Driving through Castleton, most people wouldn’t notice Castleton’s rich Revolutionary history or stop to see the present site of the Fort Ticonderoga Marker in Castleton town in front of the Federated Church. The simplistic stone, plaque and accompanying benches are easy to miss, but the Ethan Allen 250th Anniversary Monument Committee, and its four dedicated partners, plan on bringing the spot to life.
The objective of the committee is to organize and facilitate the erection of a life-sized bronze statue of Ethan Allen, as well as the refurbishing of the monument grounds, by May 9, 2025, in time for the 250th anniversary of his and colonel Benedict Arnold’s capture of Fort Ticonderoga, backed by the Green Mountains Boys militia group.
Christian Doran, founder of the committee, said he was inspired by the idea of a monument after attending a reenactment of Remember Baker, a Green Mountain Boy, in Arlington, VT last year. Fascinated by the subject, he did more research on the group and discovered their interconnectedness with Castleton.
“I was driving by the site, saw the stone and I thought to myself, ‘Man that would look really good if we had a bronze statue on there,’” Doran said.
Christian went on to discuss Ethan Allen’s crucial role in Vermont’s establishment as the 14th state, saying, “If he didn’t do what he was doing, like capturing Fort Ticonderoga and keeping Vermont as a separate state away from New York and New Hampshire, it would’ve eventually not have led to the colonization or liberation of Vermont.”
In addition to commemorating Allen, the reviving of the monument grounds aims to recognize the contributions of the people of Castleton during the Revolutionary War.
The committee’s VSC Outreach facilitator, junior Joey Kinney, added, “Castleton used to have its own Fort called Fort Warren, and there’s payroll records of a lot of early Castleton family names all giving some kind of a service to the militia.”
He went on to discuss how the north line of Castleton, the west line of Pittsford and the north line of Pittsford formed the Northern Frontier, a boundary that ensured the state’s protection for citizens south of the line, and anyone north of it was advised to move south by the militia.
Joshua Ferguson, for Community Outreach, extended the conversation to native women and families during the war, arguing that their contribution within the home served as a backbone in the fight for freedom.
“The men, yes, they more than likely went off in these war engagements, but it was also the women who stayed home and helped participate in some way,” Ferguson said. “It wasn’t just white men going out and saving, because there were complex alliances with Natives on both sides, so it’s not something that can be easily defined or easily characterized as the portrayal of white men. It’s so much more than that.”
The members agree that they have made considerable progress towards the project, including money raised through GoFundMe, conversations with respected historians, attending events about Revolutionary War history, and recent meetings with the Castleton Select Board.
They welcome supporters to follow their Facebook page, “Castleton Ethan Allen Monument – 250th Anniversary Project,” and donate to their GoFundMe linked on the site. They are also in search of new student members, specifically someone to assist in the creative vision of the monument and its grounds.
Doran, Kinney, Ferguson, and fourth partner, Peter Laramie, are confident that their goal will be achieved and look forward to shining a light on Castleton’s Revolutionary history.
“There will be opportunities for youth to come and learn more,” Ferguson concluded. “To see that Castleton has a historical district and that it’s something they can be proud of and learn about with some kind of enthusiasm.”