Ethan Allen (1738-1789) was born in rural Connecticut but received a formal education that included some philosophical teachings. In the late 1760s he became interested in the New Hampshire Grants, buying land there and becoming embroiled in the legal disputes surrounding the territory. Legal setbacks in his land dealings led to the formation of the Green Mountain Boys, whom Allen led in a campaign of intimidation and property destruction to drive New York settlers from the Grants. At the beginning of the American Revolution Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold shared command of an attack on Fort Ticonderoga. In the early morning hours of May 10, 1775 they seized the Fort, its small garrison and artillery stores achieving one of the first American victories of the Revolution.
In September of 1775, Allen led an expedition to Montréal for the purpose of uniting Canada with the 13 colonies in their struggle for independence. The British captured Allen near Montréal on September 25 and held him as a prisoner of war until May 1778. After his release he was commissioned lieutenant colonel in the Continental Army, but he did not fight in another battle during the war. Between 1780 and 1783 Allen negotiated with British General Frederick Haldimand to establish Vermont as a separate British province.
Ethan Allen wrote several books the most popular of which was his Narrative of Colonel Ethan Allen’s Captivity. In this memoir he wrote that when he captured Fort Ticonderoga from the British in 1775 he did so “In the Name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress.” Other participants present during the event refute this claim.