Ethan Allen Monument: Committee Report, 1858

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Ethan Allen Monument: Committee Report, 1858

Report of the Committee
under the Act Provident for the Erection of a Monument
over the Grave of Ethan Allen

Printed by Order of the Senate.
E. P. Walton, Printer


Page 1


The undersigned Committee, appointed under the act of the Legislature of this State, entitled "an act providing for the erection of a monument over the grave of Ethan Allen," approved 14th November, 1855, are happy in reporting the completion of said monument, agreeably to a plan and inscriptions submitted to and approved by your predecessor, and consisting of a Tuscan column of granite, forty-two feet in height and four and a half feet in diameter at its base, with a pedestal six feet square, in which are inserted four plates of white marble, having the following inscriptions, to wit:

[west side]
Ethan Allen
in Litchfield Ct 10th Jan AD 1737 o.s.
in Burlington Vt 12th Feb AD 1789
and buried near the site of this monument

[south side]
in the surprise and capture of
which he demanded "in the name of the Great
Jehovah and the Continental Congress

[east side]
Prisoner in a daring attack on Montreal
and transported to England
he disarmed the purpose of his enemy
by the respect which he inspired
for the

[north side]
the Pen as well as the Sword, he was the
sagacious and intrepid
DEFENDER of the New Hampshire Grants, and
Master Spirit
in the arduous struggle which resulted in the
Sovereignty and Independence
of this State.

The whole structure stands upon a solid foundation of stone work, five feet deep and ten feet square, and thus founded, and thus constructed of solid granite blocks from our native hills, it bids fair to stand, an unfaltering witness of the high appreciation of the State for one of her foremost and earliest patriots, through a long session of centuries to come.

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In the body of the act above referred to, it is directed that the monument be erected "at the burial place of Ethan Allen, in Burlington." Failing to discover his remains beneath the table which had, for years, marked the supposed spot of his burial, and which had been carried away piecemeal by patriotic pilgrims to his shrine, the public mind became much excited, and the most absurd rumors and statements were published, and gained extensive credence, as to his burial in various other towns; and the abstraction of his remains by pious relatives or rapacious speculators. The Committee have never doubted as to the place of his burial; and by an unbroken tradition, the uniform understanding of relatives, confirmed by the testimony of undoubted witnesses who were present at his funeral, (which funeral was of a public and formal character,) it is decisively settled that that place is where the monument is erected, in what is called "Green Mount Cemetery." The failure to find the remains beneath the tablet, in the minds of the Committee, sufficiently accounted for by the fact that, some twenty years since, the dead of the Allen family were arranged in a square enclosed by stone posts and chains, by Heman Allen, the nephew of Ethan Allen; and this tablet, then lying upon a dilapidated wall of brick work, was reconstructed with cut stone work, and it is presumed that, as a matter of convenience in giving a regular form to the enclosure, was removed some few feet from its original position, and the Committee have no doubt that by excavation in the immediate vicinity of the monument the remains might be found; but as doubts would probably be raised as to their identity, as it was not necessary to the faithful discharge of the duty of the Committee, and would accomplish no essential good, they instituted no examination.

The contract for the erection of this monument was made with Mr. J. P. Harrington, of South Barre, on the 15th day of

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October, 1856. By the terms of it, he was to accomplish the work, as before described, by the 1st day of October, 1857, for the sum of two thousand dollars, being the whole amount of the appropriation. The Committee regret the delay in the execution ofthe work, but in every other respect they have reason to be satisfied with the contractor, who has honorably fulfilled, and in some respects more than fulfilled, the terms of the contract, and that too, as the Committee apprehend, without the hope or realization of a full compensation. The work, to say nothing of the design, is, we think, highly creditable to the contractor, and to the State.

In the process of erecting the monument, a vacancy occurring beneath the cap stone of the pedestal, the Committee availed themselves of the opportunity thereby afforded by placing therein a stone pot securely sealed, containing the following among other articles: the newspapers of the town and of the various cities of the Union; Allen's Narrative of his Captivity; Appleton's Railway Guide and Maps; the Vermont Register; sundry American coins, and various seeds. A more formal deposit is contemplated beneath the statue, which it is hoped may surmount the column.

To carry out the suggestion heretofore made in our report, and the wishes of sundry patriotic citizens, the Committee procured the passage of an act, at the last session of the Legislature, authorizing the erection, by private donations, of a collossal statue of the Hero on the top of the column erected by the State; and thereupon issued circulars to the citizens of Vermont, at home and abroad, asking a donation of one dollar each. The Committee have been disappointed in the response to the applications, and have received in all only some five hundred dollars. Nevertheless, a young and patriotic artist, a native of this State, Mr. Larkin G. Mead, Jr., of Brattleboro', has volunteered to

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make a model of the statue in plaster, which the Committee have approved, and which they think highly creditable to the artist, and which, completed in marble, will constitute, with the column, not only a highly fitting monument, but a noble work of art. Through the generosity and patriotism of a citizen of this State, a block of marble suitable for the statue has, as the Committee understand, been proffered to Mr. Mead, and the Committee hope that, through a like commendable spirit to be evinced by others, a work so honorable to the people of Vermont may be accomplished.

All which is respectfully submitted.

Burlington, Sept., 1858.