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Full text of "Vermont, the Green mountain state"

IB- 



NYPL RESEARCH LIBRARIES 



3 3433 08178195 1 




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HISTORY OF VERMONT 



%^4xv 




Ira Allen 



To whom Vermont owes as much as to any one man for the estab- 
lishment of the State and its preservation during the early years of its 
existence, came to the New Hampshire Grants as a surveyor. He soon 
became one of the most influential of the leaders of the Green Mountain 
Boys, took part in the Canadian campaign. He was active in the forma- 
tion of the new State, devised the plan for the confiscation of the estates of 
Tories, and was a leading spirit in assembling the forces which won the 
battle of Bennington. With consummate skill he deceived the British in 
regard to a possible alliance, thus protecting this region from invasion. 
He was one of the leaders who labored long to secure Vermont's admis- 
sion to the Union, and succeeded at last in this undertaking. Ira Allen, 
with the vision of a statesman, saw the possibilities of Vermont industry, 
agriculture and commerce, and he was one of the first manufacturers in 
this State. 



VERMONT 

The Green Mountain State 



BY 

Walter Hill Crockett 

author of 

Vermont — Its Resources and Opportunities 

History of Lake Champlain 

George Franklin Edmunds 



Volume One 



The Century History Company, Inc. 

New York 

1921 



THE NEW YORK 

PUBLIC LIBRARY 

569586A 

AiTOR, LENOX AND 

TtLDEN FOUNDATIONS 
R 1931 L 



Copyright 1921 
BY The Century History Company 

ALL rights reserved 



Publication Office 

8 West 47th Street, New York 

U. S. A. 



To THE Memory of 
George Grenvillh Benedict 

AND 

Horace Ward Bailey 

Who encouraged and aided the author 

in his study of Vermont history, 

these volumes are dedicated. 



CONTENTS 
CHAPTER I 

THE MAKING OF THE MOUNTAINS 

The Various Geological Periods as Shown in Vermont. 

The Effects of Erosion. 

Fossils in Vermont Rocks. 

Changes Wrought During the Glacial Periods. 

The Geological History of Lake Champlain. 

The Formation of Granite, Marble and Slate. 

CHAPTER n 

CHAMPLAIN'S DISCOVERY 

Conditions in the Year 1G09. 

Samuel Champlain's Explorations. 

He Joins a War Party of Canadian Indians on an Expedition 

Against the Iroquois. 
Discovers the Lake that Bears His Name. 
Battle with the Iroquois. 
Far-Reaching Effect of the Conflict. 

CHAPTER HI 

INDIAN OCCUPATION OF VERMONT 

The Algonquin and Iroquois Confederacies. 

The Abnakis. 

Vermont's Present Area Contested Ground. 

Mohican Massacre in Pownal. 

The Squakheag Tribe of the Connecticut Valley. 

Occupation of The Coos Region. 

King Philip Assembles a Conference of Indian Tribes at Vernon. 

Specimens of Picture Writing. 

Prehistoric Indians in Swanton. 

The Missiassik Tribe. 

Relics in Vermont Towns. 

Indian Trails. 

Indian Names. 

CHAPTER IV 

CHIEF GRAY LOCK AND THE INDIAN RAIDS 

Indian Migration from Southern New England. 
Importance of the Abnaki Settlement on the Missisquol. 
Gray Lock's Leadership. 
His Raids in the Connecticut Valley. 



X HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Scouting Parties Sent out Against Indians. 

Frencli Expeditions in tlie Champlain Valley. 

New York Incursions into Canada. 

The Burning of Deerfield. 

Attacks on Scouting Parties of Captains Melvin and Hobbs. 

Number Four Attacked. 

A Connecticut River Fort Burned. 

Robert Rogers Destroys tlie St. Fi-ancis Village. 

CHAPTER V 

THE FRENCH SEIGNIORIES 

The Building of Fort St. Anne on Isle La Motte. 

Marquis de Tracy's Expedition. 

The Fort Abandoned. 

French Attempts to Plant Colonies. 

Grants of Land on Lake Champlain. 

Extent of the Seigniories. 

Conditions of the French Grants. 

Settlement at Alburg. 

Fort St. Frederic and Outlying Settlements. 

Disputes between French and English Regarding Ownership. 

CHAPTER VI 

FORT DUMMER AND THE FIRST ENGLISH SETTLEMENTS. 

The Northfleld, Mass., Settlements. 

The Equivalent Lands. 

The Building of Fort Dummer. 

This Fortification as a Trading Post. 

New Boundary Line Gives Fort to New Hampshire. 

Contest Over Its Maintenance. 

The First "White Child Known to Have Been Born in Vermont. 

Forts Bridgman and Sartwell Built. 

CHAPTER VII 

THE FIRST HOME BUILDERS 

The Settlement of Number One, or Westminster. 

First Inhabitants of Vernon. 

First Clearings and Early Settlers at Putney. 

John Kathan, the First Settler at Dummerston. 

Settlements at Rockingham, Halifax and Newfane. 

Building of Military Road from Crown Point to Number Four. 



CONTENTS XI 



CHAPTER VIII 

NEW HAMPSHIRE GRANTS 

Benning Wentworth and the Bennington Grant. 

The Form of Charter Used. 

Grants Made from 1750 to 1764. 

Some Facts Concerning the Grantees. 

Grants to Residents of New York, Some of Whom Were Quakers. 

Official Pees and Perquisites. 

Grants by New York Governors. 

Confirmation of New Hampshire Charters. 

CHAPTER IX 

CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 

Attractions Offered by the Lands of the New Hampshire Grants. 

Settlement of Bennington, Guilford, Halifax, Newbury, Pawlet, 
Pownal, Arlington, Hartford, Hartland, Marlboro, Norwich, 
Shaftsbury, Chester, Guildhall, Manchester, Panton, Sharon, 
Thetford, Windsor, Addison, Bradford, Uanby, Woodstock, 
Pairlee, Middlebury, Newfane, Shelburne, Shoreham, Sunder- 
land, Vergennes, Rupert, Castleton, Pittsford, Waltham, 
Andover, Bridport, Clarendon, Dorset, Grafton, Lunenburg, 
Strafford, Wells, Cavendish, Ferrisburg, Landgrove, New 
Haven, Rutland, Pomfret, Poultney, Royalton, Sandgate, 
Whitingham, Brandon, Colchester, Maidstone, Reading, Bur- 
lington, Londonderry, Peru, Wallingford, Whiting, Windham, 
Tinmouth, Baniard, Cornwall, Hinesburg, Jericho, Leicester, 
Middletown, Monkton, Salisbury, Williston, Hubbardton, 
; Peacham, Richmond, Weybridge, Orwell, St. Albans, Sudbury, 
Barnet, Ryegate. 

The Scotch Settlements, In Vermont. 

Character of the Vermont Settlers. 

The Connecticut Influence. 

Methods and Customs of the Pioneers. 

CHAPTER X 

A QUESTION OF OWNERSHIP 

Official Correspondence Between Governors Wentworth and Clinton. 
Evidence Regarding the Boundary between New York and New 

Hampshire. 
Matter of Jurisdiction Referred to the Crown. 
Activity of Lieutenant Governor Colden. 
Arguments of Provincial Authorities. 
Effect of the New England Spirit of Independence upon the 

Controversy. 
Order of the King in Council Establishing the Connecticut River as 

the Eastern Boundary of New York. 
Disputed Territory "Annexed" to New York. 



XII HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Lands Already Occupied Regranted. 

Petition to the King Presented by New Hampshire Grantees. 

Agents Sent to England. 

Death of Samuel Robinson in London. 

British Government Censures New York Governors. 

CHAPTER XI 

RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 

New Counties Established. 

First Open Opposition to New York. 

Affair of the Breakenridge Farm. 

Sheriff Ten Eyck's Unsuccessful Attempt to Evict Settlers. 

Appearance of Ethan Allen. 

Trial of Ejectment Suits at Albany. 

Bennington People Adopt a Policy of Resistance. 

New York Officials and Settlers Suffer. 

Rewards Offered for Apprehension of Green Mountain Leaders. 

Capture and Rescue of Remember Baker. 

Plans to Attack Governor Tryon. 

Cause of the Settlers Presented. 

Meeting of Town Committees. 

The "Beech Seal" Applied. 

"Mobs" and "Rioters." 

Certain Leaders Declared Outlaws. 

Their Response. 

New Royal Colony Proposed. 

CHAPTER XII 

THE WESTMINSTER MASSACRE 

Conditions Preceding the American Revolution. 

Conflicts with New York Provincial Officials. 

The Rising Spirit of Opposition to British Policies Shown in 
Public Meetings. 

County Conventions Called and Sympathy with American Resist- 
ance Expressed. 

Attempt to Prevent Holding of Court at Westminster. 

Armed Conflict and Bloodshed, and Two Men Mortally Wounded. 

A Popular Uprising Follows the Affray. 

Practical Ending of New York Rule in This Region. 

Bold Resolutions Adopted by the People of Cumberland and 
Gloucester Counties. 

Volunteers Offer Services Following Battle of Lexington. 

CHAPTER XIII 

THE CAPTURE OF TICONDEROGA 

Part Taken by Residents of Connecticut and Massachusetts. 
Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys Interested. 



CONTENTS XIII 



Samuel Beach's Famous Journey Warning the Settlers to Rally 

for Attack. 
Rendezvous at Castleton. 
Appearance of Benedict Arnold. 

Expedition Assembled at Hand's Cove, in Shoreham. 
Story of the Capture of the Fortress. 
The Prizes of War. 
Effect of the Capture. 

Crown Point, Skenesborough and Fort George Taken. 
Expedition of Allen and Arnold to St. Johns. 



CHAPTER XIV 



THE ALLEN-ARNOLD CONTROVERSY 

Friction Between Allen and Arnold. 

Correspondence with Provincial Authorities and Continental Con- 
gress. 

Massachusetts Appoints an Investigating Committee. 

Arnold Refuses to Recognize the Authority of Colonel Hinman, and 
Resigns. 

Many Protests Against Proposal of Congress to Abandon Ticon- 
deroga. 

Captured Cannon Transported to Boston by Colonel Knox. 

CHAPTER XV 

THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 

Ethan Allen and Seth Warner visit Continental Congress and New 

York Legislature. 
Raising of Regiment of Green Mountain Boys Recommended. 
Warner Chosen Leader. 
Cumberland County Militia Organized. 
Ethan Allen Urges Immediate Attack Upon Canada. 
Conditions on Lake Champlain. 
Schuyler Organizes an Expedition. 
Remember Baker Killed. 
Canadian Invasion Begun. 
Ethan Allen Meets Canadians. 
Unsuccessful Attempt to Take Montreal. 
Allen's Capture and Imprisonment. 
Siege and Capture of St. Johns. 
Warner Repulses Carleton at Longueuil. 
Montreal Evacuated. 
Warner's Regiment Discharged. 
Charges Against Colonel Enos. 
Warner Responds to Appeal for Aid. 
Benjamin Franklin Visits Canada. 
Ira Allen Aids Montgomery. 
The Retreat from Canada. 
Illness and Death Among Troops. 

Inhabitants of New Hampshire Grants Petition for Protection. 
Washington Objects to Proposal to Abandon Crown Point. 
The Bayley-Hazen Road Begun. 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

Ira Allen Frontispiece 

Map of Taquahunga Falls Facing page 40 

Isle LaMotte Scenes " " 80 

Map of French Seigniories " " 120 

Fort Dummer " " 140 

Plan of Fort Dummer " " 160 

Chorographical Map of North America " " 190 

Map of French and English Grants " " 220 

Governor Benning Wentworth " " 260 

Bridge at Bellows Falls " " 280 

Monument to Green Mountain Boys " " 300 

Catamount Tavern, Bennington " " 350 

Old Court House, Westminster " " 400 

Glimpses of Ticonderoga and Crown Point " " 440 

"Old Daye Press" " " 460 

Facsimile of Ethan Allen Letter " " 480 

Old Meeting House at Bennington " " 500 

Old Tavern at Arlington " " 520 

Lake Dunmore " " 550 



PREFACE 

Measured in terms of square miles, or in tables of 
population, Vermont is a small State, containing an 
area of less than ten thousand square miles; but if 
notable deeds accomplished may be taken as a standard, 
then the Green Mountain Commonwealth ranks among 
the really great States of the American Union. The 
story of Vermont is a marvelous one, filled with perils 
and sacrifices, heroic deeds and stirring adventures. 
Great men laid the foundations of the State, great men 
have builded thereon, and their achievements have 
given Vermont a name that is honored wherever it is 
known. Because history is truth, it is often stranger 
than fiction, and sometimes it is more romantic. 

Like other mountain States, Vermont has been 
inhabited by a people in whose hearts a passionate love 
of liberty has been cherished. First among American 
States to forbid human slavery, Vermont always has 
stood for freedom under the law. Never a crown 
colony, never yielding allegiance to any province. State 
or kingdom, the little band of bold and resourceful 
pioneers, dwelling in the shadow of the Green Moun- 
tains, set up a repubHc and successfully maintained an 
independent government for thirteen years, until Ver- 
mont was admitted as the first State to be added to the 
Union. 

Certain States, like certain persons, possess an indi- 
viduality that dififerentiates them from the common 
type. Without asserting that Vermont is, or has been, 
peopled by a race of supermen, it is a fact that it diflfers 



XVI HISTORY OF VERMONT 

in important particulars from other States, Believing 
that the history of Vermont is of sufficient importance 
to warrant relating in greater detail than has yet been 
told, the author has undertaken to tell this story and 
to call attention to circumstances in which it differs 
from other Commonwealths, in the pages that follow, 
hoping that its narration may arouse a deeper interest 
in the past, present and the future of the Green Moun- 
tain State. He realizes the magnitude of the task he 
has undertaken, and feels the burden of the responsi- 
bility he has assumed, in attempting to tell adequately 
and accurately the story of Vermont. He lays no 
claim to infallibility, but he has sought, diligently and 
patiently, to consult all accessible sources of infor- 
mation, and to sift out of the vast amount of available 
material the important historical facts that deserve to 
be remembered. 

The number of historical and biographical works, 
documents, letters, journals, and reports consulted, has 
been so great that a recapitulation of the titles would 
be wearisome. 

To all who have assisted the author in the preparation 
of these volumes, and the number is large, he takes this 
occasion to render heartfelt thanks. Special acknowl- 
edgment is due to the courteous officials of the Vermont 
State and the University of Vermont Libraries, for 
without the help of those institutions this History could 
not have been written; to the Advisory Board, Hon. 
Mason S. Stone of Montpelier, Hon. Frank L. Fish of 
Vergennes, Hon. C. P. Smith of Burlington, Dr. H. C. 
Tinkham of Burlington, and to the Hon. Horace W. 



PREFACE XVII 

Bailey of Newbury and Hon. G. H. Prouty of Newport, 
whose death before the completion of the History was 
keenly felt by the author; also to those who have con- 
tributed special articles for this work, thereby adding 
much to its value. The kindly interest and hearty 
cooperation shown by Vermonters within and without 
the State have lightened the author's burdens and are 
gratefully acknowledged. 
Burlington, Vt., June, 1921. 



Chapter I 
THE MAKING OF THE MOUNTAINS 



THE first chapter of Vermont history was written 
unnumbered centuries ago, in the rocks that form 
the foundations of the Green Mountains. ^J'he 
period of time that was consumed in the writing of that 
chapter seems so long, when we attempt to apply the 
measuring rod of our ordinary system of reckoning, 
that the human mind with difficulty comprehends it; 
and all the years included in the annals of mankind 
upon this earth, when compared with this vaster span 
needed for the making of the mountains, seems no 
more than "a watch in the night." 

The Green Mountain State ranks among the oldest 
regions within the limits of what is now known as the 
United States of America. While it is possible that 
deep down under these lofty hills there may be rocks 
belonging to the Archean, the very oldest geological 
period, none of these ancient rocks have been found, and 
the evidence obtained indicates that the foundations of 
the Green Mountains were laid during the next period, 
the Algonkian. 

No man has read more carefully this first chapter of 
our history than has Prof. George H. Perkins, the Ver- 
mont State Geologist, and in a carefully written article 
dealing with the geological history of the State, he has 
said: "It is easy for anyone at all familiar with the 
geological history of America to imagine something of 
that which must have happened during all these ages, 
when much the greater part of North America south of 
Canada line was formed. 

"We know that at the beginning of this long period 
the Adirondacks were already raised, and that not very 



HISTORY OF VERMONT 



long after the Green Mountains were in existence, and 
also that both these ranges were vastly greater than 
now. The mass was larger and the peaks higher. It 
is not too much to say that since these ancient mountains 
were uplifted finally, they have lost half, perhaps more 
than that, of their original bulk. Nothing is made more 
plain to the student of geology than the economy of 
Nature in using the same materials over and over again. 
The sandstones and conglomerates of one period are the 
solid strata of a preceding time. The rocks of the Green 
Mountains are in part, just how large a part we do not 
as yet know, made from materials derived from the 
older Adirondacks. And old as they are, the Adiron- 
dacks owe a part at least of the material which makes 
up their mass to still older rocks. The sand which was 
the broken debris of the Adirondack rocks, broken and 
transported by the waves of the ancient Cambrian seas, 
formed the red sand rock beds and quartzites of western 
Vermont, and these more or less metamorphosed by the 
conditions to which they were exposed, formed quartz- 
ites, conglomerates, schists, etc., which are now a part of 
the Green Mountain mass. These in turn, worn by 
water, disintegrated by various atmospheric agencies, 
were slowly through the ages reduced to sands and 
clays, or by glacial action at the last, broken into boul- 
ders, and lost more than we can estimate of what once 
formed part of their solid mass, and thus have supplied 
very largely the materials which cover the surface of 
the State." 

Following the Algonkian period came the Cambrian, 
during which some of the boldest headlands on the east- 



THE MAKING OF THE MOUNTAINS 5 

ern shore of Lake Champlain were formed. These 
include Mallett's Head, Rock Point and Red Rocks, in 
the vicinity of Burlington. Such elevations as Cobble 
Hill in Milton, Mutton Hill and Mount Philo in Char- 
lotte and most of Snake Mountain in Addison are 
examples of Cambrian rock. While fossils in this rock 
are scarce in Vermont, in some sections many trilobites 
have been found. These are comparatively rare fossils 
of a very early time. Most of the Rutland county slate 
deposits belong to the Cambrian period. 

Next above the Cambrian comes the Ordovician 
period, which is subdivided into Beekmantown, Chazy, 
Black River, Trenton and Utica. During the general 
Cambrian period the Northfield and some of the Rut- 
land county slates were deposited. 

The Beekmantown is seen at its best in Vermont at 
Fort Cassin, at the mouth of Otter Creek, where mol- 
lusks, especially cephalopods, are found in the rocks in 
great numbers. This is a famous geological region and 
many new fossils have been discovered here. Most of 
the Chazy formation is limestone, but it includes some 
sandstone, and it is seen to good advantage in the towns 
of Grand Isle and Isle La Motte. At times it reaches 
a thickness of nearly nine hundred feet. Some layers 
contain few fossils, while others are almost wholly 
made up of trilobites, cephalopods, brachiopods, corals, 
sponges, etc. These fossil sponges, as seen in polished 
dies of monumental stones from Isle La Motte quarries, 
are very beautiful. 

Black River limestone is not extensive in Vermont, 
but is found in Isle La Motte, South Hero, and at inter- 



HISTORY OF VERMONT 



vals as far south as Benson. The fine grain and jet 
black color of some of this stone, when polished, have 
brought it into use as black marble. 

The Utica is a soft, shaly rock, which easily wears 
away under erosion. There is much of it in the north- 
western part of the State. The whole of Alburg penin- 
sula, the island of North Hero, and much of Grand 
Isle are covered by the shales of this period, and much 
of the soil of these towns is formed of decomposed shale. 
Few fossils have been discovered in this rock. With the 
Utica, the formation of stratified rocks ceased almost 
entirely in the region now known as Vermont. 

At the close of the Ordovician period the shore line 
of Lake Champlain ran from Shelburne Point through 
Rock Dunder, and Juniper Island to Appletree Point, 
and thence to Colchester Point. All to the east of this 
line was dry land. 

During the Tertiary period there were swamps in 
the western part of the State in which grew trees found 
only in a climate warmer than that which now prevails 
in Vermont. It is believed that the climate then was 
as mild as that of the Carolinas today. The most inter- 
esting evidence of this mild climate is found in the lig- 
nite beds of Brandon. Occasionally lignite resembles 
coal, and it has been burned as fuel when there was a 
shortage of coal, but usually it has the appearance of a 
dark hued, decayed wood. Embedded in this lignite are 
found very rare specimens of fossil fruits. A collection 
of Australian fruits in a Harvard University Museum 
contains species closely resembling the Brandon fossils. 
While it is reasonable to suppose that animal life, and 



THE MAKING OF THE MOUNTAINS 7 

other forms of vegetable life existed here during this 
period, evidences of them have not been found. 

The interval between the close of the Ordovician and 
the opening of the Pleistocene period was of very great 
duration, covering, probably, millions of years. It has 
been called a period of quiet and gentle changes, and it 
was followed in the Pleistocene by a period of "great 
commotion and rapid transformation," to quote from 
Prof. G. H. Perkins, during which the character of the 
surface and the scenery of the State underwent a great 
change. The sand and gravel banks, the clay deposits 
and much of the rock formation of Vermont belong to 
this period. 

It was during the Pleistocene period that the prevail- 
ing mild climate was transformed into an Arctic tem- 
perature. North of the St. Lawrence River there 
accumulated gradually vast masses of snow, thousands 
of square miles in area and thousands of feet thick, 
greater, probably, than any such accumulation ever 
formed before or since that time. From this region of 
perpetual snows there originated three enormous glaci- 
ers. The first, a comparatively narrow one, called the 
Cordilleran, covered the Pacific coast region. The 
second and longest, covered much of central Canada 
from Hudson Bay to the Cordilleran glacier, and 
extended south through the Mississippi valley and into 
the present State of Kansas. The third glacier, and 
the one that properly belongs in this narration, origi- 
nated in northern Labrador and extended over New 
England and the region of the Great Lakes. 

Slowly this vast river of ice, probably more than a 



8 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

mile in thickness, moved southward. Graduahy the 
climate grew colder, and animal and plant life was 
destroyed or driven southward. Relentlessly it moved 
forward, crushing and grinding, pulverizing some rocks 
to powder and polishing others smooth. The softer 
rocks were deposited as clays, while some of the harder 
rocks, when disintegrated, took the form of sand or 
gravel, or were worn into smooth, round cobble-stones. 
Large fragments of rock were broken from their native 
ledges, carried hundreds of miles and deposited in the 
form of boulders. Mountain tops and headlands were 
worn down and the whole face of the landscape was 
changed. The very highest peaks of the Green and 
White Mountains were covered by this Labradorian 
glacier. Professor Perkins, writing of this period, 
alludes to "the utmost desolation that must have pre- 
vailed," and says: 'T suppose that the present condi- 
tion of Greenland, covered as it is by the ice cap, repre- 
sents on a small scale, the conditions existing over north- 
ern North America during the height of the ice age." 

The melting of this glacier naturally created great 
bodies of water, cutting new channels for rivers and 
forming large lakes, or adding to the size of those 
already existing. Many a rivulet that today seems a 
misfit as it flows at the bottom of a deep and wide valley, 
follows the bed of an ancient glacial stream. Water- 
worn rocks, and potholes high up on the faces of clififs, 
show the action of ancient seas or rivers countless cen- 
turies ago. 

The sand plains along the lower reaches of such 
rivers as the Lamoille and the Winooski once were the 



THE MAKING OF THE MOUNTAINS 9 

deltas of these streams, when Lake Champlain extended 
inland nearly or quite to the foot of the Green Moun- 
tains. The channel of the Ottaquechee River was filled 
with the sand and debris of the ice age so that the river 
was compelled to find a new course, and this diversion 
of the stream resulted in the erosion of what is known 
as Quechee Gulf, from one-half to three- fourths of a 
mile long, three hundred feet wide and nearly two hun- 
dred feet deep. Prof. C. H. Richardson of Dartmouth 
College says that the length of time necessary for such 
erosion was not less than ten thousand years. 

Williamstown "^Gulf, Brookfield Gulf, and the depres- 
sion in Craf tsbury in which Elligo Pond is situated, are 
other evidences of the work of glacial torrents. Many 
of the small lakes and ponds of Vermont are of glacial 
origin. 

By the plowing and grinding of the glaciers, by the 
subsequent melting of the vast masses of ice, and by the 
decay of the unhar vested vegetation of thousands of 
years, a soil of unusual thickness and fertility was de- 
posited over the greater part of Vermont. 

The Champlain valley between the Adirondack and 
Green Mountain ranges was formed ages before the 
glacial epoch. It was always long and narrow, but 
varied in size. At times it is believed there was a con- 
tinuous waterway between the Gulf of St. Lawrence and 
New York Bay. 

Sometimes the waters of Lake Champlain were salt 
and sometimes they were fresh. At times the current 
flowed north, and again it flowed south. Before the 



*Gulf, as used in this sense, means a gulch. 



10 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

glacial period this lake was so narrow that it resembled 
a river more than a lake, and the stream which drained 
into the Hudson valley wore the deep channel, resemb- 
ling a canyon in its deepest parts, that now exists near 
the New York shore. 

The Grand Isle county islands at one time probably 
constituted a single land body and were raised out of an 
ancient sea before the Green Mountains were completed, 
and were divided later by erosion. Probably all the 
bays of Lake Champlain are of glacial origin. 

After the great ice sheet of the glacial epoch had 
melted, the land was depressed and Lake Champlain 
became an arm of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Probably 
this arm of the sea did not extend south of the present 
location of Ticonderoga, an uprising of the land between 
the present sites of Whitehall and Troy having broken 
the connection with the Hudson River. The skeleton 
of a whale found near Charlotte, Vt., is a reminder of 
the time when Lake Champlain was connected with the 
Atlantic Ocean. This whale is said to have been similar 
to the small white whale now found in the waters of the 
Gulf of St. Lawrence. 

When glacial Lake Champlain was largest, its tribu- 
taries flowed at a higher altitude than that which they 
now occupy. The Winooski River entered the lake near 
the present location of Richmond and in time formed a 
large delta. The Lamoille River created a wide delta 
about Milton, northern Colchester and southern Georgia, 
and entered the lake farther north than its present 
mouth. 

Glacial Lake Memphremagog probably exceeded by a 



THE MAKING OF THE MOUNTAINS 11 

considerable extent its present bounds. Doctor Hitch- 
cock thinks that at one time the waters of Lake Mem- 
phremagog were discharged through the depression in 
which Elligo Pond is now located, into the Lamoille 
River ; that the Lamoille found an outlet through Stowe 
Strait into the Winooski River, while the latter stream 
may have been discharged through Williamstown gap 
into the White and Connecticut Rivers. 

The three most important of Vermont's valuable stone 
products are marble, granite and slate; and the oldest 
of these rocks is slate, which belongs partly in the Cam- 
brian and partly in the Ordovician period. In quiet, 
deep water a fine sediment accumulated in beds of mud 
and clay. This hardened into shale with layers approxi- 
mately horizontal. 

As a result of change in the level of the sea bottom, 
and the superimposing of other material like limestone 
upon the slate, strong pressure was brought to bear 
upon it, heat and moisture being present. Thus slate 
was formed. There are four slate areas in Ver- 
mont, two of them being east and two west of the Green 
Mountains. 

Most, if not all, of the Vermont marbles — and there 
are at least one hundred different varieties — belong to 
the Ordovician period and to the subdivision called 
Chazy. Marble has been defined as a rock consisting 
mainly of crystalline particles of calcite, dolomite, or 
both. White calcite marble is composed almost entirely 
of carbonate of lime; white dolomite marble is formed 
almost wholly of carbonate of magnesia. True marble 
has been defined as metamorphosed limestone and lime- 



12 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

stone is formed from a deposit of calcium carbonate, 
either as a result of the accumulation of vast numbers 
of marine shells or the chemical precipitation from vege- 
table growth. There was much submergence and eleva- 
tion during the laying down of the marble deposits. As 
a result of powerful contractions of the earth's crust, 
at the close of the Ordovician period the sediments be- 
came crystalline and were intensely folded. The calcite 
marbles of western Vermont are regarded as limestones 
of marine and mostly of organic origin, which have 
been metamorphosed under great pressure. 

Overlying the marble deposits of western Vermont 
is a great mass of schist, a rough, slaty rock. These 
schists were formed from clay deposits, brought down 
to the sea by rivers flowing over granitic and other 
rocks. When the calcareous sediments beneath were 
metamorphosed into marble, the overlying deposits of 
clay became mica schists, and the small beds of sand 
became quartzite. In many places, during the lapse of 
centuries, the schist was removed by a process of erosion. 

In Clarendon deposits of marble and dolomite to- 
gether measure 1,200 feet in thickness, and a fair 
average of the thickness of the marble beds is said to 
be 663 feet. The infinite patience of Nature, and the 
almost incredible length of geological periods, is well 
illustrated in the time necessary for the laying down of 
marble beds six hundred or seven hundred feet in thick- 
ness as a result of the accumulation of the shells of tiny 
marine animals. The marble area of Vermont consists 
chiefly of a long and comparatively narrow strip in the 
western portion of the State. 



THE MAKING OF THE MOUNTAINS 13 

Most Vermont granite is a mixture of quartz, mica 
and feldspar. The mica usually is black and of the 
variety known as biotite, but the Bethel white granite 
contains a white mica called muscovite. 

Vermont granite generally contains very little iron. 
The difiference in the various shades of gray is chiefly 
due to a greater or less amount of black mica. Prof. 
T. N. Dale is of the opinion that most of the Vermont 
granites belong to the late Devonian or early Carbonif- 
erous periods. All of the Vermont granites are of 
igneous origin, being forced up from beneath as molten 
masses, through schists or other older rocks. Mount 
Ascutney shows evidences of volcanic action, there being 
indications of two eruptions. The first eruption gave 
rise to the main body of the mountain. According to 
Prof. C. H. Richardson *'the granite flowed out over the 
encircling limestone like molten lava, and calcined the 
lime to a distance of more than five hundred feet." Little 
Ascutney represents a second eruption. Barre granite 
is of volcanic origin. Blue Mountain, a granite deposit 
in Ryegate, and Orange Mountain, are modern repre- 
sentatives of extinct volcanoes. Apparently the mica 
schists and mica slates through which the granites of 
Barre, Bethel, Hardwick, Ryegate, Woodbury, and 
other localities were forced, are metamorphosed clayey 
and sandy sediments, and the present granite surfaces 
have been exposed in many instances by erosion. 

Granite is more widely distributed throughout Ver- 
mont than either marble or slate, but the deposits are 
confined chiefly to the eastern portion of the State. 



Chapter II 
CHAMPLAIN'S DISCOVERY 



IF any European visited the region now known as 
Vermont during the century and more that elapsed 
between the discovery of America by Christopher 
Cokimbus in 1492, and the year 1609, no record has been 
left to establish that fact, and the probabilities are all 
against such a visit. 

When Jacques Cartier, one of the famous mariners 
of France, sailed up the St. Lawrence River, in 1535, 
seeking a passage to the Indies, he visited the Indian 
village of Hochelaga, the site of which is now occupied 
by the city of Montreal, and while there ascended a 
mountain nearby, later known as Mount Royal. From 
this sightly elevation Cartier beheld a great expanse 
of country, the unbroken forest, stretching in every 
direction, being gorgeous, as one may believe, on that 
October day with the brilliant colors of the autumn 
foliage; and in the far distance, to the southward, it is 
altogether probable that he saw some of the peaks of 
the Green Mountains. A period embracing almost 
three-quarters of a century was to elapse, however, be- 
fore a fellow countryman of this ''master pilot of St. 
Malo" was to discover the beautiful lake that was to 
perpetuate his name, and the verdant shores that border 
these pleasant waters. 

Although it had been nearly one hundred and seven- 
teen years since the first visit of Columbus to the New 
World, white men had hardly established a foothold on 
the American continent in the year 1609. Far to the 
southward, the Spaniards had planted the first perma- 
nent settlement in what is now the United States of 
America, at St. Augustine, in Florida; and at a still 



18 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

greater distance to the westward the Spanish colors 
floated over Santa Fe, in New Mexico. The French had 
established two colonies, one at Port Royal, in Nova 
Scotia, in 1605, and another at Quebec, in 1608. The 
first permanent English colony had just been planted 
at Jamestown, in Virginia, in 1608. In all the vast 
region that lay between the Atlantic and the Pacific 
seas, in all the thousands of miles that stretched from 
the Arctic snows to the Gulf of Mexico, only these five 
little settlements were the homes of white men in 1609. 
All the remainder of the continent north of Mexico was 
the home and the hunting ground of the red men, who 
had occupied it for centuries so many that no historian 
may hope to number them. 

Six years earlier, in 1603, there had arrived in Canada 
a man, who, for more than thirty years, was to be the 
most notable representative of France in the New 
World, Samuel Champlain. Born about the year 
1567 in the little seaport town of Brouage, in the ancient 
province of Saintonge, in western France, from a child 
he had loved the sea. His first voyage was to Spain, 
with an uncle, who held high rank in the Spanish navy. 
In 1599 he had been given the command of a ship bound 
for the West Indies and New Spain. He had spent two 
years or more in that region, landing at Vera Cruz, visit- 
ing Mexico City, stopping at Panama long enough to 
observe the possibilities of a ship canal connecting the 
two oceans, and proceeding as far as New Granada, in 
South America. During his first year in Canada, 
Champlain explored the Saguenay River, and a portion 
of the River and Gulf of St. Lawrence. During three 



CHAMPLAIN'S DISCOVERY 19 



years, beginning with 1604, he explored and charted the 
Atlantic coast from eastern Nova Scotia to southern 
Massachusetts. In July, 1608, having returned from a 
visit to France, Champlain laid the foundations of the 
city of Quebec, which he made his headquarters during 
the winter of unusual severity which followed. 

While the year 1609 may not be counted among the 
most notable in history, it was not lacking in events 
of more than ordinary importance. Pastor John Robin- 
son had led to Leyden the Pilgrims who had left 
Scrooby, England, for Holland, from which country 
they were to fare forth, in 1620, to establish a New Eng- 
land on the Massachusetts coast of America. Prince 
Maurice of the Netherlands, had defeated the Arch- 
duke of Austria; the independence of the united prov- 
inces of Holland was recognized; and a truce of twelve 
years was declared. That year, 1609, marked the final 
expulsion of the Moors from Spain, the construction of 
the telescope by Galileo, and the publication of the 
Douay version of the Bible. 

In the spring of 1609, Henry Hudson, an English 
navigator in the employ of the Dutch East India Com- 
pany, sailed from Amsterdam for America. Skirting 
the coast from Nova Scotia southward, he entered the 
Kennebec River to make repairs upon his ship at the very 
time that Samuel Champlain was starting on his expedi- 
tion into the country of the Iroquois. 

During the preceding year John Milton had been born 
and William Shakespeare had published "King Lear." 
Sir Walter Raleigh was a prisoner in the Tower of Lon- 
don. Only four years had passed since the discovery 



20 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

of the Gunpowder Plot in England; and in the same 
year, 1605, Bacon published his "Advancement of Learn- 
ing." Queen Elizabeth had been dead only six years, 
and a score of years had elapsed since the defeat of the 
Spanish Armada. 

James I was the ruler of Great Britain, Henry IV, 
better known as Henry of Navarre, was monarch of 
France, and Philip III sat upon the throne of Spain. 

During the winter of 1608-9 Champlain had learned 
from the Indians of a large lake lying to the south- 
west, surrounded by a region of lofty mountains and 
beautiful valleys. Having been urged to join a war 
party of Hurons and Algonquins on an expedition 
against their ancient enemy, the Iroquois, he yielded 
to their solicitation in order that he might explore the 
country which the Indians had pictured in such an allur- 
ing manner. 

After spending nearly a week in war dances and war 
feasts, Champlain and his party, consisting of eleven 
Frenchmen and a band of Montagnais Indians, left 
Quebec, June 18, 1609. A little later the size of the 
expedition was increased by the addition of Huron and 
Algonquin warriors. At the mouth of the River of the 
Iroquois, now known as the Richelieu, two days were 
spent, and a disagreement having arisen over the plan 
of campaign, a portion of the Indians refused to accom- 
pany the expedition and returned to their homes. 

On June 28, the party started southward. Champlain 
and his countrymen, in a small shallop, left their allies 
behind, owing to the superior sailing qualities of their 
craft, and crossing the Basin of Chambly were surprised 



CHAMPLAIN'S DISCOVERY 21 

to find rapids that made navigation impossible. The 
Indians had promised Champlain that he would find 
an unobstructed course for the whole of the journey, 
and he says in his Journal : "It afflicted me and troubled 
me exceedingly to be obliged to return without having 
seen so great a lake, full of fair islands and bordered 
with the fine countries which they had described to me." 

Upon reflection, however, he decided to go on with 
two of his countrymen, who volunteered to accompany 
him, together with sixty Indians in twenty-four canoes. 
The party left the head of the Chambly Rapids on July 
2, according to Champlain' s record, the arms, baggage 
and canoes being carried around the most dangerous 
part of the rapids. During the day a stop was made 
for a brief hunting expedition at an island covered with 
beautiful pines. Bourne, a translator of Champlain's 
Journal, believes this island to have been St. Therese. 
Proceeding a little farther, a camp was made for the 
night, the construction of which the explorer describes 
in detail in his personal narrative. 

Following his own account of the journey we read 
that on the next day, July 3, many pretty islands, low 
and covered with forests and meadows, were passed — 
islands upon which were found stags, fallow deer, fawns, 
roebucks, and other animals — and the camp for the night 
was made at the entrance to the lake. On July 4, a day 
destined to become a notable anniversary in the new 
country which he was exploring, Champlain entered this 
noble lake to which he gave his name. As he advanced 
southward, passing the large islands in its northern 
waters, a wonderful prospect opened before him on this 



22 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

midsummer day. Seldom has an explorer been re- 
warded by a fairer spectacle than this expanse of water, 
broad enough and deep enough to float the armadas of 
Europe, and guarded on either hand by a wall of moun- 
tains. From the margin of the lake nearly to the sum- 
mits of the Green and Adirondack peaks, stretched the 
virgin forest; and at this season the songs of birds must 
have greeted the ear, and the flowers at the margin of 
the woodland must have delighted the gaze of the 
traveller. 

The Indian guides told Champlain many things — 
That the larger islands of the lake "formerly had been 
inhabited by savages, like the River of the Iroquois, but 
they had been abandoned since they had been at war with 
one another" ; that to the eastward was a region in- 
habited by the Iroquois, consisting of "beautiful valleys 
and open stretches fertile in grain * * * with a 
great many other fruits." 

One difficult passage in the explorer's description of 
the country is his allusion to snow covered mountains to 
the eastward, meaning the Green Mountains. One can 
hardly imagine the summits of Mount Mansfield and 
Camel's Hump white with snow in the month of July, 
and if the season had been unusually cold an intelligent 
observer like Champlain probably would have recorded 
the fact. Whether he saw some peculiar cloud forma- 
tion, or the whitened surface of a landslide may not 
easily be determined. Possibly exaggeration was not 
wholly absent from the narrative. 

It is interesting to compare Champlain's description 
of the Green Mountains with that of a party from 



CHAMPLAIN'S DISCOVERY 23 

Piscataqua which visited the White Mountain region in 
1642, and told of summits above the clouds, covered with 
snow throughout the year. Another comparison may 
be made with a "Chorographical map" published about 
1779. on which appears a brief description of the Adiron- 
dack Mountain region, including a statement that 
"through this tract of land runs a chain of mountains 
which from Lake Champlain on one side and the River 
St. Lawrence on the other side, show their tops always 
white with snow." It is not impossible that these 
travellers of an earlier day than ours perceived some 
features of the landscape with the eye of imagination. 
As Champlain and his party drew near to the region 
where their enemies, the Iroquois, might be found, 
greater precautions were taken to avoid discovery. 
Travelling was done by night and during the day the 
warriors withdrew to the seclusion of the forests for 
rest and safety. If the explorer's dates are not con- 
fused, he spent a good deal more time after entering the 
lake, and before encountering the enemy on July 30, than 
was necessary to traverse the distance between the pres- 
ent sites of Rouses Point and Ticonderoga. No 
record is left to account for nearly the whole month 
of July. It is hardly to be supposed that this party on 
an aggressive and warlike errand in a hostile country, 
where the enemy might be encountered at any hour, 
would pause for two or three weeks of hunting, or to 
permit the French leader to explore the newly discovered 
country. And if Champlain had interrupted this mili- 
tary campaign to penetrate the surrounding region, it is 
entirely reasonable to suppose that this careful narrator 



24 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

of events would have mentioned the fact in his Journals. 
It is not easy to devise a satisfactory explanation for this 
unaccounted period, nor is it safe, without further 
evidence, to discredit Champlain's dates. 

As the party was proceeding southward, about ten 
o'clock on the evening of July 29, an Iroquois expedition 
was encountered going northward, "at the end of a 
cape that projects into the lake on the west side." 

With loud outcries the opposing forces began to pre- 
pare their arms for battle, but neither the hour nor the 
place was favorable to the methods of warfare employed 
by the American Indians. The Iroquois, therefore, 
withdrew to land and constructed a barricade, while the 
invaders drew their canoes together and fastened them 
to poles in order that their forces might not be scattered. 
When the Iroquois had put their forces into battle array, 
they dispatched two canoes to the Algonquins to learn 
if the latter wanted to fight. Being assured that nothing 
else was desired they withdrew and waited for the morn- 
ing, the remainder of the night being devoted to the 
singing of war songs, to war dances, and to an exchange 
of taunts and insults. During all this time Champlain 
and his two countrymen remained concealed in the canoes 
of the Algonquins. 

At daybreak the attacking party went ashore, the 
three Frenchmen wearing light armor, and each being 
armed with an arquebus. The Iroquois advanced from 
their barricade, with nearly two hundred warriors, 
ready for battle, while the attacking party consisted, as 
previously stated, of only sixty Indians and three Euro- 
peans. Champlain says of the Iroquois that they "were 



CHAMPLAIN'S DISCOVERY 25 

strong and robust to look at, coming slowly toward us 
wath a dignity and assurance that pleased me very 
much." At their head were three chiefs, each being 
distinguished by wearing three large plumes. As the 
Algonquins advanced toward the enemy they opened 
their ranks to enable Champlain to take the lead. When 
he came within thirty paces of the Iroquois he halted, 
aimed at one of the three chiefs, and brought two to the 
ground, wounding also one of their companions so that 
he died later. The arrows then began to fly from both 
sides, Champlain's Indian allies shouting loudly in 
exultation over the success of their leader. As Cham- 
plain was loading his weapon again one of his country- 
men fired a shot from the nearby forest. Unaccustomed 
to these strange and deadly weapons, the Iroquois fled 
into the depths of the woods with their wounded. Pur- 
suing them, Champlain and his allies killed several more 
of the enemy and captured ten or twelve prisoners. 
Fifteen or sixteen of the Algonquins were slightly 
wounded by arrow shots. 

A considerable quantity of Indian corn and meal was 
captured, in addition to such weapons as had been 
abandoned by the fleeing Iroquois. After celebrating 
the victory for three hours, the triumphant warriors 
started on their return trip northward. 

In his narrative of the battle Champlain says the 
Iroquois were much astonished that their chieftains had 
been so quickly killed, "although they were provided 
with armor woven from cotton thread and from wood, 
proof against arrows." This is said to be the first refer- 
ence in American history to the use of cotton. 



26 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

There is a difference of opinion as to the scene of this 
battle, but the best evidence available seems to indicate 
what the majority of historians believe, that the conflict 
took place not far from the point where nearly a century 
and a half later, the fortress of Ticonderoga was built. 

This brief conflict in the heart of the wilderness, on 
the shores of a newly discovered lake, meant more than 
a battle in which less than three hundred Indians and 
three white men were engaged. It was the meeting of 
a system of warfare which had prevailed on the Ameri- 
can continent probably for thousands of years, with the 
European system, and it was almost inevitable that fire- 
arms should win over primitive bows and arrows, not 
only on Lake Champlain, but throughout the Americas. 

The Iroquois learned their lesson well, and not very 
long thereafter they found a way to secure more modern 
weapons and to learn how to use them. If news of the 
battle had reached the courts of England and France as 
speedily as reports of later battles in that same region, 
it would have been considered only an insignificant 
skirmish; and yet it exerted a powerful influence upon 
the destiny of America, for it made the Iroquois, the 
most powerful of Indian confederations, the foes of 
France and the friends of England, and helped to make 
this a country of English ideas and English speech. All 
this was made possible to no inconsiderable degree by 
the alliance which the great French pioneer made with 
the enemies of the Iroquois. 

After travelling eight leagues to the northward on 
the day of the battle, the victors made their camp at the 
close of the day, and here one of the prisoners was tor- 



CHAMPLAIN'S DISCOVERY 27 

tured and slain, greatly to the distress of Champlain. 
The party proceeded directly to Canada, and there is no 
record that Champlain again saw the beautiful lake 
which was to be his noblest monument, or the region now 
called Vermont, which he discovered, although there 
is no direct proof that he set foot upon its soil. The 
Indian warriors went their several ways, and Champlain 
soon embarked for his native France, where he visited 
the King at Fontainbleau, and told him of his adventures 
in the wilderness. 

At the time of his discovery of Vermont, Champlain 
was about forty-two years old. The remainder of his 
life, covering a period of twenty-six years, was devoted 
to New France. He continued his explorations to the 
westward, along the line of the Great Lakes, and served 
his God and his King with unflagging zeal. 

Champlain was, indeed, a knightly character, the 
finest figure, all things considered, of all the men who 
followed the fleur de lis of France into this Western 
world. An indefatigable explorer, a brave soldier, a 
wise administrator, a Christian gentleman, if Vermont 
could have chosen her own discoverer, no finer type of 
man than Samuel Champlain could have been selected 
from all the captains of that age who sailed the Seven 
Seas. 



Chapter III 
INDIAN OCCUPATION OF VERMONT 



THE earliest authentic information concerning 
Indian affairs in eastern America indicates the 
presence of two great native confederacies, the 
Algonquin and the Iroquois, which were arrayed in hos- 
tile camps. The former confederacy was the more 
numerous, and controlled a greater area than the latter, 
but the Iroquois represented a higher type of civilization, 
were better organized, and were fiercer warriors than 
their rivals. 

The Algonquin confederacy stretched from New- 
foundland to the Rocky Mountains, and from Churchill 
River to Pamlico Sound. The northern division in- 
cluded tribes occupying the territory north of the St. 
Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. The north- 
eastern division embraced the tribes inhabiting eastern 
Quebec, the maritime provinces and eastern Maine. 
The eastern division was made up of tribes dwelling 
along the Atlantic coast as far south as North Carolina. 
The central division included tribes residing in Wiscon- 
sin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, while the west- 
ern division comprised three groups along the eastern 
slope of the Rocky Mountains. 

An important subdivision of the Algonquin nation was 
known as the Abnakis, and with this group the Indian 
history of Vermont is chiefly concerned. Strictly speak- 
ing, the Abnakis were confined to a small territory in 
Maine between the Saco and St. John Rivers. The 
term, however, was applied loosely and often included 
a considerable portion of the Eastern Indians. The 
name is said to mean Eastlander, or people of the East. 

The Abnakis were called Tarrateens by the early Eng- 



32 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

lish inhabitants. According to Professor Vetromile, 
the Abnakis occupied the land from the shores of the 
St. Lawrence to the Atlantic Ocean and from the mouth 
of the Kennebec River to the eastern part of New Hamp- 
shire. A map published in 1660 in "The History of 
Canada," written by Reverend Father Ducreux, shows 
the Abnakis occupying the region between the Kennebec 
River and Lake Champlain. 

At an early period the Abnakis became firm friends 
of the French, who had sent missionaries among them, 
and they were allies of that nation as long as France con- 
trolled Canada. As the white population of New Eng- 
land increased, the Abnakis gradually withdrew to 
Canada, their principal settlements being at Becaucour 
and Sillery, the latter places being abandoned later for 
St. Francis, near Pierreville, Quebec. 

Doctor Trumbull has estimated that at one time there 
were 123,000 Indians in New England, but in the winter 
of 1616-17, a virulent disease, thought by some to have 
been yellow fever, because the victims turned yellow, 
swept away, probably, more than half the total num- 
ber. Whole tribes were either annihilated or reduced to 
a mere handful. It is believed that soon after the land- 
ing of the Pilgrims not more than twelve thousand 
Indian warriors could have been assembled in all New 
England, which would indicate a population approxi- 
mately of fifty thousand. 

The powerful Iroquois confederation and its allies 
occupied a considerable portion of the valley of the St. 
Lawrence, the basin of Lakes Ontario and Erie, the 
southeastern shores of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, 



INDIAN OCCUPATION OF VERMONT 33 



all of the present State of New York except the lower 
Hudson valley, all of central Pennsylvania, a portion of 
the shores of Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, the valleys 
of the Tennessee and upper Savannah Rivers, the moun- 
tainous parts of Virginia, the Carolinas and Alabama, 
and a portion of eastern North Carolina and southeast- 
ern Virginia. 

The Iroquois confederacy included the Mohawk, 
Oneida, Onondaga and Seneca tribes, and was often 
called the Five Nations. After the admission of the 
Tuscarora tribe, in 1722, the confederacy was known as 
the Six Nations. According to the "Handbook of 
American Indians," published by the United States 
Bureau of Ethnology, "the date of the formation of this 
confederation (probably not the first, but the last of a 
series of attempts to unite the several tribes in a federal 
union) was not earlier than about the year 1570." The 
occasion is thought to have been wars with Algonquin 
and Huron tribes. When first known to Europeans this 
confederation occupied the territory extending from the 
western watershed of Lake Champlain to the western 
watershed of the Genesee River, and from the Adiron- 
dack Mountains southward to the territory of the 
Conestoga on the Susquehanna River. With the coming 
of the Dutch the Iroquois secured firearms, v/hich had 
made possible their defeat by Champlain, and thereafter 
they extended their conquests rapidly. 

In a speech delivered at Plattsburg, N. Y., in 1909, on 
the occasion of the celebration of the tercentenary of the 
discovery of Lake Champlain, Hon. Elihu Root referred 
to the Algonquins and Iroquois as follows: "The 



34 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Algonquin tribes that surrounded them (the Iroquois) 
were still in the lowest stage of industrial life and for 
their food added to the spoils of the chase only wild 
fruits and roots. The Iroquois had passed into the 
agricultural stage. They had settled habitations and 
cultivated fields. They had extensive orchards of the 
apple, made sugar from the maple, and raised corn and 
beans, and squash and pumpkins. The surrounding 
tribes had only the rudimentary political institution of 
chief and followers. The Iroquois had a carefully de- 
vised constitution well adapted to secure confederate 
authority in matters of common interest, and local 
authority in matters of local interest. 

''Each nation was divided into tribes, the Wolf tribe, 
the Bear tribe, the Turtle tribe, etc. The same tribes 
ran through all the nations, the section in each nation 
being bound by ties of consanguinity to the sections of 
the same tribe in the other nations. Thus a Seneca Wolf 
was brother to every Mohawk Wolf, a Seneca Bear to 
every Mohawk Bear. The arrangement was like that 
of our college societies with chapters in different colleges. 
So there were bonds of tribal union running across the 
lines of national union; and the whole structure was 
firmly knit together as by the warp and woof of a textile 
fabric. 

"The government was vested in a council of fifty 
sachems, a fixed number coming from each nation. The 
sachems from each nation came in fixed proportions 
from specific tribes in that nation ; the office was heredi- 
tary in the tribe and the member of the tribe to fill it 
was elected by the tribe. The sachems of each nation 



INDIAN OCCUPATION OF VERMONT 35 

governed their own nation in all local affairs. Below the 
sachems were elected chiefs on the military side and 
keepers of the faith on the religious side. 

"The territory of the Long House covered the water- 
shed between the St. Lawrence basin and the Atlantic. 
From it the w^aters ran into the St. Lawrence, the Hud- 
son, the Delaware, the Susquehanna, and the Ohio. 
Down these lines of communication the war parties of 
the confederacy passed, beating back or overwhelming 
their enemies until they had become overlords of a vast 
region, extending far into New England, the Carolinas, 
the valley of the Mississippi; and to the coast of Lake 
Huron. * * * 

"Of all the inhabitants of the New World they were 
the most terrible foes and the most capable of organized 
and sustained warfare; and of all the inhabitants north 
of Mexico they were the most civilized and intelligent." 

Schoolcraft says: "To such a pitch of power had 
the Iroquois confederacy reached on the discovery of 
New York (and Vermont) in 1609, that there can be 
little doubt that if the arrival of the Europeans had been 
delayed a century later, it would have absorbed all the 
tribes situated between the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the 
mouth of the Ohio, if not to the Gulf of Mexico." 
About a half century after Champlain's discovery of 
Vermont the Iroquois are supposed to have reached the 
summit of their power, at which time their numbers are 
estimated at about sixteen thousand. 

Cadwallader Colden of New York, whose name will 
appear later in these pages, in his "History of the Five 
Indian Nations," says that the Iroquois at an early 



36 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

period lived one liundred leagues above Three Rivers, 
Canada, along the Ottawa River. Game becoming 
scarce for the Algonquins they desired that some of 
the young men of the Iroquois assist them in hunting, 
and the latter gladly assented, hoping to gain some 
knowledge of the chase. At first the young Iroquois 
performed only drudgery, but later became expert hunt- 
ers. According to Colden's narrative, the Algonquins, 
on a certain hunting expedition, became jealous of the 
skill of the new recruits, and killed them. The Iroquois 
living on the St. Lawrence River, near the present loca- 
tion of Montreal, became greatly incensed, emigrated to 
the region south of Lake Ontario, and hostilities soon 
began. At first the Iroquois defended themselves "but 
faintly," but becoming accustomed to war they developed 
great skill. 

When the French arrived, the two Indian confedera- 
tions were engaged in hostilities. It is known that when 
Cartier visited Canada, in 1535, he found the Iroquois 
at Hochelaga, on the present site of Montreal, but when 
Champlain came they had vanished, and the Algonquins 
occupied that region. That fighting had continued for 
a long period is indicated by Champlain's account of the 
proposed peace between the warring confederations in 
1622, when it is related that the Indians declared that 
"they were tired and weary of wars which they had had 
for more than fifty years." 

In an appendix to his "History of Montpelier," D. P. 
Thompson wrote a valuable and an interesting article on 
"The Aboriginal Inhabitants of Winooski Valley," 
which contains information that applies to a wider re- 



INDIAN OCCUPATION OF VERMONT 37 

gion than a single river valley. He asserted that when 
the French and English began settlements in Canada 
and in the northern part of the United States, they found 
the Abnakis (or Algonquins) in possession of all the 
New England States bordering on the Atlantic coast, 
New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, all of Lower Canada east 
of and around the St. Lawrence up to, and some distance 
above Montreal, and that part of Vermont east of the 
eastern range of the Green Mountains. The old men of 
the nation asserted that the western boundary of their 
territory originally was, and rightfully should be, Lake 
Champlain, the Iroquois having won a portion of what 
is now Vermont by conquest. A map published by 
Father Ducreux in his "History of Canada" in 1660, 
gives Lake Champlain as the western boundary of the 
Abnaki territory. 

Both Thompson and Rowland Robinson have called 
attention to the fact that the Indian names applied to the 
lakes and rivers of Vermont are Algonquin names, a 
fact of considerable significance. DeWitt Clinton, in 
an address delivered before the New York Historical 
Society, in 1825, said that "the supremacy of the 
Iroquois probably prevailed at one time over the territory 
as far east as the Connecticut River." 

Thompson was of the opinion that the Iroquois prob- 
ably occupied the region about one hundred years, when, 
about 1640 or 1650, on account of the growing power 
of the French in Canada, and the inclination of the tribes 
to move westward, they relinquished their possessions 
around Lake Champlain and the upper Hudson. 

In the correspondence of Governor Tryon of New 



38 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

York with Lord Dartmouth, one of the British ministers, 
in 1773, in which he alluded to a certain map, he said: 
"All the country to the southward of the River St. Law- 
rence originally belonged to the Five Nations or Iroquois, 
and as such it is described in the above mentioned and 
other ancient maps, and particularly Lake Champlain is 
there called 'Mere des Iroquois,' Sorel River which leads 
from the lake into the River St. Lawrence, 'Riviere des 
Iroquois,' " and the tract on the east side of the lake, 
Irocoisia. 

Several writers speak of Vermont as the beaver hunt- 
ing ground of the Iroquois. It is evident that for a 
period the Iroquois exercised jurisdiction over a consid- 
erable portion of what is now Vermont, but their hold 
was weakened when the Father of New France fired his 
arquebus in the fight at Ticonderoga in July, 1609; and 
while the Iroquois later were able to menace the French 
in Canada, their hold was weakened by the French 
power, and finally abandoned. With the weakening of 
the Iroquois control, the Abnaki Indians again came into 
possession of the land. 

For nearly eighty years the Caughnawaga Indians, a 
tribe of Iroquois descent, on various occasions sought to 
establish a claim to a large area of land in Vermont, 
based on the Iroquois occupation. Their claims, made 
to the Vermont Legislature, were to the efifect that their 
hunting grounds in this State were included in these 
bounds: "Beginning on the east side of Ticonderoga, 
from thence to the Great Falls on Otter Creek (Suther- 
land Falls), continuing the same course to the height of 
land that divides the streams between Lake Champlain 



INDIAN OCCUPATION OF VERMONT 39 



and Connecticut River, thence along the height of land 
opposite the Missisquoi, and thence to the Bay." 

Holding that the treaty between France and Great 
Britain in 1763, and the treaty between the United 
States and Great Britain in 1783 extinguished all Indian 
claims to the territory of Vermont, the Legislature de- 
clined to vote money to the Indian claimants. 

In 1779, the Stockbridge Indians, a tribe of Algonquin 
affiliations, claimed a portion of Vermont, and this claim 
was discharged by a grant of the town of Marshheld. 
The township was soon sold, however, as the white set- 
tlers came into the region so rapidly that Marshiield was 
not considered a desirable hunting ground. 

During the early period when New England and New 
York were being settled, an Algonquin tribe called the 
Mohicans (Mohican meaning Wolf) occupied both 
banks of the Hudson River, their territory extending 
north almost to Lake Champlain. This tribe must not 
be confounded with the Mohawks of the Iroquois con- 
federation, which was nearest to New England of any 
of the Five Nations. 

Ruttenber, in his "Indian Tribes of the Hudson 
River," refers to the tradition that the country of the 
Mohicans originally included parts of the present States 
of Massachusetts, Vermont and New York. He says 
the Mohicans occupied the valleys of the Hudson and the 
Housatonic; the Soquatucks dwelt east of the Green 
Mountains; the Horikans were located in the Lake 
George district ; and the Nawaas were immediately north 
of the Sequins in the lower Connecticut valley. 



40 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

At one time, apparently, the hunting grounds of the 
Mohawks included what is now southwestern Vermont, 
and the region, probably, was the scene of many conflicts 
between the warring Mohawks and Mohicans during a 
period including approximately, the years from 1540 to 
1670. 

The mountain passes leading from the Hudson valley 
to Lake Champlain and the Connecticut River very likely 
had been used as Indian trails from time immemorial. 
The summer of 1668, according to tradition, saw a des- 
perate conflict between the Mohawks and the Mohicans, 
and the latter, driven up the Hoosac valley, are said to 
have taken refuge in a narrow pass in the present town 
of Pownal, beneath what is known as the Weeping 
Rocks. 

It is said that the Mohicans cherished the belief that 
they would not be conquered until "the rocks wept," and 
here, beneath the dripping rocks of this mountain pass 
of Pownal, nearly all of the Mohicans were massacred. 
The following year, 1669, the tables were turned, and the 
Mohicans defeated the Mohawks. Title deeds are in 
existence confirming patents of their hunting grounds 
in the Walloomsac and Battenkill valleys. 

It is said that Mohican warriors usually spent their 
winters in the valleys of the Hoosac and Housatonic 
Rivers, and that their campgrounds included the Wal- 
loomsac and Battenkill passes of Manchester and Arling- 
ton, and a camp near the junction of Washtub Brook 
and the Hoosac River west of Kreigger Rocks, in 
Pownal. Their planting grounds included the region 
around the junction of the streams last mentioned, and 



A Mao of 

ntahu n 




INDIAN OCCUPATION OF VERMONT 41 

the land in the vicinity of the headwaters of the Wal- 
loomsac and the Battenkill, respectively. 

George Sheldon, the well-known Massachusetts his- 
torian, is authority for the statement that a powerful 
confederacy of tribes occupied the Connecticut valley 
from the vicinity of Hartford, on the south, to Brattle- 
boro, on the north, the Pocumtucks being the most 
powerful tribe. 

The Squakheags, living in the vicinity of Northfield, 
Mass., occupied the northern portion of this confederacy, 
their territory occupying a part of the Connecticut River 
valley, now embraced in southern Vermont. It is be- 
lieved that this tribe originally was a part of the Mohican 
confederation of the Fludson valley, but was driven from 
that region about the year 1610. The Squakheags 
occupied both banks of the Connecticut River and their 
northern boundary is said to have been Broad Brook, 
which flows into the Connecticut near the northern line 
of the present town of Vernon, Vt. The name of this 
tribe is spelled in many different ways, the same thing 
being true of many Indian names. The meaning of the 
word is believed to have been a spearing place of salmon. 
The islands in the river near the Squakheag territory, 
and the mouth of the small streams flowing into the 
Connecticut, were noted for good salmon and shad fish- 
ing, and one of these little tributaries was called Salmon 
Brook by the early settlers. 

In language and appearance the Squakheags re- 
sembled the tribes occupying the Merrimac valley, and 
they were in close alliance with the Pennacooks. The 
remains of villages and works of defence found on both 



42 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

sides of the river, and the large number of skeletons 
discovered, indicate a considerable population. The 
whole valley from the present site of Turners Falls, 
Mass., to the northern limits of Vernon, Vt, was 
occupied by Indian villages and smaller family groups. 

The signs o-f these villages are the presence of such 
domestic utensils as stone pestles, kettles, knives and 
hoes; heaps of round stones showing evidence of the 
action of fire and water, the stones having been thrown 
red hot into wooden troughs to heat water, and left 
where used as too cumbersome to remove; circular 
excavations from five to sixteen feet in diameter, some- 
times lined with clay, and used as underground granaries 
or barns; a burial place, indicating the proximity of 
wigwams; piles of stone chips, where arrow heads and 
spear heads were made; cleared fields used for planting 
grounds, and the site of a fort. 

The most northerly of these Squakheag settlements 
or villages was that which acknowledged the leadership 
of the chieftain Nawelet, his territory extending from 
Mill Brook, in Northfield, Mass., to Broad Brook, in the 
northern part of Vernon, Vt. "From the size of his 
possessions," says Temple and Sheldon's "History of 
Northfield," "and the plain testimony of remains, it is 
evident that this tract was inhabited by a numerous and 
powerful tribe. Some were of gigantic stature — a 
skeleton measuring six and one-half feet having been 
disinterred. They were enterprising and warlike, as is 
shown by their extensive planting fields, and the strength 
and resources of their main fort. Their utensils indi- 
cate considerable traffic with the whites, and they were 



INDIAN OCCUPATION OF VERMONT 43 

undoubtedly the last of the native clans to leave the 
valley. Indeed they are found here as late as 1720, and 
were then of a character to command the respect of the 
English settlers." 

A large village was located on the west side of the 
river, near the present site of the railroad station at 
South Vernon. About eighty rods north of the State 
line, on a hill near the old Ferry Road, the remains of 
about thirty Indian granaries were visible for many 
years. The hills here and farther back of Wells' plain 
afforded good lookouts and there were probably planting 
grounds on Second Moose plain. 

Near the Great Bend of the Connecticut, in Vernon, 
was the chief seat of the tribe. The meadows afforded 
good planting grounds which were easily tilled, and the 
annual overflow of the river fertilized these intervals. 
Several streams which enter the Connecticut here af- 
forded excellent fishing. As the bend in the river made 
defence easier it was a strategic location for an Indian 
village, and it appears to have been one of the largest 
ever occupied within the present limits of Vermont. 

The principal fort, probably, was on a hill on the east 
side of the Connecticut, in w4iat is now the town of Hins- 
dale, N. H. Stone kettles, hatchets, pestles and other 
utensils have been found on both sides of the river here. 

About the year 1663 the Mohawks made an incursion 
into the Connecticut valley, and having defeated the 
Pocumtucks, attacked the Squakheags, capturing their 
forts, destroying their villages and driving the people 
from their homes. The tribe never recovered from the 
effects of this blow. The Squakheags did not entirely 



44 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

abandon their territory. Probably the villages were 
partly rebuilt, the planting grounds cultivated to some 
extent, and the fisheries patronized, but the old-time 
prosperity never returned. 

During a part of King Philip's War, the territory 
of the Squakheag Indians became an important center 
of operations. In the autumn of 1675 a considerable 
number of River Indians encamped in the pine woods a 
little way above the present site of the railroad station 
at South Vernon, Vt. For a short time Philip and his 
band were here but they left soon for Albany. 

In December the fort of the Narragansetts in Rhode 
Island was destroyed by Massachusetts and Connecticut 
troops, and this capture contributed to a great gathering 
of Indian tribes at Squakheag, as the Narragansetts 
who had hitherto held aloof from Philip now determined 
to join forces with him. 

Early in March, 1676, a large company of Ouaboags, 
Narragansetts, some Grafton Indians and other war- 
riors, also women, children and aged persons, arrived at 
Squakheag. Philip had arrived about the middle of 
February and made his camp in the Great Bend of the 
Connecticut at Vernon. 

During the entire period of the colonial history of 
America there were few occasions when so many Indians 
were assembled as were gathered here during the greater 
part of March, 1676. There were Wampanoags, and 
Narragansetts, Pocumtucks and Nonotucks, Agawams 
and Quaboags, Nashaways and Squakheags, Naticks and 
Hassanamesetts, making a total numbering at least 2,500 
Indians, which occupied both banks of the Connecticut 



INDIAN OCCUPATION OF VERMONT 45 

River. Some of the most famous of Indian chieftains 
were assembled here, inckKling Philip and his kinsman 
Quinnapin, Canonchet and his uncle Pessacus, and other 
tribal leaders of lesser fame. King Philip's headquar- 
ters were on the Vermont side of the river. Mrs. Row- 
landson, a captive in Philip's camp, in an account of her 
captivity, mentioned her amazement ''at the numerous 
crew of pagans" assembled here. During the gathering 
plans were made to secure further recruits from the 
Mohicans and Mohawks of the Hudson valley, and from 
Canadian tribes, and to make a formidable attack upon 
the English settlements farther down the valley. 

Provisions becoming scarce, a party started out to 
secure corn, and on this expedition the famous Narra- 
gansett chieftain was captured by the English at Paw- 
tucket, taken to Stonington, and executed. Philip re- 
moved his headquarters to Mount Wachusett. About 
May 1 the Indians assembled here separated into four 
parties, leaving only one at Squakheag for planting and 
fishing. Thus ended the most important Indian occupa- 
tion of southern Vermont concerning which any records 
exist. 

With the defeat and death of Philip the River Indians 
scattered. Some joined the Scaticooks in the Hudson 
valley, while others found their way eventually to 
Canada, where so many of the remnants of New Eng- 
land tribes found a refuge, there to cherish bitter enmity 
against the English settlers who had driven them from 
their homes. 

Two specimens of picture writing by the Indians have 
been found in the Connecticut valley. The first, known 



46 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

as Indian Rock, was discovered on the south bank of the 
West River, in the town of Brattleboro, about one hun- 
dred rods west of the mouth of that stream. The figures 
carved on this rock are small and crude. Six of them 
probably represent birds, two may be intended for pic- 
tures of snakes, and one has been likened to a dog, or 
wolf. 

The second specimen of picture writing was found 
at Bellows Falls, near the foot of the waterfall on the 
west side of the Connecticut River. It consisted of two 
rocks on the larger of which were sixteen heads, rudely 
carved. Near the center of the group was the repre- 
sentation of the head and shoulders of a person, and 
from the head extended six rays, or feathers. One 
figure showed the head and shoulders, two rays extend- 
ing from the head. The other figures represented only 
heads without neck or shoulders, and from each of five 
of the heads not previously mentioned two rays extended. 
This carving was done on a surface six feet high and 
fifteen feet wide. Near this rock was another and 
smaller one containing a single head, fourteen inches 
high and ten inches wide across the forehead, from 
which seven rays extended. 

These carvings are now almost entirely obliterated, 
due to the building of a branch railroad to the paper 
mills, the dumping of cinders and the blasting of the 
channel of the river to facilitate the passage of logs. 
There is no evidence to indicate the tribe or tribes re- 
sponsible for this carving. 

The site of the present village of Bellows Falls was 
a favorite fishing resort for the Indians when white men 



INDIAN OCCUPATION OF VERMONT 47 

first came into the Connecticut valley, and above the 
banks of the West River was an ancient Indian trail. 
As both these regions were much frequented by Indians 
the figures may have been cut by some native fisherman 
encamped nearby. 

The beautiful meadows of the Great Oxbow of the 
Connecticut River at Newbury were occupied at differ- 
ent times, probably, by various tribes. It is said that 
following the defeat of the Mohicans by the Mohawks, 
about 1628, some of the former tribes fled from their 
homes around the headwaters of the Hoosac and 
Housatonic Rivers, through the Battenkill Pass and over 
the Green Mountains to the Connecticut River, where, 
so the legend runs, the squaws cleared the Coos meadows, 
and cultivated corn and beans. 

The Indians of this region were known as Coosacs 
or Coosucks, the name meaning, it is said, ''at the pine." 
Schoolcraft says the Pennacooks occupied the Coos coun- 
try from Haverhill to the sources of the Connecticut. 
The occupation of this region does not seem to have been 
continuous. Tradition says that the Mohicans who 
came here returned later to their former homes. It is 
recorded that in the spring of 1704 Caleb Lyman and 
a few friendly Indians, having heard that a party of 
Indians had built a fort and planted corn at Coos, set 
out from Northampton, Mass., and during a thunder 
storm, surprised the camp, killing seven Indians. The 
survivors retired to Canada and joined the St. Francis 
tribe, but the name of the Coosuck did not become extinct 
for at least a century thereafter. 



48 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Wells, in his "History of Newbury," says of the Coos 
region: "It was, probably, neutral or disputed ground 
between large tribes, visited by various bands or families 
for the purpose of fishing or cultivating the meadows. 
It was, perhaps, the residence, for many years at a time, 
of some of these companies. But the testimony is so 
vague, and the time so distant, that nothing positive 
can be asserted. Those who have made a study of 
Indian relics are of opinion, from the examination of 
stone arrow and spear heads, that many of them came 
from far distant parts of the country, even from beyond 
the Mississippi, but whether through actual visits from 
those remote tribes, or by purchase, cannot be known. 

"The antiquity of these visits, or periods of habita- 
tion, is attested by these relics of the stone age, articles 
of greatest necessity, and therefore of greatest value in 
Indian eyes. These have been found upon all the 
meadows, and along the valley of Hall's Brook. But 
the greatest quantity and variety, attesting their frequent 
visits and long periods of residence, are found upon the 
Oxbow and upon the ridge between it and Coos meadow. 
These consist of arrow and spear heads, axes, chisels 
and domestic utensils. A stone mortar and pestle were 
found by the early settlers. The Great Oxbow seems 
to have been a spot beloved by the Indians. The remains 
of an Indian fort were found upon the Oxbow by the 
settlers. * * * It is certain that a large part of the 
Great Oxbow in Newbury and the Little Oxbow in 
Haverhill (N. H.) had long been cleared and cultivated 
by the Indians in their rude fashion. Of the other 
meadows little is known, but it is supposed that they 



INDIAN OCCUPATION OF VERMONT 49 

were covered with woods, among which lay a great mass 
of fallen timber, amidst which tall weeds and tangled 
vines made, in many places, thickets which were almost 
impenetrable. But there were cleared places in most, if 
not all, and on Horse meadow was quite a large field." 

Thompson, in his "History of Vermont," expresses 
the belief that an Indian village was located in Newbury, 
and says an Indian burial ground was found a short 
distance below. Trees five or six inches in diameter 
were found growing out of a mound in the Oxbow 
meadow which contained Indian skeletons. 

After the Pequawket tribe, which formed a part of 
the Abnaki confederacy, was defeated near the present 
site of Fryeburg, Me., in 1725, by the English under 
Captain Lovewell, the survivors withdrew to the sources 
of the Connecticut River, where they resided at the time 
of the American Revolution. 

The largest, the most important, and probably the 
most ancient of Indian settlements of which we have 
knowledge at the present time, were those situated with- 
in the limits of the town of Swanton, only a few miles 
from the Canadian border. About two miles below the 
present village of Swanton, on the banks of the Missis- 
quoi River, evidences have been found of a large Indian 
village. About two feet below the surface may be 
found great quantities of flint chippings, fragments of 
pottery and native implements. L. B. Truax alone has 
collected upwards of one thousand specimens from this 
locality. In his opinion these relics indicate not only 
occupation of Abnakis, but by Iroquois, and by a people 
much older than either Algonquin or Iroquois. 



50 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

In the "Handbook of American Indians" this tribe is 
called Missiassik, but there are many other spellings, 
including Missiscoui and Missiskouy. They appear to 
have been allied with the St. Francis Indians of Canada, 
but as that tribe was a sort of catch-all for fragments 
of not a few of the New England tribes it is difficult to 
state their relationship to other Indian clans. They may 
have been related to the Sokoki or Pequawkit Indians. 

There is a tradition of the St. Francis tribe that many 
years ago a bloody battle was fought on the Missisquoi 
River near the head of what was known later as Rood's 
Island, just below the site of what is marked on ancient 
maps as an Indian castle. Many spear and arrow heads 
have been found in this vicinity. 

At an early date Jesuit missionaries made their home 
among the people of this tribe and erected a chapel here, 
it is supposed as early as the year 1700. Near the site 
of this chapel a monument was erected, its dedication in 
1909 forming a part of the Lake Champlain Tercen- 
tenary exercises. 

Chauvignerie, in 1736, gave the number of warriors 
here as 180, which would indicate a population approxi- 
mately of 800. Ira Allen, in his "History of Vermont," 
says: "On the Missisquoi River was a large Indian 
town, which became greatly depopulated about 1730, by 
a mortal sickness that raged among them; in conse- 
quence of which they evacuated the place, according to 
the tradition of the savages, and settled on the River St. 
Francoise, to get rid of Hoggomag (the devil), leaving 
their beautiful fields, which extended four miles on the 
river, waste." 



INDIAN OCCUPATION OF VERMONT 51 

It is hardly probable that if the place was evacuated 
in 1730 the population six years later was eight hundred, 
but Allen, writing from memory, may have been mis- 
taken in his date, which he does not attempt to fix with 
absolute precision. It is certain, however, that the 
Indians did return in considerable numbers and some re- 
mained until the white men settled here. In 1757 the 
official report of the French army at Lake St. Sacra- 
ment (Lake George) included Abnakis of St. Francis 
and Missiscoui. 

Ancient maps show the presence of such a tribe near 
the mouth of the Missisquoi River, and on some maps 
there are indications that it may have extended over a 
considerable region, including a portion of Canada. 
These maps show the location of an Indian castle toward 
the mouth of the river in the region now known as West 
Swanton. Moreover, colonial records of New Eng- 
land show that in this vicinity was located the castle of 
a famous Indian chieftain, long the scourge of the Eng- 
lish settlements of the Connecticut valley. Gray Lock, 
after whom the highest mountain in Massachusetts is 
named. His operations will be described in detail in a 
subsequent chapter. Fragments of pottery and imple- 
ments have been found at West Swanton. It is said 
that for fifteen miles from the mouth of the Missisquoi 
River along its banks, extending back for a distance of 
a mile and a half from the stream, there is hardly a field 
that does not show traces of Indian occupation. 

Traces of a still more ancient Indian settlement were 
found previous to the Civil War two miles north of the 
village of Swanton, and not far from the Highgate line. 



52 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

On a sandy ridge, covered when the white men came 
with a tall growth of pines, an Indian burial place was 
found. How many forests grew to maturity and de- 
cayed after these graves were made cannot be known. 
Neither the Indians who lingered here after settlements 
were begun, nor members of the St. Francis tribe from 
Canada who have made visits here in recent years, re- 
lated any traditions of an earlier race which occupied 
this region. 

At least twenty-five graves were opened, some of them 
being not less than six feet below the surface, while others 
were not more than two feet deep, but the drifting sand 
of this locality makes it unsafe to assume that any of 
the graves originally were shallow. Several skeletons 
were found, and the indications were that the bodies 
were buried in a sitting posture with their faces to the 
east. These skeletons crumbled noticeably upon being 
exposed to the air. 

The sand under and immediately around the bodies 
was colored a dark red, or reddish brown, except in two 
instances, where the color was black. This color was 
noticed to a depth of from four to six inches, and is sup- 
posed to have been due to the presence of red iron oxide 
or red hematite, small pieces of that mineral having 
been found in several of the graves. 

A few copper implements were taken from the burial 
place, including a drill or awl and chisel-shaped object to 
which fragments of wood adhered. This may have been 
parts of a war club. Copper objects are rare among 
Indian relics in this vicinity, and it is assumed that this 



INDIAN OCCUPATION OF VERMONT 53 



may have been brought from the Lake Superior region 
as the result of barter between tribes. 

Several stone tubes varying from six to sixteen inches 
in length were discovered, the diameter being about one 
and five-eighths inches. On one of these tubes the figure 
of a bird with a leaf in its bill had been scratched. In 
the collection of relics from these graves were about 
thirty shell ornaments, also beads, the shells resem- 
bling those of the Florida coast; a polished stone in 
the shape of a bird, pierced with two holes, a shuttle and 
a pipe made of soapstone; several flat plats of stone, 
containing holes; two carvings of red slate, represent- 
ing animals; one carving of pure white marble; a dis- 
coidal stone like those found in the West; arrow heads, 
spear heads and stone axes. 

Other evidences of Indian occupation are to be found 
in Swanton. L. B. Truax, who has made a careful study 
of the Indian occupation here, has said: "The re- 
sult of an active investigation and study of this region, 
extending over a period of ten years, leads the writer to 
the belief that the number of people inhabiting this re- 
gion in the past has been very much underestimated by 
writers and students." 

Dr. David S. Kellogg, a thorough student of early 
Champlain history, has said: "Later researches have 
revealed the fact that this (Champlain) valley was once 
quite thickly populated. I know of at least forty-five 
dwelling sites, the greater portion of which I have located 
and visited. The larger part of these are on, or near, 
the lake itself; but there are also many on the rivers 
and smaller streams and lakes, and some at a distance 



54 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

from any even moderately large body of water. The 
evidence of former dwelling sites consists of stone imple- 
ments and weapons and chippings scattered over small 
areas — say of half an acre or more." 

Doctor Kellogg says that from Colchester Point up 
the Winooski River as far as Williston, the soil abounds 
in celts, chippings and wrought flints. A sand ridge 
near the present city of Plattsburg, N. Y., was an im- 
portant prehistoric dwelling place, and a great village 
was located here, as a vast number of weapons, flint 
chippings and fragments of pottery indicate. 

The vicinity of Ticonderoga, N. Y., and Orwell, on 
the Vermont shore, directly opposite, was a notable 
Indian resort, and in modern times the earth here has 
been "black with flints." Doctor Kellogg has said: 
"The native flint exists in great abundance, in the lime- 
stone rocks of the locality; and so it was that for cen- 
turies the Indians resorted to this region, lived there, 
and made weapons and implements for their own use, 
and for traffic with other savages passing by. I have 
obtained 2,500 chipped stone implements from these 
shores alone." 

Peter Kalm, a Swedish naturalist who visited the 
Champlain valley at an early period, under date of July 
20, 1749, gave his impressions of the Indians frequent- 
ing the Lake Champlain region as follows : "We often 
saw Indians in bark canoes close to the shore, which 
was, however, not inhabited; for the Indians come here 
only to catch sturgeons, wherewith this lake abounds, 
and which we often saw leaping in the air. These 
Indians lead a very singular life. At one time of the 



INDIAN OCCUPATION OF VERMONT 55 

year they live upon the small store of maize, beans and 
melons, which they have planted ; during another period, 
or about this time, their food is fish, without bread or 
any other meat; and another season they eat nothing 
but stags, roes, beavers, etc., which they shoot in the 
woods and rivers. They, however, enjoy long life, per- 
fect health, and are more able to undergo hardships than 
other people. They sing and dance, are joyful and 
aKvays content ; and would not for a great deal, exchange 
their manner of life for that which is preferred in 
Europe." 

A study of various town histories furnishes consider- 
able information concerning the Indian occupation of 
Vermont. Swift's "History of Middlebury" says: 
"We find satisfactory evidence in the Indian relics found 
in different towns that the county of Addison was the 
established residence of a large population of Indians, 
and had been for an indefinite period. The borders of 
Lake Champlain, Otter Creek, Lemon Fair and other 
streams furnished a convenient location for that pur- 
pose." 

Pavements of cobble stones six or seven feet wide 
have been found at springs in Cornwall near Lemon 
Fair River and tributary brooks, with evidences that 
fires had been built on them. Elsewhere in Cornwall 
have been found arrow and spear heads, a stone gauge, 
and evidences of the manufacture of Indian implements. 
A pot made of sand and clay, of curious workmanship, 
and holding about twenty quarts, was discovered at Mid- 
dlebury. Parts of a kettle, ornamented with flowers and 
leaves, were found in an old channel of Middlebury 



56 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

River, where the water had washed the bank away. 
There have been found in Middlebury arrows and ham- 
mers of flint and jasper, a stone pestle, and evidences of 
the manufacture of arrow heads and other stone imple- 
ments. There are two places in Salisbury where Indian 
fireplaces have been found, both being near the stream 
that runs through the village. Many crude earthen 
vessels, including a kettle holding three or four pails 
of water, have been plowed up near the Middlebury 
River. Wolf Hill appears to have been a favorite 
Indian resort. 

Evidences of the manufacture of Indian implements, 
and stone hearths on which fires were built, have been 
found in Weybridge. A considerable number of Indian 
implements were found on the Weybridge farm once 
owned by the father of Silas Wright, a well-known New 
York statesman. Early settlers in this town found indi- 
cations of the cultivation of land by the Indians, who, 
it is said, also made maple sugar here. 

In Bristol and in Monkton have been found evidences 
of the manufacture of Indian implements, and there was 
an Indian burial place in the vicinity of Monkton Pond. 
An Indian fireplace has been discovered in Panton, and 
on the headwaters of the White River, in Hancock, was 
found a stone pestle, twelve inches long and two inches 
in diameter, and a stone mortar eight inches square and 
eight and one-half inches deep. Indian implements have 
been turned up by the plow in Addison, Panton and 
Waltham, and the presence of flint chips at Vergennes 
indicates a place where stone implements or weapons 



INDIAN OCCUPATION OF VERMONT 57 

were made. Two copper arrow heads have been found 
in Ferrisburg. 

A large copper celt eight inches long, two inches wide, 
weighing thirty-eight ounces, and apparently cast rather 
than hammered, was found near the mouth of Otter 
Creek. The large number of arrow and spear heads, 
and other relics, discovered near the mouth of this 
stream, indicates an Indian occupation covering a con- 
siderable period. In the "History of the Catholic 
Church in the United States" references are made to 
missions on the Otter Creek as well as the Missisquoi, 
the statement being made that the Abnaki Indians, driven 
from Maine by the English, were found on the Otter 
Creek and other Vermont streams from 1687 to 1760. 
It is also asserted that a stone chapel, containing a bell, 
was erected near Ferrisburg. The earliest references 
to the traversing of Lake Champlain as a convenient 
route to and from Canada shows that the mouth of Otter 
Creek was a frequent stopping place, and the stone chapel 
may have been located near this accessible spot. 

In Bennington county, as already stated, evidences 
have been found of Indian occupation in Pownal. 
Relics found in Manchester show that at some time 
Indians lived in that town. 

In the "History of Indian Wars," written by President 
D. C. Sanders of the University of Vermont, and 
published in 1812, he said: "Indian cornfields are 
plainly to be seen in various parts of Vermont. In the 
intervales at Burlington several hundred acres together 
were found by the American settlers entirely cleared, not 
a tree upon them. * * * Arrow heads are to be 



58 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

found in almost every spot. They are very numerous 
on Onion ( Winooski) River and in all the woods in Bur- 
lington." He also tells of the washing away of a por- 
tion of the river bank opposite Burlington, which dis- 
closed an ancient burial place, where was found "a vast 
quantity of bones of various sorts and sizes for more 
than ten rods in extent." 

A party of Scaticook Indians from New York en- 
camped on the Winooski River in 1699 for a year's stay 
for the purpose of hunting beaver. On their way they 
met some "Boston," or Eastern Indians, "who told them 
to keep off from their coasts, or they would kill them." 
References in the "History of the Catholic Church in 
the United States" to Indian occupation of and missions 
in this State, associate the Winooski River with the 
Missisquoi and Otter Creek, and the valley of this stream 
was an ancient Indian highway. 

Colchester Point seems to have been occupied at an 
early period by Indians. After settlements were begun 
in this vicinity Indians still lingered at the mouth of 
the Lamoille River, and for some time the site of an 
encampment and burial place was to be distinguished 
here. In a large mound at the mouth of this stream 
were found skeletons of persons buried in a sitting pos- 
ture, also arrow heads and other relics. Evidences of an 
Indian camp ground have been found in Colchester where 
Mallett's Creek empties into Mallett's Bay, and here 
a number of bone implements with stone points, knives, 
pottery, etc., have been discovered. What is said to be 
the finest specimen of an Indian jar found in New Eng- 
land was discovered in Colchester, in 1825, under the 



INDIAN OCCUPATION OF VERMONT 59 

roots of a large tree. Its height is seven and one-half 
inches; its inside diameter at the top, live inches; its 
circumference around the largest part, twenty-seven 
inches ; and its capacity nine pints. 

An Indian jar nine and one-half inches high, seven 
and one-half inches in diameter at the top, twenty inches 
in circumference at the largest part, and holding fourteen 
quarts, was found in Bolton about the year 1860. An- 
other jar of a similar kind was found by a hunter at 
Bolton Falls in 1895 in a cave-like shelter made by large 
rocks. It is ten inches high, nine inches across the 
opening, thirty-six inches in circumference at the largest 
part, and holds twelve quarts. Prof. G. H. Perkins, 
State Geologist, once counted more than three hundred 
different patterns on a large series of fragments of pot- 
tery ruins found on the shores of Lake Champlain. 
During the digging of a cellar in Essex, in 1809, a hand- 
somely wrought Indian pipe was found, which President 
Sanders declared "must have lain in the hardpan for 
centuries." 

The site of an Indian encampment was found in 1809 
in the town of Richmond, on the Huntington River, 
about half a mile above its junction with the Winooski. 
Its antiquity was indicated by the fact that a birch tree 
more than three feet in diameter was growing out of the 
mound. Many Indian relics were found here. 

At the mouth of the La Plotte River, in Shelburne, a 
square field of about twenty-five acres had been cleared 
and cultivated before the coming of the white men. 
When the first settlers arrived there was a growth of 
trees, evidently about thirty years old, in this field, but 



60 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

no stumps of the original timber were found. The first 
white settlers came to Shelburne about 1766, so that 
field was abandoned, evidently, about 1735. Heaps of 
stones were found, carried there for use at the camp 
fires, as the soil was not stony. When the field was 
cleared in 1803 many arrow heads and Indian imple- 
ments were discovered. 

Essex county was a favorite hunting ground of the 
Indians, and the abundance of moose gave to Moose 
River its name. 

Mention has been made of the most important Indian 
settlements in Franklin county, located in the town of 
Swanton, but the occupation of this region was not 
limited to Swanton. The shores of Franklin Pond bore 
evidences of Indian encampments. The town of Frank- 
lin was a summer hunting ground of the St. Francis 
tribe. Moose and deer were driven from the hills ad- 
jacent to Little Pond, into the marshes where they were 
killed, and their flesh was dried in the sun for the winter's 
supply of provisions. Richford was a winter hunting 
ground. Moose, deer and bears were plentiful and the 
meat of these animals was frozen. The town of Shel- 
don was a favorite fishing and hunting resort of the St. 
Francis Indians, and it was held tenaciously by them, 
being yielded with great reluctance. Their attitude 
toward the early settlers was sullen and they cherished 
a deep-seated hatred, it is said, for the Sheldons, the 
founders of the town. The Indians frequented Highgate 
long after the town was settled by white men. Many 
Indian implements were found near St. Albans Bay by 



INDIAN OCCUPATION OF VERMONT 61 

early settlers and tradition says this region was a 
favorite place of resort for the Indians. 

Champlain refers to the occupation of the islands of 
Grand Isle county by the natives at a time previous to 
his visit, before tribal wars had made occupation of that 
region too dangerous for permanent abode. There is 
a tradition to the effect that an Iroquois tribe invaded 
this section, then occupied by a number of the Algonquin 
group, and drove them from their homes. Several ref- 
erences are found to an Indian settlement in South Hero, 
near the sandbar which formed a natural bridge to the 
mainland during low water. These Indians are sup- 
posed to have been Loups, or members of the Wolf clan. 
It is said that there was an Indian village at Alburg, 
Some Indian relics have been found at North Hero. 
L. B. Truax has said that probably there is not a farm 
in Grand Isle county that does not contain some evidence 
of ancient Indian occupation. 

Indian tomahawks and other implements have been 
found in the Lamoille River valley in Lamoille county. 
There was a camp ground in Cambridge at a place called 
Indian Hill, where many relics have been unearthed. 

In Williamstown, in Orange county, the Indians culti- 
vated corn in the valley and hunted and trapped fur bear- 
ing animals. When the town of Barton, in Orleans 
county, was settled, decayed cabins, or wigwams, were 
numerous there. Members of the St. Francis tribe said 
in 1824 that about fifty years earlier their ancestors 
had lived there for about nine years. Troy was long 
a place of rendezvous for Abnaki Indians. 



62 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Lake St. Catherine and the Hubbardton Lakes, in 
Rutland county, were favorite fishing resorts of the 
Indians. Members of the Caughnawaga tribe fre- 
quented Pittsford and other portions of the Otter Creek 
valley. Every year they would ascend the river in large 
numbers in their canoes, construct wigwams, and fre- 
quent their favorite fishing and hunting grounds. Evi- 
dences of Indian village life, including implements and 
burial places, have been found at Wallingford. 

Fragments of a rude sort of Indian pottery and Indian 
implements have been found about two miles above 
Montpelier, in Washington county. When General 
Davis surveyed the boundaries of the town, he found 
what appeared to be an Indian monument. Indian im- 
plements have been discovered at the mouth of Mad 
River. Waitsfield was once a hunting ground for the 
St. Francis tribe, and here a tomahawk and a large num- 
ber of beads were discovered. 

Mention has been made of Indian occupancy at Ver- 
non, in Windham county. Evidences are found of a 
considerable Indian occupation in Rockingham. These 
were particularly noticeable in the vicinity of Bellows 
Falls, which was a noted fishing resort. Several Indian 
skeletons have been exumed at Bellows Falls, the bodies 
having been buried in a sitting posture. 

Space forbids the mention of all evidences of Indian 
occupation. No doubt such evidences have been found 
in every township in the State. The Indian occupation 
of Vermont, as we know it, seems to have been confined 
to the borders of this State — the Squakheag territory, 
extending into Vernon ; the Coos settlement at Newbury 



INDIAN OCCUPATION OF VERMONT 63 

and vicinity; the Missiassik village at Swanton; the 
Mohican camp sites and planting grounds in the Batten- 
kill and Walloomsac valleys. It is very evident, how- 
ever, that this was not the extent of the Indian occupa- 
tion of Vermont. There are evidences of Indian settle- 
ments at the mouth of the Otter Creek, the Winooski 
and other rivers, and along many of our streams. There 
is abundant evidence of many Indian encampments, of 
the manufacture of implements of war and domestic 
utensils, and of the burial of the dead. 

