out
Yorkers the governor of New York offered rewards for their capture and
then, in absentia, sentenced them to death. In response, their leader
Ethan Allen declared they were fighting for their “liberty, property,
and life,” thereby linking the Grants’ cause to America’s fight with
Britain. The Green Mountain Boys went on to play pivotal military roles in
the independence of Vermont and America’s revolutionary cause.
A Green Mountain Boys regiment was
authorized by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1775, and became part of
the Northern Army. Colonel Seth Warner and a regiment of 500 men were called
the Green Mountain Rangers. The illustrations are of the uniforms of the
Rangers. Before this time the Green Mountain Boys had no formal uniform, wearing
primarily buckskin jackets and breeches.
William French his Body lies.
For Murder his Blood for Vengance cries.
King George the third his Tory crew
that with a bawl his head Shot threw.
For Liberty and his Countrys Good.
He Lost his Life his dearest blood.”
—From William French’s gravestone
When one hundred unarmed farmers occupying the
county courthouse at West-minster refused to leave, a Yorker sheriff
ordered his men to shoot them. Panic ensued and forty men, including the
wounded, were herded like animals into the courthouse jail and left to
die. William French, twenty-two years old, died from a gunshot to the
head. Massachusetts and New Hampshire militia did come to the farmers’
aid the next day and arrested the sheriff. The Westminster Massacre of
March 13, 1775 is viewed by some as the first battle of the American
The Westminster confrontation was a continuation
of the Grants vs. Yorkers dispute. The farmers needed to put off their
creditors until the fall harvest when they would have money to pay off
their debts. They resented the New York land speculators they owed and
feared being jailed or losing their land.
Up until this time most Grants settlers on the
east side of the Green Mountains had peacefully negotiated any disputes
with New York. They had not been enthusiastic supporters of the Green
Mountain Boys. The New York sheriff’s actions changed their minds, and
they were happy when Ethan Allen’s men rode into town the next day.
2006, Vermont Historical Society. All rights reserved.
Reproduction of photographs or text without written permission is
ABOVE PAGE IS FROM THE Vermont
Following, below, is from
the Columbia Encyclopedia
Another Article follows:
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WHO ARE THE GREEN MOUNTAIN BOYS?
by Geoffrey Fox
Who in fact are the Green Mountain Boys? Just a group of back country Vermont boys raising havoc. In fact the Green Mountain Boys were a group of a few hundred American patriots in the early American Revolutionary years that would later be considered the founding fathers of the state of Vermont.
The Green Mountain Boys were created in southwestern Vermont, and were made up of men from Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut that held land titles from New Hampshire that entitled them land between Lake Champlain and the Connecticut River, which is modern day Vermont. However, the British crown gave all of that land to New York, and ignored the New Hampshire land grants. The group gathered and joined together to keep New York settlers out of Vermont, and keep all the land for people with New Hampshire titles. They drew their name from the Green Mountains of Vermont.
The “Boys” were led by Ethan Allen, his brother Ira, their cousins Seth Warner and Remember Baker. Then by 1770 the group became an armed militia force, and when officials from New York tried to enforce their laws upon them, they failed in doing so and in certain cases were beaten by Green Mountain Boys or their followers.
Once the American Revolution started in 1775 the Green Mountain Boys marched north to attack and later capture the British held fort, Fort Ticonderoga, which was America’s first victory in the war. Ethan Allen led the attack with approximately 83 colonist-militia men, and help from Colonel Benedict Arnold. This proved to be very important in the war effort, because it protected northern America and kept the soil safe from invasion from the British through Canada. The Green Mountain Boys also seized Crown Point in New York on Lake Champlain also held by the British, among other battles. Later on the Green Mountain Boys were the basis of the Vermont militia and choose Seth Warner as their leader, however a number of members decided to stay with Ethan and were later captured after a mucked up attack upon Montreal.
In early 1777, Vermont became an independent nation and named the Green Mountain Boys as the basis for their republic army. Then Vermont applied for statehood, and in 1791 Vermont became the fourteenth state in the United States, and the Green Mountain Boys (Vermont Republic) faded away.
The Flag of the Green Mountain Boys: the green represents the Green Mountains of Vermont where the militia hails, and the 13 stars in the field of blue represents the 13 American colonies.
The important figures, who led the Green Mountain Boys from protecting Vermont from New York settlement, to capturing Fort Ticonderoga, and protecting Vermont as an independent nation, were Ethan Allen, Ira Allen, Seth Warner, and Remember Baker.
Let’s first begin with the ring leader, if you will, Ethan Allen. Ethan was born on the 21st of January, 1738 in Litchfield, Connecticut and the oldest of the Allen children. Then in his early thirties, he moved to modern day Vermont by way of New Hampshire land titles. He organized and founded the volunteer militia known as the Green Mountain Boys, to resist the New York officials’ cause. He was later classified as an outlaw in the eyes of the governor of New York. He later became a Lieutenant Colonel of the Continental Army, and a Major General of the militia.
