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The New Hampshire Grants or Benning Wentworth Grants were
land grant A land grant is a gift of real estate Real estate is property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resource , Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia. The federation, federal constitution ...
s made between 1749 and 1764 by the colonial governor of the
Province of New Hampshire The Province of New Hampshire was a colony of England and later a British province in North America. The name was first given in 1629 to the territory between the Merrimack River, Merrimack and Piscataqua River, Piscataqua rivers on the eastern c ...
,
Benning Wentworth Benning Wentworth (24 July 1696 – 14 October 1770) was the colonial governor of New Hampshire New Hampshire ( ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published b ...
. The land grants, totaling about 135 (including 131
town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. Origin and use The word "town" shares a ...

town
s), were made on land claimed by New Hampshire west of the
Connecticut River The Connecticut River is the longest river in the region of the United States, flowing roughly southward for through four states. It rises at the U.S. border with , , and discharges at . Its watershed encompasses , covering parts of five U.S. s ...

Connecticut River
, territory that was also claimed by the
Province of New York The Province of New York (1664–1776) was a British proprietary colony A proprietary colony was a type of English colony mostly in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all w ...
. The resulting dispute led to the eventual establishment of the
Vermont Republic The Vermont Republic (French: ''République du Vermont''), officially known at the time as the State of Vermont (French: ''État du Vermont''), was an independent state in New England New England is a region comprising six states in the ...
, which later became the
U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state ...
of
Vermont Vermont () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

Vermont
.


Background

The territory of what is now
Vermont Vermont () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

Vermont
was first permanently settled by European settlers when
William Dummer William Dummer (bapt. September 29, 1677 (O.S.) October 10, 1677 (N.S.)– October 10, 1761) was a politician in the Province of Massachusetts Bay. He served as its lieutenant governor for fourteen years (1716–1730), including an extended ...
, acting governor of the
Province of Massachusetts Bay The Province of Massachusetts Bay was a colony in British America British America comprised the colonial territories of the British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, L ...
, ordered the construction of a fort roughly where
Brattleboro Brattleboro (), originally Brattleborough, is a New England town, town in Windham County, Vermont, United States. The most populous municipality abutting Vermont's eastern border with New Hampshire, which is the Connecticut River, Brattleboro is l ...

Brattleboro
is located. Massachusetts laid claim to the territory west of the
Merrimack River The Merrimack River (or Merrimac River, an occasional earlier spelling) is a river in the northeastern United States. It rises at the confluence of the Pemigewasset River, Pemigewasset and Winnipesaukee River, Winnipesaukee rivers in Franklin, ...
at the time, and it had settlers on the
Connecticut River The Connecticut River is the longest river in the region of the United States, flowing roughly southward for through four states. It rises at the U.S. border with , , and discharges at . Its watershed encompasses , covering parts of five U.S. s ...

Connecticut River
who were prepared to move further north. The border between Massachusetts and the neighboring
Province of New Hampshire The Province of New Hampshire was a colony of England and later a British province in North America. The name was first given in 1629 to the territory between the Merrimack River, Merrimack and Piscataqua River, Piscataqua rivers on the eastern c ...
was fixed by royal decree in 1741 at a line north of Pawtucket Falls, where the Merrimack River turns north. This decision eliminated claims by Massachusetts to the north of that line. The territory between the Connecticut River and
Lake Champlain , native_name_lang = , image = Champlainmap.svg , caption = Lake Champlain-River Richelieu watershed , image_bathymetry = , caption_bathymetry = , location = New York (state), New York/Vermont in the United States; and Quebec in Canada , ...

