A guerilla leader in Vermont (at the time, a lightly populated region known prior to 1780 as the Hampshire Grants.) Allen was born in 1738 in Litchfield, Conneticut, the first child of a large family. His brother Ira figured prominently in the early history of Vermont. Ethan Allen was leader a rebellious group of land owners/speculators who held New Hampshire title to land grants in the Hampshire Grants. New York, which held substantial claim to the grants refused to honor or acknowledge the New Hampshire titles and sold competing titles to different people -- who generally did not live in Vermont. Not suprisingly, this led to open rebellion among the population in much of Vermont.
What is clear is that the rebels moved North, managed to get a few dozen men across Lake Champlain (they had considerable trouble finding a boat and the one they found was quite small). In a dawn attack, Ticonderoga was taken from the 22 British troops that held it and who were not aware that a war was in progress. Allen/Arnold's rebels also quickly captured forts at Crown Point, Fort Ann on Isle La Motte near the present Canadian border, and (temporarily) the town of St John (now St Jean) Quebec. The comic opera aspects of this campaign notwithstanding, the huge stores of cannon and powder siezed at Ticonderoga allowed the American rebels to put in place an effective siege of Boston which caused the British to evacuate in October of 1775.
The Green Mountain Boys elected Allen's cousin Seth Warner as leader, however, Allen commanded a small military force in the American rebel's campaign in Quebec in 1775. As a result of miscommunication or misjudgement he attacked Montreal with a handful of men and was captured by the British. He was shipped to England where he suffered considerable mistreatment. He was later transferred to New York where he was eventually paroled in a prisoner exchange.
Allen then moved back to Vermont which had become a hotbed of anti-everyone sentiment harboring little affection for either England or for the nascent United States and harboring a significant number of deserters from the armies of both. Allen settled a homestead in the delta of the Winooski river near the modern city of Burlington. Allen remained active in Vermont politics and was appointed general in the Army of the independent state of Vermont. He was one of the participants in a failed attempt to bring Vermont back into the British Empire and thereby separate Vermont from New York permanently. Allen's first wife died in 1783 and he remarried in that year. Allen died in 1789 of a stroke at the age of 57.
-from the Wikipedia
For More Information:
of the American Revolution: True Accounts by Great Americans, from
Ethan Allen to George Rogers Clark
Outlaws: Ethan Allen and the Struggle for Independence on the Early
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