New Frontier: The Green Mountain Boys

Freedom & Unity: One Ideal, Many Stories

When a New York sheriff, leading 300 militiamen, attempted to take possession of Grants farms in 1771, he was met with resistance. A determined group of Bennington militia led by young firebrands Ethan Allen and Remember Baker blocked his efforts.

illustration of two men in Green Mountain Rangers uniformsSeveral Grants towns then organized committees of safety and military companies to protect their interests against the Yorkers. These military groups called themselves “The New Hampshire Men” while New York authorities referred to them as the “Bennington Mob” and rioters. By 1772, they were called the “Green Mountain Boys.”  When they continued to terrorize, beat, and burn out Yorkers the governor of New York offered rewards for their capture and then, in absentia, sentenced them to death. In response, their leader Ethan Allen declared they were fighting for their “liberty, property, and life,” thereby linking the Grants’ cause to America’s fight with Britain. The Green Mountain Boys went on to play pivotal military roles in the independence of Vermont and America’s revolutionary cause.

Image: A Green Mountain Boys regiment was authorized by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1775, and became part of the Northern Army. Colonel Seth Warner and a regiment of 500 men were called the Green Mountain Rangers. Before these uniforms, the Green Mountain Boys had no formal uniform, wearing primarily buckskin jackets and breeches.

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This page was originally created as part of the Vermont Historical Society’s Freedom & Unity exhibit in 2006. Some materials may have been updated for this 2021 version.

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