A Little Piece of American History – Green Mountain Boys

A Little Piece of American History – Green Mountain Boys

About ten years prior to the American Revolution, an area which is now Vermont, was part of larger region, called the New Hampshire Grants. The British crown had given legal control of that land to New York, refusing to recognize New Hampshire titles for property. Many settlers in the sparsely populated frontier, including Ethan Allen, did not want to lose their land. After discussions at the Catamount Tavern in Bennington, men from what is today southeastern Vermont formed a militia of several hundred members, calling themselves the Green Mountain Boys. Led by Ethan Allen and based at the tavern, The Green Mountain Boys effectively controlled the New Hampshire Grants area by the 1770’s, preventing the “Yorkers” from exercising authority. New York officials and settlers with New York issued grants, were frequently beaten and driven away.


A story is told of Sam Adams, also a landowner in the New Hampshire Grant, who sided with the New Yorkers, being tried by the Green Mountain Boys at the Catamount Tavern. Judged guilty, they punished him by forcing him to sit in a chair tied to the tavern’s sign for hours.


A mob of protesters took over a Westminster (Vermont), courthouse to attempt foreclosure on their land. Records are unclear as to what happened there, but when a sheriff and his men tried chasing them away, a fight ensued and two of the protesters were killed. This incident became known as the Westminster Massacre. The next day, the Green Mountain Boys took back the courthouse, placing the sheriff in jail.


Fate of the Green Mountain Boys

Ethan Allen Captures Fort Ticonderoga

When the American Revolution began in 1775, the Green Mountain Boys, still led by Ethan Allen, joined American forces to capture British military posts, Fort Ticonderoga, Crown Point, and Fort George in New York. They disbanded more than a year before Vermont avowed independent from Great Britain in 1777. The Vermont Republic operated for 14 years before joining the United States in 1791.

The Green Mountain Boys assembled again during the War of 1812, Civil War, Spanish-American War, Vietnam War, Afghanistan War, and the Iraq War. The Green Mountain Boys now is the informal title of the Vermont Nation Guard, including both Army and Air National Guards.

More Information about the Green Mountain Boys available at the Vermont Historical Society.

Update on The Green Mountain Boys

Information provided in this post is updated in a later post, Green Mountain Boys FlagThe update results from additional insights provided by the Executive Director of the Vermont Historical Society.

Note: Subject of this post prompted by the following passage from The Field Trip:

Unexpectedly, she slowed, thereby allowing him to join her. Oswald flew off into the trees. As they walked a distance of a few feet together, he saw the reason for her abrupt permissiveness. A soldier wearing a Green Mountain Boys National Guard patch stood imposingly in the center of the trail, a M16 held diagonally across his chest.


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