Green Mountain Boys

views updated Jun 11 2018


GREEN MOUNTAIN BOYS. Beginning in 1749, the New Hampshire governor Benning Wentworth issued numerous patents to land in the Green Mountains, counting on a vague border with New York to at least temporarily make the claims profitable. Settlers, moving in orderly, family-centered groups, took advantage of the new patents and moved into the area, establishing towns that were, although varied in religion and ethnic background, far from a wild frontier. In 1770, New Yorkers attempted to use a 1764 royal decision that the land belonged to them to move in Dutch settlers on new patents. Reacting to this incursion, Ethan Allen, a recent immigrant, formed the Green Mountain Boys, a group of men determined to protect their families' lands, who used intimidation, violence, and harassment to drive off the hated "Yorkers." Allen and his men successfully evaded the authorities, even posting a mock reward for their enemies in retaliation for bounties posted on their heads.

When the American Revolution began, Allen volunteered the Green Mountain Boys for service, transforming them into soldiers, not just outlaws. Using their knowledge of the area and Fort Ticonderoga's weaknesses, Allen and Henry Knox seized the fort and its cannon, which eventually forced the British out of Boston. When Allen volunteered for the ill-fated Montreal expedition, the rest of the men stayed behind under Colonel Seth Warner and fought at the Battle of Bennington. Ira Allen, Ethan Allen's brother, led the Green Mountain Boys to declare an independent Vermont in 1777, fighting off claims by both New Hampshire and New York while politically maneuvering for support within the Continental Congress. Although Ethan Allan died in 1789, his family and his Green Mountain Boys survived to see Vermont become a state in 1791.


Bellesiles, Michael A. Revolutionary Outlaws. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1993.

Hoyt, Edwin P. The Damndest Yankees. Brattleboro, Vt.: Stephen Green Press, 1976.

Margaret D.Sankey

See alsoBennington, Battle of ; New Hampshire ; Ticonderoga, Capture of ; Vermont .

Green Mountain Boys

views updated May 21 2018

Green Mountain Boys

GREEN MOUNTAIN BOYS. Under the leadership of Ethan Allen, whose most famous lieutenants were Ira Allen, Seth Warner, and Remember Baker, the Green Mountain Boys were organized to defend the claims of settlers in the region that became Vermont. They figured prominently in the capture of Ticonderoga on 10 May 1775, and during the Revolution they were useful in guarding passes through their home country.

SEE ALSO Allen, Ethan; Ticonderoga, New York, American Capture of; Vermont; Warner, Seth.