Page images
PDF
EPUB

invited compliance on the part of the New jobbers of New York to prevent the claimYork officers and claimants, informing ants of the New Hampshire rights from them that unless such compliance took holding the lands they claimed and with place within a specified time they might issuing warrants contrary to their orders. expect that force would be used. But the Baker and others made charges and the justices still persisted in issuing writs of trial was proceeded with. The judges ejeciment against the New Hampshire found Spencer guilty on all the charges men, and a second visit to Durham was and, declaring his house a nuisance, passed made. In order to make sure of capturing sentence that it should be burned to the Spencer, a party of some thirty men, under ground, and that he should promise be the lead of Ethan Allen and Remember would not, for the future, act as a justice Baker, went to his house about 11 o'clock of the peace under New York. However, on Saturday night, November 20th, and upon Spencer's representation that his wife took him into custody. They marched and children would be great sufferers and him two miles through the woods to his store of dry goods and all his property the house of one Green, where he was be destroyed if his house were burned, the kept under guard until Monday morning. sentence was reconsidered and, upon the

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

A BEAUTIFUL SCENE ON THE RUTLAND RAILROAD ON ITS WAY FROM RUTLAND TO BURLINGTON, VT. He was then taken to the house of Joseph suggestion of Warner, it was decided that Smith, the Durham innkeeper, where a the house should not be wholly destroyed trial was ordered. Spencer on being asked but only the roof taken off; and that might where he would prefer to be tried, re- be put on again, provided Spencer should quested that it take place in front of his declare that it was replaced under the New own door, and the request being granted Hampshire title and should purchase a they marched back to Spencer's house and right under the charter of that province. erected in front it a “judgment seat." Spencer having promised compliance with Upon this Allen, Baker, Seth Warner and these terms, the Green Mountain Boys proRobert Cochran took their seats as judges. ceeded to take off the roof,

“ with great Before commencing the trial, Allen made a shouting and much noise and tumult.” speech to the assembled multitude, telling Spencer, on his further promise not to them what had led to such vigorous action. again act as justice of the peace, was disSpencer was then ordered to stand before charged from custody. them, take off his hat (rather an undigni. A company of some twenty or thirty of fied position for an assistant judge of the the Green Mountain party went to the common pleas court), and listen to the house of Coroner Jenny, and, finding him accusations against him. Allen then missing and his house deserted, set it on charged him with cudling with the land fire and burnt it to the ground.

A number of the men from the southern as damages, and promise he would never part of the district, who had come to take execute any precept under the province of part in the demonstration against Spencer New York. He was then dismissed and and other New York officers of the law, on furnished with a certificate as follows: their return met the missing Jacob Marsh, “ These are to certify to all the Green Esq., at Arlington, who was on bis way Mountain Boys that Charles Button has from New York to the scene of the recent had his trial at Stephen Mead's, and this trial. They took him prisoner and put is his discharge from us." This document hiin on trial for his crimes against the bore the signatures of Peleg Sunderland New Hampshire claimants, Samuel Tubbs, and Benjamin Cooley. Nathan Spencer and Philip Perry sitting The New York Assembly, in 1774, reas judges. Seth Warner and Remember quested the Governor to issue a proclamaBaker were his accusers, the latter insist- tion offering rewards of £100 for Ethan ing upon the application of the "twigs of Allen and Remember Baker, and £50 for the wilderness as a punishment, but his Seth Warner, Robert Cochran, Peleg Sunadvice did not prevail. The sentence finally derland, Sylvanus Brown, James Breckenagreed upon was put in writing and read ridge and John Smith. These rewards by Warner by directiou of the court. It were to be paid on their incarceration in

[graphic][merged small]

was to the effect that he should thereafter encourage settlements under the New Hampshire charter and discourage those under the New York, and that he should not act as justice of the peace under a New York commission “upon pain of having his house burnt, and his person punished at their pleasure.” He was then given a certificate to protect him against further punishment for past offences and dismissed.