Lake Champlain
, however, was also claimed by the
Province of New York The Province of New York (1664–1776) was a British proprietary colony A proprietary colony was a type of English colony mostly in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all w ...
, the claims of which extended eastward to Connecticut. Also in 1741, New Hampshire native
Benning Wentworth Benning Wentworth (24 July 1696 – 14 October 1770) was the colonial governor of New Hampshire New Hampshire ( ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published b ...
was appointed the first governor of New Hampshire of the 18th century who was not also a governor of Massachusetts. Wentworth chose to read New Hampshire's territorial claims broadly. He construed the decree setting the New Hampshire-Massachusetts border to mean that New Hampshire's jurisdiction extended as far west as the jurisdiction of Massachusetts extended. Since the Massachusetts boundary extended to a point east of the
Hudson River The Hudson River is a river that flows from north to south primarily through eastern New York (state), New York in the United States. It originates in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York and flows southward through the Hudson Valley ...

Hudson River
, Wentworth assumed the area west of the Connecticut belonged to New Hampshire. New York based its claim on the
letters patent Letters patent ( la, litterae patentes) ( always in the plural) are a type of legal instrument ''Legal instrument'' is a legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act acco ...
, which granted Prince James, Duke of York, brother of King Charles II, all of the lands west of the
Connecticut River The Connecticut River is the longest river in the region of the United States, flowing roughly southward for through four states. It rises at the U.S. border with , , and discharges at . Its watershed encompasses , covering parts of five U.S. s ...

Connecticut River
to
Delaware Bay Delaware Bay is the estuary outlet of the Delaware River on the northeast seaboard of the United States. Approximately in area, the bay's fresh water mixes for many miles with the salt water of the Atlantic Ocean. The bay is bordered inland by t ...
.


Grants


New Hampshire

Wentworth made the first grant, Bennington, a township west of the Connecticut River, on January 3, 1749. Cautioned by New York to
cease and desist A cease and desist letter is a document sent to an individual or business to stop allegedly illegal activity. The phrase "cease and desist" is a legal doublet, made up of two near-synonyms. The letter may warn that, if the recipient does not disc ...
, Wentworth promised to await the judgment of the king, and refrain from making more grants in the claimed territory until it was rendered, but in November 1753, New York reported that he continued to grant land in the disputed area. Grants briefly ceased in 1754, because of the
French and Indian War The French and Indian War (1754–1763) was a theater of the Seven Years' War The Seven Years' War (1756–1763) is widely considered to be the first global conflict in history, and was a struggle for world supremacy between Great Britain ...

French and Indian War
, but in 1755 and 1757, Wentworth had a survey made up the Connecticut River, and 108 grants were made, extending to the line east of the Hudson, and north to the eastern shore of
Lake Champlain , native_name_lang = , image = Champlainmap.svg , caption = Lake Champlain-River Richelieu watershed , image_bathymetry = , caption_bathymetry = , location = New York (state), New York/Vermont in the United States; and Quebec in Canada , ...

Lake Champlain
. The grants were usually six miles (9.6 km) square (the standard size of a U.S.
survey township A survey township, sometimes called a Congressional township or just township, as used by the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Contine ...

survey township
, although the
Public Land Survey System The Public Land Survey System (PLSS) is the surveying method developed and used in the United States to plat, or divide, real property for sale and settling. Also known as the Rectangular Survey System, it was created by the Land Ordinance of 1785 ...

Public Land Survey System
is not used in Vermont) and cost the grantee(s) £20. The grants were then subdivided amongst the proprietors, and six of the lots were set aside—one for the
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts United Society Partners in the Gospel (USPG) is a United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a syno ...
(a missionary organization of the
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is a Christian church Christian Church is a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Critic ...
), one for the Church of England, one for the first
clergy Clergy are formal leaders within established s. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over specific rituals and teaching their religion's s and practices. Some of the terms used for ind ...
man to settle in the township, one for a school, and two for Wentworth himself. The permanent annual tax on each grant, called a
quitrent Quit rent, quit-rent, or quitrent is a tax or land tax imposed on occupants of Fee simple, freehold or leased land in lieu of services to a higher landowning authority, usually a government or its Assignment (law), assigns. Under feudal law, the pa ...
, was one
shilling The shilling is a historical coin, and the name of a unit of modern currencies A currency, "in circulation", from la, currens, -entis, literally meaning "running" or "traversing" in the most specific sense is money Image:National-D ...
, paid directly to the king or his representative.


