2.2 The Green Mountain Boys At Large

Caption: Judge Adams (one of the tried New York Judges) being punished by hanging from the Catamount Tavern’s sign (Vermont Historical society)

The first confrontation between the Yorkers and the settlers of Bennington was in September 26, 1770. An armed posse had driven off the Albany County sheriff and 300 men. [1]. The following November, New York’s Lord Dunmore punished the settlers by ordering the arrest of four men [2]. Further confrontation that year occurred when the sheriff, Henry Ten Eyck, kidnapped one of the men and attempted to bring them back to Albany. Allen and the settlers surrounded the sheriff and his men and rescued their man. [3]. Through the Spring of 1771 New Hampshire settlers were threatening Yorkers and holding the sheriff at bay. [4]

The Green Mountain Boys were formed from the settlers as the New Hampshire Grants militia in late 1771, with Ethan Allen as their Colonel commandant [5]. The Uniform of the Green Mountain Boys was nothing but a fir twig in their hats [6]. In 1772, at this point an outlaw, Allen wrote a book containing an argument that the deposing of King James II in 1688 voided the original grant of New York as a novel new argument for the New Hampshire Grants, the most solid argument yet made in defense of the settlers [7]. Escalation occurred when Allen kidnapped and tried two New York Judges in the Grants, further cementing the power of his Boys as the law in the territory [8]. Allen was openly defying New York officials and winning, although very little direct violence had manifested over the past two years.

Next Page: The Westminster Massacre

Citations:

  1. Randall, Willard S. Ethan Allen: His Life and times. New York: Norton, 2011. 240.
  2. Ibid. 247.
  3. Ibid. 247.
  4. Ibid. 248.
  5. Ibid. 254-255.
  6. Ibid. 259.
  7. Ibid. 265.
  8. Ibid. 288-291.

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