The western portion of the State seems to have been 
an Iroquois hunting ground for a considerable period. 
The forests contained an abundance of deer, moose, 
beaver and other objects of the chase, while the lakes 
and streams were filled with fish. The hunting and fish- 
ing, therefore, attracted many Indians to this region. 
There may have been a considerable Indian occupation 
of Vermont prior to the rise of the powerful Iroquois 
confederacy. 

So far as we know there was no permanent occupation 
of any considerable portion of Vermont in a manner 
corresponding to the Iroquois occupation of parts of 
New York State, but such occupation by Indians seems 
to have been the exception rather than the rule. It must 
be remembered that the Indians were a migratory people. 
Their mode of living w^as so primitive that a removal 
of habitation was a comparatively simple matter. With- 
in certain prescribed limits they seem to have moved 
freely from place to place, hunting in one section for a 
few weeks, fishing in another locality for a longer or 
shorter period, dwelling in one place long enough for 



64 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

the squaws to raise corn and beans, and abandoning it 
for winter quarters elsewhere. They knew little of fixed 
habitations as we understand the term. 

It seems probable that the Indian population of 
America always was much smaller than has been sup- 
posed by persons who have given the subject no careful 
study. The multitude of tribal names has been respon- 
sible in part for an erroneous impression as to numbers. 
Different names appear to have been used at different 
times by different individuals, for the same people. 
There were divisions and subdivisions of tribes, each 
having separate designations, but not indicating, of 
necessity, a large number of Indians. There were 
frequent changes in tribal relations, so much so that the 
shifting often is exceedingly difficult to follow. 

A study of Indian occupation leads to the conclusion 
that so far as Vermont is concerned the Indian popula- 
tion generally has been underestimated, while the Indian 
population of southern New England and other portions 
of the country has been overestimated. 

An interesting phase of Indian life was their roads, 
or trails. This subject was discussed by Samuel Carter 
in an address before the Pocumptuck Valley Memorial 
Association, in which he said: "Between the frontiers 
of New England and New France was a wilderness of 
vast extent, characterized by great mountains, numerous 
rivers, great lakes and dense forests, which were the 
hunting grounds and battlefields of savages. The 
Indians traversed it in all directions with the ease and 
certainty with which we travel the roads which modern 
civilization establishes for its convenience. The Indian 



INDIAN OCCUPATION OF VERMONT 65 

highways were the rivers and lakes ; and with the moun- 
tains and hills for their landmarks the whole of this 
wilderness was open to them, and the illimitable region 
beyond. In the summer they skirted afoot the banks of 
the stream, or traversed in their bark canoes the rivers 
and lakes along whose frozen surface they travelled in 
winter. Whenever navigation on a stream was inter- 
rupted by falls, they made a detour around the obstruc- 
tion, carrying their canoes and luggage with them. 
These places were called portages or carrying places; 
other portages existed at the passages between lakes, and 
others again separated the upper waters of streams run- 
ning in opposite directions. 

"Lake Champlain, the westerly boundary of this 
wilderness, was the all important division in the great 
Indian thoroughfare between Canada and the English 
colonies. The Connecticut River, a great and command- 
ing central driftway through the wilderness, was an 
important counterpart to Lake Champlain. * >«= * 
On the easterly side of the Green Mountains the water 
courses are tributaries of the Great River, as the Con- 
necticut was familiarly called; on the westerly side of 
the mountains they flow into the lake. Some of the more 
important of them were well known Indian roads, and 
used by the savages as the exigencies of hunting, fight- 
ing or journeying gave occasion. But they had one 
principal thoroughfare between the lake and the river, 
which may be denominated the trunk line. This was the 
Winooski River; and so commonly was it used by the 
French and their Indian allies in their raids upon the 

English, that it came to be called the 'French River.' 

* * * 



66 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

''From the upper waters of the Winooski there was a 
choice of ways to the Great River, to wit: southerly by 
available branches of the Winooski and corresponding 
branches of the White River, or easterly by the Wells 
River ; the two ways forming with the Connecticut a kind 
of delta. The easterly way afforded a direct access to 
the planting grounds at the lower Cowass in the vicinity 
of the present town of Newbury, and easy communica- 
tion with the eastern Indians beyond ; the southerly way 
reached farther down the Great River on the way to 
the frontier settlements of the 'Boston Government.' 
These two waterways, the White and Wells Rivers, lead- 
ing up from the Connecticut toward the Winooski, need 
to be well fixed in the mind." 

The "Indian Road," so called, was the route from 
Lake Champlain up the Otter Creek to its source, across 
the ridge of the Green Mountains to the head waters of 
the Black and West Rivers, and thence down the Con- 
necticut. This trail was used, not only by war parties, 
but was a favorite route for Indians coming from the 
north to the trading post established later at Fort 
Dummer. 

What Mr. Carter called the "trunk line," the Winooski 
valley, along which many sorrowing captives were car- 
ried to Canada, ascended the Connecticut River, followed 
the Third branch of the White River, thence crossed 
the height of land to the source of Stevens Branch, which 
was followed to the junction with the Winooski River, 
the latter stream being the route to Lake Champlain. 

The great trail from the Merrimac River to Lake 
Memphremagog was the route chosen later for a line 



INDIAN OCCUPATION OF VERMONT 67 

of railroad. Another trail following the Connecticut 
River northward, turned aside at the mouth of Wells 
River and ascended the valley of that stream. In his 
"History of Newbury," Wells says: "In various 
places in this town where the woods have never been 
cut down, are paths which may be clearly discerned for 
long distances, which were here when white men came 
to Coos, and are believed to be sections of prehistoric 
trails. The settlers used these woodland paths in their 
journeys, and they gradually became public roads." 

In addition to the route from Canada to southern New 
England by way of Lake Champlain, another important 
trail passed through northeastern Vermont. From the 
St. Lawrence River the Indians would come up the St. 
Francis and Magog Rivers in canoes, pass through Lake 
Memphremagog, and ascend the Clyde River to Island 
Pond. A short portage led to the headwaters of the 
Nulhegan River, by means of which the Connecticut 
River could be reached. 

The paths made by the Indians at the carrying places 
on the Nulhegan route were plainly discernible when 
the region was settled by the whites. It is said that 
these trails could be seen in the town of Brunswick when 
the Grand Trunk Railroad was built in 185L 

The trail from Canada to the Penobscot region of 
Maine followed the route mentioned by way of Lake 
Memphremagog, Island Pond and the Nulhegan River 
to the Connecticut, thence to the upper Ammonoosuc 
and up that river to some point in the present town of 
Milan, N. H., where it crossed to the Androscoggin, 



68 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

which was descended to the sea coast, the shore being 
followed to Penobscot Bay. 

Mrs. Sigourney, referring to the Indian inhabitants 
of America, in one of her poems, said: 

"Their name is on your waters, 
You may not wash it out." 

While many of the Indian names have vanished from 
the geography of this region, some of them remain, and 
others have been preserved. The late Rowland E. Rob- 
inson, the well-known Vermont author, assisted by his 
nephew. Dr. William G. Robinson, made a study of 
Indian names in this State. Some of these names were 
obtained by the author from John Wadso, an intelligent 
member of the St. Francis tribe, and others were given 
to his nephew by aged St. Francis Indians. 

According to Robinson, the name Missisquoi origi- 
nally was Masseepskee, The Land of Arrow Flints, 
while the river now bearing the name was called 
Azzusatuquake, the Backward-running Stream. The 
Lamoille, or La Mouelle, River was Wintoak, or Marrow 
River. The Winooski was Winooskie-took, or Onion 
Land River, so called from the leeks or wild onions grow- 
ing along the stream. The La Plotte River appears on 
an old map as the Quineaska, and was called by the 
Indians Quineska-took, from the name given to Shel- 
burne Point, meaning Long Joint, as it was supposed to 
represent a man's forearm. 

Rock Dunder was Wujahose, The Forbidden, a refer- 
ence to a spirit supposed to guard the rock. Grand Isle 
was K'chenamehau, The Great Island. Split Rock was 



INDIAN OCCUPATION OF VERMONT 69 

called Tobapsqua, The Pass Through the Rock, and 
Thompson's Point, Kozoapsqua, The Long Rocky Point. 
Lewis Creek was Sungahnee-took, Fish-weir River, and 
Little Otter was Wonaketookese, meaning Little Otter 
River. The stream now called Otter Creek had two 
Indian names, Wonakake-took, Otter River, and Pecouk- 
took. Crooked River. The falls at Vergennes were 
known as Netahmepuntook, The First or Lower Falls 
of the River. 

Neshobe, the original name of Brandon, indicated 
Clear-running Water. Camel's Hump Mountain was 
called Tah-wah-be-de-e-wadso, or Ladelle Mountain, 
and Mount Mansfield was known as Moze-o-de-be- 
wadso, or The Moose Head Mountain. 

In addition to the Robinson list other names may be 
added. Lake Champlain was called by the Iroquois, 
Caniaderi-Guarunte, The Door of the Country; also by 
the Abnakis, Petoubouque, The Waters that Lie Be- 
tween, and Peta-pargow, The Great Water. Lake Dun- 
more was Moosalamoo, The Lake of the Silver Trout. 
The Connecticut River was Quinni-tukq-ut, or Quoneh- 
tu-cut, The Long Tidal River. White River was called 
Cascadnac, or Pure Water. Wells, the Newbury his- 
torian, says that Coos was interpreted in a variety of 
ways, including A Crooked River, A Wide Valley, A 
Place of Tall Pines, and A Great Fishing Place. 

Probably Lake Bomoseen was named for an Indian 
chief, Bommozeen, who lived in the vicinity of Norridge- 
wock, Me. Maquam is said to be a corruption of the 
original name Bopquam. The name of the Taconic 
Mountains comes from an Indian word meaning The 



70 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Forest Plantation, or The Field in the Woods. Lake 
Memphremagog is said to derive its name from the 
Abnaki word, Mamhrahogak, Large Expanse of Water. 



Chapter IV 
CHIEF GRAY LOCK AND THE INDIAN RAIDS 



FOLLOWING the disastrous defeat of the alHed 
Indian tribes of New England under the leader- 
ship of King Philip, and the death of that famous 
chieftain in 1676, there was an extensive migration from 
southern New England of the survivors of these tribes, 
some going to Canada, while others fled to the Hudson 
River. The French had been successful, as a rule, in 
establishing friendly relations with the Indians, more 
successful than the English, and they welcomed the 
refugees, realizing the value of such accessions. The 
New York authorities also encouraged the New Eng- 
land Indians to settle in that colony. 

About 1676 fugitives from the Pennacook, Pocum- 
tuck, Narragansett, Nipmuc, and Wampanoag tribes, 
driven out of New England, founded the Indian village 
of Scaticook, on the east bank of the Hudson, near the 
mouth of the Hoosac River. The greater part of the 
Pennacooks, however, fled to Canada. In 1683 the first 
village of St. Francis was established at the falls of 
the Chaudiere, in Quebec, by Indian converts from Sil- 
lery, the latter place being abandoned soon after. In 
1700 the village of St. Francis was removed to a loca- 
tion near Pierreville, Que. This village became a rally- 
ing place for many New England Indians, driven out by 
the fortunes of war, or dissatisfied by the growing 
strength of the English colonists. In 1725 the remnant 
of the Sokaki and Pequamket tribes removed to St. 
Francis, and later other bands of Indians followed. 
Indeed, there seems to have been a pretty steady stream 
of Indian migration to Canada for many years. 



74 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

The New York authorities sought to win away the 
St. Francis Indians to Scaticook, while the French 
attempted a counter attraction. The Canadian officials 
were so successful that the Scaticook settlement, which 
numbered about one thousand souls in 1702, had 
dwindled to two hundred in 1721, and during the 
French and Indian War the last of the tribe withdrew 
to Canada. 

It is not strange that these fugitives became embittered 
toward the English settlers. They had seen their hunt- 
ing grounds in New England appropriated for farms 
and villages. They could not fail to observe their own 
waning power, while the strength of the English waxed 
greater with every passing year, and the situation was 
one that, unchecked, indicated ultimate extermination for 
the native tribes. Already they had suffered humiliat- 
ing defeats at the hands of the colonists, and they were 
ready to listen eagerly to the suggestions of the French 
that they join that nation in an attempt to check, and 
perhaps to destroy, the rapidly growing power of the 
English. 

A careful study of the Canadian incursions into 
Massachusetts during the Colonial period tends to estab- 
lish the fact, heretofore not given the importance that 
it deserves, that one of the most important centers of 
Indian hostility to New England, second only to the 
St. Francis settlement, and, perhaps, at times equal to it, 
was the native village near the mouth of the Missisquoi 
River, described in a previous chapter. This village 
was situated only a few miles south of the present inter- 
national boundary line. Until the close of the French 



CHIEF GRAY LOCK AND INDIAN RAIDS 75 

and Indian War all the region around Lake Champlain 
was controlled by the French, so that a raid from the 
Missisquoi was considered a raid from Canada as truly 
as one originating at St. Francis. 

The date of the establishment of the Abnaki settle- 
ment on the Missisquoi may not easily be determined, 
but there are indications that it was soon after the migra- 
tion of New England tribes to Canada began, following 
the overthrow of King Philip. Peter Schuyler of 
Albany, a commissioner for Indian affairs, in a letter 
to Governor Dongan of New York, dated September 7, 
1687, regarding some of the River Indians, who had 
visited Montreal with a party of Abnakis, said : 

"They putt our Indians upon the way hither giving 
them provisions as much as carried them to a castle of 
Pennacook Indians, where they wanted for nothing." 

The greater part of the Pennacook tribe, which was 
located in the Merrimac valley in southern New Hamp- 
shire, fled to Canada in 1676, the year of King 
Philip's defeat. While most of their emigrants are 
supposed to have settled near Quebec, and later to have 
removed to St. Francis, it is not impossible that some 
of them may have settled on the Missisquoi River, as the 
relation between the Missisquoi and St. Francis villages 
seems to have been close. The direct route, and the 
natural route, from Montreal to Albany was by way of 
Lake Champlain. The Indian village of St. Francis at 
this time was located in the Beauce district of the 
Chaudiere valley, between the city of Quebec and the 
Maine border, and was far away from the route to 
Albany. There is nothing improbable in the assumption 



76 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

that a portion of the Pennacook tribe, or some of the 
Indians who had recently fled from southern New Eng- 
land to Canada, had established themselves near the 
mouth of the Missisquoi as early as 1687. 

In the ''Jesuit Relations" reference is made to a meet- 
ing held at Quebec, October 10, 1682, at the house of the 
Jesuit Fathers, at which many of the provincial officials 
and leaders were present to take action "against the 
secret machinations of the Iroquois," and to protect out- 
lying Indian settlements. This determination was 
reached: ''Consequently, the utmost efforts must be 
made to prevent them (the Iroquois) from ruining the 
natives as they have heretofore ruined the Algonquins, 
Andastag, Loups, Abenaquis and others, whose rem- 
nants we have at the settlements of Sillery, Laurette, 
Lake Champlain and others scattered among us." This 
would indicate that some of the fragments of Indian 
tribes which sought refuge in Canada, located at Lake 
Champlain very early, as soon as the location at Sillery. 
The only Indian settlement on Lake Champlain of which 
we have any positive and definite knowledge, is the one 
near the mouth of the Missisquoi. 

There are scattered references to the Missisquoi settle- 
ment in the ''History of the Catholic Church in the 
United States," as follows: "Fort St. Therese (on the 
Richelieu River) was abandoned in 1690. It is about 
this time that the Abnaki Indians appeared on the 
Missisquoi River, on the Winooski and on Otter Creek, 
having been driven from Maine by the English in 1680." 



CHIEF GRAY LOCK AND INDIAN RAIDS 77 

"From 1687 to 1760 we find them on the Missisquoi 
River, on the Winooski and on the Otter Creek. 
* * * Having been driven from Maine by the Eng- 
lish in 1680, the Governor of Canada gave them the 
country which extends from the River Chaudiere on 
the St. Laurent, to the River RicheHeu and Lake Cham- 
plain. * * * Catholicity flourished among the 
Abenaquis for lengthened periods on the shores of the 
Missisquoi and Winooski Rivers, Otter Creek, and other 
places. * * * They (the Indians) had a permanent 
chapel on the Missisquoi River, near Swanton, on the 
Highgate side, for a good many years. * * * This 
chapel was in existence in 1775. * * * Another 
chapel built of stone and containing a bell existed near 
Ferrisburg, and doubtless there were others throughout 
the State." 

Although unmistakable evidences of Indian settle- 
ments have been found near the mouths of Otter Creek 
and the Winooski River, evidence is lacking to prove 
that either settlement was as important or as enduring 
as that on the Missisquoi in Swanton. 

In a letter to Dr. George McAleer of Worcester, 
Mass., who has made a most exhaustive study of the 
entire Missisquoi region in order to determine the deriva- 
tion of the name, William Wallace Tooker, author of 
the "Algonquin Series," and a well-known Indian 
scholar, writes : "After the English forces from Fort 
Richmond, under Capt. Johnson Harmon, attacked the 
Abnaki Indians of Maine at Norridgewock, on the Ken- 
nebec River, August 12, 1724, burnt their fort and vil- 
lage, and slew Father Rasles, the French missionary 



78 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

there, the survivors migrated west to the head of Lake 
Champlain, then under the control of the French colo- 
nists of Canada." 

Some other historians say these survivors went to the 
St. Francis village, but the close relations between the 
St. Francis settlement and that on the Missisquoi, make 
it possible that the fugitives may have gone first to St. 
Francis, and later to the Champlain village, or that some 
historians, not realizing the importance of the Missisquoi 
village, have assumed that the Indians went to St. 
Francis because they went to Canada. 

Doctor McAleer concludes ''that the territory now 
known as Vermont, including Missisquoi Bay and 
environs, was in early times under the domination of 
the Iroquois. 

"That they were supplanted by the Abenaquis. 

''That the Abenaquis had for the time a large settle- 
ment at Swanton Falls that was in existence some 
seventy-five years or longer." 

He also says that the Abnakis, or Abenaquis, "made 
quite a large settlement during the early part of the 
eighteenth century, if not earlier, on the Missisquoi 
River at Swanton Falls, and which was there main- 
tained for more than half a century." 

It is stated in "Despatches and Orders of the King" 
(of France), under date of May 24, 1744, that "The 
establishment of the mission at Missiskoui may also 
conduce to this end (the further settlement and develop- 
ment of this region) by means of the spiritual aids which 
the new settlers will derive from the said mission." 



CHIEF GRAY LOCK AND INDIAN RAIDS 79 



In "Instructions from the King," issued April 28, 
1745, to Marquis Beauharnois, Governor General of 
Canada, and to Intendant Hocquart, reference is made 
to the protection of Fort Frederic and the mission at 
Missiskoui, which "will be very advantageous to them 
in case the English should attempt encroachments." It 
is also announced that "His Majesty was pleased to hear 
of the progress made by the village of Missiskoui and 
the disposition displayed by the Indians composing it 
on the occasion of the war." 

This is a plain indication that the Indian village on the 
Missisquoi rendered material aid to the French during 
the colonial war beginning in 1744. 

In the Canadian Archives is found a "speech of the 
Missisquoi Indians at the North End of Lake Cham- 
plain" to the Governor of Quebec, delivered September 
8, 1766, in which it is stated that "We, the Missisquoi 
Indians of St. Francis or Abnaki tribe, have inhabited 
that part of Lake Champlain known by the name of 
Missisquoi, time unknown to any of us here present." 

White's "Early History of New England," in relating 
an account of the attack on Fort Bridgman, in the pres- 
ent town of Vernon, Vt., June 27, 1755, tells of the 
adventures of Mrs. Jemima Howe and her seven chil- 
dren, who were taken captives. One of these children 
was an infant, and it is said that the babe was carried 
"to a place called Messiskow, on the borders of the River 
Missiscoui, near the north end of Lake Champlain upon 
the eastern shore." 

Doctor McAleer, commenting upon this episode, says : 
"The place here called 'Messiskow' to which these cap- 



80 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

tives were taken was doubtless Swanton Falls, where 
a very considerable number of these Indians lived for 
many years, and where they erected a stone church, in 
the belfry of which was the first bell that ever sum- 
moned people to the house of worship in Vermont." 

In a previous chapter a quotation was made from Ira 
Allen's "History of Vermont," showing that the Indians 
abandoned the Missisquoi village about 1730 on account 
of an epidemic, and went to St. Francis. That they, or 
others, must have returned, has been indicated by state- 
ments quoted. Other proofs of a resumption of the 
settlement are available. 

In a "Journal of Occurrences in Canada," 1746, 1747, 
found in "Documents Relating to the Colonial History 
of New York," mention is made of a Mohawk attack 
a league below Chambly. Lieutenant St. Pierre and a 
detachment were sent to surprise the enemy, and "eight 
Abenakis of Missiskouy followed this officer." It is 
further stated that "a party of twenty Abenakis of 
Missiskouy set out towards Boston," and brought in 
some prisoners and scalps; that "a party of eight 
Abenakis of Missiskouy has been fitted out who have 
been in the vicinity of Corlard (Schenectady) and have 
returned with some prisoners and scalps" ; that "a party 
of Abenakis of Missiskouy struck a blow near Orange 
(Albany) and Corlard and brought in some prisoners 
and scalps." 

The number of Indians in direct league with the 
French in 1744, according to a statement prepared by 
Governor Clinton of New York, included "the Missis- 
queeks, 40," or about half the number (90) credited 




upper picture, Lake Champlain scene 

Middle picture, Residence of N. W. Fisk, Isle La Motte, where Vice 

President Roosevelt received news of the assassination of 

President McKinley 

Lozvcr piciurc. Site of Fort St. Anne, Isle La Motte, the first white settle- 
ment in Vermont 



CHIEF GRAY LOCK AND INDIAN RAIDS 81 

to the St. Francis tribe. Of course forty warriors 
would include a total population in the Missisquoi vil- 
lage of several times that number. 

In a narrative of his captivity, Rev. John Williams, 
taken prisoner by a party of French and Indians from 
Canada in the capture of Deerfield, Mass., in 1704, 
wrote : 

''We went a day's journey from the lake (Champlain) 
to a company of Indians," this being after they had 
passed down the lake some distance from the mouth 
of the Winooski River, and he added the information 
that "we stayed at a branch of the lake and feasted two 
or three days on geese killed there." It is not improb- 
able that this stop was made at the Missisquoi village. 
It is a considerable distance from the regular route to 
Canada, west of the large islands of Grand Isle county, 
to the mouth of the Missisquoi. From the earliest 
knowledge of this region, the marshes at the mouth of 
this river have been a favorite feeding ground for wild 
geese on their way south in the autumn. Judge 
Girouard has said: ''The early settlers relate that the 
flocks of fowl at certain seasons near the bay (Missis- 
quoi) were so large and dense that the sun would be 
obscured during their flight, as though darkened by a 
cloud." 

From cover to cover it would be difficult to find in a 
history of the United States, chapters more thrilling 
than those which relate to the Indian raids upon the 
New England colonies. For many years, particularly 
near the borders of civilization, the settlers lived in con- 
stant apprehension of Indian attacks, which came silently 



82 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

and swiftly out of the forests, sometimes when the men 
were working in the fields, and the women and children 
were engaged in household tasks of the little homes; 
sometimes at dead of night, when the blood curdling 
war whoop would arouse the sleeper to the horrors of 
fire and massacre, and captivity for the survivors. 

Of all the chieftains who led savage bands out of 
Canada to fall upon the New England settlements, few 
were more dreaded than Gray Lock. In connection 
with the conflict in Maine known as Father Rasles' 
War (1723-1726), Temple and Sheldon's "His- 
tory of Northfield, Mass.," says of Gray Lock: "The 
Indian chief most prominent in the exploits of this war 
on our borders, and the leader in some daring and suc- 
cessful expeditions, was Gray Lock, so called from the 
color of his hair. He was a chieftain of the Waranokes, 
who lived previous to King Philip's War, on the West- 
field River, and removed thence to the Mohawk country. 
He was now well advanced in age, but retained all the 
daring and tact, and energy of his youth. He was well 
known to the people of the river towns, and seems to 
have been capable of inspiring regard by his friendly 
offices and shrewdness in time of peace, as well as 
awakening dread by his craft and cruelty in time of 
war. * * * 

"At the time of Queen Anne's War (1702-1713) he 
was living near Mount Royal, and was known as a 
French Indian that headed small parties fitted out to 
prey upon the exposed towns on the Connecticut River. 
In 1723, Gray Lock was living on the shore of Missis- 
quoi Bay, at the northerly end of Lake Champlain. He 



CHIEF GRAY LOCK AND INDIAN RAIDS 83 

had built a fort on a small creek, and collected a con- 
siderable band of followers. Some rich meadows here 
afforded the squaws a chance to plant large fields of 
corn. His method was to go forth with a force of trusty 
savages, larger or smaller, according to circumstances, 
build a camp at some convenient and secluded point 
near the towns, and keep out spies and scouts in small 
parties, who were ready to take scalps or captives, and 
hurry away for Canada." 

Trumbull's "History of Northampton," relates the 
fact that in July, 1712, the last raid of Queen Anne's 
War occurred. One of the two attacking parties was 
led by Gray Lock, "the afterwards famous chief," who 
left Canada July 13. 

When, or under what circumstances. Gray Lock estab- 
lished himself on the Missisquoi River, near its mouth, 
does not appear to be a matter of record. Two reasons 
may have led him to leave the vicinity of Mount Royal 
for the Missisquoi country. One reason, probably, was 
a desire to be in closer proximity to the English settle- 
ments. Another reason may have been a wish to be 
nearer the excellent hunting grounds of the region now 
known as northern Vermont. The Waranokes were 
famous beaver hunters, and as the Green Mountain coun- 
try had been a favorite beaver hunting region of the 
Iroquois, this fact may have been an inducement to 
locate on the Missisquoi. 

During the summer of 1723, Governor Dummer of 
Massachusetts and the officers of the Hampshire county 
militia, attempted, with the aid of Colonel Schuyler and 
other Albany officials, to conciliate Gray Lock and other 



84 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

chiefs living near Lake Champlain. Belts and other 
presents were sent to them, but having accepted from an- 
other source a more valuable belt, Gray Lock always 
was conveniently absent when the messengers arrived. 

On August 13, 1723, Gray Lock, with a party of four 
Indians, waylaid, killed and scalped two residents of 
Northfield, Mass. Continuing to Rutland, Mass., 
Deacon Joseph Stearns and his four sons were attacked 
as they were at work in the hayfield. Two of the sons 
were killed and two were made prisoners. Meeting Rev. 
Joseph Willard in the road, the Indians killed and scalped 
him, and wath their prisoners made a quick retreat to 
their castle on the Missisquoi. In order to secure an 
alliance with the Caughnawagas, Gray Lock gave to 
them the younger of his two captives. 

About September 1, Gray Lock started on a fresh 
expedition. His force consisted of about fifty men of 
his own and the Caughnawaga tribes, and he was fur- 
nished with guns and plenty of ammunition by Governor 
Vaudreuil of Canada. On October 9, 1723, these 
Indians made a sudden attack on Northfield, Mass., 
killed one man, wounded two persons, and captured one 
prisoner. 

The records show that on December 5, 1723, Capt. 
Benjamin Wright of Northfield, a famous scout, peti- 
tioned Governor Dummer for thirty-five or forty men 
in order that he might proceed to the mouth of Otter 
Creek and return by way of the White and Connecticut 
Rivers, but the plan was not carried out. In the year 
1724 Fort Dummer was built in the present town of 



CHIEF GRAY LOCK AND INDIAN RAIDS 85 

Brattleboro, as some writers say to guard against the 
incursions of Gray Lock. 

About June 11, 1724, Gray Lock and a party of eleven 
left his fort for the south and were joined soon by two 
bands, the first consisting of thirty, and the second of 
forty men. On June 18, Gray Lock and his Indians 
fell upon a party of hay makers at Northfield, Mass., 
killed one man and took two prisoners. A scout of 
seventeen men pursued the Indians as far as the mouth 
of Otter Creek. Gray Lock spent the summer and 
autumn of 1724 in prowling around the settlements at 
Deerfield, Westfield and Northampton, returning to his 
Missisquoi camp early in November. 

The statement concerning Gray Lock's location near 
the mouth of the Missisquoi is substantiated by the writ- 
ings of two Colonial leaders. Lieut. Col. John Stod- 
dard, who selected the site of Fort Dummer, objected to 
the suggestion made in January, 1725, that a large scout 
should be organized to go directly to Gray Lock's fort, 
"and attempt to destroy him and his clan outright." 
Stoddard wrote on February 3 of that year: "I retain 
my former opinion, if our people had gone to Gray Lock's 
fort, which lyeth upon a small river that emptieth itself 
into the Lake (Champlain) near the further end of it, 
and had made spoil upon the Indians, those that escaped 
would in their rage meditate revenge upon our commis- 
sioners, either in going to or returning from Canada. 
But an expedition thither in the spring, about the time 
of their planting corn, may be attended with the like in- 
convenience. * * * Parties should be raised to go 
to the upper part of St. Francis River, where these 



86 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Indians plant their corn, or towards the head of Conn. 
River where they hunt, or to Ammonoosuck which is the 
common road from St. Francis to Ammeriscoggan, and 
so to the Eastern country, or to Gray Lock's fort, or 
possibly to all of them." 

In the latter part of March, 1725, Capt. Thomas Wells 
of Deerfield, Mass., and a party of twenty men went on 
a scout to the northward. On their return, April 24, 
a canoe was overturned near the mouth of Miller's River 
and three men were drowned. Dissatisfied with the re- 
sult of this expedition. Governor Dummer proposed to 
Capt. Benjamin Wright to raise and command a party 
of rangers. Captain Wright replied on May 29, ex- 
pressing his willingness to do what he could, and adding: 
"It seems to me the most probable place to be attained, 
and the most serviceable when done, is Meseesquick, 
Gray Lock's fort." These letters appear to establish the 
location of Gray Lock's fort on the Missisquoi beyond 
question. 

In two months Captain Wright had recruited fifty- 
nine men, and the account of the expedition may be read 
in "A true journal of our march from N-field to Mesix- 
couk Bay under ye command of Benj. Wright Captain, 
begim July 27, A. D., 1725." This journal indicates 
that the rangers, having started the afternoon of July 
27 from Northfield, Mass., went as far that night as 
Pomeroy's Island, five miles above Northfield. The next 
day they proceeded to Fort Dummer at Brattleboro, 
where a stop was made for the mending of canoes, after 
which the party went five miles beyond the fort, to 
Hawley's Island. On the following day, July 29, they 



CHIEF GRAY LOCK AND INDIAN RAIDS 87 

came at night ''to a meadow 2 miles short of ye Great 
Falls" (Bellows Falls). The next day they carried their 
canoes around the falls and proceeded two miles farther. 

Their journey was continued up the Connecticut, past 
the mouth of Black River, and the mouth of White 
River, encountering much bad weather, and so on as far 
as the "Cowass" meadows and the mouth of Wells 
River. Proceeding up Wells River to Groton Pond, 
they crossed French (Winooski) River, evidently in 
Marshfield. Continuing their march they came to an- 
other branch of French River, probably in Calais, and 
went six miles farther to a beaver pond, possibly one 
of the Calais ponds, "out of which runs another branch 
of ye said river," possibly the Worcester Branch. 

Marching from this branch thirteen miles they 
"crossed a vast mountain," which may have been Mount 
Hunger, and camped for the night. The next day they 
came to a fourth branch of French River, which may 
have been the Waterbury River, or possibly the Winooski 
itself. They travelled down this branch six miles and 
crossed over the mountain six miles farther before mak- 
ing a camp. If the Waterbury River was referred to 
no mention is made of crossing the main stream. The 
journal says: "We marched from here W. N. W. to 
the top of a vast high mountain, which we called mount 
Discovery, where we had a fair prospect of ye Lake." 
Then they went down the mountain, travelling part of 
the way along a brook. Probably the "vast high moun- 
tain" was Camel's Hump, and the brook may have been 
Huntington River. Going down the river they en- 



88 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

camped at the foot of a falls, probably at Winooski, as a 
few miles brought them to Lake Champlain. 

The expedition proceeded down the lake only six miles, 
perhaps to Mallett's Bay, or Colchester Point. At this 
place the journal says: "And ye northwest end of ye 
Lake or bay being at a great distance, then we turned 
homeward without making any discovery here of any 
enemy." Gray Lock's fort was not destined to suffer 
the fate that befell that of the Norridgewock Indians 
at an earlier date, or that which Maj. Robert Rogers 
meted out to the St. Francis village about thirty-five 
years later. Mention is made in the journal of a fort 
at the mouth of Wells River. The party arrived at 
Northfield, on the return from this scouting expedition, 
on September 2. 

About August 18 Gray Lock left his village on the 
Missisquoi with a band of one hundred and fifty Indians 
with the double purpose of watching Captain Wright's 
expedition, and harassing the towns in the Connecticut 
River valley. Although some Indians were known to 
have followed Captain Wright as far as Northfield, it 
is probable that the greater part remained in the vicinity 
of Lake Champlain, for Colonel Stoddard wrote at this 
time: "If Capt. Wright could go immediately with 50 
men to Otter Creek he might intercept some of those 
parties." 

Governor Vaudreuil died on October 25, and his 
death, it is said, "broke the mainspring" of Indian hos- 
tilities. Most of the Indians were weary of war, and 
desired to return to their hunting and trapping. After 
prolonged negotiations a treaty of peace was signed with 



CHIEF GRAY LOCK AND INDIAN RAIDS 89 

the Eastern Indians at Boston, December 15, 1725. 
Gray Lock, however, refused to sign the treaty, and at 
some time in 1726, he assembled a war party about the 
mouth of Otter Creek with the intention of attacking the 
Connecticut River towns, but the rekictance of other 
Indians to cooperate, and the vigilance of the garrison at 
Fort Dummer, were responsible for frustrating this 
plan. 

In the autumn of 1726 the Indian commissioners at 
Albany sought to win Gray Lock over by gifts and good 
will. On January 2, 1727, they sent a message to the 
chieftain by Malalamet, his brother, inviting him to 
come to Albany, but the message did not reach him. 
Then they suggested to the New England authorities 
that a suitable belt be forwarded them to send to Gray 
Lock, and that he be invited to Albany to receive it, 
adding : "He will hardly be persuaded to come into your 
country, for he has done so much mischief on your fron- 
tiers, that he doubtless has a guilty conscience." 

Here the record of Gray Lock's hostilities ends. 
Peace was established, and for eighteen years the Con- 
necticut River settlements enjoyed freedom from border 
warfare. Gray Lock must have been an old man at this 
time, although his aggressive policy gave no indication 
of feebleness of body or mind. More than fifty years 
had elapsed since the death of King Philip, when the 
chief of the Waranokes left his home Woronoco, in the 
vicinity of Westfield, where he was the leader of his 
tribe. There is no record to show his age, but half a 
century of activity would indicate a career much longer 



90 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

than that which most leaders, whether savage or civilized, 
enjoy. 

The history of the Colonial period, therefore, shows 
a fort in the southern border of the region later known 
as Vermont, guarding the Massachusetts settlements of 
the Connecticut River valley against the famous chief- 
tain Gray Lock and his Indian warriors established in 
a fort or castle at the extreme northern end of Vermont 
— the outpost of the French and Indian alliance, pitted 
against, and watched by, the outpost of the New Eng- 
land colonists. Because the English and what they 
stood for won in Vermont, in New England, and in 
the United States of America, Fort Dummer is a familiar 
name in history, and Gray Lock and his castle have been 
lost in obscurity for well nigh two centuries. Neverthe- 
less, Gray Lock and his Missiassik Indians deserve a 
place in the early history of Vermont. 

The raids of Gray Lock and his band were by no means 
the only ones that followed the trails across the future 
State of Vermont, or the waters along the borders. 
For practically a century these expeditions crossed and 
recrossed the Green Mountains, moving swiftly and 
silently between Canada and the settlements of New 
York and New England. 

On January 30, 1666, Sieur de Courcelles, Governor 
of New France, started from Fort St. Therese, on the 
Richelieu River, with five hundred men, soldiers of 
France and Canadian habitants, on an expedition into 
the Mohawk country. Proceeding in a southerly direc- 
tion over the ice-covered surface of Lake Champlain, he 
approached the vicinity of what is now known as 



CHIEF GRAY LOCK AND INDIAN RAIDS 91 



Schenectady. Here some of the French troops fell into 
an ambuscade, eleven soldiers were killed and several 
were wounded. Having rested his men for three days, 
the French commander returned with all possible speed 
to Lake Champlain and Canada, being pursued as far as 
the lake by the Mohawks. This expedition, designed to 
quell the hostile Indians, failed to accomplish the desired 
result, and another was considered necessary. 

A fort having been constructed at Isle La Motte, a 
force consisting of six hundred regulars of the Carignan- 
Salieres regiment, six hundred habitants, and one hun- 
dred Indians, assembled here, and on the mainland to 
the west of the island. 

Early in October the Mohawk country again was in- 
vaded. The Indians had abandoned their villages upon 
the approach of the French soldiers, but their houses and 
many of their stores were burned. This expedition 
secured a peace lasting nearly twenty years. 

Following the accession to the British throne of 
William and Mary in 1689, war broke out between Eng- 
land and France, and the conflict extended to the Ameri- 
can colonies. Governor de Callieres of Montreal sub- 
mitted to the King of France a plan for the conquest of 
New York. As a part of that plan, designed to check 
the depredations of the Iroquois, a party of two hundred 
and ten men was fitted out at Montreal in January, 
1690. This expedition, led by Sieur de St. Helene and 
Lieutenant de Mantet crossed Lake Champlain on the 
ice, and on a bitterly cold winter night attacked Schenec- 
tady. The small fort there was captured, the garrison 
was massacred, the village was burned, and twenty-seven 



92 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

prisoners were taken. On the return trip the invaders 
were pursued, and suffered great hardships, owing to 
the fact that the provisions cached had spoiled, and the 
soldiers were reduced to such straits that they boiled 
their moccasins for food. 

Near the end of March, 1690, a small detachment of 
English and Indians, commanded by Capt. Jacobus de 
Warm, was sent to Crown Point, from Albany, to watch 
the enemy from Canada. A few days later, Capt. 
Abram Schuyler, with a few Englishmen, some 
Mohawks and Scaticooks, was ordered by the Albany 
authorities to the mouth of Otter Creek, as a scouting 
party to give warning of the approach of any hostile 
force from the north. Schuyler proceeded into Canada 
as far as Chambly, where he killed two persons and took 
one prisoner. 

As part of an elaborate plan for the invasion of 
Canada by the Colonial troops of Massachusetts, Con- 
necticut and New York, a force of eight hundred men 
under Gen. John Winthrop was assembled at the south- 
ern end of Lake Champlain, in August, 1690, but the 
Indians failing to bring reinforcements, or furnish 
canoes, the expedition was abandoned, greatly to the dis- 
appointment of many of the people of the Colonies. 
Capt. John Schuyler, being unwilling wholly to abandon 
the project of a Canadian invasion, with twenty-nine 
Englishmen and one hundred and twenty Indians, pro- 
ceeded by way of Lake Champlain and the Richelieu 
River to Laprairie, Canada, and on August 23 he 
attacked the place, burning houses and barns, killing six 
men, and taking nineteen prisoners. On August 24 he 



CHIEF GRAY LOCK AND INDIAN RAIDS 93 



camped at Isle La Motte and on August 25 stopped at 
Sand Point, probably Colchester Point. The next stop 
was at "the little stone fort," the exact location of which 
is unknown, but as it was evidently a day's journey from 
Sand Point, it may have been at the mouth of Otter 
Creek, which appears to have been a regular stopping 
place in traversing Lake Champlain. 

On June 21, 1691, Maj. Peter Schuyler, a brother of 
Capt. John Schuyler, left Albany, on a scouting expedi- 
tion, and July 17, according to his journal, he reached 
Ticonderoga with a force of two hundred and sixty Eng- 
lish and Indians and on July 19 advanced to Crown 
Point. On July 23, spies were sent out who advanced to 
Regio, or Split Rock, the main body following as far 
as the mouth of Otter Creek. The spies discovered 
several camp fires of hostile Indians, and reported that 
by their number there might be a "considerable army," 
and as a matter of precaution Schuyler built a small 
stone fort breast high, possibly similar to the "little 
stone fort" referred to the previous year. 

The next day the hostile Indians had disappeared. 
On July 26 they left the mouth of Otter Creek and pro- 
ceeded "to a place called Fort Lamotte several years de- 
serted," and on July 27 reached Chambly. He surprised 
and captured Laprairie, defeating Governor de Callieres, 
who lost about two hundred men killed and wounded, 
Schuyler's loss being slight, and retreated in safety to 
Albany. 

These successes encouraged the Iroquois to harass the 
Canadian settlements, and in order to check these depre- 
dations, Count de Frontenac assembled a force of six 



94 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

hundred or seven hundred French and Indians, in Jan- 
uary, 1693, and marching over the frozen surface of 
Lake Champlain, he fell upon the Mohawk villages 
beyond Schenectady. Many persons were killed and 
more than three hundred prisoners were captured. 
Major Schuyler, with a hastily assembled force, pursued 
the French as far as the Hudson River, and recaptured 
about fifty prisoners. The French suffered severe priva- 
tions before they reached Canada. 

The greater part of the raids, however, were directed 
toward the settlements in New England. Toward eve- 
ning, on July 14, 1698, a small party of Indians attacked 
a number of persons who were working in the fields at 
Hatfield, Mass., killing a man and a boy, and taking two 
boys prisoners. One man escaped and gave the alarm. 
The news was carried swiftly to Deerfield, where a party 
of fourteen men was assembled, and mounting horses 
they rode nearly all night until they reached the Great 
Bend of the Connecticut at Vernon, opposite the mouth 
of the Ashuelot River, a distance of twenty miles. 

Concealing their horses, they formed an ambush, and 
soon after daybreak the Indians were seen coming north 
in two canoes. Firing on the savages, they killed two of 
them, and the captive boys made their escape. One 
member of the rescuing party, Nathaniel Pomeroy, of 
Deerfield, was shot and killed, on an island in the Con- 
necticut River, which is still known as Pomeroy's Island. 

In 1702 hostilities were renewed between Great 
Britain and France, and continued for nearly eleven 
years. This conflict was known as Queen Anne's War. 
Deerfield was the most northerly settlement of im- 



CHIEF GRAY LOCK AND INDIAN RAIDS 95 

portance on the Connecticut River, and in the winter of 
1704 the Canadian authorities ordered an attack upon 
this Massachusetts town. Maj. Hertel de Rouville, 
commanding two hundred Frenchmen and one hundred 
and forty-two Indians, was sent on this expedition. 
Following Lake Champlain to the mouth of the Winooski 
River, the party ascended that stream, crossed the Green 
Mountains, descended the White River to the Connecti- 
cut, and followed that stream to Deerfield. 

Having watched for several hours, until the guard 
fell asleep, the town was surprised shortly before day- 
break on the morning of February 29, the depth of snow 
permitting the attacking party to leap over the slight 
fortifications. The place was captured without much 
difficulty. Forty-seven of the inhabitants were killed, 
one hundred and nineteen men, women and children were 
captured, and the village was plundered and burned. 

Among those captured was the village pastor. Rev. 
John Williams, who has left a record of his capture and 
imprisonment in a volume called ''The Redeemed Cap- 
tive." Indian moccasins were substituted for the foot- 
wear worn by the English prisoners, and plans were 
made for a journey of three hundred miles to Canada, 
the snow at the time being knee deep. On the way north 
nineteen persons were killed and two starved to death. 
These included infants, children and feeble women. 
Soon after the party started Mrs. Williams was killed. 

On the sixth day of the journey, Sunday, March 5, 
the party rested, and Mr. Williams preached a sermon 
to his fellow captives, taking as his text Sam. 1 :18, "The 
Lord is righteous, for I have rebelled against his com- 



96 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

mandment; hear, I pray you, all people, and behold my 
sorrow: my virgins and my young men are gone into 
captivity." This is supposed to have been the first ser- 
mon preached within what is now the State of Vermont 
by a clergyman of the Protestant faith. The encamp- 
ment is said to have been at the mouth of a river in the 
town of Rockingham, since known as Williams River, in 
honor of the captive preacher. The captors urged the 
prisoners to "Sing us one of Zion's" songs, and up- 
braided them because the dejected captives did not sing- 
as loud as their masters. 

The party proceeded as far as the mouth of the White 
River, where it was divided, the greater portion going 
farther up the Connecticut valley to the "Cowass" re- 
gion; the other, of which Mr. Williams was a member, 
following the White River to South Royalton, proceed- 
ing thence up the First Branch through what are now 
the towns of Tunbridge, Chelsea and Washington to 
the height of land, thence down Stevens' Branch to the 
Winooski River and to Lake Champlain, in Colchester, 
from which place they proceeded over the ice of Lake 
Champlain and the Richelieu River to Chambly, Canada. 
Two days before the French, or Winooski, River was 
reached, Mr. Williams was informed by his master that 
he had killed five moose, which gives an idea of the 
abundance of game in this region. After a journey, 
probably, of twenty-five days, over what was truly a 
"way of sorrow," the prisoners arrived at their destina- 
tion. 

Stephen Williams, a son of Rev. John Williams, was 
a member of the party that proceeded up the Connecticut 



CHIEF GRAY LOCK AND INDIAN RAIDS 97 

River toward "Cowass." Before reaching that place 
Indians were met who told of an English raid in the 
vicinity, as a result of which the region was being de- 
serted. The party remained for a month or six weeks 
where its members met these Indians from up the river, 
and suffered much from lack of provisions, being com- 
pelled to eat roots and the bark of trees. After they 
had started for Canada, Stephen was compelled to carry 
heavy burdens. 

Samuel Carter believes that these Indians made a 
camp on one of the sources of the Winooski, probably 
in Peacham, where they stayed until they had feasted 
on some moose they had killed. From here Stephen's 
master went to look for his family, and finding them 
sent for Stephen, who went a day's journey to join them. 
Carter is of the opinion that this Indian family was 
located on Joe's Pond, in the eastern part of Cabot, and 
that the hunting range may have included parts of 
Cabot, Walden, Danville and Peacham. Stephen ar- 
rived in Chambly in the month of August, about six 
months after Deerfield was captured. 

According to Penhallow's ''Wars of New England," 
word came to Northampton in the spring of 1704 that 
a party of Canadian Indians had built a fort and planted 
corn at Coos (Newbury). Thereupon Caleb Lyman 
and five friendly Indians proceeded up the Connecticut 
valley, and while a thunder storm was raging, he attacked 
a wigwam containing nine Indians, killing seven. 

According to Col. Frye Bailey and other early settlers, 
Captain Wells and a small force proceeded to the mouth 
of Wells River in 1704. Several men became ill of 



98 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

smallpox, and they spent at least a portion of the winter 
here, building a small log fort. Some of the party, it 
is said, died here. The river is said to have been named 
for the commander v^ho, probably, was Capt. Jonathan 
Wells. 

In February, 1708, Capt. Benjamin Wright began his 
career as an Indian fighter by leading a small party to 
**Coasset" or ''Cowass," near the mouth of Wells River, 
but no Indians were found. In May, 1709, Captain 
Wright, with ten men, ascended the Connecticut River, 
crossed the Green Mountains, and descended to Lake 
Champlain by one of the well known Indian trails. It 
is said that the party went within forty miles of Cham- 
bly. Distances were not very accurately determined and 
this may indicate that the party went as far as Isle 
La Motte, or the outlet of Lake Champlain, or to the 
vicinity of the Indian settlement near the mouth of the 
Missisquoi. 

On May 20, Captain Wright's party attacked two 
canoes containing Indians, killing, as they supposed, 
four savages, although only one scalp was secured. One 
canoe with provisions and arms was captured. The 
next day they seized and destroyed five canoes. On the 
return trip they met some French and Indians on the 
Winooski River, and killed, as they believed, four men, 
although the French account states that only one man 
was killed. In this encounter, Lieut. John Wells and 
John Burt, of Wright's party, were killed and John 
Strong was wounded, but was able to return to his home. 

Thomas Baker, captured at Deerfield, February 27 , 
1709, was taken up the Connecticut River, and thence to 



CHIEF GRAY LOCK AND INDIAN RAIDS 99 

Canada by the Lake Memphremagog route. His cap- 
tivity lasted a year, and during that time he became 
familiar with the country occupied by his captors, its 
rivers, and mountain passes. Early in 1712 he raised a 
company of thirty-four men and proceeded to the region 
known as Coos, and into New Hampshire, where some 
Indians were killed, the party returning without sustain- 
ing any loss. The Legislature of Massachusetts, by 
special resolution, granted to each member of this expedi- 
tion twenty pounds as a bounty for his part in the 
exploit. 

In 1711 a formidable attack on Canada was planned. 
Four thousand men were to proceed by way of Lake 
Champlain, and an expedition, 6,400 strong, sailed from 
Boston for Quebec. The fleet was wrecked, with heavy 
loss, and as the news reached the other army before it 
left Lake George, the Lake Champlain campaign was 
abandoned. 

Reference has been made previously to raids made 
in several Massachusetts towns by Gray Lock, the 
famous Indian chief. After he had attacked a party 
in the vicinity of Hatfield, a detachment of seven- 
teen men was organized in that town and went as far 
as the mouth of Otter Creek, as they supposed, in pur- 
suit of Gray Lock, but the wily chieftain was lurking 
in the vicinity of the Massachusetts settlements instead 
of being on his way to his Missisquoi stronghold. 

This scouting expedition was organized hastily, leav- 
ing without proper equipment, and as a result its mem- 
bers suffered great hardships. The "Massachusetts 
Archives" quotes Dr. Thomas Hastings of Hatfield as 



569SS6 



100 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

saying: "Saw most of ye men when they went forth; 
they were lusty and in good plight, effective men; saw 
them when they returned, and they were much emaciated, 
and their feet so swelled and galled that they could 
scarce travel on their feet — for some they were necessi- 
tated to hire horses. Some one or more applied to me 
to dress their feet and were under my care for a week 
or more, in bathing and emplastering before they were 
anything tolerably recruited." This gives a little pic- 
ture of the hardships of the trail over the Green Moun- 
tains to Lake Champlain, unless preparation was made 
similar to that which enabled the Indians to make long 
marches with comparative ease. 

On October 7, 1724, Captain Kellogg of Northfield 
wrote that he had a scout out under orders to go "up 
ye Great River" (the Connecticut), forty miles, and 
thence eastward to "Great Monadnock." During the 
late summer and early autumn most of his force had 
been employed in guarding the farmers during the har- 
vest season. This task being accomplished, Captain 
Kellogg sent out scouting parties, most of them going 
into southern Vermont to guard against the ever-present 
danger of incursions from Gray Lock and other enemies 
from the north. 

Captain Kellogg describes these expeditions in his 
journal in the following manner: "The first scout on 
November 30, 1724, went up on ye west side of Conn. 
River, and crossing ye West River went up to ye Great 
Falls (Bellows Falls), and returned, making no discov- 
ery of any enemy. The second scout went up to West 
River and followed up sd river 6 miles, and then crossed 



CHIEF GRAY LOCK AND INDIAN RAIDS 101 

the woods to ye Great Falls, and returned seeing no new 
signs of ye enemy. The third scout went west from 
Northfield about 12 miles, then northward crossing West 
River, and steering east came to canoe place about 16 
or 17 miles above Northfield. The fourth struck out 
northward about 6 miles, then north across West River 
and so to the Great Meadow, below ye Great Falls, then 
crossed the Conn. River and came down on the east side. 
This meadow is about 32 miles from Northfield. The 
fifth, the men were sent up West River Mountain, there 
to lodge on the top and view morning and evening for 
smoaks, and from there up to ye Mountain at ye Great 
Falls, and there also to lodge on ye top, and view morn- 
ing and evening for smoaks. The sixth went up to 
West River, which they followed 5 miles, then north 
till they come upon Sexton's (Saxtons) River six miles 
from the mouth of it, which empties itself at ye front of 
ye Great Falls, and then they came down to the mouth 
of it, and so returned. In addition we watch and ward 
3 forts at Northfield continually, besides what those 10 
men do at Deerfield, and ye people are uneasy that we 
have no more men to keep ye forts than we have." 

Temple and Sheldon's "History of Northfield" well 
says of this modest record: "This journal, kept with 
soldier-like precision, reads like the most ordinary mat- 
ter of fact afifair, deserving no special attention and no 
commendation, except evidence of a faithful discharge 
of duty. But the labors it recorded, and the daring and 
endurance of these handfuls of men, thus striking ofif 
into the wild forest in the winter, fording bridgeless 
streams, and climbing mountains slippery with ice and 



102 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

blocked up with snow, watching for the curling smokes 
from the red man's camp and listening for the report of 
his gun, were a most exciting romance, if they had not 
been a terrible reality. By such vigilance and fidelity, 
and wear of soul and body, was our village protected, 
and our valley kept clean of blood." 

Mention has been made of the proposal of Capt. Ben- 
jamin Wright to attack Gray Lock's fort on the Missis- 
quoi and of the failure to reach that stronghold. Late 
in March, 1725, Capt. Thomas Wells of Deer field led 
a scouting party northward on an expedition lasting a 
month, but there is no record of anything of real value 
accomplished. 

For nearly two decades following the signing of the 
treaty of peace with the Eastern Indians at Boston, 
December 15, 1725, this valley enjoyed freedom from 
conflict, and respite from the awful horror of the savage 
peril that might emerge at any hour, from the northern 
forests. During this interval of peace the boundaries 
of the frontier had been pushed farther into the wilder- 
ness, along either bank of ''the Great River," and ad- 
venturous pioneers had begun settlements at Westmin- 
ster and Putney, now Vermont towns, and at Keene, 
Charlestown, and perhaps at Westmoreland, in the 
province of New Hampshire. 

War was declared between Great Britain and France 
on March 15, 1744. On July 9, 1745, William Phipps 
was captured by a small party of Indians as he was 
hoeing corn in his field in the Great Meadows of Putney. 
He was taken into the woods by two savages. One of 
them having returned for something he had left, Phipps 



CHIEF GRAY LOCK AND INDIAN RAIDS 103 

struck down his keeper with his hoe, and taking the 
disabled Indian's gun shot the other Indian as he re- 
turned. Phipps then started for the fort, but was inter- 
cepted by other Indians, who killed and scalped him. 
As a result of this episode the woods were filled with 
scouts and the towns were guarded by a company of 
fifty-six men from July 12 to September 8. 

On October 11a party of eighty French and Indians 
attacked the fort at the Great Meadow, killed David 
Rugg and captured Nehemiah How, both being residents 
of Putney. The fort was not seriously damaged, but 
all the cattle were killed. Soldiers from Northfield and 
Fort Dummer pursued the enemy as far as Number 
Four (Charlestown, N. H.) without overtaking them. 
The garrisons at the river forts were strengthened as 
winter approached. 

A party of Indians appeared on June 24, 1746, in 
the vicinity of Bridgman's fort, in the town of Vernon, 
below Fort Dummer, and attacked some men who were 
at work in a meadow below the fort. William Robbins 
and James Barker were killed, Michael Gilson and 
Patrick Ray were wounded, and Daniel How, Jr., and 
John Beaman w^re taken prisoners. The same day a 
party of Indians surprised a scout of twelve men com- 
manded by Capt. Timothy Carter, while they were rest- 
ing at Cold Spring, a little way below Fort Dummer, 
capturing a part of their arms, although all the men 
escaped. 

The French and Indian expedition under Rigaud, 
which captured Fort Massachusetts, situated between 
the present sites of North Adams and Williamstown, 



104 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

in August, 1746, camped near the mouth of Otter Creek, 
on the Poultney River, and at what is now North Pownal, 
Vt., on the way to their destination. 

On April 4, 1747, the post at Charlestown, N. H., 
known as Number Four, was attacked by a large party 
of French and Indians under Debeline, the siege lasting 
three days, but it was successfully defended. On May 
15, a party of seven men went as far as Otter Creek on 
a scouting expedition. Another scout of five men from 
Connecticut River towns was out twenty-two days in 
August, traversing the Black River region "to discover 
motions of the enemy." 

In February, 1748, the Massachusetts General Court 
voted to increase the garrisons at Fort Massachusetts 
and at Number Four to one hundred men each, and a 
portion of these forces was to be employed constantly 
*'to intercept the French and Indian enemy in their 
marches from Wood Creek and Otter Creek." 

On March 29, 1748, Lieut. John Sergeant, his son 
Daniel, Moses Cooper, Joshua Wells, and another whose 
name is not recorded, started from Fort Dummer for 
Colrain, Mass., to cut ash timber for oars and paddles. 
They had gone only about a mile down the river when 
they fell into an Indian ambush. Lieutenant Sergeant 
and Joshua Wells were killed. Cooper was mortally 
wounded, but was able to reach the fort, and Daniel 
Sergeant was captured. 

The next day a party of seven men from Northfield 
went up to Fort Dummer, and finding the bodies of 
Sergeant and Wells, buried them. Capt. Josiah Wil- 
lard, commandant at Fort Dummer, says of this period : 



CHIEF GRAY LOCK AND INDIAN RAIDS 105 

"I had but eight men left besides what were sick with 
the measles, when the enemy made their attack on these 
five men." 

On May 13, 1748, Capt. Eleazer Melvin, with eighteen 
of his best men, started from Fort Dummer on a scout- 
ing expedition. That night the party encamped at the 
fort in Westmoreland known as Number Two, pro- 
ceeding the next day to Number Four, where the expedi- 
tion was increased by the addition of sixty men under 
Captains Stevens and Hobbs. Following the old Indian 
trail up Black River, they crossed the Green Mountains 
by the Mount Holly Pass, and descended to Otter Creek. 
Here Captain Melvin crossed the stream and proceeded 
toward Crown Point, while Captains Stevens and Hobbs 
followed the east bank of Otter Creek. 

Captain Melvin reached Lake Champlain a few miles 
south of Crown Point, on May 24, and camped after 
marching down the lake about three miles. Melvin's 
bravery appears to have exceeded his discretion. Con- 
tinuing his journey north the next morning he discovered 
two canoes containing Indians, and fired several volleys 
at them, although he was in plain sight of the French 
fort at Crown Point. He now made haste to retreat 
through the drowned lands, being pursued by one hun- 
dred and fifty Indians. Discovering that the savages 
were on his trail, Melvin followed the south branch of 
Otter Creek, crossed the height of land and reached the 
headwaters of a branch of the West River. The party 
being weary and hungry and supposing that they had 
eluded their pursuers, they stopped to rest, eat their lunch 
and shoot salmon. 



106 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Guided probably by the sound of the guns, the Indians 
discovered Melvin and his men, and approaching steahh- 
ily suddenly opened fire from behind logs and trees, 
only a few rods away. Unable to rally his soldiers, 
Captain Melvin fled, his belt being carried away by a 
shot or a hatchet stroke. He reached Fort Dummer 
before noon the next day. One of his men already had 
arrived there and eleven more came in before nightfall. 
Five men were killed. Sergeants John Howard and 
Isaac Taylor, John Dodd, Daniel Mann and Samuel 
Severance. Joseph Petty, wounded too severely to 
travel, was left by a spring on a couch of pine boughs 
"to live if he could" until help should return, but it did 
not return in time to save him, only in time to bury 
him, a service performed by another party for his com- 
rades who were slain. 

This conflict probably took place in Londonderry, 
''thirty-three miles from Fort Dummer up West River." 
As a result of this disaster a fast was proclaimed at 
Northfield. 

The detachment led by Captains Stevens and Hobbs 
followed the Otter Creek a little way, then turned east, 
hoping to reach White River. After following a stream 
for five days, and crossing it thirty-five times in one 
day, they learned that it was the Ottaquechee. From 
the mouth of this stream they proceeded by rafts and 
canoes to Number Four, having been absent two weeks 
on the expedition. A few days later, Captain Stevens 
and sixty men proceeded to Fort Dummer, where they 
remained two weeks, returning with a stock of pro- 
visions. 



CHIEF GRAY LOCK AND INDIAN RAIDS 107 

The day after Captain Stevens' return, fourteen men 
on the way from Hinsdale, N. H., to Fort Dummer were 
waylaid near the mouth of Broad Brook by a band of 
Indians. John Frost, Jonathan French and Joseph 
Richardson were killed and scalped. Seven men were 
taken prisoners and four escaped. 

Capt. Humphrey Hobbs, with forty men, left Number 
Four on June 24, 1748, for Fort Shirley, at Heath, 
Mass., on a scouting expedition. Two days later the 
party halted about twelve miles west of Fort Dummer, 
probably in the present town of Marlboro, for the mid- 
day meal. A sudden attack was made by a consider- 
able body of Indians, led by a chief named Sackett, said 
to have been a half-breed descendant of a captive. For- 
tunately Captain Hobbs had posted a guard which gave 
warning of the approach of the enemy, and the Colonial 
troops sought shelter behind trees, fighting the Indians 
in their own fashion. The battle continued for four 
hours. 

At the end of this period, Sackett having been 
wounded, the Indians retired, carrying ofif their dead 
and wounded. It is said that when an Indian fell a 
comrade would approach cautiously, keeping under cover 
as much as possible, attach a tump line to the body, and 
it would be drawn to the rear, moving along the ground 
as though moved by some magic power. Hobbs lost 
three men killed, Samuel Gunn, Ebenezer Mitchell and 
Eli Scott, and four men were wounded. Fearing an- 
other attack Hobbs and his men remained until night, 
when, under cover of darkness, they retired about two 



108 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

miles, burying their dead and caring for the wounded. 
The next day, June 27, they arrived at Fort Dummer. 

On July 14, 1748, Sergt. Thomas Taylor, with six 
soldiers and ten recruits, started from Northfield, Mass., 
for his post at Keene, N. H. When near Hinsdell's 
fort, on the east side of the Connecticut River, less than 
a mile below Fort Dummer, the detachment marched 
into an ambush, carefully planned by a party of French 
and Indians, that outnumbered Taylor's party at least 
six to one. Asahel Graves and Henry Chandler were 
killed and scalped, eleven men were captured, two escaped 
to Hinsdell's fort and two crossed the river and found 
refuge at Fort Dummer. Two Indians were killed. 

Two of the prisoners, who were wounded, were 
knocked on the head with war clubs, and killed. The 
other prisoners were taken up the east bank of the Con- 
necticut to the mouth of West River, where they crossed 
the stream, ascended the West River valley, crossed the 
mountain range, probably in the present town of Peru, 
and descended the Otter Creek valley. Leaving the 
river valley, the prisoners were taken across country to 
Lake Champlain, about twelve miles below Crown Point, 
reaching the lake, probably, at or near Ticonderoga. 
The route to Canada was taken by way of the lake and 
the Richelieu River. 

A party of militia and soldiers from Hatfield, Deer- 
field, Northfield, and other towns in the Connecticut 
valley, one hundred and twenty-nine in all, set out in 
pursuit. They buried the victims, but failed to overtake 
the enemy. The garrison at Fort Dummer was 
strengthened in August, 1748, and again from Novem- 



CHIEF GRAY LOCK AND INDIAN RAIDS 109 

ber 15, 1748, to March 1, 1749. A garrison of ten men 
was kept at Fort Dummer during 1750. 

Four men who were hunting on a branch of the Merri- 
mac River on April 28, 1752, were surprised by Indians, 
and two were captured, one of the captives being John 
Stark. The prisoners were taken to Canada by the 
Lake Memphremagog route. 

There were not many Indian depredations in New 
England between June, 1749, and May, 1754. When 
the conflict generally known as the French and Indian 
War began. Col. Israel Williams, commanding the north- 
ern New Hampshire regiment, wrote to Governor Shir- 
ley of Massachusetts, outlining a plan of campaign. 
He suggested that at least fifty men should be stationed 
at Fort Massachusetts, a part of them to be employed 
to watch the roads from Crown Point. In his letter he 
said : "The enemy generally when they leave that place 
come by the southerly side of the Lake (Champlain) or 
Drowned Lands, leave their canoes, and come down to 
Hoosuck; or they may turn ofif to the east (into Ver- 
mont) ; let which be the case, that fort is best situated 
to send parties from for the purpose aforesaid to gain 
advantage." 

Colonel Williams refers to the forts north of the 
Massachusetts border as follows: "As to ye forts 
above ye Line, if New Hampshire would support them, 
it might be well; but the advantage that would arise 
to this government by doing it would not countervail 
the expense, nor lessen the charge we must be at in de- 
fending our frontiers on ye east side of ye River, where 
they can be much easier and cheaper supplied with pro- 



110 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

visions. Notwithstanding the fort at No. 4, the enemy 
can and will come down Black River, Williams River 
or West River, go over east, or turn down south without 
hazard, and return with like security the same way, or 
go above." 

Early on the morning of August 30, 1754, a band 
of Indians appeared at Number Four, forcibly entered 
the house of James Johnson, and captured Mr. Johnson, 
Mrs. Johnson, their three children, a sister of Mrs. John- 
son, Miss Miriam Willard, also Ebenezer Farnsworth 
and Peter Labaree. Crossing the Connecticut, the party 
proceeded up the Black River, camping the first night in 
the southwest corner of the present town of Reading. 
The following morning Mrs. Johnson gave birth to a 
daughter, to whom was given the appropriate name of 
Captive. After remaining at this camp for a day, a 
litter was made on which Mrs. Johnson was carried. A 
little later she was permitted to ride on a horse. As food 
was scarce it became necessary to kill the horse, and 
for several days the infant received its principal nourish- 
ment from pieces of horse flesh, which it sucked. A 
marker has been erected to commemorate the sufferings 
of Mrs. Johnson. Captive Johnson and her parents 
afterward returned from their captivity and the girl 
later became the wife of Col. George Kimball of Caven- 
dish. 

Alarmed by this incursion, the few inhabitants of 
Westminster removed to Walpole, N. H. In 1755 a 
fort was built in the Great Meadow at Putney, to pro- 
tect the people of that town, Westminster and West- 
moreland, N. H. Bridgman's fort, built in Vernon 



CHIEF GRAY LOCK AND INDIAN RAIDS 111 

meadow, a little way below Fort Dummer, by Orlando 
Bridgman, was burned by Indians early in October, 
1747, several persons being killed, and others captured. 
This fort was rebuilt on a larger scale, but it was erected 
on low ground, and it was possible from a neighboring 
eminence to see into the enclosure, and observe the move- 
ments of the garrison. Evidently a watch was kept and 
the signal for admittance was learned. 

On the morning of June 27, 1755, Hilkiah Grant, 
Benjamin Gaffield, and Caleb Howe accompanied by 
Howe's two sons, left the fort to work in a cornfield 
on the bank of the river. Returning at the close of the 
day's labor, they were fired at from ambush. Howe 
was shot, scalped, and left for dead, and his two sons 
were captured. Gaffield was drowned in attempting to 
cross the river, and Grant escaped. 

The families in the fort had heard the firing and 
awaited the return of the party from the meadow with 
anxiety. Hearing the sound of footsteps and a rapping 
outside, the occupants hastily opened the gate, the proper 
signal having been given, and admitted, not members 
of their families, but a band of hostile Indians. The 
women and children, fourteen in all, were made prison- 
ers and the fort was plundered and burned. The 
prisoners were taken to Crown Point, a nine days' jour- 
ney, and after resting there a week proceeded to the 
Canadian settlement of St. Francis. Through the in- 
fluence of Capt. Peter Schuyler and Maj. Israel Put- 
nam, Mrs. Howe and three of her children were re- 
deemed. Caleb Howe was found alive the morning 
after the attack, and was taken to Hinsdell's fort, but 



112 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

died soon after his arrival there. Mrs. Howe was a 
woman of great personal beauty, and was known as "The 
Fair Captive." She was married three times. Her 
first husband, William Phipps, and her second husband, 
Caleb Howe, were killed by Indians. Her third hus- 
band was Amos Tute, with whom she lived many years. 

In 1757 Massachusetts raised a company of forty- 
five rangers under Capt. John Burk, and they were 
stationed at Hinsdell's fort. Much of their scouting 
was along the West River and its branches, and fre- 
quently they would ascend West River Mountain, to 
watch for smokes from the enemy's campfires. 

A party of Indians attacked the home of Capt. Fair- 
bank Moore, on the West River, in Brattleboro, at mid- 
night, March 6, 1758. Bursting open the door, they 
killed and scalped Captain Moore and his son. Mrs. 
Moore and her four children, the youngest only a few 
weeks old, were taken prisoners, and the party on snow- 
shoes crossed the Green Mountains to Fort Ticonderoga, 
and from there proceeded to Montreal. 

In the early autumn of the year 1759, General 
Amherst, commanding the British troops in the Cham- 
plain valley, exasperated by the fact that the St. Francis 
Indians had made a prisoner of an officer sent with a 
flag of truce, ordered Maj. Robert Rogers, the famous 
scout, to take two hundred men and ''attack the enemy's 
settlements on the south side of the St. Lawrence, in 
such a manner as shall most efifectively disgrace and in- 
jure the enemy and redound to the honor and success 
of His Majesty's arms." 



CHIEF GRAY LOCK AND INDIAN RAIDS 113 

On the night of September 12, 1759, Major Rogers 
started on his expedition. The French fleet was cruis- 
ing on Lake Champlain, and it was with some difficulty 
that Rogers and his men avoided the enemy. On the 
fifth day out from Crown Point, while encamped on the 
eastern shore of the lake, a keg of gunpowder acci- 
dentally was ignited, and Captain Williams and forty 
men, who were injured or sick returned, leaving one 
hundred and forty-two men to continue the expedition. 

After a terl days' journey, Rogers landed on the Cana- 
dian shore of Missisquoi Bay, probably at what is now 
the village of Philipsburg. The boats were concealed, 
a sufficient supply of provisions was left to carry the 
party back to Crown Point, and two trusty Indians re- 
mained to watch the boats and supplies. On the second 
day of his Canadian journey Rogers was overtaken by 
his Indian guards, who informed him that four hundred 
Frenchmen had captured the boats and half of that force 
v/as following on his track. 

Rogers determined to outmarch his pursuers, destroy 
the St. Francis village, and return home by way of the 
Connecticut River, having sent a few men back to Gen- 
eral Amherst to inform him of the situation and to re- 
quest that provisions be forwarded to Coos (now New- 
bury) on the Connecticut River. For nine days the 
party marched through a spruce bog, and on the tenth 
day came to a river fifteen miles north of the village of 
St. Francis. Leaving his detachment three miles from 
the settlement, Rogers and two companions dressed in 
Indian garb, approached the village. The Indians were 
engaged, to use Rogers' expression, "in a high frolic." 



114 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

For this reason the attack was deferred until a half hour 
before sunrise, the festivities having continued until four 
o'clock on the morning of October 5. 

Waiting until the merrymakers had fallen into a deep 
sleep, Rogers attacked the village from three sides. 
The wigwams were set on fire, two hundred out of a 
population of three hundred were killed, and twenty 
women and children were taken prisoners, most of whom 
were released. At seven o'clock the battle was ended. 
Six soldiers were wounded and one friendly Indian was 
killed. Five English captives were released, and six 
hundred scalps were found hanging upon poles over the 
doors of the wigwams. In his journal Rogers remarked 
that these Indians of St. Francis "had for a century past 
harassed the frontiers of New England, murdering 
people of all ages and sexes, and in times of peace when 
they had no reason to suspect hostile intentions. They 
had, within my own knowledge, during six years past, 
killed and carried away more than six hundred persons." 

It was determined to return to the post known as 
Number Four. The party kept together for eight days, 
and when they approached Lake Memphremagog, pro- 
visions becoming scarce, they divided into companies 
with guides, and were directed to assemble at the mouth 
of the Ammonoosuc River. The enemy pursued and 
captured seven men, two of whom escaped. 

The officer ordered to proceed to the place agreed 
upon with provisions remained only two days, and left 
about two hours before the arrival of Rogers. Finding 
a fresh fire burning, guns were fired, but the officer only 
hastened his pace, thinking the enemy was approaching. 



CHIEF GRAY LOCK AND INDIAN RAIDS 115 

The soldiers were in a desperate condition, and 
Rogers, leaving them to subsist as best they might on 
ground nuts and lily roots, made a raft of dry pine trees 
and with Captain Ogden and a captive Indian boy 
paddled down stream, narrowly escaping being carried 
over White River falls. The raft was lost and Rogers 
then burned down trees, and burned them off at the 
proper length for another raft, on which the three 
floated to Ottaquechee Falls. They succeeded in getting 
the raft over this waterfall, and floated down to Num- 
ber Four. Here a party of wood cutters was found, 
and a canoe loaded with provisions was sent immediately 
up the river to the starving soldiers, reaching them ten 
days after Rogers' departure. Two days later Rogers 
went up the river with two canoes to meet his comrades. 

After resting at Number Four those who were able 
to march started for Crown Point, reaching that post 
December 1, 1759. Forty-nine men, or one-third the 
total force, died as a result of the hardships attending 
this march through the wilderness. 

Thus ended, with the practical annihilation of the St. 
Francis tribe, the long period of border warfare, which 
had been a scourge to New England, particularly to the 
settlements in the Connecticut valley. 

During the greater part of a century the soil of Ver- 
mont and its navigable waters had been crossed and re- 
crossed, traversed again and again, by Indian, French 
and English war parties. Through the Green Mountain 
forests, and along the rivers which flow down the moun- 
tain slopes, had passed many bands of sorrowing cap- 
tives, men and women and little children, led to a country 



116 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

where the speech and the customs were unfamiliar and 
where they knew not what evil the future might hold in 
store for them. 

Today these savage forays, the war whoop at mid- 
night, the torch and the tomahawk, the cruel journeys 
over rough mountain trails, the fear of attack or 
ambush, never entirely absent, seem like a terrible 
dream; but for many a decade they were a very stern 
reality to the pioneer settlers of New England. 



Chapter V 
THE FRENCH SEIGNIORIES 



THE first settlement by white men within the limits 
of what is now Vermont was made by the French, 
at Isle La Motte, near the northern end of Lake 
Champlain, in 1666, fifty-seven years after the great 
explorer had discovered the lake to which he gave his 
name. It is probable that this lake had been traversed 
for years before the beginning of the Isle La Motte 
settlement by missionaries sent to the Iroquois tribes, 
and very likely encampments were made on Vermont 
soil during these journeys southward. Isle La Motte, 
Colchester Point and the mouth of Otter Creek seem 
to have been favorite camp sites at a very early period. 
A French document, dated March 8, 1688, declares that 
for more than forty years several Frenchmen and some 
Jesuit missionaries had resided in the Iroquois country. 

Owing to the aggressiveness of the Iroquois in their 
attacks upon the French in Canada, and a desire to have 
military posts where stores for troops might be deposited, 
it was decided in 1655 to build three forts on the Riche- 
lieu River, designated on ancient maps as the River of 
the Iroquois, because it led to the Iroquois country. 

During the autumn of 1655, M. de Repentigny, a cap- 
tain in the French service, was sent to Isle La Motte to 
prepare a site for another fort, that should be the most 
advanced of all the French fortifications. Pierre de St. 
Paul, Sieur la Mothe (or la Motte), a Captain of the 
Carignan regiment, with a few companies of soldiers, 
was sent to this place in the summer of 1666 to build 
the fort. It was completed in July of that year, shortly 
before M. de Chazy, a young French officer, was killed 



120 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

by a Mohawk war party on Lake Champlain, near the 
mouth of the river which bears his name. This fortifi- 
cation was dedicated to St. Anne, the mother of the 
Virgin, in whose honor a chapel was erected the same 
year, 1666, which was the first edifice in Vermont, 
erected for Christian worship, of which there is record. 
Although the dates of the erection of chapels at the 
mouth of Otter Creek and on the Winooski River are 
unknown, it is probable that they were not built until 
after the establishment of Fort St. Anne, and little is 
known concerning their building. 

It is a matter of record that the width of this fort 
was ninety-six feet, but there is some doubt concerning 
its length, one end of the site having been washed away. 
The dimension that is known corresponded to that of 
Forts Richelieu and St. Therese, built in 1665 on the 
Richelieu River. If the length was the same, it was 
one hundred and forty- four feet. 

The Mohawks having broken their treaty with the 
French, it was determined that the ofifenders should be 
punished, and an expedition was organized in Canada 
with orders to rendezvous at the new fort in Isle La 
Motte, on September 28, 1666. Six hundred veterans 
of the Carignan-Salieres regiment formed the nucleus 
of the expedition. This was a famous regiment which 
had been raised by Thomas Francis, Prince de Carignan, 
and was commanded by Henry de Chapelas, Sieur 
de Salieres, colonel of another regiment which was in- 
corporated with that of Carignan, the name being 
changed to Carignan-Salieres. This military organiza- 
tion had participated in the war of La Fronde, had 




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THE FRENCH SEIGNIORIES 121 

served under Turenne at Auxerre, had been sent in 1664 
to aid Emperor Leopold against the Turks, gaining dis- 
tinction in the battle of St. Godard, and it had arrived 
recently from Hungary. The first detachment of the 
regiment arrived in Canada in June, 1665, with Marquis 
de Tracy, to whom the King of France had issued a 
patent of Lieutenant General, with a commission as 
Viceroy in America. The remaining companies came 
with Colonel de Salieres and the new Governor General, 
M. de Courcelles. 

Here, on this wilderness island, in the season when 
the unbroken expanse of forest that extended from the 
slopes of the Green and Adirondack Mountains to the 
shores of Lake Champlain was turning to russet and 
crimson and gold, were assembled in the farthest south- 
ern outpost of the French dominions in Canada, six 
hundred veteran soldiers, trained on the battlefields of 
Europe, but ignorant of the tactics of the North Ameri- 
can Indians. On the western shore of the lake, only 
a little distance away, were encamped six hundred 
habitants, or Canadian volunteers, and one hundred 
Algonquins and Hurons. It was a curious combination 
of opposite extremes in military organization. An 
account of this foray into the Mohawk country has been 
given in a previous chapter. 

During the winter of 1666-67 many of the garrison 
at Fort St. Anne were ill of scurvy, and at the request 
of General de Tracy a priest was sent to Isle La Motte, 
Father Dollier de Casson coming from Montreal on 
snowshoes. He celebrated mass and officiated at the 
burial of thirteen soldiers. Sixty men assembled daily 



122 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

for mass and prayers. Father de Casson remained at 
the fort until the summer of 1667. Before the summer 
was ended three Jesuit priests, Fathers Fremin, Pierron 
and Bruyas, who had started for the country of the 
lower Iroquois to restore the missions interrupted by 
the wars, were detained at Fort St. Anne by the 
threatening attitude of Indians known as the Loups 
(Wolves), a part of the Iroquois nation, and while thus 
detained they conducted a mission for the soldiers. 
While at Isle La Motte, Father Pierron wrote a letter 
dated August 12, 1667, describing his voyage to 
America, and telling of the habits and customs of the 
Indians. So far as known this was the first letter 
written in Vermont. In June, 1668, Bishop Laval, the 
first Bishop of Quebec and New France, journeyed 
hither in a canoe and gave confirmation. This is said 
to have been the first confirmation given within the 
present limits of the United States. 

Captain La Mothe was appointed Governor of Mon- 
treal in 1670, and the fort probably was abandoned that 
year. A few years later La Mothe was killed by the 
Indians. He was not the founder of Detroit, and should 
not be confounded with La Mothe de Cadillac, who took 
a leading part in French afifairs in the West. 

Father Kerlidou, who made a careful study of Fort 
St. Anne and the early settlement on Isle La Motte, has 
said: "Before leaving the fort the soldiers burned all 
the palisades and barracks; they also took with them 
everything which might be of use somewhere else." 
The site of this ancient fort having been acquired by 
the Roman Catholic diocese of Burlington, excavations 



THE FRENCH SEIGNIORIES 123 

were made in the spring of 1896. Fourteen mounds 
were opened, under each one of which was found the 
ruins of a fireplace, full of ashes. Under one mound 
was a brick oven. The foundations of buildings 
sixteen by thirty-two feet in size, and others sixteen by 
twelve feet, were uncovered. The relics brought to light 
included coins, one bearing the date 1656, portions of 
guns, bullets, gun flints, arrow heads, tomahawks, 
Indian pottery, carpenters' tools, nails, pieces of burned 
timber, broken dishes, cooking utensils, pipes, buttons, 
knives, forks, and two solid silver spoons, one bearing 
the name of L. Case. 

Although Fort St. Anne was abandoned, Isle La 
Motte, thereafter, was a favorite stopping place for 
expeditions passing through the lake, as it may have 
been centuries before the white men came, and probably 
the site of this fort never wholly lapsed into wilderness 
conditions. While it is true that this settlement cannot 
be called permanent, it has the distinction of being the 
earliest made by white men within the present limits 
of Vermont, a fact sufficient to make it noteworthy. 

The story of the attempt of the government of France 
to plant colonies in the valley of Lake Champlain is a 
record of failure rather than success, if considered 
apart from military occupation. On May 20, 1676, the 
King of France issued an order authorizing the grant- 
ing of lands in Canada, which was considered by the 
French officials to be sufficient authority to warrant the 
granting of lands adjacent to Lake Champlain. A con- 
siderable number of these grants were made between 
the years 1733 and 1737, inclusive. These grants, or 



124 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

seigniories, were based on the old feudal system of 
France, the seignior owing homage to the crown, and 
the tenants rendering fealty to the seignior. This sys- 
tem was not entirely abolished in Canada until 1854. 

These French seigniories on Lake Champlain are 
shown on what is known as the De Lery map, dated 
October 10, 1748, these grants extending from Fort 
Chambly, on the Richelieu River, to Crown Point and 
including both sides of the lake. The survey of the 
lake for this map was made in 1732. The grantees, 
or seigniors, holding title to lands within the present 
limits of Vermont were Sieurs La Fontaine, de Beauvais 
fils, Contrecoeur, Contrecoeur fils, Douville, Raimbault, 
de la Perriere, and Hocquart. Possibly the southern 
portions of the grants made to Sieurs Foucault and 
de Lusignan may have been on the Vermont side of the 
present international boundary line. 

It is evident that the De Lery map did not attempt 
to outline the limits of these seigniories with any degree 
of accuracy, and therefore it is impossible to give their 
location with reference to present township boundaries 
only in a very general way. The grant to the younger 
de Beauvais probably included Highgate, part of Swan- 
ton, and may have embraced parts of Sheldon and 
Franklin. The La Fontaine grant evidently included a 
part of the Alburg peninsula. The map makes North 
Hero too large and Grand Isle too small. The grant 
made to the elder Contrecoeur included the island of 
North Hero. 

The map would indicate that the Douville seigniory 
included St. Albans, a part of Georgia, and probably 



THE FRENCH SEIGNIORIES 125 

parts of Fairfield and Fletcher. The Raimbault 
seigniory appears to have been the largest granted, as 
shown by the De Lery map. Records show that this 
seigniory was sold in 1766 by Sieur Jean Marie Raim- 
bault, his wife and his daughter, to Benjamin Price, 
Daniel Robertson and John Livingston for 90,000 livres 
(about $18,000). This seigniory of La Maunadiere is 
said to have a frontage of four leagues and a depth of 
five leagues. If a league is equivalent to three miles, 
then this seigniory had a frontage of twelve miles on 
Lake Champlain and extended back from the lake a 
distance of fifteen miles. It is expressly stated that the 
River A la Mouelle (Lamoille) was within its limits, 
and it probably included Milton, Westford, parts of 
Georgia, Colchester, Fairfax, Fletcher and Underbill. 
The La Perriere grant included Burlington, a part of 
Colchester, and parts of Essex and Williston, being 
divided by the "River Ouynouski" (Winooski), and 
having a frontage of two leagues and a depth of three 
leagues. The seigniory or lordship of Hocquart, 
opposite Crown Point, as originally granted, April 20, 
1743, had a frontage of one league on Lake Champlain 
and a depth of five leagues. Another grant, made April 
1, 1745, increased the bounds of the seigniory, so that it 
had a frontage of four leagues, corresponding in size to 
the seigniory of La Maunadiere. This lordship of 
Hocquart is estimated to have contained about 115,000 
acres. Probably it included the towns of Addison, 
Panton, Waltham, Weybridge, New Haven, the city of 
Vergennes, and parts of Ferrisburg, Bristol, Bridport, 
Cornwall and Middlebury. 



126 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

The seigniory granted to Sieur Bedou on the west side 
of the lake included Isle La Motte. This seigniory 
originally was granted to M. Pean, Major of Quebec, 
and later was transferred to Daniel Leinard, Sieur de 
Beaujeau, who had a grant immediately north of this. 

Some of the men to whom these grants were made 
were eminent French officers. Captain La Perriere be- 
came Governor of Montreal in 1752. Gilles Hocquart 
was Intendant of Canada from 1728 to 1748. M. Pierre 
Raimbault was Lieutenant General of the jurisdiction of 
Montreal. M. de Beaujeau, who held Isle La Motte for 
a time, succeeded M. Contrecoeur, another holder of a 
Lake Champlain seigniory, in command of Fort 
Duquesne, at the junction of the Allegheny and Monon- 
gahela Rivers, and planned the ambuscade which re- 
sulted in the defeat and death of General Braddock, at 
the opening of the French and Indian War, but he won 
victory at the cost of his life. 

Some of the conditions of these French grants may be 
shown in extracts from the grant to M. Hocquart. It 
was declared to be "for the perpetual enjoyment by the 
said Sieur Hocquart his heirs and assigns of said Trust 
by terms of fief and Seignoirs, with High, Middle and 
Low Justice, and Right of Hunting, Fishing and Trad- 
ing with Indians throughout the extent of said Seigniory 
without being obliged by reason of this to pay to His 
Majesty nor to his Successors, Kings, any duty money; 
* * * on condition also of preserving and causing 
to be preserved by the Tenants the Timber of all de- 
scriptions adapted for the construction of His Majesty's 
Ships; of informing His Majesty of all Mines or 



THE FRENCH SEIGNIORIES 127 

Minerals, if any be found in said Concession ; to improve 
it and to hold and cause to be held fire and light there 
by the Tenants, in default whereof it shall be reunited 
to His Majesty's Domain; of allowing roads necessary 
for public convenience and allowing also the beaches free 
to all Fishermen, except those they may require for their 
fishing; and in case His Majesty may have use here- 
after, of any portions of said Tract; to erect thereupon 
Forts, Batteries, Arsenals, Magazines, and other public 
Works, and the fire wood necessary for the Garrisons 
of said Forts, without being holden to any compensa- 
tion/' 

An order in council, issued by the King of France, 
July 6, 1711, directed that these lands granted should 
be cultivated by the inhabitants, and a similar order 
was issued March 15, 1732. On May 10, 1741, an 
ordinance was issued by the Governor and Intendant 
of New France, "for a Reunion of divers Seigniories to 
the Desmesnes of the French Crown." Other grants 
were made later but there were few real settlements 
beyond the range of the guns of some French fortress. 

Various excuses were made by the owners of these 
seigniories for failure to establish settlements, and 
pleas were made for an extension of time. One pro- 
prietor stated "that he could not find any farmers, up 
to this time, to place in his seigniory, that if he should 
find any he is ready to furnish them with axes and 
picks for clearing, with one year's provisions; that he 
will do his best to find some and that he intends to form 
a demesne there." In a "Summary Remonstrance" the 
Sieurs Contrecoeur, father and son, set forth "that they 



128 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

have done everything to settle their grants; that it was 
impossible to find individuals to accept lands though they 
offered them some on very advantageous terms and were 
willing to give even three hundred livres to engage said 
individuals * * * ; that they intend, moreover, to do 
all in their power to find farmers to settle said Seigniories 
and they hope to succeed therein." 

Sieur La Fontaine oft'ered "to go this summer on the 
Grant with three men to build there and begin clearances 
and to give to those whom he will find willing to settle 
there, Grain and even money, asking from them no rent, 
in order to obtain from them by the allurement of this 
gift what he cannot obtain from them by force." Sieur 
Roebert set forth "that he had neglected nothing to in- 
duce some young farmers to go and settle there by pro- 
curing for them great advantages and many facilities." 
But in spite of all the "advantages" and "facilities" and 
"allurements," the young farmers valued their lives and 
the lives of their families too highly to attempt to culti- 
vate farms in the valley of Lake Champlain as long as 
it continued to be the highway of war parties. 

About 1731 a French settlement was begun in the 
western part of the present town of Alburg. A grant 
embracing this region had been made to Sieur Francis 
Foucault, a member of the Supreme Council of Quebec, 
and the charter was renewed and augmented in May, 
1743, in recognition of the fact that M. Foucault had 
complied with the conditions of the original grant by 
establishing three new settlers the previous year, and 
that he had built in 1731 a windmill of stone masonry 
costing about $800. An entry in the journal of Capt. 



THE FRENCH SEIGNIORIES 129 

Phineas Stearns, made in 1749, notes that "at the empty- 
ing of the lake into Shamblee (Richelieu) River there 
is a windmill, built of stone; it stands on the east side 
of the water, and several houses on both sides built be- 
fore the war, but one inhabited at present." M. Foucault 
had taken steps to build a church twenty by forty feet 
in size. This settlement is said to have been short lived, 
as was one begun in 1741. Old maps show that the 
point where this settlement was located was called Pointe 
a la Algonquin. Later it was known as Windmill Point, 
from the stone windmill erected here. 

In the summer of 1749 Peter Kalm, a Swedish 
scholar, passed through Lake Champlain on his way 
from New York to Canada. In an account of his travels 
he refers to the Alburg settlement as follows: "A 
windmill built of stone stands on the east side of the 
lake on a projecting piece of ground. Some French- 
men have lived near it; but they left it when the war 
broke out, and are not yet come back to it. * * * 
The English have burnt the houses here several times, 
but the mill remained unhurt." 

In 1731 the French built a small stockaded fort at 
Crown Point, near the southern end and on the western 
shore of Lake Champlain, designed to accommodate 
thirty men, which was named Fort St. Frederic. Three 
years later a fortress was erected here large enough 
to permit the garrison to be increased to one hundred 
and twenty men. In 1742 this important fort was en- 
larged and strengthened to such an extent that it was 
considered the strongest French fortress in America, 
with the single exception of Quebec. 



130 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

The settlement which sprang up around the fort 
extended to the eastern or Vermont shore of Lake 
Champlain, the lake being only two- fifths of a mile wide 
at this point. Peter Kalm, in his travels, gave an 
excellent description of Fort St. Frederic, as it appeared 
in July, 1749. He observed that the soil about the fort 
was very fertile "on both sides of the river," that por- 
tion of the lake south of Crown Point being called a 
river at that time. By way of comment he added that 
'•before the last war (King George's War, 1744-48) a 
great many French families, especially old soldiers, have 
settled there; but the King obliged them to go into 
Canada, or to settle close to the fort and to lie in it at 
night. A great number of them returned at this time, 
and it was thought that about forty or fifty families 
would go to settle here this autumn." 

As Kalm left the fort, sailing northward toward 
Canada, he noted the fact that "the countr}^ is inhabited 
within a French mile of the fort, but after that it is 
covered with a thick forest." Capt. Phineas Stevens, 
who made a journey to Canada in 1749, the same year 
in which Kalm traversed the lake, wrote in his journal 
that "there are eighteen houses near Crown Point, some 
on each side of the water, but not all inhabited at 
present." 