A few days later, Charles Button, a constable, was arrested at Pittsford, and a prisoner he then had in charge for debt was taken from his custody and Button put on trial for acting in the office under New York authority. He was threatened with the “twigs of the wilderness” and compelled to give up six shillings assessed

the Albany jail. The same act authorized hanging without trial. But the defensive tactics of the Green Mountain Boys continued, each remaining free to take a part in the work regardless of the rewards.

Little further trouble happened for the time being, for the New York claimants had evidently concluded it was neither safe, pleasant nor profitable to incur the displeasure of the Green Mountain Boys, , who were fearless in defense of the New Hampshire grants and their own rights under them. We have already shown how they disregarded official titles, issued by the New York authorities, and their disregard for the hanging and reward act of the New York Assembly is shown in the punishment on the person who petitioned the assembly to enact the law,

Benjamin Hough, an occupant under should depart the New Hampshire grants one of the odious New York patents, had and not return again till bis majesty's spent the winter in New York advocating pleasure should be known in the premises, the passage of the law. He came back on pain of receiving five hundred lashes.' with a commission as Justice of the Peace The sentence was put in immediate exeand was loud in his denunciation of the cution with much severity. They then rioters. The Green Mountain representa- showed their fearless and defiant contempt tion held a convention in April and passed for the government officers at New York a resolution demanding that until his by giving him the following certificate: majesty's pleasure in the premises should "Sunderland, Jan. 30, 1775. be further known, whoever should presume certify to the inhabitants of the New to take a commission of the peace for the Hampshire grants that Benjamin Hough New York government should “be hath this day received full punishment for deemed an enemy to their country and his crimes committed heretofore against the common cause.”

this county, and our inhabitants are orHough

formally served with dered to give him, said Huff, free and unthis resolution, warned to desist and was molested passage towards the city of New threatened with punishment if he per- York or to the westward of our grants, he

This may

was

[graphic][merged small]

sisted ; but paying no heed, the Green behaving as becomethi. Given under our Mountain Boys concluded to make an ex- hand this day and date set forth. Signed, ample of him and he was consequently Ethan Allen, Seth Warner.” seized by a body of his neighbors, placed This was at the beginning of the trying in a sleigh and carried south about thirty period for all the colonies brought about miles to Sunderland, where he was tried by the stamp act of 1765 and delegates from January 30, 1775, the leading Green twelve of them assembled in PhiladelMountain Boys having assembled for phia, in September, 1774, and agreed to the purpose. Six of the nine judges ap- suspend intercourse with the mother counpointed to sit in judgment were those try until obnoxious acts of Parliament named in the reward offered. They were should be repealed. Ethan Allen, Seth Warner, Robert Coch- Feeling ran high, and a term of the ran, Peleg Sunderland, James Mead, county court for Cumberland county was Gideon Warner and Jesse Sawyer. The to be held at Westminster on the 14th of trial resulted in his being found guilty and March, 1775, and the conduct of this court sentenced to be tied to a tree and receive had long been complained of, feeling ran two hundred lashes on the naked back, high between the Tories and Whigs, and and then as soon as he should be able the Whigs declared that they “felt it their duty to God and to themselves and posterity to resist and oppose all authority that would not accede to the resolves of the Continental Congress," and especially to permit the exercise of such authority over themselves by the holding of a term of such obnoxious court. Some eighty or ninety people had assembled at the court house on the 13th to protest against holding the court. They finally secured the promise of one of the judges to delay the opening, but Sheriff Patterson apprehensive of an attempt to stop the court, collected a body of men and armed them. In the meantime the Whigs took possession of the court room and were determined to hold possession until the opening of the court in the morning. Towards night the

William French, killed, and on an inquest being held a verdict of murder was found against the sheriff and several of his assistants.

