For the past three years the Green Mountain Boys Project have been researching the celebrated military unit, which lived and served along what was then the New York and New Hampshire border (modern day Vermont) from the 1760s until 1779.
The Green Mountain Boys, led by Ethan Alllen and his brother Ira, controlled the area of disputed land grants. Based at a tavern in Bennington, they evaded arrest warrants from New York State and harassed settlers from New York, surveyors, and other officials, often with severe beatings and destruction of their belongings.
At a stand-off at the New York established court in March of 1775, two men were killed and Ethan Allen called for independence from New York.
In May 1775, the Green Mountains Boys, along with Benedict Arnold, captured Crown Point, Fort Ticonderoga, and Fort George from the British. Their cannon were taken by Henry Knox to Boston, to break the siege of Boston.
Vermont declared itself an independent nation in January 1777, initially supporting the Revolutionary War, but eventually adopting a neutral position that provided a haven for deserters from both armies and set the stage for the Haldimand Affair, when some Green Mountain Boys, including Ethan Allen, secretly negotiated with the British to restore Crown rule.
Members of the Green Mountain Boys Project are set to speak at the Mount Independence State Historic Site in Orwell, Vermont – just across Lake Champlain from Fort Ticonderoga, for which “The Mount” was a critical base of operations – on Sunday, July 14th, at 2 pm. This will be an illustrated talk with time for questions.
The group has focused for several years on the town of Shoreham, Vermont, looking for the gravestones of Green Mountain Boys and clearing a cemetery. Their newest efforts are based in nearby Orwell.
The program is cosponsored by the Shoreham Historical Society. The program is included in regular admission ($5 adults/free under 15).
Vermont’s Mount Independence State Historic Site is located at 497 Mount Independence Road in Orwell, Vermont, six miles east of the intersections of Vermont Routes 22A and 73 near Orwell village. It is open daily, 10 am to 5 pm, through October 13.
Mount Independence is a National Historic Landmark and one of the best-preserved Revolutionary War archaeological sites in the country. Call (802) 949-2000 for more information.
More information about Vermont’s State-Owned Historic Sites is available online.
Photo of Mount Independence State Historic Site courtesy Vermont Division for Historic Preservation.