In the late 1770’s Ethan went in front of the Continental Congress to recognize Vermont as an independent state. Also, Ethan and his brother Ira, and other devoted Vermonters devoted most of their time to the territorial dispute between New York and New Hampshire and more importantly trying to get Vermont independent and become a British province of Canada. Obviously, Vermont never became part of Canada, and the reason these Vermonters took this action was mostly for the Continental Congress to take Vermont’s independence seriously. Ethan died in Burlington on the 12th of February, 1789 as a patriot of Vermont and the United States.
Another key patriot in the development of the Green Mountain Boys and Vermont was Ethan’s younger brother Ira Allen. Ira was born on April 21, 1751 in Cornwall, Connecticut and later formed the Onion River Land Company with his brothers in order to buy lands in Vermont. He worked for the company as a surveyor, until disputes occurred between New Hampshire and New York, which sparked him to become an early member of the Green Mountain Boys. After the revolution and into the early Republic years of Vermont, Ira played a very important role by serving as a member of the Committee of Safety an the Governor and Council, and Treasurer and Surveyor General.
In around 1780 Ira presented the Vermont legislature with fifty acres of land in Burlington and money for the formation of the University of Vermont, which was founded in 1791. Then in 1796 Ira went to France to buy guns and ammo for the state of Vermont, and was sailing back across the sea when he was captured and taken to England and Ira battled the courts of England for eight years for his guns. Ira died in Pennsylvania on January 7, 1814 completely bankrupt and unable to get his affairs in order before his death. Ira, a well educated man, appreciated education and took the first step to creating Vermont’s state university and becoming the “Father” of UVM.
Ira and Ethan had two cousins, Seth Warner and Remember Baker, which played intricate parts in the Green Mountain Boys and the early Vermont establishment. Seth was born in Roxbury, Connecticut in May of 1743 and was never really well educated. He joined his cousins in the ranks of the Green Mountain Boys and was later elected as their captain. He was highly respected by the Continental army because of his bravery and military skills and knowledge. Throughout the Green Mountain Boy days and Revolutionary war days he led the men under his command through successful battles and capturing of British held forts. Seth was never much of a business man and did not hop on the land acquisition like his fellow militia men, but due to his heroism, wealthy land owners gave Seth land as a reward, which went unused even until today. He died in December of 1784 in his hometown of Roxbury. He was more military oriented than land oriented, but still help protect the land in the name of Vermont.
The cousin to Ethan and Ira and Seth, Remember Baker was born June, 1737 in Roxbury, Connecticut, and was described as a tough, hot headed, giant. As a young twenty year old he joined the army and was stationed at Fort William Henry, then enlisted again under the command of General Abercrombie who attempted to invade Canada. He married in 1760, and then moved to Arlington, Vermont, where he joined his cousins and the Green Mountain Boys to help protect Vermont. He later joined Ethan to capture Fort Ticonderoga, and then met Seth at Crown Point, NY to capture the fort there. Then he became a scout in the St. John’s area, where English troops and Native Americans were camped out. Then in mid August of 1775 he embarked on a scouting expedition and was shot and killed by Indians. The British troops who knew of his death by the Indians went to his body and properly buried it. Remember was more of a soldier fighting against France and England, but was still helpful in protecting and fighting for Vermont and America.
Ethan, Ira, Seth, and Remember were only four of hundreds of men that comprised the ranks of the Green Mountain Boys. All of these men were American and Vermont patriots who helped America become independent from Britain, and help Vermont become what is Vermont as we know it, and protect the land from New York and foreign armies. The Green Mountain Boys all held land titles from New Hampshire for the modern day Vermont region and without these men today’s Vermont would not exist and for that, these men can all be called the founding fathers of Vermont.
Billias, George. "Ethan Allen." The American Revolution Homepage. 2004. 11 Nov 2006 <http://www.americanrevwar.homestead.com/files/ALLEN.HTM>.
"Ira Allen." 11 May 2006. 12 Nov 2006 <http://www.virtualvermont.com/index.php?loc=http://www.virtualvermont.com/history/iallen.html>.
“Seth Warner.” 30 Mar 2006. 12 Nov 2006 <http://www.virtualvermont.com/index.php?loc=http://www.virtualvermont.com/history/swarner.html>.
Wikipedia, "Ethan Allen." 13 Nov 2006. 12 Nov 2006
Wikipedia, "Green Mountain Boys." 18 Oct 2006. 10 Nov 2006 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Mountain_Boys>.
.Wikipedia. “Remember Baker.” 28 Aug 2006
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