In two days five hundred well-equipped men had assembled, among them forty or fifty Green Mountain Boys under Captain Cochran, when the sheriff, judges and others were taken prisoners, and it was decided that Noah Tobin and Benjamin Butterfield, judges; Samuel Gale, clerk; William Patterson, the high sheriff; Benjamin Groton, deputy sheriff, and four others should be taken to Northampton and held for trial; this was done, but they

removed at the expiration of a few weeks by a writ of habeas corpus issued by Chief Justice Hors

were

[graphic][merged small]

sheriff with his posse appeared in front of mandon to New York for trial, but the court house and commanded them to they were never prosecuted. This was disperse. Not being complied with he designated the Westminster Massacre; and caused the king's proclamation to be read what the Boston Massacre was to Massaand threatened with an oath that if they chusetts, the Westminster Massacre was to did not comply in fifteen minutes he would Verniont, and the killing of the young blow a hole through them. The sheriff man by an officer of the king and Tory then retired, one of the judges assuring sympathizers roused the people of the the occupants that they could occupy the Green Mountains as thoroughly as did the room for the night. But the sheriff in the battle of Lexington in April of the same meantime was giving his posse a liberal year. ration of liquor and preparing, a late This was about the last effort of the coloattack, and a little before midnight the nial government of New York to exercise sheriff with his posse again appeared and jurisdiction over the people of the New demanded entrance, which, being refused, Hampshire grants, and the general revolt he commanded his men to fire, which was against the king's government made furobeyed; many of the Whigs escaped by a ther proceedings impracticable, and left side door, but ten were wounded, and one, the Green Mountain Boys, and particularly their leader, in a position to show that December 18, 1849. Later, the name was their martial spirit was not all engendered changed to Rutland & Burlington, and by selfish motives, and that they were again to the Rutland Railroad Co. It had loyal to principles as broad as the colonial its share of litigation and bankruptcy, was possessions. Ethan Allen, the leader of leased to the Vermont Central for twenty the Green Mountain Boys in the surprise years, and then reverted, March, 1867, to and capture of Ticonderoga, demanding the Rutland Railroad. It runs from its surrender in the name of the Great Rutland north to Burlington and Lake Jehovah and the Continental Congress, Champlain, and from Rutland southeast, and a long list of those who were classed climbing the Green Mountains at an angle, as rioters and renegades with a price fixed crossing the summit at Mount Holly, nine for their arrest and imprisonment or death, miles from Rutland, at an elevation of 562 took prominent parts in the Revolution- feet, falling 985 feet in the 31 miles to ary struggle. But regardless of the Bellows Falls. The road is 120 miles long loyalty shown to the Continental Congress and the scenery is delightful, especially and the cause of the Revolution, after the from the summit, going in either direction. declaration of peace with England the The Rutland & Whitehall, from Castleton controversy over these grants continued for to Whitehall, 24 miles (about half in New

[graphic][merged small]

ten years, Vermont standing her ground, York and half in Vermont), was completed however, and punishing those who in- in 1850. The Bennington & Rutland Railfringed on her rights. The people asked road was chartered by an act of the legisfor admission as a state, but through the lature in November, 1845, and in operation influence of New York State and individ- in 1852. It started at Bennington, which uals interested in the New York grants had so great a part in the early contentions Congress was prevented from acting in and was so frequently visited by the Green her favor. Finally a commission was ap- Mountain Boys. Its course was almost pointed, which fixed the amount of $30,000 directly north, through many towns nade that Vermont should pay to New York, historic by the record of events with which and the state was admitted into the Union the Green Mountain Boys were associated, in March, 1791, as the fourteenth state and from Danby follows the Otter Creek under the Federal Constitution.

valley into Rutland, the Marble City of Railroad building in Vermont began Vermont. when a charter was issued, in 1843, to the The Rutland & Washington comes next, Champlain & Connecticut River road. It chartered in 1847, and was put in operation was begun at Rockingham, near Bellows in 1853. Jay Gould became superintendent Falls, in February, 1847, and was com- of this road January 1, 1864, with headpleted from Bellows Falls to Rutland on quarters in Rutland. In July, 1876, he

« PreviousContinue »