Ethan Allen

Revolutionary War Figure

Born: 21 January 1738
Died: 12 February 1789
Birthplace: Litchfield, Connecticut
Best known as: American Revolution fighter who helped found Vermont
Ethan Allen fought during the American Revolution as the leader of the Green Mountain Boys, a ragtag militia made up of settlers of what it now the state of Vermont. Born and raised in Connecticut, Allen's education was cut short when his father died in 1755 and he had to take over the family farm. Allen joined the militia (1757) during the French and Indian War, but didn't see any fighting. He and his brothers acquired large tracts of land in 1769 in what was called the New Hampshire Grants, but ownership of the area was in dispute with settlers from New York. To fight off New Yorkers, the Green Mountain Boys were formed, with Allen as their commander. Having fought skirmishes in the frontier, the Green Mountain Boys were eager and experienced fighters by the time the American Revolution rolled around. With Benedict Arnold, Ethan Allen and his soldiers captured Fort Ticonderoga from the British on 10 May 1775, the first successful campaign of the war. Flamboyant and disagreeable, Allen was then voted out as commander and the Green Mountain Boys were incorporated into the Continental Army. Allen then pursued an ill-fated attempt to invade Canada, and in September of 1775 was captured by the British in Montreal. Exchanged for a captured British officer in 1778, he returned to the colonies and reported to George Washington at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Allen didn't see action there and returned to Vermont, where he became major general of the militia and went back to fighting territorial disputes. He died in 1789, two years before Vermont became a state.
Extra credit: These days most historians agree Allen was born in Lichtfield on 21 January 1738, but there are some sources that claim he was born in Roxbury, Connecticut on 10 January 1738. To make matters even more confusing, his grave marker lists his birthdate as 21 January 1737.

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