Maj. Robert Rogers, the well-known Colonial scout, 
in his journals tells of various expeditions to Lake Cham- 
plain. Early in May, 1756, with a small party, he 
reached the lake four miles south of Crown Point, and 
marched "to a village on the east side, about two miles 
distant from Crown Point, but found no inhabitants 



THE FRENCH SEIGNIORIES 131 

there." After lying in concealment there for about a 
day and a half the party killed twenty-three head of 
cattle. In August, 1756, having landed about eight 
miles north of Crown Point, on the east side of the lake, 
Rogers and his party "marched to a village lying east 
of the fort," and took as prisoners a man, his wife and 
daughter. Evidently the settlements had been extended 
since Peter Kalm's visit. Fort Carillon, at Ticonderoga, 
was laid out in 1753 and was completed in 1756. It is 
probable that the east shore of the lake was occupied 
to some extent w^hile the French held Fort Carillon. 

The French grants on Lake Champlain, although not 
occupied to any great extent by actual tillers of the soil, 
w^ere the cause of diplomatic correspondence between 
France and Great Britain, which continued until 1776, 
when it must have become apparent, even in European 
capitals, that the American people were likely to have 
something to say concerning the disposition of the dis- 
puted territory. 

The British contended that all the region south of the 
St. Lawrence River originally belonged to the Iroquois 
tribes; that as early as 1683 the Iroquois by treaty with 
the Governor of New York, submitted to the sovereignty 
of Great Britain, and thereafter were considered sub- 
jects of that nation; that by the terms of the Treaty of 
Utrecht, France expressly recognized the sovereignty of 
Great Britain over the Iroquois. Another argument 
used was the purchase by Godfrey Dellius, from the 
Mohawks, in 1696, of a large tract of land extending 
from Saratoga along the Hudson River, Wood Creek 
and Lake Champlain, this tract being supposed to ex- 



132 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

tend along the eastern shore of the lake twenty miles 
north of Crown Point. This grant was repealed in 1699 
as an extravagant favor to one man. 

The French had the great advantage of the discovery 
of Lake Champlain and the territory adjacent to it, by 
Samuel Champlain, in 1609. A considerable portion of 
the discussion on behalf of the British position was con- 
ducted by Edmund Burke, a famous parliamentary 
orator, and a friend of the American colonies, but diplo- 
matic discussion became profitless when an independent 
nation had set up a government in America. The 
feudal system of land tenure which France attempted 
to introduce was not adapted to the new country, where 
individual and political freedom flourished like a plant 
in its native soil. The English system, under which 
every man might own his own farm, instead of being 
one of many tenants, who must render homage at the 
manor house, was vastly better adapted to the building 
up of political virtue and political capacity than the 
ancient seigniorial system. 



Chapter VI 

FORT DUMMER AND THE FIRST ENGLISH 
SETTLEMENTS 



THE first English settlements within the present 
limits of Vermont, and the first permanent settle- 
ments in the State, were made in the Connecticut 
valley. There is no record of any exploration of this 
valley north of Pasqiiamscut Falls (Turner's Falls, 
Mass.) prior to the year 1669, when a committee of four 
persons, appointed by the General Court of the province 
of Massachusetts Bay, ascended the river as far as the 
present town of Northfield, Mass. The following year 
a party from Northampton "went upon discovery'' to the 
same place, and in 1671 a tract of land on both sides of 
the Great (Connecticut) River was purchased of the 
Indians, the deed being signed by Massemet, Panout, 
Pammook, Nenepownam, his squaw, Wompeleg and 
Nessacoscom. According to Temple and Sheldon's 
''History of Northfield," the northern limits of this pur- 
chase on the west side of the Connecticut was Broad 
Brook, sometimes called Wanasquatuk River, near the 
northern limits of the present town of Vernon. The 
town of Northfield, Mass., was laid out in 1672 by Lieut. 
William Clark, William Allis and Isaac Graves. In 
the spring of 1673 settlements were begun, and a stock- 
ade was erected around a cluster of houses, or small 
huts. A second purchase of three thousand acres was 
made on the west side of the river the same year. 

In the autumn of 1675 the Northfield settlement was 
attacked by Indians, twenty-one out of thirty-eight per- 
sons were killed, and the little village was destroyed. 
Some years passed after this massacre before an attempt 
was made to resettle Northfield, or Squakheag, as it was 



136 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

often called at that time. Then it was slowly occupied 
once more by sturdy pioneers. 

In August, 1688, six persons were murdered here by 
Indians, and half the inhabitants thereupon abandoned 
the frontier settlement. In a petition to the Massa- 
chusetts General Court in June, 1689, the people of 
Northfield declared: "We are reduced to twelve mean 
families. Our small number, in a place so remote, 
exposed us to ye rage of ye heathen, as it were, invit- 
ing them to prey upon us. Our estates are exhaust by 
maintaining garrison soldiers and being kept from our 
labor. Our burdens of watching, warding, fencing, 
highways — we for ourselves and them that are absent 
— overbearing to us; besides all other hardships un- 
avoidable in a new place. Our wives and children (that 
we say not ourselves) ready to sink with fears." 

With the outbreak of war between England and 
France, with the General Court slow to aid the settlers 
on the frontiers, and with the ever present danger of 
Indian invasion, it was no longer possible to maintain a 
settlement at Northfield, and it was abandoned in 1690. 

The signing of the Treaty of Utrecht in the spring 
of 1713, bringing with it peace between England and 
France, and the expression of a desire on the part of 
Indian tribes hitherto hostile for a cessation of hostili- 
ties, again brought courage to New England pioneers, 
and after an absence of twenty- three years the surviv- 
ing proprietors of Northfield took steps to reclaim and 
reoccupy their lands. Slowly the town was populated 
once more, but there is no evidence to show that any 
houses were built as far north as the southern boundary 



FORT DUMMER 137 

of Vermont, as it now exists, prior to the erection of a 
fort within the present limits of the town of Brattle- 
boro. The year 1723 saw another outbreak of Indian 
hostilities, and in August, and again in October, raids 
were made and settlers were killed by the savages. 

The need of further protection became evident if the 
settlements at Northfield and elsewhere in the Connecti- 
cut valley were to be maintained. As a result the 
Massachusetts House of Representatives voted on 
December 27, 1723, "That it will be of great service to 
all the western frontiers both in this and the neighbor- 
ing government of Connecticut, to build a Blockhouse, 
above Northfield, in the most convenient place on the 
lands called the Equivalent Lands, and to post in it 40 
able men, English and western Indians, to be employed 
in scouting at a good distance up Connecticut River, 
West River, Otter Creek, and sometimes eastwardly 
above Great Monadnock, for the discovery of the enemy 
coming towards any of the frontier towns; and that so 
much of the said Equivalent Lands as shall be necessary 
for a Blockhouse be taken up, with the consent of the 
owners of said lands, together with 5 or 6 acres of their 
intervail land, to be broke up or plowed for the present 
use of the western Indians (in case any of them shall 
think fit to bring their families thither)." 

What were the Equivalent Lands ? When the bound- 
ary between the colonies of Massachusetts Bay and 
Connecticut was determined in 1713 it was found that 
of the large grants made by Massachusetts, 107,793 
acres really belonged to Connecticut. As some of this 
territory was occupied by flourishing settlements, and 



138 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

there was vigorous objection to a change of jurisdiction, 
it was agreed that Massachusetts should retain title to 
the lands granted, and, in return, a grant should be 
made to Connecticut of an equal number of acres "as 
an equivalent to the said colony." 

Gov. Joseph Dudley of Massachusetts, Gov. Gurdon 
Saltonstall of Connecticut, Elisha Hutchinson and 
Isaac Addington of Massachusetts, William Pitkin and 
William Whiting of Connecticut, were appointed com- 
missioners to locate these lands, and on November 10, 
1715, they reported that they had laid out tracts "east 
of Hadly town" (now Belchertown) and "north of the 
first surveyed piece" (Pelham, etc.); also 43,943 acres 
"Within the Limits of the 2d Province on Connecticut 
River above the former settlements." This large tract 
was situated within the present limits of three Vermont 
towns. Putney, Dummerston and Brattleboro. 

The Equivalent Lands were sold at auction April 
24-25, 1716, at Hartford, Conn., to twenty-one persons 
from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and London, Eng- 
land, who paid the sum of £683, New England currency, 
or "a little more than a farthing an acre," to quote an 
old record. The money thus obtained was given to Yale 
College. In the partition of these lands the tract which 
is now a part of Vermont, already mentioned, became the 
property of William Dummer, Anthony Stoddard, Wil- 
liam Brattle and John White. 

In process of time William Dummer became Lieu- 
tenant Governor of Massachusetts, and acting as execu- 
tive head of the colony he designated Lieut. Col. John 
Stoddard of Northampton as a proper person to select 



FORT DUMMER 139 

the site for the new fort, and to superintend its erection. 
In writing to Lieutenant Governor Dummer under date 
of February 3, 1724, Colonel Stoddard remarked that 
he had ordered moccasins and snowshoes made for the 
expedition northward, a suitable preparation for a jour- 
ney into the wilderness in winter, and announced that 
he had committed the work of building the fort to 
Lieut. Timothy Dwight. It was the expectation of 
Colonel Stoddard that Lieutenant Dwight would leave 
on the day the letter was written to take up the task 
assigned to him, accompanied by twelve soldiers, four 
carpenters and two teams; that the men would hew all 
the timber needed for the fort and the houses before 
their return; and that both fort and houses would be 
framed and set up during the month of February. 
Colonel Stoddard did not believe a stockade around the 
blockhouse necessary, saying in a letter: "We intend 
to make the fort so strong that the soldiers will be safe 
even if the enemy get within the parade ground." 

A little glimpse of the building of the fort is given 
in another letter of later date, written by Colonel Stod- 
dard, in which he said: "We agreed with carpenters 
from Northfield (Stephen Crowfoot, Daniel Wright and 
2 others) for 5 shillings per day, except Crowfoot, to 
whom I promised 6 shillings, and they all allow that he 
earned his money by doing so much more work than 
all the others. The soldiers had a very hard service, 
lying in the woods and were obliged to work early and 
late : it is thought they deserve 2 shillings per day besides 
the stated pay, and the carpenters something more. The 
horses were worked very hard, and commonly had noth- 



140 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

ing to eat but oats, and I believe 2 shillings a day will 
not be thought an excess for such service." 

The fort, built of the yellow pine timber, which grew 
in abundance on the lands adjacent to the river, was 
nearly square, each side being about one hundred and 
eighty feet (nearly eleven rods) in length, its height 
being from twelve to fourteen feet. It was constructed 
after the fashion of a log house, the timbers being locked 
together at the angles. The wall of the fort formed the 
rear wall of the houses erected within the enclosure, each 
having a single roof fronting on the hollow square, 
which served as a parade ground. These houses were 
constructed so that they could be rendered defensible 
by barricading doors and windows in the event that an 
attacking party succeeded in bursting open the large 
gate in the outer wall. A well within the fort supplied 
water for drinking purposes, but the garrison usually 
went to the river for water for washing, and sometimes 
were fired upon from the opposite side of the stream. 
Four small swivel guns called pateraros were furnished 
as means of defence, and later a cannon known as "the 
great gun" was added, which was fired as a signal of 
danger. 

The cost of the fort, which was completed in the sum- 
mer of 1724, was £256. It stood on the west bank of 
the Connecticut River, near the southern boundary of 
what is now known as the town of Brattleboro. At the 
present time the land where the fort stood is flooded 
as a result of the building of the great dam at Vernon, 
a few miles farther down the river. The name Fort 
Dummer was given in honor of the acting Governor of 




Fort Dummer at Brattleboro, First Permanent Settlement in Vermont 



FORT DUMMER 141 

Massachusetts, and the meadows in the vicinity of the 
fort were known as the Dunimer meadows. 

Timothy D wight, the builder of Fort Dummer, then 
in his thirtieth year, was made captain of a company of 
fifty-five men, who acted as the garrison. Before the 
fort was completed, Capt. Joseph Kellogg was sent to 
Albany, N. Y., to enlist the aid of the Mohawks in the 
defence of this post. Considerable time and money were 
spent in this endeavor, but it was difficult to attract many 
of the Indians while hostilities were in progress, or to 
keep those who came very long; but when peace pre- 
vailed there was no difficulty in securing Indians in large 
numbers. The muster roll of Captain Dwight's com- 
pany about the time the fort was completed included the 
names of twelve Indians, three of them being sachems. 
The first name is that of Hendrick, a Mohawk chieftain. 
Evidently this was the famous Mohawk leader and 
friend of the English, sometimes called King Hendrick, 
who participated in the campaign against the French 
in 1755, and was killed at the battle of Lake George. 

So anxious was the General Court of Massachusetts 
to secure the aid of these Indian allies in the defence 
of Fort Dummer, that a committee appointed to investi- 
gate the matter reported "that two shillings per day be 
allowed to Hendrick and Umpaumet, as they are 
sachems and the first of that rank that have entered into 
the service of this province; that none of the Indians 
be stinted as to allowance of provisions; that they all 
have the use of their arms gratis and their gims mended 
at free cost; that a supply of knives, pipes, tobacco, lead, 
shot and flints, be sent to the commanding officer of the 



142 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

fort, to be given out to them, according to his discretion ; 
that four barrels of rum be sent to Capt. Jonathan 
Wells, at Deerfield, to be lodged in his hands, and to 
be delivered to the commanding officer at the Block 
House as he sees occasion to send for it ; that so he may 
be enabled to give out one gill a day to each Indian, and 
some to his other men as occasion may require." 

The companionship of the Indians was not always 
a source of delight to the commanding officer, owing to 
the fondness of the natives for liquors. In a letter from 
Timothy Dwight to Col. John Stoddard, dated July 29, 
1724, relating his trials, he says: ''I have given them 
(the Indians) a dram this morning and they have been 
here this hour begging for more, and they daily call upon 
me for shirts, pipes, bullets and powder, flints and many 
other things ; and the Court have granted all but powder, 
and they don't send it, and I cannot discourse with them, 
and they are mad at me for that ; and, unless the country 
will provide stores and inform me I may dispose there- 
of to them, I cannot live here, if it be possible to avoid 
it." 

Colonel Stoddard replied, August 6, 1724, saying: 
"I am sensible of the trouble you meet with from the 
humors of the natives. Your best way is, when you 
have a supply of liquor, to give them ordinarily a good 
dram each, in a day. And you may tell them for me, 
that we give them drink for their comfort, not to unman 
them, or make beasts of them; and that if they will not 
be content with what we give them, they shall have none 
at all." 



FORT DUMMER 143 

The General Court voted on June 3, 1724, that Doctor 
Mather, Mr. Coleman, Mr. Sewell and Mr. Wadsworth 
"be desired to procure a person of gravity, ability and 
prudence," for chaplain at Fort Dumnier, their choice 
to be subject to the approval of the Governor. Daniel 
Dwight, a brother of Timothy Dwight, the officer in 
command, was chosen, and his salary was fixed at £100. 
In addition to his duties as chaplain he was directed to 
"instruct the Indian natives residing thereabouts in the 
true Christian religion." Apparently his term of serv- 
ice was not long, nor does it appear that there were many 
Indians in the vicinity to instruct. 

The fort served its purpose well in protecting the 
frontier, and from it went forth many scouting parties 
to watch the Indian trails and to give warning of the 
approach of the dreaded foe from Canada. 

The year 1726 ushered in a welcome era of peace. 
The military company at Fort Dummer was discharged, 
and Capt. Joseph Kellogg was ordered to recruit a small 
company for garrison duty. In June, 1727, Col. Samuel 
Partridge, who had been in chief military command in 
Hampshire county, informed the Governor that "con- 
siderable numbers of Indians from their hunting come 
in at Deerfield and Northfield, and the English trade 
with them; and it is said that some of our men go out 
and carry them strong liquor and make the Indians 
drunk and get their furs for a small matter, so that when 
they get out of their drink, and see that their furs are 
gone, they are mad and care not what mischief they do: 
a ready way to bring on outrages and murders, if not 
the war again." 



144 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

These very sensible observations were followed by the 
suggestion that trading with the Indians should be pro- 
hibited or regulated. Captain Kellogg already having 
suggested the importance of establishing a trading post, 
and having requested that such a post might be estab- 
lished at Fort Dummer, or further up the Connecticut 
River, the General Court agreed to the proposition. In 
1728 Fort Dummer was selected as a suitable place for 
a "truck house," and Captain Kellogg, in command of 
the post, was made truck master. He was well quali- 
fied, for his new duties, having learned the manner in 
which the French conducted their trade with the West- 
ern Indians, during a long period of captivity in Canada. 

This trading post at Fort Dummer speedily became 
a popular resort. The Indians found that they could 
trade here to better advantage than at the French trad- 
ing houses. Consequently they brought deer skins, 
moose skins, tallow, and other articles of commerce in 
large quantities. 

The fort being found too small for the increasing 
traffic. Captain Kellogg was authorized in April, 1729, 
to erect a building near the truck house "for the recep- 
tion of the Indians," and he was directed to build a boat 
for the transportation of supplies. In July, 1731, other 
improvements were made, and a storehouse was erected. 

The soldiers at Fort Dummer received forty shillings 
per month, and Captain Kellogg was allowed four 
pounds per month as commander of the fort, and one 
hundred pounds per year as truck master. He held the 
position until the year 1740. The garrison varied from 
nine to twenty men, and for a period of about ten years. 



FORT DUMMER 145 

ending in 1744, six Indian commissioners were stationed 
here in order that trade might be conducted to the best 
advantage, three of them being members of the Scati- 
cook tribe, and three representing the Caughnawaga 
tribe. In October, 1737, five Massachusetts commis- 
sioners, John Stoddard, Eleazer Porter, Thomas WalHs, 
Joseph Kellogg, and Israel Williams, met representa- 
tives of the Caughnawaga Indians at Fort Dummer for 
the purpose of renewing a treaty. Speeches were made, 
the King's health was drunk, and blankets and weapons 
were exchanged. A present of £70, 10 shillings, was 
made by the Colonial commissioners on this ceremonial 
occasion. 

Rev. Ebenezer Hinsdill was appointed chaplain at 
Fort Dummer in 1730 and held the position until 1743. 
It is related that he was much beloved both by the 
Indians and the English. A number of the savages 
usually assembled on Sunday to hear him preach. In 
1743 he erected a fort in what is now Hinsdale, New 
Hampshire, and together with Josiah Willard, com- 
mandant at Fort Dummer, he was appointed an under 
commissioner for the northern portions of Massa- 
chusetts and the adjacent frontiers. 

In 1737 the truck house at Fort Dummer was burned. 
In 1740 extensive repairs were made on the fort, as it 
had fallen into a defenceless condition. Two bastions 
were erected at opposite angles, and four Province 
houses, so-called, two stories in height, and "comfort- 
able and convenient," were erected within the fort. 
Several small houses were also erected. The fort was 
picketed, posts twenty feet high being driven into the 



146 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

ground and then sharpened at the top. Openings were 
left through which guns might be fired. Sentry boxes, 
twenty-five feet from the ground, were placed at opposite 
angles of the fort, and several guns were added to the 
ordnance. 

A plan of Fort Dummer is in existence, drawn by 
Matthew Patten, and bearing date of August 26, 1749. 
This showed the south side to be somewhat narrower 
than the north side. At the northwest corner was 
Major Willard's house, twenty-two by seventeen and 
one- third feet, and projecting four and one-half feet 
beyond the wall of the fort. Just east of the house was 
a building forty by sixteen and one-half feet in size. 
Beyond this was a straight wall seventy-eight feet in 
length, extending to the Province house, twenty-two feet 
by eighteen feet in size, and projecting a few feet 
beyond the wall of the fort. 

Inside the wall, and just west of the Province house, 
were two small houses occupied by Colonel Willard and 
Lieutenant Butler. The east wall of the fort ran diago- 
nally from the Province house to the southeast corner. 
This corner was cut ofif and a watch or sentry box was 
located here. In the middle of the south wall was a 
gate thirty- four feet from the southeast corner of the 
fort. At the southwest corner was Colonel Willard's 
house, twenty-two by thirty-two feet in size, and project- 
ing a few feet beyond the wall. From the gate to 
Colonel Willard's house was a distance of forty-two feet. 

Inside the fort, near the south wall, were two houses, 
marked Colonel Willard and Samuel Ashley, respect- 



FORT DUMMER 147 

ively. A little south of the center of the parade ground 
was a citadel fourteen and one-half feet square. 

For many years a controversy had existed between 
Massachusetts and New Hampshire over the location of 
the boundary line between the two provinces, different 
opinions being held concerning the meaning of the 
Massachusetts charter of 1692. Finally the dispute was 
referred to the King for adjudication, and in a decree 
dated August 5, 1740, His Majesty fixed the boundary 
more than forty miles south of the line claimed by 
Massachusetts, and fourteen miles south of the boundary 
claimed by New Hampshire. This decree deprived 
Massachusetts of six hundred square miles, a portion of 
which had been occupied by her citizens for two gen- 
erations, and it was the cause of much embarrassment 
and no little bitterness. 

The new boundary line was run in March, 1741, by 
Richard Hazen under the direction of New Hampshire, 
Massachusetts declining to participate in the survey. 
This line cut off a portion of the town of Northfield, 
Mass., four miles and one hundred and ninety-seven 
rods wide, but the Northfield property holders were not 
deprived of their holdings north of the new boundary. 

Massachusetts continued to maintain Fort Dummer 
until the outbreak of war between France and England 
in 1744, although the fort w^as in New Hampshire terri- 
tory, according to the King's boundary decision. At 
that time Governor Shirley of Massachusetts appealed 
to the Lord President of the King's Council and to the 
Duke of Newcastle, one of the Secretaries of State, de- 
claring that the provincial government did not consider 



148 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

it a duty to maintain a fort no longer its own and urging 
that New Hampshire, to which it belonged, should pro- 
vide for its maintenance. The Governor argued that 
the fort should not be abandoned, although Massa- 
chusetts, with many other posts to maintain, was not jus- 
tified in expending money in its defence, as it was only 
three or four days' march from Crown Point, a resort 
for hostile French and Indians. The Massachusetts 
House of Representatives declared that if the fort should 
fall into the enemy's hands "the enhabitants from Con- 
tocook to Connecticut River (would) be all drove from 
their settlements, notwithstanding the forces that are 
maintained by the province within those limits." 

The King in Council, on September 6, 1744, ordered 
that Fort Dummer should be maintained, directing the 
Governor of New Hampshire to call the attention of 
the provincial Assembly to the necessity of providing for 
its maintenance, and warning them that failure to obey 
this order would result in a restoration of the fort 
and "a proper district contiguous thereto," to Massa- 
chusetts. As a matter of precaution, however, Gov- 
ernor Shirley was directed to point out to the Massa- 
chusetts Assembly the necessity of maintaining Fort 
Dummer until an answer should be received from New 
Hampshire, and the King's pleasure in relation to the 
matter should be made known. In this order Governor 
Shirley was quoted as saying that Fort Dummer was 
"of very great consequence to all His Majesty's sub- 
jects in those parts." 

Taking into consideration the necessity of maintain- 
ing Fort Dummer for the protection of the frontier set- 



FORT DUMMER 149 

tiers in the Connecticut valley, the Massachusetts Legis- 
lature voted to provide for the enlistment of as many- 
officers and men as were stationed at the fort during 
the last war, and added to its defences two swivel guns 
and two four pounders. 

Governor Shirley wrote to Governor Wentworth of 
New Hampshire on February 25, 1745, acquainting him 
with the order of the King and the action taken by the 
Massachusetts Assembly, and requested him to provide 
for the maintenance of Fort Dummer. On May 3, 1745, 
the New Hampshire Assembly declared that "the fort 
(Dummer) was 50 miles from any towns which had 
been settled by the government or people of New Hamp- 
shire; that the people had no right to the lands which, 
by the dividing line, had fallen within New Hampshire, 
notwithstanding the plausible arguments which had been 
used to induce them to bear the expense of the line, 
namely, that the land would be given to them or else 
would be sold to pay the expense; that the charge of 
maintaining the fort at so great a distance, and to 
which there was no communication by roads would 
exceed what had been the whole expense of govern- 
ment before the line was established; that if they should 
take upon them to maintain this fort, there was another 
much better and more convenient fort at a place called 
Number Four, besides several other settlements, which 
they should also be obliged to defend; and, finally, that 
there was no danger that these forts would want sup- 
port, since it was the interest of Massachusetts, by whom 
they were erected, to maintain them as a cover to their 
frontiers." 



150 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Governor VVentworth thereupon dissolved the As- 
sembly and called another, renewing his recommenda- 
tions for providing for Fort Dummer, and that body 
made provision for the enlistment or impressment of 
twenty men for six months to perform garrison duty at 
the fort. Governor Shirley was notified of the action 
taken and was requested to withdraw the Massachusetts 
garrison. In view of the fact that the appropriation 
voted by New Hampshire for the support of the soldiers 
was less than half that allowed by Massachusetts, and 
fearing that once having gained possession of the post 
New Hampshire would neglect it. Governor Shirley 
decided to fall back upon the King's order to retain the 
fort until His Majesty's pleasure should be known. 
Therefore he countermanded his order to deliver the 
fortification to the New Hampshire authorities upon 
demand, and the fort was maintained by Massachusetts 
until 1747, when Governor Shirley again sounded Gov- 
ernor Wentworth in regard to the taking over of the 
post by New Hampshire. In October, 1748, Governor 
Wentworth expressed his unwillingness to bear the ex- 
pense, and Governor Shirley's next move was to submit 
to the British authorities a claim against New Hamp- 
shire for the maintenance of Fort Dummer. 

The committee to which the matter was referred on 
August 3, 1749, approved the claim of Massachusetts, 
and Governor Wentworth was directed to recommend to 
the provincial Assembly that provision should be made 
for the permanent maintenance of the fort. Neverthe- 
less, the burden of supporting the garrison continued to 
fall upon Massachusetts. Fort Dummer was too im- 



FORT DUMMER 151 

portant a part of the Massachusetts system of defence 
to permit any relaxation of the vigilance maintained at 
that post. The six Indian commissioners, who had 
found this frontier fort an agreeable place of residence 
during the years of peace, left as soon as hostilities were 
threatened. 

In the spring of 1747 Lieut. Dudley Bradstreet was 
sent to Fort Dummer with forty men, it being consid- 
ered necessary to strengthen the garrison, and he re- 
mained in charge of the post from April 15 until the 
September following, when Col. Josiah Willard resumed 
command. During the winter that followed Massa- 
chusetts maintained garrisons of twenty men each at 
Fort Dummer and at Number Four, the garrison at 
Fort Dummer being increased to thirty men before the 
season was far advanced. During the year 1748 Rev. 
Andrew Gardner, a somewhat eccentric clergyman, offi- 
ated as chaplain at Fort Dummer. 

From September, 1749, to June, 1750, a garrison of 
fifteen men, later reduced to ten, was maintained at 
this fort. Col. Josiah Willard, for a long period the 
commanding officer, died December 8, 1750, and he was 
succeeded by his son. Major Josiah Willard, who had 
commanded the garrison at Ashuelot. In February, 
1752, the General Court of Massachusetts reduced the 
garrison to five men. Major Willard remained in 
charge with this slender force until September, 1754, 
although the General Court voted in January of that 
year that "from and after February 20th next, no fur- 
ther provision be made for the pay and subsistence of 
the five men now posted at Fort Dummer." 



152 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

New Hampshire refusing to provide for the support 
of a garrison at this post, Massachusetts decided that it 
could not afford to permit its abandonment, and it was 
determined to strengthen the fort and furnish it with a 
few pieces of Hght artillery. On September 19, 1754, 
Nathan Willard was given command of the fort, and 
for the greater part of the year following, the garrison 
numbered eight men, several of them having their 
families with them. 

In August, 1755, Captain Willard presented a me- 
morial to the Massachusetts Legislature stating that the 
enemy were lurking continually in the woods near the 
fort, that during the past summer nineteen persons living 
within two miles of the fort had been "killed or cap- 
tivated," and he had been unable to render aid, having 
only five men under pay. He declared that he could 
see no reason why the fort should not be captured if 
an attack were made. As a result of this appeal the 
Legislature directed that six men should be added to the 
garrison, to serve until October 1 of that year. In 
October, 1759, there was still a garrison at Fort Dum- 
mer, although the soldiers at the other blockhouses on 
the frontier had been dismissed, the French having been 
expelled from the Champlain valley. 

With the surrender of Montreal in 1760, the peril 
of French and Indian attacks vanished. The frontier 
fortress at Fort Dummer, which had proved such a 
strong bulwark of defence to the settlements in the Con- 
necticut valley, no longer was needed, and the great 
pine timbers which had sheltered many garrisons from 
a savage foe gradually sank into decay. Other portions 



FORT DUMMER 153 

of the State may have seen brief settlements at earHer 
periods, but this was the first outpost in the Vermont 
wilderness that held its own until the little clearing 
around the military post merged into the cleared fields 
of actual settlers, who were the pioneers of a new com- 
monwealth among the Green Mountains. 

The part that was played on this somewhat obscure 
historic stage, in its forest setting, lacked neither in 
variety nor human interest. From its walls went forth 
brave men on perilous scout duty, to watch from lofty 
mountain outlooks for the smokes of Indian camp fires. 
Northward along Indian trails, centuries old, they 
threaded their way, up the river valleys, through the 
mountain passes, and down the streams on the farther 
mountain slopes to Lake Champlain. Around the walls 
of this fort the Indian warwhoop echoed, and almost 
within its shadow men were slain and scalped. In inter- 
vals of peace the Canadian savages came hither to barter 
their peltry and other wares at this important trading 
post. With the passing of the need of this and other 
military outposts there dawned a new era upon the con- 
tinent of North America, making possible not only the 
State of Vermont, but also the nation known as the 
United States of America. 

It is not possible to state with positive accuracy the 
name of the first white child born within the present 
limits of the State of Vermont. Some historians have 
awarded this distinction to John Sargent, Jr., born at 
Fort Dummer December 4, 1732, but later investigations 
show that such a claim is not well founded. 



154 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

While lands within the present town of Vernon were 
included in the early Northfield Grants, there is no evi- 
dence to prove that homes were established north of the 
present State boundary line between Vermont and 
Massachusetts, prior to the erection of Fort Dummer in 
1724. It is said that in the same year in which Fort 
Dummer was built, 1724, a settlement was made on the 
banks of the Hoosac River, in the present town of 
Pownal, by eight or ten burghers of Rennsselaerwyck, 
headed by Juria Kreigger, who occupied without any 
legal title the region near the junction of Washtub 
Branch with the Hoosac River, about four miles east of 
the line twenty miles from the Hudson River, which 
forms the western boundary of Connecticut and Massa- 
chusetts. It is probable that children may have been 
born to these Dutch squatters before any white children 
were born in the Connecticut valley, but no record has 
been found to prove such a claim. 

The first white child born in Vermont, so far as exist- 
ing records show, was Timothy D wight, son of Timothy 
Dwight, the builder and the first commander of Fort 
Dummer, the date of his birth being May 27, 1726, 
according to the Dwight family records. This child 
grew to be a man six feet, four inches in height, possess- 
ing great physical strength. He was graduated from 
Yale College in 1744 and became a prosperous merchant 
in Northampton, Mass. He served as Selectman, Regis- 
ter of Probate, Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, 
and for many years represented Northampton in the 
General Court of the Colony. When the Revolutionary 
War began he became a Loyalist, though not an active 



FORT DUMMER 155 

and bitter one, and in the spring of 1776, with his sister, 
the widow of Maj. Gen. Phineas Lyman, of Colonial 
war fame, he removed to Natchez, Miss., where he died 
June 10, 1777, his sister having died two months earlier. 
He left an estate of £4,567. 

On November 8, 1750, Timothy Dwight had married 
Mary, daughter of Rev. Jonathan Edwards, the famous 
theologian. Thirteen children, eight sons and five 
daughters, were born to them. The eldest son of this 
couple was Timothy Dwight, who was president of Yale 
College from 1795 to 1817. A daughter, Elizabeth, be- 
came the mother of Theodore Dwight Woolsey, presi- 
dent of Yale College, 1846-1871. Another descendant 
of Timothy Dwight and Mary Edwards, his wife, was 
Timothy Dwight, president of Yale College, 1886-1899. 
Thus the first white child born in Vermont, concerning 
whose birth records are available, became the ancestor of 
one of America's most distinguished families. 

In 1736 the western part of the present township of 
Vernon, not included in Northfield, Mass., was granted, 
together with what is now the Massachusetts town of 
Bernardston, under the name of Falltown. This grant 
Vv^as made by the province of Massachusetts to Samuel 
Hunt and others who were descendants of the men who 
were in the "Falls fight" at Turner's Falls, in 1676. 

In 1738 Josiah Sartwell built a fortified residence, 
known as Sartwell's fort, two miles south of Fort Dum- 
mer, in the present town of Vernon, Vt. It was con- 
structed of hewn timbers, was thirt3^-eight feet long and 
twenty feet wide, the upper story projecting so that from 
portholes the inmates could guard the approach to the 



156 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

fort. The walls were of hewn timbers, and there was 
an outer door of hewn planks. Sartwell had obtained 
from the General Court of Massachusetts a grant of 
one hundred acres, laid out on the west bank of the Con- 
necticut River. As a result of the boundary decision 
by the King in 1740, this fort was included in the town- 
ship of Hinsdale, N. H. The fort stood almost one 
hundred years, and when it was taken down in 1837 
many of its timbers were used in building a farm house. 

Fort Bridgman, about four miles south of Brattle- 
boro, in the town of Vernon, was erected by Orlando 
Bridgman, probably in 1737, although it may have been 
in 1738, the same year that Fort Sartwell was erected, 
which it resembled in dimensions and style of building. 
Reference already has been made to the burning of this 
fort in 1747, to its rebuilding on a more extensive scale, 
and to its capture and destruction by Indians in 1755. 

These little wooden forts were very humble, unpreten- 
tious fortifications, but without their protection the 
frontiers of civilization could not have been pushed for- 
ward from the province of Massachusetts, up the valley 
of the Connecticut, to the intervale meadows of southern 
Vermont, where, in the vicinity of these blockhouses, the 
first farms Avere won from the forest in the region known 
a few decades later as the Green Mountain State. 



Chapter VII 
THE FIRST HOME BUILDERS 



NATURALLY the earliest occupation of Vermont 
was by means of military posts, the first 
of these being erected by the French at Isle 
La Motte, in 1666, and the second by soldiers repre- 
senting the province of Massachusetts, at Fort Dum- 
mer, near the present village of Brattleboro in 1724. 
The first actual home building was begun in the Con- 
necticut River valley, a few miles above the most 
northerly of the Massachusetts settlements, at a time 
when the region was supposed to be within the juris- 
diction of that province. Although these first attempts 
at building homes and cultivating fields were compar- 
able to Judge Wendell P. Stafiford's characterization 
of the building of Fort St. Anne, at Isle La Motte, "a 
halting, hesitating step, a foot thrust out into the wild 
and then withdrawn," it represented the next stage 
beyond military occupation, the coming of the pioneer, 
with all the hope and promise that such an enterprise 
involved. 

On January 15, 1735, the General Court of Massa- 
chusetts ordered a survey of the lands between the Con- 
necticut and Merrimac Rivers from the northwest corner 
of Rumford, on the Merrimac to the Great Falls (Bel- 
lows Falls) on the Connecticut; also the division of the 
lands on the west side of the latter stream between the 
Great Falls and the "Equivalent Lands" into two town- 
ships six miles square, if the space would allow, and if 
not into one township. This action was taken in re- 
sponse to many petitions asking for the granting of 
lands in this region. Eleven persons were appointed to 



160 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

have charge of the survey and the division of lands. 
Township Number One, now known as Westminster, 
was granted to persons from Taunton, Norton and 
Easton, in Massachusetts, and to others from Ashford 
and Killingly, in Connecticut. 

The committee having the survey in charge were em- 
powered to admit sixty settlers in each township, and 
to require them to give bonds to the amount of forty 
pounds each for the performance of their part of the 
contract. Persons who had not received grants of land 
for seven years past were given the first opportunity. 
Each grantee was required to build a dwelling house 
eighteen feet square and seven feet stud on their re- 
spective home lots, "and fence in or break up for plow- 
ing, or clear and stock five acres with English grass 
within three years next after their admittance, and cause 
their respective lots to be inhabited." The grantees 
were also required within the space of three years to 
build a meeting house and settle "a learned Orthodox 
Minister." 

Joseph Tisdale was empowered to call a meeting of 
the grantees of Number One, in Taunton, January 14, 
1737, and such a meeting being held, a committee was 
appointed to visit the township and divide the lands. It 
appears that Richard Ellis and his son Reuben built 
a log house in Westminster (sometimes called New 
Taunton) in 1734, and fitted five or six acres of land 
for cultivation, being accompanied by Seth Tisdale and 
John Barney. During the years 1739 and 1740 several 
persons were engaged in laying out roads and in prepar- 
ing the town for occupation. The records of a meeting 



\a"^>'b"^*\ Built ell Ihr out S\ t Je \. 



£ 



The Perade 
Tlie Phisoqnomy of Fort Burner 



CcllVWHIardi 
hou^e Bui ft by 
tht Pi-ovinct 





Plan of Fort Diimmer 



THE FIRST HOME BUILDERS 161 

held July 8, 1740, indicate that a sawmill had been 
built. 

In 1742 the proprietors, finding that their grants were 
within the jurisdiction of New Hampshire, according to 
a decision rendered concerning the northern boundary 
of Massachusetts, appealed to the General Court of the 
latter province for directions as to the course to be fol- 
lowed in securing thefr rights. In 1744 hostilities began 
between France and Great Britain, and apparently the 
settlement was abandoned for a time. 

In 1751 several families from Northfield, Mass., 
moved into this town. On November 9, 1752, Governor 
Wentworth granted this township as Westminster, 
under the jurisdiction of New Hampshire, but the pro- 
prietors who had purchased lands here under the Massa- 
chusetts grant were given the privilege of establishing 
their holdings as they were laid out in the original sur- 
vey. Indian incursions began late in the summer of 
1754, James Johnson and family being captured at Num- 
ber Four (Charlestown, N. H.). As only a few 
pioneers had settled at Westminster, and they were with- 
out adequate defence, they removed to Walpole, N. H., 
immediately following the attack on Number Four, being 
cared for at the home of Col. Benjamin Bellows until 
October, when they returned to Westminster. The 
situation, however, was a dangerous one, immediately 
preceding and during the period of conflict known as 
the French and Indian War, and the settlers who had 
returned to Westminster did not find it prudent to re- 
main there many months. With the declaration of 
peace the danger of invasion from the north was removed 



162 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

and on June 14, 1760, the charter of the town was re- 
newed, the proprietors being Josiah Willard, Jr., a son 
of a former commander at Fort Dummer, and others. 
Lands were allotted and before the close of 1766 about 
fifty persons had settled here. In 1771 the population 
had increased to four hundred and seventy-eight, and 
Westminster was the most populous town in this region. 

As early as 1740 Joseph Stebbins settled in what is 
now Vernon. It is to be presumed that lands were 
cleared and fields were cultivated in the vicinity of 
Forts Sartwell and Bridgman. It is recorded that soon 
after the French and Indian War began the settlers in 
what is now Vernon sought shelter in the forts nearby, 
or in Northfield, Mass. It is reasonable to suppose that 
some settlements were made at an early date in Brattle- 
boro, in the vicinity of Fort Dummer. In 1766 there 
were a sufficient number of people in Brattleboro and 
vicinity to organize a regiment. 

In 1732 merchants of New London, Conn., sent men 
to the Great Meadow, in what is now the town of Put- 
ney, to cut mast timber from the magnificent growth of 
yellow pines which occupied that portion of the Con- 
necticut River valley. In 1733 seventy men came to 
this spot to cut timber, and a shipload of it was pre- 
pared. In 1742 or 1743 Nehemiah Howe of Grafton, 
Mass., William Phips, and Daniel Rugg, of Leicester, 
Mass., with their families, also Robert Baker and others, 
made a clearing at the Great Meadows in Putney. In 
the center of the clearing a fortification known as Fort 
Hill was erected. Within two or three years a consider- 
able stock of cattle had been gathered there. That the 



THE FIRST HOME BUILDERS 163 

fields were cultivated is shown by the fact that William 
Phips was captured by the Indians July 5, 1745, while 
hoeing corn on the Great Meadow. The fort here was 
still occupied in the spring of 1746, but apparently it 
was abandoned soon after that time. 

In 1753, Governor Wentworth of New Hampshire 
chartered the town of Putney to Josiah Willard and 
others. It is not known precisely when the town was 
reoccupied, but when the Averill family removed from 
Westminster to Putney in 1755, they found three fami- 
lies established there. During the year 1755 the in- 
habitants of Putney, Westminster, and Westmoreland, 
N. H., united in building a fort on the Great Meadow 
in Putney for mutual protection. This fort was about 
one hundred and twenty by eighty feet in size, and was 
built of the excellent yellow pine timber of that region, 
hewed six inches thick and laid up ten feet high. Like 
the blockhouse at Fort Dummer, dwellings were erected 
within the enclosure, the inner wall of the fort forming 
the rear wall of the houses. Each house had a ''salt- 
box" roof slanting upward to the top of the wall of the 
fort. These houses numbered fifteen. Watch towers 
were placed at the northwest and southwest corners of 
the fort, and a great gate opened to the south toward 
the Connecticut River. In the center of the enclosure 
was a hollow square. 

When the fort was completed several persons from 
Westmoreland, N. H., joined the garrison. At this time 
not more than half the Great Meadow was cleared. 
The settlers were accustomed to work their fields in com- 
panies of several persons, carrying their guns with them 



164 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

to guard against a possible surprise by French and 
Indian enemies. No attack was made on this fort dur- 
ing the French and Indian War, although Indians ap- 
peared in the vicinity, and an unsuccessful attempt was 
made to ambush the settlers. 

In 1762 Lieut. Joshua Hyde purchased two thousand, 
eight hundred acres in this town and removed his family 
here. In 1764 Joshua Parker came from Canterbury, 
Conn., and drove through the main street the first vehicle 
that had appeared in Putney. Before the middle of the 
year 1765 there were fifteen families in town. About 
the year 1766 a sawmill and a gristmill were erected. 

The town of Dummerston, named, as was Fort Dum- 
mer, for Lieut. Gov. William Dummer of Massachusetts, 
included within its limits a portion of the "Equivalent 
Lands," which were parcelled out on the afternoon of 
the first Wednesday of June, 1718, at the Green Dragon 
Tavern, in Boston. Originally all the ''Equivalent 
Lands" were known as Dummerston. In 1750 Joseph 
Blanchard of Amherst, N. H., surveyed this region, and 
the original proprietors holding a Massachusetts title 
petitioned the Governor of New Hampshire for a grant 
of it. Accordingly the "Equivalent Lands," together 
with considerable additional territory, were divided into 
the three townships of Fulham, Putney and Brattle- 
borough. Later the name Fulham was changed to 
Dummerston. 

The first settler was John Kathan, who emigrated 
from England to Massachusetts in 1729. He settled in 
Dummerston in 1752, having associated himself with 
others in the purchase of a part of the town from the 



THE FIRST HOME BUILDERS 165 

proprietors, and in 1754 he moved his large family to 
their new home. According to an account written by 
himself he did "actually clear and improve above 120 
acres, and built a good dwelling house, barn and all 
necessary offices, and also a sawmill and a potash 
works." In order to protect his property he was "at 
considerable expense in building a fort round his house," 
and was "under the disagreeable necessity of residing 
therein during the course of a tedious and distressing 
war." 

Kathan's eldest daughter was captured by the Indians, 
and for two and one-half years he did not know whether 
she was dead or alive. At the end of that period she 
returned home, having been ransomed by Col. Peter 
Schuyler. Mary, the younger daughter, married John 
Sargent, born at Fort Dummer, incorrectly styled by 
some writers the first white child born in Vermont. 

In 1752 ferries were established between Dummer- 
ston and the New Hampshire towns of Westmoreland 
and Chesterfield. Although the settlement here was 
disturbed by the French and Indian War, it was not 
abandoned. During the first years of Kathan's occupa- 
tion of Dummerston he took his corn to Deerfield, Mass., 
to be ground, and he brought from Worcester, Mass., 
the first apple trees set out in town. The township was 
laid out in 1767 by the heirs of Lieutenant Governor 
Dummer. 

As early as 1740 a settlement was made at Charles- 
town, N. H., better known as Number Four. This was 
an important military post during the period of Colonial 
wars, and from this fort many a scouting party fol- 



166 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

lowed the Indian trails across the Green Mountains. 
The first settlement in Springfield, on the Vermont side 
of the Connecticut River, opposite Number Four, was 
made in 1752 by John Nott, who built a log house on 
the intervale meadow. During the next year, 1753, 
eleven men settled here, although they had no legal title 
to the lands they cleared, but they held their possessions 
during the French and Indian War. The Governor of 
New Hampshire granted this town in 1761, most of the 
original proprietors being residents of Northampton, 
Mass. 

The town of Rockingham was granted by Governor 
Wentworth of New Hampshire in December, 1752, and 
its settlement was begun in 1753, when three men from 
Northfield, Mass., began clearings. Within two years 
they were compelled to return to Northfield, their situa- 
tion being made perilous by the outbreak of the French 
and Indian War. When peace was declared settlers 
came in rapidly, and in 1771 an enumeration showed a 
population of two hundred and twenty-five. 

The shad and salmon fisheries at the Great Falls, 
which had drawn hither the Indians from time imme- 
morial, proved an attraction to the pioneers, and it is 
related that in the early history of the town agriculture 
was neglected for fishing. Only eight of the fifty-nine 
grantees were actual settlers. 

The most influential man among the original pro- 
prietors of Rockingham was Col. Benjamin Bellows, in 
whose honor the waterfall and village of Bellows Falls 
were named. He was the founder of Walpole, N. H., 
and through his efforts the Rockingham charter was 



THE FIRST HOME BUILDERS 167 

granted. He secured considerable tracts of land in 
several townships in New Hampshire and in the New 
Hampshire Grants, so that he became the largest land 
holder in that region, holding title at the time of his 
death in 1777 to eight thousand or nine thousand acres. 

The town of Halifax, the second granted under the 
seal of New Hampshire within the present limits of 
Vermont, was chartered May 11, 1750. Settlements 
were begun in 1751, but the menacing attitude of the 
Indians compelled the first settlers to withdraw until the 
French had surrendered Canada to Great Britain. 

The town of New fane was granted as Fane by Gov- 
ernor Wentworth, June 19, 1753, to sixty-eight persons, 
many of whom were residents of Shrewsbury, Mass. 
During the year 1754 attempts were made to clear a por- 
tion of the township and allot it, but the danger of in- 
vasion from Canada made settlement impossible. As 
a result the charter was forfeited, but it was renewed 
in 1761. It appears, therefore, that prior to the passing 
of French authority in Canada, in 1760, and the re- 
moval of the danger of Indian invasion, actual settle- 
ments had been made in eight of the towns now compris- 
ing the State of Vermont, namely: Westminster, Ver- 
non, Putney, Brattleboro, Dummerston, Springfield, 
Rockingham and Halifax, but only in the towns of Put- 
ney, Dummerston, and Springfield, and perhaps in the 
vicinity of Fort Sartwell in Vernon and Fort Dummer 
in Brattleboro, did the settlers remain throughout the 
period of the French and Indian War. During the 
fifteen years that followed, so great was the emigration 
into the New Hampshire Grants, that the year 1775, 



168 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

made notable by the outbreak of the American Revolu- 
tion, saw settlements begun in more than ninety town- 
ships. 

Midsummer of the year 1754 saw the withdrawal of 
the French army from the valley of Lake Champlain, 
the abandonment and partial destruction of the forts at 
Ticonderoga and Crown Point, and the occupation of 
those important posts by British troops. Gen. Jeffrey 
Amherst, the British commander, arrived at Crown 
Point on August 4, and proceeded to lay out a new 
fortress of great strength, at a cost of two millions of 
pounds sterling. He also turned his attention to the con- 
struction of a road from Crown Point over the Green 
Mountains to Charlestown, N. H., or Number Four, the 
most northerly of the British military posts in the Con- 
necticut valley. 

On March 4, 1756, the Governor of Massachusetts re- 
quested the provincial Assembly to appoint fourteen 
men to measure the distance between Crown Point and 
Number Four, and to gain what knowledge they could 
of the country. This request was heeded, and the route 
was surveyed. Only a little more than a week after his 
arrival at Crown Point, General Amherst wrote Gov- 
ernor Wentworth of New Hampshire, telling him that 
the construction of the road was begun, and explaining 
the benefits to be derived from it. In this letter he 
said: "Since I have been in possession of this ground 
one of my particular attentions has been to improve the 
advantages it gives me of most effectually covering and 
securing this country and opening such communications 
as will render the access between the provinces and the 



THE FIRST HOME BUILDERS 169 

army easy, safe and short; accordingly I sent to explore 
the Otter River, in order to erect such posts on each side 
of it as will obstruct all scalping parties from going 
up that river to annoy any of His Majesty's subjects 
that may now choose to come and settle between No. 4 
and that. And for the easier communication of your 
two provinces (New Hampshire and Massachusetts) 
with this post, I have already for these some days past 
had a number of men in the woods that are employed in 
cutting a road between this and No. 4, which will be 
finished before you receive this." 

Unless the letter was delayed long in transmission, 
General Amherst erred in his prediction regarding the 
completion of what was known in later years as the 
Military Road. In the building of this road three able 
American officers were engaged. The work was begun 
by Capt. John Stark of New Hampshire, who was des- 
tined to win fame at a later day in another portion of 
Vermont. With two hundred Rangers he began at 
Crown Point, and opened a part of the road. In 
October of the same year Maj. John Hawks, who had 
defended Fort Massachusetts so heroically against a 
French attack in 1746, was directed by General Amherst 
to take axes for felling trees and implements for making 
roads, and with about three hundred New England 
troops to begin work where the Stark expedition had 
abandoned the task. An old diary preserved in Deer- 
field, Mass., shows that Major Hawks and his party left 
Crown Point on Friday, October 26, 1759. Apparently 
the Hawks expedition built the road up to or over the 
summit of the Green Mountains, and a peak between 



170 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

the towns of Baltimore and Cavendish bears the name 
of Hawks Mountain, Hawks having camped on the slope 
of this eminence. Early in the year 1760, Lieut. Col. 
John Goffe, a military leader of prominence, with a regi- 
ment of eight hundred New Hampshire men, was ordered 
to complete the road. Beginning at Wentworth's Ferry, 
two miles above the fort at Number Four, a blockhouse, 
which was enclosed with pickets, was erected near the 
mouth of Black River. Forty-four days were spent in 
cutting a road twenty-six miles long to the foot of the 
Green Mountains, and twenty-six mile posts were 
erected. Colonel Goffe's regiment reached Crown Point 
July 31, 1760, with a drove of cattle, having completed 
their task in time to embark with Haviland's army for 
the final campaign against the French in Canada. An 
epidemic broke out while the eastern section of this road 
was being built, and several men died, and were buried 
near the road in Springfield. Evidently it was unneces- 
sary after the French had surrendered Canada to erect 
the forts along Otter Creek, which General Amherst had 
planned for the protection of the settlers from *' scalping 
parties." 

This Military Road, or Crown Point Road, seems to 
have followed a part of the ancient Indian trail used 
both by war parties and by traders who came to the 
truck house at Fort Dummer, but avoided swamps and 
low lands, keeping on the higher ground. Starting at 
Chimney Point, opposite Crown Point, in the present 
town of Addison, or at a point a little farther south, 
the exact place of departure being somewhat in doubt, 
the road passed through Bridport, touched the north line 



THE FIRST HOME BUILDERS 171 



of Shoreham, and running southeast crossed the Lemon 
Fair River, proceeded through Whiting to Sudbury, to 
Otter Creek, crossing that stream, and through the west- 
ern part of Brandon. The road then followed near the 
present highway west of Otter Creek in Pittsford to 
Florence. Taking an easterly course to the ford over 
the Otter known as Pitts' ford, the road turned south- 
easterly, and proceeded by way of the terrace on which 
the village of Pittsford is now located, a little west of 
the village. Its course was between the present roads 
from Pittsford to Rutland, thence to a ford at Rutland, 
and passing south to Clarendon it proceeded in an east- 
erly direction to Shrewsbury Center, through Mount 
Holly and Plymouth, and perhaps a corner of Ludlow, 
to Twenty-Mile Camp in Cavendish. From this camp 
the road passed around Mount Gilead on the southwest 
side, and passing near Amsden crossed the Weathers- 
field line into Springfield, skirting the southern part of 
Sketchewaug Mountain, and reaching the Connecticut 
River near what is known as the Cheshire bridge. 

A log camp built in Cavendish gave the names to 
Twenty-Mile Camp and Twenty-Mile Stream. As set- 
tlements sprang up along this route the more difficult 
portions of the road were abandoned, but for many years 
the old Crown Point Road was a favorite route of travel 
from northern Vermont to Boston, and many taverns 
were erected along this ancient highway. 



Chapter VIII 
THE NEW HAMPSHIRE GRANTS 



NEW Hampshire became a royal province in 1741, 
thus making that year an important date in New 
England history. Previous to that time the 
Governor of Massachusetts had acted also as Governor 
of New Hampshire. 

The first royal Governor was Benning Wentworth, a 
merchant of Portsmouth, a member of one of the most 
distinguished families of the province, a popular citizen 
who had represented his town in the provincial Assembly 
several terms, and had been advanced to the post of 
King's Councillor. He was the son of John Wentworth, 
Lieutenant Governor of the province from 1717 to 1730, 
and he was named for John Wentworth's mother, Mary 
Benning. After graduating at Harvard, he was asso- 
ciated in business with his father and his uncle. A man 
of fine presence, he looked the part of a royal Governor, 
and he dispensed generous hospitality in the spacious 
mansion at Little Harbor, which he had caused to be 
erected. 

A touch of romance is given to his career by his 
second marriage, which occurred in the Wentworth man- 
sion on his sixtieth birthday, the bride being Martha 
Hilton, his beautiful serving maid. This episode is 
celebrated in verse by the poet Longfellow in his "Tales 
of a Wayside Inn." In 1766 Governor Wentworth re- 
signed, and in 1776 he died. This brief sketch will in- 
troduce a man who occupies a conspicuous place in the 
early history of the region now known as Vermont. 

One of the outstanding features of the British occupa- 
tion of America was the diligence with which that nation 
pursued its projects of colonization. As the older colo- 



176 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

nies became settled in certain portions it was expected 
that this policy would be carried forward by issuing 
grants of land in unsettled portions to settlers who would 
extend the frontiers of civilization. Although the evil 
of land speculation sometimes interfered with the success 
of colonization and delayed actual settlement, it did not 
defeat it. 

About eight years after his appointment as royal Gov- 
ernor of the province of New Hampshire, Benning 
Wentworth, in pursuance of the policy of subduing the 
wilderness, made his first grant of land within the pres- 
ent limits of Vermont on the eleventh day of January, 
1749, and the new township was named Bennington, in 
honor of the Governor who made the grant. This 
town was supposed to be six miles square, and was 
laid out by Matthew Clesson, Surveyor. It was granted 
to Col.. William Williams, a prominent citizen of New 
Hampshire, and fifty-nine others. In this town, as in 
most of the towns granted under the authority of New 
Hampshire, a tract of five hundred acres, accounted as 
two shares, was set aside for Governor Wentworth, and 
in many towns this tract is still known as "The Gov- 
ernor's Right." In most instances provision was made 
for one share for the Society for the Propagation of 
the Gospel in Foreign Parts, one share for a glebe for 
the Church of England, one share for the first settled 
minister, and one share for the benefit of a school. 

Among the grantees of Bennington were Theodore 
Atkinson, secretary of the province, and some of the 
members of the provincial Council, whom the Governor 
usually remembered in making these grants. The name 



THE NEW HAMPSHIRE GRANTS 177 

of Samuel Robinson, the founder of Bennington, and ten 
persons bearing the name of Williams, appear in the list 
of grantees. 

The form of charter used for Bennington was fol- 
lowed substantially in all the other townships granted by 
New Hampshire, and read as follows: 

"George the Second by the Grace of God of Great 
Britain, France and Ireland King Defender of the faith 
&c— 

''To All Persons to whom these Presents Shall come, 
Greeting 

"Know ye that We of our Especial Grace, Certain 
Knowledge & pure Motion for the Due Encouragement 
of Settling a New Plantation within our Sd Province 
By and with the Advise of Our Trusty & well beloved 
Benning Wentworth Esq our Governour & Com'ander 
in Chieff of our Said Province of New Hampshire in 
America And Of Our Council of the Said Province 
Have upon the Conditions & reservations herein after 
made Given & granted — And by these Presents for us 
our heirs & Successors Do give And Grant in Equal 
Shares unto our Loveing Subjects Inhabitants of our 
Said Province of New Hampshire And his Majesties 
Other Governm 'ts And to their heirs and Assignes for 
ever whose names Are Entered on this Grant to be 
Divided to and Amongst them into Sixty four Equal 
Shares All that Tract or Parcell of Land Scituate Lying 
& being within our Said Province of New Hampshire 
Containing by Admeasurement Twenty three thousand 
& forty Acres which Tract is to Contain Six Miles 
Square & no more Out of which An Allowence is to be 



178 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

made for high ways & unimproveable Lands, by Rock, 
Ponds Mountains & Rivers One thousand And forty 
Acres free According to a Plan and Survey thereof made 
by our Said Governour's order by Mathew Clesson Sur- 
veyer returned unto the Secretarys office And hereunto 
Annexed Butted and Bounded as follows viz — ". Then 
follows a description of the boundaries of the town. 
''Begining at A Crotched Hemlock Tree". 

The Charter then continues : — "And that the same be 
& hereby is Incorporated into a Township By the Name 
of Bennington and the Inhabitants that do or Shall here- 
after Inhabit the Said Township Are hereby Declared to 
be Enfranchized with and Intituled to All & Every the 
Previledges & Imunities that Other Towns within Our 
Province by Law Exercize & Enjoy and further that 
the Said Town as Soon as there Shall be fifty families 
resident And Settled thereon Shall have the Liberty of 
Holding two Fairs One of which Shall be held On the 
first Monday in the Month of March and the Other on 
the first Monday in the Month of September Annually 
which fairs Are not to Continue And be held Longer than 
the respective Saturdays following the Said Mondays 
And that As Soon as the Said Town Shall Consist of 
fifty Families A market Shall be Opened & kept one or 
more Days in each Week as may be that most Advan- 
tagious to the Inhabitants Also that the first Meeting 
for the Choice of Town officers Agreeable to the Laws 
of Our Said Province Shall be held on the Last Wed- 
nesday of March next which Said Meeting Shall be noti- 
fied by Call William Williams who is hereby also Ap- 
pointed the Moderator of the Said first Meeting which 



THE NEW HAMPSHIRE GRANTS 179 

he is to Notify & Govern Agreeable to the Laws & Cus- 
tom of our Said Province And that the Annual meeting 
forever hereafter for the Choice of Such officers for 
the Sd Town Shall be on the Last Wednesday of March 
Annually — To Have & To Hold the said Tract of Land 
as above Expressed togeather with All Previledges And 
Appurtenances to them & their respective Heirs and 
Assignes for ever upon the following Conditions viz — 

"That every Grantee his heirs or Assignes Shall Plant 
And Cultivate Five Acres of Land within the Term of 
five years for Every fifty Acres Contained in his or their 
Share or Proportion of Land in Said Township And 
Continue to Improve & Settle the Same by Aditionall 
Cultivations on Penalty of the forfeiture of his Grant 
or Share in the Said Township and of its reverting to 
his Majesty his hiers & Successors to be by him or them 
regranted to such of his Subjects as Shall effectually 
Settle & Cultivate the Same. 

"That All white & other Pine Trees within the said 
Township fit for masting our Royal Navy be carefully 
Preserved for that Use And None to be Cut or felld 
without his Majtys Especial Lycence for So doing first 
had & Obtained upon the Penalty of the forfeiture of the 
right of Such Grantee his hiers or Assignes to us our 
hiers or Successers as well as being Subject to the 
Penalty of Any Act or Acts of Parliament that now are 
or hereafter Shall be enacted. 

"That before any Division of the Said Land be made 
to and Among the Grantees a Tract of Land as near the 
Center of the Said Township as the Land will admit of, 
Shall be reserved & Marked Out for Town Lotts one of 



180 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

which Shall be Alotted to Each Grantee of the "Con- 
tents" of One Acre — 

"Yielding & Paying therefor to us our Hiers & Suc- 
cessers for the Space of Ten Years to be Computed from 
the Date hereof the rent of one Ear of Indian Corn only 
on the Twenty fifth Day of December Annually if Law- 
fully Demanded the first Payment to be made on the 
Twenty fifth Day of December next Ensueing the Date 
hereof — "Every Proprietor Settler or Inhabitant Shall 
Yield & Pay unto us our hiers and Successers yearly & 
every Year for ever from & after the Expiration of Ten 
years from the Date hereof Namly on the Twenty fifth 
Day of December which will be in the year of Our Lord 
1760 — One Shilling Proclamation Money for every 
Hundred Acres he So Owns Settles or Possesses and so 
in Proportion for a greater or A Lesser Tract of the 
Said Land which money Shall be paid by the Respective 
Persons above Sd their heirs or Assignes in our Council 
Chamber in Portsmouth or to Such officer or officers as 
Shall be Appointed to receive the Same and this to be in 
Lieu of all other rents or Services whatsoever." 

Bennington was the only township west of the Con- 
necticut River granted by Governor Wentworth in 1749. 
The next year, 1750, he granted only one township, 
Halifax. In 1751 he granted the townships of Marl- 
boro and Wilmington, and in 1752 an equal number, 
Rockingham and Westminster. Seven townships were 
granted in 1753, Brattleboro, Dummerston, Newfane, 
Putney, Stamford, Townshend and Woodford. In 
1754 three townships, Chester, Grafton, then known as 
Thomlinson, and Guilford, were granted. 



THE NEW HAMPSHIRE GRANTS 181 

No further grants were made until the close of the 
French and Indian War, and only one township, Pownal, 
was granted in 1760, the year that saw the passing of 
French dominion in Canada. Beginning with 1761, 
Governor Wentworth entered vigorously upon the policy 
of granting lands west of the Connecticut River and that 
year he chartered sixty-three new townships, the list 
including Addison, Andover, Arlington, Barnard, Bran- 
don (Neshobe), Bridgewater, Bridport, Brunswick, 
Castleton, Cavendish, Clarendon, Cornwall, Danby, 
Dorset, Fairlee, Ferdinand, Wenlock (annexed to 
Brighton and Ferdinand), Glastenbury, Granby, Guild- 
hall, Hartford, Hartland (Hertford), Leicester, Lud- 
low, Maidstone, Manchester, Middlebury, Mount Tabor 
(Harwick), New Haven, Norwich (Nor which). Pan- 
ton, Pawlet, Peru (Brumley), Pittsford, Plymouth 
(Saltash), Pomfret, Poultney, Reading, Rupert, Rut- 
land, Salisbury, Sandgate, Shaftsbury, Sharon, Sher- 
burne (Killington), Shoreham, Shrewsbury, Somerset, 
Springfield, Stockbridge, Strafiford, Stratton, Sunder- 
land, Thetford, Tinmouth, Tunbridge, Wallingford, 
Weathersfield, Wells, Weybridge, Windsor, Winhall, 
and Woodstock. 

The grants made in 1762 were fewer, numbering only 
nine, and the townships granted were Averill, Bloom- 
field (Minehead), Bristol (Pocock), Charlotte (Char- 
lotta), Ferrisburg, Hinesburg, Lemington (Limington), 
Lewis and Monkton. Thirty-seven towns were granted 
in 1763, including Barnet, Berlin, Bolton, Brattle- 
borough, Burlington, Colchester, Duxbury, Essex, Fair- 
fax, Fairfield (Smithfield), Georgia, Highgate, Hunt- 



182 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

ington (New Huntington), Jericho, Lunenburg, Mans- 
field, Middlesex, Milton, Moretown, Newbury, Orwell, 
Peacham, Ryegate, Shelburne, Sheldon (Hungerford), 
St. Albans, St. George, Stowe, Sudbury (Dunbar), 
Swanton, Topsham, Underbill, Waterbury, Westford, 
Whiting, Williston and Worcester. 

Five towns, Corinth, Dover, Hubbardton, Readsboro, 
and Wardsboro, were granted in 1764. This gives a 
total of one hundred and thirty-one townships granted 
by Governor Wentworth in what is now Vermont be- 
tween the years 1749 and 1764, inclusive. No grants 
were made for five years during the French and Indian 
War and during three of the years mentioned only one 
grant was made each year. Although grants were made 
during eleven of the sixteen years included in this period, 
one hundred of these one hundred and thirty-one 
charters were issued in the years 1761 and 1763. 

Governor Wentworth became a very large landed pro- 
prietor as a result of the granting of these towns. Three 
of the one hundred and thirty-one townships chartered 
were private grants to army officers in which the Gov- 
ernor did not retain a right. In four townships the 
Governor's rights amounted to eight hundred acres each 
and in two towns to four hundred acres each. The total 
amount of Governor Wentworth's grants to himself was 
sixty-five thousand acres. 

In addition to his personal holdings he dealt liberally 
with his family and friends. Theodore Atkinson, his 
father-in-law, a member of the Council, and for many 
years secretary of the province, received fifty-seven lots, 
in as many towns, the policy being to grant in this man- 



THE NEW HAMPSHIRE GRANTS 183 

ner only one lot in a town. Theodore Atkinson, Jr., re- 
ceived sixteen lots. Ranking next to Secretary Atkin- 
son in favors received, was Richard Wibird, a member 
of the Council, who was given forty-eight lots. Mark 
Himking Wentworth, a brother of the Governor, a mem- 
ber of the Council, who had the agency for procuring 
masts and spars for the British navy, and was largely 
concerned in trade and commerce, was granted thirty- 
seven lots. Other members of the New Hampshire 
Council liberally remembered with land grants were 
John Downing, Sampson Sheaffe, Daniel Warner, Wil- 
liam Temple, Nathaniel Barrell, Joseph Newmarch, 
James Nevin, Samuel Solley, Joseph Blanchard, and 
Henry Sherburne, at one time Speaker, whose family 
was connected with the Wentworths by marriage. 
Other members of the Wentworth family, not already 
mentioned, who received from one to twenty lots each, 
included Samuel Wentworth of Boston, Major John 
Wentworth, John Wentworth, Jr., Hunking Wentworth, 
Hugh Hull Wentworth, Samuel Wentworth, Jr., Capt. 
John Wentworth of Kittery, Samuel Wentworth of 
Portsmouth, George Wentworth, Joshua Wentworth, 
Daniel Wentworth, Foster Wentworth, Thomas Went- 
worth and Ebenezer Wentworth. 

A study of the lists of grantees in the one hundred 
and thirty-one townships chartered by Governor Went- 
worth reveals the names of many well known persons 
and these include Thomas Pownall, royal Governor of 
Massachusetts, 1756-1760, and later a member of the 
British Parliament. 



184 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Francis Bernard, royal Governor of New York, 1758- 
1760, and royal Governor of Massachusetts, 1760-1764. 

Meshech Weare, Speaker of the New Hampshire 
Legislature, Justice and Chief Justice of the Supreme 
Court of New Hampshire, and President of New Hamp- 
shire from 1776 through the Revolutionary War. 

John Langdon, delegate to the Continental Congress, 
a soldier of the Revolution, Governor of New Hamp- 
shire and United States Senator. 

John Stark, afterward a famous officer in the Ameri- 
can Revolution. 

Woodbury Langdon, delegate to the Continental Con- 
gress and a Judge. 

Dr. Josiah Bartlett, a New Hampshire signer of the 
Declaration of Independence and a soldier with Stark 
at Bennington. 

Sir John Temple, titular Lieutenant Governor of New 
Hampshire, and a son-in-law of Governor Bowdoin of 
Massachusetts. 

Timothy Ruggles, a Brigadier under General Amherst 
and counted one of the ablest lawyers in Massachusetts. 

Jonathan Edwards, the famous theologian, and Rev. 
Eleazer Wheelock, founder of Dartmouth College. 

Rev. Edward Holyoke, president of Harvard College, 
Rev. Henry Caner, rector of King's Chapel, Boston, 
Rev. Nathaniel Appleton, a member of the corporation 
of Harvard College for sixty-two years. 

Phineas Lyman, the real victor of the battle of Lake 
George. 

Josiah Willard, commandant at Fort Dummer. 



THE NEW HAMPSHIRE GRANTS 185 

Robert Rogers, the well known scout and leader of 
Rogers' Rangers. 

Col. Ebenezer Hinsdale, Col. John Gofife, Capt. Ben- 
jamin Sheldon, Capt. Nehemiah Lovewell and Benjamin 
Melvin, well known Indian fighters. 

The name of Samuel Adams, also appears, but it is 
probable that it applies not to the well known Massa- 
chusetts patriot but to a New Hampshire physician of 
that name. Harrison Gray, a grantee, was Receiver 
General of Massachusetts and father-in-law of James 
Otis, the famous orator. 

Among the grantees who afterward became active in 
the New Hampshire Grants, or Vermont, were Samuel 
Robinson, Moses Robinson, Jonathan Robinson, Jonas 
Fay, Hilkiah Grout, Jonathan Hunt, Thomas Chitten- 
den, Noah Chittenden, Jacob Bayley, Timothy Brown- 
son, Samuel Safford, and Roger Enos. 

The names of several women appear among the 
grantees, one of them being Jemima Howe, widow of 
Caleb Howe, mortally wounded in the Indian attack on 
Fort Bridgman, who, with her seven children, were taken 
to Canada. 

It appears that Governor Wentworth not only granted 
land in what is now Vermont to citizens of New Hamp- 
shire and Massachusetts, but, strange as it may seem in 
the light of subsequent events, to not a few residents of 
New York. Among the grants made to New Yorkers 
by Governor Wentworth were a considerable number to 
various persons named Burling. The name appears in 
a considerable number of Chittenden and Addison 
county towns. Among the grantees of Colchester were 



186 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

ten persons named Burling. This was a well known 
name in New York City, and a Burling slip is mentioned 
in pre-Revolutionary annals. John and Thomas Bur- 
ling were merchants on Cruger's wharf, New York, and 
Samuel Burling was a merchant in the same city. Lan- 
caster Burling was one of a committee of sixty in New 
York to take action in matters growing out of the con- 
troversy with Great Britain. 

The Bogart family appears frequently in Governor 
Wentworth's charters. There were fourteen grantees 
of that name in the Essex charter. The name appears 
in New York and New Jersey records, Nicholas H. 
Bogart being a New York merchant and John Bogart. 
Jr., an Alderman of Montgomerie ward. New York City. 

Such well known names as Philip Scuyler (Schuyler) 
and Cornelius Low appear in these lists. Continuing 
an examination of the names of persons to whom town- 
ships were granted in the region now known as Vermont, 
it appears that Edward Agar was an apothecary of New 
York City, Francis Panton of the same city was a barber, 
Petrus Byvanck was one of the principal merchants of 
New York, Benjamin Hildreth was a merchant of the 
same city, as was Dirck Brinckerhofif, who sold hard- 
ware and metals at the sign of "the Golden Lock." 
Theodorus Van Wyck was a New York Alderman in 
1758. The name Van Wyck appears in several of the 
Vermont town charters, five of that name being grantees 
of Berlin. Among these Wentworth grantees, whose 
names appear in lists of New York freemen, are 
Nicholas Bogart, Peter Knickerbocker, Daniel Latham, 
Joseph Latham, Thomas Alsop and Cornelius DeGroot. 



THE NEW HAMPSHIRE GRANTS 187 

Other New York names that appear in these charters 
are Dyckman, Gouverneur, Lawrence, Lutwyche, Scher- 
merhorn, Suydam, Swartwout, Ten Eyck, Underhill, 
Vandusen and Van Zandt. The names of several Bur- 
lings, Bogarts, and other New York grantees may be 
found attached to petitions to the King, protesting 
against the land policy of Lieutenant Governor Golden of 
that province, and Edward Burling and John Burling 
were members of a committee empowered to act in this 
matter in November, 1766. 

A careful study of the lists of the grantees shows that 
in several townships, chiefly in the western part of what 
is now the State of Vermont, apparently all the names 
are those of New Yorkers, with the exception of a few 
of Governor Wentworth's favorites. It is not easy to 
demonstrate this beyond the shadow of a doubt, but 
there is evidence to show that a large number of these 
grantees were residents of New York, while the dis- 
tinctive Knickerbocker names, and the family resem- 
blance of still others to those of citizens of New York, 
make it reasonably certain that whole townships, practi- 
cally, in some instances, and at least parts of townships, 
in other instances, were granted to New York men. 

A study of the Wentworth charters shows that on 
a single day, June 7, 1763, the Governor of New Hamp- 
shire granted the townships of Colchester, Burlington, 
Essex, Williston, Jericho, Bolton, New Huntington, 
Duxbury and Waterbury. The territory granted in- 
cluded both sides of the Winooski River from its mouth 
beyond the point where this stream breaks through the 
barrier of the Green Mountains, Richmond being formed 



188 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

later from parts of other towns. A similarity of names 
among the grantees, and the fact that the grants were 
made on the same day, leads to the conclusion that this 
fertile valley was granted to a group of men in which 
New York influences largely predominated. It is 
evident^ moreover, that these New Yorkers recognized 
the right of a New Hampshire Governor to grant lands 
west of the Connecticut River. 

In the "Documentary History of New York" may be 
found lists of Quakers, published pursuant to an act 
regulating the militia of the colony of New York. 
These lists included New York City and Dutchess, 
Queens and Suffolk counties, and were compiled in 1755 
and 1756. In these lists of Quakers may be found a 
considerable number of names which appear as grantees 
in the Wentworth charters. The names of eighteen of 
these Quakers appear in the Monkton charter, sixteen in 
the Charlotte charter, twelve in the Ferrisburg charter, 
nine in the Colchester charter, eight in the Shelburne 
charter, and smaller numbers in other towns. There is 
a similarity between other Quaker names, and names 
found in these charters. 

In the Quaker lists may be found such names as Bur- 
ling, Ferris, Lawrence, Franklin, Field, Latham, Doty 
and Underbill, which are familiar names in charters of 
towns in the New Hampshire Grants. Some of these 
Quakers were merchants and shopkeepers in New York 
City, while others were farmers and laborers on Long 
Island, or in The Oblong and other portions of New 
York near the Connecticut border. The same Quaker 
names appear as grantees in several towns, and it is in- 



THE NEW HAMPSHIRE GRANTS 189 

teresting to note that in the early part of Vermont's his- 
tory some of these same townships contained substantial 
colonies of Quakers. 

Governor Wentworth was a thrifty individual, and 
the issuing of town charters was attended with profit 
to the grantor as well as the grantee. Apparently Gov- 
ernor Wentworth's fees were not uniform. In some in- 
stances they were one hundred dollars a township, and 
in others they amounted to a larger sum, but as a rule 
they were materially less than the fees imposed by New 
York Governors. Elliott, in his "History of New Eng- 
land," says that "Wentworth made grants to his friends 
and to those who had money to pay the necessary costs 
and fees." According to the Vermont Historical So- 
ciety collections. Lieutenant Governor Golden received 
for every thousand acres he patented the sum of $31.25. 
Other provincial officials received the following sums as 
fees: Secretary of the Province, $10; Clerk of the 
Council, $10; Receiver General, $14.37; Attorney Gen- 
eral, $7.50; Surveyor General, $12.50. This made the 
total amount of fees for each thousand acres patented 
by New York, $90.25. 

This was a period of land speculation, a fact of which 
Governor Wentworth, no doubt, was well aware. It is 
possible that anticipating opposition from the New York 
authorities, he may have taken measures to hasten the 
granting of charters, and the securing of charter fees, 
by disseminating information concerning this region 
now known as Vermont, even in New York itself. This 
suggestion, however, is regarded only as a guess, and 
no facts have been found to substantiate it. 



190 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Following the surrender of the French in Canada, in 
1760, there was an active movement toward the lands in 
what is now the State of Vermont, hitherto rendered 
unsafe as homes for pioneers on account of the peril of 
Indian raids, from the north. 

The provincial officials of New York were not dis- 
posed to permit all the lands between the Connecticut 
River and Lake Champlain to be granted by New Hamp- 
shire without opposition. The story of that opposition, 
however, belongs in subsequent chapters. Elliott, in his 
"History of New England," says the authorities of New 
York perceived the movement of settlers into the New 
Hampshire Grants, and decided to profit by it. Dun- 
lap's ''History of New York" says : "There was now a 
King's Lieutenant Governor who had succeeded to the 
management of afifairs who had as keen a relish for 
accumulation as Wentworth. * ^ * Mr. Colden, 
when Surveyor General, had found out the value of the 
lands between the Hudson or the lake (Champlain) and 
the boundary line." 

Although New York did not begin the granting of 
land between the Connecticut River and Lake Champlain 
until Governor Wentworth of New Hampshire had con- 
cluded his policy of granting lands in that region, these 
grants amounted to more than two millions of acres in 
the aggregate, and the last of them were made after the 
Revolutionary War actually had commenced. 

The New York policy was begun by Lieutenant Gov- 
ernor Colden. Cadwallader Colden was a man of 
scientific and literary attainments, who had held the office 
of Surveyor General of New York and member of the 




tT.^^VTvei. I Printed bv Jolui £ Oant-AlbaB/ 



^'^fO^tatA^^^^^^f^^ ^^^„^/^ ^^^ 



THE NEW HAMPSHIRE GRANTS 191 

provincial Council. In 1761 he was appointed Lieu- 
tenant Governor of the province, which office he held 
until 1775, during which period he served four times as 
acting Governor. 

No New York grants were made in this region until 
after the order of the King in Council, issued in 1764, 
sustaining the New York contention that that province 
extended eastward as far as the Connecticut River so 
that it included all of the present State of Vermont. 
Lieutenant Governor Colden's first grant in this debat- 
able region was made on May 21, 1765, when a tract of 
twenty-six thousand acres was chartered as Princetown. 
This tract originally was granted to twenty-six persons, 
in shares of one thousand acres each, but within a few 
weeks all but one of the grantees had conveyed their 
holdings to three well known land speculators, James 
Duane, a prominent New York lawyer. Attorney Gen- 
eral John Taber Xempe and Walter Rutherford, son of 
a Scottish nobleman. Princetown was about twelve 
miles long, and three and one-half miles wide, was 
situated in the Battenkill valley, and included portions 
of the towns of Arlington, Sunderland and Manchester, 
granted in 1761 by Governor Wentworth. 

On October 30, 1765, a tract of ten thousand acres, 
lying partly in the town of Arlington, Glastenbury, 
Shaftsbury and Sunderland, was granted to James 
Lapier. During the year 1765 Lieutenant Governor 
Colden granted one hundred and fifty-one military 
patents, covering one hundred and thirty-one thousand, 
eight hundred acres. 



192 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Sir Henry Moore was Governor of New York from 
November 13, 1765, until his death, which occurred Sep- 
tember 12, 1769. During the years 1766 and 1767 he 
confirmed the New Hampshire charters of Flamstead 
(Chester), Brattleboro, Hertford (Hartland), Putney, 
Townshend and ThomHnson (Grafton), granted a tract 
of five thousand acres in Athens, and issued eighteen 
miHtary patents containing thirteen thousand, three 
hundred and fifty acres, making an aggregate of char- 
ters confirmed and patents issued amounting to one hun- 
dred and forty-four thousand, six hundred and twenty 
acres. 

Lieutenant Governor Golden again became acting 
Governor upon the death of Sir Henry Moore, and in the 
month of November, 1766, he granted four townships, 
Warrenton, including parts of Athens and Acton (an- 
nexed to Townshend), fourteen thousand acres; Royal- 
ton, thirty thousand acres ; Camden, thirty-five thousand 
acres, in Jamaica, Wardsboro and Dover, to Robert R. 
Livingston, Chief Justice of the province; and Kempton, 
sixteen thousand acres in what is now Orange county. 

From the beginning of the year 1770 until October 19 
of that year, when the Earl of Dunmore became royal 
Governor, Lieutenant Governor Golden granted the fol- 
lowing townships : Middlesex, thirty-five thousand acres, 
in Orange county ; Kent, twenty-six thousand acres, now 
Londonderry; in Cumberland, now Whitingham, ten 
thousand acres ; Bessborough, thirty-six thousand acres, 
in St. Johnsbury and vicinity; Charlotte, twenty-five 
thousand acres, in Chelsea and vicinity; Readsborough, 
twenty-nine thousand acres, now Readsboro and Sears- 



THE NEW HAMPSHIRE GRANTS 193 

burg; Mooretown, twenty-five thousand acres, now 
Bradford; Gageborough, twenty-four thousand acres, 
now Vershire and vicinity; Kelso, twenty-one thousand 
acres, in Tinmouth and vicinity; Newbrook, twenty- 
three thousand acres, in Waterbury and vicinity ; Kings- 
borough, thirty-five thousand acres, now Montpeher and 
vicinity; Hulton, twelve thousand acres, now Shrews- 
bury; Leyden, twenty-four thousand acres, now North- 
field and vicinity ; Dunmore, thirty-nine thousand acres, 
in Waterford and vicinity; Virgin Hall, twenty-six 
thousand acres, in Andover and Weston; Hillsborough, 
thirty-six thousand acres, in Danville and vicinity ; Kers- 
borough, twenty thousand acres, in Orange county. In- 
dividual grants were made of three thousand acres in 
Orwell, ten thousand acres in or near Wardsboro, and 
five thousand acres in Benson, in addition to twenty- 
six military patents, comprising forty-three thousand, 
seven hundred acres, making a total of six hundred and 
three thousand, two hundred acres granted by Golden 
during a little more than one year. 

The towns granted by Governor Dunmore included 
Socialborough, forty-eight thousand acres, in Rutland 
and Pittsford; Monckton, twenty-three thousand acres, 
in Whiting; Fincastle, eighteen thousand acres, in 
Stockbridge; Halesborough, twenty-three thousand 
acres, in Brandon; Deerfield, thirty-five thousand acres, 
a portion of Burlington, Essex and Williston; Morris- 
field, twenty-one thousand, nine hundred and forty 
acres, in Cornwall and Middlebury ; Newry, thirty-seven 
thousand acres in Sherburne and vicinity; Mecklen- 
burgh, thirty thousand acres, in Ferrisburg and vicinity; 



194 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Richmond, twenty- four thousand acres, in Wells and 
vicinity; Kilby, thirty thousand acres, in Middlesex and 
vicinity ; Leicester, thirty-five thousand acres, in Somer- 
set and Woodford; Pratsburgh, thirty thousand acres, in 
Highgate and S wanton. Governor Dunmore made in- 
dividual grants of twelve thousand acres, in Poultney; 
one thousand, eight hundred acres in Shaftsbury; three 
thousand, two hundred and ten acres (in two parcels), 
in Addison and Middlebury ; four thousand acres, chiefly 
in Arlington; ten thousand acres in Addison; seven 
thousand acres, in Panton and New Haven; ten thou- 
sand acres, in Panton ; two thousand acres, in Highgate ; 
fifty-one thousand acres, in Leicester, Salisbury and 
Middlebury, said to be in reality a grant to Governor 
Dunmore himself. Military patents covering fifty-five 
thousand, nine hundred and fifty acres were issued by 
Governor Dunmore, making a total of five hundred and 
eleven thousand, nine hundred acres granted during that 
portion of the year 1771 between February 28 and July 
8. 

During the years 1771 and 1772, Governor Tryon 
granted townships, as follows: Durham, thirty-two 
thousand acres, in Clarendon and Wallingford; Wind- 
ham, thirty-five thousand acres, in Duxbury and vicin- 
ity ; Truro, twenty-two thousand acres, in Orange and vi- 
cinity ; Penryn, twenty-two thousand acres, in Calais and 
vicinity; Norbury, thirty-two thousand acres, in Wor- 
cester and vicinity, said to be in reality a grant to Gov- 
ernor Tryon himself; Townshend, thirty thousand acres, 
in St. Albans and vicinity (a grant to Lord George 



THE NEW HAMPSHIRE GRANTS 195 

Townshend & Co.); Minto, thirty thousand acres, in 
Richmond and vicinity. 

Individual grants were made by Governor Tryon of 
ten thousand acres in Vernon and Guilford; one thou- 
sand acres in Danby ; four thousand acres in Shoreham ; 
four thousand acres in Hubbardton ; five thousand acres 
in Ira; and one thousand acres in Whiting. Tryon's 
military patents included fifty-five thousand, nine hun- 
dred and fifty acres. The New Hampshire charters in 
Corinth, Westminster, Windsor, Newbury, Weathers- 
field, New fane, Reading, Springfield, Woodstock, 
Cavendish and Saltash (now Plymouth) were confirmed 
or regranted. This makes a total of five hundred and 
forty-two thousand, four hundred and fifty acres granted 
at this time. 

Governor Tryon having been called to England, Lieu- 
tenant Governor Colden once more became acting Gov- 
ernor, and the granting of lands in the present State of 
Vermont proceeded, the following townships being 
created : Kellybrook, thirty thousand acres, in Fletcher 
and vicinity ; New Rutland, twenty-three thousand acres, 
in Sheldon; Sidney, twenty-three thousand acres, in 
Cabot and vicinity ; Wickham, thirty-six thousand acres, 
in Randolph and vicinity; St. George, thirty thousand 
acres, in Coventry and vicinity; Bamf, thirty thousand 
acres, in Burke and vicinity; Therming, twenty thou- 
sand acres, in Canaan; Meath, twenty-five thousand 
acres, in Fairfield and vicinity; Smithfield, twenty-five 
thousand acres, in Waterville and vicinity. 

Individual grants were made of twenty thousand 
acres in Johnson and vicinity (to King's College) ; 



196 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

twenty- four thousand acres in Lincoln and Ripton; 
twenty-eight thousand acres in Lincoln, Ripton and 
Granville; ten thousand acres in Fairfield (in two par- 
cels); two thousand acres in Pawlet; twenty thousand 
acres in Ryegate; twenty- four thousand acres in Strat- 
ton. Military patents for nine thousand, one hundred 
acres were also issued by Golden, making a total of three 
hundred and seventy-nine thousand, one hundred acres 
granted. 

After Governor Tryon's return in 1775 he granted the 
township of Whippleborough, in Starksboro and vicinity, 
containing forty thousand acres, and made an individ- 
ual grant of twenty-three thousand and forty acres, in 
Topsham, as late as June 12, 1776, making a total of 
sixty-three thousand and forty acres. 

This list, taken from a compilation in the ''Proceed- 
ings of the Vermont Historical Society," includes grants 
by Lieutenant Governor Golden of nine hundred and 
sixty-five thousand, five hundred acres; by Governor 
Moore, of one hundred and forty-four thousand, six 
hundred and twenty acres; by Governor Dunmore of 
four hundred and fifty-five thousand, nine hundred and 
fifty acres; and by Governor Tryon of five hundred and 
forty-nine thousand, five hundred and forty acres, or a 
total of two million, one hundred and fifteen thousand, 
six hundred and ten acres. Adding to this list three 
hundred and three thousand, one hundred acres granted 
by various Governors as military patents, the aggregate 
amount of Vermont lands, granted by all New York 
Governors, was two million, four hundred and eighteen 
thousand, seven hundred and ten acres. 



THE NEW HAMPSHIRE GRANTS 197 

A later compilation made by Hiram A. Huse, a 
thorough student of Vermont history, for the "New 
Hampshire State Papers," includes grants by Governor 
Dunmore of the townships of Chatham, containing 
twelve thousand, seven hundred and fifty acres, prin- 
cipally in Dorset, and Eugene, containing fifteen thou- 
sand, three hundred and fifty acres in Rupert and Paw- 
let. Other grants were Chester, containing thirty-one 
thousand, seven hundred acres, being for the most part 
a confirmation of the New Hampshire grant of Flam- 
stead; Kingsland, including the present town of Wash- 
ington, which became the county seat of Gloucester 
county; and Poynell, said to have been located between 
Thetford and Norwich. The township of Jauncey- 
borough was situated between Ryegate, Topsham and 
Peacham. Mention is made of the town of Rhineland, 
called Underbill, and the New York Council changed the 
name of Fulham (Dummerston) to Galway. 

On February 14, 1776, a grant was made to Robert 
Rogers, the well known scout of the French and Indian 
W^ar period, and to others, of land on Lake Memphre- 
magog, "to be erected into the township of Rogers- 
borough, in compensation for the township of Dunbar, 
granted to Rogers in 1762 by New Hampshire, but 
already occupied." Probably other townships in the 
New Hampshire Grants were patented by New York. 

A map showing some of the English (or New York) 
grants, indicates that Pratsburgh was granted to Jeston 
Homfrey & Co., Deerfield to Wells & Co., and Minto to 
Andrew Ellit & Co. A strip of land several miles wide, 
extending along Lake Champlain from a point a little 



198 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

north of the mouth of Otter Creek nearly to the mouth 
of the Winooski River, was granted to non-commis- 
sioned officers and soldiers. This map shows grants to 
Captains Ross and McAdam within the present limits 
of Chittenden county and grants to Colonel Montresor, 
Captain Williams and Lieutenants Cuyler, Dambler, 
Allen, Grant, and Duncan Campbell. The last named 
officer was a member of the famous Black Watch regi- 
ment and was fatally wounded in General Abercrombie's 
unsuccessful battle with the French army at Ticon- 
deroga, in 1758. There is a legend to the effect that 
Campbell was warned in a dream that he would meet 
his death at Ticonderoga. 

Few settlements were attempted on the New York 
grants. Some rather ambitious plans were made for 
Kingsland, the shire town of Gloucester county, which 
is now known as the town of Washington. At a meet- 
ing of the governors of King's College, held in New 
York February 17, 1772, the Mayor, the Attorney Gen- 
eral and other well known men being present, it was 
reported that the encouragement given by this corpora- 
tion for the settlement of the township had proved in- 
sufficient, and it was voted that an actual survey be made 
of the whole tract; that one thousand acres be laid out 
in square lots of ten acres each for a "Town Spott," 
the center lot to be an open square or green. Plans were 
made for laying out streets, and streams and places fit for 
water works were to be noted in the survey. The first 
twelve settlers were to have a choice of the central ten- 
acre lots, and one hundred acres each for farms outside 
of the town plot. It was planned to reserve certain lots 



THE NEW HAMPSHIRE GRANTS 199 

fronting on the central square for public buildings and a 
church. All these plans for a city were destined to 
failure, and only a log jail was erected, which gave the 
name to Jail Branch, a tributary of the Winooski River. 

To the confirmation of New Hampshire charters, or 
regrants of the same, by the New York Council, already 
mentioned, should be added the towns of Andover, 
Averill, Barnet, Bridgewater, Clarendon, Fairlee, Ful- 
ham (Dummerston), Guilford, Halifax, Hartford 
(under the name of Ware), Leicester, Lemington, 
Lunenburgh, Maidstone, Marlboro, Minehead (Bloom- 
field), Norwich, Orwell, Peacham, Pom fret. Putney, 
Rockingham, Ryegate, Sharon, Shrewsbury, Somerset, 
Strafiford, Stratton, Thetford, Thomlinson (Grafton), 
Topsham, Tunbridge, Wallingford, Westford, Wilming- 
ton and Winhall. 

The records of the New York Council show many 
petitions for the confirmation of New Hampshire 
Grants, and in some instances the petitions contain prac- 
tically all the names of the Wentworth grantees except 
those of political associates or personal friends of the 
New Hampshire Governor. Some of the petitions show 
the names of a portion of the New Hampshire grantees, 
and in other instances only a few of the names mentioned 
in the New Hampshire charter are to be found. The 
records give the changes of names in the patents of some 
of these towns. In some instances the names of 
grantees under the Wentworth charters appear in the 
charters of other towns regrantedby New York. In 
the regrants of certain towns it is specified that the 
shares of Benning Wentworth, and a few others, prob- 



200 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

ably friends of the Governor, shall remain vested in the 
crovv'n. 

