Ethan Allen was born in Litchfield, Connecticut on January 10, 1738. His parents, Joseph and Mary Baker Allen were very religious. He had eight brothers and two sisters. Because of his love of learning, his father sent him to Yale.
In 1757 he joined the military to fight in the French and Indian War. He spent most of his time defending Fort William Henry against the French. When the war was over, Ethan Allen supported himself by making and selling kettles. He married Mary Brownson and they moved to the New Hampshire Grants in 1769.
The British gave the area of what is today Vermont to both New Hampshire and New York, which meant both colonies were selling the same land. Sometimes two people bought the same piece of land - one person from New Hampshire and one person from New York. In 1770, the New York Supreme Court decided that none of the land grants from New Hampshire were legal. This made a lot of settlers mad, because they would have to buy back the land they had already paid for. New Hampshire's governor had granted over 100 townships.
This is when the vigilante group called the Green Mountain Boys was formed. Ethan Allen was appointed Colonel Commandant. He was declared an outlaw and the New York governor put a price on his head.
Ethan Allen was one of the Patriots who supported independence from Britain even though it might mean war. He took his Green Mountain Boys with him to Fort Ticonderoga. On May 10, 1775, Allen and Colonel Benedict Arnold led a force of 83 men and attacked Fort Ticonderoga. They didn't have much trouble from the sleeping British and and captured the fort and all the weapons there. The cannons and mortars were sent to Boston Harbor and were the one of the causes that made the British decide to leave Boston.
He then went to Canada without the Green Mountain Boys who had decided that Seth Warner should lead them. In Canada he fought with Montgomery's army. On September 25, 1775 when attacking Montreal, Ethan Allen was captured. They knew he was the one who led the successful attack on Fort Ticonderoga. They put him in chains and sent him to England. They decided not to hang him because the British didn't want to stir up any more trouble in the Colonies. He was sent back to New York City and released on parole. His brother supported him until he was sent back to prison for parole violation.
In May 1778, he was exchanged for a British prisoner and sent to Valley Forge as a guest of George Washington. On May 14, 1778 he became a Colonel in the Continental Army.
After the war, Ethan
Allen worked hard to make Vermont a state. He died February 12,
1789, just two years before Vermont became the 14th state of the
new Union. A statue of Ethan Allen representing Vermont stands
today in in Sanctuary Hall in the Capitol in Washington D.C.