Wikijunior:American Founding Fathers/Ethan Allen
Who is this?
What did he do that made him important?
He was an early American revolutionary leader. He captured Fort Ticonderoga on May 10, 1775, from the British forces. Allen's men also quickly captured forts at Crown Point, Fort Ann on Isle La Motte near the present Canadian border, and the town of St John. The huge stores of cannon and powder seized at Ticonderoga allowed the American rebels to break the stalemate at the siege of Boston, which caused the British to evacuate the city in March 1776. Allen also took part in the invasion of Canada in late 1775. However, when he led an attack on Montreal, he was captured and the attack failed. Allen was shipped to Britain in 1776, then back to New York City, which had been captured by the British, in 1778. Soon after arriving in New York City, he was exchanged and freed.
What did he do when he was young?
Ethan Allen was born on January 10, 1738 in Litchfield, Connecticut, as the first-born child of Joseph and Mary Baker Allen.
What did he do afterward?
After being freed, Allen moved back to Vermont, disliking both the United States and the British. Vermont was also harboring a significant number of deserters from the armies of both. Allen settled in the delta of the Winooski River in what became the modern city of Burlington. Allen became active in Vermont politics and was appointed a major general of the Vermont militia in 1779, using the position to harass New York settlers as part of the New Hampshire Grants controversy between New York, nascent states Vermont and New Hampshire and the Continental Congress.
In 1778, Allen appeared before the Continental Congress on behalf of a claim by Vermont for recognition as an independent state. Due to the New York (and New Hampshire) claim on Vermont, Congress was reluctant to grant independent statehood to Vermont. Allen then negotiated with the governor of Canada between 1780 and 1783 in order to establish Vermont as a British province and to gain military protection for its residents. Because of this, the United States charged him with treason; however the charge was never substantiated.
Allen died 22 days after his birthday on February 12, 1789, of a stroke, at the age of 51, in Burlington, Chittenden, Vermont. He was buried in Green Mount Cemetery, Burlington, Vermont.
How do we remember him today?
Two ships of the United States Navy have been named Ethan Allen in his honor, as well as Fort Ethan Allen, a cavalry outpost in Colchester and Essex, Vermont. The Spirit of Ethan Allen III is a tour boat line in Lake Champlain. The Ethan Allen Express, an Amtrak train line running from New York City to Rutland, Vermont, is also named after him.
A statue of Allen represents Vermont in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol.
Ethan Allen's name is the trademark of the furniture and housewares manufacturer, Ethan Allen Inc., which was founded in 1932 in Beecher Falls, Vermont.