The names of many well known New York families 
appear in the New York grants of lands now a part of 
Vermont, such as Van Cortlandt, Cruger, Delancey, 
Livingston, Roosevelt, Schuyler, Stuyvesant, Ten Eyck, 
John Jay, Isaac Low, and others. Among the compen- 
satory patents issued is one to Israel Putnam, for Pom- 
fret. 

In only a few instances did New York names or New 
York grants become embodied in the life of the people of 
Vermont. As a rule the grants made by New York 
were larger in area than those made by New Hampshire, 
and the grantees for each township were fewer. The 
average number of grantees in the townships granted 
by New Hampshire was sixty- four, but the number 
varied from forty-eight in Sudbury and Whiting, to 
eighty-two in Topsham and ninety- four in Ryegate. 

It is evident that there was much land speculation 
both in New York and New Hampshire Grants, and some 
of those engaged in these land transactions bore names 
well known to the public. A respectable number of the 
New Hampshire grantees, however, appear to have been 
actual settlers, and not a few of these names are 
familiar to Vermonters of the present day. 



Chapter IX 
CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 



ALTHOUGH some slight attempts at settlement 
within the present limits of Vermont had been 
made in the Connecticut valley prior to the close 
of the French and Indian War, the area under cultiva- 
tion beyond the immediate protection of a few fortified 
posts was so small as to be almost negligible. During 
the fifteen years that intervened between the surrender 
of Montreal and the beginning of the American Revolu- 
tion a great transformation took place, particularly in 
that portion of Vermont now comprised in the four 
southern counties of the State, Bennington, Rutland, 
Windsor and Windham, and extending farther north in 
the Connecticut and Champlain valleys. Indeed, by far 
the greater part of this transformation occurred during 
the decade between 1765 and 1775. Up to 1760 the 
history of Vermont is confined largely to attempts on the 
part of New England settlers to protect their homes 
from the incursions of cruel and crafty savages, who 
descended upon them by way of the passes through the 
Green Mountains. The period with which this chapter 
deals is that which relates to the first really successful 
attempts to conquer the Vermont wilderness. 

With the coming of peace in 1760, which resulted in 
the banishment of French authority from Canada, the 
long standing peril of Indian invasion was removed. 
Several thousand Colonial soldiers had rendezvoused at 
Crown Point or Ticonderoga or had entered the Cana- 
dian region through one of its Vermont gatew^ays. 
Some of them had aided in building the Crown Point 
Road over the Green Mountains. Many of them had 
seen that the new region was very promising, surpassing 



204 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

in fertility the soil of the older New England colonies. 
They had noted its goodly pines, and had observed that 
it was well watered by numerous rivers and an abun- 
dance of smaller streams. 

There was a general feeling of restlessness abroad, a 
desire on the part of not a few New Englanders for a 
wider field of activity. The New Hampshire Grants 
were not so far removed that transportation methods, 
which had changed very little for thousands of years, 
would be seriously taxed in travelling to this Promised 
Land, thus affording an outlet for the spirit of ad- 
venture. The new lands were cheap, they were good, 
they were accessible, and not many years elapsed before 
the ancient highways of war became thronged with 
families seeking to establish homes in the primeval for- 
ests that lay in the valleys of the Connecticut River and 
Lake Champlain and on the far stretching slopes and 
foothills of the Green Mountains. In boats that 
ascended the Connecticut or descended Lake Champlain, 
on sledges that traversed the frozen surface of lakes and 
streams, on horseback and on foot along the Indian 
trails worn deep by the travel of countless centuries, 
these sturdy pioneers, stout of heart and strong of limb, 
thronged into this new region. Beyond the perils and 
privations of the present they saw the vision of future 
years of plenty and prosperity, and they were content 
to toil and even to suffer, if only their dreams might 
come true. 

In six Vermont towns, Bennington, Guilford, Hali- 
fax, Newbury, Pawlet and Townshend, settlements were 
begun in 176L 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 205 

Bennington — In Bennington, the first town west of 
the Connecticut River granted by Governor Wentworth, 
the leader in promoting the settlement of the township 
was Capt. Samuel Robinson, who had resided in Hard- 
wick, Mass., for twenty-six years. He had served in 
the French and Indian War as an officer in Colonel 
Ruggles' regiment, and was now fifty-six years old. As 
the story generally is told, Robinson and a party of 
soldiers, returning from Lake George to Massachusetts, 
followed the Walloomsac River, supposing it to be the 
Hoosac, until they came to the region later known as 
Bennington, where they camped for the night. It is said 
that Captain Robinson was so well pleased with this 
locality that he determined to settle there. It is entirely 
possible, of course, that the Hardwick Captain may have 
blundered upon Bennington as the result of losing his 
way, but the significant fact should not be overlooked 
that when the township of Bennington was chartered 
early in the year 1749, and several years before his 
military expedition to Lake George, Samuel Robinson 
was one of the grantees. Naturally he would be inter- 
ested in his own property, whether he visited the place 
by accident or by design, and he liked Bennington so well 
that when he returned home it is said he organized a 
company and purchased the rights of other original pro- 
prietors, many of whom lived in Portsmouth, New 
Hampshire. 

The first immigration consisted of six families, includ- 
ing twenty-tw^o people. These families, four of them 
from Amherst, Mass., and two others, those of Leonard 
Robinson and Samuel Robinson, Jr., came on June 18, 



206 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

1761. Twenty or thirty additional families came dur- 
ing the summer and fall, including those of Capt. Samuel 
Robinson, John Fassett of Hardwick, and others 
from Massachusetts and Connecticut towns. The first 
child born in town, January 2, 1762, was Benjamin 
Harwood, who lived until June 22, 1851. Samuel Rob- 
inson was commissioned a Justice of the Peace by Gov- 
ernor Wentworth on February 8, 1762, and is said to 
have been the first person within the present limits of 
Vermont to be appointed to a judicial office. As early 
as 1766 a meeting house was erected, the first Protestant 
house of worship to be built in Vermont, and the first 
church edifice to be built in this State in connection with 
a permanent settlement. 

Apparently there was a strong religious motive in 
the settlement of Bennington, connected with what was 
known as the Separatist movement. Much formality 
is said to have grown up in the churches of New Eng- 
land, and as the result of the preaching of Whitefield 
and others there had been a great awakening, so-called. 
This had resulted in some dissensions in the Congrega- 
tional Church, and there were factions known as New 
Lights and Old Lights. The Separatist churches of 
Hardwick and Sunderland, Mass., united as the Church 
of Bennington. Then the church at Westfield, Mass., 
voted to unite with the Bennington church, and the 
Westfield pastor. Rev. Jedediah Dewey, became the pas- 
tor of these united churches, coming to Bennington in 
1763. Many members of the First Church at Norwich, 
Conn., withdrew, refusing to pay tax rates for the sup- 
port of the minister, and as many as forty men and 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 207 

women of the Separatist faith in Norwich were im- 
prisoned in a single year for this refusal. Not a few of 
the early settlers of Bennington came from Norwich and 
vicinity, and the fact that the Connecticut laws bore 
rather harshly upon those not of the Orthodox faith, 
doubtless contributed somewhat to the settlement of this 
town and possibly that of other Vermont townships. 

The soil of Bennington was highly productive and the 
new township flourished. Seth Warner came in 1765 
and Samuel Safford erected mills here in 1766. In a 
letter from Governor Hutchinson of Massachusetts to 
Governor Pownal, then in London, dated at Boston July 
1, 1765, it is stated that Bennington had sixty-seven 
families and as many houses, some of the dwellings 
being of a sort superior to those of common settlers. 
Hiland Hall says that by the year 1765, "a large portion 
of the town had become occupied by settlers from Massa- 
chusetts and Connecticut, who had cleared much of the 
land, erected dwelling houses and barns, with mills, 
opened and worked highways and established schools for 
the instruction of children and youth, and were living in 
a comfortable and thriving condition." During the next 
ten years the population increased rapidly, and accord- 
ing to Rev. Isaac Jennings probably it had reached fifteen 
hundred persons when the American Revolution began 
in 1775. 

GuiivFORD — Although land was cleared in Guiltord 
by Jonathan and Elisha Hunt as early as 1758, the first 
settlement was not begun until September, 1761, when 
Micah Rice and family came into this town. Other 
families soon followed, coming up the valley of Broad 



208 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Brook after leaving the Connecticut River. The first 
settlers were obliged to boil or pound their corn, or to 
go fifteen miles to mill, carrying their grists upon their 
backs. 

Not being able to fulfill the conditions of the charter 
requiring the grantees to settle, clear and cultivate five 
acres for every fifty in the township, a renewal and ex- 
tension was secured in 1761, and again in 1764. This 
town was virtually a little republic, really subject only 
to the British Parliament, which naturally did not inter- 
fere with a frontier settlement in a remote portion of 
New England. In 1772 the people of Guilford re- 
nounced their New Hampshire charter and voted that 
the town was in the province of New York. 

Beginning in 1764, and continuing for several years, 
the population of this town increased rapidly, so that 
Guilford soon became the most populous town in the 
New Hampshire Grants, although there was not a vil- 
lage within its borders. In 1771 the population was 
four hundred and thirty-six and in 1772 it is said to have 
been five hundred and eighty-six. This increase con- 
tinued until the population had reached two thousand, 
four hundred and thirty-two when the first census was 
taken in 1791, the year of Vermont's admission to the 
Union. 

HaIvIFax — An attempt made in 1751 to settle Hali- 
fax, the second Vermont town granted by Governor 
Wentworth, was frustrated by the hostility of the 
Indians. Ten years later, in 1761, Abner Rice of Wor- 
cester county, Massachusetts, settled here, and in 1763 
other families came from Colerain and Pelham, Mass. 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 209 

The population increased slowly during the first five 
years of the town's existence, but after 1766 it grew 
rapidly, and in 1771 the New York provincial census 
showed the population of Halifax to be three hundred 
and twenty-nine. 

Newbury — In his excellent "History of Newbury," 
F. P. Wells relates the fact that four officers who had 
served in Col. John Gofife's regiment during the French 
and Indian War, Lieut. Col. Jacob Bayley, Capt. John 
Hazen, Lieut. Jacob Kent and Lieut. Timothy Bedel, 
returning home after the surrender of the French at 
Montreal, in 1760, on their way down the Connecticut 
valley stopped several days at Coos, as the region in 
the vicinity of the Great Oxbow at Newbury was called, 
and carefully examined the surrounding country. Con- 
vinced that it was a most desirable location, Bayley and 
Hazen came up in 1761 and took the first steps necessary 
to establish a settlement. Men were secured to cut the 
hay on the fertile Oxbow meadows, and cattle were 
brought here, three men remaining to care for them dur- 
ing the winter. 

A few families came to Newbury in 1762, but it was 
not until 1763 that a town charter was secured from 
Governor Wentworth of New Hampshire, through the 
efforts of Jacob Bayley and John Hazen. Settlers began 
to come into the town in considerable numbers in 1763, 
and during that year the first apple trees in Newbury 
were planted. Most of the early inhabitants came from 
southeastern New Hampshire and from Newbury, 
Mass. 



210 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

The nearest mill to which the first settlers could re- 
sort was located at Number Four (Charlestown, N. H.), 
more than sixty miles distant. There were no roads 
through the wilderness, and grain was carried to mill 
in canoes, the meal or flour being brought home during 
the following winter over the frozen surface of the Con- 
necticut River. The crank for the first sawmill at New- 
bury was drawn from Concord, N. H., on a hand sled, 
a distance of nearly eighty miles. 

TowNSHEND — Col. Johu Hazcltiue secured the char- 
ter of Townshend, and it is said he caused the names of 
neighbors and acquaintances to be entered as grantees 
without their knowledge. The records show that he be- 
came the owner of sixteen rights for one shilling each. 
In 1761 Colonel Hazel tine cleared land in the west part 
of the town and built a log fort. During the same sum- 
mer John and Thomas Baird settled in town, all return- 
ing to Massachusetts in the autumn. This practice of 
working in the new township during the summer and 
returning to the old home for the winter was continued 
by these pioneers until 1766. Other persons began 
clearings during the years 1764 and 1765. The popula- 
tion in 1771 was one hundred and thirty-six. 

PawlET — This town was granted to Jonathan Wil- 
lard and sixty-seven others. For many years Captain 
Willard was a resident of Colchester, Conn., and owned 
and operated a vessel trading between New England 
ports and New York. Soon after the year 1750 he re- 
moved to Albany, N. Y., where he conducted the only 
English tavern in the town. After residing in Albany 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 211 

eight years he removed to Saratoga, N. Y., and engaged 
in the lumber business. 

In 1760 Captain Willard visited the New Hampshire 
Grants with two companions, and selected three town- 
ships. Grants were secured in 1761 for Pawlet, Danby 
and Mount Tabor, the last named town being chartered 
as Harwick. It is said that Captain Willard entered the 
names of his former Connecticut neighbors as grantees, 
and purchased many of their rights for a mug of flip 
or a new hat. Pawlet fell to Willard as his share of 
of the purchase. 

Simon Burton and William Fairfield came into Pawlet 
in 1761, Burton making the first clearing. In 1762 
Captain Willard came into the town with nine laborers 
and several horses, and as a result of their operations 
several acres of land were cleared and sowed to wheat. 
Meeting with heavy losses in the lumber business, Wil- 
lard returned in 1764 or 1765, bringing his family, 
although he had purchased the land in Pawlet for pur- 
poses of speculation. Several of the early settlers were 
veterans of the French and Indian War. Settlement 
was slow until after Burgoyne's defeat in 1777. In 
1770 there were only nine families in town. 

PowNAL — The settlement of only one Vermont town, 
Pownal, was begun in 1762. As early as 1724 Dutch 
squatters had entered this region, and when settlers hold- 
ing title under a New Hampshire charter arrived they 
found a few of these families in possession of farms, 
claiming rights under the Hoosick patent granted by 
New York. The first settlers holding New Hampshire 
titles came from Rhode Island and Massachusetts. 



212 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

George Gardner, who came from Hancock, Mass., in 
1765, is said to have attained the great age of one hun- 
dred and fourteen years. He planted an apple nursery 
at the age of eighty-five years and lived to see some 
of the trees bear fruit. 

Six townships, Arlington, Hartford, Hartland, Marl- 
boro, Norwich and Shaftsbury, were settled in 1763. 

ARI.INGT0N — The first dwelling erected in Arlington 
was a log house, built in 1763 by William Searl. Sev- 
eral other families came into this town the same year. 
A rough road, running north and south, and passable 
for ox teams, had been constructed. In the proprietors' 
records of the town of Middlebury reference is made 
to the cutting of a road from Arlington to Crown Point 
in the autumn of 1764. In the spring of 1764 several 
families came here from Connecticut, including those of 
Remember Baker and Jehiel Hawley. Baker, who 
achieved fame in later years as a leader of the Green 
Mountain Boys, was a millwright. Hawley became a 
large landed proprietor, his wife being a sister of Seth 
Warner. 

Hartp'ord — Practically all the grantees of Hartford, 
with the exception of a few friends and relatives of 
Governor Wentworth, were inhabitants of Connecticut. 
Strenuous efforts were made to secure an early and a 
rapid settlement of this township. In March, 1762, the 
proprietors voted that a premium of sixpence should be 
paid for each bushel of wheat, rye or Indian corn, raised 
in Hartford during the year 1763. 

There is some evidence to indicate that four families 
of squatters settled here as early as 1761, but the pro- 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 213 

prietors' records, and a petition to the New York govern- 
ment for letters patent state that the settlement was 
begun in 1763. The New York petition sets forth the 
claim that ten persons entered the town and labored in 
1763. Other settlers came the following summer. The 
petition to which reference has been made, dated May, 
1765, declared that ten more "this present spring" have 
gone on to improve, and about ten others "intend to go 
immediately." Most of the early settlers were Con- 
necticut people, many of them coming from the town of 
Lebanon. 

Some of the best lands were purchased for one shilling 
per acre. It is stated that "thousands upon thousands 
of white pine trees were consigned to the fire or rolled 
into the river because they were considered less valuable 
than the land upon which they grew." The population 
in 1771, according to New York census returns, was one 
hundred and ninety. Probably at the outbreak of the 
Revolutionary War there was a population of three hun- 
dred. 

HarTi^and — The settlement of Hartland (chartered 
as Hertford) was begun by Timothy Lull, in May, 1763. 
He came up the Connecticut River in a log canoe, bring- 
ing his family and his household goods. At the mouth 
of a large brook in this town he broke a bottle, which 
contained, presumably, something stronger than Con- 
necticut River water, and named the stream Lull's 
Brook. Ascending this brook about a mile, he found a 
deserted log house, and here he made his home. Most 
of the first settlers came from Massachusetts and Con- 



214 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

necticut. The New York enumeration of 1771 gave this 
town a population of one hundred and forty-four. 

Marlboro — The first settlers of Marlboro were Abel 
Stockwell of West Springfield, Mass., and Thomas 
Whitmore of Middletown, Conn. Coming into this 
township in the spring of 1763, one family settled in 
the northern and one in the southern part of the town, 
and they resided in Marlboro nearly a year before either 
family knew of the presence of the other, each supposing 
itself to be the only family in town. The settlement, 
which had grown slowly, was considerably augmented in 
1770 by emigrants from Massachusetts and Connecticut. 
In 1771 the population of the town was fifty. 

Many incidents are related of the hardships endured 
by the early settlers. Samuel Whitney, a famous hunter 
who lived in this town, became engaged in a hand-to- 
hand struggle with a bear and carried a scar the re- 
mainder of his life as a reminder of the terrible wound 
he received. While he was ill of a fever the fuel supply 
of the family became exhausted, and his daughter Betty, 
aged thirteen years, yoked up the oxen, went into the 
woods, cut a load of wood, drew it to the house, and 
chopped it into firewood. 

Norwich — Early in 1761 a petition was circulated 
in eastern Connecticut, in the valleys of the Thames 
River and its branches, the Shetucket and the Willi- 
mantic, asking for four townships "at a place known as 
Cahorse" (Coos) in the vicinity of what is now known 
as Newbury. Col. Edward Freeman and Joseph Storrs 
were appointed agents of a syndicate to carry this peti- 
tion to Governor Wentworth at Portsmouth. The Gov- 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 215 

ernor was not ready at that time to grant the very de- 
sirable region at Coos, but the agents obtained a grant 
of four townships, two on each bank of the Connecticut 
River, about twenty-five miles south of the desired loca- 
tion. The towns chartered were Norwich and Hartford 
on the west bank, and Hanover and Lebanon on the east 
bank of the river. The Norwich grantees were mostly 
residents of Mansfield, Conn., and the neighboring towns 
of Tolland and Willington. 

In 1762 a portion of Norwich adjacent to the Con- 
necticut River was divided into lots, and the proprietors 
of the four towns voted to unite in ''clearing a road 
from the old fort in Number Four on the east side of 
the river as far up said river as a committee chosen 
for the purpose may think proper." In 1763 a road was 
opened as far north as the middle of the town of Han- 
over. 

Early in April, 1763, the proprietors of Norwich voted 
to raise five pounds upon each proprietor's right, to be 
divided among twenty-five men who should immediately 
engage to settle twenty-five rights, beginning the en- 
suing summer, and improving at the rate of three acres 
annually for five years, failure to comply with these 
terms calling for a repayment of the money advanced. 
The required number having failed to present them- 
selves, at a meeting held in May, 1763, it was agreed 
that in case any number under twenty-five and not less 
than fifteen should engage in the settlement as suggested 
by January 1, they should be entitled to the money. 

The first settlement in Norwich was made by John 
Slafter, son of Samuel Slafter, one of the proprietors. 



216 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

and by Jacob Fenton and Ebenezer Smith of Mansfield, 
both proprietors. Slafter had made a journey through 
this region in 1762, and he found the location at Nor- 
wich a desirable one. Soon after coming to town Fen- 
ton was killed as the result of an accident. For four 
years young Slafter cleared and fitted the new land, re- 
turning each autumn to Connecticut to spend the winter. 
In 1767 he married and in the spring of that year, with 
his bride and several families from his neighborhood 
who were going into the Coos country, a party was made 
up for the journey of one hundred and fifty miles. 
Leaving Mansfield on April 22, they could make no more 
than eight or nine miles a day against the spring floods, 
and they did not reach Norwich until May 10. In sev- 
eral places it was necessary to unload the boats and 
carry goods and boats around rapids or waterfalls. 

Some pioneers came on horseback. Beyond Number 
Four there was nothing but a crooked bridle path for a 
road, and that was obstructed by fallen trees. There 
were no bridges across the streams. Other settlers 
came in the same manner. The wife, or the wife and 
babes, were placed on the back of a horse with the cloth- 
ing and bedding, and the man of the family walked. 
In 1771 Deacon John Burnap and six children came to 
Norwich, from Lebanon, Conn., carrying household 
goods in packs on their backs. 

Immigration was not large before 1767 or 1768, and 
it is doubtful if the proprietors secured the minimum 
number of fifteen settlers within the prescribed time 
limit. As early as 1768 settlers had arrived in consider- 
able numbers, and farms had been cleared two or three 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 217 

miles back from the Connecticut River. Goddard and 
Partridge's "History of Norwich" says: "Before 1770 
a large and steady stream of immigration was pouring 
into the new towns along the Connecticut River. The 
woods were full of new settlers. On foot and on horse- 
back, men, women and children thronged the rough and 
narrow roads beside the river in the spring of every 
year. Their canoes and boats dotted the river itself. 
Late in winter or early spring many came by sleds or 
sleighs down upon the firm ice that bridged the stream 
from shore to shore. 

"Rev. Mr. Sanderson in his 'History of Charlestown, 
N. H.,' says that the town was crowded with companies 
which had come there to take an outlook upon the new 
lands of which they had heard marvelous tales from the 
rangers and soldiers during the French and Indian 
Wars. And it is not strange if the smooth and fertile 
hillsides and rich intervales of Vermont did seem a 
veritable land of Canaan to the immigrant accustomed 
to the stony and sterile fields of eastern Massachusetts 
and Connecticut. 

"According to Mr. Sanderson, the traffic in supplies 
for travellers and those newly arrived was a source of 
much profit to the people of Charlestown. Not only 
were the inns of the place frequently filled to overflow- 
ing, but every private family had all they could victual 
and lodge. * * * 

"Never was a tract of country colonized and settled 
by a more homogenous people. On both sides of the 
river nearly all were emigrants from Connecticut, and 
from that portion of Connecticut lying east of the Great 



218 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

River. By far the greater part came from a small group 
of towns lying around Mansfield and Lebanon. A 
radius of twenty miles extended in every direction from 
the present town of Willimantic would cover pretty much 
the whole ground. As regards Norwich, considerable 
research among the oldest families has not revealed the 
first one among the inhabitants of the town previous to 
the year 1790 (then numbering more than 1,000 souls) 
that in coming here did not leave a home in eastern Con- 
necticut. 

''Norwich and Hanover were largely settled by emi- 
grants from Mansfield; Hartford, Lebanon and Pier- 
mont from Lebanon, Conn. ; Thetford, Orford and Fair- 
lee from Hebron; and Strafiford and Sharon from 
Hebron and Goshen. * * * Qf Norwich itself, 
after Mansfield and Preston, Tolland, Lebanon, Hebron, 
Willington and Coventry were the principal mother 
towns." 

In 1771 Norwich contained forty families and two 
hundred and six persons. 

Shaftsbury — The first settlement in Shaftsbury was 
made in 1763. A considerable number of settlers came 
from Rhode Island and located in the northeast portion 
of the town, the settlement being known as Little Rhode 
Island. George Niles, one of the early settlers, lived to 
be one hundred and five years old. Jonas Galusha, 
afterward Governor of Vermont, came into town in 
the spring of 1775. 

As nearly as can be determined seven Vermont towns 
were settled during the year 1764. The number in- 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 219 

eluded Chester, Guildhall, Manchester, Panton, Sharon, 
(probably) Thetford and Windsor. 

Chester — This township was first granted by Gov- 
ernor Wentworth as Flamstead, and later it was re- 
granted as New Flamstead. Most of the original pro- 
prietors were residents of Worcester, Mass., and neigh- 
boring towns. The first settlement was made by 
Thomas Chandler and his sons John and Thomas, in 
1764. They were soon followed by seven men from 
Worcester and Maiden, Mass., and Woodstock, Conn. 
Some of the early settlers came from Rhode Island. In 
1766 Governor Tryon of New York granted a charter 
for this town which he called Chester, and under this 
charter the lands of the town are now held. Chester 
was made the shire- town of Cumberland county and en- 
joyed that honor until 1772, when the county seat was 
removed to Westminster. According to the New York 
enumeration, the population in 1771 was one hundred 
and fifty-two. 

GuiivDHALL — Guildhall and the adjoining towns on 
the Connecticut River, together with Brunswick and 
Stratford, N. H., were known as the Upper Coos, to 
distinguish this region from that around the Great 
Oxbow at Newbury. The Indian trail from Maine to 
Canada ran close to Guildhall. It is related that 
Emmons Stockwell, returning from service in Canada 
as a soldier in the French and Indian War, was 
attracted by this portion of the valley of the Connecticut, 
and organized at Lancaster, Mass., a party to settle this 
region. There were five men in this party, including 
Stockwell, some of them being residents of the Massa- 



220 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

chusetts town of Petersham. They took with them 
twenty cattle and some horses. This year, 1764, they 
planted seventeen acres of corn, the first grown in this 
region by white men. It stood twelve feet high when 
a frost killed it the twenty-seventh day of August. The 
stock of cattle almost doubled the first year, but owing 
to the destruction of the corn all the cattle perished the 
first winter. Not discouraged by this loss, the settlers 
secured more cattle from their former homes. 

Temporary camps or cabins were built the first year, 
but the following season more substantial dwellings 
were erected. Other immigrants came in 1775. All these 
early settlers were squatters, but after a controversy 
lasting a considerable period, they were confirmed in 
their possessions by the action of the Vermont Legisla- 
ture. 

Manchester — A party of explorers from Amenia, 
Dutchess County, N. Y., while visiting the region now 
known as Salem, N. Y., in 1763, ascended a mountain 
which gave them an extensive view to the eastward. 
Seeing from this point of vantage a pleasant valley, the 
party visited it, and thus explored a portion of the pres- 
ent town of Manchester. The visitors were favorably 
impressed with this region, and bought nearly all the 
rights of the proprietors, who were chiefly residents of 
Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and held the lands 
for purposes of speculation. The first settlement was 
made during the summer or autumn of 1764. At that 
time there was no settlement on the west side of the 
Green Mountains north of Arlington. Nearly all the 




(This Map is not dated, but was ordered by the Governor and Council 
of New York in 1772) 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 221 

early settlers were from Amenia, N. Y., a town largely 
settled by New Englanders. 

Panto N — A survey of Panton was made in 1762 by 
Ebenezer Frisbee and others, of Sharon, Conn. In 
April, 1764, the proprietors of this town offered a bounty 
of seventy pounds to any number of the owners of rights, 
not less than fifteen, who would go to this town and 
make necessary clearings preliminary to settlement. It 
appears that during the spring or summer of that year 
Capt. Samuel Elmore, Zadock Everest, Samuel Chipman, 
and others, to the number of fifteen, *'did go, and there 
build, clear and fence," on fifteen of the town lots. 
Work was begun on a sawmill in 1764, and it was com- 
pleted the following year. 

In 1766 Benjamin Kellogg and Zadock Everest 
secured a surveyor and laid out seventy-six city lots, of 
one acre each. Col. David Wooster, afterward an 
American General during the Revolutionary War, held 
a New York title to lands in this town. Peter Ferris 
came from Dutchess county, N. Y., about 1766. Elijah 
Grandey came from Connecticut in 1773, and Phineas 
Holcomb from Dutchess county. New York, in 1774. 

Sharon — Probably this town was settled in 1764, 
although the date may have been 1765. The proprietors 
offered a choice of lots to any five or more of their num- 
ber who would "clear and soe three acres with English 
grain," and build a house sixteen feet square within a 
given period. Most of the early settlers came from Con- 
necticut. This town was credited with sixty-eight in- 
habitants by the enumeration of 1771. 



222 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Thetford — The town lots of Thetford were sur- 
veyed and a road was laid out in 1761. The first settle- 
ment was begun in 1764 by John Chamberlain of Hebron, 
Conn., from which town most of the early settlers came. 
Other families followed in 1765. The land when cleared 
was very productive, and moose, deer, beaver and fish 
were plentiful. 

Windsor — The first permanent settlement in Wind- 
sor was made in 1764 by Capt. Steele Smith and family, 
from Farmington, Conn. Plans were made at an earlier 
date for drawing lots, laying out roads, building mills, 
etc. In a petition to the New York provincial govern- 
ment, asking for a regrant, dated October 29, 1765, it is 
stated that about sixteen families had settled in Wind- 
sor. The population in 1771 was two hundred and 
three. 

The records indicate that four towns in the New 
Hampshire Grants were settled in 1765. These were 
Addison, Bradford, Danby and Woodstock. 

Addison — While serving as a soldier in General 
Amherst's army, during the French and Indian War, 
it was the custom of Benjamin Kellogg of Connecticut 
to hunt deer within the present limits of the town of 
Addison, to secure venison for the table of the British 
officers at Crown Point. After the war had ended Kel- 
logg returned to this region in 1762, 1763 and 1764 on 
hunting expeditions. In the spring of 1765 Zadock 
Everest, David Vallance and one other settler began a 
clearing about three miles north of Chimney Point. In 
September of this year Kellogg came up on his annual 
hunting expedition, and John Strong of Salisbury, 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 223 

Conn., accompanied him, seeking a location for a new 
home. Selecting a place on the shore of Lake Cham- 
plain, Strong built on the site of an old French house. 
In February, 1766, Strong brought his family to 
Addison, coming by way of Lakes George and Cham- 
plain. During the same year several families came into 
Addison and Panton by way of Otter Creek. Wild 
animals were very troublesome, and it is related that 
in September, 1766, while Strong was absent from home 
on a trip to Albany, N. Y., to secure supplies, his family 
had an unpleasant experience. A fire had been lighted, 
as the evenings were cool, and a kettle of samp and a 
pan of milk had been placed on the table for the family 
supper. Just then the blanket that served for a door 
was thrust aside and the head of a bear appeared. Mrs- 
Strong caught up the baby, and hurrying the older chil- 
dren up a ladder to the loft, she drew up the ladder after 
her. The floor of the loft was made of small poles and 
it was possible through the cracks to watch operations 
below. Presently the bear and her two cubs entered the 
room. After upsetting the milk the bear thrust her 
head into the pudding pot, swallowed a large mouthful 
and filled her mouth again before she discovered that 
the pudding was scalding hot. With a furious growl 
she struck the iron kettle, overturning and breaking it. 
Then, sitting up on her haunches, her cubs sitting on 
either side, she tried to get the hot pudding out of her 
mouth. The sight was so ludicrous that in spite of the 
danger the children in the loft overhead could not resist 
the impulse to laugh at the curious spectacle. This 
angered the old bear still more and she tried to climb 



224 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

to the loft, but after many fruitless attempts the animals 
withdrew. When Mr. Strong returned home he made 
a stout door of slabs, hung on wooden hinges, which 
kept out other unwelcome visitors. This episode will 
give an idea of the perils of frontier life in Vermont. 

Bradford — The first settlement in Bradford was 
made in 1765, the first settlers being squatters. In 1770 
thirty landholders desiring a legal title, sent one of their 
number, Samuel Sleeper, to New York with an oflfer to 
William Smith, an influential citizen, that if he would 
secure a royal charter, and give each of the landholders 
a good title to one hundred acres in the new township, 
he and such other proprietors as he might select, 
should have the remainder of the lands. The charter 
was secured and the name Mooretown was given pre- 
sumably in honor of Sir Henry Moore, royal Governor 
of New York. In the spring of 1771 a great freshet 
occurred which destroyed much property in the Con- 
necticut valley in this town, and as a result the more 
elevated lands were sought by settlers. 

Danby — On September 24, 1760, a meeting was 
held at the house of Nathan Shepard, in Nine Partners, 
Dutchess county, N. Y., which was attended by petition- 
ers who asked Gov. Benning Wentworth of New Hamp- 
shire for a grant of two townships. Samuel Rose was 
appointed agent to go to Albany "and get what infor- 
mation he could" relative to obtaining a grant for the 
two townships, "in the western part of the province of 
New Hampshire," to quote from records given in "Wil- 
liams' History of Danby." Capt. William Lamson of 
Albany was employed to procure the grant, but failing 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 225 

to secure the desired results, on October 15, 1760, Jona- 
than Willard was appointed the agent of the petitioners, 
and he was sent to Portsmouth, N. H. His mission was 
successful and he secured charters for Danby, Pawlet 
and Harwick, known later as Mount Tabor. Apparently 
the opinion was not very generally held in the vicinity 
of Nine Partners that lands west of the Connecticut 
River formed a portion of the territory of New York. 

Surveys were made in 1762 and 1763, and in the 
autumn of 1763 or in the spring of 1764 a road was laid 
out from Bennington to Danby. The first settlement 
was begun in the summer of 1765 by five men, two of 
whom came from Nine Partners, N. Y., and two from 
Rhode Island. Other settlers came in 1767, bringing 
cattle and swine. About twenty families came in 1768. 
A large number of the first settlers were Quakers and 
in a letter Ethan Allen once alluded to "Quaker Danbe." 
An eminence in town was called Dutch Hill, because 
several families of Dutch extraction settled in its vicin- 
ity. Wolves were troublesome in the early period of 
the town's history. 

Thomas Rowley, the poet of the Revolution, came 
from Hebron, Conn., in 1768, and in 1769 he was elected 
the first Town Clerk of Danby. Afterward he re- 
moved to Shoreham. 

Woodstock — In 1765, Timothy Knox, a student of 
Harvard College, so the story runs, being disappointed 
in a love aflfair, fled to what is now the town of Wood- 
stock, and for three years lived a solitary life, following 
the occupation of a trapper. The first permanent settler 
was Andrew Powers, who came here in 1768. He was 



226 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

a native of Massachusetts, but had resided in Hartland 
for a few years. James Sanderson came from Hart- 
land in the autumn of 1768, drawing his property, his 
wife and their six-weeks-old child on a hand sled. 
Other settlers came about this time, but in 1771 there 
were only forty-two inhabitants. 

In 1766 settlements were made in Fairlee, Middlebury, 
New fane, probably in Shelburne, in Shoreham and Sun- 
derland. 

Fairlee — In 1766 John Baldwin, who had come from 
Hebron, Conn., to Thetford the previous year, settled in 
Fairlee. In 1768 six other men made homes in this 
town. 

Middlebury — Several residents of Connecticut, most 
of them from Salisbury, desiring to secure lands in the 
New Hampshire Grants, made an agreement to act to- 
gether in procuring a survey and applying for charters, 
and John Everts of Salisbury was appointed their agent. 
Securing the necessary assistance, he penetrated one 
hundred miles into the wilderness beyond any settlements 
before he found a sufficient tract of desirable land not 
already surveyed or in process of being surveyed. It 
is said to have been Everts' intention to apply for two 
townships, but sufficient land for three was found on the 
east side of Otter Creek. Beginning at the head of the 
Great Falls (now in Vergennes) he surveyed New 
Haven, Middlebury and Salisbury, the first and the last 
being named for Connecticut townships, and Middlebury 
being so named because it was situated between the two 
other towns granted. The charters for the three towns 
mentioned were obtained in 1761. There are indications 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 227 

that the proprietors of Cornwall acted in some matters 
with those of New Haven, Middlebury and Salisbury. 
Elias Reed, the agent who secured the Cornwall charter, 
resided at Salisbury, Conn., and Everts and Reed went 
to Portsmouth at the same time to secure charters for 
new townships. 

In the spring of 1766 John Chipman of Salisbury, 
Conn., with fifteen other young men, set out for the new 
lands of the New Hampshire Grants, taking oxen 
and a cart laden with farming tools and other necessary 
articles. They found no house north of Manchester, 
and probably no road beyond Sutherland Falls, where 
the village of Proctor is now located. In some places 
it was necessary for this pioneer band to cut a path. 
The party followed the valley of the Battenkill to the 
headwaters of Otter Creek, and at Sutherland Falls a 
canoe was fashioned from a large tree. The ox-cart 
was fastened to the stern of the canoe and was towed up 
stream, while the oxen were driven along the bank. In 
this manner the young men proceeded to the present site 
of Vergennes, where the waterfall interrupted naviga- 
tion. 

Some of the party settled in Waltham and others in 
Panton and Addison. Chipman returned to Connecticut 
after a short stay in town, during which time he made 
a clearing in the forest. Benjamin Smalley of Salis- 
bury, Conn., who settled here in 1773, was the first man 
to bring his family into town. The same year Chipman 
returned, and Gamaliel Painter and several others 
brought their families to Middlebury. Before the Revo- 
lutionary War began thirteen families had settled here. 



228 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

At this time there were no mills nearer than Pittsford, 
or Ticonderoga, N. Y. 

Newfane — The first settlers of Newfane were Jona- 
than Park, Nathaniel Stedman and Ebenezer Dyer, of 
Worcester county, Mass., who came here in 1766. In 
1772 the Governor of New York granted this town to 
Walter Franklin and twenty others, most of them being 
residents of New York. These grantees sold their 
rights to Luke Knowlton and John Taylor of Worcester 
county, Mass., and titles to lands in Newfane are derived 
from this charter. The first settlers brought all their 
provisions from Hinsdale, twenty miles distant, through 
the wilderness. There were only six families in town in 
1774. 

ShElburne — The first settlers in Shelburne were 
John Pettier and James Logan, and most histories say 
they came to this town in 1768. Pottier was one of the 
original proprietors, and is said to be the only one of 
this group who ever came into the town. Logan and 
Pottier were associated in getting out oak timber and 
rafting it to the Quebec market. Early reports to the 
effect that these men were murdered by British soldiers 
for their money not far from the Canadian border, have 
found a place in various historical sketches. 

The Journal of William Gilliland, the founder of 
Willsboro, N. Y., a town situated on the western shore 
of Lake Champlain, nearly opposite Shelburne, seems to 
discredit some of these generally accepted reports. 
There is an entry under date of January 31, 1767, which 
says : "This day some of our settlers went to see James 
Logan, whether alive or dead, they crossed the lake in 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 229 

a small birch canoe." Sometimes the lake at this point 
did not freeze over until late in the winter. 

The entry in the Journal indicates the possibility that 
a rumor of the murder of Logan, or Logan and Pottier, 
may have reached Willsboro, and that the canoe trip 
may have been undertaken to obtain information regard- 
ing the truth of such a report. No further reference 
is made to Logan until March 19, when it is said that 
Logan crossed the ice to Willsboro, having returned 
from Canada two days previous to this date. Several 
other references to Logan are made during the month 
of March. This Journal proves that Logan was living 
at Shelburne as early as January, 1767, which would in- 
dicate that he had come to town as early as 1766. While 
he may have been murdered later, the false rumor afloat 
regarding his death may have been responsible for this 
report. 

The two settlements of Shelburne and Willsboro were 
closely affiliated, neither having an outlet by roads. 
Most of the early settlers were from Connecticut and 
Massachusetts. 

Shoreham — The charter of Shoreham is said to have 
been obtained through the agency of Ephraim Doolittle, 
a captain in General Amherst's army, who was engaged 
in laying out the Crown Point Road, which passed 
through Shoreham and Bridport, in each of which towns 
Doolittle became the proprietor of six rights. In the 
spring of 1766 Doolittle and twelve or fourteen com- 
panions came from Worcester county, Mass., and built 
a log house, living as one family, each man taking his 
turn in performing the household tasks. A portion of 



230 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

the settlers left town, owing to the prevalence of fever 
and ague. Some time elapsed before any families were 
brought here, and only six families are known to have 
lived here prior to the year 1775. 

SundEri^and — The settlement of Sunderland was 
begun in 1766. Among the early settlers were Gideon 
Brownson of Salisbury, Conn., Timothy Brownson of 
New Framingham, Conn., and several men from Guil- 
ford, Conn. Other large accessions soon followed from 
Massachusetts and Connecticut towns. A fifty-acre lot 
was voted to Remember Baker to encourage the build- 
ing of a gristmill and a sawmill. 

Vergennes — Although Vergennes was not incor- 
porated until 1788, the first settlement within its present 
limits was made by Donald Mcintosh, a Scotchman, and 
a veteran of General Wolfe's army. As early as 1764 
work was begun on a sawmill, which was completed in 
1765, and over the possession of which there was much 
controversy. In 1769 John Griswold, his five sons, and 
twelve families from Salisbury, Conn., settled here. 

Rupert — Probably this town was named in honor of 
Prince Rupert. The date of the first settlement is not 
known but it was earlier than 1767. Jonas Powers was 
the first settler. Others came into the Mettowee valley 
not later than 1767 ; into the White Creek valley not later 
than 1769; and into the Indian River valley not later 
than 1771. The early settlers were mostly Connecticut 
men, with a few from Massachusetts and New Hamp- 
shire, Rhode Island and New York. 

CasTlETon — In the spring of 1767, Amos Bird and 
Noah Lee of Salisbury, Conn., attended by a colored 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 231 

servant, set out for Castleton, Colonel Bird having pur- 
chased many of the shares of the original proprietors, 
who were chiefly residents of Salisbury. From Man- 
chester to Clarendon it was necessary to follow marked 
trees. The party passed along the northern border of 
Castleton, ignorant of the fact that they were near their 
destination. Proceeding to Crown Point, they went to 
Ticonderoga and Skenesborough (Whitehall), reaching 
Castleton by this roundabout route. 

The first summer was devoted to exploring and sur- 
veying the township. Bird Mountain received its name 
from the fact that Colonel Bird, losing his way, was 
compelled to spend a night on its summit. He peeled the 
bark from trees and displayed the white surface to 
scare away wild animals. Log cabins were built and 
the party returned to Connecticut in the autumn. The 
next year the same party of three came to Castleton. 
Bird returned to Salisbury before winter, but Lee and 
the colored man remained, suffering severe hardships. 
Colonel Bird built a sawmill, and while engaged in the 
task he contracted a fever. A physician was summoned 
from Salisbury, Conn., who remained until the patient 
was convalescent. On account of a relapse the phy- 
sician was recalled but Colonel Bird died before his ar- 
rival. It is said that the first boards from the new 
sawmill were used to make the pioneer's coffin. A few 
families arrived in Castleton in 1770. A road was sur- 
veyed from the west line of Ira to Fair Haven in 1772, 
following the course of the Castleton River. 

PiTTsFORD — Most of the grantees of Pittsford were 
residents of Massachusetts. Col. Ephraim Doolittle 



232 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

was the most active, and at one time he owned nearly 
one-fifth of the township. There is said to have been 
much speculation in town lots. The first settlers were 
Gideon and Benjamin Cooley of Greenwich, Mass., the 
former being a soldier who had visited the region during 
the French and Indian War, and early in the year 1767 
they built a log house and made a clearing. Other set- 
tlers came soon, among them being Felix Powell, who 
was to have the distinction of being the first settler in 
the towns of Dorset and Burlington. The Cooley 
brothers returned to Greenwich in the autumn, but came 
back to Pitts ford the following spring and planted crops. 
In 1769 Gideon Cooley brought his family here. 

In 1770 seven families arrived in town. Others came 
during the next few years, but the population did not in- 
crease rapidly until 1774. Some of the settlers came 
from Dutchess county, N. Y., but the greater part were 
from Connecticut and Massachusetts. 

Waltham — Although this town was not incorporated 
until 1796, preparations for settlement within its present 
limits were made in 1767 by a man named Barton, and 
by others, but they returned the same year to Connecti- 
cut. In 1768 Barton returned with his family. Being 
opposed by New York partisans and by Indians his house 
was burned and Barton was made a prisoner. Later he 
returned to Waltham and was joined by other settlers. 

The towns settled in 1768 included Andover, Bridport, 
Clarendon, Dorset, Grafton, Lunenburg, probably Straf- 
ford, and Wells. 

Andover — The first attempt at the settlement of 
Andover was made in 1768 by Shubail Geer and Amos 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 233 

Babcock. They did not remain in town long, and no 
further attempt at settlement was made until 1776. 

Bridport — Most of the original proprietors of Brid- 
port were residents of Massachusetts. Ephraim Doo- 
little was active in the early settlement of this town, as 
he was in that of several other towns. Before the end 
of the year 1768 Philip Stone came here from Groton, 
Mass., and made a home. About the same time two 
families settled under New York titles and three under 
New Hampshire titles. 

For a long time the Crown Point Military Road was 
the only road in this vicinity, Lake Champlain, however, 
furnished a natural highway both summer and winter. 
In times of need the settlers were able to obtain pro- 
visions from the garrison at Crown Point. 

Clarendon — The first settlement of Clarendon was 
begun in 1768 by Elkanah Cook, and he was joined by 
other pioneers during the same year. Most of the early 
settlers were from Rhode Island. Disputes with New 
York land claimants delayed the early settlement of the 
town. 

Dorset — The first settler in Dorset was Felix Powell, 
who came here in 1768, having emigrated to Pitts ford 
the previous year. Others came the same year, includ- 
ing Abraham Underbill, member of a family whose name 
appeared frequently among the proprietors of towns 
granted by Governor Wentworth. Another early set- 
tler was Cephas Kent, an inn keeper, whose tavern was 
to figure prominently in early Vermont history. 

Grafton — The family of a Mr. Hinkley, and two 
other families came into Grafton in 1768 and began a 



234 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

settlement, but it was abandoned, and not until 1780 was 
there a permanent settlement here. 

Lunenburg — Probably the first settlement of Lunen- 
burg was made as early as 1768, by Uriah Cross, Thomas 
Gaston and Ebenezer Rice, in the valley of the Connecti- 
cut River. The early settlers of the neighboring town 
of Guildhall came from Lunenburg, Mass., and sup- 
posed they were settling in the new town of Lunenburg. 
When this town was first settled, moose and deer were 
very plentiful, and salmon, some of them of great size, 
were taken with the spear at the head of Fifteen Mile 
Falls, in the Connecticut River. 

Strafford — The early proprietors' meetings of the 
town of StrafTord were held at Hebron, Conn. The first 
settlers appear to have been James Pennock and Peter 
Thomas, who came here in 1768. Several other persons 
settled here the same year. Within the next few years 
the number of inhabitants was considerably increased, 
some coming from Connecticut and others from New 
Hampshire. One of the pioneers was Frederick Smith 
of Colchester, Conn., who had been employed by several 
persons owning lands in the New Hampshire Grants to 
look after their interests and visit their property. 

WeIvIvS — Most, if not all, of the original proprietors 
of Wells were residents of Connecticut. The first set- 
tlement was made by Ogden Mallory in 1768. Daniel 
and Samuel Culver came into town in 1771 and moved 
their families here the following year. Most of the 
early settlers came from Massachusetts and Connecti- 
cut. 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 235 

During the year 1769 settlements were made in the 
towns of Cavendish, Ferrisburg, Landgrove, New 
Haven, Pomfret and Rutland. 

Cavendish — Some of the proprietors of Cavendish 
visited the town in 1762, and surveyed and allotted it. 
The first actual settlement was made in 1769 by Capt. 
John Cofifein, and other settlers came in 1771. Most of 
the early inhabitants emigrated from Massachusetts. 

Ferrisburg — A charter for the town of Ferrisburg 
was granted in 1762 by Gov. Benning Wentworth, appli- 
cation having been made by Benjamin Ferris. A sur- 
vey and division of lots was made for the proprietors 
by David and Benjamin Ferris, surveyors. The first 
settlement was made in 1769 at the first falls of Otter 
Creek, within the present limits of the city of Vergennes. 
The first settlement within the present limits of Ferris- 
burg was made by Charles Tupper, who came from Pitts- 
field, Mass., just before the beginning of the American 
Revolution. About the same time a man named Ferris 
began a settlement at Basin Harbor, on Lake Cham- 
plain. 

Landgrove — The first settlers in what is now the town 
of Landgrove were William Utley and family, who 
came from Ash ford, Conn., in 1769, and settled with- 
out obtaining any title to their lands. In coming to 
their new home it was necessary to cut a road for 
fourteen miles through the wilderness. For some time 
Mr. Utley brought provisions for his family from a Con- 
necticut River settlement thirty miles distant. In 1780 
the town of Landgrove was granted to William Utley 
and others. 



236 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

New Have:n — One of the townships for which John 
Everts of Salisbury, Conn., obtained a charter from 
Governor Wentworth, was New Haven, which he named 
in honor of New Haven, Conn. Few of the original 
proprietors became settlers, and some of the owners are 
said to have forfeited their holdings rather than pay 
their share of the incidental expenses which attended the 
surveying and allotting of a township. A few settlers 
came in 1769, among them being John Griswold and 
his five sons, and twelve other persons came the same 
year. The settlement of the town was hindered some- 
what by contests growing out of the claims of Colonel 
Reid under a New York grant. 

RuTivAND — A charter for the town of Rutland was 
secured by Col. Josiah Willard of Winchester, N. H., 
and the cost is said to have been about one hundred dol- 
lars. The town was laid out along the old Crown Point 
Road. The first grantee named in the charter was John 
Murray, called the principal citizen of Rutland, Mass., 
and he may have given the name to the new township. 
Most of the proprietors are said to have been residents 
of New Hampshire. 

James Mead and several other persons emigrated in 
1764 from Nine Partners, N. Y., a town adjoining Salis- 
bury, Conn., to Manchester, in the New Hampshire 
Grants. In the autumn of 1764 Mead bought twenty 
rights in the town of Rutland, and sold ten to Charles 
Button of Clarendon. Before winter he built a log 
house half a mile west of the present site of Center Rut- 
land, near the bank of West Creek. In March, 1770, 
Mead and his family, consisting of a wife and ten chil- 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 237 

dren, came to Rutland. The log hut had no roof and 
it was located too near the river for comfort at the time 
of the spring freshets. Nearby was a wigwam occupied 
by Indians, who generously granted its use to the new 
comers, and proceeded to build another shelter for them- 
selves. The Mead family occupied the wigwam until 
late in the year, when a substantial log house was erected. 
The Meads had an iron handmill, in which corn was 
ground into a rather coarse meal. At least four fami- 
lies had come into Rutland by the close of the year 1770 
and in 1773 the town contained thirty-five families. 

PoMF'RET — The charter of Pomfret was obtained from 
Governor Wentworth by Isaac Dana of Pomfret, Conn., 
in 1761. Most of the proprietors were friends and 
neighbors of Mr. Dana. In an attempt to secure settlers 
the proprietors voted to offer a generous bounty to the 
first ten of their number who would settle between March 
and November, 1762, but no proprietor took advantage 
of the offer. In 1769 several log cabins were built 
and clearings were made in this town. In 1770 a 
number of families came to Pomfret. Isaac Dana, the 
leader in securing the grant of the township, died before 
conditions warranted a settlement, but a son, two sons- 
in-law and a grandson became settlers, and they were 
the only grantees who came to Pomfret to reside. 
Bartholomew Durkee brought his family here from 
Pomfret, Conn., in March, 1770, the party coming on 
foot over a snowshoe path, drawing their furniture upon 
hand sleds. The settlement was largely increased during 
the first two years of its existence. The settlers came 
chiefly from northeastern Connecticut and southeastern 



238 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Massachusetts, the largest number coming from Wood- 
stock, Conn., and Bridgewater, Mass. 

The town of Barnet was settled in 1770, but the story 
of its settlement will be told in connection with that of 
Ryegate, with which it properly belongs, owing to the 
fact that both towns at first were settled chiefly by immi- 
grants from Scotland. 

The towns in which settlements were begun in 1771 
included Poultney, Royalton, Sandgate, and probably 
Whitingham. 

P0U1.TNEY — Most of the grantees of Poultney are 
said to have been residents of Litchfield county, Conn., 
and Berkshire county, Mass. The settlement of the 
town was begun in 1771 by Ebenezer Allen and Thomas 
Ashley, and several families came into the town before 
the year ended. Heber Allen, a brother of Ethan Allen, 
and one of the early settlers, was the first Town Clerk. 
Both Ethan and Ira Allen owned lands in this town. 
When Poultney was first settled the nearest mill was 
at Manchester, thirty miles distant, but a mill was erected 
soon at Pawlet, which shortened the distance nearly one- 
half for the Poultney settlers. It is related that one 
man living in Poultney carried one hundred pounds of 
iron on his shoulders to Manchester, exchanging it for 
meal, which he brought home in the same manner. 

Royalton — The town of Royalton was granted by 
New York to a group of men living in that province, 
who were largely interested in land speculation in what 
is now Vermont. The town was surveyed and allotted 
in 1770. The first settler was Robert Havens, who 
came from the neighboring town of Sharon in 1771. 



CONQUERINCx THE WILDERNESS 239 

Others came in 1772, and the population had increased 
considerably before the outbreak of the American Revo- 
lution. 

SandgaTe — The town of Sandgate was chartered by 
Governor Wentworth in 1761, but a settlement was not 
begun until 1771, a man named Bristol being the first 
settler. He was joined soon by Reuben Thomas, whose 
son was the first child born in Sandgate. 

Whitingham — This township was a New York 
grant, made to Col. Nathan Whitney and others. Prob- 
ably the first settlement ivas made in 1771, and the first 
settler was Reuben Bratlin, who brought his family from 
Colerain, Mass. The party drove a cow and carried 
their cooking utensils on their backs. A small iron 
kettle was used as a water pail, milk pail and for cook- 
ing purposes. It was necessary in the early days of 
Whitingham to go to Greenfield, Mass., to mill. One 
of the first settlers in town went to Greenfield on foot, 
bought a five-pail iron kettle and a half bushel of meal, 
both of which he brought home on his back, a distance 
of twenty miles, and all the food he had on his journey 
was a little meal mixed with water. 

The settlements begun in 1772 included Brandon, Col- 
chester, Maidstone and Reading. 

Brandon — The town of Brandon was chartered as 
Neshobe. Many "pitches," or selections of homesteads, 
were made before lots could be surveyed, the proprietors 
voting that "each man shall hold his lot by pitching 
until he can have opportunity to survey it." Only two 
of the original proprietors, Josiah and Benjamin Powers, 
settled in town. Amos Cutler came from Hampton, 



240 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Conn., in the autumn of 1772, made a clearing and built 
a cabin. In the spring of 1773 others came from Stam- 
ford, Conn., and before the beginning of the Revolution- 
ary War several persons arrived from Connecticut and 
Massachusetts towns. 

CoivCHESTER — The grantees of Colchester appear to 
have been chiefly residents of New York. In the 
autumn of 1772, Ira Allen and his cousin. Remember 
Baker, both destined to play important parts in the early 
history of Vermont, with five laborers, embarked at 
Skenesborough (now Whitehall, N. Y.) and rowed down 
Lake Champlain to the mouth of the Winooski River, 
which they ascended as far as the lower falls, in the 
town of Colchester. Here they found a New York sur- 
veying party, which they captured, and returned after 
receiving a pledge that the members of the party would 
depart and never return. 

After making some explorations and surveys, Baker 
and one man returned to Skenesborough, and presum- 
ably to Arlington, Baker's home. Allen and the other 
laborers continued their explorations until they found 
that they were short of provisions. They proceeded 
through the wilderness to Pittsford, a distance of about 
seventy miles, having but one dinner and three part- 
ridges on the way. The party reached Pittsford on the 
morning of the fourth day of the journey, being nearly 
starved. 

In the spring of 1773 Ira Allen and Baker returned 
to the falls of the Winooski, Baker bringing his family 
with him. A blockhouse of hewn timbers, two stories 
high, with thirty-two portholes, was constructed on the 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 241 

north side of the river, a few rods east of the present 
highway bridge between Winooski and BurHngton, and 
it was called Fort Frederick. A road was cut the same 
year from Colchester to Castleton, a distance of about 
seventy miles, by the Onion River Land Company, which 
was composed of Ethan, Heman, Ira and Zimri Allen 
and Remember Baker. The Aliens were brothers. The 
road proceeded in a direct line to Shelburne Falls, on the 
La Plotte River, and thence to the falls on Otter Creek 
at what is now known as Vergennes, and near this place 
the river was crossed. The company, it is said, pur- 
chased a good deal of land in that vicinity from the orig- 
inal proprietors. 

In the spring of 1774 a clearing was made around 
the fort in which Baker and his family resided, and 
other clearings were made below the falls. One of the 
early settlers, who came in 1775, was Joshua Stanton, 
one of the grantees of Weybridge. There was a clear- 
ing on the promontory known as Mallett's Head on the 
shore of Mallett's Bay, where a Frenchman named Mal- 
let resided. Nothing is known of his antecedents. He 
died in 1789 or 1790, an old man, and it is said the clear- 
ing around his house had the appearance of being very 
ancient. It is supposed that he had settled there when 
the French controlled Lake Champlain, and that he re- 
mained after his countrymen had withdrawn from the 
valley in 1759. His name is perpetuated by Mallett's 
Bay.^ 

Maidstone — The grantees of Maidstone were Con- 
necticut men, none of whom became settlers. Arthur 
and Thomas Wooster are called the first settlers, having 



242 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

come into the town in 1772, but it is claimed that a Mr. 
Marsdeen was here as early as 1770. Twelve settlers 
came into town prior to 1774, When the first settlers 
arrived the nearest mill, and the nearest place where 
provisions might be secured, was Haverhill, N. H., fifty 
miles to the south. The Connecticut River formed a 
natural highway and a bridle path marked by blazed 
trees, followed the valley. 

READING — The first settlement in Reading was begun 
in 1772 by Andrew Spear, who brought his family from 
Walpole, N. H., and for several years this was the only 
family in town. 

Settlements were begun in 1773 in Burlington, Lon- 
donderry, Peru, Ryegate, Wallingford, Whiting and 
Windham. 

Burlington — The names of the proprietors of Bur- 
lington appear to have been chiefly those of New York 
men, perhaps entirely so, with the exception of a few of 
Governor Wentworth's favorites, to be found at the end 
of almost every list of grantees attached to his charters. 
The town was surveyed by Ira Allen in 1772. The first 
settler was Felix Powell, who came here in 1773. He 
had been one of the earliest settlers in Pittsford, and 
the first settler in Dorset. In 1774 Powell bought a 
tract of land of Samuel Averill, one of the original pro- 
prietors, who lived in Litchfield county. Conn. This 
tract was in the vicinity of Appletree Point, and extended 
nearly to the Winooski River. A portion of the land 
on the point was cleared and a log house was erected. 
In 1774 land was purchased by settlers of Remember 
Baker and the Aliens, and during that year and the next 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 243 

clearings were made in the northern part of the town 
on the intervale, and opposite Allen and Baker's set- 
tlement in Colchester, near the lower falls of the Wi- 
nooski. These settlements were abandoned during the 
Revolutionary War. 

Londonderry — The first settlement in Londonderry 
was made in 1773 by settlers from New Hampshire, 
some of them coming from the township of London- 
derry, in that province. They were descendants of 
members of a Presbyterian colony which emigrated to 
America from the north of Ireland, about 1738. This 
township was chartered by New York in 1770, under 
the name of Kent, and later it was regranted by Ver- 
mont. 

PtRV — This town was chartered by Governor Went- 
worth under the name of Bromley. The first settlement 
was made in 1773 by William Barlow of Woodstock, 
Conn. Most of the early settlers were from the vicinity 
of Westminster, Mass. 

Wai^lingford — Capt. Eliakim Hall and others of 
Wallingford, Conn., secured a grant of this township in 
1761 and the town was surveyed in 1770 by Remember 
Baker and his assistants. They found a small clearing 
occupied by Ephraim Seeley, who supposed he was in 
Tinmouth. Abraham Jackson and family made the first 
legal settlement in 1773, coming from Cornwall, Conn. 
The town was settled slowly before the Revolutionary 
War. 

Whiting — At a proprietors' meeting, held at Wren- 
tham, Mass., in October, 1772, John Wilson of Upton, 
Mass., was authorized to make a survey of the town 



244 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

of Whiting, which he did before the end of the year. 
In the summer of 1773 Wilson and several others settled 
in the town. Probably not more than fifteen families 
came into Whiting before the beginning of the Ameri- 
can Revolution. Most of the early settlers came from 
Massachusetts and Rhode Island. 

Windham — Edward Aiken, Jonas McCormick and 
John Woodburn were the first settlers of Windham, 
coming into the township in 1773. Aiken was taken ill 
nine miles from the nearest neighbor. He was able to 
send a message to his wife at Londonderry, N. H., and 
taking her youngest child on horseback, she rode almost 
one hundred miles, much of the way through the wilder- 
ness, to reach her husband, whom she nursed back to 
health. Aiken returned to his New Hampshire home 
for the winter, but came back to Windham in the spring, 
accompanied by a son of ten and a daughter of twelve 
years. He left these children alone at his Windham 
cabin and was absent for six weeks, returning from Lon- 
donderry, N. H., with his family arid several other 
families which settled in the new township. 

TiNMOUTii — The exact date of the settlement of Tin- 
mouth is uncertain. The town was organized March 
8, 1774, and before that time a considerable number of 
inhabitants had built houses for themselves here. It 
is said by Thompson, in his sketch of the town, that the 
first settlement was made about 1770, and that Thomas 
Peck and John McNeal were among the first settlers. 

The settlements begun in 1774 included Barnard, 
Cornwall, Hinesburg, Jericho, Leicester, probably Mid- 
dletown, Monkton, Salisbury, and Williston. 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 245 

Barnard — Jonas Call came into Barnard in 1777, 
made a clearing, and left in the autumn. Several fami- 
lies came into town in 1775, and they are generally recog- 
nized as the first settlers. 

CoRNWALiy — Nearly all the original proprietors of 
Cornwall appear to have been residents of Litchfield 
county. Conn. The settlement was begun in 1774, 
fourteen "pitches" being made that year. Other settlers 
followed in 1775. As in most Vermont towns, the 
greater part of the settlers came from Massachusetts 
and Connecticut. Twenty-six years after the arrival of 
the first settler the town was fully settled. 

HiNESBURG — This town was named for Abel Hine, 
proprietors' clerk. Andrew Burritt was the only pro- 
prietor who became a resident of the town. A consider- 
able number of the grantees appear to have been New 
York men. Isaac Lawrence of Canaan, Conn., and Abner 
Chafifee came here before the American Revolution, 
probably in 1774 or 1775. On June 10, 1775, the pro- 
prietors voted Lawrence one hundred acres of land for 
labor performed by him and expense incurred in building 
roads. 

Jericho — The settlement of Jericho was begun in 
1774 by the families of Azariah Rood of Lanesboro, 
Mass., Roderick Messenger of Claverack, N. J., and 
Joseph Brown of Great Barrington, Mass. The settle- 
ment was broken up during the Revolutionary War. 

Leicester — The first settlement in Leicester was 
made as early as 1774, and possibly in 1773. Jeremiah 
Parker and Samuel Daniels of Massachusetts were the 
first men to bring their families here. They had fitted 



246 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

and tilled the land for two or three summers previous 
to this time. One of Parker's sons remained alone 
through the winter to care for the cattle, with no neigh- 
bors nearer than Middlebury and Pittsford. 

MiDDLETowN — This townsliip was not incorporated 
until 1784, but the first settlement within its present 
borders was made shortly before the American Revolu- 
tion, probably in 1774. Soon after this time mills were 
erected. 

MoNKTON — The original proprietors of Monkton 
appear to have been chiefly New York men. The town 
was settled in 1774 by Barnabas Barnum, John Bishop, 
John and Ebenezer Stearns, but was abandoned during 
the Revolutionary War. 

Salisbury — John Everts of Salisbury, Conn., was 
engaged by a number of persons in that town and vicin- 
ity to go to Portsmouth, N. H., and secure from Gov- 
ernor Wentworth charters for two townships in the New 
Hampshire Grants. The intention, it is said, was to 
locate these townships where Clarendon and Rutland are 
situated. This region having been granted a few days 
previous to Everts' application, and being acquainted 
with the Otter Creek valley as far north as the location 
of the present city of Vergennes, he decided to ask for 
the grant of three townships instead of two. As a re- 
sult of his application charters were secured for Salis- 
bury, Middlebury and New Haven. Probably Salisbury 
was named in honor of Everts' Connecticut home. 

In the spring of 1774 Josiah Graves and his son Jesse 
came here from Arlington, cleared a few acres of land, 
and built a log house. In the winter of 1775 the Graves 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 247 

family moved into town. Amos Story and his son Solo- 
mon came here from Rutland in September, 1 774, erected 
a small log house, and began the task of making a clear- 
ing. A few weeks after beginning his labors. Story was 
killed by a falling tree. Mrs. Story being a woman of 
remarkable force of character and great physical 
strength, decided to take up her husband's unfinished 
task. She could wield an axe as well as a man, and in 
the latter part of 1775 she moved to the log cabin in 
Salisbury built by her husband, being accompanied by 
her three sons and two daughters. Aided by her sons, 
she cleared land and raised crops. During the Revo- 
lutionary War her home was a place of frequent resort 
for friends of the American cause. 

WiivLiSTON — This town was named for Samuel Wil- 
lis, one of the grantees. Samuel Willis, Jr., was a 
Quaker of Hempstead, Long Island, in 1756. Presum- 
ably the father also was of this faith. The first set- 
tlers were Thomas Chittenden, destined to be the first 
Governor of Vermont, and Jonathan Spafford, both of 
Salisbury, Conn., who purchased a tract of land in the 
valley of the Winooski River, comprising, it is said, 
several thousand acres. Most of the early settlers of 
Williston came from Connecticut or western Massa- 
chusetts. The settlement was abandoned soon after the 
beginning of the American Revolution. 

The settlements begun in 1775 included Hubbardton, 
Peacham, Richmond and Weybridge. 

Hubbardton — This town was chartered to Thomas 
Hubbard and others. The Aliens made surveys in town 
and were large proprietors in the early period of the 



248 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

town's history. Samuel Churchill of Sheffield, Mass., 
bought three thousand acres of land in Hubbardton. 
This tract was surveyed in 1774 and in 1775 he moved 
his family here. 

Peacham — The first meetings of the proprietors of 
Peacham were held in Hadley, Mass., and it is probable 
that a majority of the original proprietors lived in Had- 
ley or its vicinity. Jonathan Elkins of Hampton, N. H., 
made a clearing in Peacham in 1775 or 1776, and a few 
other settlers probably came here just before the begin- 
ning of the Revolutionary War. 

Richmond — This town was not organized until 1794, 
but the settlement of the region included in the present 
town limits was begun in 1775 by Amos Brownson and 
John Chamberlain, with their families, in the VVinooski 
valley. The settlement was abandoned during the Revo- 
lutionary War. 

WeybridgK — The settlement of Weybridge was begun 
in 1775 by the families of Thomas San ford and Claudius 
Brittell. About the same time the families of David 
Stow and Justus Sturdevant came in boats up Otter 
Creek and settled on the south side of the stream, in a 
part of the town then in New Haven. 

OrwKll — This town was one in which New York 
men were the principal proprietors. John Carter 
lived here several years before the beginning of the 
American Revolution, and commenced a clearing in the 
vicinity of what was known later as Mount Independence. 
The exact date of settlement is unknown. 

Saint Albans — The first settler of St. Albans was 
Jesse Welden, a former resident of Salisbury, Conn., 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 249 

who came here from Sunderland. He settled on Ball 
or Bald Island in Lake Champlain in 1774, and after- 
ward located at St. Albans Bay. Three other men came 
here before the beginning of the American Revolution 
but the settlement was abandoned when hostilities 
began. 

Sudbury — A few settlers came into Sudbury before 
the beginning of the American Revolution, but the exact 
dates of settlement are unknown. 

BarnET — The first settlers in Barnet were three 
brothers, Daniel, Jacob and Elijah Hall, and Jonathan 
Hall, who came into this town in 1770, this being the 
first settlement within the present limits of Caledonia 
county. Enos and Willard Stevens of Charlestown, 
N. H., are said to have been the principal proprietors in 
1770. 

In the spring of 1774 Alexander Harvey and John 
Clark, agents of a company of farmers in the Scottish 
shires of Perth and Sterling, appointed to select and pur- 
chase a tract of land in America for settlement, sailed 
for New York, arriving at that port in July. From 
New York they proceeded to Albany, going from there 
to examine lands near Schenectady, but they were un- 
able to purchase in that locality as large a tract as they 
desired. Proceeding by way of Ballston, Saratoga, 
Salem and Cambridge, N. Y., they crossed the Green 
Mountains to Charlestown, N. H., and came by way of 
Newbury to Ryegate, half of which town had been pur- 
chased by a Scotch company, and arrived at Barnet 
August 27, 1774. 



250 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

The agents examined land in the southwest part of 
the town. Colonel Harvey's Journal recorded the fact 
that they found six or seven settlers in that portion of 
the town lying. in the Connecticut River valley, and a 
few more in the western part of the town. Returning 
by way of Albany to New York, they went to Philadel- 
phia, examined land in the Susquehanna and Schuylkill 
valleys, and returned to New York in October. There 
they found Samuel Stevens, representing the proprietors 
of Barnet. He had been employed by a land company 
to explore the country from the White River to the 
sources of the Winooski and Lamoille Rivers, in order 
to find the best land for settlement. The agents offered 
Stevens one shilling per acre. He demanded sixteen 
pence, and on November 8 they compromised on four- 
teen pence, purchasing a tract of seven thousand 
acres in the southeastern part of the town, paying 
£408, 6s, 8d. 

John Clark sailed for Scotland in December, 1774. 
Harvey bought tools and furniture for the company, 
hired some persons to work, and with five fellow coun- 
trymen he went to Hartford and New Haven, Conn., 
bought provisions, and the party came up the Connecti- 
cut valley to Barnet. Land was cleared and the next 
season crops were planted. Later five thousand acres 
in dift'erent parts of Barnet were added to the company's 
holdings. Harvey became a prominent man in Ver- 
mont, and a body of water was named Harvey's Lake, 
in his honor. 

Rye:gaTe: — "Of the ninety-five grantees of Ryegate 
not one became an actual settler, and in only one instance 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 251 

did a son of a grantee settle in the town," says F. P. 
Wells, in his '^History of Ryegate." The only one of 
the grantees who ever visited the town was Joseph 
Blanchard, an officer in the French and Indian War 
and a surveyor, whose name appears as a proprietor in 
the charters of twelve Vermont towns. 

Most of the grantees of Ryegate were merchants and 
business men, who lived near Portsmouth, N. H. All 
their rights were sold by Col. Israel Morey of Charles- 
town, N. H., to John Church of the same town for one 
thousand pounds, and Church sold the southern half of 
the township to Rev. John Witherspoon, D. D., presi- 
dent of Princeton College. In order to make his title 
perfectly secure, Mr. Church applied to the New York 
authorities for a charter, which was granted to nineteen 
men, all but two being residents of New York City. 
They conveyed their title to Mr. Church, receiving five 
pounds each for their services. 

Ryegate and Barnet are the only Vermont towns which 
were settled by colonies organized in other countries. 
In the days when Vermont was being settled, there was 
little opportunity for persons not connected with the 
aristocracy to acquire land in Scotland. Conditions of 
life were hard, and opportunities for betterment were 
few. Returning soldiers told of the new country they 
had seen in America, and they aroused a strong desire 
to seek this land of opportunity, where ownership of 
property was a possibility even for the humblest person. 
Many towns in Nova Scotia, New York, Pennsylvania 
and the South, were settled by associations or companies 
organized in Scotland, says Wells. 



252 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

On February 5, 1773, at Inchinnan, in Renfrewshire, 
Scotland, the Scotch-American Company was organized, 
its articles of government being signed by one hundred 
and thirty-seven persons. James Whitelaw and David 
Allan were chosen commissioners. Whitelaw was a 
young man, tw^enty-four years old, and an excellent sur- 
veyor. Allan was ten years his senior and was reputed 
to be a good judge of land values. 

The original manuscript of Whitelaw's Journal is the 
property of the Vermont Historical Society. From this 
record it appears that the two commissioners left home 
on March 19, 1773, and sailed from Greenock, March 
25. On May 24 they arrived at Philadelphia. It is re- 
lated that at the house where they stayed they acci- 
dentally met President Witherspoon of Princeton Col- 
lege, who informed them that he had a township of land 
called Ryegate, in the province of New York, on the Con- 
necticut River, which he w-as willing to sell if it w^as 
found suitable. Very properly he urged the commis- 
sioners to examine other tracts, and not to be too hasty 
in making a bargain, advice creditable to a clergyman 
and college president, who also possessed many of the 
qualifications of a shrewd business man, found more 
often in college presidents in modern times then in 
Doctor Witherspoon's day. 

After staying in Philadelphia for a few days, White- 
law and Allan proceeded to New York, and thence to 
Albany. From Albany they went to Schenectady and 
Johnstown, where Sir William Johnson had lands to 
sell. The next stage of the journey was through Sara- 
toga, to the valley of the Battenkill, with a stop at Man- 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 253 

Chester, Then following a trail, the Green Mountains 
were crossed to Chester and the journey continued to 
Charlestown, N. H. The next few days were devoted 
to a stop at Ryegate and to the examination of lands 
in that township. Mr. Whitelaw observed that all the 
way from Ryegate to Charlestown, a distance of seventy- 
two miles, the country was filled with new settlers. 

The commissioners returned to New York by way of 
the Connecticut valley, going thence to Philadelphia. 
In pursuance of their duty they visited southern Penn- 
sylvania, the Ohio country, Maryland, Virginia and 
North Carolina. After all this journeying they re- 
turned to Princeton and closed a trade with President 
Witherspoon for half the town of Ryegate. At New 
York arrangements were made to send a man with chests 
of tools and provisions to Hartford and thence to Rye- 
gate. Whitelaw and Allan left New York on October 
19 and arrived at Newbury on the first day of November. 
The southern part of the town fell to the Scotch-Ameri- 
can Company, and in recounting its advantages of good 
soil, good mill privileges, etc., Whitelaw added: "We 
are within six miles of a good Presbyterian meeting." 

Whitelaw's report to the company contained some 
observations which furnish an excellent word picture of 
conditions prevailing in the New Hampshire Grants just 
before the outbreak of the American Revolution. In 
the report he said : ''The ground here produces Indian 
corn, and all kinds of English grain to perfection, like- 
wise all garden vegetables in great plenty, and they 
have very promising orchards of excellent fruit. Many 
things grow here in the open fields, which the climate of 



254 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Scotland will not produce, such as melons, cucumbers, 
pumpkins and the like. Salmon and trout and a great 
many other kinds of fish are caught in plenty in the Con- 
necticut River. Sugar can be made here in abundance 
in March and April from the maple tree, which grows in 
great plenty. In short, no place which we have seen 
is better furnished with food and the necessaries of life, 
and even some of the luxuries, or where the people live 
more comfortable than here. 

''There is a good market of all the produce of the 
ground at the following prices: Wheat from 3/6 to 
4/6 (three shillings, sixpence, to four shillings, six- 
pence) the English bushel. Oats and Indian corn from 
1/6 to 2 shillings. Butter 6 d. the English pound. 
Cheese A^A d. Pork 4}4 d., all sterling money. The 
country produceth excellent flax, which sells when 
swingled from AYz to 6 d. the pound. Considering the 
newness of the country the people here are very pros- 
perous, and we think that any who come here, and are 
steady and industrious, may be in very comfortable cir- 
cumstances within a few years. Clearing land seems 
to be no great hardship as it is commonly done for from 
5 to 6 dollars per acre." 

The settlement of Ryegate began, according to the 
usual reckoning, with the taking possession of the 
southern portion of the town by Whitelaw and Allan, in 
November, 1773, although Aaron Hosmer and Daniel 
Hunt had lived in town some time without any title to 
the lands they occupied. John Hyndman had also set- 
tled there. 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 255 

Several recruits for the new colony arrived from 
Scotland in May, 1774. In August David Allan re- 
turned to Scotland, and on the first day of October, that 
year, several families arrived from overseas. It is 
thought that about forty emigrants from Scotland had 
arrived in Ryegate early in the year 1775. The out- 
break of the American Revolution naturally checked 
immigration, which promised to be sufficiently large 
to interfere with the cultivation of the lands of the 
Right Honorable Lord Blantyre of Renfrew, from 
among whose tenants many of the Scottish settlers of 
Ryegate came. 

The plans of the company for a city, with streets, 
squares and market places, a city in which land owners 
might reside while tenants cultivated their farms, was 
not found to be well adapted to the New England mode 
of life, and it was abandoned by force of necessity. 
This company continued to exist until the year 1820. 
James Whitelaw became Surveyor General of Vermont 
and a prominent man in public afifairs. The name of 
the county in which Barnet and Ryegate are situated 
was named Caledonia in recognition of the Scotch set- 
tlers of these towns, an element which still exists in 
family names and racial characteristics in Caledonia 
county. 

President Witherspoon invested quite extensively in 
Vermont lands, an investment which, it is said, eventu- 
ally resulted in financial loss. In 1774 he purchased 
six hundred acres of land in Ryegate for his oldest son, 
John, who came to this town, probably in 1775, and 
began to clear land. A little later he enlisted in the 



256 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

American army, served as aide on General Washing- 
ton's staff, and was killed in the battle of Germantown. 

Early in 1776 John Church sold to Doctor Wither- 
spoon twenty-eight lots in Ryegate, containing two 
thousand, seven hundred and sixty acres, and a little 
later sold five thousand, two hundred and twelve acres 
to John Pagan, a Glasgow merchant. Mr. Pagan 
owned eight hundred and thirty-three acres in Newbury 
and two thousand acres in Cavendish. Doctor Wither- 
spoon owned twelve thousand, fifty-seven acres in Nova 
Scotia. In 1792 he exchanged his Nova Scotia lands 
for the Pagan holdings in Vermont. President Wither- 
spoon visited Ryegate and Barnet several times, and 
officiated here in the capacity of clergyman. He was 
active in public affairs in New Jersey, and was one of 
the signers of the Declaration of Independence. 

Including the few towns in which settlements were 
begun before the outbreak of the French and Indian 
War, it appears from what has been set forth regard- 
ing the activities of the pioneers in the New Hampshire 
Grants, that in approximately ninety towns now included 
in the State of Vermont, attempts had been made at the 
beginning of the American Revolution to build houses 
and to clear farms. Some of these attempts were feeble, 
and the opening of hostilities threatening a recurrence 
of the old peril of attacks on outlying settlements, with 
Indian incursions a possibility, not only checked the de- 
velopment of the region, but also caused the abandon- 
ment of many townships on thefrontier. 

When the French and Indian War began, every foot 
of what is now Vermont either was on the frontier, or 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 257 

part of a wilderness lying beyond it. In 1775, the 
frontier line had been pushed forward, so that about 
one-third of the present State, measuring from the 
Massachusetts boundary line to the Canadian border, 
might have been included as a part of the settled com- 
munities of New England. 

Thompson, in his "History of Vermont," estimates 
that at the beginning of the American Revolution the 
population of the New Hampshire Grants was at least 
twenty thousand, and that approximately thirteen thou- 
sand persons had come into this region between the 
years 1771 and 1775, notwithstanding the fact that the 
controversy between the settlers and the New York 
authorities Had had a tendency to discourage emigra- 
tion. 

A study of the history of more than four score settle- 
ments made in the Green Mountain country before the 
revolt against British authority was begun by the 
American colonies, reveals a similarity of motives and 
methods that help the reader to form a mental picture 
of the conditions that prevailed during this pioneer 
period. For it was distinctly a pioneer period. There 
existed at that time a widespread desire to better in- 
dividual conditions, either by means of settling upon 
new lands or trafficking in them. It was a period of 
land speculation, and the records of the time show that 
the merchant, the lawyer, the doctor, the farmer, the 
clergyman, even "the butcher, the baker and the candle- 
stick maker," were interested in buying and selling lands. 

The Vermont settlers included a large class of people 
who loved the adventurous life of the wilderness, those 



258 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

who always saw something better and more alluring in 
the distance, those who found existing conditions un- 
profitable, and those who desired more land that they 
might provide homes for their children near their own 
dwellings. It was the old land hunger that drove men 
and women and little children into the Vermont wilder- 
ness, the same compelling force that has been such a 
powerful motive in the shaping of events in the world's 
history, and is still a most important factor in the affairs 
of men. 

The desire for greater religious freedom may have 
brought some pioneers into this new country, but it does 
not appear to have been one of the great motives that 
actuated most of the early Vermont settlers. These 
first Vermonters were a strong and vigorous people. By 
a natural process of selection only those fitted to battle 
with the wilderness, enlisted in this warfare. As a rule 
the pioneers possessed good health and the power of 
thinking clearly and honestly. They feared God, and 
little else. They were ambitious, courageous and re- 
sourceful. W. S. Rossiter, formerly an official of the 
United States Census Bureau, who has made a careful 
study of this pioneer period, has said: "It is probable 
that no State in the Union was settled by choicer immi- 
gration than that which passed up the Connecticut River 
to the Green Mountains. Early immigration to the 
colonies from England brought many persons, who, 
although of excellent British stock, has passed through 
a long period of privation, anxiety or bereavement. In 
a large proportion of cases, their presence in the New 
World was due to political or religious persecution. In 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 259 

some respects such colonists could not be regarded as 
ideal pioneers. A large proportion, indeed, was un- 
accustomed to manual labor. The settlers of Vermont, 
on the contrary, were all acclimated, hardy, accustomed 
from childhood to the use of axe and gun, eager, and 
full of ambitious purpose to found homes and com- 
munities of their own. They were all of the same stock; 
they possessed the same ideals; they were animated by 
the same purpose. Of 85,072 population reported at 
the census of 1790 (taken in Vermont in 1791), approxi- 
mately 81,200 were of English origin and 2,600 Scotch. 
These two elements thus comprised more than 98 per- 
cent of the total population of the State at that period. 

"It is not remarkable, therefore, that Vermont has 
contributed an extraordinary proportion of the dis- 
tinguished men of the United States, and to the upbuild- 
ing and prosperity of innumerable communities through- 
out the country. To the unusual quality of the original 
settlers and their early trials and high ideals, is in a 
large measure due the influence exerted by the State in 
national councils disproportionate to her own moderate 
interests in the national welfare." 

Although the grants of land under which most of 
the Vermont towns were settled were made by Gov- 
ernor Wentworth of New Hampshire, a large propor- 
tion of the grantees were residents of Connecticut and 
Massachusetts, some of them, however, being inhabitants 
of New York and New Hampshire. Practically the 
same statement can be made concerning the early set- 
tlers in Vermont. Connecticut contributed more pio- 
neers than any other province, and Massachusetts ranked 



2G0 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

second, but there were some settlers from New York, 
New Hampshire and Rhode Island. 

The greater part of the Massachusetts settlers appear 
to have come from the Connecticut River valley and 
Berkshire county. A considerable number of the New- 
York settlers, and some of the grantees, were residents 
of, or lived in the vicinity of the narrow strip known as 
The Oblong, which had been ceded to New York by 
Connecticut, but continued to be closely affiliated with 
New England people and in sympathy with New Eng- 
land ideas. 

It is asserted in a work entitled "Connecticut as a 
Colony and a State," that "by the middle of the eighteenth 
century Connecticut had begun to feel over populated." 
Not only was there a strong movement toward the New 
Hampshire Grants, but also toward the lands farther 
west, which were held under grants made by the Con- 
necticut charter. It is a fact not to be overlooked, how- 
ever, that in the northwestern section of the province, 
which was the most recently settled, the interest seemed 
to exceed that in any other portion of Connecticut. 
Salisbury, from which town there emigrated so many 
persons, including a number of men afterward famous 
as Vermont leaders, had been settled only a few years. 
The pioneer spirit, however, seemed to be in the blood 
of this people. 

The preponderance of Connecticut influence stands out 
clearly as one of the most striking characteristics of 
early Vermont history. From Connecticut, more than 
from any other source, were obtained laws, customs, the 
idea of the town unit of civil organization, devotion to 




Gov. Benning Wentworth 
of New Hampshire 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 261 

the cause of education, a deep religious sentiment, the 
spirit of industry and thrift, — all those qualities and 
virtues which unite to make the typical New Englander, 

In the brief sketches of towns settled before the begin- 
ning of the American Revolution some incidents have 
been related, showing the hardships endured by the Ver- 
mont pioneers. It was not a light task, thus to trans- 
form a wilderness into a region of settled and well 
ordered communities, a land of cultivated farms and 
pleasant villages, with roads and schools and churches 
and most of the blessings of civilization. 

It is not to be supposed that these pioneers came into 
the New Hampshire Grants ignorant of the dangers and 
discomforts they were to face. They were willing to 
endure hardship in order to establish homes and acquire 
property on easier financial terms than could be obtained 
in the older colonies. Probably a large proportion of 
the settlers bettered their conditions by coming into the 
new country, and hundreds of them lived to see the un- 
broken forest transformed into a land of peace and 
plenty, much like the old homes they had left in southern 
New England. 

Some of the methods and customs of the early set- 
tlers in Vermont may not be lacking in interest. The 
first task of the pioneer was the construction of some 
kind of shelter, for wild beasts were plentiful. This 
shelter may have been a rude lean-to with only a blanket 
for a door, and with a hole in the roof to permit the 
smoke to escape. More often, probably, a small house 
of unhewn logs was constructed and perhaps occupied 
before completion, the open spaces between the logs 



262 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

being filled with clay and mud, and the roof and gable 
ends often were made of elm bark or rived splints 
through which the storms would beat. At one end a 
rough stone fireplace was built, which would take in 
logs four feet in length. There may have been a door 
of hewn slabs and probably there were two small win- 
dows, possibly filled with oiled paper. The floor often 
was made of hewn logs, for sawmills did not precede, 
but followed in the wake of civilization. Sometimes 
there was no floor but the earth, and, of course, no 
cellar. 

Log houses with only a back of stone for a fireplace 
were likely often to be filled with smoke. Chimneys 
were built of split sticks, cob house fashion, and plas- 
tered inside with clay. It was diflicult to make a split- 
log floor level, as may be imagined, and one side of the 
table was likely to be higher than the other. This diffi- 
culty, however, could be remedied easily by putting a 
chip under one edge of the porridge dish. Wooden 
benches sometimes sufficed for seats. Many early set- 
tlers made tables, bedsteads and chairs with no tools but 
an axe and an auger. By force of necessity men were 
compelled to make many utensils such as ox-bows, whip 
stocks, axe helves^ rude carts and sleds, sometimes 
wooden plows and many other articles used on the farm 
or in the household. A little later, when conditions of 
life had become more like those of settled communities, 
if a farmer wanted a plow, he would carry a bar of 
iron to the blacksmith for the share, and the rest would 
be made at home. The same rule applied to axes, hoes, 
scythes, pitchforks, etc. 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 263 

After a shelter was constructed a clearing must be 
made for the planting of a few crops between the 
stumps. Corn was one of the staple crops, and beans, 
pumpkins, turnips and parsnips were grown in consider- 
able quantities. A few potatoes were raised and wheat, 
barley and buckwheat were grown. As soon as possible 
the settler secured a cow and a pig. In some instances 
calves were not entirely weaned until autumn in order 
that their bleating might draw the cows home at night. 
Apple seeds were planted and soon orchards grew. 

Samp and Indian meal mush in milk were common 
articles of diet. It was often necessary at first to travel 
long distances in order to get the corn ground, perhaps 
forty or fifty miles, either on horseback or on foot. To 
save these long journeys the pioneers sometimes made 
use of w^hat was called a plumping mill. These mills 
were very crude affairs. A hole was burned in a stump, 
a weight was attached to a sapling, the shelled corn was 
placed in the hollow of the stump, and the spring of the 
sapling helped the operator in crushing the corn into 
some semblance of samp or meal. Stone ovens were 
constructed, often separate from the house. Oven wood, 
small sticks split into thin pieces, were burned in the 
oven until it was thoroughly heated, then the coals were 
removed with a "fireslice," the oven swept with an "oven 
broom," and the loaves of brown bread were placed on 
the hot stones with a kind of wooden shovel. The seeds 
were taken out of pumpkins w-hich were partly filled 
with new milk, and then they were baked six or eight 
hours in the oven; the baked pumpkin was eaten with 
milk. The rivers swarmed with fish, and wild game 



264 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

was abundant. Wooden plates were used at first and 
later pewter dishes and Queen's ware came into use. 

Starvation was not far removed in the very early 
pioneer days, and in more than one family children have 
gone to bed at night crying for lack of food. One family 
lived almost an entire season on ground nuts. One set- 
tler eked out the food supply with clams, turtles and 
woodchucks. Boiled wheat was used when other sup- 
plies failed. In emergencies roots and herbs were re- 
sorted to. In one family of eight, breakfasts were milk 
with a little bread; dinners consisted of boiled herbs; 
and for supper a large bowl of milk, containing about 
three quarts, sweetened with maple sugar, was passed 
around, each taking a sip. Mills ground slowly and 
sometimes a boy would be sent to mill on horseback with 
bags of grain, and leaving them would take another load 
the second day, getting the first day's grist. Tea and 
coffee were almost unknown, and corn, bean and barley 
broths were much used. Even after the country was 
settled and churches were built, people sometimes car- 
ried cold boiled potatoes for lunch between the first and 
second Sunday services. 

The tallow candle was used for light. Fire was kept 
by burying brands in the ashes, covering the fire up, 
it was called. If the fire went out, flint and steel were 
resorted to, sparks being struck over decayed wood that 
would kindle easily. Often persons were obliged to 
go long distances to borrow fire. Even in our own day 
old people have been heard to ask a person travelling in 
haste if he were going for fire, an expression handed 
down from pioneer days. 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 265 

As soon as farms were cleared and a regular system 
of agriculture could be established, sheep were kept for 
the wool they provided, and flax was raised in consider- 
able quantities. Tow cloth, or linen, was spun and 
w^oven into summer garments, and wool was carded and 
yarn was spun and woven into heavier cloth. Carpets 
were woven and women even made chairs and baskets. 
Not many sheep were kept at first, owing to the number 
of wolves in the nearby forests. Black and white wool, 
mixed, woven double, made clothing that would stand 
hard wear in the thickets and was warm enough for 
any weather. Butternut bark and sumac berries were 
used for dyeing. Overcoats were seldom worn. Women 
worked at weaving for fifty cents a week. Calico cost 
fifty cents a yard and six yards constituted a dress 
pattern. 

Some children, in the early days, went barefooted all 
winter. A flank of a hide sometimes was used like a 
moccasin. Boys often wore leggings instead of boots. 
A pair of boots sometimes would last a man for years. 
In summer both men and women have been known to 
carry their shoes as far as the meeting house door on 
Sunday before putting them on. 

Contracts were made and notes given payable October 
first in neat cattle, or in grain payable the first day of 
January. Perhaps a few hundred dollars' worth of 
cattle, passing from one individual to another, would 
pay debts amounting to several thousand dollars. 

The manufacture of "salts" was an important item 
with the early settlers. This product was made by 
burning to ashes hardwood trees, then an incumbrance 



266 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

to be rid of, and boiling the lye from these ashes to 
such a consistency that when cold the product might 
be carried in a basket. In this condition the "salts" 
were sold to manufacturers of pearlash, an important 
source of potassium compounds, used in making soap, 
glass, etc. The market value ranged from three to five 
and one-half dollars per hundred pounds, and this was 
one of the few products that could be sold for cash, at 
a time when barter was the ordinary medium of trade. 
Much of this product was exported to England. Many 
a family has been saved from great suffering if not 
from actual starvation by the sale of "salts." 

For the first frame barn in Hubbardton, boards were 
drawn twelve and one-half miles on an ox-sled and the 
nails used were picked up on the site of burned buildings 
at Fort Ticonderoga. The shingles on the first shingled 
house in the town of Halifax were attached with wooden 
pegs. -^ 

Thus, in the space of a few decades, through great 
tribulation, was wrought the transformation from a 
region where savages had hunted and fished from time 
immemorial, to a well established, prosperous State. 
With a few omissions the summary of Saint Paul's de- 
fence, made to the Corinthian Church, may be applied 
to the pioneer settlers of Vermont : 'Tn perils of waters, 
in perils by the heathen, in perils of the wilderness, 
* * * in weariness and pain fulness, in watchings 
often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold 
and nakedness." 

