May 10, 1775
Ethan Allen captures Fort Ticonderoga

Ethan Allen was more than a brand of furniture. He was a prominent early American and one of the first heroes of the nation. Ethan Allen (January 21, 1738-February 12, 1789) was a farmer, businessman, American Revolutionary War hero, land speculator, writer, and politician. In the late 1760s, he became embroiled in land disputes that eventually resulted in blood shed. One significant result of the tension over the land dispute was the formation of a militia known as the Green Mountain Boys, headed by Allen. Territories between the British colonies of New York and New Hampshire were then called the New Hampshire Grants. Later, the New Hampshire Grants became the State of Vermont. Allen and the Green Mountain Boys were instrumental in resisting New York’s attempts to gain control over this territory, which was disputed land with New Hampshire. In 1777, the land was designated the Vermont Republic and the Green Mountain Boys became the state militia.

[1] may be more optimistic than the facts warrant, but we may pray that it is closer to Allen’s experience than the evidence would seem to indicate.

Though the following biographic note may be familiar to some, it may yet be useful to many. Ethan Allen was a professed infidel. He wrote a book against the divinity of our blessed Lord. His wife was a Christian, earnest, cheerful and devoted. She died early, leaving an only daughter behind, who became the idol of her father. She was a fragile, sensitive child, and entwined herself about the rugged nature of her father, as the vine entwines itself about the knotty and gnarled limbs of the oak. Consumption marked this fair girl for its own, and she wasted away day by day, until even the grasshopper became a burden.

One day her father came into her room and sat down by her bedside. He took her wan, ethereal hand in his. Looking her father squarely in the face, she said: “My dear father, I’m going to die.”

“Oh! no, my child! Oh! no. The spring is coming and with the birds and breezes and the bloom, your pale cheeks will blush with health.”

“No; the doctor was here to-day. I felt I was nearing the grave, and I asked him to tell me plainly what I had to expect. I told him that it was a great thing to exchange worlds; that I did not wish to be deceived about myself, and if I was going to die I had some preparations I wanted to make. He told me my disease was beyond human skill; that a few more suns would rise and set, and then I would be borne to my burial. You will bury me, father, by the side of my mother, for that was her dying request. But, father, you and mother did not agree on religion. Mother often spoke to me of the blessed Savior who died for us all. She used to pray for both you and me, that the Savior might be our friend, and that we might all see Him as our Savior, when He sits enthroned in His glory. I don’t feel that I can go alone through the dark valley of the shadow of death. Now, tell me, father, whom shall I follow, you or mother? Shall I reject Christ, as you have taught me, or shall I accept Him, as He was my mother’s friend in the hour of her great sorrow?”

There was an honest heart beneath that rough exterior. Though tears nearly choked his utterance, the old soldier said: “My child, cling to your mother’s Savior; she was right. I’ll try to follow you to that blessed abode.”

A serene smile overspread the face of the dying girl, and who can doubt there is an unbroken family in heaven.[2]

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[1] S. B. Shaw was a minister, editor, evangelist, and publisher. He was associated with the Wesleyan Methodist Church, the Free Methodist Church, and the Christian Missionary Alliance. His works include Touching Incidents and Remarkable Answers to Prayer (1893), God’s Financial Plan (1897), Dying Testimonies of the Saved and Unsaved (1898), and The Great Revivals of Wales (1905).

[2] S. B. Shaw, Dying Testimonies of Saved and Unsaved Gathered from Authentic Sources, 66-67.

The Irreligion of Ethan Allen; The Irreligion of Ethan Allen