Ethan Allen (1738-1789) was "a farmer, businessman, land speculator, philosopher, writer, and American Revolutionary War patriot, hero, and politician." He is best known for his bold capture of Fort Ticonderoga and his efforts towards Vermont statehood.
Ethan was born in Litchfield County, Connecticut, in the Northwest corner of the state, which was still a frontier at the time. He was born on January 21, 1738 (modern Gregorian calendar) though the date is officially recorded as January 10, 1737 using the old Julian system. The family moved to nearby Cornwall. Ethan, showing an early interest in learning, was sent to be instructed by a nearby minister, in preparation for attending Yale College. Unfortunately the death of his father in 1755 forced Allen's return home to help care for the family.
Ethan began his military career in 1757 by joining the Litchfield County militia as a private. He served in the colonial military during the French and Indian War.
Ethan became part-owner of an iron works near Salisbury, Connecticut, and married his first wife, Mary Brownson, in 1762.
During the years leading up to the formation of the "Green Mountain Boys," Ethan settled in Sheffield, Massachusetts and he became interested in the land belonging to the New Hampshire Grants.
What do you suppose happens when two people claim the same land? Future Vermonters found out the hard way. In the middle 1700s Benning Wentworth, Governor of New Hampshire, who needed to accommodate a growing population, granted lands west of the Connecticut River to citizens of New Hampshire. These were called the New Hampshire Grants.  The colony of New York believed that it owned this same land west of the Connecticut River, and King George III declared it so. The Lieutenant Governor of New York, Cadwallader Colden, also sold land to settlers. These people were called Yorkers.
As Yorkers began to encroach on land already occupied by The New Hampshire Grants, Ethan Allen, his brother Ira Allen, and cousins Seth Warner and Remember Baker formed a militia for the resistance of New York’s authority over their land. It certainly was not fair that they should have to pay for their land a second time. The Green Mountain Boys, as they were called, used intimidation and vigilante tactics to drive out the Yorkers.
During the Revolution the Green Mountain Boys became a legitimate part of the continental army and were instrumental in the first expeditions of the war to Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point.
Early in the fight against the British, Connecticut formed a plan to take Fort Ticonderoga and its cannon as a strategic point of defense against British invasion through the waters of Lake Champlain. The men from Connecticut headed to Bennington to secure the cooperation and help of Ethan Allen. In Bennington it was found that Ethan Allen was already planning an expedition with the same end. Ethan Allen was chosen leader, with Colonel James Easton second and Seth Warner as third in command. In a short time the Green Mountain Boys and others were ready. At Castleton, the group broke up to accomplish different tasks. Captain Samuel Herrick and about thirty men went south to Skenesborough (Whitehall) at the head of Lake Champlain to seize the boats and supplies owned by Major Philip Skene. Captain Drylas went to Panton to likewise seize boats. The main body of men were to proceed to Shoreham, opposite Fort Ticonderoga. Great minds think alike and the Massachusetts Safety Committee had also formed a plan to take Ticonderoga and sent Colonel Benedict Arnold to lead an expedition. They joined forces. The hoped-for boats had not appeared and only a small company had crossed the lake as the day began on May 10, 1775. Arnold, fearing that the force would be spotted, attacked the fort immediately with about eighty men. The element of surprise was so great that Allen had little trouble capturing and asking for the surrender of the fort. The military spoils acquired were one hundred twenty pieces of iron cannon, fifty swivels, ten tons of musket balls, three cart-loads of flints, thirty carriages, shells, and other stores.
On the 12th of May Crown Point, another strategic fortress, was taken without bloodshed by a force led by Seth Warner. A warship, a corvette stationed on the lake, was swiftly captured, securing Lake Champlain for the revolutionary forces. 
Unfortunately, Ethan's next bold move, a "surprise" attack on Montreal, did not fare so well. His group and that of Major John Brown were to attack Montreal from two sides. Allen showed up, Brown did not. A spy was captured and escaped to inform General Guy Carleton of the presence of Allen and his small band, who were routed by Carleton's troops. Allen was captured 24 Sept. 1775. He spent the next three years a prisoner of war and was released 6 May 1778 in a prisoner exchange.
In 1777 Vermont had claimed its independence and in September 1778 Ethan presented Vermont's claim for statehood to the Congress in Philadelphia. Since New York was still claiming the area, Vermont was not accepted.
Worried about Vermont's independence, Allen and others subsequently negotiated with the British to become once again a British Province. 
His wife Mary died in Feb 1783; a year later he married Fanny and moved to Burlington, Vermont. 
Besides his service in the army and his political maneuvering, Allen used his pen, frequently authoring pamphlets. He wrote two major works, one "Reason, the Only Oracle of Man: Or a Compenduous System of Natural Religion" was "a typical Allen polemic, but its target was religious, not political. Specifically targeted against Christianity, it was an unbridled attack against the Bible, established churches, and the powers of the priesthood." It was also a total failure.
Another literary work was A narrative of Col. Ethan Allen's captivity: from the time of his being taken by the British, near Montreal, on the 25th day of September, in the year 1775, to the time of his exchange, on the 6th day of May, 1778. First published in 1779, this was a best-seller.
Ethan Allen, son of Joseph Allen and Mary (Baker) Allen, was born 10 January 1737/8, in Litchfield, Connecticut. That is 21 January 1738 in the Gregorian Calendar.
Ethan married second on 9 February 1784, in Westminister, Vermont, Frances "Fanny" Montresor Brush Buchanan, born 4 April 1770, New York, New York, and died 1834.
Ethan died 12 Feb 1789, Burlington, Vermont, and was buried at Greenmount Cemetery, in Burlington, Vermont.
Children by Mary Brownson:
Children by Frances Montresor:
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Ethan is 15 degrees from Isaac Asimov, 21 degrees from David Attenborough, 16 degrees from Bill Bryson, 17 degrees from Richard Dawkins, 28 degrees from Bengt Feldreich, 26 degrees from Ruth Gates, 16 degrees from Stephen Hawking, 18 degrees from Julius Miller, 14 degrees from Bill Nye, 18 degrees from Magnus Pyke, 20 degrees from Carl Sagan and 15 degrees from David Randall on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.
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