If much emphasis is placed upon the hardships en- 
dured by the Vermont pioneers, it is not for the purpose 



CONQUERING THE WILDERNESS 267 

of picturing lives that were lived altogether in an atmos- 
phere of gloom and misery. Human nature is much the 
same, "yesterday, today and forever." It was natural 
that young manhood and young womanhood, blessed 
with health and strength and courage, should view the 
future through optimistic eyes. There is a joy in con- 
quest, whether it be the conquest of a kingdom or a few 
acres of the wilderness. There is a keen delight in the 
building of a home, whether that home be a cabin or a 
castle. Thus, in the joys of home buildjng, in the win- 
ning of farms from the forest, and in the anticipation 
of better days in the future, some compensation was 
found for the hardships and perils endured. Amid such 
conditions was bred a race of men which has done 
effective work in every State of the Union north of 
Mason and Dixon's Line and west of Lake Champlain. 



Chapter X 
A QUESTION OF OWNERSHIP 



FOR practically a quarter of a century, beginning 
soon after the earliest settlements in what is now 
the State of Vermont were commenced, and con- 
tinuing until Vermont's admission to the Federal Union, 
a bitter controversy, at times attaining the proportions 
of border warfare, was waged over the question of own- 
ership between holders of titles to lands in the region 
known as New Hampshire Grants, issued by Governor 
Wentworth, and those holding grants to the same lands, 
issued by the provincial Government of New York. 

The controversy was most active in the western por- 
tion of this region, near the New York border, in the 
present counties of Bennington, Rutland and Addison. 

With few exceptions the early settlers held land titles 
based on the grants made by Governor Wentworth. 
They had purchased these lands in good faith, for the 
purpose of establishing homes. After paying fees, 
buying land, and undergoing the hardships incident 
to subduing the wilderness, settlers holding New Hamp- 
shire titles, in their poverty were asked, in effect, to buy 
again the lands they had improved, and made valuable, 
paying much larger fees, often to land speculators and 
favored officials. This New York policy of refusing to 
recognize the validity of the Wentworth grants was 
considered rank injustice, and aroused the fighting spirit 
of these sturdy New England pioneers. 

For the beginning of this controversy it is necessary 
to go back to the granting of Bennington, Governor 
Wentworth's first township in the disputed territory, the 
charter for which was issued June 11, 1749. On 
November 17, of the same year. Governor Wentworth 



272 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

wrote to Governor Clinton of New York, alluding to 
the command of the King, directing the Governor to 
make grants of unimproved lands within his government 
*'to such of the inhabitants and others as shall apply 
for grants for the same, as will oblige themselves to 
settle and improve, agreeable to His Majesty's instruc- 
tions." 

In his letter Governor Wentworth declared: "People 
are daily applying for grants of land in all quarters of 
this government, and particularly some for townships 
to be laid out in the western part thereof, which will 
fall in the neighborhood of your government. I think 
it my duty to apprise you thereof, and to transmit to 
Your Excellency the description of New Hampshire, as 
the King has determined it in the words of my commis- 
sion, which, after you have considered, I shall be glad 
you will be pleased to give me your sentiments in that 
manner it will affect the grants made by you or preced- 
ing Governors, it being my intention to avoid as much 
as I can consistent with His Majesty's instructions, in- 
terfering with your government." 

Governor Wentworth then asked how far the Gov- 
ernment of New York extended north of Albany, and to 
the eastward of Hudson River, north of the Massa- 
chusetts line. He enclosed a copy of his commission, 
which indicated that the western boundary of New 
Hampshire was rather indefinite, as the province ex- 
tended west, to quote from the charter, "till it meets 
with our other governments." 

The New York Council advised the Governor on April 
3, 1750, to acquaint Governor Wentworth with the fact 



A QUESTION OF OWNERSHIP 273 

"that this province is bounded eastward by Connecti- 
cut River, h: * * ^j^g letters patent from King 
Charles the Second to the Duke of York expressly grant- 
ing all lands from the west side of Connecticut River to 
the east side of Delaware Bay." 

Governor Wentworth replied in a letter dated April 
25, 1750, saying in substance that the establishment of 
the Connecticut River as the eastern boundary of New 
York would be entirely agreeable to him, "had not the 
two charter governments of Connecticut and the Massa- 
chusetts Bay extended their bounds many miles to the 
westward of said river." To this he added, very per- 
tinently, the opinion of the Council that New Hampshire 
had an equal right to the same western boundaries. In 
closing he expressed his desire not to encroach on any 
other governments, asked by what authority Connecticut 
and Massachusetts claimed "so far to the westward as 
they have settled, and declared his purpose to desist 
meantime from making any further grants on the west- 
ern frontier likely to interfere with the New York gov- 
ernment. 

Governor Clinton's reply, dated June 6, 1750, was to 
the effect that Connecticut's western boundary was 
established as the result of an agreement between the 
province and New York, made on or about the year 
1684, and confirmed later by King William, the bound- 
aries being marked in 1725. As to the Massachusetts 
boundary. Governor Clinton wrote : "It is presumed the 
Massachusetts government at first possessed themselves 
of those lands by intrusion, and thro the negligence 
of this government have hitherto continued their posses- 



274 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

sion the lands being private property." Governor 
Clinton added the suggestion that Governor Wentworth 
recall the grant made of the town of Bennington, say- 
ing there was reason to apprehend that these lands, or 
part of them, had been granted previously by New York. 

Governor Wentworth responded on June 22 of the 
same year, saying that the Council members were unani- 
mously of the opinion that it was unwise to commence 
a boundary dispute with New York until the opinion of 
the King should be obtained. Governor Wentworth an- 
nounced his intention to submit the matter to His 
Majesty, and suggested that Governor Clinton follow a 
similar course. Referring to the suggestion that the 
grant of Bennington should be revoked, he added: 
''There is no possibility of vacating the grant as you 
desire, but if it falls by His Majesty's determination in 
the government of New York, it will be void of course. 
Both Governors thereupon agreed to submit the matter 
of the disputed boundary to the King, and to furnish 
copies of their statements to each other. 

In a collection of New York documents of this period, 
relating to the land controversy between New Hampshire 
and New York, may be found a report of Attorney Gen- 
eral Richard Bradley of the latter province, made to 
Governor Clinton, bearing no date, but evidently sub- 
mitted during the latter part of the year 1750, or the 
early part of the year 1751. In this report it is urged 
that it would be unjust to use the western boundary of 
Connecticut as an argument for a similar line north of 
that province, because that boundary was the result of a 
special agreement. At considerable length he argues 



A QUESTION OF OWNERSHIP 275 

that it is "extremely absurd" for Massachusetts to con- 
tend that its charter extends the western boundary of 
that province to within twenty miles of the Hudson 
River. 

All that he had to say regarding the very obvious fact 
that the western boundary of Massachusetts was practi- 
cally an extension to the northward of that of Con- 
necticut, was that Massachusetts had intruded upon and 
taken possession of such lands west of the Connecticut 
River, ''without pretence of right." 

To this report Surveyor General Cadwallader Colden 
added some observations, dated October 14, 1751, includ- 
ing the very practical suggestion that if the King would 
assert his right to the lands as far east as the Con- 
necticut River "against the intrusions of Massachusetts 
Bay it would greatly increase his revenue arising from 
the quit rent of lands." In Governor Wentworth's letter 
to the British Lords of Trade he based the claim of New 
Hampshire to a western boundary which should be the 
twenty-mile line east of the Hudson River, upon the fact 
that the provinces of Connecticut and Massachusetts 
already had established such limits. 

A committee of the New York Council, on November 
14, 1753, made a report to Lieutenant Governor James 
Delancey on the eastern boundary of the province, re- 
hearsing the various stages of the controversy with 
New Hampshire. The New York claim was based upon 
the grant made by the Duke of York to Charles the 
Second, in 1664, which included "all the Land from the 
West side of Connecticut River to the East Side of 
Delaware Bay." As to the claim that New Hampshire 



276 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

had as good a right to extend its western boundary as 
far as the western boundaries of Connecticut and Massa- 
chusetts, the Council disposed of this rather forceful 
argument by declaring: "We apprehend that no good 
title can be within His Majesty's dominions but under 
valid grants of the crown, and know of no valid grant 
that Massachusetts have to any soil or jurisdiction west 
of Connecticut River. We are further of opinion that 
the intrusions of the Massachusetts Bay within this 
province could be no good reason for Governor Went- 
worth to commit the like." By vote of the Council, 
taken December 6, 1753, this committee report was 
ordered to be transmitted to the British authorities. 

For practically a decade following the transmission 
of these reports to the British government by the Gov- 
ernors of New Hampshire and New York, the matter of 
the disputed boundary appears to have received scant 
attention. This was due in part, no doubt, to the over- 
shadowing importance of the French and Indian War; 
but there appears to have been no very vigorous protest 
on the part of New York while Governor Wentworth 
was granting townships by the score in the disputed 
territory during the two or three years immediately fol- 
lowing the close of the war. 

The matter of the boundary dispute between New 
York and New Hampshire was treated very fully by the 
late Hiland Hall in his "Early History of Vermont." 
He called attention to the indefinite limits of the grant 
made to the Duke of York on March 12, 1664. If it 
had been intended to convey to the King's brother all 
the territory from the source to the mouth of the Con- 



A QUESTION OF OWNERSHIP 277 

necticut River, extending to and including the full length 
of Delaware Bay, then it would have comprised a con- 
siderable region already granted to others by the King, 
for the charters granted to Connecticut and Massa- 
chusetts extended the limits of those provinces westward 
to the Pacific Ocean. 

For nearly a century after the settlement of the bound- 
ary between New York and Connecticut, the northern 
boundary of New York was undefined, and it was not 
until 1763 that the forty-fifth parallel of latitude, ex- 
tending from the St. Lawrence River across Lake 
Champlain to the Connecticut River, was declared to be 
the southern boundary of Canada. Until the boundary 
between New Hampshire and Massachusetts was estab- 
lished in 1740, it had been considered that the northern 
boundary of the latter province, like that of New York, 
extended north to the very indefinite limits of Canada. 

In writing other Colonial Governors for aid against 
the French and Indians, Governor Sloughter of New 
York said: "I doubt not that you are very sensible of 
the many branches that have been copped ofif from the 
government in the last reigns, and that it is now con- 
fined to great narrowness, having only Hudson's River 
and Long Island for the bounds." In 1720 a series of 
questions was addressed by the Lords of Trade and 
Plantations to Robert Hunter, Governor of New York 
from 1710 to 1719, including a request for a statement 
of the reputed boundaries of the province. In his reply, 
he said, in part : "Its boundaries, east, a parallel twenty 
miles distant from Hudson's River." 



278 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Cadwallader Colden was more active, probably, than 
any other New York official in the attempt to secure the 
New Hampshire Grants as a part of the province, and 
choice portions of this territory as the property of New 
York citizens; and yet, when Surveyor General Cad- 
wallader Colden, in 1738, was called upon to name the 
boundaries of New York, he made no mention of the 
Connecticut River. 

When the boundary line between the provinces of 
New Hampshire and Massachusetts was established in 
1740 by royal decree, it was found that Fort Dummer, 
on the west side of the Connecticut River, which had 
been built and maintained by the government of Massa- 
chusetts, was in the province of New Hampshire. The 
Governor of Massachusetts complained that it was un- 
just that the government of his province should be com- 
pelled to maintain a fort that was situated within the 
jurisdiction of another province. An order of the King 
in Council followed, directing New Hampshire to garri- 
son and maintain it, under penalty of forfeiting the fort 
and the surrounding district to Massachusetts. New 
Hampshire failed to comply with this order, and Massa- 
chusetts felt under the necessity of maintaining Fort 
Dummer for the protection of its citizens. The subject 
being brought before the British Board of Trade, the 
governmental department having charge of Colonial 
matters, it was ordered that New Hampshire should re- 
imburse Massachusetts for the maintenance of the fort. 
Nothing can be clearer than that His Majesty's ministers 
were not aware that the Connecticut River formed the 
boundary between New York and New Hampshire. 



A QUESTION OF OWNERSHIP 279 

A question having arisen in 1752 relative to the legal 
effect of the boundary decision between Massachusetts 
and New Hampshire upon the so-called "Equivalent 
Lands," situated upon the west bank of the Connecticut 
River, it was referred by the Crown to the Attorney 
General, Sir Dudley Ryder, and to Solicitor General 
Murray, better known in later years as the famous Lord 
Mansfield, one of the greatest of English jurists. These 
eminent lawyers decided that this region, as a result of 
the boundary decision, "is become a part of New Hamp- 
shire." It would be absurd to argue that these officials 
of the Crown did not know the nature of the grant made 
to the Duke of York. This decision was made after 
Governor Wentworth had appealed to the British 
authorities for a settlement of the boundary dispute with 
New York, and after claims were made by Acting Gov- 
ernor Colden and his Attorney General based upon the 
assertion that the Connecticut River formed the eastern 
boundary of New York. 

The Lords of Trade, in recommending to the King, 
on May 25, 1757, the establishment of a line twenty 
miles from the Hudson as the boundary between New 
York and Massachusetts, described it as running in a 
northerly direction to a point twenty miles east of the 
Hudson River "on that line which divides the province 
of New Hampshire and the Massachusetts Bay." Lieu- 
tenant Governor Delancey, writing to the British Board 
of Trade, described this proposed boundary line as reach- 
ing northerly to the line of New Hampshire. 

Cadwallader Colden, who had become acting Governor 
of New York upon the death of Lieutenant Governor 



280 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Delancey, was succeeded in February, 1761, by Gov- 
ernor Monckton. Just prior to the departure of Gov- 
ernor Monckton for England on June 25, 1763, a com- 
mittee of five members of the provincial Council, includ- 
ing Judge Horsmaden, Oliver Delancey and Lord Stir- 
ling, made a report to the Governor on the boundaries 
of the province, which contained the following signifi- 
cant statement: "We are humbly of opinion that it will 
not be inconvenient to either province if His Majesty 
should be pleased to order that some line which shall 
be established as the division between them and the 
province of Massachusetts Bay be continued on the same 
course as far as the most northerly extent of either 
province, with a saving to the inhabitants of New York 
of such lands as are held by grants under the great seal 
of the province eastward of Hudson's River beyond 
the distance of twenty miles, etc." 

The Council considered that the twenty-mile line 
"would be an equitable boundary," between New York 
and New Hampshire and advised Governor Monckton 
that it would be proper to agree to such a line in order 
to prevent further tumults and controversies on the 
border. It is clear, therefore, that the New York offi- 
cials were by no means unanimous in supporting Gov- 
ernor Colden's position. 

With the departure of Governor Monckton for Eng- 
land, Lieutenant Governor Colden again became acting 
Governor, and he took occasion very soon to combat the 
ideas embodied in the report of the Council to his prede- 
cessor relative to the boundary line between the prov- 
inces of New York and New Hampshire. In a letter 




c^ 



u 



A QUESTION OF OWNERSHIP 281 

addressed to the British Lords of Trade, dated Septem- 
ber 26, 1763, Governor Golden maintained that an exten- 
sion of the western boundary hne of Gonnecticut could 
not be adopted rightfully by Massachusetts. 

In his letter Golden complained that "the Governor 
of New Hampshire continues to grant lands far to the 
westward of Gonnecticut River to numbers of people 
who make a job of them by selling shares in the neigh- 
boring colonies, and have even attempted it in the Gity 
of New York, and perhaps with success. The quit 
rents in New Hampshire, as I am informed, are much 
lower than in New York, and this is made use of as an 
inducement to purchase under New Hampshire rather 
than settle under New York Grants." 

This is a significant admission, and the writer pro- 
duced another argument, supposed to have an important 
bearing on the matter of revenues, when he said: "If 
all the lands in the province of New York, from 20 miles 
of Hudson's River to Gonnecticut River, were given up, 
the crown would be deprived of a quit rent, amounting 
yearly to a large sum, in my opinion greater than the 
amount of all the quit rents of the whole that would re- 
main and is now received." The amount of quit rents 
received by New York from lands now included in the 
State of Vermont must have existed in anticipation when 
this letter was written, as it was not until May 21, 1765, 
that Governor Golden issued his first patent for lands 
within the present limits of the State. 

Near the close of his letter the New York executive 
embodied a paragraph, the importance of which cannot 
well be over-estimated in the light of subsequent events, 



282 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

in which he said: "The New England Governments 
are formed in republican principles and these principles 
are zealously inculcated on their youth, in opposition to 
the principles of the Constitution of Great Britain. The 
government of New York, on the contrary, is established 
as nearly as may be, after the model of the English Con- 
stitution. Can it then be good policy to diminish the 
extent of jurisdiction in His Majesty's province of New 
York, to extend the power and influence of the others ?" 

It_should be remembered in considering the influence 
of the foregoing letter of Governor Colden, that William 
Pitt had recently retired as Prime Minister after accom- 
plishing a notable series of events which constitute one 
of the most brilliant chapters in English history; and 
that his ministry had been succeeded by a cabinet com- 
posed of men of a much less liberal type, like the Duke 
of Newcastle, the Earl of Bute and George Grenville. 
It is altogether likely that Governor Colden's comparison 
between the spirit of New York and that of New Eng- 
land had much more to do with the decision of the dis- 
puted boundary line than did the ancient grant to the 
Duke of York. 

Governor Colden issued a proclamation on December 
28, 1763, "Commanding and requiring all judges, jus- 
tices, and other civil officers within the same (province 
of New York) to continue to exercise their respective 
functions as far as the banks of Connecticut River, the 
undoubted eastern limits of that part of the province 
of New York, notwithstanding any contrariety of juris- 
diction claimed by the government of New Hampshire, 
or any grants of land westward of that river made by 



A QUESTION OF OWNERSHIP 283 

said government." To this he added the injunction: 
"And I do hereby enjoin the High Sheriff of the county 
of Albany, to return to me or the commander-in-chief, 
the names of all and every person and persons, who 
under the grants of the government of New Hampshire, 
do or shall hold the possession of any lands westward of 
Connecticut River, that they may be proceeded against 
according to law." 

Following this proclamation. Governor Golden wrote 
the British Board of Trade, on January 20, 1764, 
elaborating his previous arguments, so often advanced, 
relative to the western boundaries of Gonnecticut and 
Massachusetts. He expressed his surprise that New 
Hampshire had made a large number of grants in the 
disputed territory after the matter had been submitted 
to the British authorities for adjustment, and remarked 
that these grants "had probably been still concealed from 
the knowledge of this government, had not the grantees 
or persons employed by them travelled thro all parts of 
this, and in the neighboring province of New Jersey, 
publicly offering the lands to sale, at such low rates as 
evince the claimants had no intention of becoming set- 
tlers, either from inability, or conscious they could derive 
no title to the lands under the grants of New Hamp- 
shire." 

He argued that transportation would be easier to 
Albany than to New Hampshire and that Albany 
afforded superior markets. An item of information is 
found in the letter to the effect that *'the revenue to the 
Grown, if the lands are settled under this province, will 
be greater than if granted under New Hampshire, in 



284 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

* 

proportion to the difference of quit rent which I am in- 
formed is 1 s sterlg. p 100 acres in that province and is 
by His Majesty's instructions fixed here at 2/6 sterg." 
This may have been an effective argument with the 
Lords of Trade, but it ought not to have occasioned sur- 
prise that lands patented by New Hampshire were more 
salable than those which carried the burden of the New 
York schedule of quit rents. 

This letter was followed by another from Governor 
Golden to the British Board of Trade, bearing date of 
February 8, 1764. In the last mentioned communica- 
tion allusion is made again to Governor Wentworth's 
numerous land grants, and attention is called to what 
evidently is intended to be the shocking information that 
"a man in appearance no better than a pedlar has lately 
travelled through New Jersey and this province, hawk- 
ing and selling his pretended rights of 30 townships, on 
trifling considerations. The whole proceedings of the 
government of New Hampshire, in this case, if what is 
told me be true, are shameful and a discredit to the 
King's authority, under which they act." 

Mention was made of the large number of reduced 
officers and disbanded soldiers who were applying for 
land grants, and attention was called again to the differ- 
ence between the New Hampshire and New York rates 
of quit rents, the Governor saying that "this difference 
on a moderate computation may amount to one thousand 
pounds sterling." To clinch the argument, he added: 
"So that it is likewise much for the benefit of His 
Majesty's revenue of quit rents that this dispute be 
speedily put an end to." 



A QUESTION OF OWNERSHIP 285 

Governor Wentworth issued a proclamation on March 
13, 1764, in the nature of an answer to Governor 
Colden's proclamation, which he considered "of a very 
extraordinary nature"; and he proceeded to call atten- 
tion to some important omissions relative to the bound- 
aries of New York and Massachusetts. He observed 
rather pertinently that "New York pretends to claim 
even to the banks of the Connecticut River although she 
never laid out and settled one town in that part of His 
Majesty's lands since she existed as a government." 
Governor Wentworth called attention to the fact that 
from the grants he had made "a considerable revenue 
is daily arising to the Crown." 

Recognizing the fact that Colden's proclamation pos- 
sibly might affect and retard settlement under the New 
Hampshire charters, Wentworth assured the grantees 
that the patent to the Duke of York was obsolete, citing 
the boundaries of the Jerseys and Connecticut as illus- 
trations, which provinces were included, at least in part, 
in the grant to the King's brother. The northern 
boundaries of New York were said to be unknown, but 
the proclamation declared that as soon as they were 
known "New Hampshire will pay a ready and cheerful 
obedience thereunto, not doubting but that all grants 
made by New Hampshire that are fulfilled by the 
grantees will be confirmed to them if it should be His 
Majesty's pleasure to alter the jurisdiction." Possibly 
Governor Wentworth had reason to suspect that the 
boundary dispute might not be decided in his favor. If 
he harbored such a suspicion he was not deterred from 
closing his letter in vigorous fashion, saying : "To the 



286 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

end, therefore, that the grantees now settled and settling 
on those lands under His Late and present Majesty's 
charters may not be intimidated, or any way hindered 
or obstructed in the improvement of the land so granted, 
as well as to ascertain the right & maintain the jurisdic- 
tion of His Majesty's government of New Hampshire as 
far westward as to include the grants made, I have 
thought fit, by and with the advice of His Majesty's 
Council, to issue this proclamation hereby encouraging 
the several grantees claiming under this government, 
to be industrious in clearing and cultivating their lands 
agreeable to their respective grants." He required all 
civil officers to be diligent in the exercise of their re- 
spective offices "as far westward as grants of land have 
been made by this government, and to deal with any per- 
sons, that may presume to interrupt the inhabitants or 
settlers on said lands as to law and justice doth apper- 
tain. The pretended right of jurisdiction in the afore- 
said proclamation (that of Governor Golden) notwith- 
standing." 

Golden wrote the Board of Trade again, on April 12, 
1764, citing Wentworth's proclamation as an illustration 
of the necessity "of coming to some speedy resolution" 
in the matter of the disputed boundary. He had not 
long to wait, for on July 20, 1764, there was issued an 
order of the King in Gouncil, those participating being 
the King, the Lord Steward, the Earl of Sandwich, the 
Earl of Halifax, the Earl of Powis, the Earl of Har- 
court, the Earl of Hillsborough, the Vice Ghamberlain, 
Gilbert Elliot, Esq., establishing the Connecticut River 
as the boundary between New York and New Hamp- 



A QUESTION OF OWNERSHIP 287 

shire. The text of the order is as follows: "Whereas 
there was this day read at the Board, a report made by 
the Right Honorable the Lords of the Committee of 
Council for Plantation Afifairs, dated the 17th of this 
instant, upon considering a representation from the 
Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, rela- 
tive to the disputes that have some years subsisted be- 
tween the provinces of New Hampshire and New York 
concerning the boundary line between those provinces, 
His Majesty taking the same into consideration was 
pleased with the advice of his Privy Council to approve 
of what is therein proposed, and doth accordingly here- 
by order and declare the western banks of the river Con- 
necticut, from where it enters the province of Massa- 
chusetts Bay, as far north as the forty-fifth degree of 
northern latitude, to be the boundary line between the 
said two provinces of New Hampshire and New York. 
Whereof the respective governors and commanders-in- 
chief of His Majesty's said provinces of New Hamp- 
shire and New York for the time being and all others 
whom it may concern are to take notice of His Majesty's 
pleasure hereby signified and govern themselves accord- 
ingly." 

It had been an opportune time for Governor Colden 
to press the claims of New York, with a British ministry 
in power determined to tax the colonies, and displeased 
with the growing spirit of freedom existing in New 
England. 

A meeting of the Governor and Council of New York 
was held on May 22, 1765, and the following order was 
issued : ''The Council taking into consideration the case 



288 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

of those persons who are actually settled under the 
grants of the government of New Hampshire, on lands 
westward of Connecticut River, and eastward of Hud- 
son's River, which, by His Majesty's order in Council 
of the twentieth day of July last are declared to be with- 
in the jurisdiction of this province; and that the dis- 
possessing of such persons might be ruinous to them- 
selves and their families, is of opinion, and it is accord- 
ingly ordered by His Honor the Lieutenant Governor, 
with the advice of the Council, that the Surveyor Gen- 
eral do not, until further order make return on any war- 
rant of survey, already, or which may hereafter come to 
his hands, of any lands so actually possessed under such 
grants, unless for the persons in actual possession there- 
of, as aforesaid; and that a copy hereof be served on 
said Surveyor General." 

This order appears to have been an act of wisdom 
and justice, based upon a desire to deal fairly with those 
who had settled in good faith upon lands granted by the 
Governor of New Hampshire; but the records show that 
on the day before this benevolent order was issued, on 
May 21, 1765, Governor Colden made his first grant of 
lands within the present limits of Vermont, and this 
grant included a large number of farms already settled 
under the Wentworth grants. This tract was patented 
as Princetown, contained twenty-six thousand acres, and 
included a comparatively narrow strip of the best lands 
in the Battenkill valley in Arlington, Sunderland and 
Manchester. 

According to R. C. Benton, who, in his book "Ver- 
mont Settlers and New York Land Speculators," has 



A QUESTION OF OWNERSHIP 289 

made a very thorough and comprehensive study of this 
period of Vermont history, the tract known as Prince- 
town covered most of the settlements in ArUngton, all 
those in Manchester, and probably some in Sunderland. 
Approximately fifty farms, and the land on which 
Remember Baker was building a sawmill and a grist- 
mill, were taken summarily from the actual settlers, so 
far as the grant of the Governor of New York could 
take them. A few days after the grant was made the 
nominal holders conveyed their rights to Attorney Gen- 
eral John Taber Kempe, James Duane, a prominent 
lawyer, and Walter Rutherford, men largely interested 
in land speculation. 

Improved lands in Bennington were sold on May 30 
to a man named Slaughter, and the ejectment suit which 
he brought figured prominently in the land controversy 
a few years later. During the same year about ten 
thousand acres of land in Bennington and Pownal were 
sold to Crean Brush, a New York lawyer and land specu- 
lator, who was prominent in early Vermont affairs prior 
to the American Revolution. Before November 1, 1765, 
it is said that Governor Golden had issued patents for 
nearly all the improved lands in Bennington county, not- 
withstanding the fair sounding order of the Council 
adopted earlier the same year. 

While the settlers on the New Hampshire Grants, 
with few exceptions, were thoroughly in sympathy with 
New England ideas and ideals, and not at all in sym- 
pathy with the more aristocratic customs and policies 
of New York, nevertheless, it is probable that the people 
of this region would have accepted the governmental 



290 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

authority of New York without serious objection if the 
titles to the farms they had cleared and cultivated had 
been recognized as valid. 

If Gov. Benning Wentworth never had the right to 
grant lands west of the Connecticut River, then, as he 
said in an early letter to Governor Clinton, such grants 
would be void, and however great the hardship might 
be to the settlers, they had no legal rights, being only 
squatters. If, on the other hand, Governor Went- 
worth's grants were legal and the decision of the King 
in Council was in the nature of an annexation of terri- 
tory, a matter of policy, permissible because New Hamp- 
shire was a royal colony, and the King might do as he 
pleased with his own, then the attempts to dispossess 
the settlers on the Wentworth grants clearly were illegal 
and a gross abuse of the fundamental rights of a free 
people. 

Lord Hillsborough, who was a member of the King's 
Council which made the order establishing the Connecti- 
cut River as the boundary between New York and New 
Hampshire, and later was Secretary for the Colonies, 
in writing to Governor Moore of New York, February 
25, 1768, refers to an order "forbidding any grants to 
be made of the lands annexed to New York by His 
Majesty's determination between that colony and New 
Hampshire." In a letter to Governor Colden, dated 
December 9, 1769, Lord Hillsborough used almost 
identical language, alluding to "the lands annexed to 
New York by His Majesty's determination of the 
boundary line between that colony and New Hamp- 
shire." He wrote Governor Tryon of New York on 



A QUESTION OF OWNERSHIP 291 

December 4, 1771: "I have long lamented the disorders 
which have prevailed on the lands heretofore considered 
as a part of New Hampshire but which were annexed to 
New York by His Majesty's order in Council of the 
20th of July, 1764." Lord Hillsborough wrote Gov- 
ernor Tryon on April 18, 1772, concerning "that country 
which has been annexed to New York by the determina- 
tion of the boundary line" between that province and 
New Hampshire. 

Lord Dartmouth, who succeeded Lord Hillsborough 
as Secretary of the Colonies, wrote Governor Tryon on 
November 4, 1772, regarding "the district annexed to 
New York by the determination of the boundary line 
with New Hampshire." In a communication of the 
British Board of Trade to the King, bearing date of 
December 3, 1772, allusion is made to "the propriety of 
or impropriety of re-annexing to New Hampshire the 
lands west of Connecticut River." Sir William John- 
son, a member of the New York Council, and well 
known as Superintendent of Indian Affairs, wrote Com- 
missary General Leake on August 16, 1765, regarding 
"that part of New Hampshire lately made part of this 
province." 

There seems to be no reason to doubt that the present 
State of Vermont was considered by the British govern- 
ment to be a part of the province of New Hampshire 
until, by order of the King in Council, July 20, 1764, it 
was annexed to New York. This annexation was 
ordered, apparently, because the ministry in power con- 
sidered it good policy to encourage the New York rather 
than the New England idea of government. 



292 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

The maps of the American Colonies used prior to the 
Revolutionary War, which included the region known 
as the New Hampshire Grants, show New Hampshire 
as extending westward to Lake Champlain and to a line 
extending south from the lake to the western boundary 
of Massachusetts. Hiland Hall has said: "Not a 
single map has been found which extends the province 
(New York) eastward to Connecticut River, and all 
concur in separating it from New England by a line 
running from Long Island Sound parallel to the Hud- 
son." It should be stated that the historian refers to 
maps of a period before, or soon after the beginning of 
the American Revolution. Maps published in 1776 and 
1777 show' the Connecticut River as the eastern bound- 
ary of New York. At that period the British authorities 
held New England in less esteem than they did when 
the order of the King in Council was issued in 1764, to 
which reference has been made. 

The authority of such eminent men as Sir Dudley 
Ryder, Attorney General, Solicitor General Murray, 
later known as Lord Mansfield, and two Secretaries of 
the Colonies, Lord Hillsborough and Lord Dartmouth, 
the former a member of the Council which reported the 
boundary decision, indicate that the region between the 
Connecticut River and Lake Champlain was not consid- 
ered by the British Government a part of New York 
previous to July 20, 1764. The Colonial maps lead to 
the same conclusion. Well known business men of New 
York City did not spend their money to secure Went- 
worth grants if they had reason to suppose that New 
York held the only valid title to such lands. 



A QUESTION OF OWNERSHIP 293 

Naturally the settlers under the grants of Governor 
Wentworth, constituting practically all the dwellers 
within the limits of the present State of Vermont, were 
both indignant and alarmed at the course pursued by 
Governor Golden in granting to others the lands they 
had purchased and cleared, and they proceeded to take 
steps to defend their property. The early town records 
of Golchester, kept by Ira Allen as proprietors' clerk, 
contain a document which shows that Governor Golden, 
on June 6, 1766, issued an order to the effect that all 
persons holding grants under New Hampshire titles, 
west of the Connecticut River, should "as soon as may 
be," appear by themselves or their attorneys, and pro- 
duce their grant, deeds and other papers relative to their 
land holdings, before the Governor in Council. The 
Colchester records further show that in response to this 
order some well known Massachusetts men, Henry 
Lloyd, Harrison Gray, John Searl, Sir John Temple, 
Jacob Wendall, Nathaniel Appleton, William Brattle 
and others, met on July 29, 1766, and appointed Giles 
Alexander of Boston as their attorney to appear before 
the Governor and Council of New York and endeavor 
to obtain a confirmation of the grants made to them 
under the seal of New Hampshire. 

It appears from the town records of Maidstone that 
a proprietors' meeting was held at Stratford, Conn., in 
the autumn of 1766, at which time an agent was 
appointed to attend a meeting of agents and proprietors 
to be held at New York, December 10 of that year, for 
the purpose of devising means for the protection of New 
Hampshire titles. 



294 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Meanwhile a petition was drawn up to be presented 
to the King, which was signed by one thousand or more 
of the New Hampshire grantees, or their representatives 
or successors, which was dated "New England, 1766," 
and at the same time a power of attorney was given in 
the following language: "We, the subscribers, pro- 
prietors and claimants in and of sundry townships, 
lately granted by Governor Wentworth, in the western 
part of the then supposed province of New Hampshire, 
do hereby fully impower our trusty friends and fellow 
partners in those interests, Samuel Robinson, Esq., 
Ebenezer Cole, Jeremiah French, Benjamin Ferris, 
Samuel Hunger ford, Ebenezer Fisk, John Brooks, John 
Sherrer, Samuel Keep, Partridge Thatcher, Abraham 
Thompson, Edward Burling, Benjamin Townsend, 
Tunis Wortman, Peter Clapper, John Burling, Joseph 
Hallet, Thomas Hicks, Esq.; and David Matthews, 
Esq. ; for us and in our behalf and stead to take and pur- 
sue all and every needful and proper measure and step 
by application to His Majesty or otherwise, to obtain a 
full confirmation to us of said lands, on such reason- 
able terms as may be; hereby granting to them and to 
any and every three or more of them, full powers of 
substitution." 

The first three members of this committee, Samuel 
Robinson of Bennington, Ebenezer Cole of Shaftsbury 
and Jeremiah French of Dover, were residents of the 
New Hampshire Grants. Six members, Messrs. Hun- 
ger ford, Fisk, Brooks, Keep, Thatcher and Thompson, 
were Connecticut men. Ten members, Messrs. Ferris, 
Sherrer, Edward Burling, John Burling, Townsend, 



A QUESTION OF OWNERSHIP 295 

Wortman, Clapper, Hallet, Hicks and Matthews, were 
residents of the province of New York. It is, indeed, 
a most noteworthy circumstance that out of nineteen 
men chosen as a committee to represent the thousand or 
more New Hampshire grantees, their representatives 
or successors, in petitioning the King for protection 
from the encroachments of the Governor of New York, 
ten members of that committee, or a clear majority, 
should have been residents of this same province of New 
York. 

This petition to the King, dated November, 1766, 
began as follows: 

"To the King's Most Excellent Majesty, 

"The Humble Petition of the Several Subscribers 
Hereto, Your Majesty's Most Loyal Subjects, Sheweth 
to Your Majesty; 

"That we obtained at considerable expense of Your 
Majesty's Governor of the Province of New Hamp- 
shire, Grants and Patents for more than One Hundred 
townships in the Western part of the said supposed 
Province; and being about to settle the same, many of 
Us, and others of Us, having actually planted Ourselves 
on the same, were disagreeably surprised and prevented 
from going on with the further intended Settlements 
by the News of its having been determined by Your 
Majesty in Council, That those Lands were within the 
Province of New York; and by a Proclamation issued 
by Lieutenant Governor Colden, in Consequence there- 
of forbidding any further settlement until Patents of 
Confirmation should be obtained from the Governor of 
New York. Whereof We applied to the Governor of 



296 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

said Province of New York, to have the same lands con- 
firmed to Us in the same Manner as they had been at 
first granted to Us by the Governor of the said Province 
of Nev^ Hampshire; when, to Our utter Astonishment, 
We found the same could not be done, without our pay- 
ing as Fees of Office for the same, at the Rate of Twenty 
Five Pounds, New York Money, equal to about Four- 
teen Pounds Sterling; for every Thousand Acres of said 
Lands, amounting to about Three Hundred and Thirty 
Pounds Sterling at a Medium, for each of said Town- 
ships, and which will amount in the Whole to about 
£33,000 Sterling, besides a Quit rent of Two Shillings 
and Six Pence Sterling, for every Hundred Acres of 
said Lands; and which being utterly unable to do and 
perform. We find ourselves reduced to the sad Neces- 
sity of losing all our past Expense and Advancements, 
and many of us being reduced to absolute Poverty and 
Want, having expended Our All in making said Settle- 
ments." 

The petition set forth that when these lands were 
granted, "the same were and had been at all Times fully 
understood and reputed to lie and be within the said 
Province of New Hampshire." These grants were 
made upon the payment as quit rent of one shilling proc- 
lamation money, equal to nine pence sterling per hun- 
dred acres; and these moderate terms, the petitioners 
say, "induce Us to undertake to settle said Townships 
throughout, and thereby to form a full and compacted 
Country of People, whereas the imposing the said Two 
Shillings and Six Pence Sterling per Hundred Acres, 
will occasion all the more rough and unprofitable parts 



A QUESTION OF OWNERSHIP 297 

of said Lands not to be taken up; but pitches, and the 
more valuable parcels only to be laid out, to the utter 
preventing the full and proper Settlement of said Coun- 
try, and on the Whole to the lessening your Majesty's 
Revenue." 

The petitioners further declare that the claim that 
these exorbitant fees were necessary "is without all 
reasonable and equitable Foundation, and must and will 
necessarily terminate in the totally preventing your Peti- 
tioners obtaining the said Lands, and so the same will 
fall into the Hands of the Rich, to be taken up, the more 
valuable parts only as aforesaid, and these perhaps not 
entered upon and settled for many years to come; while 
your petitioners with their numerous and helpless 
Families, will be obliged to wander far and wide to find 
where to plant themselves down, so as to be able to live." 

In closing, the petitioners request that their lands may 
be confirmed and quitted to them on reasonable terms, 
and add this observation: ''We shall esteem it a very 
great Favor and happiness, to have said Townships put 
and continued under the Jurisdiction of the government 
of the said province of New Hampshire, as at the first, 
as every Emolument and Convenience both publick and 
private, are in Your Petitioners' humble Opinion, clearly 
and strongly on the side of such Connection with said 
New Hampshire Province." 

At a meeting of agents and proprietors of New Hamp- 
shire Grants, held in New York December 10, 1766, 
nothing of importance seems to have been accomplished, 
and another meeting of a similar nature was held at 
the home of Benjamin Ferris, a Quaker, in that part 



298 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

of the province of New York, adjacent to Connecticut, 
known as "The Oblong." At this meeting it was voted 
to send an agent to England to appeal to the King for 
relief. A similar course of action was determined upon 
by the settlers of Bennington and vicinity, and it was 
agreed that Capt. Samuel Robinson of Bennington 
should act as the agent of the settlers and the grantees, 
and that William Samuel Johnson, agent of the province 
of Connecticut, should be asked to assist him. 

The agents sailed on the same ship from New York 
on Christmas day, 1766, and landed at Falmouth, Eng- 
land, January 30, 1767, from which place they proceeded 
to London. There had been a change in the British 
ministry shortly before their arrival, and William Pitt, 
Earl of Chatham, again was Prime Minister. This 
ministry was well disposed toward the American 
colonies. The petition of the settlers on the New 
Hampshire Grants, to which allusion has been made, 
elaborated somewhat by Mr. Johnson, was presented to 
Lord Shelburne, Secretary of State for the Colonies, on 
March 20, 1767. At the same time a petition was pre- 
sented in behalf of the Society for the Propagation of 
the Gospel in Foreign Parts, which obtained a share of 
land in every New Hampshire charter, but none in 
charters granted to New York. The Church of Eng- 
land also received a share of land in each New Hamp- 
shire Grant, but none from the New York authorities. 
These grants probably had something to do with the 
favor shown the cause of the petitioners by the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury. 



A QUESTION OF OWNERSHIP 299 

Finding life in London expensive, and a decision in 
the land controversy being delayed, Captain Robinson 
determined to leave matters in the hands of Mr. John- 
son, and to return home. Unfortunately, however, he 
was stricken with smallpox, and died in London, October 
27, 1767, and was interred in the burial ground attached 
to Mr. Whitefield's church. 

That the mission of Robinson and Johnson made a 
strong impression upon the British ministry is shown in 
the following extract from a letter of Lord Shelburne 
to Governor Moore of New York, dated April 11, 1767: 
"Lest there should be any further proceedings in the 
matter, till such time as the Council shall have examined 
into the grounds of it, I am to signify to you His 
Majesty's commands that you make no new grants of 
these lands and that you do not molest any person in the 
quiet possession of his grant, who can produce good and 
valid deeds for such grant under the seal of the province 
of New Hampshire until you receive further orders re- 
specting them. 

"In my letter of the 11th Deer. I was very explicit 
upon the point of former grants. You are therein 
directed to 'take care that the inhabitants lying west- 
ward of the line reported by the Lords of Trade as the 
boundary of the two provinces be not molested on 
account of territorial differences, or disputed jurisdic- 
tion for whatever province the settlers may be found to 
belong to, it should make no difference in their property, 
provided that their titles to their lands should be found 
good in other respects or that they have been long in 
uninterrupted possession of them'. 



300 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

"His Majesty's intentions are so clearly expressed to 
you in the above paragraph that I cannot doubt your 
having immediately upon receipt of it removed every 
cause of those complaints which the petitioners set forth. 
If not it is the King's express command that it may be 
done without the smallest delay. The power of grant- 
ing lands was vested in the Governor of the colony orig- 
inally for the purpose of accommodating, not distressing, 
settlers, especially the poor and industrious. Any per- 
version of that power, therefore, must be highly derog- 
atory, both from the dignity of their stations and from 
that disinterested character which a Governor ought to 
support, and which His Majesty expects from every per- 
son honored by him with his commission. The un- 
reasonableness of obliging a very large tract of country 
to pay a second time the immense sum of thirty-three 
thousand pounds in fees according to the allegations of 
this petition for no other reason that its being found 
necessary to settle the line of boundary between the 
colonies in question is so unjustifiable that His Majesty 
is not only determined to have the strictest enquiry made 
into the circumstances of the charge, but expects the 
clearest and fullest answer to every part of it." 

The vigorous tone of this letter left no shadow of 
doubt as to the position of the British Government. 
The petitioners were sustained in language so positive 
that there could be no mistaking its meaning. To this 
indignant rebuke Governor Moore made answer on 
June 9, 1767, in a lengthy and somewhat evasive letter. 
In it he alluded to the delay caused by the troubles grow- 
ing out of the Stamp Act, and to his determination to 




:Monnment Erected in Honor of the Green Mountain Boys at Rutland 



A QUESTION OF OWNERSHIP 301 

issue no patents unless they were properly stamped. He 
mentioned the order made requiring all persons holding 
lands under New Hampshire Grants to appear in per- 
son or by attorney and produce their documentary 
evidence. 

Governor Moore's letter showed that claims were 
made under New Hampshire charters to ninety-six 
townships, in response to an order issued by the New 
York Council, following the boundary decision made by 
the King in Council. Of this number it was decided 
that twenty-one townships were within New York 
jurisdiction before the boundary decision was made in 
the controversy with New Hampshire, being within 
twenty miles of the Hudson River, the waters of South 
Bay and Lake Champlain. It was further claimed that 
in none of these twenty-one townships, with the excep- 
tion of Bennington, Pownal and Shaftsbury, had any 
settlements been made, or improvements attempted, and 
that the time limit for settlement having expired the 
lands again became vested in the Crown. 

The New York Governor declared that in order to en- 
courage settlements in the upper Connecticut valley he 
determined personally to take up a tract of land there 
"which should be distributed out to poor families in small 
farms on the condition that they should begin upon the 
manufacture of pot ash and the culture of hemp." This 
township, to which reference is made, was granted as 
Mooretown, but is now known as Bradford. 

The Governor asserted in his letter that fourteen 
families had settled in his township and he expected a 
considerable number of others soon. He also claimed 



302 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

to have ordered the erection of a sawmill and a grist- 
mill, and to have directed that a church should be built 
at his sole expense, a large farm set apart as a glebe, 
a township laid out for the use of clergymen of the 
Church of England, and another "for the use of the 
college here." He denied having demanded fees from 
Robinson or any other person, saying he had signed only 
six patents since coming into the province for which 
he had received fees. He asserted that the claim that 
upwards a thousand families were settled on lands 
west of the Connecticut River granted by New Hamp- 
shire, was an untruth, and he expressed the belief that 
not half or quarter of that number were to be found 
there. In his opinion "the real land holders of the 
greatest part of that country actually reside in Boston 
and Connecticut governments." 

Governor Moore made slighting references to Samuel 
Robinson, agent in England for the settlers on the New 
Hampshire Grants, saying of his military record that 
"Robinson can plead but little merit from his service, 
which I am told here was nothing more than that of 
driving an ox-cart for the suttlers" ; and again he asked 
how "should a man of one of the lowest and meanest 
occupations at once set up for a statesman and form a 
notion that the wheels of government are as easily 
managed and conducted as those of a w^agon, take upon 
him to direct the King's ministers in their depart- 
ments?" On the following day, June 10, 1767, Gov- 
ernor Moore wrote another letter to the Earl of Shel- 
burne, in which he denied the charges made by the 



A QUESTION OF OWNERSHIP 303 

Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign 
Parts. 

According to such excellent authorities as Hiland Hall 
and R. C. Benton, Governor Moore's statement regard- 
ing his benevolent operations in his new town of Moore- 
town was untrue. There were not fourteen families 
there in 1767. In 1771 there were only ten families in 
the town, and it is asserted that the Governor did not 
expend any money for them. He did not build mills, or 
a church, or set apart a farm as a glebe lot. Even if all 
these claims had been true, instead of untrue, they 
would have furnished no answer to the petition to the 
King conveyed by Samuel Robinson. Neither was it 
true that a large part of the settlers, or any part of the 
settlers on the New Hampshire Grants, were located 
within less than twenty miles of Hudson River; and 
so far as a twenty-mile line from Lake Champlain was 
concerned, such a line had nothing whatever to do with 
the controversy in question — no more than a twenty- 
mile line from the Green Mountains. 

If he did not demand fees from any person his agents 
did make such demands, nor is there any proof that he 
remitted any fees for the confirmation of New Hamp- 
shire charters. Indeed, Governor Golden has said that 
Governor Moore "refused to pass any (grants) with- 
out his full fees were paid," a fact, says Golden, that 
"gave great disgust to the people, and occasioned those 
applications which have since been made to the King on 
the subject." 

The slur upon Captain Robinson's good name was 
unworthy of any man, and particularly unworthy of the 



304 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Governor of a royal province. The records show that 
Samuel Robinson was Captain of a company of Massa- 
chusetts militia in two campaigns, and saw service in 
real warfare. It should be said to Governor Moore's 
credit that he did not disregard the royal orders as did 
some of his successors. Aside from six regrants con- 
firming New Hampshire charters, he granted only one 
tract of five thousand acres, and eighteen military 
patents amounting to thirteen thousand, three hundred 
and fifty acres. 

Acting on a report of the Lords of the Committee of 
Council for Plantation Affairs, an order of the King 
in Council was promulgated on July 24, 1767, in which 
the Governor of New York was strictly charged and 
commanded upon pain of His Majesty's highest dis- 
pleasure not to presume to make any grant of any part 
of the lands previously granted by New Hampshire until 
His Majesty's further pleasure should be known. 

It is said that a majority of the Privy Council was 
ready to confirm the New Hampshire land titles, but 
Lord Northington, the president of the Council, objected 
to immediate action, and the matter was delayed. Wil- 
liam S. Johnson, the agent of Connecticut, who was 
associated with Mr. Robinson in presenting the claims 
of the New Hampshire grantees, in a letter to John 
Wendell, written soon after Robinson's death, said, 
"The real poverty of those who joined Capt. Robinson, 
rendered them unable to give the cause that effectual 
support, which was necessary to give it proper weight, 
and render the application to the Crown as regular and 
respectable as its importance and the usual course of 



A QUESTION OF OWNERSHIP 305 

proceedings in cases of tliis kind justly required. 
Money has, in fact, been wanting to do justice to the 
cause. It came here rather in forma pauperis, which is 
an appearance seldom made or much regarded in this 
country; and is by no means an eligible light in which 
to place an affair of this kind." Soon after the order 
of July 24, 1767, was issued, the Chatham ministry went 
out of power, but the ministry which succeeded it did 
not approve the policy of the New York Governors in 
granting lands previously granted by Governor Went- 
worth. 

In January, 1771, a petition to the King, asking to 
be re-annexed to New Hampshire, was signed by fifty- 
six residents of Westminster and twelve residents of 
Rockingham. This petition declared that "their lying 
in the province of New York was and is and forever 
will and must be highly detrimental and disagreeable to 
them, both in their property and good government, all 
of which they judged Your Majesty and ministers of 
State had been egregiously misinformed — and also that 
those circumstances had been erroneously represented to 
Your Majesty, that since Your Majesty's said orders to 
annex the said district to New York their possessions 
have been unexceptionally granted to other people under 
the great seal of New York — that writs of ejectment 
have been brought, their property wrested from them, 
their persons imprisoned and their whole substance 
wasted in fruitless lawsuits merely to the enrichment 
of a few men in the province of New York, whose great 
influence is the destruction of our hard honestly earned 
property, that we were greatly and industriously cultivat- 



306 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

ing the wilderness, orderly obeying every law, rejoicing 
in our safety and Your Majesty's auspicious govern- 
ment until by this invasion of our property by many 
who pretended Your Majesty's authority therein, we are 
thrown in such evident distress, confusion and danger- 
ous disorder as would touch your royal breast with com- 
passion could our inexpressible misery be truly repre- 
sented." 

The British Board of Trade reported to the Privy 
Council on July 5, 1770, their belief that the actual set- 
tlers under grants from New Hampshire "ought to be 
left in entire possession of such lands as they have 
actually cultivated and improved." In regard to lands 
proposed to be granted to claimants under New Hamp- 
shire titles, but unsettled and unimproved, it was recom- 
mended that action in these cases be suspended until the 
country had been surveyed. The closing paragraph of 
this recommendation shows that the abuse of power by 
Colonial Governors was not unknown to the King's min- 
isters. It was as follows: "We are of opinion that 
the instructions to be given to the Governor of New 
York in the latter case cannot be too explicit and pre- 
cise in order to guard against those irregularities and 
abuses which we are concerned to say have but too much 
prevailed in the exercise of the powers given to His 
Majesty's (Governors) in America, for the granting of 
lands, to the great prejudice of His Majesty's interest, 
to the discouragement of industry and in many instances 
to the apprehension of the subject by the exaction of 
exorbitant and unreasonable fees." 



A QUESTION OF OWNERSHIP 307 

William Tryon, having become Governor of New 
York in the summer of 1771, issued a proclamation 
on the eleventh day of the following December, reiterat- 
ing the right of that province to the region known as 
the New Hampshire Grants, and setting forth the 
familiar arguments based on the ancient grant to the 
Duke of York. 

A meeting of delegates from Bennington and adjacent 
towns was held at Manchester on October 21, 1772, at 
which time Jehiel Hawley of Arlington and James 
Breakenridge of Bennington were appointed agents to 
go to Lyondon and present to the King a petition for the 
confirmation of their claims under the grants of New 
Hampshire. 

The British Board of Trade made a somewhat 
elaborate report to the Lords of the Privy Council on 
December 3, 1772, in the nature of a plan to settle the 
ditticuities in the New Hampshire Grants, 'ihe report 
took up the proposition to re-annex to New Hampshire 
the lands west of the Connecticut River, declared a part 
of New York by the order of the King in Council, July 
20, 1764, and while that policy was not approved, the 
report, it was said, "contains a variety of matter well 
deserving your lordships' attention, and we think that 
there is too good reason to believe that many of the 
proprietors of lands in the townships granted by the 
Governor of New Hampshire who have bona fide made 
actual settlement and improvement thereon, have sus- 
tained great injury and suffered great oppression by the 
irregular conduct of the Governor and Council of New 



308 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

York in granting warrants of survey for lands under 
such actual settlement and improvement." 

The proposition is made in this report that each per- 
son claiming possession of lands under New York Grants 
within the limits of towaiships established by Massa- 
chusetts, should receive a grant of an equal number of 
acres in some other part of the district between the 
Hudson and Connecticut Rivers. To officers and sol- 
diers who had received grants from New York in the 
district, it was proposed that an equivalent should be 
granted in some other part of the district if the lands 
had been actually settled and improved under some pre- 
vious grant. Another proposal was to the effect that in 
every township, whether granted by New Hampshire 
or New York, a tract not exceeding five hundred acres 
in area be reserved as a glebe for a Protestant minister, 
and that a tract not exceeding two hundred and fifty 
acres in area be reserved for a schoolmaster. It was 
further recommended that of the residue of lands un- 
granted, or without actual settlement or improvement, 
conditions should be imposed requiring that each 
grantee, over and above the usual quit rent of two- 
sixths sterling per hundred acres, should pay a further 
consideration of five pounds sterling for every hundred 
acres. The report alluded to the difficulty of settling 
these lands if the grants were ''to pass through all the 
forms now adopted in New York upon grants of lands 
and are to be subject to the payment of the fees at pres- 
ent taken by the Governor and other officers of that 
colony." 



A QUESTION OF OWNERSHIP 309 

The action of the New York officials was condemned 
in the following vigorous terms : 

"We have upon former occasions found it necessary 
to take notice of the complaints which have been made 
of the injustice and extortion of the servants of the 
Crown in New York in this respect, and we have at all 
times considered the liberty they have assumed to them- 
selves of taking greater and other fees upon grants of 
land, than what were established by the ordinance of the 
Governor and Council of the year 1710, as most unwar- 
rantable and unjust. By that ordinance the fees 
allowed to be taken upon grants of land by the Gov- 
ernor, the secretary and the surveyor are considerably 
larger than what are at this day received for the same 
service in any other of the colonies, nor are fees allowed 
as we conceive to any other officers than those we have 
mentioned. Of later times, however, the Governor, the 
secretary and the surveyor have taken and do now 
exact considerably more than double what that ordinance 
allows, and a number of other officers do upon various 
pretences take fees upon all grants of land, insomuch 
that the whole amount of these fees upon a grant of one 
thousand acres of land is in many instances not far 
short of the real value of the fee simple, and we think we 
are justified in supposing that it has been from a con- 
sideration of the advantage arising from these exorbi- 
tant fees that His Majesty's Governors of New York 
have of late years taken upon themselves upon the most 
unwarranted pretences to elude the restrictions contained 
in His Majesty's instructions with regard to the quan- 
tity of land to be granted to any one person, and to con- 



310 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

trive by the insertion in one grant of a number of names, 
either fictitious or which, if real, are only lent for the 
purpose to convey to one person in one grant from 
twenty to forty thousand acres of land, an abuse which 
is now grown to that height as well to deserve your lord- 
ships' attention." 

The advice is offered that "most positive instructions" 
be given the Governor of New York that upon any re- 
grant of lands no fee shall be taken by the Attorney 
General, Receiver General or Auditors. 

Lord Dartmouth reported to Governor Tryon on 
April 10, 1773, the recommendations of the Board of 
Trade, offered by the King. It was also directed that 
''some short and effectual mode be established, by act of 
legislature or otherwise, for ascertaining by the inquest 
of a jury, the state of possession, settlement and im- 
provement, upon all lands within the said district, 
claimed under grants made by the governments of New 
Hampshire or New York, and that all lands never 
possessed, improved or granted be disposed of in such 
manner as the King shall think fit." 

Governor Tryon replied to Lord Dartmouth under 
date of July 1, 1773, in a long communication. He ex- 
pressed the belief that the recommendation of the Lords 
of Trade could not be carried into eft'ect without the 
action of the Legislature, and he made the rather re- 
markable declaration: "I cannot flatter myself with 
the slightest hope of procuring the concurrence of the 
Assembly of this province in a scheme so repugnant to 
the claims of persons who from their numbers and con- 
nections have a very powerful influence." 



A QUESTION OF OWNERSHIP - 311 

He raised numerous objections to the plan of the 
Board of Trade and made some propositions of his own 
to the effect that all New York patents be declared valid; 
that all New Hampshire patents be declared void; that 
all occupants of lands under New Hampshire titles with- 
in New York patents "have such liberal equivalents out 
of the waste lands, and such other indulgences by a sus- 
pension of quit rents as His Majesty shall think equit- 
able," The settlers on the New Hampshire Grants 
wanted not "indulgences," but justice, and Governor 
Try on learned before many months had passed that 
"liberal equivalents out of the waste lands" would not 
be accepted by these pioneers for farms bought and 
cleared and tilled. 

It is apparent that, although British ministers repre- 
senting opposing political parties were in power during 
the period when the title to the New Hampshire Grants 
was a matter of dispute which engaged the attention of 
the King and his ministers, the settled policy of the 
British authorities was to uphold the bona fide settlers 
holding titles under the Wentworth grants. It was 
never intended that these lands should be taken from the 
actual settlers, and the Governors of New York were 
forbidden repeatedly to make such grants, in terms as 
forceful as the English language permitted. That they 
disobeyed explicit orders of the Crown is a matter of 
history. Alexander Wedderburn, Solicitor General of 
Great Britain from 1771 until he was made Attorney 
General in 1778, later Chief Justice of the Court of Com- 
mon Pleas and Lord High Chancellor, in a letter written 
December 27, 1775, to William Eden, referring to this 



312 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

subject, mentions the "abuse of an order of Council 
which was never meant to dispossess the settlers in the 
lands in debate between ye two provinces." This dis- 
obedience brought down denunciation upon the heads of 
the Governors of this province, but conditions in the 
Colonies were so threatening at this period that the 
British authorities hesitated to make an example of offi- 
cials who, on general principles, were in sympathy with 
the ideas of Old England rather than those of New Eng- 
land. Had the honest intent of the British Government 
been carried out, however, the long and bitter contro- 
versy between Vermont and New York in all probability 
might have been avoided. 



Chapter XI 
RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 



THE settlement of the New Hampshire Grants had 
not proceeded so far that much governmental 
machinery was necessary when the order of the 
King in Council was made known, establishing the Con- 
necticut River as the eastern boundary of New York. 
A mere handful of townships had organized local gov- 
ernments. Settlements had been begun in several towns 
but had not progressed to the point where municipal 
authority could be established. Such court business as 
the circumstances demanded was transacted at Ports- 
mouth, N. H. 

The first attempt on the part of the province of New 
York to institute any form of government here was an 
extension of the jurisdiction of the Sheriff of the county 
of Albany to extend from Lake Champlain to the Con- 
necticut River. In order to attend court, or to transact 
business with the provincial authorities, it was necessary 
to go to Albany or New York City. 

As early as October, 1765, a petition was presented 
Governor Colden, praying for the erection of five coun- 
ties, as follows : First, the county of Colden, extending 
from the Massachusetts border to the northern line of 
Norwich, the county seat to be Colden in the town of 
New Flamstead, later known as Chester; the second 
county, known as Sterling, to include that portion of the 
Connecticut valley on the west bank of the river north 
of Norwich, and Newbury was to be the county seat; 
the third county, to be called Manchester, extending 
from a point twenty-six miles west of the Connecticut 
River, on the Massachusetts boundary line as far as the 
northwest corner of that province, and thence westward 



316 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

to the northern branch of the Mohawk River, Stillwater 
being the county seat; the fourth county, to be called 
Kingsbury, extending north of the third county as far 
as the north end of Lake George, the county seat to be 
Kingsbury; the fifth county, to be called Pitt, to extend 
from the northern limit of the fourth county to the forty- 
fifth parallel of latitude, the county seat to be situated 
on Hospital Point, on the east side" of Lake Champlain, 
not far from Crown Point. 

The request embodied in the foregoing petition was 
denied, it being asserted that the inhabitants were as 
yet "wholly unacquainted with the laws of the province 
and the modes of dispensing justice therein." How- 
ever, on July 3, 1766, the county of Cumberland was 
erected by New York, the lines running along the Massa- 
chusetts boundary from the Connecticut River to the 
southeast corner of Stamford, thence north about sixty 
miles to the northeast corner of Rutland; thence easterly 
to the northwest corner of Linfield, now Royalton, and 
following the northern lines of Sharon and Norwich to 
the Connecticut River. On June 26, 1767, this act of 
the New York Legislature was declared void by the 
King ; but the difficulties attendant upon the administra- 
tion of justice being so great, a royal order was issued 
on March 19, 1767, re-establishing the county of Cum- 
berland, the boundaries being practically the same as 
before. 

On February 28, 1779, the New York Council erected 
the county of Gloucester, which included that portion 
of the present State of Vermont north of the county of 
Cumberland and west of the Green Mountains, as far 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 317 

north as the Canadian border, Newbury and Kingsland 
being made the county seats. Although the latter place, 
now known as the town of Washington, was a wilder- 
ness, eight miles from any settlement, a log court house 
and jail were erected there. The reasons advanced for 
the erection of that county were that there were upwards 
of seven hundred persons in that region, and that they 
were "exposed to rapine and plunder from a lawless 
banditti of felons and criminals, who fly thither from 
other places." 

In 1772 the county of Charlotte was erected. This 
county, beginning at the Green Mountains, extended 
along the north lines of the towns of Sunderland and 
Arlington westward to the Hudson River, and included 
both sides of Lake Champlain as far north as the Cana- 
dian border. That portion of the present State of Ver- 
mont, south of Charlotte county, and west of the Green 
Mountains, was included in the county of Albany. 

It has been pointed out already that the serious con- 
troversy which arose between the settlers on the New 
Hampshire Grants and New York may be traced 
directly to the refusal of the provincial authorities of 
New York to follow the plainly expressed desire and in- 
tent of the British Government, by recognizing the 
validity of New Hampshire land titles held by actual 
settlers. Although these pioneers, with few exceptions, 
were New Englanders through and through, and pre- 
ferred democratic rather than aristocratic forms of gov- 
ernment, it is hardly probable that there would have 
been any revolt against the authority of New York if 



318 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

the settlers had been left in peaceable possession of the 
farms they had wrested from the primeval forests. 

The first conflict of authority over lands in what is 
now Vermont occurred in Pownal in August, 1764, prob- 
ably before any knowledge had reached the settlers of 
the royal order, establishing the authority of New York 
in this region. A letter from Sheriff Schuyler to Gov- 
ernor Golden, dated August 17, 1764, shows that he 
received news on the Friday preceding that date to the 
effect that "the New Hampshire people" had ejected one 
Hans Greiger, holding title under the "Hoosick patent," 
a New York grant, taking possession of his lands and 
tenements; that they had driven off his cattle and com- 
pelled him to pay forty-five dollars for their redemption, 
and that they had taken "a parcel of Indian corn." It 
was intimated that Peter Voss and Bastiane Deale ex- 
pected to be ejected the following day, and the claim was 
made that these possessions had been held by the three 
men mentioned upward of thirty years, with the excep- 
tion of the periods when they were driven off by the 
Indians "during the last two wars." 

The New York reports of the period show that 
Sheriff Schuyler took two justices of the peace and "a 
few other good people of this province" and arrived on 
the scene on Saturday morning. Upon his arrival he 
found that Voss and Deale had not been dispossessed of 
their property, but expected a call from "the New Hamp- 
shire people" the following Monday. They were not 
disappointed, for early on Monday morning the two 
men were ejected on the ground that they were within 
the province and jurisdiction of New Hampshire. 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 319 

Sheriff Schuyler was notified, but did not arrive until 
after the dispossession had been accomplished. Making 
haste he overtook the New Hampshire party about a 
mile from the homes of Voss and Deale and placed under 
arrest Deputy Sheriff Samuel Ashley, and Justice of the 
Peace Samuel Robinson, also John Horsfoot and Isaac 
Charles, who claimed to own, respectively, the lands held 
by Voss and Deale. The four prisoners were committed 
to Albany jail. 

The New Hampshire statement regarding this episode 
may be found in a letter written by Governor Went- 
worth to Governor Colden, dated September 4, 1764, 
which declared that several of the inhabitants of Pownal, 
at a time when the deputy sheriff was executing "a legal 
precept," were set upon by the Sheriff of Albany and 
more than thirty armed men on horseback, and that a 
deputy and three other of the principal inhabitants were 
seized, carried to Albany and committed to jail. Gov- 
ernor Wentworth observed that "it would be an act of 
cruelty to punish individuals for disputes between two 
governments," and suggested his willingness to submit 
the matter of jurisdiction to the King. 

This letter was submitted to the New York Council, 
and that body advised Governor Colden to acquaint the 
Governor of New Hampshire with the New York ver- 
sion of the affair, and that he (Colden) could do nothing 
more than to recommend that the bail demanded be 
moderate, and let the matter take its natural legal course. 
Later the four prisoners were released on bail, having 
been indicted. A deposition of James Van Cortlandt, 
taken March 4, 1771, stated that they had not then been 



320 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

brought to trial, and several years previous to this date 
Samuel Robinson had died in London. 

The first open resistance to the authority of New 
York, following the annexation of the New Hampshire 
Grants to that province by royal decree, occurred in 
the autumn of 1769. Thirty years earlier, in 1739, a 
tract of land containing twelve thousand acres, known 
as the Walloomsack Patent, was granted to James 
Delancey, Gerardus Stuyvesant, and others, the greater 
part of which, beyond doubt, was within the present 
limits of the State of New York. As was the custom 
in some of the New York grants, an attempt was made 
to secure only the most fertile land, instead of taking 
a regular section, and this grant followed the windings 
of the Walloomsac River in order to obtain the valuable 
intervale lands in that valley. It was claimed by the 
New York holders of the patent that it extended across 
the southwest corner of Shaftsbury, and about three 
miles into the northwestern part of Bennington. This 
grant contained the usual provision that it should be 
void if the grantees should not cultivate a certain pro- 
portion of their lands within three years from the date 
of granting, and there was not the necessary compliance 
with this requirement. 

So far as known this region never had been settled 
by white men when Bennington was granted by Gov- 
ernor Wentworth. James Breakenridge, under a New 
Hampshire title, bought a farm in the northwestern 
part of Bennington, adjoining the line Wenty mile's 
from the Hudson River, claimed by New Hampshire, 
prior to the King's order of 1764, as its western bound- 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 321 

ary, and upon this farm extensive and valuable improve- 
ments had been made. This was considered a particu- 
larly good opportunity for bringing a test suit in the 
New York courts. A writ of ejectment was served and 
commissioners were appointed for the purpose of divid- 
ing this land among the New York claimants. 

On October 19, 1769, the commissioners appeared 
with surveyors in the vicinity of the Breakenridge farm. 
Breakenridge and his farm hands were in a field gather- 
ing corn. It is probable that the visit of the New York 
party was not altogether unexpected, as a party of men, 
a few of whom w^ere armed with guns, were assembled 
at a convenient distance. In a deposition signed by 
James Breakenridge and Samuel Robinson (the latter 
being a son of the founder of Bennington) February 
14, 1770, they gave their version of the affair to the 
effect that John Munro, a well known New York parti- 
san and a Justice of the Peace, notified Breakenridge of 
the approach of the New York party, and their purpose, 
and warned him not to stop them by force. Breaken- 
ridge therefore requested his neighbors to withdraw 
from the field, and they retired some distance. 

After the surveyor had crossed the twenty-mile line 
Breakenridge and Robinson went to him, asked him his 
authority in the proceedings and requested him not to 
run the line. This question and request were referred 
to the commissioners, who were John R. Bleeker, Peter 
Lansing and Thomas Hun. After a conference they 
went to a neighboring house where the act of the 
Assembly to divide the patents, and the order of the 
patentees of this particular grant were shown. Break- 



322 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

enridge and Robinson replied that the commissioners 
were without the limits of Albany county, and were in- 
fringing- on a grant made by New Hampshire ; that they 
understood that the King had forbidden the granting of 
lands already granted, or interference with settlements. 
Breakenridge again expressed a desire that no survey of 
his property be made, saying that Robinson and himself 
were appointed a committee for Bennington, were large 
proprietors of lands in Shaftsbury, and as such would 
forbid their running the lines, asserting that if it were 
done it must be considered as on disputed lands. 

According to this deposition the New York party re- 
peatedly asked the Bennington men to break their chain 
or compass, or tread on their chain, but this they stead- 
fastly refused to do, desiring to avoid the breaking of 
any law. Thereupon Breakenridge and Robinson left 
the spot, returning to their homes and leaving the sur- 
veyors on the field, and it was their opinion that all their 
neighbors left at that time. 

On December 12, 1769, Governor Golden of New 
York issued a proclamation in which he asserted that the 
surveying party on the Breakenridge farm was "inter- 
rupted and opposed by a number of armed men, tumultu- 
ously and riotously assembled, for the declared purpose 
of preventing said partition, who, by open force, com- 
pelled the commissioners' surveyor to desist from said 
survey, and by insults and menaces so intimidated the 
said commissioners that, apprehensive for the safety of 
their persons, they found it necessary to relinquish any 
further attempts to perform the trust so reposed in 
them." It was further claimed that the principal 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 323 

"authors of and actors in said riot" were James Breaken- 
ridge, Jedediah Dewey (pastor of the Bennington 
church), Samuel Robinson, Nathaniel Horner, Henry 
Walbridge and Moses Robinson, and the Sheriff of 
Albany county was ordered to arrest them and commit 
them to jail. These men were indicted, but never were 
arrested or tried for the alleged rioting. 

As a sequel to the afifair at the Breakenridge farm, an 
attempt was made by Sheriff Ten Eyck of Albany and 
a posse to take possession of the house and lands of 
James Breakenridge in Bennington. Having sum- 
moned a posse comitatus by means of a general sum- 
mons to the citizens of Albany, the party left that city 
on the morning of July 18, 1771. The size of this posse 
is variously estimated. Some of the affidavits of the 
New York men who participated place it as low as one 
hundred and fifty men. Ira Allen placed it as high as 
seven hundred and fifty; Hiland Hall placed the number 
at about three hundred. In this party were the Mayor 
of Albany, several Aldermen and four eminent lawyers, 
Mr. Silvester, Mr. Bleeker, Robert Yates and Chris- 
topher Yates. A halt was made for the night at San- 
coick, on the Walloomsac River near the village of 
North Hoosick, N. Y., and on the following morning the 
posse set out for the farm of James Breakenridge, several 
miles distant. 

Meanwhile the Bennington settlers had been warned 
of the approach of the New York posse, and about 
three hundred men assembled at the Breakenridge farm, 
arriving several hours in advance of Sheriff Ten Eyck. 
The Breakenridge family sought refuge with a neighbor. 



324 HISTORY OF VERMONT 



The house was prepared for defence by providing a 
strong barricade for the door and loopholes in the walls, 
and within a garrison consisting of an officer and 
eighteen men was stationed. About one hundred and 
twenty men were posted in a wood behind a ridge, where 
only their heads and the points of their muskets could 
be seen rather indistinctly through the trees. This 
force was stationed near the road along which the 
Sheriff's posse must march. The remainder of the 
party of defenders was stationed behind a ridge in a 
meadow, within firing distance of the house, but out of 
sight of the New York party. These preparations 
were made as the result of action previously taken, 
whereby Mr. Breakenridge and Mr. Fuller, against 
whom judgments had been rendered by the New York 
authorities, were taken under the protection of the town 
of Bennington, and a committee had been appointed to 
see that their farms were properly defended when an 
attempt should be made to evict them. 

The garrison in the Breakenridge house had been fur- 
nished with a red flag to be raised over the chimney 
as a signal when help was needed. The forces had been 
located so that the Albany posse would march into an 
ambush, where it would be subjected to a cross-fire, pro- 
vided fighting became necessary. 

At a bridge over the Walloomsac, about half a mile 
from the Breakenridge farm, Sheriff Ten Eyck's party 
was halted by six or seven armed men. After a parley 
it was agreed that a few men, headed by Major Cuyler, 
might advance and consult with Mr. Breakenridge. 
The latter informed the Albany officials that the town- 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 325 

ship had taken his farm under its protection, and in- 
tended to keep it. Therefore Cuyler informed Breaken- 
ridge that "whatever blood should be spilled in opposing 
the King's writ would be required from his hands." 

It was agreed finally that Breakenridge should con- 
sult with his friends, and that the Mayor and his party 
should return to the bridge, where, within half an hour 
they should be informed of the result of the conference. 
At the end of that period it was announced on behalf of 
Breakenridge and his friends that possession "would be 
kept at all events." Sherifif Ten Eyck then ordered his 
posse to more forward, but only a few would accom- 
pany him, about twenty or thirty, it is said, and those 
obeyed with apparent reluctance. 

When the Sherift' and his party approached the house 
a parley was held with the leaders of the opposing force, 
and Robert Yates, a lawyer, attempted to argue in be- 
half of the New York position. The settlers acknowl- 
edged that they were under the jurisdiction of New 
York, but claimed that they had been unfairly used in 
the matter of land titles, and said that word had been 
received from their agent in England giving strong 
assurances that a decision would be rendered soon in 
their favor, and advising them in the meantime not to 
relinquish possession of their property. 

Perceiving that arguments were of no avail. Sheriff 
Ten Eyck seized an axe and demanded entrance to the 
Breakenridge house, threatening to force the door if 
refused. The garrison replied: "Attempt it and you 
are a dead man." The demand was repeated, only to 
be answered by hideous groans from within. . At this 



326 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

point some of the party defending the settlers displayed 
their hats on the muzzles of their guns, making the 
force of the defenders appear more numerous than it 
really was, while others presented their guns at the 
Sheriff's posse. 

Seeing that he had marched into an ambuscade, and 
considering prudence the better part of valor, Ten Eyck 
made a hasty retreat, fearing that bloodshed might re- 
sult if he pressed the matter further. The Sheriff then 
attempted to evict one Fuller, but most of his posse de- 
serted, and the attempt was abandoned. 

Ira Allen says that this episode "cemented the union 
of the inhabitants, and raised their consequence in the 
neighboring colonies." That the members of Sheriff 
Ten Eyck's posse refused in any considerable numbers 
to follow him in an offensive movement against the in- 
habitants of Bennington, is proof that the great body of 
New York people were not in sympathy with the policy 
of evicting from their homes the settlers on the New 
Hampshire Grants. Ira Allen expressed this idea when 
he wrote: "The people on the Grants rightly consid- 
ered their controversy was not with the great body of 
the people, only with the Governor and Council, who 
were but a small part of the community. This distinc- 
tion was kept up during the whole dispute in all the 
publications against the tyranny of the rulers of New 
York." 

Governor Dunmore issued a proclamation November 
1, 1770, ordering the arrest of Simeon Hathaway, Moses 
Scott, Jonathan Fisk and Silas Robinson, charging that 
they were among the principal authors of and actors in 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 327 

"the last mentioned visit." The Sheriff, aided by John 
Munro, succeeded in arresting Silas Robinson early on 
the morning of November 29. He attempted to make 
no other arrests, but returned with great speed, fear- 
ing that his prisoner might be rescued. Robinson with 
fifteen others was indicted, but he was the only man 
arrested, and after being confined in jail for nearly a 
year he was released on bail. 

The little company of farmers gathered in James 
Breakenridge's corn field, on the border of the twenty- 
mile line, on that October day in 1769, probably was as 
peaceable a body of "rioters" as ever was assembled 
anywhere; but the occasion is rendered notable because 
it was the first open resistance offered to the attempt 
of New York to deprive the settlers in what is now the 
State of Vermont of their hard earned property. Men 
actually assembled with arms in their hands as a pro- 
test against the partition of a farm honestly bought 
and diligently tilled; and among their leaders was the 
parish clergyman, Jedediah Dewey, and Moses Robin- 
son, later Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Governor 
and United States Senator. No doubt to the gentlemen 
from Albany this very mild resistance of a few pioneer 
farmers and their minister to the representative of a 
powerful and aristocratic province seemed the height of 
absurdity and folly ; but the resistance begun in Benning- 
ton on that autumn day, against such tremendous odds, 
was destined to continue until the right of the settlers 
on the New Hampshire Grants should triumph over the 
might of the officials and the great land holders of New 
York. 



328 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Several ejectment suits were brought at the June term 
of the Circuit Court at Albany, in 1770, among them 
being two for lands in Shaftsbury, claimed by Maj. 
John Small, a reduced army officer, the defendants being 
Isaiah Carpenter and Justin Olin. It is in connection 
with these suits that Ethan Allen makes his first appear- 
ance in Vermont history. There is some doubt as to 
the time of his arrival here. Hiland Hall and the Allen 
Memorial volume give the date as about 1769. In a 
statement relative to an affair on Otter Creek, in 1773, 
Allen declared that he had *'run these woods these seven 
years," and some writers give 1766 as the date of his 
coming to Vermont. It is by no means impossible that 
he may have come into the New Hampshire Grants on 
several occasions prior to his coming here to abide. 
This supposition is rendered the more probable from the 
fact that his cousin. Remember Baker, settled in Arling- 
ton in 1764, and many early settlers came from that 
part of Connecticut in which Allen resided. 

The records show that Ethan Allen, eldest child of 
Joseph and Mary Allen, was born at Litchfield, Conn., 
January 10, 1737. This record has been disputed, other 
Connecticut towns contesting for the honor of being 
Ethan Allen's birthplace, but in the absence of positive 
evidence of their untrustworthiness, the records must 
stand. Ethan was the eldest of eight children, and 
when he was quite young the family removed to Corn- 
wall, Conn. In the spring of 1755, Joseph Allen, who 
had been an industrious farmer of moderate means, died. 
Ethan, at that time, was a youth of eighteen years. 
After the death of Joseph Allen the family removed to 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 329 

Salisbury, Conn., where Ethan worked on a farm for 
several years. Ira Allen, his brother, writing many 
years after to Samuel Williams, the Vermont historian, 
declared that at the time of his father's death Ethan 
was fitting for college. Other authorities declare that 
he studied to fit himself for college with a clergyman 
named Lee, at Salisbury. His writings indicate that his 
reading must have been somewhat extensive, and that 
he was familiar with the general events of history. 

W^hile a young man, Ethan Allen obtained an interest 
in iron mines in the northern part of Salisbury, near 
the Massachusetts line. On January 23, 1762, Ethan 
Allen and Mary Brownson were married and soon after 
removed to a home just over the Massachusetts border, 
in the township of Sheffield. The first iron furnace in 
Salisbury was built upon the outlet of Wanscopommuc 
Lake, two miles east of "Old Ore Hill," so-called, by 
Samuel and Elisha Forbes, Ethan Allen and a Mr. 
Hazeltine. The articles of copartnership may be found 
in the town records of Salisbury. This iron ore deposit 
had a high reputation for the superior quality of the ore 
produced. During the Revolutionary War cannon, can- 
non balls and bomb shells were manufactured here for 
the use of the Continental army; and the famous ship 
Constitution, which figured prominently in the War of 
1812, was equipped with cannon made at Salisbury. 
Probably Allen accumulated some money in the iron 
business, as he was able a few years later to obtain 
rather extensive land holdings in Vermont. 

It was the most natural thing in the world that a man 
of Allen's adventurous temperament should have been 



330 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

interested in the settlement of the New Hampshire 
Grants and in the stirring events that attended the con- 
troversy with New York. One of his intimate personal 
friends was Dr. Thomas Young, who lived in the dis- 
trict known as "The Oblong," just over the New York 
line from Salisbury. In the same region dwelt Benja- 
min Ferris, a Quaker, who was a proprietor in several 
of the townships granted by Governor Went worth. It 
is not improbable that Allen may have known Ferris, 
and that the latter, not being of a warlike nature, may 
have been willing to dispose of some of his holdings in 
the new country after the troubles over land titles be- 
came serious. 

As has been stated, this was an era of land specula- 
tion, and Ethan Allen and his brothers became interested 
in the buying and selling of lands in the region known 
as the New^ Hampshire Grants. Ethan acquired hold- 
ings in Poultney, Colchester, Essex, and Jericho, some 
of which he purchased from the original grantees, in- 
cluding Caleb Lawrence, Samuel Burling, Edward Agar 
and the Bogarts, most or all of them being residents of 
New York. 

The Hartford Courant, in June, 1773, printed an ad- 
vertisement of Ethan Allen & Co., which began with the 
following announcement : "Lately purchased by Aliens 
and Baker a large tract of land on both sides of the 
mouth of Onion River and fronting westerly on Lake 
Champlain, containing about 45,000 acres, and sundry 
lesser parcels of land further up the said river." The 
advertisement, in alluring terms, described the fertile soil, 
the salubrious climate, the abundant water power, the 



REvSISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 331 

variety and value of the timber and the abundance of 
fish and game, closing with the statement: "Whoever 
inclines to be a purchaser may apply to Ethan, Zimri, 
and Ira Allen on the premises, or to Heman and Levi 
Allen in Salisbury." 

In his "History of Vermont," Ira Allen states that 
his brother, Ethan, was appointed agent by some of the 
people of the New Hampshire Grants who were inter- 
ested in preparing a defence against the ejectment suits 
brought by New York claimants. The first step taken 
by the new agent was to go to New Hampshire and 
obtain copies of the royal orders and instructions 
authorizing the granting of lands, also copies of town 
charters issued by Governor Wentworth. His next step 
was to go to Connecticut and secure the services of Jared 
Ingersoll, an eminent attorney. Mr. Ingersoll had 
accepted the office of stamp agent for Connecticut, under 
the Stamp Act, upon the advice of Benjamin Eranklin, 
but was compelled by force of public opinion to resign. 
About this time he was appointed an Admiralty Judge. 

Mr. Ingersoll accompanied Allen to Albany for the 
trial of the ejectment suits, and Mr. Silvester of that 
city was secured as associate counsel. Attorney Gen- 
eral John Taber Kempe and James Duane appeared as 
counsel for the plaintififs. The presiding judge was 
Robert R. Livingston, and with him was associated 
Judge George D. Ludlow. Judge Livingston was the 
holder of a New York patent to thirty-five thousand 
acres of land in the township of Camden, so-called, with- 
in the present limits of Vermont, but this was land not 
previously granted by New Hampshire. Mr. Duane, 



332 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

counsel for the plaintiff, however, was Judge Liv- 
ingston's brother-in-law, and was largely interested in 
lands, the title to which depended for its validity upon 
the decision in this particular suit. 

The first case was that against Josiah Carpenter. 
The trial was held June 28, 1770, the plaintiff appear- 
ing, to quote Ethan Allen's words, "in great state and 
magnificence." The plaintiff claimed to hold the lands 
in dispute under title of a soldier's grant made by Gov- 
ernor Colden, and dated October 30, 1765. Mr. Inger- 
soll, for the defendant, presented the royal orders 
authorizing Governor Wentworth to make grants of 
land in the province of New Hampshire; and produced 
the charter of the township of Shaftsbury, bearing date 
of August 20, 1761, almost four years earlier than the 
date of the plaintiff's New York patent, and also pre- 
sented the defendant's title to the land which he 
occupied. 

Judge Livingston refused to admit the defendant's 
evidence, taking judicial notice that New York always 
had extended to the Connecticut River, and holding that 
no evidence had been given to the court showing that 
New Hampshire ever had included the lands in question, 
or ever had authority to grant such lands. The court 
having held that the charter of Shaftsbury granted by 
Governor Wentworth could not be received as legal 
evidence, Mr. Ingersoll saw, to quote Ira Allen's words, 
"that the cause was already prejudged." There was no 
further attempt to defend the case, and judgment was 
rendered for the plaintiff in all the ejectment suits en- 
tered at this term of court. To quote again from Ira 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 333 

Allen, ''Thus a precedent was established to annihilate 
all the titles of land held under New Hampshire grants 
west of Connecticut River." 

During the evening following the day of the trial it 
is related that Messrs. Kempe and Duane, counsel for 
the plaintiff, and Goldsbrow Banyar, a holder of New 
York titles to Vermont lands, exceeding in quantity six 
townships, called on Ethan Allen, and during the con- 
versation Attorney General Kempe suggested that it 
would be well to advise the people settled on the New 
Hampshire Grants to make the best possible terms with 
their landlords, adding that might often made right. 
Allen replied with the Delphic expression, ''The gods of 
the valleys are not the gods of the hills." When Kempe 
asked for an explanation of the saying Allen replied 
that if the Attorney General would accompany him to 
Bennington the phrase would be explained. Following 
his advice to the settlers with more substantial argu- 
ments, Kempe proposed, according to Ira Allen's "His- 
tory of Vermont," to give Ethan Allen and other men 
of influence in the New Hampshire Grants large tracts 
of land to secure the friendship of the leading men 
of the region, and to bring about the pacification of the 
district. This proposal was rejected, as one might 
naturally expect, for whatever may have been Ethan 
Allen's faults, he was not the type of man to accept 
bribes. 

At the close of the Revolutionary War, John Munro, 
an active New York partisan, living in Shaftsbury, 
made application to the English commissioners for re- 
imbursement for losses sustained during the war on 



334 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

account of his friendship for the British cause. His 
lands in Vermont and New York had been confiscated 
and, according to the poHcy of the British government, 
he was entitled to compensation for his losses. The 
commission granted redress for those in New York, but 
refused to compensate him for his losses in Vermont 
on the ground that his title was not good, the land in 
question having been included in the grants made by 
Governor Wentworth of New Hampshire. This de- 
cision of a British tribunal afifords a notable illustration 
of the quality of justice dispensed in Judge Livingston's 
court in the case of Small vs. Carpenter, coming as it 
did, from a source by no means prejudiced in favor of 
the Vermonters. On account of his partisan decision. 
Judge Livingston may be ranked with the New York 
Governors who disobeyed the orders of the King's min- 
isters in granting again lands previously granted and 
occupied, as the persons chiefly responsible for the long 
and bitter controversy between the men of the Green 
Mountains and the government of New York. 

When Ethan Allen returned to Bennington a conven- 
tion was called to consider an extremely serious situa- 
tion, threatening, as it did, the eviction of a great num- 
ber of settlers. To acquiesce in the decision of the New 
York court meant financial ruin. To resist the enforce- 
ment of the decision practically meant revolution. 
Nevertheless the one hundred men present adopted a 
resolution not to surrender their lands until a final de- 
cision had been rendered by the King, and voted that, if 
necessary, force should be used to protect their rights 
and property. 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 335 

As a matter of necessity, committees representing 
the towns in the vicinity of Bennington and in the settled 
region to the northward, were called together in con- 
ference to devise methods for the protection of their 
homes from the New York officers and land claimants; 
and gradually these meetings or conventions, few 
records of which have been preserved, assumed a cer- 
tain measure of authority over public afifairs, particu- 
larly in relation to the land controversy. As the field 
of operations enlarged, some kind of military organiza- 
tion became necessary. As early as October, 1764, the 
people of Bennington had organized a militia company, 
and after it became evident that the New York authori- 
ties intended to eject the settlers holding New Hamp- 
shire titles, other companies were formed. These local 
companies were organized into a military association, of 
which Ethan Allen was elected Colonel Commandant, 
and the Captains included Seth Warner, Remember 
Baker, Robert Cochran and Gideon Warren. The Gov- 
ernor of New York having threatened, it is said, to 
drive into the Green Mountains those who opposed his 
authority, this organization took the name Green Moun- 
tain Boys, a name destined to become highly honored 
and to live long in history. 

The attempt to dispossess the settlers on the New 
Hampshire Grants met with scant success. Early in 
January, 1771, a deputy sherifif from Albany, accom- 
panied by John Munro of Shaftsbury, and twelve other 
men whom Munro had secured, having learned that 
violent resistance was not unlikely, proceeded to the resi- 
dence of Isaiah Carpenter to serve a writ of possession. 



336 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

The party found the door locked and were refused ad- 
mission, the owner threatening to blow out the brains 
of any' person attempting to take possession. The door 
was forced, and Carpenter was seized with a loaded gun 
in his hands. Two other New Hampshire claimants 
were found in the house, and two guns were seized, one 
being loaded with powder and kidney beans. Carpenter 
was left in possession upon agreeing to make terms with 
the holder of the New York title by May first of that 
year, or to surrender possession. Apparently Carpenter 
left, for it is recorded that Mayor Small's tenant did not 
remain long, as he became alarmed, fearing for his per- 
sonal safety. 

On the same day that the writ of possession was 
served on Isaiah Carpenter, the New York deputy, 
accompanied by Munro and three other men, gained 
entrance to the house of Samuel Rose, the officer being 
admitted before his identity was known. Rose being 
absent from home at the time. Mrs. Rose was left in 
possession on condition that the property should be held 
for the plaintiffs. 

Early in the year 1771 the men of the New Hamp- 
shire Grants began active measures of resistance to the 
New York officers. One Samuel Willoughby, a Con- 
stable of Albany county, having served a writ of eject- 
ment upon the wife of Thomas French, in the absence 
of her husband, was overtaken on May 16 by French 
and certain other "rioters" of Princetown, a New York 
grant in the valley of the Battenkill. These men were 
armed with clubs and held a club over the head of 
Willoughby, threatening to kill him unless he would 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 337 

carry out the writ of ejectment. It is further stated 
in an affidavit that the threat was made that Willoughby 
should be tied to a tree and flogged if he did not leave 
the place. 

A few days later, on May 21, Samuel Pease, a Con- 
stable from Albany, came with orders to arrest Thomas 
French on a charge of rioting. When the town was 
entered the Constable's party was met by "a number 
of rioters," two of whom carried guns, the others being 
armed with clubs, and a shot was fired at them out of 
the woods. When French's house was reached a much 
larger party of "rioters" was found, the members of 
which vowed that the Constable should carry no man out 
of town, but that if he did happen to carry one of them 
to jail that building would not be allowed to stand three 
weeks; and in addition to the foregoing threat they 
cursed the "rascally Yorkers." 

It appears that Constable Samuel Willoughby made 
another attempt to serve executions, going to Benning- 
ton, where he stayed the night of May 23. On the fol- 
lowing morning he found that his horse had been shot 
and killed. Justice of the Peace John Munro secured 
affidavits concerning the "rioting," to which reference 
has been made, and sent them to Goldsbrow Banyar at 
Albany, hoping that the authorities might be able to do 
something speedily to prevent "riotous behavior." In 
a letter accompanying the affidavits he said: "Every 
person that pretends to be a friend to this government 
is in danger of both life and property." He observed 
that every act of friendship shown to the people in that 
region "seems to raise their spirits as if the whole gov- 



338 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

ernment were afraid of them. They assemble them- 
selves together in the right time and throw down all the 
Yorkers' fences, etc., as we are called, and drives the 
cattle into the fields and meadows, and destroys both 
grass and corn, and do every mischief they can think 
of." 

During the summer of 1771, William Cockburn, a 
deputy of the New York Surveyor General, was sent to 
survey the New York grant known as Socialborough 
and divide it into lots. This township comprised the 
New Hampshire grants of Rutland and Pittsford, 
chartered by Governor Wentworth ten years earlier, and 
occupied by settlers. In a letter written by Mr. Cock- 
burn from Albany, to James Duane, the principal pro- 
prietor of Socialborough, he related some of his experi- 
ences. He had begun the survey but was stopped by 
James Mead and Asa Johnson, acting in behalf of the 
settlers in Rutland and Pittsford, and was threatened 
with shooting. In his letter he said "Your acquaintance 
Nathan (perhaps Ethan) Allen was in the woods with 
another party blacked and dressed like Indians, as I was 
informed." The people of Durham (Clarendon) 
assured Cockburn that these men, probably Allen and 
his party, intended to murder the surveyor and his asso- 
ciates if they did not leave, and advised him to abandon 
his task. He learned of a plan to convey his party to 
Danby and so on to the south, adding, "by all accounts 
we should not have been very kindly treated." For 
that reason he informed Mr. Duane: "I found it vain 
to persist any longer as they were resolved at all events 
to stop us." When Cockburn gave assurance that he 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 339 

would survey no more in those parts he was allowed to 
proceed along the Crown Point Road, as he observes, 
"with the hearty prayers of the women, as we passed 
never to return." 

