New Hampshire Grants

New Hampshire Grants, early name (1749–77) for Vermont, given because most of the early settlers came in under land grants from Benning Wentworth, the colonial governor of New Hampshire. Although the 1664 charter for New York set New York's eastern boundary at the Connecticut River, it was modified by Connecticut in 1683, and Massachusetts in 1749 (officially 1757), at a line 20 mi (32 km) E of the Hudson River (c.45 mi/70 km W of the Connecticut River). Governor Wentworth, assuming that the line would be carried farther north, proceeded without authority to issue a grant for the settlement of Bennington in 1747, and in the next few years he issued numerous grants in the region. New York protested the infringement, but the French and Indian Wars intervened, and it was not until after 1760 (when Wentworth had resumed making grants) that the matter was brought before British authorities. In 1763 a decision in New York's favor was rendered, but it was difficult to enforce. The speculators, who had the grants, and the settlers who came in under them, opposed the New York claims. The Green Mountain Boys were organized, with resistance led by Ethan Allen. Violence resulted, and in 1777 the New Hampshire Grants declared themselves a republic (New Connecticut), independent of both New York and New Hampshire; they entered the Union in 1791 under the name of Vermont.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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