Samuel Gardenier purchased of James Delancy of 
New York City three hundred and ten acres of land in 
what was known as the Walloomsack Patent, and found 
one Ichabod Cross settled on a part of the property, 
holding it under a New Hampshire title. Some ar- 
rangement was made between Gardenier and Cross, 
according to a deposition by Gardenier, whereby he 
secured possession, but his neighbors evidently were in 
sympathy with Cross, and frequently the new owner 
found his fences thrown down. One morning in 
August, 1771, about two hours before daybreak, Gar- 
denier was called to the door and was surrounded by 
eleven men, some of them disguised with blankets, like 
Indians, others with handkerchiefs or women's caps on 
their heads. They were armed chiefly with sickles and 
clubs, one man having a pistol. After some discussion 
Gardenier was given a fortnight to give up the papers 
executed to him by Cross. He was threatened, accord- 
ing to his version of the affair, that "if he did not do 
as he was ordered, they would come the next time Devil 
like and times should be worse for him." 

Just before the two weeks' limit expired Gardenier 
fled and thus escaped a visit from one hundred men. 
Some of them were disguised with wigs, horses' tails, 
women's caps, etc. They were armed with clubs, pis- 
tols, guns and swords and searched the premises for 
Gardenier. Later, his fences were broken down and 



340 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

some of them burned, his haystacks overturned in the 
mud, and threats were made by the "rioters" that if any 
of the settlers holding New Hampshire titles were sent 
to jail, "they would raise a mob and go in a body to 
Albany, break open the jail there and take them out of 
jail." 

The New York Council minutes for September 30, 
1771, show that a deposition taken the second day of 
September, of that year, declares that on the night of 
August 2 a number of men came to the deponent's house, 
turned the deponent, his wife and children out of doors, 
and pulled the house to the ground. Seth Warner of 
Bennington was said to be the "Captain of the mob." 
The name of the deponent is not given, nor is his place 
of residence mentioned. 

Holders of military grants issued by New York in 
the present town of Rupert attempted to occupy such 
lands in June, 1771, but were driven off by a consider- 
able number of men led by Robert Cochran of that town, 
who became one of the active leaders of the Green Moun- 
tain Boys. Two brothers named Todd had begun work 
on a lot in the western part of Rupert, owned by 
Robert Cochran under a New Hampshire title. Charles 
Hutchison, formerly a Corporal in a Highland regiment, 
began the construction of a log house in Rupert on land 
previously granted by Governor Wentworth, and John 
Reid had commenced the clearing of land in Pawlet, and 
had erected a rude shelter. 

On October 29, 1771, Ethan Allen, Remember Baker, 
Robert Cochran and six others drove the Todds from 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 341 

their work, informing them that they would permit no 
man to settle there under a New York title. 

Hutchison, in a deposition before Justice Alexander 
McNaughton, described the visit of the same party in 
the following words : "There assembled nine men who 
call themselves New Hampshire men about the de- 
ponent's house which he had built on said lot and the 
deponent observing all having fire arms and attempting 
to demolish his house he left his work, came and 
eventually desired them to stop, whereupon one sirnamed 
Allen, another Baker, and one Sevil, with Robert Coch- 
ran and five other names unknown to the deponent said 
that they would burn it, for that morning they had re- 
solved to offer a burnt sacrifice to the gods of the world 
in burning the logs of that house. That then they 
kindled four fires on the logs of the house, said Allen 
and Baker holding two clubs over the deponent's head 
commanded him to leave that land and not say one word 
to them. That if ever he returned he should be bar- 
barously used. That the fires being kindled said Allen 
and Baker insolently said to the deponent — 'Go your 
way now and complain to that damned scoundrel your 
Governor'." 

According to the deposition, Allen and Baker poured 
"horrible curses" upon the King, the Governor, the 
Council, the Assembly and the laws, declaring that if 
any Constable attempted to arrest them they would kill 
him, and that if any of them were put in jail they would 
break it down and rescue him. The deponent was in- 
formed that the "rioters" boasted that on short warn- 
ing they could raise many hundreds of New Hampshire 



342 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

men to prevent any Yorkers from settling on their lands. 
The same day of the affair at Hutchison's, Reid's shelter 
was destroyed, and the deposition stated that eight or 
nine more New York families were driven off by New 
Hampshire sympathizers. 

It appears that John Reid was a Constable, and he 
was directed by Justice McNaughton "forthwith to call 
a competent number of His Majesty's good subjects in 
your vicinity to arms," and apprehend the rioters. 
Evidently Justice McNaughton did not have much con- 
fidence in the prowess of Constable Reid, for the same 
day he wrote Colonel Fanning, saying he had "issued 
warrants to apprehend the New Hampshire rioters and 
traitors, but their number and situation on the moun- 
tains is such that I am of the opinion that no Sheriff 
or Constable will apprehend them." Therefore he came 
to the conclusion that it would be "highly necessary for 
His Majesty's peace" that the Governor should offer a 
reward "for apprehending those abominable wretches." 

In compliance with an order of the New York Coun- 
cil, dated November 27, 1771, Governor Tryon issued a 
proclamation on December 9, offering the sum of twenty 
pounds for the apprehension of Allen, Baker, Cochran, 
Sevil and five other persons charged with felony and 
rioting. A counter proclamation followed, aimed at 
James Duane, a prominent New York attorney, active in 
the proceedings against the settlers on the New Hamp- 
shire Grants, and against Attorney General Kempe, 
which was issued as a burlesque on Governor Tryon's 
proclamation, the text of the document being as follows : 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 343 

Twenty-five Pounds Reward 
"Whereas, James Duane and John Kempe, of New 
York, have by their menaces and threats greatly dis- 
turbed the pubHc peace and repose of the honest peasants 
of Bennington, and the settlements to the northward, 
which peasants are now and ever have been in the peace 
of God and the King, and are patriotic and liege subjects 
of George III. Any person that will apprehend these 
common disturbers, viz, James Duane and John Kempe, 
and bring them to Landlord Fay's at Bennington, shall 
have fifteen pounds for John (James?) Duane and ten 
pounds for John Kempe, paid by 

"Ethan Allen 
Dated Poultney, "Remember Baker 

February 5, 1772. "Robert Cochran'' 

It is evident that Governor Tryon's proclamation only 
intensified the resentment felt against the New York 
authorities. Justice of the Peace John Munro, writing 
to Governor Tryon on February 17, 1772, told of the 
formation of a militia company at Bennington, with 
John (Seth?) Warner as its commander, and said that 
on New Year's day the company was reviewed and "con- 
tinued all day firing at marks." Commenting on the 
state of public opinion, Munro observed: "I find that 
every act of indulgence which the Government offers is 
rejected with disdain, and by the best information I can 
get they are determined to oppose the authority of this 
Government assigning for reason that should they com- 
ply it will weaken their New Hampshire title, and they 
shall lose all their lands, for this reason they shall fight 
'till they die'; however if this Bennington was well drest 



344 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

I presume all the rest will fall of course and that the 
Government will be restored to peace." Doubtless there 
were many others who were ready during the next ten 
or fifteen years to join very heartily in Esquire Munro's 
opinion that it would be eminently satisfactory to them- 
selves and exceedingly helpful to their cause, ''if this 
Bennington was well drest." 

Sheriff Ten Eyck, in a letter to Governor Tryon, read 
before the New York Council March 26, 1772, men- 
tioned his inability to arrest any of the rioters and de- 
clared that he found "the greatest appearance of a deter- 
mined resolution not to submit to the Government." 

Justice Munro was not ready to concede that the 
arrest of the rioters was impossible, and with much care 
he laid his plans for the capture of Remember Baker. 
Two days before the arrest was made Bliss Willoughby, 
under pretence of a friendly business call, went to 
Baker's house, and observing that the Green Mountain 
leader "was somewhat careless and secure," made his 
report to Munro. 

Baker lived about one mile east of the present village 
of Arlington. A little before daylight, on the morning 
of March 21, 1772, Justice Munro, Constable Stevens, 
and a party surrounded Baker's house, and after a des- 
perate struggle succeeded in overpowering Baker, and 
after binding him he was placed in a sleigh and the party 
started for Albany, Baker was severely wounded, one 
thumb being cut off. Mrs. Baker received a severe 
wound from a sword cut and their little son is said to 
have been injured. 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 345 

Two neighbors, Caleb Henderson and John Whiston, 
attempted to stop the sleigh carrying Baker, but did not 
succeed in releasing the prisoner, and Whiston was cap- 
tured. Henderson escaped and gave the alarm, the 
news being sent by messenger to Bennington. Munro 
and his party, having driven about sixteen miles, stopped 
at Sancoick, N. Y., to rest. This halt proved fatal to 
Munro's plans to lodge in Albany jail one of the chief 
rioters of the New Hampshire Grants. As soon as the 
news of Baker's arrest reached Bennington ten men 
mounted their horses and rode at great speed to the 
ferry across the Hudson River at what is now the city 
of Troy. Learning that Munro and his prisoner had 
not passed there, the rescuing party turned back toward 
Arlington, and proceeded six or seven miles before meet- 
ing Baker and his captors. The approach of the Ben- 
nington men struck terror to the hearts of most of the 
New York party, and to quote from Munro's report, 
"they all ran into the woods when they ought to have 
resisted." Munro and two Constables were detained but 
later were released. Baker was so exhausted from loss 
of blood that it was necessary, after his wounds were 
dressed, for one of the rescuing party to ride on the 
same horse with him to keep him from falling. On the 
way back they met another rescuing party, probably 
from Arlington. Mr. Breakenridge's house in Ben- 
nington was reached at two o'clock the next morning, 
the party having travelled more than sixty miles in 
twenty- four hours. 

The attempt to imprison Baker, and the harsh treat- 
ment inflicted upon him, still further embittered the 



346 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

people of the New Hampshire Grants against New York. 
Writing soon after the Baker episode, Munro informed 
the New York Governor that the rioters "are Hsting men 
daily, and ofifer fifteen pounds bounty to every man that 
joins with them, and thus strike terror into the whole 
country ; that they have too many friends in the country 
owing to self interest, and that he is afraid of the con- 
sequences every moment, as he cannot find any Justice 
or one officer now that will act or say against them." 
To this the writer added the information that "he is 
almost wore out with watching." 

In view of the fact that Bliss Willoughby played the 
part of spy upon Baker before Munro's attack upon him, 
it is not altogether surprising to read in a communica- 
tion from Governor Tryon to the New York Council a 
report from Justice Munro to the efifect that on May 
first Remember Baker and others went to Willoughby's 
house "and cut him in a barbarous manner." 

In April, 1772, news was received in Bennington to 
the effect that Governor Tryon and a detachment of 
British troops was proceeding by way of the Hudson 
River to Albany "in order to subject or destroy the 
Green Mountain Boys." This report was given credence 
because regular troops had been used in the province 
of New York to quell an outbreak regarding land titles. 
The Committee of Safety met the officers of the Green 
Mountain Boys and consulted regarding proper measures 
to be taken. Ira Allen, writing of the effect of this 
report upon the Committee of Safety, said: "They 
found matters had come to a crisis that compelled them 
either to submit and become tenants of the land jobbers 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 347 

of New York, or to take the field against a royal Gov- 
ernor and British troops ; either seemed like the forlorn 
hope. Having reflected on the justice of their cause, 
the hardships, expense of money and labor they had 
been at in building and cultivation, they therefore unani- 
mously resolved that it was their duty to oppose Gov- 
ernor Tryon and his troops to the utmost of their power 
(and thereby convince him and his Council that they 
were punishable by the Green Mountain Boys) for dis- 
obeying His Majesty's prohibitory orders of July, 
1767." 

Two cannon and a mortar were brought to Benning- 
ton from a fort at East Hoosick (Williamstown), and 
powder and ball were also supplied. Ira Allen is 
authority for the statement that the older persons among 
the people of the Grants advised sending a flag of truce 
to the Governor to inquire if some compromise were not 
possible. The militia objected to this plan on the 
ground that such an act would indicate pusillanimity, 
and would show a confidence in the Governor of which 
he was unworthy. 

Instead of sending a flag of truce to the Governor, 
the military leaders sent to Albany a person not under 
indictment as a rioter, to observe the Governor and his 
principal officers, to obtain all possible information as 
to the strength of the military force, their order of 
marching and when they would leave Albany. Having 
accomplished this he was to return, join six other good 
marksmen, and they were to form an ambuscade in a 
wood through which the royal troops must march. 
Having observed the Governor, the marksmen were to 



348 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

fire at him, one after the other, until he fell from his 
horse, then raise an Indian war whoop and retire. If 
the enemy continued the march they were to attempt an- 
other ambuscade and try to kill two or three of the chief 
officers. 

The messenger, on his return, reported that the British 
troops which had received marching orders were to re- 
lieve the garrisons at Oswego, Niagara and Detroit, and 
that Governor Tryon was not with them. In comment- 
ing on this episode Ira Allen said: "The Governor and 
his land jobbers soon got information of this prepara- 
tion ; and they were both intimidated and convinced that 
the Green Mountain Boys would fight even the King's 
troops if sent to decide the titles of land and to dis- 
possess the inhabitants who rescued them out of a state 
of nature. This alarm answered every purpose that a 
victory possibly could have done, without shedding 
blood." 

This deliberate plan by a handful of pioneer settlers 
to ambush the British troops and to kill the royal Gov- 
ernor, seems almost incredible, but it is given on the 
authority of one of the greatest of Vermont's early lead- 
ers, who was familiar with all the public afifairs of that 
period. It afifords a striking illustration of the des- 
perate courage of the Vermont pioneers, and the length 
to which they were willing to go to defend their property 
from invasion and seizure. 

Soon after the capture and release of Remember 
Baker, Sergt. Hugh Munro secured the services of a 
surveyor named Campbell and some chain bearers and 
accompanied them to Rupert for the purpose of survey- 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 349 

ing a tract of land there. According to a New York 
account the party was seized by Robert Cochran and 
his associates, who conducted them to a tribunal "as if 
they had really been malefactors" ; deliberated upon their 
course, and decided to chastise them. Munro and the 
chain bearers were beaten severely, and the deputy sur- 
veyor was whipped, but less severely than his associates. 
It is said that Cochran boasted that he was a son of 
Robin Hood and would follow the mode of life of the 
famous outlaw. The surveying party was conducted 
several miles, and dismissed with the warning that a 
repetition of this offense would be punished by death. 

Ira Allen says that Munro was "an old offender." 
After being tried he was ordered to be whipped on his 
naked back. He was then tied to a tree and given three 
separate whippings, and after each chastisement he 
fainted. His wounds were dressed and he was banished 
from the New Hampshire Grants. According to 
Allen's account a convention of settlers had adopted a 
resolution to the effect "that no officer from New York 
be allowed to carry out of the district of New Hampshire 
Grants any person without permission of the committees 
of safety or the military commanders." 

New York land surveyors were forbidden to run any 
lines within the Grants, and transgressors of the rule 
were to be punished according to the judgment of a 
court chosen from the elders of the people or the mili- 
tary commanders. Punishment sometimes consisted in 
whipping the prisoner severely with beech twigs, not 
easily broken, which left on the back of the offender 
evidences of the punishment, which the Green Mountain 



350 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Boys, with a grim humor, called the "Beech Seal." In 
addition to the whipping, the penalty of banishment 
sometimes was added. 

After describing Hugh Munro's punishment, Allen 
declared: "These severities were used to deter people 
from endangering their lives and to prevent aid being 
given to the land claimants of New York; they proved 
to answer the purpose and the Green Mountain Boys 
soon became the terror of their adversaries. When the 
Sherifif's officers came to collect debts they were used 
with civility, and the cause of the people was explained ; 
in this way the strength of the enemy was weakened, and 
the cause of the settlers gained strength and credit." 

About this time Seth Warner and a companion named 
Sherwood went to the house of John Munro to secure 
Remember Baker's gun, which was not taken when 
Baker was rescued from his captors. Munro refused 
to deliver it, and seizing the bridle of Warner's horse 
ordered a Constable and several bystanders to arrest 
him. Warner drew his cutlass and struck Munro over 
the head, felling the magistrate to the ground. Al- 
though the blow was so severe that the weapon was 
broken, the injury inflicted did not prove to be a dan- 
gerous one, the weapon being dull. An illustration of 
the temper of the inhabitants of the New Hampshire 
Grants at this time is afforded by the action of the pro- 
prietors of the town of Poultney, who voted Warner, 
on May 4, 1773, one hundred acres of land in that town, 
"for his valor in cutting the head of Esquire Munro, the 
Yorkite." 







m 



o 



CQ 



H 



a 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 351 

Evidently the news of the preparations made by the 
people of Bennington to resist by force the rumored 
attack by the King's troops, and the plan to shoot the 
royal Governor, brought forcibly to the mind of Gov- 
ernor Tryon the importance of making some effort to 
conciliate the exasperated settlers on the New Hamp- 
shire Grants, and on May 19, 1772, he addressed a com- 
munication to "the Rev. Mr. Dewey, and the inhabitants 
of Bennington, and the adjacent country on the east side 
of Hudson's River." The Governor chided the people 
for "the many violent and illegal acts" they had com- 
mitted, hinted that a continuation of such a policy might 
cause the interference of royal authority but expressed 
a desire on his part and that of the Council to examine 
into the grounds of their "behavior and discontent, with 
deliberation and candor, and as far as in us lies to give 
such relief as the nature of your situation and circum- 
stances will justify." He promised full security and 
protection to any persons whom they might send to 
present their views, with the exception of Allen, Baker, 
Cochran, Sevil and Warner. He suggested as suitable 
persons Rev. William (Jedediah) Dewey, James Break- 
enridge and Mr. Fay, particularly commending Mr. 
Dewey. In the same letter he assured the people that 
the decision of the King not to annex the Grants to 
New Hampshire was final. 

A reply signed by Rev. Jedediah Dewey and others, 
dated June 5, 1772, was forwarded to Governor Tryon. 
It expressed satisfaction at the opportunity afforded of 
presenting the case of the people of Bennington and the 
adjacent country before the Governor, set forth their 



352 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

rights to the lands they held, and rehearsed their griev- 
ances. This reply included the following statement: 
"We flatter ourselves, from the candor of Your Excel- 
lency's favorable letter that you will be friendly disposed 
toward us; and we most earnestly pray and beseech 
Your Excellency would assist to quiet us in our posses- 
sions till His Majesty in his royal wisdom shall be 
graciously pleased to settle the controversy. Should 
Your Excellency grant this our humble request, our sat- 
isfaction would be inexpressible." The earnestness of 
this appeal from the harassed settlers, determined at 
all hazards to defend their homes, but expressing a 
passionate longing for peace, is not lacking an element 
of pathos. 

Capt. Stephen Fay and his son Dr. Jonas Fay were 
appointed agents to represent the settlers on the Grants, 
and they proceeded to New York, where they related 
their grievances to the Governor and Council. These 
grievances were set forth in an able and forceful man- 
ner in a communication which they presented, signed by 
Ethan Allen, Seth Warner, Remember Baker and Robert 
Cochran, who had been declared unacceptable as agents 
to present the views of the settlers to the New York 
authorities. This statement is a notable one, coming 
as it did, from men who had had little or no literary 
training. It contained a vigorous argument for the 
rights of the settlers on the New Hampshire Grants, and 
exhibited great boldness in maintaining these rights. 

After describing the sufifering caused by the eject- 
ment of settlers, the statement declared : "Things hav- 
ing come to this pass, the oppression was too great for 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 353 

human nature, under English Constitution, to grope 
under. * =k * Laws and society compacts were 
made to protect and secure the subjects in their peace- 
able possessions and properties, and not to subvert them. 
No person or community of persons can be supposed to 
be under any particular compact or law, except it pre- 
supposeth that that law will protect such person or com- 
munity of persons in his or their properties ; for other- 
ways the subject would, by law, be bound to be acces- 
sory to his own ruin and destruction, which is incon- 
sistent with the law of self preservation." 

Protesting against the "set of artful and wicked men" 
who had concealed the truth from the Governor, and 
explaining that they were poor people, at a great dis- 
tance from the seat of government, "fatigued in settling 
a wilderness country," and having little opportunity of 
presenting their grievances, the letter continues: "If 
we do not oppose the Sheriff and his posse, he takes 
immediate possession of our houses and farms ; if we do 
we are immediately indicted rioters, * * * and it 
comes to this at last, that we must tamely be dispossessed 
or oppose officers in taking possession; and as a neces- 
sary step, oppose taking of rioters, so called, or run 
away like so many cowards, and quit our country to a 
number of cringing polite gentlemen, who have, ideally, 
possessed themselves of it already." 

After relating the manner in which the New York 
authorities had disobeyed the orders of the King relative 
to regranting the lands already granted by New Hamp- 
shire, the letter says : "They style us rioters for oppos- 
ing them, and seek to catch and punish us as such, yet 



354 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

in reality themselves are the rioters, the tumultuous, dis- 
orderly, stimulating faction, or, in fine, the land rob- 
bers; and every violent act they have done to compass 
their designs, though ever so much under pretence of 
law, is, in reality, a violation of law. * * * 

"We do not suppose, may it please Your Excellency, 
we are making opposition to a government as such; it 
is nothing more than a party, chiefly carried on by a 
number of gentlemen attorneys (if it be not an abuse 
to gentlemen of merit to call them so) who manifest a 
surprising and enterprising thirst of avarice after our 
country; but for a collection of such intrigues to plan 
matters of influence of a party, so as eventually to be- 
come judges in their own case, and thereby cheat us out 
of our country, appears to us so audaciously unreason- 
able and tyrannical that we view it with the utmost de- 
testation and indignation, and our breasts glow with a 
martial fury to defend our persons and fortunes from 
the ravages of these that would destroy us; but not 
against Your Excellency's person or government." 

The letters from the settlers were referred to a com- 
mittee of the Council, which reported the first day of 
July. In this report emphasis was laid on the kindness 
and forbearance shown, and the decision was reached 
that "the right of the New York patentees was incon- 
trovertible," and that the settlers had no real cause for 
complaint. The committee concluded, however, that in 
order to afiford all the relief possible, and in order to 
show "Great tenderness for a deluded people," all prose- 
cutions on behalf of the Crown should be suspended 
until the King's pleasure should be known, and that 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 355 

during the same period the recommendation should be 
made to the owners of contested lands that they sus- 
pend all pending suits growing out of land controversies. 
This report having been adopted by the Council, the 
agents returned to Bennington. 

A public meeting was held at the meeting house in 
Bennington on Wednesday, July 15, "a numerous con- 
cource of the inhabitants of the adjacent country" being 
present. The result of the mission to New York was 
received with much favor, peace was recommended for 
the whole of the New Hampshire Grants, and the agents 
were given a vote of thanks for their diligence. The 
cannon brought to Bennington to be used against Gov- 
ernor Tryon's expected invasion was fired in his honor. 
Captain Warner's company fired a salute of three vol- 
leys, and healths were drunk in honor of the King, Gov- 
ernor Tryon, the Council of New York, and the Hart- 
ford Courant report says that to the other toasts was 
added one to the confusion of Duane, Kempe, and their 
associates. The large gathering on this occasion in- 
cluded persons from neighboring provinces, which indi- 
cates that some New York neighbors may have been 
present to add to the harmony of the meeting. 

Governor Tryon wrote again on August 11, 1772, to 
the people of Bennington and vicinity, expressing his 
satisfaction at "the grateful manner" in which the news 
of the action of the Council had been received. In the 
same letter, however, he expressed his displeasure at the 
dispossession of several New York settlers in the Otter 
Creek valley and demanded that the people of the Grants 
reinstate, forthwith, families evicted. 



356 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Ethan Allen, acting as clerk for a committee of the 
inhabitants of Bennington and the adjacent region, on 
August 25, 1772, replied at considerable length to Gov- 
ernor Tryon's letter, setting forth that the New York 
settlers, dispossessed on Otter Creek, had driven off set- 
tlers holding title under grants from New Hampshire 
before establishing themselves there. The letter de- 
clared that this act was "a notorious breach of the Tenth 
Commandment of the Decalogue, which says 'Thou 
shalt not steal'." Allen argued that to reinstate the 
New York settlers would be "apparently immoral, and 
most flagrantly cruel and unjust." The letter further 
declared that the people whom Allen represented in- 
tended strictly and religiously to adhere to two proposi- 
tions: "Firstly, the protection and maintaining our 
property ; secondly, to use the greatest care and prudence 
not to break the articles of public faith or insult govern- 
mental authority." 

Two days later, on August 27, a general meeting of a 
committee representing the towns of Bennington, Sun- 
derland, Manchester, Dorset, Rupert, Pawlet, Wells, 
Poultney, Castleton, Pittsford and Rutland, was held at 
Manchester, at which time Allen's reply to Governor 
Tryon was read and approved. This reply was consid- 
ered by the New York Council, "highly insolent, and 
deserving of sharp reprehension," and the Council ad- 
vised the Governor that the opposition had become so 
formidable that the aid of regular troops was needed for 
its effectual suppression. 

Governor Tryon on October 7 wrote Lord Hills- 
borough, asking in a vague and indirect way for the aid 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 357 

of royal troops. He declared that the New Hampshire 
proprietors who had offered to confirm their titles under 
New York authority upon payment of half fees, "are 
very importunate, and begin to be so much sowered and 
disgusted that there is much reason to apprehend as they 
find the Bennington people and the adjacent country 
daily increase in strength and uninterrupted by Govern- 
ment, they will soon reject any offers from this country, 
and combine in opposition to this province; besides, the 
partition line between this Government and Massa- 
chusetts Bay being still unsettled, by the aid of those 
borders the opposition may reasonably be expected to 
be very formidable, too much so for militia forces to 
encounter." 

Lord Dartmouth replied to this communication in a 
letter which was virtually a rebuke, declaring that the 
military force "ought never to be called in to the aid of 
the civil authority, but in cases of absolute and unavoid- 
able necessity, and which would be highly improper if 
applied to support possessions, which, after order issued 
in 1767 upon the petition of the proprietors of the New 
Hampshire townships, may be of very doubtful title." 

When Ira Allen and Remember Baker, accompanied 
by five men, made their first visit to the town of Col- 
chester, they found at the lower falls of the Winooski 
River a New York surveying party of eight men under 
command of Benjamin Stevens, Deputy Surveyor of 
Lands. According to evidence laid before the New 
York Council by Stevens, the New York party were 
without provocation stripped of their property and 
effects, insulted and threatened, and the petitioner John 



358 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Dunbar thrown into the fire, bound and burned, and 
otherwise beat and abused in a cruel manner. Ira Allen 
states that "they were released without any trial or cor- 
poral punishment on account of the subsisting negotia- 
tions and they promised not to return again." 

Allen also relates in his "History of Vermont" that 
during the friendly correspondence between Governor 
Tryon and the people of Bennington and vicinity, Wil- 
liam Cockburn, a New York surveyor, who had been 
compelled to leave the vicinity of Rutland and Pitts ford 
the previous year because he had attempted to make sur- 
veys there, was privately sent to make additional sur- 
veys within the Grants. By traversing the wilderness 
Ira Allen was able to discover Cockburn's destination, 
and Seth Warner, Remember Baker and a party went in 
pursuit. The surveyor was found in Bolton. He was 
tried by court martial, declared guilty, his surveying in- 
struments were broken, and he was banished from the 
district on pain of death if he returned. Allen says: 
"The correspondence then going on between the Gov- 
ernor (Tryon) and the people for the restoration of 
peace and friendship, saved Mr. Cockburn a severe 
whipping." 

Capt. David Wooster, later a Major General in the 
Continental army, held a New York grant for three 
thousand acres in what is now the town of Addison, 
located not far from the fort at Crown Point, N. Y. 
Learning that several families had settled on land he 
claimed to own, asserting their right to do so, by virtue 
of a New Hampshire grant, he visited the place in Sep- 
tember, 1772, providing himself both with writs of eject- 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 359 

ment and leases for those who would acknowledge him 
as their landlord. These leases were rejected, Wooster 
testifying in a deposition that the settlers, thirteen in 
number, "declared they would support themselves there 
by force of arms, and that they would spill their blood 
before they would leave the said lands; whereupon the 
deponent proceeded to serve two declarations of eject- 
ment on two principle ringleaders, and thereupon some 
of their party presented their firelocks at the deponent, 
declaring it should be death for any man that served a 
declaration of ejectment there, but the deponent being 
well armed with pistols proceeded to serve said eject- 
ments, notwithstanding they continued their firelocks 
presented against him during the whole time. That 
after the deponent had served the said ejectments, 
they declared with one voice that they would not attend 
any court in the province of New York respecting their 
lands, and asked the deponent how he would get posses- 
sion after he had got judgments against them, who re- 
plied he should bring the High Sheriff to put him in 
possession, to which they replied they would suffer no 
Sheriff to come upon the ground, to which the deponent 
replied that if they resisted the civil officer he would 
apply for the assistance of the regular troops which 
were hard by, as it was their duty to assist the civil 
authority, and that it was high treason for them to fire 
on His Majesty's troops, to which they answered that 
if His Majesty's troops came to assist the civil officer 
to put any men in possession there, they should have 
hundreds of guns fired at them, and that they further 
said it was the universal agreement of the people in 



360 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

that country, as the deponent understood in its whole 
extent from north to south, to defend themselves by force 
of arms, in opposition to every attempt in support of the 
titles to lands there under the province of New York and 
that they could raise multitudes of men for that purpose, 
sometimes mentioning a thousand, sometimes two thou- 
sand, and sometimes five hundred men." 

Col. John Reid received from Governor Dunmore of 
New York a grant of seven thousand acres of land 
situated on both sides of Otter Creek in Panton and 
New Haven, this land having been granted about ten 
years earlier by Governor Wentworth. When Colonel 
Reid came into his new possessions, he drove off settlers 
holding lands under New Hampshire Grants, captured a 
saw mill, one hundred and thirty saw logs and fourteen 
thousand feet of pine boards, according to Ethan Allen's 
letter to Governor Tryon, and by the aid of a man named 
Buzzell, so terrified twelve inhabitants of New Haven 
that they abandoned their possessions. Soon after the 
original settlers rallied and were able to secure posses- 
sion, but later they were attacked by Reid's steward 
with an armed party and driven off. 

Ethan Allen, Seth Warner, Remember Baker, and 
more than one hundred armed men appeared at Reid's 
settlement on August 11, 1773, and notified the Scotch 
emigrants who had recently arrived there that the land 
did not belong to Colonel Reid, and warned them to 
depart. The huts of the settlers were burned and the 
mill demolished, the millstones being broken. 

Some of the affidavits furnished in connection with 
this affair give a vivid description of the occurrence. 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 361 

although couched in rather unusual language. On the 
day following this Otter Creek episode James Hender- 
son wrote to a Mr. Mackintosh at Crow^n Point as fol- 
lows: "Our Houses are all Brunt Down. The Grist 
mill is All Put Down. The Mill Stones Brock and 
Throns in To The Crick, The Corn is all Destroed By 
There Horses, and When it Was Proposed That We 
Should Build houses and Keep Possion, They Threat- 
ened to Bind some of us To a Tree and Skin us Alive. 
Therefore we think its imposable To us To Live hear 
in Peace." Evidently the conclusion reached was 
abundantly justified by the facts, as cited. 

According to the affidavits, after the millstones had 
been broken and thrown into Otter Creek, Remember 
Baker came out of the mill with the bolt cloth in his 
hand, which he cut into pieces with his sword and dis- 
tributed among his associates as trophies of victory. 
Being asked for his commission, Baker held up his 
mutilated hand showing where a thumb had been cut off 
in the fight with Munro's party, and this he called his 
commission. 

Other depositions tell of burning houses, stacks of 
hay and corn sheds; and that when Baker was asked 
if he did not think the Governor and Council of New 
York would take notice of "such doings," replied that 
"he despised everything they could do; that their (his) 
people could assemble a great number of men in arms 
and that they could live in the bush and were resolved 
never to allow any person, claiming under New York 
to settle in that part of the province." 



362 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

It appears that the "New England Mob," as one de- 
position described the party, was at the Otter Creek set- 
tlement two days; that there were present one hundred 
and ten persons, according to one deponent; that they 
destroyed six houses, or huts, and the mill, broke the 
millstones, and destroyed most of the wheat, corn and 
hay "in a riotous and mobbish manner." It appears 
that Ethan Allen commanded one party and Remember 
Baker another, the latter arriving on the morning of 
August 12. 

Lieut. Adolphus Benzel, Inspector of Woods, Forests 
and Unappropriated Lands on Lake Champlain and in 
Canada, writing from Crown Point on September 27, 
1773, informed Governor Tryon that John Readers had 
been "most inhumanly beaten," first with a large hickory 
stick and afterwards with birch rods on his bare back, 
compelling him to beg for his life; and that Allen and 
Baker were present at the flogging. 

The New York officials did not make good progress 
in their attempts to enforce their decrees. As early as 
April 11, 1772, Justice of the Peace Benjamin Spencer 
of Durham, a New York township, which included much 
of the present town of Clarendon, informed Mr. Duane 
that the settlement of the town had been hindered by 
the riotous spirit of the New Hampshire men. In the 
course of his letter he said: "You may ask why I do 
not proceed against them in due course of law, but you 
need not wonder when I tell you it has got to that ; they 
say they will not be brought to justice by this province 
and they bid defiance to any authority in the province. 
* * * One Ethan Allen hath brought from Connec- 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 363 

ticut twelve or fifteen of the most blackguard fellows he 
can get, double armed, in order to protect him, and if 
some method is not taken to subdue the towns of Ben- 
nington, Shaftsbury, Arlington, Manchester and those 
people in Socialborough and others scattered about the 
woods, there had as good be an end of the government." 
Writing again to Mr. Duane in May, 1773, he informed 
him that "the tumults have got to such a height, both 
in Socialborough and from Bennington to Manchester, 
that I cannot travel about to do any lawful business, 
indeed I cannot with safety travel two miles from home." 
A little later Justice Spencer formed a more intimate 
acquaintance with Ethan Allen and his "blackguard 
fellows" as the result of a visit. According to a deposi- 
tion made by Spencer, corroborated by the statements 
of others, on the night of Saturday, November 20, 1773, 
the door of his house was broken down, and Ethan Allen, 
Remember Baker and others entered the room where he 
was sleeping, compelling him to dress and hastening the 
process by a blow on the head with a gun. Spencer was 
then taken to the house of Thomas Green, about two 
miles distant, where he was kept under guard until the 
following Monday morning. At that time, escorted by 
a party estimated by Spencer to number from one hun- 
dred and thirty to one hundred and fifty men, he was 
taken back to his home. Upon their arrival Remember 
Baker erected what was called the judgment seat, and 
after Ethan Allen had addressed the assemblage, Allen, 
Baker, Seth Warner and Robert Cochran took their 
seats as judges. The prisoner was required to remove 
his hat and stand before them. He was then charged 



364 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

with applying to the New York government for a title 
to lands and with inducing other persons to do likewise ; 
with consenting to act as a Justice of the Peace con- 
trary to the orders and rules established by the settlers 
of that region; with issuing a warrant against a New 
Hampshire settler for a trespass ; and with using his in- 
fluence to induce people to render obedience to the gov- 
ernment and laws of New York. Baker and others, it 
is said, insisted that the prisoner should be whipped, but 
this was not done. Not having a New Hampshire title, 
Spencer's house was adjudged a nuisance and was set 
on fire. He declared in his deposition that the party set 
the house on fire in two places "and soon after broke 
and took the roof entirely ofT with great shouting of 
joy and much noise and tumult." It was said that Allen 
and Baker declared with curses that "they valued not 
the government nor even the Kingdom." 

Crean Brush, from the Grand Committee on Griev- 
ances, reported to the New York Assembly on February 
4, 1774, that a "number of lawless persons calling them- 
selves the Bennington Mob" had seized, insulted, and 
terrified magistrates and other civil officers, rescued 
prisoners for debt, assumed military commands and 
judicial powers, burned and demolished houses, beat and 
abused the persons of many of His Majesty's subjects 
and expelled them from their possessions, "and put a 
period to the administration of justice, and spread terror 
and destruction throughout that part of the country 
which is exposed to their oppression." 

It was recommended, therefore, that a proclamation 
be issued offering a reward for the apprehension of the 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 365 

ringleaders of the mob. This report being accepted by 
the Legislature, Governor Tryon, on March 9, 1774, 
offered rewards of one hundred pounds each for the 
arrest of Ethan Allen and Remember Baker, and fifty 
pounds each for apprehending Seth Warner, Robert 
Cochran, Peleg Sunderland, Silvanus Brown, James 
Breakenridge, and John Smith. 

When the news of the action of the New York authori- 
ties reached the Grants, a meeting of the committees of 
the towns west of the Green Mountains was held on 
March 1, 1774, at the residence of Eliakim Wellers, at 
Manchester, and was adjourned to the third Wednesday 
of March at the house of Capt. Jehiel Hawley, in Arling- 
ton. A committee of seven was appointed to prepare 
resolutions in answer to the action of New York. Hav- 
ing prepared a report, it was signed by Nathan Clark, 
chairman, and Jones Fay, clerk, and it was published in 
the Connecticut Courant at Hartford, and in the Nezv 
Hampshire Gazette at Portsmouth. 

The resolutions called attention to the fact that all 
the troubles and difficulties of the settlements had been 
due to "an unequal and biased administration of law." 
Objection was made to permitting the New York offi- 
cials to set themselves up as "great sticklers for good 
order and government," when they did not hesitate to 
violate the orders of the King, and some of them had 
acted as judges in cases in which they were personally 
interested. 

Declaring, their loyalty to the King, whom they recog- 
nized as their "political father," they expressed their re- 
liance upon him for the protection of the property; and, 



366 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

having purchased their property in good faith, they an- 
nounced their determination to maintain these grants 
"against all opposition" until His Majesty's pleasure 
should be known. They declared that their only resist- 
ance to government was *'the law of self preservation, 
which the law of God and nature enjoins on every intelli- 
gent, wise and understanding being." It was asserted 
that attempts to indict their friends and neighbors as 
rioters were "contrary to the good and righteous laws of 
Great Britain." 

Therefore, it was resolved by the convention: "That 
as a country we will stand by and defend our friends and 
neighbors so indicted at the expense of our lives and 
fortunes. * ^ * That for the future every neces- 
sary preparation be made, and that our inhabitants hold 
themselves in readiness at a minute's warning to aid and 
defend such friends of ours, who, for their merit to the 
great and general cause are falsely denominated rioters ; 
but that we will not act anything more or less than on 
the defensive and always encourage due execution of 
law in civil cases, and also in criminal prosecutions that 
are so indeed." 

On March 9, 1774, the same day that Governor Tryon 
offered rewards for the apprehension of the leaders of 
the men of the New Hampshire Grants, the New York 
Legislature passed an act "for preventing tumultuous 
and riotous assemblies in the places therein mentioned, 
and for the more speedy and effectual punishing the 
rioters," and its cause was said to be "a spirit of riot 
and licentiousness" that had prevailed in parts of the 
counties of Charlotte and Albany. Very stringent regu- 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 367 

lations were adopted, to be applied where three or more 
persons were assembled "riotously and tumultously." 
Any person hindering or obstructing the proclamation 
to disperse any person improperly assuming judicial 
power; confine, assault or beat a civil officer, or terrify, 
hinder or prevent such officer from performing his 
duties; burn or destroy grain, corn or hay in any en- 
closure; with force demolish or begin to demolish any 
dwelling house, barn, stable, gristmill, sawmill or out- 
house, in either of the said counties, should be adjudged 
guilty of felony and suffer death without benefit of 
clergy. 

It was further enacted that as Ethan Allen, Seth 
Warner, Remember Baker, Robert Cochran, Peleg Sun- 
derland, Silvanus Brown, James Breakenridge and John 
Smith were the principal ringleaders in the riots and dis- 
turbances, they should be ordered to surrender them- 
selves within the space of seventy days after the first 
publication of the order in the Nezv York Gazette and 
Weekly Mercury. The penalty for failure to comply 
with this order was that they be adjudged attainted of 
felony, and suffer death without benefit of clergy. 

Under ordinary circumstances the publication of such 
a barbarous statute might be expected to produce a reign 
of terror, but the people of the New Hampshire Grants, 
and their outlawed leaders, went about their business 
as usual. The story is told that after a price was set 
upon his head, Ethan Allen rode into Albany in daylight, 
alighted at a public house, called for a bowl of punch, 
drank it, mounted his horse and rode away, although a 
large crowd had assembled. While the story lacks posi- 



368 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

tive proof of its authenticity, Allen's boldness, and the 
fact that the settlers on the Grants had many friends in 
Albany, lends an air of plausibility to the tale. 

The seven outlaws responded in a vigorous remon- 
strance, which bears evidence of having been written 
by Ethan Allen. The document opens with a declara- 
tion that the cause of opposition to the government of 
New York is a determination to defend the lives and 
property of the settlers. It is stated that the settlers 
will be orderly and submissive to government if the New 
York patentees will remove their patents, if the settlers 
are quieted in their possessions, and if prosecutions for 
rioting are suspended, but adds significantly: 

"Be it known to that despotic fraternity of law makers 
and law breakers that we will not be fooled or fright- 
ened out of our property. * * * If we oppose civil 
officers in taking possession of our farms we are by 
these laws denominated felons; or if we defend our 
neighbors who have been indicted rioters, only for de- 
fending our property, we are likewise adjudged felons. 
In fine, every opposition to their monarchial government 
is deemed felony, and at the end of every such sentence 
there is the word death, the same as though he or they 
had been convicted or attainted before a proper court 
of judicature : The candid reader will doubtless observe 
that the diabolical design of the law is to obtain posses- 
sion of the New Hampshire Grants, or to make the 
people that defend them outlaws and so kill them when- 
ever they can catch them. 

"Those bloody lawgivers know we are necessitated to 
oppose their execution of laws when it points directly at 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 369 

our property, or give up the same, but there is one thing 
which is a matter of consolation to us, viz. : that printed 
sentences of death will not kill us when we are at a 
distance, and if the executioners approach us, they will 
be as likely to fall victims to death as we; and that per- 
son, or country of persons are cowards indeed if they 
cannot as manfully fight for their liberty, property and 
life as villains can do to deprive them thereof. * * * 

"As to forming ourselves into military orders and 
assuming military commands, the New York posses, the 
military preparations, oppressions, etc., obliged us to it. 
Probably Messieurs Duane, Kemp and Banyar of New 
York will not discommend us for so expedient a prep- 
aration, more especially since the decrees of the 9th of 
March are yet to be put in execution ; and we flatter our- 
selves upon occasion we can muster as good a regiment 
of marksmen and scalpers as America can afiford; and 
we now give the gentlemen above named together with 
Mr. Brush and Col. Ten Broeck, and in fine all the land 
jobbers of New York, an invitation to come and view 
the dexterity of our regiment; and we cannot think of a 
better time for that purpose than when the execution- 
ers come to kill us. * * * 

"But as the Magistrates, Sheriffs, Under-Sheriffs, 
Coroners and Constables of the respective counties that 
hold their posts of honor and benefit under our bitter 
enemies, we have a jealousy that some of them may be 
induced (to recommend themselves to those on whom 
they are dependent, and for the wages of unrighteous- 
ness offered by proclamation) to presume to apprehend 
some of us, or our friends: We therefore advertise 



370 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

such officers, and all persons whatsoever, that we are re- 
solved to inflict immediate death on whomsoever may 
attempt the same. And provided any of us or our party 
shall be taken, and we have not notice sufficient to relieve 
them, or whether we relieve them or not, we are re- 
solved to surround such person, or persons, whether at 
his or their own house or houses, or anywhere that we 
can find him or them, and shoot such person or persons 
dead. And furthermore that we will kill and destroy 
any person or persons whomsoever, that shall presume 
to be accessory, aiding or assisting in taking any of us 
as aforesaid ; for by these presents we give any such dis- 
posed person or persons to understand that although 
they have a license by the law aforesaid to kill us ; and 
an 'indemnification' for such murder from the same 
authority, yet they have no indemnification for so doing 
from the Green Mountain Boys; for our lives, liberties 
and properties are as verily precious to us, as to any of 
the King's subjects, and we are as loyal to His Majesty 
or his government, as any subjects in his province; but 
if the governmental authority of New York will judge 
in their own case, and act in opposition to that of Great 
Britain, and insist upon killing us, to take possession of 
our vineyards, come on, we are ready for a game of 
scalping with them; for our martial spirits glow with 
bitter indignation and consummate fury to blast their 
infernal projections." 

This declaration is remarkable for the vigor and 
forcefulness of its English as well as for the boldness 
and defiance of its tone. Probably no better illustra- 
tion is to be found of the daring spirit, one might truth- 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 371 

fully say the reckless daring, which the people who set- 
tled the Green Mountain region exhibited in their de- 
fence of their rights and liberties and their passionate 
love of freedom. In order that the people of neighbor- 
ing colonies should understand the merits of the con- 
troversy, Ethan Allen, in 1774, prepared a pamphlet of 
more than two hundred pages, entitled "A Brief Narra- 
tive of the Proceedings of the Government of New York 
Relative to Their Obtaining the Jurisdiction of that Dis- 
trict of Land to the Westward of Connecticut River" 
and it was printed at Hartford, Conn. 

Ira Allen says that "by this book and others the cause 
of the people became of public notoriety through the 
colonies, as the newspapers were in every part circulat- 
ing these proceedings, which soured the minds of the 
people much against the British Government, as it was 
generally supposed that the Governor and Council of 
New York were countenanced by Government." 

Soon after the passage by the New York Legislature 
of the act providing for the offering of rewards for the 
apprehension of Ethan Allen and his associates, Benja- 
min Hough, an Anabaptist preacher, who had secured 
lands under the New York grant of Socialborough, re- 
turned to the Grants, having accepted an appointment 
as Justice of the Peace. On his petition the New York 
Legislature had taken action against the so-called 
"rioters," and had advocated the passage of the drastic 
laws to which allusion has been made. On his return 
he was served with a notice of the Manchester resolu- 
tions of April 12, 1774, to the effect that until the King's 
pleasure was known any person taking a commission 



372 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

from the government of New York would "be deemed 
an enemy to their country and the common cause, and 
warned against attempting to act as a magistrate." He 
paid no heed to these warnings but was loud in his de- 
nunciation of rioters. In order to make an example 
that should serve as a warning to others, he was seized 
by about thirty persons on the morning of January 26, 
1775, placed in a sleigh and carried to Sunderland, where 
he was kept in confinement until January 30, the delay 
being due to the fact that Ethan Allen and Seth Warner 
had been summoned from Bennington but had not 
arrived. These two leaders and Robert Cochran, Peleg 
Sunderland, James Mead, Gideon Sawyer and Jesse 
Sawyer acted as judges. Ethan Allen accused the 
prisoner of entering complaint to the New York authori- 
ties concerning the punishment of Benjamin Spencer; 
of discouraging the people from joining the cause of the 
Green Mountain Boys; and of accepting the offer of 
magistrate under the jurisdiction of New York. Hough 
admitted these charges to be true. Thereupon he was 
sentenced to be tied to a tree and to receive two hun- 
dred lashes upon his naked back, and that as soon as he 
was able to leave he should depart from the New Hamp- 
shire Grants and not return, the penalty for violation of 
the order being five hundred lashes. This penalty was 
inflicted and after receiving treatment from a physician 
he was sent on his way to New York, having received a 
certificate signed by Allen and Warner to the effect that 
he had received "full punishment" for crimes committed. 
Not all the punishments decreed were of such severity 
as that inflicted upon Hough. Dr. Samuel Adams of 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 373 

Arlington had been a friend of the New Hampshire set- 
tlers until about the end of the year 1773, when he began 
to advise his neighbors to purchase lands under a New 
York title. Refusing to heed warnings to desist from 
his course, he armed himself with pistols and other 
weapons and announced that he would silence any man 
who attempted to molest him. He was soon arrested 
and taken to the Green Mountain Tavern at Bennington. 
Now the tavern had for a sign a stuffed catamount, sur- 
mounting the signboard twenty-five feet from the 
ground, the animal being represented in the act of show- 
ing its teeth to New York. Doctor Adams, having 
been heard by the Committee of Safety, was sentenced 
to be tied to an arm chair and hoisted to the sign of 
the catamount, there to be suspended for the space of 
two hours. This sentence was carried into effect to the 
amusement of a large number of spectators, and it is 
said that "this mild and exemplary disgrace had a salu- 
tary effect on the doctor and many others." 

Judged by ordinary standards the course of the Green 
Mountain Boys in resisting New York authority, in set- 
ting up their own tribunals of justice, in inflicting the 
"beech seal" and other punishments with great severity, 
in evicting New York settlers and destroying their prop- 
erty, was one of great violence and lawlessness, but con- 
ditions were not ordinary but extraordinary. The land 
trials at Albany in 1770 had demonstrated that justice 
could not be obtained, that their property rights would 
not be protected, that New Hampshire titles would not 
be recognized in New York courts, notwithstanding the 
fact that this policy was in direct violation of the orders 



374 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

of the British Government. Either the settlers under 
New Hampshire titles must abandon all they possessed; 
pay to the New York authorities exorbitant fees for new 
grants which many of them were unable to do; or hold 
their homesteads by force until, as they hoped, a final 
decision in the matter should be rendered by the King. 
The last of these methods was chosen, with a full 
knowledge that in a measure, at least, it was a policy of 
revolution; and subsequent events justified the course 
adopted by the settlers. Under the circumstances this 
policy was the only one that promised the possibility 
of the protection of the rights of this people, and to the 
ordinary observer the outlook for ultimate success must 
have appeared exceedingly unpromising. Yet so effec- 
tually did they intimidate the New York party that Ben- 
jamin Hough declared under oath on March 18, 1775, 
that "neither the said Sheriff (of Charlotte county) or 
his oflficers dare to venture within the district where the 
rioters live without express leave from the leaders of 
the mob." Long before this Attorney General Kempe 
had learned the meaning of Ethan Allen's phrase, "The 
gods of the valleys are not the gods of the hills." 

It is worthy of note, however, that, although violence 
was used, in all this controversy no lives were taken. 
In view of the extreme provocation, the injustice of the 
New York ofBcials and the heavy odds against the New 
Hampshire Grants, it may be considered remarkable 
that their methods were not more violent. 

It became increasingly evident that it would be 
extremely difificult if not impossible to bring this district 
under the authority of New York. As early as Sep- 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 375 

tember, 1769, twelve Connecticut clergymen, mission- 
aries of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel 
in Foreign Parts, which held a right of land in almost 
every township granted by Governor Wentworth, peti- 
tioned Sir William Johnson to use his influence to secure 
the appointment of Partridge Thatcher as the first Gov- 
ernor of the new government which it was expected 
would be erected out of Governor Wentworth's Grants 
west of the Connecticut River. Of course, nothing 
came of this request as it does not appear that such a 
plan was seriously considered at the time. 

Ira Allen states in his "History of Vermont" that in 
1774 a plan was formed by Ethan Allen, Amos Bird and 
other prominent persons, aided by Col. Philip Skene, to 
establish a new royal colony, which should include the 
region known as the New Hampshire Grants and a por- 
tion of the province of New York west of Lake Cham- 
plain and north of the Mohawk River, extending to the 
Canadian border, or the forty-fifth parallel of latitude. 
Skenesborough, the county seat of Charlotte county, was 
to be the capital of the new province. The plan in- 
cluded the appointment of Colonel Skene as Governor. 
He was a retired officer who had been granted a large 
tract of land at the south end of Lake Champlain, where 
a settlement of considerable importance had been estab- 
lished. 

The post of royal Governor was an honorable and 
sometimes a lucrative one, and the prospect of obtaining 
it appealed to Colonel Skene, who, at his own expense, 
went to London to solicit the position. He secured the 
appointment of Governor of the garrisons of Crown 



376 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Point and Ticonderoga, which was considered the first 
step in his campaign. He was next advised to secure 
petitions to the King and Privy Council to the effect 
that the estabhshment of such a colony would restore 
harmony in this disturbed district and afford convenience 
in the administration of justice in a department extensive 
and remote from the seat of government. Resolutions 
were adopted at Westminster, April 11, 1775, by com- 
mittees representing Cumberland and Gloucester coun- 
ties, asking that they "be taken out of so oppressive a 
jurisdiction and either annexed to some other govern- 
ment, or erected and incorporated into a new one." 

n this movement had been inaugurated at some other 
time than the outbreak of the revolt of the colonies 
against Great Britain it might have afforded a con- 
venient avenue of escape from a very difficult situation. 
Ira Allen remarks that had Colonel Skene succeeded in 
the establishment of a new royal colony in the region 
"the people who had settled under the royal grants of 
New Hampshire would have been quiet." The re- 
verberation of the guns fired at Lexington and Concord, 
however, shattered the fabric of Colonel Skene's dream 
of a royal colony of which he should be the Governor. 
When he returned a little later to America it was not as 
ruler of a new province, but as a prisoner of war, in 
custody of people determined to do their own governing. 

The overshadowing importance of the war with Great 
Britain checked the fierceness of the land controversy 
with New York, and though it smouldered for years, 
blazing up from time to time, never again was it des- 



RESISTANCE TO NEW YORK AUTHORITY 377 

tined to be fanned into as fierce a flame as that which 
had been kindled during the period immediately preced- 
ing the outbreak of the American Revolution. 



Chapter XII 
THE WESTMINSTER MASSACRE 



THE conditions prevailing during the three or four 
years immediately preceding the beginning of the 
American Revolution differed radically in the 
eastern and the western portions of the present State of 
Vermont. In the western portion, the settled region of 
which included what is now known as Bennington and 
Rutland counties, a part of Addison county, and a few 
isolated settlements in Chittenden county, the authority 
exercised by the province of New York was very slight. 
An occasional arrest was made by New York officers, 
but to a considerable extent the towns in this section 
were a law unto themselves. This does not mean that a 
state of anarchy or disorder prevailed in the ordinary 
affairs of life. Town officials and committees of safety 
conducted such affairs of government as seemed to be 
necessary. The opposition to New York, which prac- 
tically nullified the authority of that province in the set- 
tled region west of the Green Mountains, grew out of 
the attempt of the provincial government to take from 
the settlers lands granted under New Hampshire char- 
ters, and to regrant them to others under a New York 
patent. Because the inhabitants resolutely defended 
their property rights and defied the New York officials, 
the machinery of the provincial government could not 
be put into operation where the Green Mountain Boys 
held sway. 

In the eastern portion of what is now Vermont, the 
settled region included the present counties of Windham 
and Windsor, known as Cumberland county, and a part 
of Orange county, then included in Gloucester county, 
which was sparsely settled. In the region lying between 



382 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

the Connecticut River and the Green Mountains, New 
York had not attempted to deprive the pioneer settlers 
of their lands and give them to others. Not a few of 
the towns had obtained new charters from New York, 
and here the machinery of provincial government was in 
full operation. Courts had been established, county 
officials appointed, and representatives elected to the 
General Assembly. Communication was difficult across 
the range of the Green Mountains, and the oppression 
and injustice suffered by the people of Bennington and 
vicinity did not prevail to any great extent in Cumber- 
land and Gloucester counties. It was much more con- 
venient for New York grantees to secure titles to lands 
in the valleys of the Battenkill and Otter than in the 
valleys of the Connecticut River and its tributaries. In 
the first instance there was no mountain barrier to 
cross, nor was it necessary to pass through Massa- 
chusetts, a province in which dwelt many persons finan- 
cially interested in the New Hampshire Grants. In one 
portion of this region the inhabitants, smarting under 
a sense of outrage, had been driven to the point of revo- 
lution. In the other portion no accumulated grievances 
had engendered a spirit of hate toward the New York 
government. 

The impression should not be gained, however, that 
entire satisfaction was given by the new county govern- 
ments of Cumberland and Gloucester. When the 
former county was first erected in 1766, the act estab- 
lishing it was vetoed by the King. In 1768 the Gov- 
ernor and Council reestablished the county, a measure 
of doubtful validity, and one that some of the people 



THE WESTMINSTER MASSACRE 383 

feared might call forth a repetition of royal disapproval. 
It must be remembered that the settlers in these East 
Side towns were people of New England ideas and train- 
ing and the New York method of appointing county 
officers by the Governor and Council was not altogether 
pleasing to men accustomed to the election of most of 
their public servants. The county officials were too 
numerous for a sparsely settled region and the burden 
of maintenance was heavy. Complaint was made that 
the jury service was excessive. Large fees were re- 
quired for a confirmation of New Hampshire land titles. 
All these matters combined to arouse some friction and 
dissatisfaction. 

In the spring of 1770, Joseph Wait, Benjamin Wait 
(the founder of Waitsfield), Nathan Stone and Samuel 
Stone, all of Windsor, were arrested on a precept from 
the Inferior Court of Common Pleas, but they were 
rescued by a body of armed men. In May of this year, 
Sheriff Daniel Whipple of Cumberland county, with a 
posse of twelve or fifteen men, went to Windsor to re- 
arrest these persons. On the way they met a company 
variously estimated from twenty-seven to forty persons, 
armed with guns, swords, pistols and clubs, led by 
Nathan Stone and Joseph Wait. Refusing to accede to 
Sheriff Whipple's order to disperse, the rioters over- 
powered the sheriff's posse, holding its members as 
prisoners for several hours. 

A party of about thirty men armed with walnut clubs, 
and led by Nathan Stone, who carried a sword, entered 
the court house at Chester, the county seat, on June 5, 
1770. Stone, claiming to act in behalf of the public, 



384 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

demanded of the court its right to sit in a judicial 
capacity, and denied the authority of New York to erect 
Cumberland county. Stone and his companions also 
requested that John Grout, who appears to have made 
himself obnoxious to those not in sympathy with the 
New York party, be- debarred from the practice of law. 
This request being denied without the presentation of 
further evidence, and the confusion and tumult being so 
great that violence was feared, court was adjourned. 
The same day two men proceeded to the house of the 
Clerk of the court, and in the presence of some of the 
judges took Grout as a prisoner. He was transported 
to Windsor, where he was detained, an attempt being 
made to secure his promise not to practice law in the 
county. After six days of confinement, Grout made 
his escape. 

A party of seventy or eighty persons from New 
Hampshire, on January 27, 1772, crossed the Connec- 
ticut River to Putney, broke open the door of Jonas 
Moore's house, and took certain effects of Leonard 
Spaulding, which had been committed to Moore's keep- 
ing, Moore having recovered judgment against Spauld- 
ing. These and other episodes indicated considerable 
dissatisfaction with the court. 

Cumberland county was divided into eighteen dis- 
tricts, and Crean Brush was appointed Clerk and Surro- 
gate of the county. Brush was a native of Ireland, who 
had emigrated to New York City. He had been licensed 
to practice law, and had recently removed to Westmin- 
ster. Chester not proving altogether satisfactory as a 
shire town, the supervisors of Cumberland county, on 



THE WESTMINSTER MASSACRE 385 

May 19, 1772, chose Westminster as the county seat. 
Westminster, one of the first Vermont towns to be set- 
tled, was the most populous town in the county when the 
census of 1771 was taken. The village was situated 
on a broad plateau overlooking the Connectictit River. 
A street ten rods in width had been laid out, intended 
as a training field as well as a roadway and in the 
middle of the King's Highway, as the street was called, 
the church had been erected. On the east side of the 
street, near the church, a court house was built, follow- 
ing the transfer of the county seat from Chester to 
Westminster. The building was erected of hewn tim- 
ber, was about forty feet square, and the gambrel roof 
was surmounted by a cupola. Double doors were 
placed at either end of a broad hall, ten or twelve feet in 
width, which extended through the center of the build- 
ing. In the north half of the lower story were two 
rooms used as a jail, and across the hall were a kitchen 
and barroom, under the supervision of the jailer. The 
court room occupied the second story, which was an 
unfinished room, the rough beams remaining exposed to 
view. This building stood until 1806, when it was taken 
down. Within its walls was held the convention which 
declared on January 17, 1777, that the district known as 
the New Hampshire Grants, "of right ought to be, and 
is hereby declared forever after to be considered as a 
separate, free and independent jurisdiction or State." 
Later in the same year, in the same court house, was 
held a convention of the friends of New York govern- 
ment opposed to the formation of a new State. 



386 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

The opposition to British authority which began to 
manifest itself actively throughout the American 
colonies in 1774, did not show any noteworthy activity 
that year in the region west of the Green Mountains, 
for the very good reason that the controversy with New 
York was so acute that it attracted the entire attention 
of the people, although the letters and papers setting 
forth the claims of the Green Mountain Boys at times 
breathed a spirit of defiance to Great Britain. 

Following the formation in New York City, on May 
16, 1774, of a committee of correspondence of fifty 
members, designed to learn the sentiments of the people 
of the province concerning Great Britain's attitude 
toward her American colonies, Isaac Low, its chairman, 
addressed a letter of inquiry to the supervisors of Cum- 
berland county. According to documents of that period, 
this letter, "through ignorance or intention," was kept 
a private matter until September. Rumors of the re- 
ceipt of this letter began to be "whispered abroad," and 
reaching the ears of Dr. Reuben Jones of Rockingham, 
and Capt. Azariah Wright of Westminster, two ardent 
Whigs, as the opponents of the British policy sometimes 
were called, they took steps to give the widest possible 
publicity to the report. As a result a meeting was 
called in each town, and committees were appointed to 
wait upon the Supervisors at their September session 
to inquire as to the truth of the rumor that certain 
papers had been received that ought to be laid before 
the towns of the county. The Supervisors made many 
excuses, "Some plead ignorance, and some one thing 
and some another." The committee which called upon 



THE WESTMINSTER MASSACRE 387 

them would not consent that any return should be made 
to the New York committee until all the towns in the 
county had received the letter. As a result of the cir- 
culation of the letter from Mr. Low a county conven- 
tion was called to meet at Westminster on October 19. 

A request was made of Col. Thomas Chandler, Town 
Clerk of Chester, by several inhabitants of that town, 
''to call a town meeting to know the minds of the people, 
whether they are willing to choose a committee to make 
report to said Committee of Correspondence and whether 
the people will stand for the privileges of North 
America or whether they are willing to consent to re- 
ceive the late acts of Parliament as just or whether they 
view them as unjust, oppressive and unconstitutional." 
At a town meeting held in Chester on October 10, five 
persons were chosen to attend the county convention at 
Westminster, and the following resolutions were 
adopted : 

"That the people of America are naturally intitled 
to all the priviledges of free born subjects of Great 
Britain, which priviledges they have never forfeited. 

"That every man's estate honestly acquired is his own 
and no person on earth has a right to take it away with- 
out the proprietor consent unless he forfeit it by some 
crime of his committing. 

"That all acts of the British Parliament tending to 
take away or abridge these rights ought not to be obeyed. 

"That the people of this town will joyn with their 
fellow American subjects in opposing in all lawfull ways 
every incroachment on their natural rights." 



388 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

The Cumberland County Convention met in the court 
house at Westminster on October 19 and was in session 
two days. A record of this meeting was pubUshed in 
Holt's New York Journal in June, 1775, by which it 
appears that Col. John Hazeltine of Townshend was 
chosen chairman. Mr. Low's letter, the Boston Port 
Bill, the act laying a duty on tea, and other acts of the 
British Parliament were read and debated. A commit- 
tee consisting of John Grout of Chester, Joshua Webb 
of Westminster, Dr. Paul Spooner of Hertford (Hart- 
land), Edward Harris of Halifax and Maj. William 
Williams of Marlboro, were appointed a committee to 
consider the subjects debated and report to the meeting. 

On the second day of the convention the committee 
reported, stating that the people of Cumberland were 
"situated here in a corner, at a considerable remove from 
the populous civilized parts of the country," reviewing 
the hardships experienced by the pioneers in settling the 
country, and expressing surprise that by act of Parlia- 
ment "all Americans are deprived of that great right of 
calling that their own which they by their industry have 
honestly acquired." The report further declared that 
"He who has nothing but what another has power at 
pleasure lawfully to take away from, has nothing that 
he can call his own, and is, in the fullest sense of the 
word, a slave — a slave to him who has such power." 

Resolutions were prepared, declaring, "That as true 
and loyal subjects of our gracious Sovereign, King 
George the Third of Great Britain, &c., we will spend 
our lives and fortunes in his service." 



THE WESTMINSTER MASSACRE 389 

"That as we will defend our King while he reigns over 
us, his subjects, and wish his reign may be long and 
glorious, so we will defend our just rights as British 
subjects against every power that shall attempt to de- 
prive us of them, while breath is in our nostrils, and 
blood in our veins. 

"That considering the late acts of the British Parlia- 
ment for blocking up the port of Boston, &c., which we 
view as arbitrary and unjust, inasmuch as the Parlia- 
ment have sentenced them unheard, and dispensed with 
all the modes of law and justice which we think neces- 
sary to distinguish between lawfully obtaining right for 
property injured, and arbitrarily enforcing to comply 
with their will, (be it right or wrong) we resolve to 
assist the people of Boston in the defence of their liber- 
ties to the utmost of our abilities. 

"Sensible that the strength of our opposition to the 
late acts consists in a uniform, manly, steady and deter- 
mined mode of procedure, we will bear testimony against 
and discourage all riotous, tumultuous and unnecessary 
mobs which tend to injure the persons or properties of 
harmless individuals; but endeavor to treat those per- 
sons whose abominable principles and actions show 
them to be enemies to American liberty, as loathsome 
animals not fit to be touched or to have any society or 
connection with." 

The New York Committee of Correspondence was 
thanked "for the notice they have taken of this infant 
colony," and the chairman was directed to forward to 
Isaac Low of New York the resolutions, which were 
unanimously adopted, with an explanation of the delay 



390 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

in replying to his letter. A committee was chosen to 
correspond with other committees of correspondence "of 
this province and elsewhere," consisting of Joshua 
Webb, John Grout, John Sessions of Westminster, Maj. 
William Williams and Capt. Jacob (Joab) Hoisington 
of Woodstock. 

Lieut. Leonard Spalding of Dummerston was ar- 
rested on October 28, on a charge of high treason, and 
after being overpowered by a posse of three or four 
men was committed to jail at Westminster. In the 
"Relation" prepared by a committee of which Dr. 
Reuben Jones was clerk, dealing with the Westminster 
Massacre, it is stated that "one man they put into close 
prison for high treason ; and all that they proved against 
him was that he said if the King had signed the Quebec 
bill, it was his opinion that he had broke his coronation 
oath." The Quebec bill established the laws of France, 
abolished trial by jury, denied the right of assembly and 
established the Catholic religion. Among those respon- 
sible for the arrest of Spalding were Sheriff William 
Paterson, Crean Brush, Noah Sabin, and others. 

On the day following the arrest a majority of the 
people of Dummerston, or Fulham, as it was called at 
that time, met on the green and chose a committee of 
correspondence consisting of Solomon Harvey, John 
Butler, Jonathan Knight, Josiah Boyden and Daniel 
Gates, "to joyne with other towns or respectable bodies 
of people, the better to secure and protect the rights 
and privileges of themselves and fellow creatures from 
the ravages and imbarrassments of the British tyrant 
and his New York and other immesaries." Being 



THE WESTMINSTER MASSACRE 391 

assisted by "a large concourse of their freeborn neigh- 
bors and bretherin" of Putney, Guilford, Halifax and 
Draper (Wilmington), the people of Dummerston for- 
cibly released Lieutenant Spalding, after he had been 
imprisoned eleven days. Dr. Solomon Harvey, one of 
the Whig leaders, was Town Clerk of Dummerston, at 
this time, and he entered upon the town records a de- 
scription of the episode, which leaves no doubt regard- 
ing the sympathies of the writer, which declares that, 
"The plain truth is, that the brave sons of freedom 
whose patience was worn out with the inhuman insults 
of the imps of power, grew quite sick of diving after 
redress in a legal way, and finding that the law was 
only made use of for the emolument of its creatures the 
immesaries of the British tyrant, resolved upon an 
easyer method, and accordingly opened the goal (jail) 
without key or lockpicker, and after congratulating Mr. 
Spalding upon the recovery of his freedom, dispersed 
every man in peace to his respective home or place of 
abode. The afforgoing is a true and short relation of 
that wicked affair of the New York, cut throatly, 
Jacobitish, high church, Toretical minions of George the 
Third, the Pope of Canada and tyrant of Britain." If 
the zealous doctor was as resourceful in his choice of 
remedies as he was in the selection of epithets, he must 
have been a very skilful practitioner. 

John Hazeltine, chairman of the first Cumberland 
County Convention, on November 13, issued a call for 
a second convention to be held at Westminster, notices 
being sent to the various towns of the county. At a 
meeting held at Chester on November 28, two delegates 



392 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

were elected and were instructed to endeavor to procure 
from the convention a vote of thanks to the Continental 
Congress "for their good services." They were also 
directed to try to secure the adoption of instructions to 
their representatives in the New York Legislature, 
Crean Brush and Samuel Wells, to favor choosing 
deputies to attend the Colonial Congress to be held in 
Philadelphia the following May. On the same day a 
meeting was held in Dummerston, which voted that the 
town be assessed "in a discretionary sum of money, 
sufficient to procure 100 weight of gunpowder, 200 
weight of lead, & 300 flints, for the town use." This 
tax was to be paid in potash salts. 

A Congress, which was composed of delegates from 
twelve American colonies, had assembled at Philadelphia 
in September, 1774, and had voted to suspend commer- 
cial relations with Great Britain until certain offensive 
acts of Parliament were repealed. An association was 
formed which delegates joined, and it was recommended 
that all the colonies adopt the articles of agreement, one 
article being a pledge to have no dealings or intercourse 
with any colony in North America which should not 
accede to the articles of association. This agreement 
was adopted by all the colonies but New York, in which 
a Tory majority controlled the Legislature. 

The second Cumberland County Convention was held 
at Westminster on November 30, and according to a 
report made by Dr. Reuben Jones all the resolves of the 
Continental Congress were adopted, the delegates agree- 
ing "religiously to adhere to the non-importation, non- 
consumption, non-exportation policy agreed upon at 



THE WESTMINSTER MASSACRE 393 

Philadelphia, also to have no dealings with any Ameri- 
can province that failed to accede to, or violated, such 
agreement or association." A motion was made to 
appoint a committee of inspection, "to observe the con- 
duct of all persons" in regard to the resolutions of the 
Continental Congress. Objection was made, it is said, 
by a justice and an attorney, probably by Justice Samuel 
Wells of Brattleboro, and John Grout, a Chester attor- 
ney; and the appointment of such a committee being 
"much spoken against," according to Doctor Jones' re- 
port, "and looked upon by them as a childish, imperti- 
nent thing, the delegates dare not choose one." The 
people of Dummerston decided that they would have a 
committee of inspection, and at town meeting a com- 
mittee of seven men was chosen, headed by Dr. Solo- 
mon Harvey. This committee removed two of the town 
assessors from office, and disarmed one man who was 
suspected of being a Tory. 

Col. John Hazeltine sent out a call, on January 30, 
1775, for a third Cumberland County Convention, to be 
held at Westminster on February 7. On that date dele- 
gates from twelve towns assembled, and Colonel Hazel- 
tine once more was elected chairman. The committee 
was in session three days. A committee of correspond- 
ence representing twenty-one towns was chosen, to be 
kept informed of the proceedings of the friends of lib- 
erty in the colonies. This committee consisted of rep- 
resentatives from Westminster, Putney, Dummerston, 
Brattleboro, Guilford, Hinsdale (Vernon), Halifax, 
Marlboro, Draper (Wilmington), Newfane, Town- 
shend, Kent (Londonderry), Chester, Rockingham, 



394 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Springfield, Weathersfield, Windsor, Hertford (Hart- 
land), Hartford, Woodstock and Pomfret. Dr. Paul 
Spooner of Hertford, Joshua Webb and Abijah Lovejoy 
of Westminster, Dr. Solomon Harvey of Dummerston 
and Capt. Francis Whitmore of Marlboro were ap- 
pointed monitors to the committee of correspondence. 

At this convention a protest to the New York Legis- 
lature was authorized, objecting to the "great expense 
and heavy burdens" imposed by the additional courts 
lately established. Mention was made of the incon- 
venience of calling from home at each quarterly session 
of court more than seventy farmers to act as grand 
and petit jurors, their compensation being insufficient 
to pay their expenses. Complaint was made concern- 
ing the wages of the county members of the Legislature, 
and the excessive fees charged by attorneys, which were 
declared to be "very burthensome and grievous." The 
petitioners asked for fewer terms of court, a smaller 
number of jurors, smaller court fees, and other reforms. 

It will be seen from the reports of these Westminster 
conventions, and the action of individual towns, that 
the people of Cumberland county were generally in 
hearty sympathy with the American colonies in their 
opposition to the colonial policy of Great Britain. New 
York, however, had refused to unite with the other 
American colonies, in the non-importation agreement, 
and this fact, together with the sympathy shown by 
New York officials for the British Government, made 
the rule of the province irksome to many of the towns 
in the Connecticut valley. The Cumberland county 
court officials, chosen by the New York Legislature, were 



THE WESTMINSTER MASSACRE 395 

known to be in sympathy with the British policy rather 
than that of the Continental Congress. This fact, to- 
gether with the growing dissatisfaction with the burden 
imposed by the sessions of the courts, led to a movement 
to prevent the holding of the court. 

In the report, or "Relation" prepared by the commit- 
tee of which Dr. Reuben Jones was clerk, to which ref- 
erence already has been made, it was stated that, "Some 
of our court would boldly say that the King had a just 
right to make the revenue acts, for he had a supreme 
power; and he that said otherwise were guilty of high 
treason, and they did hope that they would be executed 
accordingly. The people were of opinion that such 
men were not suitable to rule over them: and, as the 
General Assembly of this province would not accede to 
the association of the Continental Congress, the good 
people were of opinion that if they did accede to any 
power from or under them, they would be guilty of the 
breach of the 14th article of that association, and may 
justly be dealt with, accordingly, by all America. When 
the good people considered that the General Assembly 
were for bringing them into a state of slavery, (which 
did appear plain by their not acceding to the best method 
to procure their liberties, and the executive power so 
strongly acquiescing in all that they did, whether it was 
right or wrong;) the good people of said county thought 
it time to look to themselves. And they thought that 
it was dangerous to trust their lives and fortunes in the 
hands of such enemies to American liberty; but more 
particularly unreasonable that there should be any court 
held; since, thereby, we must accede to what our Gen- 



396 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

eral Assembly had done, in not acceding to what the 
whole continent had recommended ; and that all America 
would break off all dealings and commerce with us, and 
bring us into a state of slavery at once. Therefore in 
duty to God, ourselves, and posterity, we thought our- 
selves under the strongest obligations to resist and to 
oppose all authority that would not accede to the re- 
solves of the Continental Congress. But knowing that 
many of our court were men that neither feared or re- 
garded men, we thought that it was most prudent to go 
and persuade the judges to stay at home." 

Acting in accordance with this policy about forty 
''good true men" went from Rockingham to Chester on 
March 10 to urge Col. Thomas Chandler, the Chief 
Judge, not to attend court. Judge Chandler agreed that 
under existing conditions it would be for the good of 
the county not to hold a session of court at that time. 
He declared, however, that there was one murder case 
that must receive attention, but if the people objected to 
further court business no other cases would be heard. 
One member of the party expressed the opinion that 
Sheriff Paterson would bring armed men to Westmin- 
ster, and that there would be bloodshed, but Judge 
Chandler gave his word of honor that no arms should 
be brought against the people of the county. He agreed 
to go to the county seat on March 13, and the visiting 
delegation informed him that they would wait on him 
at that time if he had no objection. He informed them 
that their company would be very agreeable and thanked 
them for their civility, as they took their departure. 



THE WESTMINSTER MASSACRE 397 

There was much discussion among the Whigs regard- 
ing the best method of preventing a session of the court. 
It was understood that Judge Noah Sabin, one of the 
Associate Judges, and many of the minor court officers 
were strongly of the opinion that court should be opened 
as usual. One of the Judges, Col. Samuel Wells, was 
attending the New York Legislature as one of the mem- 
bers from Cumberland county. It was finally agreed 
by the Whigs that the court should be permitted to 
assemble, when reasons should be presented showing 
why a session ought not to be held. A report having 
reached Westminster on March 10 to the effect that the 
court would take possession of the court house March 
13, post a strong guard at the doors, and prevent the 
opponents of the court party from entering, it was deter- 
mined to take possession of the court house before 
armed guards were stationed, "being justly alarmed by 
the deceit of our court," as a contemporary record says, 
and "determined that our grievances should be laid be- 
fore the court before it was opened." 

Williams in his "History of Vermont," written less 
than twenty years after this period, said that at that 
time "the courts of justice which were held under the 
royal authority in all the adjacent provinces were either 
shut up or adjourned without doing any business." As 
it became evident that a determined effort would be 
made to hold court, preparations were made by both par- 
ties to bring men to Westminster. On Sunday, March 
12, Sheriff Paterson went to Brattleboro and persuaded 
about twenty-five men to accompany him to Westmin- 
ster the following day to aid in preserving the peace and 



398 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

suppressing any tumult that might arise. The members 
of this party carried only clubs as weapons, but they 
were joined by others on the way, including fourteen 
men with muskets. 

On the afternoon of the same day that the Brattle- 
boro party arrived, a party of Whigs came from Rock- 
ingham. Calling at the home of Capt. Azariah Wright, 
they found the house too small to accommodate them, 
and adjourned to the log school house across the street 
to consult as to the best manner to prevent the court 
from sitting. Arming themselves with clubs from Cap- 
tain Wright's woodpile, they proceeded toward the 
court house, being joined on the route by some of the 
people of Westminster, similarly armed. 

It was about four o'clock in the afternoon when this 
party, numbering approximately one hundred men, en- 
tered the court house with the intention of holding it 
until the court came in the following morning, in order 
to forestall what was supposed to be the plan of the Tory 
party, to take possession of the building and prevent the 
Whigs from laying their grievances before the Judges. 
Very soon after they had entered, about five o'clock, 
according to a statement of the Judges, Sheriff Pater son, 
at the head of a company of about sixty men, armed 
with guns, pistols, swords and stones, appeared before 
the court house, and halting about five yards from the 
door, he ordered the men assembled within that edifice 
to disperse. No answer being made the Sheriff read the 
King's proclamation in a loud voice, and with an oath 
declared that if they did not disperse in fifteen minutes 
he would ''blow a lane" through them. Demanding en- 



THE WESTMINSTER MASSACRE 399 

trance to the court house, he was refused "with threats 
and menaces," according- to the statement of the Tory- 
party. While refusing to disperse, the occupants of the 
court house informed the Sheriff's posse that they might 
enter if they would disarm, but not otherwise. One of 
the Whig party went to the door and asked the men 
assembled outside if they had come for war, assuring 
them that he and his associates desired peace, and would 
be glad to hold a parley with them. Samuel Gale, clerk 
of the court, thereupon drew a pistol, and holding it up 
exclaimed: "Damn the parley with such damned ras- 
cals as you are ; I will hold no parley with such damned 
rascals but by this," flourishing his weapon. Others 
of the Sheriff's party used harsh language, and volun- 
teered the cheerful information that the Whigs assem- 
bled in the court house "would be in hell before morn- 
ing." After a little the Sheriff's posse withdrew a 
short distance and held a consultation. Three of the 
occupants of the court house at this time went out and 
endeavored to treat with their opponents, but the only 
response made was that they would not talk with "such 
damned rascals," and the court party soon withdrew. 

Judge Chandler came into the court house about seven 
o'clock in the evening, and he was asked if he and Judge 
Sabin would consult with a committee in regard to the 
expediency of convening court the following day. 
Judge Chandler said he could not discuss "whether His 
Majesty's business should be done or not, but that if 
they felt themselves aggrieved, and would apply to them 
in a proper way, they would give them redress if it was 
in their power." Being reminded that he had promised 



400 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

that no arms should be brought, Judge Chandler replied 
that they were brought without his consent, that he 
would take them away, that the Whigs might remain 
in the court house undisturbed until morning, when the 
court would come in, without arms, and hear such griev- 
ances as might be presented. The Judge then with- 
drew. The Whigs went out of the court house, chose a 
committee to draw up a list of subjects to be brought to 
the attention of the court in the morning, and after the 
report was read it was adopted without opposition. 
Relying on the promise that they would not be disturbed 
during the night in possession of the court house, a con- 
siderable number of them went to their homes or to 
neighboring houses for the night, leaving a guard in the 
county building. 

Sheriff Paterson, meanwhile, assembled as many Tory 
sympathizers as possible, Norton's tavern, the inn 
patronized by the Royalist party, being the rallying 
place. Here they discussed the action of the "rebels," 
and drank deeply, it is said, of John Norton's liquors. 
Leaving the town in small parties, and proceeding 
stealthily, they arrived at the court house about eleven 
o'clock at night. The sentry at the door gave the alarm 
and the guard manned the doors. 

Dr. Reuben Jones, one of the Whig party participat- 
ing in the affair, in his "Relation" of the proceedings, 
describes the episode as follows : 

"Immediately the Sheriff and his company marched 
up fast, within about ten rods of the door, and then the 
word was given, take care and then fire. Three fired 
immediately. The word fire was repeated. 'God damn 




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THE WESTMINSTER MASSACRE 401 

you, fire' ; 'send them to hell,' was most or all the words 
that were to be heard for some time; on which there 
were several men wounded. One was shot with four 
bullets, one of which went through his brain, of which 
wound he died next day. Then they rushed in with 
their gims, swords and clubs, and did most cruelly 
mammoc several more; and took some that were not 
wounded, and those that were, and crowded them all 
into close prison together, and told them that they should 
all be in hell before the next night, and that they did 
wish that there were forty more in the same case with 
that dying man. When they put him into prison, they 
took and dragged him as one would a dog; and would 
mock him as he lay gasping, and make sport for them- 
selves at his dying motions." 

In a statement, entitled "A State of the Facts," pre- 
pared by the Judges and court officials on the day follow- 
ing this contest, it was declared regarding the night 
attack that the Sheriff "brought the said posse before 
the court house again, and then again demanded en- 
trance in His Majesty's name, but was again refused in 
like manner as before. Whereupon he told them that 
he would absolutely enter it, either quietly, or by force, 
and commanded the posse to follow close to him, which 
they accordingly did, and getting near the door he was 
struck several blows with clubs, which he had the good- 
ness in general to fend off, so far at least as not to receive 
any very great damage, but several of the clubs striking 
him as he was going up the steps, and the rioters persist- 
ing in maintaining their ground, he ordered some of 
the posse to fire, which they accordingly did. The riot- 



402 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

ers then fought violently with their clubs and fired some 
few fire arms at the posse, by which Mr. Justice Butter- 
field received a slight shot in the arm, and another of 
the posse received a slight shot in the head with pistol 
bullets; but happily none of the posse were mortally 
wounded. Two persons of the rioters were dangerously 
wounded (one of whom is since dead) and several others 
of the rioters were also wounded, but not dangerously 
so. Eight of the rioters were taken prisoners (includ- 
ing the one which is since dead) and the wounded were 
taken care of by Doct. Day, Doct. Hill and Doct. Chase, 
the latter of which was immediately sent for on purpose. 
The rest of the rioters dispersed, giving out threats that 
they would collect all the force possible and would re- 
turn as on this day to revenge themselves on the Sheriflf 
and on several others of the posse." 

As a result of this conflict, William French of Brat- 
tleboro, shot with five bullets, died in jail before the 
morning of March 14 had dawned, while his captors, 
served with liquor by Pollard Whipple, who acted in the 
dual capacity of jailer and bartender, mocked and 
jeered at the sufferings of the dying man. Daniel 
Houghton of Dummerston was mortally wounded, and 
died nine days later. Most of the wounded were taken 
to the home of Capt. Azariah Wright. Among the 
most seriously injured were Jonathan Knight of Dum- 
merston, shot in the right shoulder with a charge of 
buckshot, a man named White of Rockingham, who was 
seriously w^ounded by a bullet in one knee, and Philip 
Safford of Rockingham, who received several sabre cuts 
on the head inflicted by Sheriff Paterson. 



THE WESTMINSTER MASSACRE 403 

On Tuesday morning, March 14, the Judges opened 
court at the appointed hour, although great excitement 
prevailed in the town, but the only business transacted 
was the preparation of a statement regarding the mur- 
derous affair of the night previous, which was signed 
by Judges Thomas Chandler and Noah Sabin, Assistant 
Justices Stephen Greenleaf and Benjamin Butterfield, 
Justice of the Peace Bildad Andrews and Samuel Gale, 
Clerk of the court. Adjournment was taken to three 
o'clock in the afternoon at which time another adjourn- 
ment was taken, this time to the second Tuesday in June. 
No doubt the Cumberland county court expected the 
tumult to subside before the time should come for the 
summer term to convene, but before two months had 
passed new conditions had arisen in America which put 
an end to His Majesty's judicial system in a region 
much more extensive than that embraced in the county 
of Cumberland. 

Immediately after this affray, known as the West- 
minster Massacre, messengers were sent out in every 
direction to carry the news and to summon aid. The 
militant Dr. Reuben Jones rode bareheaded to Dummer- 
ston. By Tuesday noon, March 14, more than four hun- 
dred armed men had assembled in the broad street of 
Westminster, nearly two hundred of them coming from 
New Hampshire. Capt. Azariah Wright had called out 
the militia of Westminster, Capt. Stephen Sargent led his 
company from Rockingham, Capt. Benjamin Bellows 
brought his company from Walpole, and others came 
from Guilford. With the arrival of this force the 
Whigs were able to release from the jail their associates 



404 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

placed under arrest when the court house was taken, 
and the Judges, other court officials and adherents of the 
Tory party were placed under arrest, being confined in 
the court room with a strong guard. This chamber 
showed plainly the nature of the conflict that had taken 
place the night before. There were blood stains in the 
hall and on the stairs, and the timbers showed the marks 
of the bullets that had been fired. Visitors were per- 
mitted to come in, four or five at a time, to observe the 
imprisoned court officials. 

As the Whigs continued to gather, their indignation 
increased. Some advocated pulling down or burning 
the court house. Others demanded that the Judges be 
brought out and compelled to "make acknowledgment to 
their satisfaction." Only the firmness of Captain Bel- 
lows, a man of great influence and strength of character, 
prevented the adoption of violent measures. On Wed- 
nesday morning, March 15, Dr. Solomon Harvey of 
Dummerston arrived with a considerable number of 
men, and with four of Sheriff Paterson's posse, who 
had been captured as they were going home. Accord- 
ing to an account printed in Holt's Nezv York Journal, 
''The roads and passages were guarded with armed 
men, who indiscriminately laid hold of all passengers 
against whom any of the party intimated the least sus- 
picion, and the mob, stimulated by their leaders to the 
utmost fury and revenge, breathed nothing but blood 
and slaughter against the unfortunate persons in their 
power." 

A coroner's inquest was held on Wednesday to deter- 
mine the cause of the death of William French, and it 



THE WESTMINSTER MASSACRE 405 

was reported ''that on the thirteenth day of March 
instant, WilHam Paterson Esq., Mark Langdon, Chris- 
topher Orsgood, Benjamin Gorton, Samuel Night and 
others unknown to them, assisting with force and arms, 
made an assault on the body of the said Wm. French 
and shot him through the head with a bullet, of which 
wound he died, and not otherwise." 

On Wednesday evening, Capt. Robert Cochran arrived 
from Bennington with a band of about forty Green 
Mountain Boys, fully armed. As the party marched up 
the street Cochran asked those whom he supposed to be 
Tories, why they did not take him and obtain the reward 
of fifty pounds offered by Governor Tryon for his appre- 
hension. He declared loudly his intention of seizing some 
of the men who had aided Sheriff Paterson, and with a 
zeal greater than his knowledge of Scripture he an- 
nounced his purpose to ascertain "who was for the Lord 
and who was for Balaam." 

On Thursday morning, March 16, there had 
assembled "five hundred good martial soldiers, well 
equipped for war," to quote again from Dr. Reuben 
Jones' "Relation." Others had assembled who were in 
sympathy with the Whigs, but were unarmed. Some 
of this company were from Massachusetts. The num- 
ber assembled being so great, it was determined to 
appoint a large committee, a part of which was made 
up of persons not residing in Cumberland county. This 
committee examined the persons accused of responsi- 
bility for the massacre, so-called, and decided that they 
should be confined in the Northampton, Mass., jail until 
a fair trial could be secured. Others less guilty were 



406 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

compelled to give bonds with security to John Hazeltine, 
to appear at the next court of oyer and terminer and 
were then released. Judge Thomas Chandler, Deputy 
Sheriff Beldad Easton, Capt. Benjamin Burt, Thomas 
Sergeant, Oliver Wells, Joseph Willard and John Morse, 
were released on March 17, after giving bonds to appear 
at the time appointed for trial. Judge Noah Sabin, 
Assistant Justice Benjamin Butterfield, Justice of the 
Peace William Willard, Sheriff William Paterson, 
Deputy Sheriff Richard Hill, Clerk Samuel Gale, Wil- 
liam Williams, and a man named Cunningham were 
ordered to be confined in the jail at Northampton, Mass. 
No charges were found against Thomas Ellis, and he 
was released. The prisoners were taken to North- 
ampton, on Sunday, March 19, guarded by twenty-five 
men commanded by Capt. Robert Cochran, and by an 
equal number under command of Captain Butterfield of 
New Hampshire. The prisoners were committed to jail 
on March 23 and were confined there about two weeks. 
A writ of habeas corpus issued by Chief Justice Hors- 
manden permitted their removal to New York, where 
they were released without being brought into court for 
trial. 

Two messengers sent from Brattleboro with news of 
the conflict at Westminster arrived at New York on 
March 21, and informed the Cumberland county mem- 
bers of the Legislature, Col. Samuel Wells and Crean 
Brush, what had occurred. Governor Colden sum- 
moned his Council and the depositions of the messengers, 
Oliver Church of Brattleboro and Joseph Hancock of 
Hopkinton, Mass., were taken. These depositions 



THE WESTMINSTER MASSACRE 407 

together with a message from Governor Golden, dealing 
with "the dangerous state of anarchy and confusion 
which has lately arisen in Cumberland county," were 
sent to the Legislature on March 23. One week later, 
on March 30, by a vote of fourteen to nine, in committee 
of the whole house, it was advised that provision should 
be made "to enable the inhabitants of the county of Cum- 
berland to reinstate and maintain the due administration 
of justice in that county, and for the suppression of 
riots." The regular sessions having been resumed, on 
motion of Crean Brush, and after an exciting debate, 
the sum of one thousand pounds was appropriated, by a 
vote of twelve to ten, "to be applied for the purposes 
enumerated in the report." 

The funeral of William French, the first victim of 
the Westminster Massacre, was held on March 15, fol- 
lowing the coroner's inquest. It was attended by the 
militia of the surrounding country and this young man 
of twenty-two was buried with military honors in the 
Westminster burial ground, near the spot where the 
body of the other victim of the Massacre, Daniel 
Houghton, was to be laid a few days later. Over the 
grave of William French was erected a stone bearing 
the following inscription : 

"In Memory of William French 
Son to Mr. Nathaniel French Who 
Was Shot at Westminster March ye 13th 
1775 by the hands of Cruel Ministerial tools 
of George Ye 3d in the Corthouse at 1 1 
o'clock 
at Night in the 22d year of His Age. 



408 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

"Here William French his Body lies 
For Murder his blood for vengance cries 
King Georg the third his Tory crew 
tha with a bawl his head Shot threw 
For Liberty and his Countrys Good 
he lost his Life his Dearest blood." 

In one corner of the old gravestone was a bit of lead, 
supposed to be one of the bullets which entered French's 
body. In 1877, on the occasion of the centennial of Ver- 
mont independence, measures were taken for the erec- 
tion of a monument over the grave of William French. 
On September 17, 1902, a granite boulder, on which 
had been placed a bronze marker, was dedicated on the 
site of the old court house, by the Brattleboro Chapter, 
Daughters of the American Revolution. 

One of the points in dispute regarding the Westmin- 
ster Massacre has to do with the weapons used by the 
Whigs. Dr. Reuben Jones, in his "Relation," says that 
when the Tories first approached the court house on the 
afternoon of March 13, that "we in the house had not 
any weapons of war among us, and were determined 
that they (the Tories) should not come in with their 
weapons of war except by the force of them." In the 
statement prepared by Judge Chandler and his asso- 
ciates, it was asserted that "the rioters" fired "some few 
fire arms at the posse." In preparing his "History of 
Eastern Vermont," B. H. Hall made a thorough investi- 
gation of this matter. Theophilus Crawford testified 
that the Whigs had not "so much as a pistol among 
them," and related that one or two persons on the way 



THE WESTMINSTER MASSACRE 409 

to Westminster were obliged to lay aside the weapons 
they carried. Azariah Wright, a grandson of Capt. 
Azariah Wright, informed Mr. Hall that "there were 
no arms carried by the Liberty party except clubs which 
were obtained by the Rockingham company at my grand- 
father's woodpile," having obtained this information 
from Solomon Wright, his father, a boy of twelve or 
thirteen years at the time of the Westminster Massacre. 

The affair at Westminster, in its inception and in its 
execution, clearly foreshadowed the long struggle for 
independence, so soon to begin. Only grievances so 
serious that no remedy was left save revolution would 
justify a forcible interference with the holding of the 
courts. There is no reason to doubt that the people of 
Cumberland county had just cause to be dissatisfied with 
the judicial system provided by the royal province of 
New York; but local grievances were overshadowed by 
the larger issues which had stirred the American Colo- 
nies so deeply, and it is probable that the oppressive 
acts of the British Parliament had as much to do with 
arousing the militant spirit of the men of Cumberland 
county, who took possession of the court house at West- 
minster on that March afternoon in 1775, as did abuses 
in the local administration of justice. 

The result of the shots fired by Sheriff Paterson's 
posse in the midnight contest for the possession of this 
frontier court house speedily became apparent. The 
rapidity with which armed men poured into Westminster 
from every quarter, eager to wreak vengeance upon 
court officials and their partisans, has been likened to a 
gathering of the Scottish clans. It represented a re- 



410 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

markably efficient mobilization for a sparsely settled 
country, with few roads. Among the developments 
arising from the Westminster Massacre were the prac- 
tical ending of New York rule in Cumberland county, 
a closer union of the eastern and western settlements 
of the New Hampshire Grants, and the deepening and 
intensifying of popular hostility to British rule which 
was to blaze forth at Lexington less than five weeks 
later. 

It has been asserted that the deaths of William French 
and Daniel Houghton at Westminster constituted the 
first bloodshed of the American Revolution, but the facts 
hardly seem to warrant this claim. Of its importance, 
there can be no doubt. It represented deep-seated hos- 
tility to the New York provincial government, and to 
British authority, but it was not war in the sense in 
which the conflicts between armed American citizens 
and British troops at Lexington and Concord demand 
the use of that term. It may be classed more properly 
with the Boston Massacre of 1770 than with the battles 
of Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill, being one of a 
series of events that almost inevitably led to war, and 
must be classed with the preliminary events of that great 
conflict. 

The uprising at Westminster against the authority 
of the province and the Crown was approved generally 
throughout Cumberland county, and in some of the 
larger towns public meetings were held to express this 
sentiment. Although the people of Guilford had voted 
their willingness to remain subject to the laws of New 
York, they directed the local Committee of Safety to 



THE WESTMINSTER MASSACRE 411 

decide whether those who held commissions from Gov- 
ernor Tryon should retain or resign them. Evidently 
popular opinion was changing at this time, for on April 
7 the town voted, ''That we recommend to all those 
persons in this town who have received commissions 
under Governor Tryon, that they resign said commis- 
sions, or erase their names out of a certain covenant, 
signed by the body of the people, to mitigate or soften 
the minds of the people." 

A meeting of committees representing the people of 
Cumberland and Gloucester counties was held at West- 
minster on April 11. Maj. Abijah Lovejoy of that 
town was chosen as the presiding officer and Dr. Reuben 
Jones of Rockingham was elected clerk. 

The following resolutions were adopted: 

"Voted as our opinion. That our inhabitants are in 
great danger of having their property unjustly, cruelly 
and unconstitutionally taken from them by the arbitrary 
and designing administration of the government of New 
York; sundry instances having already taken place. 

"Voted, as our opinion. That the lives of those in- 
habitants are in the utmost hazard and imminent danger, 
under the present administration. Witness the mali- 
cious and horrid massacre of the 13th ult. 

"Voted, as our opinion. That it is the duty of said 
inhabitants, as predicated on the eternal and immutable 
law of self-preservation, to wholly renounce and resist 
the administration of the government of New York, till 
such times as the lives and property of those inhabitants 
may be secured by it ; or till such time as they can have 
opportunity to lay their grievances before His most 



412 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

gracious Majesty in Council, together with a proper 
remonstrance against the unjustifiable conduct of that 
government; with a humble petition, to be taken out of 
so oppressive a jurisdiction, and, either annexed to some 
other government, or erected and incorporated into a new 
one, as may appear best to the said inhabitants, to the 
royal wisdom and clemency, and to such time as His 
Majesty shall settle this controversy. 

"Voted. That Colonel John Hazeltine, Charles 
Phelps, Esq., and Colonel Ethan Allen be a committee 
to prepare such remonstrance and petition for the pur- 
pose aforesaid." 

Evidently the people of Cumberland and Gloucester 
counties had reached the point where they desired, either 
to be annexed to New Hampshire, or were ready to join 
the inhabitants west of the Green Mountains in forming 
the new province, of which Colonel Skene hoped to be 
made Governor. The new note of hostility to the New 
York Government, and the choice of Ethan Allen, who 
had shown no little ability in penning remonstrances, 
to aid in preparing a petition to the British Government 
praying for relief from the irksome rule of New York, 
shows how the Westminster Massacre was bringing to- 
gether in sentiment the eastern and western portions of 
the New Hampshire Grants. 

Delegates from nine New York counties assembled in 
New York City on May 23, 1775, and organized a Pro- 
vincial Congress. On the following day John Williams 
and William Marsh appeared as delegates from Char- 
lotte county, and were admitted. They represented two 
towns now included in New York, and the towns of 



THE WESTMINSTER MASSACRE 413 

Arlington, Manchester, Dorset, Rupert, Pawlet and 
Wells, now in Vermont. It is a noteworthy fact that 
this is one of the few instances when the towns west of 
the Green Mountains were represented in any New York 
assembly. Dr. John Williams, however, was a resident 
of White Creek, N. Y., and William Marsh afterward 
became a Tory and his property was confiscated, so that 
this region was not represented by the men who usually 
acted and spoke in its behalf. 

Cumberland county did not receive notice of the pro- 
vincial Congress in time to send delegates, and on June 
6 a county Congress assembled at Westminster, which 
the records call "a full meeting." John Hazeltine was 
chairman of the Congress and of the Committee of Cor- 
respondence. The object of the meeting was said to be 
"that the sense of the people in said county of Cum- 
berland should be fully known with regard to the hostile 
measures that are using by the British Parliament to 
enforce the late cruel, unjust, and oppressive acts of the 
said British Parliament through the British colonies in 
America." 

Resolutions were adopted as follows: 

"That the late acts of the British Parliament passed 
in order to raise a revenue in America are unjust, illegal 
and diametrically opposite to the Bill of Rights, and a 
fundamental principle of the British Constitution, which 
is, 'that no person shall have his property taken from 
him without his consent'. 

"That we will resist and oppose the said acts of Par- 
liament, in conjunction with our brethren in America, 
at the expense of our lives and fortunes, to the last 



414 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

extremity, if our duty to God and our country require 
the same. 

"That we think it needless to pass many resolves 
exhibiting our sentiments with regard to the unhappy 
controversy subsisting between Great Britain and 
America. Let it suffice therefore, that we fully 
acquiesce with what our brethren have lately done at 
New York, in their late association; and it is hereby re- 
solved that the late association entered into at New 
York is perfectly agreeable to the sentiments of the free 
holders and inhabitants of this county, and that they 
fully acquiesce in the same. 

"That this county is at present in a very broken situa- 
tion with regard to the civil authority. We therefore 
sincerely desire that the advice of the honorable Con- 
gress may be by our delegates transmitted to us, where- 
by some order and regularity may be established among 
us. We therefore should take it as a favor if the honor- 
able Congress would particularly recommend to us in 
this county some measures to be pursued by us, the in- 
habitants of the same; for we are persuaded their advice 
would have great weight to influence our people univer- 
sally to pursue such measures as would tend to the peace, 
safety, and good order of this county for the future. 

"That we, the inhabitants of this county, are at pres- 
ent in an extremely defenceless state with regard to 
arms and ammunition. We sincerely desire the honor- 
able Provincial Congress would consider us in this re- 
spect and from their generosity and goodness would do 
what in them lies for our relief in the premises. We 



THE WESTMINSTER MASSACRE 415 

have many brave soldiers, but, unhappily for us, we have 
nothing to fight with." 

The boldness and determination shown in these reso- 
lutions are proof that in no part of America was the 
opposition to British oppression stronger than in the 
New Hampshire Grants. 

It is not easy to determine the number of men who 
went to Boston from towns now included in Vermont, 
as soon as the news of the battle of Lexington was re- 
ceived, but it is a matter of record that several volun- 
teered their services. Wells' "History of Newbury" 
says that on the evening of the day on which the news 
of the battle of Lexington reached that town, Nehemiah 
Lovewell, Peter Johnson and Silas Chamberlin started 
for the seat of w^ar. Messengers brought the news of 
the battle to Rockingham, and parties of volunteers 
hurried to Lexington and Cambridge, Mass., some on 
foot and some on horseback. Men on both sides of the 
Connecticut River were organized in a New Hampshire 
regiment, which was commanded by Col. James Reed. 
This regiment constituted a part of the force that held 
the rail fence at the battle of Bunker Hill. A company 
of Liberty men had been organized at Rockingham, with 
Stephen Sargent as captain, some time between the years 
1768 and 1774. Benjamin Everest of Addison repaired 
to Ethan Allen's headquarters as soon as the news of 
the battle of Lexington was received. Several of the 
young men of Marlboro, among them Jonathan Warner 
and Nathaniel Whitney, started for the scene of the con- 
flict as soon as the news from Lexington was received, 
and it is probable that similar conditions prevailed in 



416 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

many other Vermont towns, which have not been made 
a matter of record. 

Mr. King of Brattleboro and his two sons, William 
and Gushing King, while hoeing corn, heard the news of 
the battle of Bunker Hill two days after it occurred. 
They stopped work, leaned their hoes against a 
stump, went to Boston and enlisted in the American 
army. These men served through the war and returned 
seven years later to find their hoes where they had 
left them in the summer of 1775. The first settlers of 
Jamaica claimed that they heard the sound of the can- 
non fired at Bunker Hill. It is known that on July 12, 
1775, seven men from Townshend were serving under 
General Washington at Roxbury, Mass. 

At a town meeting, held at Marlboro, May 22, 1775, 
to consider the impending war with Great Britain, the 
following resolutions were adopted : "Resolved, we will, 
each of us, at the expense of our lives and fortunes, to 
the last extremity, unite and oppose the last cruel, unjust 
and arbitrary acts of the British Parliament passed for 
the sole purpose of raising a revenue. 

"Resolved, we will be contented and subject to the 
Hon. Gontinental Congress in all things which they shall 
resolve, for the peace, safety and welfare of the Ameri- 
can Colonies." 

At a town meeting held in Mooretown, later known 
as Bradford, May 1, 1775, it was voted "to raise a town 
stock to be kept in the treasury, one pound of powder 
and a dozen flints, to each man in said town of Moore- 
town, from 16 years to 80." 



THE WESTMINSTER MASSACRE 417 

A meeting of freemen, freeholders and inhabitants of 
the city and county of New York, was held April 29, 
1775, shortly after the battle of Lexington, and the 
following declaration or "general association," (in which 
Bennington is inserted), was adopted and was trans- 
mitted for signatures to all the counties of the province: 

"Persuaded that the Salvation of the rights and liber- 
ties of America deposed under God, on the firm union of 
its inhabitants, in a vigorous prosecution of the measures 
necessary for its safety and convinced of the necessity 
of preventing the anarchy and confusion which attend a 
dissolution of the Powers of Government, we the free- 
holders and inhabitants of the town of Bennington, on 
the New Hampshire Grants in the County of Albany and 
province of N. York being Greatly alarmed at the 
avowed design of the Ministry to raise a revenue in 
America, and shocked by the bloody scene now acting in 
the Massachusetts bay do in the most solemn manner 
resolve never to bee Slaves; and do associate under all 
the ties of religion, honour and love to our Country do 
adopt, and endeavor to carry into execution whatever 
Measures may be recommended by the Continental Con- 
gress or resolved upon by our Provincial Convention for 
of preserving our Constitution and opposing the execu- 
tion of Several Arbitrary and oppressive acts of the 
British Parliament, until a reconciliation between Great 
Britain and America on Constitutional principles, which 
we most ardently desire can be obtained; and that we 
will in all things follow the advice of our general Com- 
mittee Respecting the Purposes aforesaid, the preserva- 



418 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

tion of Peace and Good order, and the Safety of individ- 
uals and Private Property." 

There are records showing that the document was 
signed in several towns in what is now the State of 
Vermont, and presumably it was signed in other towns 
concerning which no record now exists. 

The Force Archives contain a list of twenty-one sign- 
ers in Weathersfield, and in that town three persons 
refused to sign. There were fifty-one signers in Spring- 
field and the same number in Townshend, this number 
being all the men in town on July 12, 1775. The orig- 
inal copy of this "association" signed by thirty-eight 
men of Bennington, is one of the prized possessions of 
the Vermont Historical Society. 



Chapter XIII 
THE CAPTURE OF TICONDEROGA 



HOSTILITY to British authority in New England 
during the spring of 1775 was not confined to 
the passage of resolutions, but rather showed 
itself in a series of aggressive acts. The Massachusetts 
Congress adopted a resolution on February 15, 1775, 
directing a Committee to open correspondence with the 
Canadians and northern Indians in the hope of keeping 
them neutral in the impending contest. John Brown, 
of Pittsfield, Mass., was chosen an agent to proceed to 
Canada on this business, and he was provided with the 
necessary letters and documents, signed by Samuel 
Adams and Joseph Warren. He was ordered to "estab- 
lish a reliable means of communication through the 
Grants." Late in February he set out on his errand, 
going first to Albany, N. Y., and thence to Lake Cham- 
plain. 

Brown secured as guides Peleg Sunderland, one of the 
active leaders of the Green Mountain Boys, a veteran 
hunter, acquainted with the St. Francis Indians and 
their language; also Winthrop Hoyt, for many years a 
captive in the Caughnawaga country. The journey 
was exceedingly difficult. The ice in Lake Champlain 
had broken up early that year. The lake and its 
tributary streams were swollen, and much of the sur- 
rounding country was flooded. Attempting to make the 
trip in a boat, the craft was driven against an island, 
where the party was frozen in for two days. The 
Indians and Canadians were reached, at last, and were 
found to be well disposed toward their New England 
neighbors. 



422 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

While in Montreal, Brown wrote to Samuel Adams 
and Joseph Warren, of the Boston committee of corre- 
spondence, under date of March 24, in part as follows : 
"One thing I must mention to be kept a profound secret. 
The fort at Ticonderoga must be seized as soon as possi- 
ble, should hostilities be committed by the King's troops. 
The people on New Hampshire Grants have engaged to 
do this business, and, in my opinion, they are the most 
proper persons for the job. This will effectually curb 
this Province and all the troops that may be sent here." 
On March 29 he wrote to Adams and Warren from the 
same place: "I have established a channel of corre- 
spondence through the New Hampshire Grants, which 
may be depended on." 

If the Green Mountain Boys had "engaged to do this 
business," the matter must have been discussed more 
than two months before the fortress was taken, probably 
at the time Sunderland was engaged as a guide. It was 
a natural thing that the first thoughts of the people of 
New England, with the possibility of an armed conflict 
in mind, should turn to Ticonderoga, Crown Point, and 
Lake George, where not a few of them had received 
warlike training in a very practical military school. 

It is not possible to say with absolute precision of 
any man, or body of men, that he, or they, first sug- 
gested the capture of these fortresses. It was the 
obvious thing to do as a matter of safety, and must have 
occurred to many people in this anxious period preced- 
ing the actual outbreak of hostilities as a wise and 
prudent policy; but John Brown and his friends on the 
New^ Hampshire Grants appear to have as good a title 



THE CAPTURE OF TICONDEROGA 423 

as any to the distinction of being among the earliest to 
consider in serious fashion the capture of these British 
posts. 

Immediately after the battle of Lexington the prin- 
cipal officers of the Green Mountain Boys and the lead- 
ing citizens of the New Hampshire Grants met at Ben- 
nington to discuss the situation. The peril of the set- 
tlers in the valleys of the Otter Creek and Winooski 
was discussed, and it was agreed that unless Ticon- 
deroga and Crown Point were taken from the British, 
these posts would be reinforced and strengthened, mak- 
ing necessary the abandonment of the isolated farms in 
the Champlain valley. 

"While these matters were deliberating," says Ethan 
Allen, in his Narrative, "a committee from the Council of 
Connecticut arrived at Bennington, with advice and 
directions to carry into execution the surprise of those 
garrisons (Crown Point and Ticonderoga), and, if pos- 
sible, to gain the command of the lake." 

Capt. Benedict Arnold, of New Haven, Conn., on 
April 26, met Col. Samuel H. Parsons, a member of the 
Connecticut Assembly, on the way from Massachusetts 
to Hartford, and mentioned the conditions existing at 
Ticonderoga. The next day Colonel Parsons, Col. 
Samuel Wyllys, and Silas Deane, a member of the Con- 
tinental Congress, taking as associates Thomas Mum- 
ford, Christopher Leffingwell, and Adam Babcock, met 
in Hartford to consider the possibility of the capture 
of the Lake Champlain fortresses. Having decided that 
the project was feasible, they obtained three hundred 
pounds from the colonial treasury upon promising to 



424 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

account for this sum to the satisfaction of the colony. 
It should be remembered in this connection that Con- 
necticut for all practical purposes was a self-governing- 
province. 

The idea that the people on the New Hampshire 
Grants were the "most proper persons for this job" 
seems to have been the opinion of these Connecticut 
patriots, as well as that of John Brown, of Pittsfield. 
The sinews of war having been secured, Noah Phelps 
and Bernard Romans, an engineer, were directed to 
proceed to the Grants and left on Friday, April 28. 
Capt. Edward Mott, Epaphras Bull, and four others fol- 
lowed the next day, and overtook Phelps and Romans 
at Salisbury, Conn., where the party was increased to 
sixteen and a quantity of powder and ball was pur- 
chased. At Sheffield, Mass., two men were sent to 
Albany, "to ascertain the temper of the people." 
Travelling all day Sunday, a practice not customary in 
those days, the Connecticut men arrived at Pittsfield on 
Monday, May 1. Here they were joined by Col. James 
Easton, an inn keeper, Captain Dickinson, and John 
Brown, whose recent Canadian trip made him a valuable 
associate. 

It had been thought best, in order that suspicion 
should not be aroused, to raise no considerable body of 
men until the Grants were reached, but owing to the 
scarcity of provisions in that region, and the poverty of 
the Green Mountain settlers, upon the advice of Brown 
and Easton a few men — about forty — were raised in the 
hill country of the Berkshires. While these men were 
being enlisted, Heman Allen was sent forward to 



THE CAPTURE OF TICONDEROGA 425 

acquaint his brother Ethan with the project on foot. In 
passing it should be said that the claim sometimes made 
to the effect that John Hancock and Samuel Adams were 
associated with the Connecticut leaders in organizing 
this expedition does not appear to be well founded, 
although it is probable that Adams was familiar with 
the general plan. 

After raising a small party of recruits, Easton and 
Mott left Pittsfield for Bennington. On the way they 
met a courier riding in haste — an express, to use the 
phraseology current at that time — sent out to inform 
them that a man had arrived from Ticonderoga who 
said that the garrison at the fort had been reinforced, 
and the soldiers were on their guard, and advising 
against proceeding further with the expedition. Mott 
and Easton refused to abandon the expedition, the for- 
mer declaring that with the two hundred men they pro- 
posed to raise he would not be afraid "to go round the 
fort in open light," adding that the rumors of evil the 
messenger brought "would not do to go back with and 
tell in Hartford." At Bennington they found those of 
their party who had preceded them unw^illing to place 
any credence in the alarming rumor concerning Ticon- 
deroga, Mr, Halsey and Mr. Bull stoutly asserting that 
"they would go back for no story until they had seen 
the fort themselves." 

A council of war was summoned at the Catamount 
Tavern in Bennington, famous as the favorite rendez- 
vous of Ethan Allen and his associates. The leader of 
the Green Mountain Boys needed no urging to under- 
take this task. It was an enterprise that appealed 



426 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

powerfully to his adventurous and patriotic nature; and 
no Scottish chieftain ever set out with greater ardor to 
assemble his clansmen, than did Ethan Allen, as he 
started northward to summon the sturdy pioneers, who 
acknowledged his leadership. The Connecticut and 
Massachusetts men, securing a small quantity of pro- 
visions, followed Allen to Castleton. 

Meanwhile Noah Phelps and Ezra Hickok had been 
sent to reconnoitre at Ticonderoga. Williams' "His- 
tory of Vermont" says that Phelps disguised himself as 
one of the poor settlers living in the vicinity and went 
to the fort under pretence that he wanted to be shaved, 
inquiring for the barber. His awkward appearance and 
simple questions made it possible for him to observe con- 
ditions and depart unmolested, according to this early 
historian. This story is also told in Thompson's "Ver- 
mont." 

Hinman's "Connecticut in the Revolution," however, 
tells a different tale. According to this account Phelps 
proceeded from the southern part of Lake Champlain 
in a boat, stopping for the night at a tavern near Fort 
Ticonderoga. He was assigned to a room adjoining one 
in which the officers of the garrison were giving a supper 
party, the festivities lasting until a late hour. The Con- 
necticut spy, listening intently, heard the officers discuss 
the unrest prevailing in the colonies, and the condition 
of the fortress. Very early the next morning Phelps 
gained admission to the fort for the purpose of being 
shaved. While returning through the fort the com- 
manding officer walked with this traveller, and discussed 
with him the movements and purposes of the rebellious 



THE CAPTURE OF TICONDEROGA 427 

subjects of the King. Observing that a part of the wall 
was in a dilapidated condition Phelps remarked that it 
"would afford a feeble defense against the rebels in case 
of an attack." Captain Delaplace volunteered the in- 
formation that a breach in the walls was not the greatest 
misfortune, as all the powder was damaged, and that 
before it could be used it was necessary to sift and dry it. 

Phelps, being ready to depart, employed a boatman 
to row him down the lake in a small boat, entering the 
craft under the guns of the fort. Before he had gone 
far he urged greater speed, and was asked to take an 
oar, but declined, saying he was not a boatman. How- 
ever, after rounding a point of land, which screened 
them from sight of the fort, Phelps took an oar without 
any invitation and rowed with such vigor that the boat- 
man exclaimed, with an oath, "You have seen a boat 
before now, sir." The suspicions of the man from the 
fort were aroused, but Phelps being the larger and more 
powerful of the two, prudence was considered "the better 
part of valor," and no attempt was made to take the 
mysterious stranger back to Ticonderoga, all of which 
was related by the boatman to Phelps after the surrender 
of the fort. 

This latter account makes no mention of any disguise, 
or any attempt to play the fool. The commanding 
officer evidently supposed that he was conversing with 
an intelligent and loyal British subject. It is by far 
the more plausible story of the two. Phelps arrived 
at Castleton the evening of May 9. 

Almost immediately after the arrival of the Connecti- 
cut and Massachusetts party at Bennington, the roads to 



4-28 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Fort Edward, Lake George, Skenesborough, Ticon- 
deroga, and Crown Point were guarded, and steps were 
taken to summon the Green Mountain Boys for the cap- 
ture of the two forts. Among the messengers sent out 
by Allen to warn the men living on isolated farms that 
their presence at Castleton was urgently needed, was 
Samuel Beach, a blacksmith, and a prominent and active 
member of this band which ruled the Grants. In his 
"History of Shoreham" Goodhue says that "Beach went 
on foot to Rutland, Pitts ford, Brandon, Middlebury, 
Whiting, and Shoreham, making a circuit of sixty miles 
in twenty-four hours." This is one of the remarkable 
episodes of the American Revolution, and one that never 
has received the publicity or the praise that it deserves. 
The ride of Paul Revere was a holiday excursion com- 
pared with the journey of Samuel Beach. Consider for 
a moment the nature of the task. Every step must be 
taken on foot, through a country practically without 
roads, an expanse of forest broken only at long intervals 
by a little clearing. The messenger must climb steep 
hills, thread his way through the valleys, avoid swamps, 
and cross unbridged streams. He must know where the 
scattered homesteads lay, make many a detour to reach 
them with no unnecessary loss of time, pausing to ex- 
plain his errand. As night fell, still he must hold to a 
course not easily followed by daylight, and pause to 
arouse each family from sleep. 

A journey of sixty miles on foot in a single day, over 
good roads, with a summons to battle to deliver, would 
be considered a feat of which a modern athlete might 
boast ; but it is an insignificant performance when com- 



THE CAPTURE OF TICONDEROGA 429 

pared with the exploit of this early Revolutionary 
courier. 

Mrs. Julia C. R. Dorr, the Vermont poet, has written 
of the journey of Beach in a poem entitled "The 
Armorer's Errand." She says of the hero: 

"Blacksmith and armorer stout was he, 
"First in the fight and first in the breach, 
"And first in the work where a man should be." 

Of the errand itself the poet writes: 

"He threaded the valleys, he climbed the hills, 
"He forded the rivers, he leaped the rills. 
"While still to his call, like minute men 
"Booted and spurred, from mount and glen, 
"The settlers rallied. But on he went 
"Like an arrow shot from a bow, unspent, 
"Down the long vale of the Otter to where 
"The might of the waterfall thundered in air ; 
"Then across to the lake, six leagues and more, 
"Where Hand's Cove lay in the bending shore, 
"The goal was reached. He dropped to the ground 
"In a deep ravine, without word or sound. 
"And sleep, the restorer, bade him rest 
"Like a weary child, on the earth's brown breast." 

Headquarters were established at the tavern of Zadock 
Remington, in Castleton, on Sunday evening. May 7. 
On Monday one hundred and seventy men had gathered 
there. That day the Committee of War met at the 
farmhouse of Richard Bentley, Edward Mott acting as 
chairman, and formulated a plan of campaign. After 



430 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

debating various possible methods of procedure, and 
considering the manner of retreat in the event of a re- 
pulse, it was voted that on the following afternoon, May 
9, Capt. Samuel Herrick, with thirty men, should be 
sent to Skenesborough to capture Major Skene, his 
party, and last, but by no means least, his boats, which 
should be brought during the night to Shoreham, for 
use in transporting troops to Ticonderoga. The re- 
mainder of the men at Castleton, then about one hun- 
dred and forty, were to proceed to Shoreham to a point 
opposite the fort. Captain Douglass was sent to Crown 
Point to see if he could arrange, with the aid of his 
brother-in-law, who lived there, some strategem for 
renting the boats at the fort, belonging to the British 
army. It was also voted that Col. Ethan Allen should 
command the expedition against Ticonderoga, as the 
promise had been made by Mott that the men should 
serve under their own officers. Allen having received 
his orders from the committee, left for Shoreham to 
meet at Mr. Wessell's house, by agreement, some men 
who were to come there. 

The same evening there appeared at Castleton Col. 
Benedict Arnold, who had received from the Massa- 
chusetts Committee of Safety, at Cambridge, May 3, 
authority to command a body of men to be raised in the 
western part of the colony, not exceeding four hundred, 
for the purpose of capturing Ticonderoga. He was to 
have a sufficient armament and garrison to defend the 
post, and take back to Massachusetts such stores and 
artillery as might be useful to the army. Arnold, how- 
ever, did not stop to raise the four hundred men author- 



THE CAPTURE OF TICONDEROGA 431 

ized. There is a strong probability that he had heard 
of the expedition under Connecticut auspices, and, fear- 
ing that the fortresses would be taken without his aid, 
made haste to the rendezvous at Castleton. 

When Arnold arrived he was accompanied only by a 
body servant. Without a soldier raised under his 
Massachusetts commission, he demanded that the com- 
mand of the expedition be turned over to him, assert- 
ing that the force assembled had no proper orders. The 
pioneers who had assembled in haste for the serious busi- 
ness of capturing the King's forts were in no mood to 
yield to such a demand. Mott, chairman of the Com- 
mittee of War, at the time was a mile and a half away 
with the Skenesborough party, but was sent for, and 
on his arrival told the lone colonel that the soldiers 
assembled were raised on condition that they should be 
commanded by their own officers, and the whole plan 
was explained to Arnold. Nevertheless, as Mott says, 
he "strenuously contended and insisted upon his right 
to command them and all their officers." 

This demand created the greatest indignation among 
the volunteers, and they threatened to abandon the expe- 
dition then and there and leave for their homes. This 
hasty action was prevented by the exertions of the offi- 
cers, and, an incipient mutiny was quelled for a time. 
Still determined to have the honor of the chief com- 
mand, Arnold set out the next morning to find Allen. 
The whole party followed fearing that their leader would 
yield to the demand that he relinquish the command, but 
Allen declined to accede to the request. Allen and 
Easton assured the men that Arnold should not com- 



432 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

mand them, but that in any event their pay should be the 
same. The response to this statement, according to 
Mott, was that "they would damn their pay, and say 
that they would not be commanded by any others but 
those they engaged with." 

Resuming the business of the expedition, the party 
left Castleton, going by way of Sudbury to the old 
Crown Point Military Road. This route they followed 
through Whiting, and reached the lake shore at Hand's 
Cove, in Shoreham, about two miles north of Ticon- 
deroga, after dark on the evening of May 9. This route, 
about twenty-five miles long, was taken rather than the 
one through Benson, seven or eight miles shorter, be- 
cause there was less probability of discovery. More- 
over, the place where they reached the shore was a 
wooded ravine, where they were concealed from view. 

According to Allen's account he now had "230 valiant 
Green Mountain Boys," and it is known that thirty-nine 
or forty men had been raised in western Massachusetts. 
Colonel Easton says there were about two hundred and 
forty men. There is a little uncertainty, however, re- 
garding the exact size of the force assembled. 

The great need now was boats. The eflfort to secure 
means of transportation by water had not been success- 
ful, and when Hand's Cove was reached no boats were 
in waiting. Captain Douglass had gone for a scow in 
Bridport owned by a Mr. Smith. On his way he stopped 
at the home of a Mr. Stone, in Bridport, to secure the 
aid of a man named Chapman. The family had retired 
for the night, but was aroused. Two young men, James 
Wilcox and Joseph Tyler, sleeping in a chamber, over- 



THE CAPTURE OE TICONDEROGA 433 

heard the conversation and immediately decided to 
secure, if possible, Major Skene's large rowboat off 
Willow Point, on the Smith farm, in the northwest part 
of Bridport, known to be in charge of a colored servant 
who had a fondness for "strong waters." Dressing 
hastily they took their guns and a jug of New England 
rum as bait for the Negro, and enlisting the aid of four 
companions they started on their errand. Arriving at 
the shore, they hailed the boat, telling the story of being 
on the way to join a hunting party at Shoreham. The 
jug of rum was exhibited and they offered to help in 
rowing the boat. The temptation proved sufficiently 
alluring, the boat was brought over, and Jack and his 
two companions proceeded on their way with the pas- 
sengers, only to find that the hunting party at Shoreham 
was the kind that made prisoners of war. About the 
same time Captain Douglass arrived with a scow, and 
a few small boats also had been collected. 

The number of boats assembled was very inadequate 
and morning was fast approaching. It was decided, 
therefore, to wait no longer, but to proceed with the 
means of transportation at hand. The impression gen- 
erally given is that one trip was made to carry those 
who captured the fort. Ira Allen declares, however, in 
his history that "by passing and repassing they got over 
about 80 men by the dawn of day." The exact number 
participating in the attack, according to Ethan Allen, 
was eighty- three. A landing was made about a half 
mile from the fort. 

Once more Arnold claimed the right to command. 
"What shall I do with the damned rascal, put him under 



434 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

guard?" exclaimed Allen, in exasperation. Amos Cal- 
lender advised that the two men enter the fort side by 
side, and this course was agreed upon, Arnold marching 
at Allen's left hand, according to Ira Allen's account 
of the capture. William Gilliland, founder of West- 
port, N. Y,, has also asserted that he was the means of 
settling the dispute between Allen and Arnold. 

Ethan Allen, however, was the commander, and the 
authority was not divided with Arnold, or any other 
man. James Easton was second in command, and Seth 
Warner, who had been left behind at Hand's Cove, was 
the third officer in rank. 

The hour was now about four o'clock, and the day 
was breaking. The men were drawn up in three lines 
and, according to his own statement, Allen addressed his 
little band as follows: ''Friends and fellow soldiers: 
You have for a number of years past been a scourge and 
terror to arbitrary powers. Your valor has been famed 
abroad, and acknowledged, as appears by the advice and 
orders to me from the General Assembly of Connecticut 
to surprise and take the garrison now before us. I now 
propose to advance before you, and, in person, conduct 
you through the wicket gate; for we must this morn- 
ing either quit our pretensions to valor, or possess our- 
selves of this fortress in a few minutes; and, inasmuch 
as it is a desperate attempt, which none but the bravest 
of men dare undertake, I do not urge it on any contrary 
to his will. You that will undertake voluntarily, poise 
your firelocks." 

Every gun was raised, Nathan Beeman, a lad living 
opposite the fort, and familiar with all the surroundings, 



THE CAPTURE OF TICONDEROGA 435 

acted as guide. Facing to the right, with Allen at the 
head of the center file, and Arnold by his side, the little 
force advanced to a wicket gate, which had been left 
open wide enough for two men to enter abreast. The 
men swarmed through rapidly, while some in their eager- 
ness scaled the wall on either side of the gate. A sen- 
tinel posted at the wicket snapped his fusee at Allen, but 
the gun missed fire. Allen ran toward him and the sol- 
dier retreated hastily through the covered way into the 
parade, gave a shout, and ran under a bomb proof. 
Edward Mott, in a letter to the Massachusetts pro- 
vincial Congress, describing this scene, said: "Our 
men * * * jj^ ^j^e most courageous and intrepid 
manner darted like lightning upon the guards, so that 
but two had time to snap their firelocks at us." The 
New England soldiers rushed in quickly, formed in a 
hollow square on the parade ground, and gave three 
hearty cheers, which some persons have described as 
Indian war whoops, thus arousing the sleeping garrison. 
A sentry made a pass at one of the officers with a 
bayonet, and inflicted a slight wound. Allen drew his 
sword to kill the soldier, but changed his mind, dealing 
a blow which cut the man on the side of the head, but 
did not wound him severely, whereupon the sentry 
dropped his gun and asked for mercy, which was 
granted. Allen demanded of the frightened captive 
where the quarters of the commanding officer, Capt. 
William Delaplace, of His Majesty's Twenty-sixth regi- 
ment, were to be found. A stairway in front of the 
barracks on the west side of the garrison, leading to the 
second story, was pointed out. Allen ascended this 



436 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

stairway, and in a stentorian voice threatened to sacri- 
tice the wliole garrison unless the Captain came forth in- 
stantly. Thereupon the surprised commandant appeared 
at the head of the stairs clad in his shirt, with his 
breeches in one hand. Allen demanded that the fort be 
delivered instantly. The British Captain asked by what 
authority the surrender of the fort was demanded, and 
the Green Mountain leader replied: "In the name of 
the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress." 
"Damn it! What, what does this mean," stammered 
Delaplace, but Allen interrupted him, and with a drawn 
sword held over the head of the British officer called 
for an immediate surrender of the garrison. With the 
Americans already in possession there appeared to be no 
opportunity of successful resistance, and the fort was 
surrendered. 

While the parley between Allen and Delaplace was 
going on, acting under the orders of other officers, sev- 
eral of the barrack doors had been beaten down and 
about a third of the garrison was imprisoned. Accord- 
ing to Colonel Easton's report there was "an inconsider- 
able skirmish with cutlasses or bayonets, in which a 
small number of the enemy received some wounds." All 
this was accomplished in ten minutes, without loss of 
life or the infliction of any serious wound. 

Thus, on the very morning that the Continental Con- 
gress was to assemble in Philadelphia, its authority was 
invoked by the leader of a band of men, most of whom 
acknowledged the jurisdiction of none of the thirteen 
American colonies, to take possession of a fortress that 
bulked large in the minds of the people of two continents. 



THE CAPTURE OF TICONDEROGA 437 

Allen says of this occasion: "The sun seemed to 
rise that morning with a superior lustre; and Ticon- 
deroga and all its dependencies smiled on its conquerors, 
who tossed about the flowing bowl, and wished success 
to Congress, and the liberty and freedom of America." 

Seth Warner and the remainder of the party left at 
Hand's Cove soon arrived, and joined in the general 
rejoicing. 

The captured troops included Captain Delaplace, 
Lieutenant Feltham, a conductor of artillery, a gunner, 
two Sergeants, and forty-four rank and file, besides 
women and children. The officers captured at Ticon- 
deroga were sent to Connecticut in the charge of Messrs. 
iiickok, Halsey, and Nichols, reaching Hartford, May 
16. The other prisoners reached the same place two 
days later in the charge of Epaphras Bull. 

The ammunition and stores captured at Ticonderoga 
included about one hundred and twenty iron cannon, 
from six to twenty- four-pounders, fifty swivels of dif- 
ferent sizes, two ten-inch mortars, one howit, one cohorn, 
two brass cannon, ten tons of musket balls, three cart 
loads of flints, thirty new carriages, a considerable 
quantity of shells, one hundred stands of small arms, ten 
casks of poor powder, a warehouse full of materials for 
boat building, thirty barrels of flour, eighteen barrels 
of pork, and a quantity of beans and peas. One of the 
Ticonderoga cannon was known as "the Old Sow from 
Cape Breton" and probably was one of the prizes taken 
by the British at Louisbourg during the French and 
Indian War. 



438 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

The first surrender of a British fortress, and of 
British troops as prisoners of war, in the long struggle 
lor American independence, including the first lowering 
of His Majesty's colors, was made to Ethan AUen and 
his Green Mountain Boys, and in the history of the mili- 
tary affairs of the United States the capture of Ticon- 
deroga heads the list as the first important aggressive 
movement to be crowned with victory. It is true that 
Ticonderoga at this time was a fortress "of broken walls 
and gates," but it was by no means wholly indefensible. 
Had life insurance policies been in vogue in this region 
in the year 1775, the eighty-three men who proposed, 
under prevailing conditions, to capture Ticonderoga 
would not have been considered good risks. This fort 
was one of the great prizes for which France and Great 
Britain had contended, only a few years before, in a 
series of campaigns. In the public mind it represented 
the might and the power of Britain as surely as Gibral- 
tar and Halifax have represented the strength of the 
empire in a later day. The news of its capture by a 
little band of untrained farmers was evidence to the 
Mother Country that the rebellion was, indeed, a serious 
matter. The tidings of Ethan Allen's victory cheered 
every patriot heart throughout the length and breadth 
of the American colonies, and its importance as an en- 
couragement to those who sought to throw off the yoke 
of British oppression cannot be over estimated. To the 
general public it seemed that if Ticonderoga could be 
taken, all things were possible. 

The assertion is frequently made that Allen did not 
demand the surrender of Ticonderoga in the historic 



THE CAPTURE OF TICONDEROGA 439 

phrase, "in the name of the Great Jehovah and the Con- 
tinental Congress," but rather in profane and vulgar 
language. All the trustworthy evidence, however, goes 
to show that the expression quoted actually was used. 
Allen gives the phrase in his "Narrative," published at a 
time when the great majority of the men who partici- 
pated in the capture were living. It is given by his 
brother, Ira Allen, who was one of the Ticonderoga 
party, in a history written several years after Ethan's 
death. It is quoted by Williams in his "History of 
Vermont," published while survivors of the Ticonderoga 
expedition were still living. It is also given by Good- 
hue in his "History of Shoreham," and an aged survivor 
of the immortal eighty-three told that author that Allen 
used the words "in the name of the Great Jehovah and 
the Continental Congress." Certainly this is better 
evidence than can be adduced for any other version, and 
ought to satisfy all fair minded critics until an equal 
balance of testimony can be brought against it. 

Immediately after the capture of Ticonderoga, John 
Brown was sent as a messenger to acquaint the Conti- 
nental Congress that in the name of that body this 
British post had been captured. Just a week after the 
surrender by Delaplace, Brown arrived at Philadelphia 
with the rather startling information of the success 
which had attended Allen's expedition. Apparently 
Congress was not overjoyed at the news of this bloodless 
victory. Such an important step as the capture of the 
King's fortress of Ticonderoga almost took away the 
breath of the members, and they adopted resolutions, 
seeking to justify the act, by declaring that they had 



440 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

"indubitable evidence" of a design formed by the British 
Government to invade this region, in which event the 
stores and cannon would have been used against the 
people of the colonies. It was directed that an inven- 
tory be taken of the articles captured in order that, as 
the resolution reads, "they may be safely returned when 
the restoration of the former harmony between Great 
Britain and the colonies so ardently wished for by the 
latter, shall render it prudent and consistent with the 
overruling law of self preservation." All of which indi- 
cates how little the majority of the members of Con- 
gress realized the nature and extent of the conflict upon 
which the colonies had entered. 

The first news of the capture of Ticonderoga to reach 
the British authorities at Boston was communicated to 
General Gage, commanding His Majesty's forces, by 
means of a letter written by Dr. Joseph Warren to John 
Scollay, dated at Watertown, Mass., May 17, a copy of 
which was procured by Gage and forwarded to Lord 
Dartmouth, at London. 

The capture of Ticonderoga was not the full measure 
of the American victory. As soon as Warner and his 
belated troops arrived at the fortress they expressed a 
desire for a share in the conquest. To Warner, there- 
fore, was assigned the task of taking Crown Point, 
which was garrisoned by a sergeant and twelve men. 
In a report to the Massachusetts Committee of Safety, 
written May H, Colonel Arnold tells of the return of a 
party which had started to take Crown Point, having 
met with head winds, and says the expedition was 
"entirely laid aside." This statement clearly is untrue, 




No. I represents the memorial liglit tower erected at Crown Point, 
N. Y., by the States of Vermont and New York, in Commemoration of 
the three hnndredth anniversary of the discovery of Lake Champlain by 
Samuel Champlain. Nos. 2 and 3 are pictures of the ruins of the Crown 
Point fortress erected by General Amherst. Nos. 4 and 5 show glimpses 
of the fortress at Ticonderoga, N. Y., as restored by a modern architect 



THE CAPTURE OK TICONDEROGA 441 

for the best evidence goes to show that on the morning 
of the very day on which this was written, May 11, 
Crown Point was taken. 

Allen had sent w^ord to Capt. Remember Baker, who 
was at the Winooski River settlement, to bring his com- 
pany, and Warner and Baker arrived before Crown 
Point about the same time. Baker had met and cap- 
tured two small boats on the way to St. Johns to give 
notice of the capture of Ticonderoga. 

The date of the taking of Crown Point seems to be 
fixed beyond question, as May 11, by a report to Gov- 
ernor Trumbull, the Council, and General Assembly of 
Connecticut, dated at Crown Point May 12, and signed 
by Seth Warner and Peleg Sunderland, in which they 
say : "Yesterday we took possession of this garrison in 
the name of the country — we found great quantities of 
ordnance, stores, etc, — very little provision." The spoils 
at this fort included nearly two hundred pieces of can- 
non, three mortars, sundry howitzers, fifty swivels, etc. 

Capt. Samuel Herrick, who had set out for Skenes- 
borough with about thirty men, before the capture of 
Ticonderoga was undertaken, reached that settlement in 
safety and captured Maj. Andrew Philip Skene, son of 
the would-be Governor Skene, about fifty tenants, and 
twelve Negroes, also a schooner which was rechristened 
the Liberty, and several boats. The care of the Skene 
estate was entrusted to Capt. Noah Lee. Captains 
Oswald and Brown, with fifty men enlisted under 
Colonel Arnold's authority, arrivt^d at Skenesborough 
about this time, and joined Herrick's party, reaching 
Ticonderoga May 14. 



442 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Amos Callender, of Shoreham, with a small party, 
captured Fort George, at the southern end of Lake 
George, without opposition, the fort being held by Cap- 
tain Nordberg of the Sixtieth regiment and a very 
slender garrison. 

The day following the capture of Ticonderoga, Ethan 
Allen notified the Albany Committee of Safety, not 
hitherto counted among his friends and admirers, that 
he had taken the fortress. He warned them of the prob- 
ability that Governor Carleton of Canada would exert 
himself to retake the post and added: "I expect imme- 
diate assistance from you, both in men and provisions. 
* * * I am apprehensive of a sudden and quick 
attack. Pray be quick to our relief and send five hun- 
dred men immediately; fail not." Writing to the Massa- 
chusetts authorities the same day, he said: "I expect 
the colonies will maintain this fort." 

On May 12 Allen wrote to Governor Trumbull, of 
Connecticut, opening his letter with this statement : 'T 
make you a present of a Major, a Captain, and two 
Lieutenants in the regular Establishment of George the 
Third." Then he proceeded to tell of the plan to seize 
the King's armed sloop, which was cruising on the lake, 
and added, "I expect lives must be lost in the attack, as 
the commander of George's sloop is a man of courage." 

A council of war was held, says Ethan Allen in his 
"Narrative," and it was decided that Arnold should 
command the schooner captured at Skenesborough, 
while Allen should command the bateaux, in an effort to 
take the British sloop. The schooner sailed from Ticon- 
deroga on Sunday, May 13, but owing to contrary winds, 



THE CAPTURE OF TICONDEROGA 443 

Crown Point was not reached until Monday night, May 
14. Arnold, chafing under the delay, with thirty men 
embarked in a smaller boat and started for St. Johns, 
leaving the command of the schooner to Captain Sloan. 
While beating against the wind a mail boat from Mon- 
treal w^as seized, and an exact list of all the King's troops 
in the Northern department, amounting to seven hun- 
dred, was captured. On Wednesday, with a good 
breeze, the schooner made better time, and overtook 
Arnold, who was taken on board. 

When within thirty miles of St. Johns the wind fell 
and the vessel was becalmed. It was now eight o'clock 
in the evening, and unwilling to wait for a sailing breeze 
Arnold ordered two small bateaux, manned by thirty- 
five armed men, to be fitted out. By hard rowing all 
night St. Johns was reached at six o'clock Thursday 
morning. 

The party stopped about half a mile south of the 
town, concealing themselves in a small creek, and sent 
forward one of their number to reconnoitre. While 
waiting for an opportunity to fight British troops they 
fought great swarms of gnats and mosquitoes, and 
waited with impatience for their scout to return. When 
he arrived he brought the information that there w^as no 
suspicion of the approach of Arnold's party but that 
news had reached St. Johns of the capture of Ticon- 
deroga and Crown Point. 

The party started at once for the fort and landed 
about sixty rods from the barracks, marching briskly 
upon the place. The small garrison retreated into the 
barracks, but surrendered without opposition. A Ser- 



444 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

geant and twelve men were taken — one authority says 
fourteen prisoners were captured — together with their 
arms and some small stores, the King's sloop with a 
crew of seven men, two brass six-pounders, and four 
bateaux. Five bateaux were destroyed so that not a 
single boat was left at St. Johns for the use of the 
King's troops. 

At this time a fine breeze from the north sprang up 
and two hours after their arrival Arnold and his de- 
tachment were able to weigh anchor and start on the 
homeward trip aboard the sloop which was re-christened 
the Bnterprise. The captain of the King's sloop had 
gone to Montreal, and was expected every hour with a 
detachment for an expedition to Ticonderoga and with 
guns and carriages for the ship. At Fort Chambly, 
thirteen miles to the north, a Captain and forty-nine men 
were stationed, and it was thought likely that they might 
reach St. Johns at any moment. Arnold, therefore, was 
moved to write to the Massachusetts Committee of 
Safety regarding his exploit, that "it seemed to be a 
mere interposition of Providence that we arrived at so 
fortunate an hour." 

A few miles south of St. Johns, Arnold met Allen 
and his party, going north. There is much discrepancy 
regarding the size of Allen's force in accounts given 
by different authorities. In one report Arnold says that 
Allen had one hundred and fifty men, while in a later 
one he reduces the number to eighty or one hundred. 
Ira Allen says the party consisted of sixty men, while 
an officer, whose name is not given, but who kept a diary 
of the expedition, says Allen had ninety men. The two 



THE CAPTURE OF TICONDEROGA 445 

parties saluted as they met, three volleys being fired. 
Allen and his companions went on board the sloop, 
where they drank "several loyal Congress healths." 

Allen was determined to proceed to St. Johns and 
hold the ground gained. Arnold considered this "a 
wild impracticable scheme," but as Allen persisted in 
advancing, he was supplied with provisions. Continu- 
ing northward, Allen encamped opposite St. Johns. 
The next morning he was attacked by two hundred 
regular troops under Captain Anstruser, a discharge of 
grape shot being fired from six field pieces. Allen re- 
turned the fire, but finding that the British force was too 
large to resist with any hope of success he reembarked 
in haste, leaving three men behind. It was planned to 
lay an ambush for the enemy, but having been practically 
without rest for three days and nights, the men were so 
overcome by fatigue and sleep that it was necessary to 
abandon the idea. 

Arnold's party reached Crown Point May 18 and 
Ticonderoga, May 19. Allen and his men arrived at 
Ticonderoga on the evening of May 21. 

The captured British sloop was fitted with six can- 
non and ten swivels, and Major Skene's schooner with 
four guns and six swivels. 

The capture and destruction of the boats at St. Johns 
was an important military movement, for it delayed any 
attempt to recapture the Lake Champlain fortresses, 
which were in no condition to withstand a serious attack 
for many months following their capture. 



Chapter XIV 
THE ALLEN-ARNOLD CONTROVERSY 



No account of the capture of Fort Ticonderoga in 
1775, and the events immediately foUowing the 
surrender of that fortress, can be complete 
that ignores the controversy that arose between Ethan 
Allen and Benedict Arnold over the command of the 
troops and the post. Undoubtedly, for many years fol- 
lowing the War for Independence, Arnold was not given 
the credit that was his due for the capacity and the 
courage that he displayed; nor is it strange that his 
traitorous conduct long blinded men to his deeds that 
deserve admiration. On the other hand, there has been 
a disposition on the part of some historians to belittle the 
part taken by Allen, and to exalt Arnold at the expense 
of the Green Mountain leader. This is particularly true 
regarding the capture of Ticonderoga, where an attempt 
is made to show that Arnold shared the command with 
Allen, and there is a broad hint that Arnold was more 
zealous than any other leader in the capture of the fort- 
ress. 

If any event of the American Revolution is well- 
authenticated, it is that Ethan Allen was the commander 
of the expedition that captured Ticonderoga, on May 
10, 1775. It is proved by the official reports; by the 
testimony of those participating in the battle; by the 
newspaper accounts of the period; and last, but by no 
means least, by the statement of Captain Delaplace, the 
commandant of the captured fort, who was in a position 
to know with certainty the identity of the officer to whom 
he surrendered. 

Arnold's efforts to secure the command, begun at 
Castleton, and renewed before the attack upon the fort- 



450 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

ress, again were manifested soon after Ticonderoga was 
taken. He challenged Allen's authority to command, 
and insisted that the chief position was his by right. 
This demand angered the soldiers to such a degree that 
they paraded, ''and declared that they would go right 
home, for they would not be commanded by Arnold," 
according to the testimony of an eye witness. The men 
were pacified by a promise that there should be no change 
in commanders, Arnold being informed that as he had 
raised no men he could not expect to command those 
raised by other officers. This was before the arrival of 
the Massachusetts men who came with Captain Herrick 
by way of Skenesborough. As Arnold insisted that he 
was the only officer having "legal orders to show," 
Edward Mott, chairman of the Committee of War for 
this expedition, wrote an order directing Ethan Allen to 
keep (not take) the command of the garrison of Ticon- 
deroga and its dependencies until he received further 
orders from the colony of Connecticut or the Continental 
Congress. 

Arnold's regimental memorandum book shows that he 
felt much chagrin at his failure to secure the command. 

On May 11 Allen reported the capture of the fort to 
the Massachusetts Congress, signing his name as "Com- 
mander of Ticonderoga." Writing to Governor Trum- 
bull, of Connecticut, on May 12, he signed the com- 
munication as "at present commander of Ticonderoga." 
Did he, at this time, consider his tenure of office in- 
secure ? 

Capt. Elisha Phelps, commissary of the Ticonderoga 
expedition, a brother of Capt. Noah Phelps, writing to 



ALLEN-ARNOLD CONTROVERSY 451 

the Connecticut Legislature, May 16, reported "a. great 
quarrel with Col. Arnold who shall command the Fort, 
even that some of the soldiers threaten the life of Col. 
Arnold." 

Barnabas Deane, in a letter written to his brother 
Silas, June 1, tells of a recent visit to Crown Point, where 
he found "a very critical situation," owing to the differ- 
ences between Allen and Arnold, ''which had risen to 
a great height." He said that "Col. Allen is cooled 
down some since his unsuccessful attempt at St. Johns." 
Mr. Deane declared that he and Colonel Webb, who 
accompanied him, "had an arduous task to reconcile 
matters between the two commanders at Crown Point, 
which I hope is settled for the present. Col. Allen made 
a public declaration that he would take no command on 
himself but give it up entirely to Col. Arnold until mat- 
ters were regulated and an officer appointed to take 
command." 

Deane reported that Arnold had been fired upon twice, 
and that a musket had been presented at his breast by 
one of the opposition party, with a threat to "fire him 
through" if he refused to comply with orders given. It 
was represented that some of the Connecticut people 
were hostile to Arnold, whom Deane praised highly, say- 
ing that had it not been for him "no man's person would 
be safe that was not of the Green Mountain party." He 
fails to add that there would have been no "Green Moun- 
tain party" had it not been for Arnold's consuming 
ambition to command an expedition which other men 
had raised and financed. Deane appears to have been 
strongly prejudiced against Allen and his associates, and 



452 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

he intimated in his letter that "their design appears to 
me to hold those places (the forts) as a security to their 
lands against any that may oppose them." Subsequent 
events proved this ridiculous charge to be baseless. 

On May 14 Arnold wrote to the Massachusetts Com- 
mittee of Safety: "Mr. Allen's party is decreasing, and 
the dispute between us is subsiding." It is probable that 
many of the Green Mountain Boys left the fort soon 
after its capture. On May 23 Arnold wrote: ''Col. 
Allen's men are in general gone home." They had re- 
sponded to an emergency call, leaving their families un- 
protected. It was the season for plowing and planting, 
and the extreme poverty of the people, to which allusion 
already has been made, was an urgent reason why the 
volunteers should leave the camp for the farm at the 
earliest possible moment in order that the raising of 
crops might not be delayed. 

In writing to the Albany Committee of Safety from 
Ticonderoga, on May 22, Arnold signed himself as com- 
mander, and in a letter written the following day he 
used the title of commander-in-chief. It is significant 
that in a letter written at Crown Point, May 26, to the 
Connecticut General Assembly, dealing with a missive 
sent to the Indians by a council of officers, Allen signed 
himself simply, "Colonel of the Green Mountain Boys." 
Arnold was also at Crown Point that day, and was 
issuing orders. 

Writing to the Continental Congress from Crown 
Point, May 29, Arnold says: "Some dispute arising 
between Col. Allen and myself prevented my carrying 
my order into execution until the 16th." In a letter 



ALLEN-ARNOLD CONTROVERSY 453 

written the same day to the Massachusetts Committee 
of Safety, he says: "Colonel Allen has entirely given 
up command." Allen was at Crown Point on May 29, 
as a letter written that day to the Continental Congress 
shows. 

As early as May 27 the Massachusetts Congress 
alluded to fears expressed by Arnold that attempts were 
being made to injure his character, and he was informed 
that he would have an opportunity to vindicate his con- 
duct. On June 1 the Massachusetts Congress expressed 
regret that Arnold should make repeated requests that a 
successor should be appointed, assured him that that 
body had the greatest confidence in his "fidelity, knowl- 
edge, courage, and good conduct," and advised him "at 
present" to dismiss the thought of giving up the com- 
mand of the Massachusetts forces on Lake Champlain. 

On June 4 Allen, with Colonel Easton, wrote a letter 
to the Canadians from Ticonderoga and signed himself 
"at present the principal commander of this army." 
This may have been simply a determination on the part 
of Allen to make at least a show of reasserting his right 
to command; or it may have been due to a weakening of 
Arnold's authority, soon to be entirely overthrown. 
About a week later, on the tenth day of June, eighteen 
officers at Crown Point, including Colonel Easton, Maj. 
Samuel Elmore, of Connecticut, Seth Warner, Remember 
Baker, Ira Allen, and others, united in an address to the 
Continental Congress regarding affairs, and named 
Ethan Allen, Warner and Baker a committee to consult 
with Congress. The document concludes as follows: 



454 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

"Colonel Allen has behaved in this affair (referring 
presumably to the capture of Ticonderoga) very singu- 
larly remarkable for his courage and must in duty 
recommend him to you and to the whole Continent." 
This address would seem to indicate that Allen had a 
considerable following at that time among the officers 
at the Lake Champlain forts. 

Arnold wrote to the Continental Congress from Crown 
Point on June 13, signing himself as commanding officer. 
In his letter he discussed a proposed Canadian expedi- 
tion, and added parenthetically and significantly, "no 
Green Mountain Boys." 

The Massachusetts Congress, on June 14, appointed 
a committee consisting of Walter Spooner, Jedediah 
Foster, and James Sullivan, to investigate conditions at 
Ticonderoga and Crown Point, including Arnold's con- 
duct. This committee was given power to discharge 
Arnold, if, in its judgment, it was proper to do so. 
Evidently charges of a serious nature had been brought 
against Arnold to warrant an investigation of his con- 
duct with power given to the committee to discharge 
him. The provincial Congress had sent Col. Joseph 
Henshaw to Hartford instructing him, in the event that 
Connecticut had arranged for garrisoning Ticonderoga, 
to go to the fort, with orders for Arnold to return to 
Massachusetts, settle his account, and be discharged. 
Colonel Henshaw learned that Connecticut had sent 
Colonel Hinman with a thousand men to hold Ticon- 
deroga until New York was ready to relieve him. Hen- 
shaw did not go to Ticonderoga himself, however, but 



ALLEN-ARNOLD CONTROVERSY 455 

sent a letter acquainting Arnold with the turn events 
had taken. 

When Hinman arrived at Ticonderoga Arnold re- 
fused to recognize the Connecticut Colonel as his superior 
officer. Instead, he transferred the command of Ticon- 
deroga to Captain Herrick, from whom Hinman's men 
were obliged to take orders. If they refused to submit 
they were not permitted to pass to and from the garri- 
son. Such was the condition of affairs which the 
Massachusetts investigators found upon their arrival at 
Lake Champlain. The committee reported, as a result 
of its investigations, that a mutiny arose among some 
of Arnold's men, "which seemed to be attended with 
dangerous symptoms" ; but they were able, with the aid 
of Judge Duer, of Charlotte county, to quell it. 

Edward Mott, chairman of the Committee of War 
which made the plans for the capture of Ticonderoga, 
wrote Governor Trumbull, of Connecticut, at some 
length regarding this incident. According to his 
account the Massachusetts committee went to Crown 
Point with orders that Arnold should turn over the com- 
mand to Colonel Hinman, which he positively refused 
to do. The committee thereupon discharged Arnold 
from the service. The refusal to yield the command 
to Hinman is corroborated by the committee's report to 
the provincial Congress, which says: "Your Commit- 
tee informed the said Arnold of their commission, and, 
at his request, gave him a copy of their instructions; 
upon reading of which he seemed greatly disconcerted, 
and declared he would not be second in command to any 
person whomsoever." 



456 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Mott further reported that the committee were re- 
fused the privilege of speaking to Arnold's soldiers ; that 
Arnold and some of his men went on board the vessels, 
threatening to go to St. Johns and deliver the boats to 
the British; that Arnold disbanded all his troops but 
those on the vessels ; that those who tried to communicate 
with Arnold were ill treated, being fired upon with a 
swivel gun and small arms after they came away from 
the vessels in a bateau. Later, Mott secured permis- 
sion from Colonel Hinman to make an attempt to settle 
the difficulty. Colonel Sullivan, of the Massachusetts 
committee. Lieutenant Halsey, Judge Duer, Mott, and a 
party of men to row the boat, proceeded to Arnold's 
vessels, as Mott tells the story, reaching there at eleven 
o'clock in the forenoon. On going aboard they were 
treated like prisoners, being guarded until evening by 
men with fixed bayonets. It is recorded that Colonel 
Sullivan "was much insulted while we were on board 
the vessels, chiefly by Mr. Brown, one of Colonel Arnold's 
Captains." After being released, a report of the indig- 
nities inflicted was made to Colonel Hinman, who 
ordered Lieutenant Halsey with twenty-five men to re- 
turn to the vessels, get what men he could to join him, 
and bring one or more vessels to the fort. The next 
day the matter was settled. 

Arnold resigned his command on June 24. In his 
letter of resignation he said that the action of the pro- 
vincial Congress in dealing with him was a most dis- 
graceful reflection on him and the body of troops he 
commanded. Soon after his resignation he returned to 
New Haven, Conn. 



ALLEN-ARNOLD CONTROVERSY 457 

It is not strange that Gen. Philip Schuyler was moved, 
on July n, to write the Continental Congress concern- 
ing this affair as follows: "The unhappy controversy 
which has subsisted between the officers at Ticonderoga 
relative to the command has, I am informed, thrown 
everything into vast confusion. Troops have been dis- 
missed, others refuse to serve if this or that man com- 
mand. The sloop is without either Captain or pilot, both 
of which are dismissed or come away. I shall hurry up 
there much sooner than the necessary preparations would 
otherwise permit, that I may attempt discipline amongst 
them." 

From such information as may be obtained it would 
appear that Arnold did most of the commanding at both 
Ticonderoga and Crown Point after the first few days 
following the capture, until the Massachusetts com- 
mittee appeared, refitting the captured boats, repairing 
barracks, sending one party to the mouth of the 
Winooski River, and another toward St. Johns. In all 
of Allen's correspondence he appears to have made no 
attack upon Arnold; but as much cannot be said for 
Arnold, whose letters refer in uncomplimentary terms 
to Allen and his Green Mountain Boys, as illustrated 
by the remark in a letter to the Massachusetts Com- 
mittee of Safety that "Colonel Allen is a proper man to 
head his own wild people, but entirely unacquainted with 
military service." 

There is much to admire in the dashing bravery and 
undoubted capacity shown by Benedict Arnold later in 
this war. It is also true that his capture of the sloop at 
St. Johns displayed skill and courage, and his conduct of 



458 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

affairs at the Champlain forts during parts of May and 
June showed activity and ability of no mean order; but 
the Ticonderoga chapter of Arnold's career, taken as 
a whole, is a discreditable one. History is able to give, 
and will give, the man his just due for his brilliant 
exploits at Quebec, in the naval battle on Lake Cham- 
plain, and at Saratoga, without the necessity of attempt- 
ing to rob Ethan Allen of his well-earned laurels or to 
defame the memory of the sturdy pioneers who rallied 
to the standard of the Green Mountain leader in the 
early days of May, 1775. The history of the Ticon- 
deroga expedition shows Arnold's inordinate ambition; 
his desire to secure the chief command, and the greatest 
glory, no matter how irregular might be the means 
employed; a disposition to bear false witness against his 
rivals in his letters and reports; and insubordination 
when deprived of power that foreshadowed his traitor- 
ous conduct at West Point at a later day. These quali- 
ties of the man cannot be excused or ignored unless one 
prefers to offer an attorney's brief for Arnold, rather 
than to present historical facts in an impartial manner. 
With the capture of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, 
military operations on Lake Champlain practically were 
at a standstill for several months. Soon after the news 
of the taking of these forts was received, the Continental 
Congress "earnestly recommended" the removal of the 
military stores and ordnance to a post to be established 
at the southern end of Lake George. This was a propo- 
sition showing such an amazing lack of military fore- 
sight, and one that aroused such a storm of protest 
throughout New England, that it deserves more than 



ALLEN-ARNOLD CONTROVERSY 459 

passing notice ; for it shows very clearly what the people 
of that region, at that time, thought of the strategic 
importance of Lake Champlain and its fortresses. 

As early as May 27, 1775, the Massachusetts Con- 
gress informed the Continental Congress that "if that 
post (Ticonderoga) is abandoned the whole of Lake 
Champlain will be abandoned to Canada, and the com- 
mand of the water will amazingly facilitate all such 
descents upon these colonies, whether greater or less, 
which Administration shall see fit to order. But if that 
post should be held by the Colonies, all such attempts for 
the destruction of the Colonies may be vastly obstructed, 
if not wholly defeated." 

On May 29 the Massachusetts Congress sent a letter 
to Governor Trumbull, of Connecticut, dealing with the 
proposed abandonment of the Champlain forts, which 
read in part, as follows : "We cannot conceal from the 
General Assembly of your colony that we should be to 
the last degree agitated if we really supposed that the 
said resolution of the General Congress touching Ticon- 
deroga and said posts on Lake Champlain, was their 
ultimatum, and that they would not reconsider that reso- 
lution. * * * 

"The maintaining that post is not only practicable 
and, under God, in the power of the colonies, but of 
inexpressible necessity for the defence of the Colony of 
New York and all the New England colonies. * * * 
In the view of a post of observation, we beg leave to 
observe that all movements from Canada, intended 
against New England or New York, by the way of Lake 
Champlain whether by scalping parties or large bodies. 



460 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

whether in the winter or open seasons of the year, may 
ahnost certainly be discovered so seasonably as that the 
blow may be generally warded off; whereas, if the post 
at William Henry be the only one kept, it is probable 
that three-fourths of the attempts on the frontier of 
New York and New England by Champlain will never 
be known until executed. * * * If we abandon the 
post at Ticonderoga the enemy will infallibly seize it; 
and in that case, what annoyance can we give Canada 
by the way of Champlain by means of a fortified post at 
William Henry? * * * We beg leave just to hint 
that a fortified station on the easterly side of South 
Bay, on Lake Champlain, opposite to Ticonderoga or 
Crown Point, or still further on, affords great advantage 
for the maintaining of Ticonderoga, and defending the 
settlements on the easterly side of Lake Champlain, and 
there is artillery enough to spare to other places; and 
if we abandon the land between the Lakes George and 
Champlain we shall give the enemy an opportunity to 
build at or near the points; and by that means we shall 
lose the whole of Lake Champlain, and the shipping we 
now have on that lake, by which we can command the 
whole of it and keep the enemy at a distance of a hun- 
dred miles from our English settlements near Otter 
Creek, etc. ; but if that fortress should be maintained 
we shall have those very settlements to support it, which 
will not be half the charge that it would be to maintain 
a sufficient number of soldiers so far from their homes. 
We have there four or five hundred hardy men with 
families, who, if those grounds should be abandoned, 
will be driven from their settlements and leave the 




The "Old Daye Press" owned by the Vermont Historical 
Society, on which was printed the first book pubh'shed in 
North America, north of Mexico, and the iirst Vermont news- 
paper. 



ALLEN-ARNOLD CONTROVERSY 461 

Massachusetts and New Hampshire people naked, with- 
out any barrier, and exposed to the Canadians and 
savages, who will have a place of retreat at the point as 
they had almost the whole of the last war. By abandon- 
ing this ground we give up an acquisition which cost 
immense sums of money, the loss of many lives, and 
five campaigns. 

"As to the expense of maintaining a fortress at Ticon- 
deroga, this colony will not fail to exert themselves to 
the utmost of their power." 

The Massachusetts committee sent to investigate 
afifairs at Ticonderoga and Crown Point during the 
Allen-Arnold controversy informed Governor Trumbull, 
of Connecticut, that in their opinion "the abandoning the 
posts on Lake Champlain would probably prove the 
utter ruin of the New England Governments." 

A letter from the New Hampshire Congress to the 
Continental Congress, dated June 2, says : "A late order 
of your respectable Congress for the demolition of the 
fortress of Ticonderoga, and removal of the artillery 
from thence, has very much damped the expectation of 
the people in this colony, arising from the security our 
frontiers hoped to receive by the check the Canadians 
and savages might receive in any incursion on us by a 
good garrison there. * * * Our new settlements 
extended on Connecticut River for a hundred miles, are 
very defenceless in every respect, and under terrible 
apprehensions from the accounts of the warlike prepara- 
tions making in Canada against the colony." The letter 
then asks that the order be reviewed and counter- 
manded. The New York Congress was informed of 



462 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

the request made, and the statement is made that "we 
esteem that fortress (Ticonderoga) to be a place truly 
important to the welfare of all these Northern Colonies 
in general and to this Colony in particular." 

Naturally Ethan Allen was greatly disturbed by the 
suggestion that the post which he and his men had taken 
should be abandoned, and on May 29 he wrote the Con- 
tinental Congress on this subject, saying: "1 am 
* * * much surprised that your Honours should 
recommend it to me to remove the artillery to the south 
end of Lake George, and there to make a stand; the 
consequences of which must ruin the frontier settle- 
ments, which are extended at least one hundred miles to 
the northwest from that place. Probably your Honours 
were not informed of those settlements which consist 
of several thousand families who are seated in that tract 
of country called the New Hampshire Grants. 

"The misfortune and real injury to those inhabitants 
by making the south end of Lake George the northern- 
most point of protection will more fully appear from the 
following consideration, namely : It was at the special 
request and solicitation of the Governments of the Prov- 
ince of the Massachusetts Bay and Connecticut that 
those very inhabitants put their lives into the hand of 
their Governments, and made those valuable acquisi- 
tions for the Colonies. By doing it they have incensed 
Governor Carleton and all the ministerial party in Can- 
ada against them ; and provided they should, after all 
their good service in behalf of their Country, be 
neglected and left exposed, they will be of all men most 
consummately miserable." 



ALLEN-ARNOLD CONTROVERSY 463 

Allen proceeded to point out the immense advantage 
the possession of the lake would give if an aggressive 
Canadian policy were pursued, thus "forming the 
frontier near the country of the enemy." 

Benedict Arnold also addressed the Continental Con- 
gress on this important subject, in a letter dated May 
29, in which he said: "I must beg leave to observe, 
gentlemen, that the reports of Ticonderoga's being 
abandoned have thrown the inhabitants here into the 
greatest consternation. There are about five hundred 
families to the northward of Ticonderoga, who, if it is 
evacuated, will be left at the mercy of the King's Troops 
and Indians, and who have, part of them, joined the 
Army, and cannot now remain neuter, to whom a re- 
move would be entire ruin, as they have large families 
and no dependence but a promising crop in the ground. 
I need not add to this, gentlemen, that Ticonderoga is 
the key of this extensive country, and if abandoned, 
the enemy, and to continued alarms, which will probably 
leaves a very extensive frontier open to the ravages of 
cost more than the expense of repairing and garrison- 
ing it." 

Perhaps the most vigorous of all the protests against 
abandoning Ticonderoga was made by Joseph Hawley, 
called the "Nestor of the Massachusetts patriots," who, 
writing to Joseph Warren from Northampton, June 9, 
said: "I heartily wish that every member of our Con- 
gress, yea, every inhabitant of the Province, had a true 
idea of the infinite importance and consequence of that 
station (Ticonderoga). If Britain, while they are in 
hostility against New England, hold that post, they will 



464 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

by means thereof be able to do more to vanquish and 
subdue us from that quarter than they will be able to do 
in all other parts of the Continent ; yea, more than they 
could do in all other parts of the globe. If Britain 
should regain and hold that place they will be able soon 
to harass and waste by the savages, all the borders of 
New England eastward of Hudson River and southwest 
of Lake Champlain, and the River St. Lawrence, and 
shortly, by the Lake Champlain, to march an army to 
Hudson's River to subdue the feeble and sluggish efforts 
of the inhabitants on that river, and so connect Mon- 
treal and New York; and then New England will be 
wholly environed by sea and land, east, west, north and 
south. The chain of the Colonies will be irreparably 
broken; the whole Province of New York will be fully 
taken into the interest of the Administration; and this 
very pass of Ticonderoga is the post and spot where all 
this mischief may be withstood and arrested; but if that 
is relinquished or taken from us, destruction must come 
in upon us like a flood. 

"I am bold to say (for I can maintain it) that the 
General Congress would have not advised to so destruc- 
tive a measure if they had recommended and prescribed 
that our whole Army, which now invests Boston should 
instantly decamp, and march with all the baggage and 
artillery to Worcester, and suffer Gage's army to ravage 
what part of the country they pleased. Good God! 
what could be their plan. If they intend defence, they 
must be unacquainted with the geography of the coun- 
try, or never adverted to the matter. The design of 
seizing that post was gloriously conceived; but to what 



ALLEN-ARNOLD CONTROVERSY 465 

purpose did our forces light there, if they are now to 
fly away from there. Certainly to no good purpose, but 
to very bad and destructive purposes; for by this step 
General Carleton is alarmed. Whereas if the step had 
not been taken, his proceedings might have been slow 
and with some leisure; but now, if he is worthy of com- 
mand, he will exert himself to the utmost and proceed 
with dispatch. If we maintain the post, the measure of 
taking it was glorious. If we abandon it, the step will 
turn out to have been a destructive one." 

Congress, heeding the protests that were made, de- 
cided to maintain the post at Ticonderoga, overwhelm- 
ing evidence of its importance being furnished from 
many sources. 

In November, 1775, the task of transporting to Bos- 
ton, for use in the siege of that town, some of the can- 
non captured at Ticonderoga. was assigned to Col. 
Henry Knox. The American army before Boston 
lacked the heavy ordnance needed and no foundries for 
making cannon were available. Late in November 
Washington wrote General Schuyler that he was in very 
great need of powder, lead, mortars, cannon, and nearly 
all kinds of artillery stores, and urged that all that could 
be spared from Ticonderoga be sent to him at Boston. 

On November 27, Knox, who was at New York, 
wrote to Washington "I shall set out by land tomorrow 
morning for Ticonderoga, and proceed with the utmost 
dispatch, as knowing our whole dependence for cannon 
will be from that post." Knox caused forty-two 
"exceedingly strong" sleds to be made, and with eighty 



466 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

yoke of oxen the guns were taken to Lake George, and 
thence to Albany. While crossing the Hudson River 
on the ice, one of the cannon fell into the stream, but it 
was recovered the next day with the assistance of the 
people of Albany. The route followed was by way of 
Great Barrington, Mass., and Springfield, to Boston. 
At the end of ten weeks Knox reached Boston with 
fifty-five cannon, and received the congratulations of 
General Washington. 

An interesting incident of this expedition was the 
meeting on a stormy winter night, in a little cabin on the 
shore of Lake George, between Knox and a young 
British officer who had been taken prisoner at St. Johns. 
He was being taken to Lancaster, Pa., to be held for 
exchange, and by chance on this night shared, not only 
the same cabin, but the same bed with Knox. This 
British captive was John Andre. Had Knox been per- 
mitted to read what the future held in store for himself 
and his companion, he would have learned that later in 
this war just begun, there would fall to his lot the sad 
duty of sitting as one of the judges at a court martial, 
and condemning to death as a spy, implicated in 
Arnold's treason, this charming young officer whose con- 
versation he found so enjoyable. 

Thus it will be seen that the capture of the post of 
Ticonderoga made it possible to supply Washington with 
the artillery so necessary for conducting a successful 
siege. Without the guns from Ticonderoga it is at least 
possible that the British would not have been driven 
from Boston. Had Washington failed in this enter- 



ALLEN-ARNOLD CONTROVERSY 467 

prise, perhaps the American Revolution would have been 
simply an American rebellion. But this possibility con- 
stitutes one of the "ifs" of history. 



Chapte^r XV 
THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 



ONE of the immediate effects of the outbreak of 
hostilities between the American colonies and 
Great Britain was an easing of the strained rela- 
tions that had existed for several years between the 
people of the New Hampshire Grants and the colony of 
New York. On June 2, 1775, Ethan Allen wrote a long 
letter to the New York provincial Congress, advocating 
the immediate invasion of Canada, in which he expressed 
the belief that he could raise "a small regiment of rang- 
ers," chiefly in Albany and Charlotte counties, provided 
New York would grant commissions and make the neces- 
sary financial arrangements. Realizing, no doubt, the 
peculiar position in which he was placed, an outlaw with 
a price on his head, asking a place in the military service 
of the government that had outlawed him, he added this 
paragraph: "Perhaps your honors may think this an 
impertinent proposal. It is truly the first favor I ever 
asked of the government, and if it be granted I shall be 
zealously ambitious to conduct for the best good of my 
country and the honor of the government." 

In compliance with the recommendation of a council 
of officers, held at Crown Point June 10, Ethan Allen 
and Seth Warner set out for Philadelphia bearing a 
letter from Maj. Samuel Elmore of the Connecticut 
forces, chairman of the council, addressed to the Presi- 
dent of Congress, the advice of that body being desired 
in regard to the peculiar position of the officers and men 
at Ticonderoga. The records of the Continental Con- 
gress show that on June 23 this letter was delivered to 
Congress, and being informed that the bearers of the 
letter. Colonel Allen and Capt. Seth Warner, were at 



472 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

the door, and had something of importance to communi- 
cate, it was ordered that they be called in. Only a little 
more than a month had elapsed since Congress had been 
surprised and somewhat shocked, probably, by news of 
the capture of the important posts of Ticonderoga and 
Crown Point by these leaders of the Green Mountain 
Boys. It requires no stretch of the imagination to be- 
lieve that Allen and Warner were the objects of a lively 
curiosity; and to believe, further, that such information 
as these men had to offer was communicated chiefly by 
Ethan Allen. 

After Allen and Warner had withdrawn, the letter 
they had brought and the information they had given 
were taken under consideration, and it was resolved, 
"That it be recommended to the Convention of New 
York, that they, consulting with General Schuyler, 
employ in the army to be raised for the defense of 
America, those called Green Mountain Boys, under such 
officers as the said Green Mountain Boys shall choose." 
It is hardly to be supposed that the members of the Con- 
tinental Congress were ignorant of the controversy that 
had existed between the Green Mountain Boys and the 
colony of New York. If this supposition is correct, 
then Allen and Warner must have made a very favor- 
able impression upon Congress, or their recent military 
exploit must have made a profound impression upon that 
body, to call forth such a recommendation. 

In transmitting to the New York provincial Congress 
the resolution above mentioned, President John Han- 
cock observed: "As the Congress are of opinion that 
the employing the Green Mountain Boys in the Ameri- 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 473 

can army would be advantageous to the common cause, 
as well on account of their situation as of their disposi- 
tion & alertness, they are desirous you should embody 
them among the troops you should raise." It was in- 
timated that they would serve only under officers of their 
own choosing. While many New Yorkers could testify 
to the alertness of the Green Mountain Boys, to ask that 
they be embodied as a part of the militia required a 
somewhat sudden readjustment of opinion on the part of 
members of the provincial Congress. 

Apparently Allen and Warner had no hesitation in 
proceeding from Philadelphia to New York City, ignor- 
ing entirely the act of outlawry passed the previous year. 
The letter of President Hancock and the resolution of 
the Continental Congress which accompanied it, were 
read in the provincial Congress Saturday, July 1, and 
it was "ordered that Col. McDougall, Mr. Scott and 
Col. Clinton be a committee to meet and confer with 
Messrs. Ethan Allen and Seth Warner, and report the 
same with all convenient speed." Speedy action does 
not appear to have been convenient, and it was the fourth 
day of July, just a year before the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence was adopted, that consideration of this letter 
and resolution was resumed. At that time the some- 
what ominous announcement was made that "Ethan 
Allen was at the door and desired admittance." It was 
moved by Isaac Sears, known as the most active Whig 
in New York City, that Allen "be permitted to have an 
audience of this board." After debating the question 
the motion was carried, nine counties with eighteen votes 
being recorded in the affirmative, and three counties. 



474 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

casting nine votes, being recorded in the negative. The 
counties opposing admission were New York, Albany 
and Richmond, and their opposition is said to have been 
due to the fact that many of their citizens held New 
York titles to lands in the possession of the Green Moun- 
tain Boys. 

Allen and Warner being admitted, the former sub- 
mitted a partial list of officers for a regiment of Green 
Mountain Boys, consisting of seven companies. This 
list was made up as follows: Field officers, Ethan 
Allen, Seth Warner ; Captains, Remember Baker, Robert 
Cochran, Michael Veal (Micah Vail), Peleg Sutherling 
(Sunderland), Gideon Warren, Wait Hopkins, Heman 
Allen; Adjutant, Levi Allen; Commissary, Elijah Bab- 
cock; Doctor and Surveyor, Jonas Fay; First Lieu- 
tenants, Ira Allen, John Grant, Ebenezer Allen, David 
Ives, Jesse Sawyer. 

This was a remarkable episode. Allen and Warner 
were the most active leaders of the opposition to New 
York authority in the New Hampshire Grants, and they 
had succeeded thus far in nullifying the grants made 
by New York Governors in the disputed territory. They 
had forcibly ejected New York claimants, burned their 
buildings, beaten their partisans with many stripes, 
punished officials who tried to enforce the New York 
authority, and at the very moment they were under sen- 
tence of death imposed by the government of the prov- 
ince. Notwithstanding these facts they had the audacity 
to demand that the armed body which had been a terror 
to New York officials be made a portion of the provincial 
military service. A year previous to this date nothing 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 475 

could have appeared more wildly improbable than a scene 
like this. 

Allen and Warner having retired without losing their 
heads, either literally or figuratively, it was voted that in 
consequence of a recommendation of the Continental 
Congress, "a body of troops not exceeding five hundred 
men, officers included, be forthwith raised of those called 
Green Mountain Boys." It was provided that they 
should elect all their own officers but field officers and 
that General Schuyler obtain from them the names of 
the persons most agreeable to them for field officers. 
These officers were to consist of a Lieutenant Colonel, a 
Major, seven Captains and fourteen Lieutenants, and 
these troops were to be considered an independent body. 

A letter written to the New York provincial Congress 
by Ethan Allen on July 20, assured that body that he 
would '*use his influence to promote a reconciliation 
between the government and its former discontented 
subjects on the New Hampshire Grants." 

Due notice having been given, "the committees of the 
several townships on the west side of the range of Green 
Mountains" met at Dorset on July 27, at the inn of 
Cephas Kent, where important history was to be made 
at a later date, in order to nominate field and other 
officers for the regiment recommended by the Continental 
Congress and authorized by the New York provincial 
Congress. Nathan Clark of Bennington was elected 
chairman, and John Fassett of the same town was 
chosen clerk. 

Proceeding to the choice of officers, Seth Warner was 
chosen Lieutenant Colonel by a vote of forty-one to five 



476 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

for Ethan Allen. Samuel Safford was the choice for 
Major by a vote of twenty-eight to seventeen, and the re- 
maining officers were selected ''by a great majority." 
They were as follows: Captains, Weight (Wait) Hop- 
kins, Oliver Potter, John Grant, William Fitch, Gideon 
Brownson, Micah Vail, Heman Allen ; First Lieutenants, 
John Fassett, Ebenezer Allen, Barnabas Barnum, David 
Galusha, Jille Bleaksley (Blakeslee), Ira Allen, Gideon 
Warren; Second Lieutenants, Johan (John) Noble, 
James Claghorn, John Chipman, Philo Hard, Nathan 
Smith, Jesse Sawyer, Joshua Stanton. 

It was natural that Allen should feel disappointed and 
humiliated at being defeated for the position of com- 
manding officer of the Green Mountain Boys. He had 
been their intrepid leader in defending their landed 
possessions from the encroachments of the New York 
claimants with sword and pen, and his exploit in captur- 
ing Ticonderoga had made his name known beyond the 
boundaries of the American colonies. His disappoint- 
ment was expressed in a letter to Governor Trumbull 
of Connecticut in the following words : 

"Notwithstanding my zeal and success in my coun- 
try's cause, the old farmers on the New Hampshire 
Grants, who do not incline to go to war, have met in a 
committee meeting, and in their nomination of officers 
for the regiment of Green Mountain Boys who are 
quickly to be raised, have wholly omitted me; but as the 
commissions will come from the Continental Congress, 
I hope they will remember me, as I desire to remain in 
the service." He added in a postscript to the letter : "I 
find myself in the favor of the officers of the army and 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 477 

the young Green Mountain Boys. How the old men 
came to reject me, I cannot conceive, inasmuch as I saved 
them from the encroachments of New York." 

That considerable feeling was aroused over the de- 
feat of Allen is indicated by a letter written by General 
Schuyler to the New York Congress on August 20, in 
which he said: "Reports prevail that the controversy 
between Allen and Warner is carried to such length that 
few men will be raised." Jared Sparks asserted that a 
quarrel arose between Allen and Warner, which caused 
dissensions among the people and retarded the enlisting 
of the regiment. 

It is not easy, after the lapse of nearly a century and 
a half, to determine the causes which led to the decisive 
defeat of Ethan Allen. Vermonters of that early period, 
a majority of whom had come from Connecticut, brought 
with them from that colony a quality of caution and 
conservatism, which is still a marked characteristic of 
the people of the Green Mountain Commonwealth. 
There was a quality of rashness in Allen that was to 
show itself in his operations before many months had 
passed, with which his associates no doubt were familiar, 
which may account for the choice of the quieter and 
more prudent Warner as the leader of the Green Moun- 
tain Boys. This may be said by way of explanation 
without minimizing in any degree the value of the serv- 
ices which Ethan Allen rendered to Vermont. 

New York did not propose to leave the choice of 
officers for the Green Mountain Boys entirely to their 
own selection, and the provincial Congress authorized 
General Schuyler to appoint field officers, a Lieutenant 



478 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Colonel and a Major for this new regiment. Schuyler 
having declined to perform this task, the provincial Con- 
gress, on September 1, 1778, proceeded, by a vote of 
fifteen to six, to elect the men nominated at Cephas 
Kent's Inn at Dorset — Seth Warner as Lieutenant 
Colonel and Samuel Safiford as Major. Five votes were 
cast against Warner and four votes against Safford. 

The New York Congress adopted a resolution request- 
ing Commissary Peter T. Curtenius to purchase coarse 
green cloth in order to provide a coat for each member 
of the regiment of Green Mountain Boys, red cloth for 
facings, and to procure two hundred and twenty-five 
coats of a large size. He was also ordered to purchase 
material for two hundred and twenty-five tents for the 
same regiment. The provincial Congress, on Septem- 
ber 1, notified General Schuyler that it could see no 
method for supplying the Green Mountain Boys with 
arms or blankets. On August 23, Warner had visited 
General Schuyler at Albany to consult with him regard- 
ing clothing and blankets for his regiment, and as its 
members could not take the field without some money 
for the purchase of blankets, Schuyler advanced five 
hundred pounds to Warner to be deducted from the regi- 
mental pay. In a letter to the provincial Congress re- 
lating his action in this matter General Schuyler 
observed in regard to his determination not to appoint 
field officers for the Green Mountain Boys: "The 
peculiar situation of these people and the controversy 
they have had with this colony, or with gentlemen in it, 
renders that matter too delicate for me to determine." 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 479 

On May 16, 1775, less than a week after the capture 
of Ticonderoga by the Green Mountain Boys, and less 
than a month after the battle of Lexington, the organ- 
ization of a military force was begun in what is now the 
eastern portion of Vermont, with the recruiting of a 
company of minute men by Thomas Johnson, one of 
the pioneer settlers of Newbury. The company as first 
organized numbered forty-six, most of them being New- 
bury men, although a few were enlisted from Barnet. 

A letter dated at Westminster, June 9, 1775, signed 
by William Williams, Benjamin Wait and Joab Hoising- 
ton, and addressed to Hon. P. V. B. Livingston, presi- 
dent of the New York provincial Congress, offered their 
services in defence of the province and America. In 
this letter they asked that Major Williams should be 
appointed Colonel, Major Wait, Lieutenant Colonel, and 
Captain Hoisington, Major, of a regiment of "good, 
active, enterprising soldiers," which it was hoped might 
be raised in Cumberland county. 

Evidence of the apprehension of danger in the Con- 
necticut valley is reflected in a letter written by Jacob 
Bayley of Newbury, June 29, 1775, to inform the New 
York provincial Congress that he could not occupy the 
seat in that body to which he had been elected, saying: 
"Considering our distance, and the danger we might be 
in of a visit from Canada, thought best that I do not 
yet attend until we were prepared to meet with an enemy 
at home. I am taking what pains I can to be prepared 
with arms and ammunition, but as yet to little purpose; 
am still apprehensive of danger from Canada, and can- 
not be absent." 



480 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

The Northfield, Mass., Committee of Correspondence, 
writing to the Massachusetts Committee of Safety at 
Cambridge, called attention to the fact that there were 
two small cannon, four-pounders, belonging to the 
colony, which has been left at Fort Dummer, and one 
"double fortified" cannon, also a four-pounder, at the 
same place, belonging to New Hampshire. It was sug- 
gested that if these cannon were not needed on the east- 
ern frontiers that they be conveyed to the army in Massa- 
chusetts. 

Col. Timothy Bedel of New Hampshire, with three 
companies of rangers, left Haverhill on September 7 to 
join General Schuyler. Several Newbury men enlisted 
in the regiment. At the same time part of a company 
marched under command of Captain Vail of the Green 
Mountain Boys, this force having been raised by Lieu- 
tenants Allen and Scolley. Col. Israel Morey, writing 
the New Hampshire Committee of Safety from Orford, 
said: ''Lieutenant Allen of the Green Mountain Boys 
brought express orders for Colonel Bedel to march im- 
mediately. I think he has acted himself much to his 
honor in pushing the companies forward. Mr. Allen 
has enlisted a company of about forty-five men nigh 
here." 

One of the strong men of the upper Connecticut valley 
was Jacob Bayley of Newbury, a natural leader of men, 
who had served with honor in the French and Indian 
War. A letter written by him to the New York Con- 
gress, under date of October 20, gives a little picture of 
the sentiment of Gloucester county. A packet had been 
sent to him, evidently containing for signature, blank 







^^J 









A,'>t/^^ 



% 



.4.- 





Facsimile of letter in which Ethan Allen announced the capture of 
Ticonderoga. The original is owned by L. E. Woodhouse of Bur- 
lington, Vt. 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 481 

forms of the Articles of Association adopted at New 
York shortly after the battle of Lexington, these articles 
expressing loyalty to the American cause. In his reply 
Bayley said : "Long before we heard of a Congress at 
New York, we all to a man signed an Association, agree- 
able to the Continental one." In this letter he explains 
that militia regulations are being carried out according 
to the plans of the Continental Congress, and alludes to 
local regulations made "at the command of the president 
of our little Congress, assisted by the chairman of each 
district committee." 

A document found in the proprietors' records of New- 
bury, in Jacob Bayley's handwriting, states that many of 
the people in the Connecticut valley "being destitute of a 
regular command," desired that he should take the com- 
mand as a Brigadier General. In accordance with this 
desire he called upon the regimental commanders upon 
each side of the Connecticut River as far as the Massa- 
chusetts line for a return of their several companies. 
He recommended that each company have an alarm post, 
and that each man equip himself with snowshoes. In 
his opinion if an attack should be made by the enemy it 
would be made at Otter Creek and Coos, and he advised 
the troops "to look well to the passages into the upper 
part of Windsor and Hartford." Wells, in his "His- 
tory of Newbury," fixes the date of this document about 
the end of 1775. 

In November, 1775, Maj. Robert Rogers, a noted 
leader in the French and Indian War, visited Newbury, 
in the absence of General Bayley, and professing friend- 
ship for the American cause, gained considerable in for- 



482 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

mation. It was learned, however, that he had visited 
several prominent Tories, and that he held a command 
in the British army. General Bayley, returning unex- 
pectedly, attempted to secure the arrest of Rogers, but 
the latter escaped, it is said, in the disguise of an Indian. 

The Committee of Safety of Cumberland county, at 
a meeting held October 18, 1775, elected as delegates to 
the New York provincial Congress, Maj. William Wil- 
liams and Dr. Paul Spooner, and at the same time the 
committee recommended military officers as follows: 
Col. James Rogers to be Brigadier for the Cumberland, 
Gloucester and Charlotte brigade. 

Upper Regiment — Capt. Joseph Marsh, First Colonel ; 
Capt. John Barrett, Second Colonel; Lieut. Hilkiah 
Grout, First Major; Capt. Joel Matthews, Second 
Major; Timothy Spencer, Adjutant; Amos Robinson, 
Quartermaster. 

Lower Regiment — Maj. William Williams, First 
Colonel; Maj. Jonathan Hunt, Second Colonel; Lieut. 
John Norton, First Major ; Oliver Lovell, Second Major ; 
Arad Hunt, Adjutant; Samuel Fletcher, Quartermaster. 

Regiment of Minute Men — Capt. Joab Hoisington, 
First Colonel; Seth Smith, Second Colonel; Joseph 
Tyler, First Major; Joel Marsh, Second Major; Timothy 
Phelps, Adjutant ; Elisha Hawley, Quartermaster. 

Dr. Paul Spooner presented this list to the New York 
authorities when he took his seat as a member in the 
provincial Congress, December 20, 1775. Early in 
December protests against some of the proposed officers 
were made in Putney, Westminster and Fulham (Dum- 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 483 

merston), on the ground that they were unfriendly to 
the cause of American liberty. 

Samuel Stevens wrote the New York Congress on 
December 18, requesting that no commissions be issued 
to militia officers until the public mind was clearer. In 
his letter he asserted that two conventions had been held, 
one in September, and another about three weeks pre- 
vious to the date of his letter, and each convention had 
nominated field officers, adding the observation: "If 
they are all commissioned, about one-third of the men in 
the county will be officers." 

The New York Committee of Safety, on January 4, 
1776, considered the list of field officers recommended 
for Cumberland county, also petitions against certain 
officers of the Lower Regiment, and ordered that com- 
missions be made out for the Upper Regiment and the 
Regiment of Minute Men, as recommended in the list 
previously given. 

It was ordered that a field meeting be held by the 
county committee to nominate officers after "full and 
sufficient notice" had been given. Dr. Paul Spooner 
was granted leave of absence January 10, 1776, "to en- 
deavor to restore unanimity and harmony" in Cumber- 
land county, and the treasurer of the Provincial Con- 
gress was directed to advance him twenty pounds on the 
credit of the county for the expenses of the trip. 

A letter from Benjamin Carpenter, chairman of the 
Cumberland county committee, dated at Westminster, 
February 1, 1776, in describing the results of a "pretty 
full meeting" of the Committee of Safety of the county, 
said : "We hope the dissensions and animosities which 



484 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

have heretofore been so prevalent in the county will, in 
a great measure, subside." The nominations for field 
officers for the Lower Regiment were as follows : First 
Colonel, William Williams; Second Colonel, Benjamin 
Carpenter; First Major, Oliver Lovell; Second Major, 
Abijah Lovejoy ; Adjutant, Samuel Minor, Jr. ; Quarter- 
master, Samuel Fletcher. These nominations were con- 
firmed by the Provincial Congress, February 24. This 
regiment consisted of companies from Brattleboro, Ful- 
ham, Guilford, Halifax, Putney and Westminster. 

The Committee of Safety of Cumberland and Glouces- 
ter counties appointed a committee of three from their 
numbers to nominate a Brigadier General and a Brigade 
Major, and at a meeting held at Windsor, May 22, 1776, 
Col. Joseph Marsh acting as chairman, Jacob Bayley 
was nominated for Brigadier General and Simon Stevens 
for Brigade Major. 

At a meeting of the Cumberland County Committee 
of Safety, convened at the court house at Westminster, 
June 11, 1776, twenty towns were represented by thirty- 
four delegates. In addition to the transaction of busi- 
ness of a judicial and civil nature, provision was made 
for the organization of minute men and the enlistment 
of soldiers for the Canadian expedition. A meeting of 
the Committees of Safety of the counties of Cumberland 
and Gloucester was convened July 23, with eighteen 
delegates representing fifteen towns. 

It was resolved that two hundred and fifty-two men 
be raised in the counties of Cumberland and Gloucester 
"as scouting parties to range the woods," for the joint 
defence of both counties, these men to be divided into 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 485 

four companies. The pay of the officers and privates 
was to be the same as that allowed Continental troops. 
A bounty of twenty-five dollars was to be allowed each 
non-commissioned officer and private upon his passing 
muster. In lieu of rations there was to be allowed to 
each Captain sixteen shillings, to each Lieutenant four- 
teen shillings and to each non-commissioner officer and 
private ten shillings per week. Each officer and private 
was to furnish himself with a good musket or firelock, 
powder horn, bullet pouch and tomahawk, blanket and 
knapsack. 

The companies of rangers in the two counties of 
Gloucester and Cumberland were to be under the com- 
mand of a Major to be appointed by the convention and 
this commanding officer was to march to the relief of 
any of the neighboring counties or States upon "a mutual 
application" from the county committees of such coun- 
ties or States, or upon application from the Continental 
officer commanding in the Northern Department, but 
the important reservation was made "that such Conti- 
nental officers do not call those companies out of the 
said three counties of Cumberland, Gloucester and Char- 
lotte." The following day Joab Hoisington was elected 
Major of the Rangers to be raised in Gloucester and 
Cumberland counties. The Captains of the four com- 
panies of Rangers were Benjamin Wait, John Strong, 
Joseph Hatch and Elkanah Day. Captain Day re- 
signed, and Abner Seeley was elected on October 23, 
1776, to fill the vacancy. 

A significant note of the weakening of the New York 
ties in the counties of Gloucester and Cumberland is 



486 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

shown in resolutions adopted August 1, 1776, providing 
that the militia of the counties of Charlotte, Cumber- 
land and Gloucester should be formed into two separate 
brigades, "Anything in the resolution of the Provincial 
Congress of this colony (New York) on the 22nd day 
of August last past to the contrary notwithstanding." 
The Charlotte county men were to form one brigade, 
and the men from Gloucester and Cumberland counties 
were to form another. For the two counties last named, 
Jacob Bayley of Newbury was chosen Brigadier Gen- 
eral, and Simon Stevens of Springfield, Major of the 
brigade. 

The idea of invading Canada followed, almost imme- 
diately, the capture of Ticonderoga and Crown Point. 
When Ethan Allen made his first journey to St. Johns, 
after the capture of the King's sloop by Arnold, on 
May 18, he forwarded a letter directed to "Mr. James 
Morrison and the merchants that are friendly to the 
cause of liberty in Montreal," asking for assistance and 
cooperation. He requested that they send to him at St. 
Johns, "forthwith and without further notice," pro- 
visions, ammunition and spirituous liquors to the 
amount of five hundred pounds. 

Allen also opened correspondence with the Indians 
at an early date. Writing from Crown Point on May 
24, 1775, he addressed a letter "to our good brother 
Indians of the four tribes, viz. : the Hocnawagoes, the 
Swagaches, the Canesdaugans and the Saint Fransa- 
was," (probably the Caughnawaga, the Oswegatchie, 
the Canandaigua, and the St. Francis tribes, of New 
York and Canada, respectively), and sent the message 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 487 

by Capt. Abraham Ninhaus of Stockbridge, as "our 
ambassador of peace." 

In this letter Allen explained the nature of the conflict 
between Great Britain and the American Colonies, and 
added: "I was always a friend to Indians, and have 
hunted with them many times, and know how to shoot 
and ambush like Indians, and am a great hunter. I 
want to have your warriors come and see me and help 
me fight the King's regular troops. You know they 
stand all along close together, rank and file, and my men 
fight so as Indians do, and I want your warriors to join 
wath me and my warriors, like brothers, and ambush 
the regulars; if you will, I will give you money, blankets, 
tomahawks, knives, paint, and anything that there is in 
the army, just like brothers, and I will go with you unto 
the woods to scout; and my men and your men will 
sleep together and eat and drink together. "^ * * 
But if you our brother Indians do not fight on either 
side, we will still be friends and brothers; and you may 
come and hunt in our woods, and come with your canoes 
in the lake, and let us have venison at our forts on the 
lake, and have rum, bread, and what you want, and be 
like brothers." 

In Allen's letter to the Continental Congress, written 
May 29, he declared that if he had had five hundred men 
with him at St. Johns he could have advanced to Mon- 
treal. He added: "Nothing strengthens our friends 
in Canada equal to our prosperity in taking the sover- 
eignty of Lake Champlain; and should the colonies 
forthwith send an army of two or three thousand men, 
and attack Montreal we should have little to fear from 



488 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

the Canadians or Indians, and would easily set up the 
standard of liberty in the extensive province of Quebeck, 
whose limit was enlarged purely to subvert the liberties 
of America. Striking such a blow would intimidate the 
Tory party in Canada the same as the commencement 
of the war at Boston intimidated the Tories in the 
colonies. They are a set of gentlemen that will not be 
converted by reason but are easily wrought upon by 
fear. Advancing an army into Canada will be agree- 
able to our friends, and it is bad policy to fear the re- 
sentment of an enemy." 

Congress was unwilling at this time to authorize such 
an aggressive act as the invasion of Canada. Subse- 
quent events, however, showed that Allen was right in 
urging an immediate invasion of the province as a 
prudent military movement. Jared Sparks, in his "Life 
of Gouverneur Morris," calls attention to the fact, that, 
although Allen's letter was not well received by Con- 
gress, yet within two and one-half months an expedition 
was sent into Canada "on grounds precisely similar to 
those stated by Allen." He adds: "His advice, as 
events turned out, although looked upon at the time as 
wild and visionary, was the best that could be followed." 
The British force under Carleton's command at that 
time was small, and had Allen's advice been followed it 
is probable that Canada could have been captured with 
comparative ease. 

Allen wrote to the New York Congress on June 2: 
"I will lay my life on it that with fifteen hundred men 
and a proper train of artillery, I will take Montreal. 
Provided I could be thus furnished, and if an army 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 489 

could command the field, it would be no insuperable diffi- 
culty to take Quebeck." At this period the Canadians 
were inclined to be friendly to the Americans, and Carle- 
ton could not easily enlist men for his army. 

William Gilliland, of Westport, N. Y., writing to the 
Continental Congress on May 29, called attention to a 
British post at Point au Fer, on the west side of the 
lake, seven miles south of the Canadian boundary line, 
w^here a large stone house was built during the summer 
of 1774. There were strong ball proof brick sentry 
boxes at each corner commanding every inch of ground 
about the house. In these sentry boxes, and in the 
large, dry cellar under the house, were forty-four port- 
holes. Gilliland urged that by throwing up a breast- 
work around the stone house and providing a few can- 
non for defence, it might be used with great effect as a 
fortification to check any British advance up the lake. 
He added: "I must beg leave to observe to you that 
there are now in these parts a very considerable number 
of men under the command of Mr. Ethan Allen, as brave 
as Hercules, and as good marksmen as can be found in 
North America, who might prove immediately service- 
able to the common cause were they regularly embodied 
and commanded by officers of their own choice, sub- 
ordinate to whoever has or may be appointed com- 
mander-in-chief or to the instructions of the Grand Con- 
gress. These men, being excellent wood rangers, and 
particularly acquainted in the wilderness of Lake Cham- 
plain, would, in all likelihood, be more serviceable in these 
parts than treble their number of others not having these 
advantages, especially if left under the directions of 



490 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

their present enterprising and heroic commander, Mr. 
Allen." 

Ethan Allen's strong desire to invade Canada is shown 
in a letter which he wrote to Governor Trumbull of Con- 
necticut, from Bennington, under date of July 12, in 
which he said: "Were it not that the Grand Conti- 
nental Congress had lately incorporated the Green 
Mountain Boys into a battalion, under certain regula- 
tions and command, I would forthwith advance them 
into Canada and invest Montreal, exclusive of any help 
from the colonies; though, under present circumstances 
I would not, for my right arm, act without, or contrary 
to orders." 

Meanwhile conditions at Lake Champlain were slowly 
shaping themselves for an aggressive movement, 
although celerity of action was needed to ensure suc- 
cess ; but speed could not be expected when the American 
people were slow in reaching the conclusion that a 
Canadian invasion was desirable. 

Colonel Hinman of Connecticut, in command of 
Ticonderoga, had not shown himself to be an efficient 
or forceful officer. The Massachusetts committee, at 
the time of their visit to the forts, had appointed Colonel 
Easton as commander of their provincial troops at Lake 
Champlain, under Hinman. John Brown was desig- 
nated as Major, and Jonas Fay, as Surgeon. General 
Schuyler was directed, by order of Congress, to assume 
command of the district including Ticonderoga and 
Crown Point, and when he arrived at the lake on July 
18, he was greatly distressed over the conditions he 
found. Provisions were short and Schuyler considered 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 491 

that there had been "a very considerable waste or 
embezzlement." 

On the very day of Schuyler's arrival at Ticonderoga 
he wrote Washington in disgust, and almost in derision, 
of what he considered Hinman's incompetence. The 
Connecticut Colonel evidently had simply waited for the 
arrival of his superior officer, without taking any aggres- 
sive attitude. Schuyler draws a graphic picture of his 
arrival at the landing place at the north end of Lake 
George at ten o'clock the night before, only to find the 
guards sound asleep. An investigation showed a great 
shortage of ammunition, not a nail or other materials 
for boat building, and the fact that the troops were very 
poorly armed. 

Schuyler began work with vigor, repaired the saw- 
mills, and endeavored to get together the supplies so 
urgently needed. He complained that Connecticut had 
made such generous allowance for her troops that the 
fact was likely to breed dissatisfaction among the sol- 
diers from other colonies. Fifty milch cows had been 
sent up for the Connecticut regiment at a time when the 
pasturage was very short for the working oxen and 
fat cattle intended for beef for the troops, owing to 
what Schuyler called "the severest drouth ever known 
in this country." These cattle were ordered back to 
New England. 

Jeremiah Halsey had been appointed by Colonel Hin- 
man "Commodore of all armed vessels and crafts on 
Lakes Champlain and George," a high sounding title for 
a fleet consisting of one schooner and one sloop. In a 
letter to Benjamin Franklin, Schuyler wrote that when 



492 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

he arrived at Ticonderoga he did not find craft suffi- 
cient to move two hundred men. Halsey was soon 
superseded as "Commodore" by James Smith, of New 
York, who took command of the sloop Enterprise, 
which vessel, he said, was ''of very little use to the 
service." James Stewart was given command of the 
schooner Liberty. 

Very soon after the capture of Ticonderoga and 
Crown Point, and the expeditions of Allen and Arnold 
to St. Johns, General Carleton, the British commander 
in Canada, sent all the troops he could spare to fortify 
St. Johns. From Quebec he had obtained all the ship 
carpenters he could procure, and under the direction of 
Capt. Zachary Taylor they had proceeded to build vessels 
to replace the sloop and bateaux captured or burned by 
Arnold. 

Naturally General Schuyler feared an attack by way 
of Lake Champlain and he informed General Washing- 
ton that there was danger of an attack "from the Missis- 
que Indians." In order to gain more accurate informa- 
tion Maj. John Brown was sent from Crown Point July 
24 with four men on a scouting expedition and arrived 
in Canada on July 30, after a most fatiguing march, part 
of the way through a vast swamp. Brown was pursued 
and surrounded, but escaped by jumping out of a rear 
window of a house. He was followed for two days, 
but by the help of friendly Canadians he escaped. He 
returned by way of Missisquoi Bay, where he obtained 
a small canoe, and on August 10 reached Crown Point. 

Brown reported that there were about seven thousand 
troops in Canada. There were three hundred at St. 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 493 

Johns, fifty at Quebec, and the others were distributed 
at various posts, including Montreal and Chambly. He 
found the Canadians friendly, and in a report to Gov- 
ernor Trumbull he declared: "Now, Sir, is the time to 
carry Canada. It may be done with great ease and 
little cost, and I have no doubt but the Canadians would 
join us." 

Schuyler bent his energies to the building of boats, 
and on August 23 was able to report that he had craft 
sufficient to move above thirteen hundred men with 
twenty days' provisions. Two flat bottomed boats, 
sixty feet long, had been built, each capable of carrying 
five twelve-pounders; but, unfortunately, there was a 
lack of gun carriages. 

After much efifort troops were assembled for a Cana- 
dian expedition. On August 25 an officer at Ticon- 
deroga wrote that there were about twelve hundred men 
at that post. In describing conditions he said that there 
was an abundance of salt and fresh provisions and that 
the soldiers were allowed each day a gill of rum and as 
much spruce beer as they could drink, "so that they have 
no occasion to drink the lake water, it being reckoned 
very unhealthy." The idea that the lake water was 
unhealthy, or poisonous, which prevailed for a consider- 
able time, is said to have been due to the appearance at 
certain times of a white scum on the surface, which gave 
forth an offensive odor under the direct rays of the sun. 

More than the spruce beer, however, was needed to 
make the men healthy. Schuyler wrote to Washington 
on August 6 that the troops "are crowded in vile bar- 
racks which, with the natural inattention of the sqldiery 



494 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

to cleanliness had already been productive of disease." 
On August 14, one hundred and forty-six men were sick 
in Hinman's regiment, and forty-eight out of one hun- 
dred and ninety-six in Colonel Easton's regiment. The 
troops sickened rapidly. There was a lack of tents and 
hospital stores, and Schuyler gave to the regimental sur- 
geons the supply of wine which he had brought for his 
own table, the General being accustomed to good living. 
From July 20 to September 25, seven hundred and 
twenty-six men were discharged on account of illness. 
Before General Schuyler arrived at Ticonderoga, 
Capt. Remember Baker had been employed on a scouting 
expedition at the northern end of Lake Champlain. His 
service in the French and Indian War, and his activity 
as a leader of the Green Mountain Boys, had added 
experience to a naturally bold and resolute character, 
which fitted him well for such a task. The first scout- 
ing expedition covered a period from July 13 to July 25, 
during which two of his men were taken prisoners. 
Either at this time or later Baker was employed by 
General Schuyler on a scouting expedition to Canada, 
"with express orders not to molest the Canadians or 
Indians." As there is a record to show that Baker met 
James Stewart, commanding the schooner Liberty, on 
August 3, "at Vandelowe's, the Frenchman's," at the 
northwestern extremity of Lake Champlain, it may be 
presumed that this was Baker's second expedition into 
the enemy's country. Some information on this subject 
is given in a deposition of Peter Griffin, a soldier in 
Colonel Easton's regiment, in which he tells of leaving 
Crown Point on August 12, and falling in with Captain 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 495 

Baker, Griffin and a St. Francis Indian, went on a scout- 
ing expedition to St. Johns. Returning to Windmill 
Point, in the present town of Alburg, Griffin set out for 
Crown Point on August 24 and Baker proceeded down 
the Sorel (or Richelieu) River, the outlet of Lake 
Champlain, to Isle aux Noix, "and did determine to 
intercept the scouts of the regulars there," according to 
Griffin's deposition. Schuyler asserted later that this 
expedition was undertaken without authority from him, 
and that Baker was accompanied by five men. 

According to Ira Allen's account of this affair. Cap- 
tain Baker's purpose was to discover the movements of 
the British troops at Isle aux Noix. Proceeding 
cautiously, he landed in a bay four miles above that 
island during the night, and in the morning went to a 
point of land, from which he could see the island and 
the river for some distance. Meanwhile, a party of 
five Caughnawaga Indians discovered Baker's boat, and 
started in it for St. Johns. Stationing his men behind 
trees, Baker hailed the Indians as they approached, and 
in a friendly manner asked that they give up the boat, 
saying there was no war between the Indians and the 
Americans. As they gave no indication of complying 
with his request. Baker ordered them to return his boat, 
threatening to fire on them if they refused. Perceiving 
that one of the Indians in the boat was about to fire. 
Baker sought to anticipate this action by firing first, but 
his musket missed fire owing to the sharpness of his 
flint, and putting his head from behind the tree, which 
served as a protection, in order to hammer his flint, he 
received a shot in the forehead which killed him in- 



496 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

stantly. Baker's men thereupon fired, killing two of the 
Indians, and fled. The Indians returned, cut ofif the 
head of their victim, and set it on a pole at St. Johns. 
The British officers bought the head and interred it with 
the body. It so happened that a part of Colonel Bedel's 
New Hampshire regiment encamped at Winooski Falls, 
the home of Captain Baker, on the night that word was 
received of the death of this brave Green Mountain 
leader. 

General Schuyler was greatly agitated over this affair, 
not so much at the death of Captain Baker, as he was 
over what he called the latter's "imprudence," which he 
feared would alienate the Indians, a Canadian corre- 
spondent having informed him that some of the Caugh- 
nawagas had joined the British troops at St. Johns, on 
account of this skirmish. The Commissioner of Indian 
Affairs explained the matter to a congress of the Six 
Nations held at Albany early in September, "in order 
to put out the flames which this unhappy affair could 
not help kindling," according to a letter written by a 
resident of Albany, in which he said that the affair "was 
prodigiously misrepresented here at first." 

The death of Baker occurred between August 24, 
when Griffin, the soldier who accompanied him to St. 
Johns, left for Crown Point, and August 31, when Gen- 
eral Schuyler wrote the Commissioners of Indian Affairs 
concerning the affray. Baker was only thirty-eight 
years old at this time. Concerning his loss, Ira Allen 
says: "Captain Baker was the first man killed in the 
Northern department, and being a gentleman universally 
respected, his death made more noise in the country than 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 497 

the loss of a thousand men towards the end of the Ameri- 
can war." 

Gen. Richard Montgomery, second in command 
under General Schuyler, arrived at Ticonderoga August 
17, to organize an expedition for the invasion of Canada, 
and on August 28 the first division of the army em- 
barked at Ticonderoga, proceeding to Crown Point. 
Here they remained until August 30, and that day went 
as far as Westport, where they camped for the night at 
the settlement of William Gilliland, who furnished some 
of the boats for the expedition, and conducted General 
Montgomery down the lake, with which the former had 
become very familiar during a residence of ten years 
on its shores. Gilliland had raised a company of minute 
men, of which he was chosen Captain. Twenty of the 
men had been recruited from the tenants on his estate 
and fifteen had been enlisted in Shelburne on the eastern 
shore of the lake, Moses Pierson, of that town, being a 
Lieutenant in the company. The party proceeded as far 
as the Four Brothers Islands on August 31, and the next 
day reached Isle La Motte, stopping at a fine sandy 
beach, after passing the high point of the island. Here 
Montgomery waited for General Schuyler, who had 
been detained by an Indian conference at Albany. 
Schuyler arrived at Ticonderoga August 30, being much 
indisposed, but he followed the army, arriving at Isle 
La Motte on September 4. On the same day the army 
proceeded to Isle aux Noix, in the Richelieu River, one 
of the French strongholds taken by the British in 1760. 
Schuyler issued a declaration to the people of Canada 
on September 5, sending it out by Col. Ethan Allen and 



498 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Major Brown, and advanced toward St. Johns. Fire 
was opened from the fort, and as the troops landed to 
intrench they were attacked from ambush by Indians 
and regulars. The American loss was four killed, three 
mortally wounded, and seven wounded, including two 
officers. The enemy were repulsed with a loss of five 
Indians killed and four wounded, and several British 
soldiers wounded. Schuyler called a council of war, 
on the morning of September 7, and it was decided to 
return to Isle aux Noix to await the arrival of the artil- 
lery. Here fortifications were thrown up and a boom 
was placed across the channel of the river. 

Schuyler was ambitious to lead the army of invasion 
in person, but his condition of health made this impos- 
sible. His illness resulting from a bilious fever and a 
violent attack of rheumatism, compelled him to abandon 
the expedition, and on September 16 he was put into 
a covered boat and returned to Ticonderoga. About an 
hour after his departure from Isle aux Noix he met 
Col. Seth Warner with one hundred and seventy Green 
Mountain Boys, this detachment being as he said, "the 
first that had appeared of that boasted corps." This is 
one of the little touches that indicates that General 
Schuyler had not forgotten the days when the Green 
Mountain Boys were used for purposes other than in- 
vading a foreign country. 

Ethan Allen had arrived in advance of Warner's regi- 
ment. About September 20 another company of Green 
Mountain Boys, numbering seventy men, joined their 
comrades. About one hundred men of Colonel Bedel's 
New Hampshire regiment arrived the night of Septem- 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 499 

ber 16. When Colonel Bedel left Haverhill on Sep- 
tember 7, he was accompanied by a portion of a com- 
pany under command of Captain Vail of the Green 
Mountain Boys, raised in part by Lieutenant Allen, 
probably Lieut. Ira Allen. 

Without any regular officer's commission, Ethan 
Allen had accompanied the army to Isle aux Noix, at 
the request of the officers, and had been sent out by 
General Schuyler to the French-Canadian people "to 
preach politics," as Allen expressed his mission, seeking 
to win them to the American cause, to which, at first, 
they were favorably disposed. 

Allen set out from Isle aux Noix September 8 and 
proceeded to Chambly. The Canadians there were 
found to be of a friendly disposition, guarded him with 
armed men night and day, and escorted him through the 
woods. According to his report, "Many Captains of 
militia and respectable gentlemen of the Canadians" 
visited him and conversed with him. He sent a mes- 
senger to the chiefs of the Caughnawaga Indians, de- 
manding the reason why some of the numbers of that 
tribe had taken up arms against the American colonies. 
It is hardly to be supposed that this is the policy Gen- 
eral Schuyler would have pursued, judging from the 
nervousness and anxiety the commander of the North- 
ern army displayed over the fatal "imprudence" of 
Remember Baker. Instead of resenting this demand, 
however, two chiefs were sent to Allen to explain that 
such action was contrary to the orders given by the 
tribal authorities. A general council was held, and a 



500 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

wampum belt and beads were sent to the Green Moun- 
tain leader, which were delivered with due ceremony. 

The principal difficulty that Allen encountered was the 
impression that the American army was too weak to 
protect the Canadians from the power of Great Britain, 
and he summed up the temper of the people in these 
words: "It furthermore appeared to me that many of 
the Canadians were watching the scale of power," an 
observation the wisdom of which subsequent events 
abundantly justified. To overcome this attitude of in- 
decision, Allen urged the importance of the capture of 
St. Johns as speedily as might be possible, and returning 
to Isle aux Noix on September 14 was able to deliver his 
report to General Schuyler before the latter left on his 
return to Ticonderoga. He also assisted General Mont- 
gomery "in laying a line of circumvallation round the 
fortress of St. Johns," to quote from his "Narrative." 

About this time James Livingston, an influential 
Canadian friend of the American colonies, wrote Gen- 
eral Schuyler saying: "Yesterday morning I sent a 
party each side of the river (Richelieu), Col. Allen at 
their head, to take the vessels at Sorel, if possible, by 
surprise." Evidently this was not possible. He added: 
"We have nothing to fear here at present, but a few 
seigneurs in the country, endeavoring to raise forces. I 
hope Col. Allen's presence will put a stop to it." 

Allen's activities continued after General Schuyler's 
departure, and on September 20 he wrote General Mont- 
gomery from St. Ours: "I am now in the parish of 
St. Towrs (St. Ours), four leagues from Sorel, to the 
south ; have 250 Canadians under arms ; as I march, they 



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THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 501 

gather fast. There are the objects of taking the vessels 
in Sorel, and General Carleton; these objects I pass by 
to assist the army in besieging St. Johns. If that place 
be taken, the country is ours; if we miscarry in this, all 
other achievements will profit but little. I am fearful 
our army may be too sickly, and that the siege may be 
hard ; therefore choose to assist in conquering St. Johns, 
which of consequence conquers the whole. You may 
rely on it that I shall join you in about three days with 
five hundred or more Canadian volunteers. I could 
raise one or two thousand in a week's time, but will first 
visit the army with a less number, and if necessary will 
go again recruiting. Those that used to be enemies to 
our cause come cap in hand to me; and I swear by the 
Lord I can raise three times the number of our army 
in Canada, provided that you continue the siege; all de- 
pends on that. * * >ic 'pj^g glory of a victory which 
will be attended with such important consequences will 
crown all our fatigues, risks and labours; to fail of 
victory will be an eternal disgrace, but to obtain it will 
elevate us on the wings of fame." The enthusiastic tone 
of this letter would indicate that Colonel Allen himself 
was somewhat elevated, in anticipation, "on the wings 
of fame," by the reception accorded him by the Cana- 
dian people. 

General Montgomery wrote on September 19: 'T 
have sent Colonel Allen to Chambly to raise a corps. 
Thus far Allen's efiforts had been successful, and Gen- 
eral Carleton wrote Lord Dartmouth that the American 
emissaries "have injured us very much." 



502 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Having passed through all the parishes on the Riche- 
lieu River to its mouth, Allen followed the St. Lawrence 
River to Longueuil, nearly opposite Montreal. On the 
morning of September 24, he set out with a guard of 
about eighty men for Laprairie, from which place he in- 
tended to proceed to General Montgomery's camp. He 
had advanced less than two miles from Longueuil when 
he met Col. John Brown, who desired to have a private 
conversation with him. Entering a house, a conference 
was held, in which Brown proposed, according to Allen's 
''Narrative," that if Allen would return to Longueuil, 
procure canoes and cross the St. Lawrence River a little 
north of Montreal, he (Brown) would cross a little south 
of the town with nearly two hundred men, and they 
could make themselves "masters of Montreal." 

Allen's party consisted of about one hundred and ten 
men, thirty English-Americans having been added to 
his numbers. The greater part of the night was spent 
in transporting the men across the river, only a few 
canoes being available, and the stream being wide at this 
point. Soon after daybreak on the morning of Septem- 
ber 25, Allen posted guards with orders to permit no 
persons to pass along the highway. Waiting until the 
sun was two hours high for the signal that Colonel 
Brown had landed on the other side of Montreal, which 
was to be three huzzas on the part of his men, the un- 
welcome truth dawned upon Allen that Brown had 
failed to cooperate with him, and that he was in an ex- 
ceedingly perilous position. He had canoes sufficient to 
transport only a third of his men, and an attempt to 
recross the river would be discovered, and the men left 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 503 

behind almost certainly would be captured. Therefore, 
he determined to defend himself to the best of his ability, 
and dispatched two messengers asking for aid, one being 
sent to Colonel Brown and another to Thomas Walker 
at Assomption, who was a friend of the American cause. 
Certain persons approached the guards, pretending to be 
friends, but were made prisoners. Unfortunately for 
Allen one of these escaped and exposed the weakness of 
the attacking party. 

There was a great tumult in Montreal when it was 
reported that an American force was at the gates of the 
city, according to Allen's ''Narrative," and General 
Carleton is said to have made preparations to embark 
on the British ships, with other government officials, but 
the news brought by the spy who had escaped from 
Allen's detachment, put a different aspect upon affairs. 
Carleton assembled the inhabitants in the Champ de 
Mars and a force was organized under Major Campbell 
for the defence of the city. According to Allen, this 
force "consisted of not more than forty regular troops, 
together with a mixed multitude, chiefly Canadians, with 
a number of English who lived in town, and some 
Indians; in all to the number of five hundred." James 
Livingston said General Prescott engaged a number of 
people in the suburbs at a half a joe per man to go out 
against Allen. 

Encouraging his men to defend themselves bravely, 
and expressing the hope that help would come soon. 
Colonel Allen made the best possible disposition of the 
few men under his command. Richard Young, with a 
detachment of nine men as a flank guard, was posted 



504 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

under the cover of the bank of the river. The enemy 
began the attack between two and three o'clock in the 
afternoon, firing from buildings, behind woodpiles and 
in ditches. The fire was returned, the engagement con- 
tinuing for some time without decisive results. At 
length about half the British force attempted a flank 
movement on Allen's right, which he attempted to 
check by ordering John Dugan, with about fifty Cana- 
dians to make a stand at a ditch, and prevent the prog- 
ress of the flanking movement. Instead of opposing the 
enemy, Dugan's party on the right and Young's detach- 
ment on the left, took to their heels, leaving Allen with 
only about forty-five men, some of whom were wounded. 
He retreated about a mile, being hard pressed by his pur- 
suers. Of this experience Allen says: ''I expected in 
a very short time to try the world of spirits; for I was 
apprehensive that no quarter would be given to me, and 
therefore had determined to sell my life as dear as I 
could." 

According to the Ainslie Journal the British loss in 
this afifray was four killed and three wounded, two of 
those killed being Major Garden of the Royal American 
regiment and Alexander Patterson, a Montreal mer- 
chant, who was mortally wounded. 

Seeing that there was no chance of success against 
such overwhelming odds, Allen called to an officer with 
whom he had exchanged shots, a natural son of Sir 
William Johnson, that he would surrender, provided he 
would be treated with honor and assured of good quar- 
ters for himself and men. This promise was made, and 
was confirmed by another officer. The surrender was 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 505 

made, and included thirty-one effective men and seven 
wounded. 

Shortly after he had handed his sword to the officer 
whom he addressed, a naked, painted Indian, whose 
features, Allen says, expressed "malice, death, murder, 
and the wrath of devils and damned spirits," attempted 
to shoot him. Seizing the officer to whom he had sur- 
rendered, Allen used him as a shield, whirling round and 
round, and protecting himself until help came. 

The prisoners were taken to the barracks at Mon- 
treal, a distance of two miles, or more. On the way 
Allen conversed with some of the regular officers, who 
expressed their pleasure at seeing him, to which Allen 
replied that he would have preferred to meet them at 
General Montgomery's camp. Arriving at headquar- 
ters, Allen was brought before General Prescott. When 
this officer learned that his prisoner was the man who 
captured Ticonderoga, he flew into a towering rage, 
shaking his cane over the head of the captive, and calling 
him many abusive names. Allen was not the man to 
endure such treatment with meekness, although a pris- 
oner, and he shook his brawny fist in the face of General 
Prescott, telling him "that was the beetle of mortality 
for him if he dared to strike" ; that he would do well not 
to cane him, for he was not accustomed to such treat- 
ment. 

Prescott then ordered a sergeant's command with 
fixed bayonets to come forward and kill thirteen Cana- 
dians included among the prisoners. As they were 
wringing their hands in terror, Allen stepped in front 
of the condemned men, and told General Prescott to kill 



506 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

him if anybody must be killed, as he was responsible for 
their taking up arms. With an oath Prescott replied: 
''I will not execute you now, but you shall grace a halter 
at Tyburn." Allen was then taken on board a ship of 
war, the Gaspee, and confined in irons. The few Ameri- 
cans wounded were taken to a hospital and the other 
prisoners were shackled together in pairs, like criminals, 
and put on board vessels lying in the St. Lawrence 
River. 

Brook Watson, a British merchant, afterward Lord 
Mayor of London, who had professed to be a friend of 
the American cause, but whose friendship Ira Allen 
doubted when he conducted him from Crown Point to 
the Canadian border in June, 1775, wrote to John Butler 
on October 19: "Colonel Allen, who commanded this 
despicable party of plunderers (they were promised the 
plunder of the town) was with most of his wretches 
taken. He is now in irons on board the Gaspee. This 
action gave a sudden turn to the Canadians, who be- 
fore were nine-tenths for the Bostonians." This is 
rather an illuminating description of the attitude of the 
Canadian people. 

The comments made by various American leaders on 
Allen's ill-starred attack is not without interest. 
Colonel Warner, writing to General Montgomery from 
Laprairie, September 27, said: "His (Allen's) defeat 
hath put the French people into great consternation. 
They are much concerned for fear of a company coming 
over against us. Furthermore, the Indian chiefs were 
at Montreal at the time of Allen's battle, and there were 
a number of the Caughnawaga Indians in the battle 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 507 

against Allen, and the people are very fearful of the 
Indians." 

In writing to General Schuyler on September 20, Gen- 
eral Montgomery lamented '*Mr. Allen's imprudence and 
ambition, which urged him to this affair single handed, 
when he might have had a considerable reinforcement." 

General Schuyler, always rather inclined to be touchy 
when the Green Mountain Boys were mentioned, wrote 
to John Hancock, on October 15, saying: "I am very 
apprehensive of disagreeable consequences arising from 
Mr. Allen's imprudence. I always dreaded his im- 
patience of subordination; and it was not until after a 
solemn promise, made me in the presence of several offi- 
cers, that he would demean himself properly, that I 
would permit him to attend the army ; nor would I have 
consented then had not his solicitations been backed by 
several officers." 

On October 26, General Washington wrote to General 
Schuyler as follows : ''Colonel Allen's misfortune will, 
I hope, teach a lesson of prudence and subordination to 
others who may be too ambitious to outshine their gen- 
eral officers, and, regardless of order and duty, rush 
into enterprises which have unfavorable effects to the 
publick and are destructive to themselves." 

The truth of the old adage, "Nothing succeeds like 
success," cannot be controverted, but the converse of 
the saying is equally true. Because Allen failed, he has 
been condemned with general unanimity of opinion for 
his rashness, his overweening ambition, and his lack of 
subordination. While there may be an element of jus- 
tice in the verdict there is also the possibility that it 



508 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

contains no small degree of injustice. It is true that 
Allen was impulsive, enthusiastic, somewhat inclined to 
boast fulness, and probably by no means a stranger to 
rashness. He had never had the benefit of training in 
the army during the Colonial wars, like some of his con- 
temporaries, but he had had the benefit of an experience 
in the border warfare against New York that sharpened 
his wits, and with his natural qualities of leadership he 
might, under favorable circumstances, have been a 
powerful aid to the American cause if his career in the 
War for Independence had not been ended so soon after 
its beginning. There are two or three important facts 
in connection with this episode that historians generally 
have overlooked. The first is, that, according to Allen's 
story, the inception of the idea of attempting the capture 
of Montreal should be credited to Col. John Brown 
and not to Allen. Brown proposed the plan, and Allen 
acquiesced in it readily, and, it may be presumed, joy- 
fully. 

Moreover, it is not unreasonable to presume that had 
Brown kept his part of the compact, Montreal might 
have been captured. Brown had a larger force than 
Allen, and with Montreal in a state of terror, and at- 
tacked on two sides, its capture would have been far 
from difficult. Ira Allen's insinuation that there was 
something dishonorable in Brown's action cannot be 
accepted, in the light of Brown's subsequent patriotic 
service, but his failure to notify Allen of his change of 
plan was a neglect that proved costly. 

Very likely Allen was ambitious, but admitting the 
truth of this accusation, it may be observed with safety 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 509 

that he was not an original sinner in that respect, and 
the evil did not die with him. Naturally he desired to 
restore the prestige damaged by his defeat for the posi- 
tion of commander of the regiment of Green Mountain 
Boys, and the taking of Montreal would have accom- 
plished this purpose, and would have added new honors 
to the fame already won. 

If Montreal had been captured on this particular Sep- 
tember morning, history would have had little to say of 
Ethan Allen's rashness, and the exploit would have 
ranked with his capture of Ticonderoga. If Allen is 
justly charged with rashness, then he paid dearly for 
his error, for presently he sailed out of the St. Law- 
rence River, a prisoner loaded with irons; and at the 
same time sailed out of the current of the events of the 
American Revolution, which made great names for many 
of the men who participated in that contest. 

The capture of Fort Chambly situated about six miles 
north of St. Johns, on October 18, by Colonel Brown 
and James Livingston, with a force of about fifty Amer- 
icans and three hundred Canadians, went far to ofifset 
the efifects of the capture of Allen upon the fluctuating 
temperament of the Canadian people. Boats had been 
piloted past St. Johns in the darkness, bringing a few 
nine-pounders, and with these such good execution was 
done that Major Stafford surrendered, with eighty offi- 
cers and men, and a quantity of provisions and ammuni- 
tion. 

The siege of St. Johns, conducted by General Mont- 
gomery, did not make rapid progress. There was con- 
siderable sickness among the American troops, and be- 



510 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

tween July 20 and September 25, sixteen men of 
Colonel Warner's regiment were discharged on account 
of illness. Soon after their arrival the Green Mountain 
Boys and a detachment of Colonel Hinman's regiment 
were commanded by Colonel Bedel of New Hampshire. 
Col. Seth Warner was stationed at Laprairie the latter 
part of September, and writing to General Montgomery 
from that place on September 27, he said: "If I must 
tarry here I should be glad of my regiment, for my party 
is made up with different companies in different regi- 
ments." He was also stationed at Longueuil, three 
leagues east of Laprairie, and two miles from Montreal, 
and evidently received his regiment, as official records 
show that at Longueuil he commanded the Green Moun- 
tain Boys and two companies of the Second New York 
regiment. 

The British forces at Montreal made frequent attacks 
on Warner's position, and shots were exchanged almost 
daily. On October 20, Montgomery wrote to Schuyler : 
"Colonel Warner has had a little brush with a party 
from Montreal. The enemy retired with the loss of five 
prisoners and some killed. Some of the prisoners 
(Canadians) are dangerous enemies, and must be taken 
care of." 

These attacks continuing, Warner made several ap- 
plications to Montgomery for some field pieces, but 
failed to receive them. At length the officers united in a 
petition for two field pieces, and they arrived late on 
Sunday evening, October 30. This was a fortunate 
circumstance, for the very next day. General Carleton 
and St. Luc la Corne, a leader of savage tribes, with Ca- 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 511 

nadians, and one hundred Indians, in thirty- four boats, 
attacked the Americans at Longueuil "with great resolu- 
tion." (Some accounts say there were eight hundred 
troops.) The purpose of the British forces was to 
effect a landing, unite with Colonel McLean who had 
collected a few hundred Scotch emigrants and taken post 
at the mouth of the Richelieu River, and march to St. 
Johns with the intention of raising the siege. 

Perceiving the approach of the enemy, Warner, who 
had about three hundred men under his command, dis- 
patched Captain Potter's company to a point nearly 
opposite Grant's Island, where after a short skirmish 
they were able to prevent an attempted landing of 
Indians, the savages losing four men killed and three 
prisoners. Meanwhile a party of the enemy, taking ad- 
vantage of wind and current, approached Longueuil, 
expecting to make a landing, but a force posted by War- 
ner at the river's edge opened so effectively upon the 
boats with grape shot from the two field pieces and well 
directed musketry fire, that Carleton believed reinforce- 
ments must have been received, and he retreated to Mon- 
treal. Not a man of Warner's party was killed or 
wounded. About fifty of the attacking party were killed 
and wounded, some reports making the list of casualties 
still greater. Five Indians were slain. Three Cana- 
dians and two Indians were taken prisoners. Colonel 
McLean therefore abandoned his post at the mouth of 
the Richelieu and returned to Quebec. 

The following morning, November 1, Capt. Heman 
Allen, an older brother of Ethan Allen, was sent to Gen- 
eral Montgomery's headquarters at St. Johns with dis- 



512 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

patches and the three prisoners taken before his arrival, 
with the welcome news. The American commander 
sent a flag of truce to Major Preston, commandant at 
St. Johns, accompanied by an account of the defeat of 
General Carleton by Colonel Warner, and mentioning 
the name of one of the prisoners taken, a man of impor- 
tance. Major Preston requested that hostilities might 
be suspended, and that the prisoner mentioned might 
be permitted on his parole of honor, to come into the 
fortress and remain two hours. The request was 
granted and negotiations were begun which led to capitu- 
lation on November 2. About five hundred regular 
troops and one hundred Canadians were surrendered, 
Lieut. John Andre being among the prisoners who were 
ordered to Reading, Lancaster and York, Pa. A large 
quantity of military stores was taken, including seven- 
teen pieces of brass artillery and a considerable number 
of iron cannon. 

Thus Warner and his Green Mountain Boys not only 
had valiantly repulsed a force twice their number, led 
by the British commander in Canada, but the news of 
their victory had proved to be the magic key which un- 
locked the important fort at St. Johns, after a stubborn 
resistance to its besiegers. It was an exploit that de- 
serves far more credit than it has received. 

Less than two weeks later, the Americans took posses- 
sion of Montreal. The Indians and the Canadian 
militia deserted, the townspeople were frightened, and 
with less than one hundred and fifty soldiers the com- 
mander could not hope to make an adequate defence, 
therefore he made his plans for escape. On November 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 513 

13, the American soldiers marched into the city. Carle- 
ton had attempted to reach Quebec, but was wind bound 
near Sorel, where the Richelieu River discharges the 
waters of Lake Champlain into the St. Lawrence. 
Meanwhile Colonels Brown and Easton had erected a 
battery at Sorel, and a gunboat had arrived from St. 
Johns, which interfered naturally with the progress of 
the British commander toward Quebec. 

Therefore Dr. Jonas Fay of the Green Mountain Boys 
wrote a spirited letter demanding an immediate sur- 
render of the fleet without any destruction of those on 
shipboard, and declaring that the Americans were 
strongly posted at Sorel. Col. James Easton signed the 
letter and Lieut. Ira Allen, under protection of a white 
flag, carried the message on November 15 to General 
Carleton on his flagship in the St. Lawrence. He was 
followed by Colonel Brown and Doctor Fay, with a 
second flag, and a truce was concluded until the follow- 
ing morning. During the night Carleton concealed in a 
small birch canoe, under some straw, succeeded in get- 
ting past Sorel, and so reached Quebec. The next day 
the British fleet was surrendered and returned to Mon- 
treal, where the fortunes of war made General Prescott 
a prisoner. No longer could he shake his cane over 
Ethan Allen or any of his fellow Americans, and curse 
them as rebels. 

Warner's regiment was honorably discharged from 
the service by General Montgomery, November 20. In 
Daniel Chipman's "Memoirs of Col. Seth Warner," it 
is said that the reason for this discharge was that they 
were "too miserably clothed to endure a winter campaign 



514 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

in that severe climate." General Schuyler complained, 
however, in his correspondence with John Hancock that 
the term of enlistment of Warner's men did not expire 
until the end of December, and that they took advantage 
of a promise made to the Connecticut troops by Mont- 
gomery that all those who w^ould follow him to Mon- 
treal should have leave to return, this promise being 
made on account of hesitancy to advance further on 
account of the approach of winter. General Sullivan, 
in a letter to the New Hampshire Assembly, intimated 
that the Green Mountain Boys under Warner thought 
they had been ill used by General Montgomery. 
Whether this refers to the delay in getting cannon for 
use at Longueuil, or to some other cause, does not appear. 
While General Montgomery and his army were con- 
ducting the siege of St. Johns a further attempt upon 
Canada was made by a force under the command of 
Benedict Arnold, which left Massachusetts about the 
middle of September, sailing to the mouth of the Kenne- 
bec River. Proceeding up the valley of that stream they 
crossed the carrying place to the head waters of the 
Chaudiere and descended to the St. Lawrence valley, 
arriving there early in November. The hardships and 
suffering endured on this awful march through the wil- 
derness were almost incredible. By the narrowest of 
margins did the army escape actual starvation. Only 
indirectly does the story of Arnold's Canadian journey 
have a bearing upon Vermont history. The commander 
of the detachment which brought up the rear of 
Arnold's army was Lieut. Col. Roger Enos of the Con- 
necticut regiment, who became a prominent citizen of 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 515 

Vermont following the close of the American Revolu- 
tion, and whose daughter Col. Ira Allen married several 
years later. 

Finding that there was a shortage of provisions, only 
three days' supplies being left, and being one hundred 
miles from the English settlements and fifteen days 
march from the French-Canadian inhabitants, a council 
of war was called, at which it was decided to turn back, 
without orders to that effect. Colonel Enos proposed to 
go forward without his men, but his officers protested 
against such action. 

This course on the part of Colonel Enos and his 
officers brought forth severe censure. Washington ex- 
pressed his surprise and by his direction Enos was placed 
under arrest. A court of inquiry held at Cambridge, 
Mass., November 29, 1775, was made up of Major Gen- 
eral Lee, president. Brigadier General Greene, Brigadier 
General Heath, Colonel Nixon, Colonel Stark, Major 
Durkee, and Major Sherburne. This court decided as 
follows: "The court are of opinion, after receiving all 
the information within their power, that Col. Enos' 
misconduct (if he has been guilty of misconduct) is not 
of so very heinous a nature as was first supposed, but 
that it is necessary for the satisfaction of the world 
and for his own honor, that a court martial should be 
immediately held for his trial." 

The court martial was held at headquarters at Cam- 
bridge, December 1, 1775, its presiding officer being 
Brigadier General Sullivan. After deliberation the 
court was unanimously of the opinion that Colonel Enos 
"was under a necessity of returning with the division 



516 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

under his command, and therefore acquit him with 
honor." In a statement issued April 28, 1776, General 
Sullivan expressed the opinion, "that had Colonel Enos 
with the division proceeded it would have been the means 
of causing the whole detachment to have perished in the 
woods for want of sustenance." A statement was also 
issued "to the Impartial Publick" concerning Colonel 
Enos' case, by General Heath, Col. John Stark, Samuel 
H. Parsons and twenty-two other officers, vindicating 
his character, and declaring him to be a "prudent, faith- 
ful officer, and deserves applause rather than censure." 
Colonel Enos on January 18, 1776, asked permission of 
General Washington to resign his commission. The 
afifair was one which aroused much controversy, but the 
decision of the court martial must be considered the 
fairest possible judgment of a disputed matter. 

Although the progress of the American cause for a 
time seemed very encouraging, following the taking of 
St. Johns and Montreal, the conquest of Canada was far 
from being an easy task. Quebec offered a stubborn re- 
sistance. In the early morning hours of the last day of 
the year 1775, in a blinding snow storm, an attempt was 
made to take Quebec by assault. Ira Allen and Robert 
Cochran, both officers from the New Hampshire Grants, 
were selected by General Montgomery to make an attack 
on Cape Diamond to draw the attention of the enemy 
from other points. To them was also committed the 
important duty of sending up sky rockets, which were a 
signal for attacks by detachments led by Montgomery, 
Arnold and Colonel Livingston. Delayed by the fierce- 
ness of the storm, suspecting their Canadian guide of 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 517 

treachery, they pressed on and carried out their instruc- 
tions. The attempt to capture the city failed dis- 
astrously. General Montgomery, one of the most capable 
officers produced during the war, was mortally wounded, 
and died in the arms of Capt. Aaron Burr. General 
Arnold, who had joined forces with Montgomery, was 
severely wounded and was carried from the field. Gen- 
eral Morgan fought in the storm and the cold with his 
detachment until half of his men were killed, and then 
surrendered. The remainder of the American army re- 
tired up the St. Lawrence River about three miles, and 
there spent the remainder of the winter, enduring great 
suffering and privation. 

Gen. David Wooster succeeded to the command of the 
American army in Canada upon the death of Mont- 
gomery, and the task that confronted him was one that 
might have taxed the capacity of a soldier possessed of 
far greater natural ability for command than that with 
which Wooster had been endowed. There was imme- 
diate need of more men. 

General Wooster wrote to Col. Seth Warner on Jan- 
uary 6, 1776, telling him of the unsuccessful attack upon 
Quebec and the death of General Montgomery, and say- 
ing that "in consequence of this defeat our prospects in 
this country are rendered very dubious, and unless we 
can quickly be reinforced, perhaps it will be fatal, not 
only to us, who are stationed here, but to the colonies in 
general, especially to the frontiers," an argument which 
appealed to the people of the New Hampshire Grants. 

Wooster told of the tendency of the Canadians to ally 
themselves with the winning cause, and added : "I have 



518 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

sent an express to General Schuyler, General Washing- 
ton and Congress, but you know how far they have to 
go, and it is very uncertain how long it will be before 
we can have relief from them. You, sir, and the Green 
Mountain corps are in our neighborhood; you all have 
arms, and, I am confident, ever stand ready to lend a 
helping hand to your brethren in distress. I am sensible 
that there was some disagreement between you and Gen- 
eral Montgomery. Poor man ! he has lost his life fighting 
valiantly for his country; but why do I mention any- 
thing about disagreement between you; I know that no 
private resentment can hinder your exercising every 
faculty to vindicate the rights and privileges for which 
we are nobly contending; therefore, let me beg of you 
to collect as many men as you can, five, six, or seven 
hundred, and if you can, and somehow or other, convey 
into the country, and stay with us till we can have relief 
from the Colonies. You are sensible we have provisions 
of all kinds in abundance, and the weather is not fright- 
ful as many have imagined. 

"You will see that proper officers are appointed under 
you, and both officers and soldiers shall be paid as the 
other Continental troops. It will be well for your men 
to set out as fast as they are collected, not so much mat- 
ter whether together or not, but let them set out, ten, 
twenty, thirty, forty or fifty, as they can be first col- 
lected, for it must have a good effect on the minds of the 
Canadians, to see succor coming in. You will be good 
enough to send copies of this letter or such parts of it 
as you think proper, to the people below you. I cannot 
but think our friends will make a push into the country. 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 519 

and am confident you will not disappoint my most fer- 
vent wish and expectation in seeing you here, with your 
men, in a very short time. Now is the time for you to 
distinguish yourselves, of obtaining the united applause 
of your grateful countrymen, of your distressed friends 
in Canada, and your very great friend and servant." 

The exigencies of war had made some sudden and 
radical transformations. Between two and three years 
previous to the penning of this appeal to Colonel War- 
ner, Capt. David Wooster had taken a New York Sheriff 
into the town of Addison, and had served writs of eject- 
ment on the settlers under the New Hampshire charter, 
claiming that his New York patent was the more valid 
title. The Green Mountain Boys had proceeded to tie 
the sheriff and the Captain to a tree and to threaten them 
with the beech seal. And now the same man, promoted 
to the rank of General, was appealing in the most cordial 
terms to the Green Mountain Boys for aid. The episode 
may well form a companion picture to Allen and Warner 
appearing before the New York Assembly. 

Schuyler wrote John Hancock on January 14, 1776, 
"I have sent Colonel Warner to throw into Canada 
whatever number of men he can procure upon what are 
commonly called the New Hampshire Grants; and, in 
order to encourage them to march without delay, I have 
offered forty shillings, lawful money, as a bounty to the 
men, and a month's pay to the officers, and an allowance 
of one-sixth of a dollar per day from their leaving home 
until they can receive Continental provisions." 

There is evidence to show that Warner responded 
promptly to the appeal made by Wooster. On January 



520 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

18, Washington wrote Schuyler, expressing the hope 
that Arnold would be joined soon by "a number of men 
under Colonel Warner, and from Connecticut, who, it 
is said, marched off directly on their getting intelligence 
of the melancholy affair." General Sullivan, on the 
same day, wrote the New Hampshire Assembly: 
"Colonel Warner, with his Green Mountain Boys, 
marched immediately to join the party which they had 
left." Schuyler wrote on January 22: "Colonel War- 
ner succeeds fast in sending men to Canada." Writing 
to Governor Trumbull of Connecticut on January 23, 
1776, Schuyler said: "Part of the troops which I 
directed Colonel Warner to raise are already so far 
advanced that I believe they will reach St. Johns today 
or tomorrow. I believe the whole under Colonel War- 
ner's command will amount to seven hundred; he thinks 
more." 

Warner wrote Schuyler from Bennington on January 
22 : "My prospect in raising men seems very encourag- 
ing, one hundred and upwards I have sent forward; a 
number more is to march soon. I have twelve com- 
panies raising. * * * Two companies more I ex- 
pect to raise." On March 5 only four hundred and 
seventeen of Warner's men had arrived in Canada, and 
both Schuyler and Wooster expressed dissatisfaction 
that the number was not larger. It was also asserted 
that upwards of one hundred New Hampshire men had 
enlisted in Warner's regiment. 

Schuyler had insisted that in order to get the bounty 
offered to Warner's troops a regiment of seven hundred 
and twenty men must march by February 1. Later he 




> 



< 



o 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 521 

agreed to furnish another bounty if the men who 
marched after February 1 would "engage to remain in 
the service in Canada, or procure others in their stead, 
for the ensuing campaign, unless sooner discharged." 

Warner's regiment was one of the first to arrive in 
Canada to reinforce the troops stationed there, and it 
participated in the operations around Quebec during the 
months that followed. During this period many of 
Warner's soldiers contracted smallpox and some of them 
died. 

Learning that affairs were going badly in Canada, the 
Continental Congress appointed a commission to make 
an investigation, hoping that the Canadian people might 
still be won over to the American cause, and join the 
army of invasion in opposition to British rule. This 
commission consisted of Benjamin Franklin, Samuel 
Chase, and Charles Carroll of Carrollton. They were 
accompanied by Mr. Carroll's brother. Father John Car- 
roll, later the first Roman Catholic Archbishop in the 
United States, much being expected from his influence 
with the Catholic population of Canada. Early in the 
spring the party left Philadelphia and proceeded to 
Albany, where the hospitality of General Schuyler's 
home .was extended, the General making preparations for 
the remainder of the journey. A bateau carried the 
party through Lake George, and six yoke of oxen drew 
the boat over the portage to Lake Champlain, where two 
boats were provided, Ticonderoga being reached late in 
April. These bateaux were thirty-six feet long, eight 
feet wide, with square ends and rigged with a mast for 
a blanket sail. An awning was used as a substitute 



522 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

for a cabin. Each boat was manned by thirty or forty 
soldiers. 

A stop was made at Crown Point, and another at the 
house of Peter Ferris, on the east side of the lake, in 
Panton, where the night of April 24, 1776, was spent. 
Leaving at five o'clock the next morning a severe gale 
was soon encountered, and it was necessary to stop in 
what is now the town of Essex, N. Y., at the home of 
one of William Gilliland's tenants. Proceeding on the 
journey, Montreal was reached on April 29. 

Travelling in an open boat, and sleeping under an 
awning, or in a rude forest hut during April weather in 
this north country, was not an agreeable experience for 
Benjamin Franklin. He was then seventy years old 
and was not in robust health, although the most impor- 
tant part of his life work remained to be done. Father 
Carroll was not able to aid the American cause as he 
had hoped to do, and the commission accomplished 
little, therefore the priest and Doctor Franklin left 
Montreal on May 11, and returned by way of Lake 
Champlain, reaching Ticonderoga early in June. The 
other commissioners returned later. The reverses of the 
American army and the lack of hard money were 
obstacles too serious to permit the accomplishment of 
any services of material importance by this, or any, 
special commission. 

During the winter Arnold continued the siege of 
Quebec with only about four hundred men fit for duty. 
Late in January, 1776, reinforcements arrived, recruit- 
ing the strength of the besieging force to nine hundred 
and sixty men, of whom less than eight hundred were fit 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 523 

for duty. In a short time smallpox broke out, adding 
greatly to the sufferings already experienced. 

Gen. John Thomas arrived May 1 and took command 
of the army before Quebec, which now numbered about 
nineteen hundred men, and this force soon was increased 
to three thousand soldiers. At this late period Congress 
had seen the necessity of reinforcing the Canadian army. 
General Sullivan was given command of the new 
brigade, Stark and Wayne being among the officers. 
The smallpox proved a more dangerous enemy than the 
British soldiers. Of the three thousand men before 
Quebec all but about nine hundred at one time were ren- 
dered unfit for duty by the disease. 

Finding the army in no condition for aggressive serv- 
ice, lacking provisions, and learning that heavy rein- 
forcements of British troops were expected soon. Gen- 
eral Thomas retreated in haste to the mouth of the 
Richelieu River, abandoning artillery, stores, baggage, 
and some of the sick. Here he was stricken with small- 
pox, and being removed to Chambly, died there on June 2. 

The command now devolved upon Gen. John Sulli- 
van. The British army, meanwhile, had been rein- 
forced by the arrival of thirteen thousand men under 
General Burgoyne. Schuyler had found it a difficult 
matter to collect and forward by way of Lake Cham- 
plain provisions for three thousand men. After Sulli- 
van's arrival the army in Canada needed daily twelve 
thousand pounds of pork and the same amount of flour. 
The pork was obtained but the average daily shipment 
of flour did not exceed two thousand pounds. 



524 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

A council of officers was called, which advised a re- 
treat. On June 14, therefore, General Sullivan aban- 
doned his position at Sorel, and set out for St. Johns. 
The next day Arnold, who had been in command at 
Montreal, left that city with his troops, marching across 
country to Chambly. Burgoyne followed the retreating 
Americans, but was ordered not to risk anything until 
he was reinforced. Determined to save their remain- 
ing artillery and stores, the Americans, many of them 
still weak and ill from the effects of smallpox, plunged 
into the water, and by sheer strength of muscle drew 
more than one hundred heavily loaded bateaux over the 
rapids of the Richelieu, working often up to their waists 
in the water. Three vessels, three gondolas, and all the 
boats that could not be brought away, were burned. As 
the advance guard of the British army entered Chambly, 
the American rear guard marched out. 

The retreating army under Sullivan reached St. Johns 
on June 17, about half of the troops being ill, and all of 
them ragged and hungry. Taking such things as could 
be transported, they applied the torch to the fort and 
barracks, secured such boats as they needed, destroyed 
all craft they did not need for the conveyance of the 
troops, and pushed on to Isle aux Noix, reaching that 
post on June 18. On this day Gen. Horatio Gates was 
appointed to command the forces in Canada, an empty 
honor indeed, and one which circumstances made it im- 
possible to accept. 

While at Isle aux Noix General Sullivan wrote to Gen- 
eral Washington, saying: "I find myself under an 
absolute necessity of quitting this island for a place 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 525 

more healthy, otherwise the army will never be able to 
return, as one fortnight longer in this place will not 
leave us well men enough to carry off the sick, exclusive 
of the publick stores, which I have preserved thus far. 
The raging of the smallpox deprives us of whole regi- 
ments in the course of a few days, by their being taken 
down with that cruel disorder. But this is not all. The 
camp disorder rages to such a degree that of the regi- 
ments remaining, from twenty to sixty in each are taken 
down in a day, and we have nothing to give them but 
salt pork, flour and the poisonous waters of this lake. I 
have therefore determined, with the unanimous voice of 
the officers, to remove to Isle La Motte, a place much 
more healthy than this, where I have some hope we shall 
preserve the health of the few men we have till some 
order is taken respecting our future movements." 

Writing to Washington again from Isle aux Noix, 
June 25, Sullivan said: *'I shall today remove from this 
infectious place to Isle La Motte, which I should have 
done before now, had not too many of our batteaus gone 
forward with the sick to Crown Point." Another letter 
contains the information that the sick sent from Canada 
to Crown Point amounted to upwards of three thou- 
sand men. According to a letter written by Dr. Samuel 
J. Meyrick, surgeon of a Massachusetts regiment, the 
sick left Isle aux Noix on June 20, and arrived at Crown 
Point on June 25. 

It was proposed that one thousand men should go 
from Isle aux Noix to Isle La Motte, the greater part 
of the way by land, while the remaining troops should be 
transported to that place in bateaux. Isle La Motte had 



526 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

been a sort of half-way-house between Ticonderoga and 
Canada since the invasion of the northern province was 
begun, and provisions had been deposited there that had 
never gone farther toward Canada. It is evident that 
the stay of the army at Isle La Motte was not a long 
one, for a letter from General Sullivan to John Hancock, 
written from Crown Point on July 2, announced that 
the Northern army had arrived at that place from Isle 
La Motte on the previous evening. Bancroft says that 
the voyage to Crown Point was made "in leaky boats 
which had no awnings, with no food but raw pork and 
hard bread or unbaked flour." 

Col. John Trumbull, son of Governor Trumbull of 
Connecticut, and later a famous painter, writing of this 
period, said : "My first duty upon my arrival at Crown 
Point was to procure a return of the number and condi- 
tion of the troops. I found them dispersed, some few 
in tents, some in sheds, and more under the shelter of 
miserable brush huts, so totally disorganized by the 
death or sickness of officers that the distinction of regi- 
ments and corps was in a great degree lost; so that I 
was driven to the necessity of great personal examina- 
tion, and I can truly say that I did not look into tent or 
hut in which I did not find either a dead or dying man. 
I can scarcely imagine any more disastrous scene, except 
the retreat of Bonaparte from Moscow. * * * j 
found the whole number of officers and men to be five 
thousand, two hundred, and the sick who required the 
attentions of an hospital were two thousand, eight hun- 
dred (2,800)." 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 527 

As early as May 31, General Arnold had written 
General Gates: "I am heartily chagrined to think we 
have lost in one month all the immortal Montgomery 
was a whole campaign in gaining, together with our 
credit, and many men, and an amazing sum of money." 
Now, at the end of another month, the situation seemed 
still worse. An army of invalids had returned from an 
unsuccessful invasion. One of the most promising 
American officers, perhaps the most promising, with the 
single exception of Washington, had fallen before the 
walls of Quebec. Apparently the campaign had ended 
most ingloriously. And yet, Sullivan's retreat had 
been a masterly one. At least, the campaign had de- 
layed the invasion of the American colonies by the 
British forces in Canada, and had given the troops ex- 
perience in warfare of a very practical nature. If the 
American invasion had been begun a little earlier, in 
accordance with the pleadings of Ethan Allen, or if the 
campaign once begun had been pressed with greater 
vigor, then, possibly, Canada might have become a por- 
tion of the American nation when independence was de- 
clared at Philadelphia on July 4, 1776. 

The defeat of the American army was hard enough 
to endure, but the ravages of disease made it a still more 
pitiable object. When the sick were ordered from Isle 
aux Noix to Crown Point, some regiments did not con- 
tain a sufficient number of healthy men to row them 
away, and other regiments were called upon to furnish 
oarsmen. Sullivan wrote John Hancock on July 2: 
"To give you a particular account of the miserable state 
of our troops there (at Crown Point) and the numbers 



528 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

which daily keep dropping into their beds and graves, 
would rather seem like the effect of imagination than a 
history of facts." He adds: "I have ordered all the 
sick to be removed at a distance from the other troops, 
that the sight of such pitiful objects may not disperse the 
rest." 

John Adams described the Northern army at this time 
as "disgraced, defeated, discontented, dispirited, undis- 
ciplined, eaten with vermin, no clothes, beds, blankets, 
nor medicines, and no victuals but salt pork and flour." 
Although the army remained only about ten days at 
Crown Point, being removed to Ticonderoga, they left 
behind as a grim reminder of their encampment there, 
three hundred freshly made graves. A hospital was 
established at the head of Lake George, to which the 
smallpox patients were removed. 

About the time of the arrival of the army at Crown 
Point, Governor Trumbull of Connecticut wrote John 
Hancock that "the smallpox is a more terrible enemy 
than the British troops, and strikes a greater dread into 
our men who have never had it." A little later, on July 
29, Governor Trumbull drew this picture of the army 
on Lake Champlain: "There are now 3,000 sick and 
about 3,000 well ; this leaves near 5,000 to be accounted 
for; of these the enemy have cost perhaps LOOO — sick- 
ness another LOOO — which leaves near 3,000; in what 
manner they are disposed of is unknown. Among those 
who remain there is neither order, subordination, or har- 
mony, the officers as well as men of one colony insult- 
ing and quarrelling with those of another. * * * ^ 
reform is absolutely necessary; the soldiers are ragged, 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 529 

dirty, and many lousy; clothing greatly wanted — some 
destitute of sufficiency to make themselves comfortable 
and decent to appear." 

Not only was the condition of the Northern army 
miserable, and the country at large discouraged by the 
failure of the Canadian expedition, but absolute terror 
prevailed in the more northerly settlements of the New 
Hampshire Grants. The situation was forcibly stated 
by Governor Trumbull of Connecticut in a letter to the 
President of the Continental Congress, in which he said : 

"I have received information by several persons that 
the inhabitants on the New Hampshire Grants, on the 
northern frontier of the province of New York, are in 
the highest consternation on the retreat of the army 
from Canada, from an apprehended attack of the sav- 
ages. Some of their settlements are breaking up, and all 
are in danger of being soon deserted. Should they fall 
back on the older plantations, the enemy would derive 
great advantages from their improvements and build- 
ings, to fall on and distress the frontiers; and the in- 
convenience they may bring with them, and the terror 
they will spread, may produce the most unhappy con- 
sequences. May I not venture to suggest the expediency 
of raising a battalion of troops, in the pay of the Con- 
tinent, upon those Grants? The inhabitants, inured to 
hardship, and acquainted with the country, may rival 
the Indians in their own mode of making war, will sup- 
port that frontier, and leave the more interior settle- 
ments at liberty to assist in the general defence of the 
Colonies. If they are not put under pay, their poverty 
is such they can hire no laborers to carry on their farm- 



530 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

ing business in their absence. Should they go out as 
militia without pay, the failure of one crop would effec- 
tually break up their settlements." 

This action on the part of Governor Trumbull may 
have been in response to an appeal made to him by David 
Galusha, chairman of a committee of people of the New 
Hampshire Grants, and forwarded to Connecticut by 
Capt. Samuel Herrick, in which it was stated that the 
messenger would describe "the wretched situation the 
northern frontiers on the New Hampshire Grants are 
at present in." The letter continues: "We would 
acquaint Your Honor that we view our present situation 
to be distressing, and our present hope of relief very 
uncertain. We are much concerned for the preserva- 
tion of the lives of the inhabitants in particular, and 
the safety of the county in general. We are not willing 
to breed any confusion by proposing a method contrary 
to rule, but are willing to furnish any number of troops 
in our power on application." The advice and encour- 
agement of Governor Trumbull was asked in the per- 
ilous situation, a very natural proceeding, as a large 
proportion of the settlers of this region, particularly in 
the western portion, were emigrants from Connecticut, 
and had kept in close touch with the people of that 
province. 

A petition from a committee representing the inhab- 
itants of the New Hampshire Grants was presented to 
General Sullivan by Col. Thomas Chittenden and Capt. 
Heman Allen, saying: "We are greatly alarmed at the 
retreat of our army out of Canada and the news of the 
savages killing a number of our men on the west side 
of Lake Champlain; in consequence of which events the 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 531 

frontier settlements are removing their families into 
the country; but the inhabitants thus remaining, being 
greatly desirous that the frontier settlements should be 
protected, and anxious to return and secure their crops, 
we earnestly beg and entreat Your Honour to send a 
guard to Onion River, or some other place which Your 
Honour shall think most advantageous to the army and 
inhabitants. We are much alarmed on account of our 
unhappy situation, and would express our great concern 
for the invaded liberties of the Colonies in general. We 
have a number of good woodsmen, well acquainted with 
firearms; and should Your Honour, in your wisdom, 
think proper and give leave, we would immediately 
raise a battalion of effective men for the defense of 
the United Colonies, and the frontiers of New Hamp- 
shire Grants in particular. And likewise earnestly de- 
sire that Your Honour would give orders that our 
frontier towns, which are destitute, may be supplied with 
ammunition, as Your Honour shall think proper." 

This petition was signed by Joseph Woodward, Josiah 
Bowker, Zebulon Mead, John Smith, Jonathan Faucett 
(Fassett), Charles Brewster, Thomas Tuttle, Thomas 
Rice, Elkanah Cook, Joseph Smith, lieber Allen, John 
Smith 2nd, James Claghorn and William Post, as a 
Committee of Safety for several towns on the New 
Hampshire Grants. 

In transmitting the foregoing petition to John Han- 
cock, General Sullivan observed that "Colonel Warner 
offers to raise a regiment to protect that quarter (Onion 
River). This I could not consent to, as I have no such 
authority; but beg leave to recommend it to Congress, 
as those men are much better calculated for this purpose 



532 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

than any others, as they have such a thorough knowl- 
edge of the country." 

General Sullivan declared that he had sent Colonel 
Winds and one hundred and fifty men to take post at 
Onion River until the pleasure of Congress could be 
learned. He added : "The reason of my sending a chief 
Colonel with so small a detachment is because he cannot 
do duty anywhere else for fear of the smallpox; this 
is also the case with most of the men who are with him." 

In a letter to General Washington, dated July 2, Gen- 
eral Sullivan said he had given every assistance in his 
power to remove the inhabitants from the frontier, and 
mentioned the stationing of Colonel Winds at Onion 
River to guard that region until he could write Generals 
Washington and Schuyler. He added: "Doubtless 
they will make some order upon it, which I hope will be 
that Colonel Warner, of the Green Mountains, shall 
raise men for that purpose, as I think those men much 
better calculated to defend that part of the country than 
any others." 

The people of Panton, on July 3, appealed to General 
Gates, at Ticonderoga, for protection, and on the fol- 
lowing day sent a letter of thanks to Gates for sending 
Captain Hay to confer with them. The petitioners de- 
sired that "the standing stock of our farms" should 
be appraised, so that any losses might be borne by the 
whole community, in proportion to the value of each 
individual's property. A request was made that a fort 
or forts might be erected into which the people of that 
township might retire every night. They were ready 
to put themselves under the command of any officer 
that might be designated, until the crops were harvested. 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 533 

providing they were not called to go farther north than 
Onion River, or farther south than Ticonderoga. It 
is evident that General Gates made a good impression 
upon the Panton committee, as the letter concludes as 
follows: "Permit us to wish that Your Honour may 
be long continued in the chief command over us, as the 
easy access the distressed find to your ear is a convinc- 
ing proof you will do everything in your power to ren- 
der us as happy as the present situation of affairs will 
admit of." 

The Poultney Committee of Safety, of which Heber 
Allen, a brother of Ethan and Ira Allen, was a member, 
applied to General Gates, on July 29, by Lieut. Josiah 
Grout, "for fifty weight of powder and one hundred and 
fifty weight of lead, for a town stock," on the ground 
that other frontier towns had applied for such aid from 
the Continental stores. Their strength, patriotic senti- 
ments and political conditions were succinctly stated in 
these two short sentences: "We are upwards of fifty, 
able to bear arms when called for. We are for liberty in 
general, and don't know that there is one dam'd Tory 
in this town." 

A council of general officers, consisting of Generals 
Schuyler, Gates, Sullivan and Arnold, transmitted to 
Congress, on July 8, resolutions declaring that it was 
advisable to raise six companies from among the inhab- 
itants on the east side of Lake Champlain, each com- 
pany consisting of one Captain, two Lieutenants, three 
Sergeants, three Corporals and fifty privates. It was 
stated that Colonel Warner and others had represented 
that the people of the region mentioned would be com- 
pelled to leave their homes unless a body of men should 



534 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

be stationed on the east side of the lake, north of the 
settlements, "to prevent the incursions of the savages," 
and expressed a willingness to raise a body of men for 
the Continental service. 

Nathan Clark wrote General Schuyler from Man- 
chester, July 16, enclosing the proceedings of the com- 
mittees of the several towns on the New Hampshire 
Grants, at which time officers were nominated to raise 
the six companies previously suggested. The request 
was made that Colonel Warner should command the 
officers with Maj. Samuel Safford second in command. 
The list of officers appointed to raise men for the sev- 
eral companies included six Captains, Wait Hopkins, 
Samuel Herrick, Jonathan Fassett, Ira Allen, Lemuel 
Clerk (Clark), and Thomas Ransom. 

News did not travel rapidly in those days, and when 
some of the foregoing appeals were made it was not 
known that on July 5, the day following the adoption 
of the Declaration of Independence, upon recommenda- 
tion of the Board of War, the Continental Congress had 
voted to raise a regiment ''out of the officers who served 
in Canada," and that the following officers should be 
appointed : Colonel, Seth Warner ; Lieutenant Colonel, 
Samuel Safford; Major, Elisha Painter; Captains, Wait 
Hopkins, John Grant, Gideon Brounson, Ayiather 
Angel, Simeon Smith, Joshua Stanton (Abner) Seeley, 
Jacob Vorsboorong. 

Ira Allen wrote to the New Hampshire Committee of 
Safety, from Onion River, July 10: "I learn you are 
alarmed at the retreat of our army out of Canada. Can 
assure you the savages have killed and scalped a num- 
ber of men by the river La Cole, on the west side of 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 535 

Lake Champlain. When they will visit us or you is 
uncertain. Advise you to look sharp and keep scouts 
out, but not to move except some families much remote 
from the main inhabitants. Last Saturday was at Crown 
Point with General Sullivan. He assured me he would 
do all in his power to protect the frontier settlements. 
I proposed a line of forts by the river to Cohos (Coos). 
He said he believed that to be the best place and made 
no doubt but it would be done. He immediately ordered 
Colonel Waits and two hundred men to this place, here 
to remain and grant all protection to the inhabitants." 

In a letter written to Governor Trumbull of Con- 
necticut about this time, following an allusion to a peti- 
tion from the inhabitants of Onion River, reference is 
made to a communication from General Schuyler in 
which it is stated that he (Schuyler) with Generals 
Gates and Arnold, were to set out Tuesday morning. 
The hope is expressed that ''their presence may have 
a happy effect towards affairs in that quarter." This 
would seem to indicate that Generals Schuyler, Gates 
and Arnold had gone to Onion River. 

Col. Joseph Wait wrote Colonel Hurd from Onion 
River, on July 20, saying that when he was ordered 
there with two hundred men he had expected to be sta- 
tioned at that place until fall and to have built some 
stockade forts along that river and down the opposite 
side of the mountain range to Newbury; but other or- 
ders having been issued, he expected to join the army 
again in five or six days. 

Eleven inhabitants of Onion River petitioned General 
Gates, on August 6, asking for assistance, saying that 
one family, consisting of five persons, had been cap- 



536 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

tured, and expressing a desire for a guard to permit the 
harvesting of their valuable crops, or aid in the removal 
of their families. 

If Colonel Winds had been stationed at Onion 
River earlier in the season he had not remained there 
long, as he wrote General Gates from Shelburne, on 
July 15, saying he was there by permission of General 
Sullivan, with twenty-six men, and he had built a stock- 
ade fort for the safety of himself and the inhabitants. 
It is possible that the term Onion River was broad 
enough to include the region as far south as Shelburne, 
as a petition from the people of that town, dated July 
19, 1776, mentions the fact that Colonel Winds and 
fourteen men obtained leave from General Sullivan to 
stop there, which obviated the necessity of the imme- 
diate abandonment of the settlement upon the retreat 
of the American army from Canada. Acting in con- 
junction with Colonel Winds, the settlers built a stock- 
ade fort, evidently at what is now known as Shelburne 
Harbor, as the petition declared that "the place where 
the fort stands is a very good harbor," and reference 
is made to the fact that boats often are obliged to put 
in there to avoid "sudden gusts in the summer." The 
petition says: "We, the inhabitants, being but few in 
number, and having considerable large crops of wheat 
and other grain in the ground, besides stocks of cattle, 
we hereby beseech that His Excellency would be gra- 
ciously pleased, if he thinks it consistent with the good 
of the service, to let some of the men who were there 
go back again, or some others as a small guard." Among 
the signers were Moses Pierson, James Logan and Lod- 
wick Poter (probably Pottier). 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 537 

Ten of the inhabitants sent a petition to Genefal 
Gates, on August 6, 1776, telling of the capture by the 
enemy of 'Xodowick Potter, one of our neighbors," 
who was carried away with his wife and children some 
time the previous week, and urgently requested that a 
guard be sent, for their protection, saying that the 
gathering of a large harvest had just been commenced. 
This was on the same day on which the inhabitants of 
Onion River appealed to General Gates for a guard. 

Not only the inhabitants of the Champlain valley, but 
also the people of the Connecticut valley east of the 
Green Mountains, were alarmed at the retreat of the 
American troops from Canada. At a meeting held at 
Dartmouth College, July 5, 1776, delegates were present 
from Lyme, Hanover and Lebanon, on the east side of 
the river and Thetford, Norwich and Hartford, on the 
west side of the river. At this meeting it was voted to 
raise fifty men exclusive of officers, to go to Royal ton 
and fortify a post there, "and scout from thence to the 
Onion River and Newbury," and to appoint a committee 
of three to build and supply such post; to raise two 
hundred and fifty men, exclusive of officers, to go to 
Newbury, "to fortify, scout and guard them for three 
months." Colonels Bayley, Johnson and Olcott were 
appointed a committee to direct the affairs of the New- 
bury department. 

A letter from Colonel Plurd to the New Hampshire 
Committee of Safety, dated July 7, 1776, contained the 
following information : "By several persons I have met 
with on the road coming from Coos, and by the last 
intelligence I can collect, I find the inhabitants there, 
especially those on and near the Connecticut River, from 



538 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

the Upper to the Lower Coos, are much more alarmed 
and apprehensive of danger from the enemy than we 
imagine; several families are already removed and re- 
moving from thence." 

The Continental Congress was not unmindful of the 
appeals for aid for the northern frontier of New Eng- 
land, and, as previously mentioned, it voted to raise a 
regiment "out of the officers who served in Canada." 
All, or nearly all of these officers, were men of the New 
Hampshire Grants. This regiment, according to the 
resolution authorizing its enlistment, was to be raised 
on the same terms as that which Colonel Dubois had 
been authorized to raise. These terms were that the 
regiment was to be raised for three years, or during 
the war; that the officers should be ''such as have served 
with credit in Canada" ; that no officer was to be commis- 
sioned until his company was raised and armed; and 
that the arms for the soldiers were to be paid for "by 
the Continent." 

According to Matthew Lyon the authorization of the 
Continental regiment to be commanded by Warner, 
practically put a stop to recruiting for the six com- 
panies authorized by General Gates, to be raised in the 
New Hampshire Grants for the protection of the north- 
ern frontiers, and which organization it had been 
planned that Warner should command. Matthew Lyon 
had been named as a Second Lieutenant in one of the 
six companies and had raised some men, but finding 
that only two companies and a part of another had been 
recruited, and that the business was "falling into su- 
pineness," he asked and received permission from Gen- 
eral Gates to enter Warner's Continental regiment. 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 539 

Colonel Warner wrote from Albany to the President 
of the Continental Congress, on October 4, protesting 
against the delay in settling his accounts, evidently for 
the Canadian campaign, and saying ''the repeated de- 
lays I have met with are a great prejudice to the raising 
of the new regiment for which I have orders. Some of 
the men who were in service the last winter's campaign 
are in great necessity for their pay." 

Not much information is available concerning the 
part taken by the regiment of Green Mountain Boys 
during the later phases of the Canadian campaign. In 
his "Memoirs of Col. Seth Warner," Daniel Chipman 
says : "Warner took a position exposed to the greatest 
danger and requiring the utmost care and vigilance. 
He was always in the rear, picking up the wounded 
and diseased, assisting and encouraging those who were 
least able to take care of themselves, and generally kept 
but a few miles in advance of the British, who closely 
pursued the Americans from post to post. By calmly 
and steadily pursuing this course, by his habitual vig- 
ilance and care, Warner brought off most of the in- 
valids, and with this corps of the diseased and the infirm, 
arrived at Ticonderoga a few days after the main army 
had taken possession of that post." 

Colonel Bedel wrote to General Gates on July 13 that 
he had just received intelligence from the frontier towns 
on the Connecticut River, "that the inhabitants there are 
in general in great terror on account of the savages, and 
a great number of them have left their farms with their 
families; some remain, making stockade forts round 
their houses to defend themselves. And as the savages 
from St. Francis &c. are the only ones near them at 



540 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

present, I am in a great measure, inclined to think that I 
could in a short time raise such a number of them as 
would be able to defend that part, as the savages from 
other parts would never venture that way when they 
found friendly savages protecting us." 

The determination of a council of general officers, 
held on July 7, to abandon Crown Point, aroused much 
opposition, although a small force was maintained there 
until autumn. On July 8, the day following the decision 
to abandon Crown Point, Col. John Stark and twenty 
other field officers, respectfully protested to General 
Schuyler against such a policy, saying that Crown Point 
could not be retaken ''without an amazing expense of 
blood and treasure." In their opinion such a step would 
open a plain and easy passage for the enemy "into the 
heart of the four New England governments and fron- 
tiers of New York" ; and also "must occasion the retir- 
ing of hundreds of families from their farms and quit- 
ting their crops of grain which would be much more 
than sufficient to maintain themselves, and drive them 
upon other towns, which must occasion a consumption 
of whatever could be spared for the public source, if n3i 
a famine amongst them." 

Concerning this matter General Washington in a 
forceful manner wrote to John Hancock on July 19, 
saying: "I confess the determination of the council of 
general officers on the 7th to retreat from Crown Point, 
surprised me much ; and the more I consider it th^ more 
striking does the impropriety appear. The reasons 
assigned against it by the field officers in their remon- 
strance coincide greatly with my own ideas and those of 




Lake Dunmore and Aloosalamoo [Mountain 



— -t 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 541 

the other general officers I have had an opportunity of 
consulting with, and seem to be of considerable weight 
— I may add, conclusive." 

Writing the same day to General Gates, Washington 
called Crown Point "a key to all these colonies," and 
added these significant words: "Nothing but a belief 
that you have actually removed the army from Crown 
Point to Ticonderoga, and demolished the works at the 
former, and the fear of creating dissensions and en- 
couraging a spirit of remonstrating against the conduct 
of superior officers by inferiors, have prevented me, by 
advice of the general officers from directing the post at 
Crown Point to be held till Congress should decide upon 
the propriety of its evacuation. * * * j niust, how- 
ever, express my sorrow at the resolution of your coun- 
cil, and wish that it had never happened, as everybody 
who speaks of it also does, and that the measure could 
yet be changed with propriety." 

A rather sharp correspondence followed between 
Washington and Schuyler concerning the practical aban- 
donment of Crown Point by the American forces. 

The story of the part taken by the people of the New 
Hampshire Grants in the Canadian campaign would be 
incomplete without reference to the military road which 
Gen. Jacob Bayley attempted to build from the Con- 
necticut River to Canada. Writing from Newbury, 
November 24, 1775, to his brother-in-law. Col. Moses 
Little, concerning Canadian affairs, General Bayley ad- 
vocated the building of a road by which St. Johns might 
be reached more easily, and in this letter alluded to the 
fact that in October, 1773, Bayley, Little and "Esquire 



542 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

Stevens" sent out a surveying party, which marked a 
road from Newbury to Missisquoi Bay, two-thirds of 
the distance to St. Johns, according to Bayley's estimate. 

Frye Bayley, Abiel Chamberlin and Silas ChamberHn 
left Newbury on February 1, 1776, on snow shoes over 
the proposed route for Montreal, bearing a letter to Gen- 
eral Wooster. On the sixth day out they reached Mr. 
Metcalf's, at or near what is now the village of S wanton, 
and observed that this route was "the best country for 
a road either of us ever saw." On the seventh day they 
reached St. Johns, and on the eighth day they arrived 
at Montreal, remaining there two and one-half days. A 
stop was made at Mr. Metcalf's settlement on the way 
back, and Newbury was reached on February 18. Gen- 
eral Bayley wrote General Washington on April 15 at 
some length concerning the proposed road, saying: "It 
will appear that the cost of making the road will be 
saved in the soldiers marching home from Canada, at 
the close of the present campaign, as it will save six 
days' pay and provisions for all that live eastward of 
Connecticut River." He added: "If I can be of any 
service to the American cause in cutting the proposed 
road, or any other way, I am ready. I should think 
one hundred picked men from this army or elsewhere 
will be enough to be employed in that business." 

It was estimated that the distance from Portsmouth, 
N. H., to St. Johns was ninety-three miles shorter by 
way of Newbury than by Charlestown, N. H. (Number 
Four), and Crown Point; from Boston to St. Johns 
eighty-two miles nearer by way of Newbury than by 
way of Crown Point; from Hartford, Conn., to St. 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 543 

Johns, eighty-six miles nearer by way of Newbury than 
by way of Albany. 

The reply of General Washington, dated April 29, 
is of sufficient importance to give in full. He says : "I 
received your favor of the 23rd instant, with Mr. Met- 
calf's plan, and Captain Johnson's journal of the route 
from Newbury to St. Johns. The representation that 
was transmitted to me by the hands of Colonel Little, I 
had sent to Congress. Mr. Witherspoon has been since 
sent to examine or explore a route; but I hear he is still 
at Cohoos. The time of the Congress is so taken up 
with many objects of consequence that it is impossible 
for them to attend to everything; and as it is of impor- 
tance that every communication with Canada should be 
made as free as possible, it is my opinion and desire 
that you set about the road you propose as soon as pos- 
sible. As you must be the best judge who to employ, 
you will please to take the whole upon yourself. We 
cannot, at this time, spare soldiers, you must therefore 
engage such men as you know will do the business faith- 
fully and well. As to their wages, you must agree with 
them on the most reasonable terms, and I doubt not that 
you will, in this and every other instance, serve your 
country with integrity, honour and justice. As you go 
on, you will, upon every opportunity, keep me advised, 
and I will provide for the expense, which you will be 
careful in making as light as possible." 

P. S. '*l send you by Mr. William Wallace two hun- 
dred and fifty pounds, lawful money, to begin with." 

The Continental Congress voted, on May 10, 1776, 
"That as the road recommended by General Washington 



544 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

to be opened between the towns of Newbury, on Con- 
necticut River, and the province of Canada, will facili- 
tate the march and return of the troops employed in that 
quarter, and promote the public service, the General be 
directed to prosecute the plan he has formed respecting 
the said road." 

Having received General Washington's orders on 
May 17, General Bayley called together the Committees 
of Safety of Haverhill, N. H., and Newbury, on May 
18, and consulted with those committees regarding the 
wages to be paid, and the amount was fixed at ten dol- 
lars per month. On May 21 two men were sent out to 
engage laborers for two or three months and the neces- 
sary utensils and supplies were purchased in Hartford, 
Conn. Having heard of the retreat from Quebec, Gen- 
eral Bayley thought it might be advantageous to the 
Continental army to cut a bridle path over which men 
and cattle might pass, before the wagon road was com- 
pleted, and on May 27 he ordered ten men to perform 
this task. 

Col. Thomas Johnson, with several men, was detailed 
to blaze out the road. They were followed by James 
Whitelaw of Ryegate, who surveyed the route, and Gen- 
eral Bayley with his party of laborers performed the 
work of road building. The road began in the north- 
eastern part of the town of Newbury, at the present 
location of Wells River village, and passed through the 
towns of Ryegate, Barnet and Peacham. The construc- 
tion work had been carried about six miles beyond 
Peacham, probably to a point in the town of Cabot, 



THE CANADIAN CAMPAIGN 545 

when scouts came in with news that Canadian troops 
were advancing along the trail blazed out for this road. 
The road builders hastily abandoned their task and it 
was not resumed until the summer of 1779. 

The itemized account which General Bayley submitted 
to General Washington showed that one hundred and 
ten men were employed forty-five days each. With the 
provisions furnished each man received daily half a 
pint of rum. The total amount of the bill submitted 
was nine hundred eighty-two pounds, six shillings, five 
and a half pence, lawful money. 

Committees of Safety from Bath and Haverhill, 
N. H., and Bradford met at General Bayley's house to 
make plans for the protection of the people of the 
vicinity. The inhabitants of Peacham and Ryegate 
came to Newbury for protection. Most of the settlers 
from the Upper Coos region fled to Haverhill or to Con- 
cord, N. H. Joseph Chamberlin, with a scout of ten 
men, was sent out to look for the enemy, but no trace of 
the Canadian soldiers was found, and the settlers soon 
returned to their homes. 

General Bayley desired to keep in the Continental 
service sixty men enlisted by him for road building 
operations, for guarding the frontiers and for scouting 
purposes. The New Hampshire Committee of Safety, 
on July 18, asked General Bayley, in the event that the 
Continental troops were disbanded to enlist fifty men 
under the pay of that colony, to serve until December 1. 

The general result of the retreat from Canada was to 
leave the people of the New Hampshire Grants in a 



546 HISTORY OF VERMONT 

condition of alarm, and this was particularly true of 
that portion of the people occupying the northern fron- 
tiers. Conditions, however, were to be worse before 
they were materially better. 




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