New York

While Wentworth's land sales were underway, New York also issued land patents in the same area. However, in contrast to the New Hampshire grants, the New York patents were generally irregularly shaped and issued to wealthy landowners. The New Hampshire grants were "town-sized," and generally settled by
middle-class The middle class is a class Class or The Class may refer to: Common uses not otherwise categorized * Class (biology), a taxonomic rank * Class (knowledge representation), a collection of individuals or objects * Class (philosophy), an an ...
farmers. Most of the New York boundaries were ignored in favor of the New Hampshire boundaries and designations once Vermont achieved statehood, and some of these New York patents are now referred to as ''paper towns'' because they existed only on paper.


Royal adjudication

In September 1762, New York found New Hampshire surveyors working on the east side of Champlain, provoking the former colony's government to reiterate its claim to the area, citing both its own patent and the New Hampshire letters patent of 1741. In March 1764, Wentworth released a statement to the effect that the resolution of jurisdictional dispute required a royal verdict, which he was certain would be made in his favor. Meanwhile, he encouraged his grantees to settle in the land and to cultivate and develop it. New York appealed to the
Board of Trade The Board of Trade is a British government body concerned with commerce and industry, currently within the Department for International Trade. Its full title is The Lords of the Committee of the Privy Council appointed for the consideration of a ...
, requesting a confirmation of their original grant, which finally resolved the border dispute between New York and New Hampshire in favor of New York. The royal order of July 26, 1764, affirmed that "the Western bank of the Connecticut, from where it enters the province of Massachusetts Bay as far north as the 45th degree of northern latitude, to be the boundary line between the said two provinces of New Hampshire and New York." Wentworth issued his final two grants on October 17 of that year:
Walker Walker or The Walker may refer to: People *Walker (given name) *Walker (surname) *Walker (Brazilian footballer) (born 1982), Brazilian footballer Places In the United States *Walker, Arizona, in Yavapai County *Walker, Mono County, California * ...
and Waltham.


Invalidation

New York interpreted the decision as invalidating Wentworth's grants entirely—to the great dismay of area residents—and subsequently divided the territory into four counties,
Albany Albany, derived from the Gaelic name for Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the C ...
,
Charlotte Charlotte ( ) is the most populous city The United Nations uses three definitions for what constitutes a city, as not all cities in all jurisdictions are classified using the same criteria. Cities may be defined as the city proper, cities p ...
,
Cumberland Cumberland ( ) is a historic counties of England, historic county of North West England that had an administrative function from the 12th century until 1974. It is bordered by the historic counties of Northumberland to the northeast, County Dur ...
and
Gloucester Gloucester ( ) is a cathedral city City status in the United Kingdom is granted by the monarch of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy of the ...
. New York required that grantees surrender their charters, and in many cases buy their lands back from New York at greatly increased prices. Those who would not pay lost legal
title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic qualification. In some languages, titles may be inserted between the firs ...
to their lands, which New York then reassigned to others. The people, who would later become Vermonters, petitioned the governor of New York to confirm the New Hampshire Grants; he complied, in part, by declaring that no other grants should be made until the King's wishes were known. Land not previously granted by New Hampshire was considered open for distribution by New York's government. In 1770, the
New York Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the State of New York is the trial-level court of general jurisdiction {{Globalize, article, USA, 2name=the United States, date=December 2010 A court of general jurisdiction is a court with authority to hear cases of all ...
declared all of Wentworth's grants invalid, thereby asserting the province's ''
de jure In law and government, ''de jure'' ( ; , "by law") describes practices that are legally recognized, regardless of whether the practice exists in reality. In contrast, ("in fact") describes situations that exist in reality, even if not legally ...
'' control over the region. This infuriated residents, including
Ethan Allen Ethan Allen (Allen's date of birth is made confusing by calendrical differences caused by the conversion between the Julian calendar, Julian and Gregorian calendars. The first change offsets the date by 11 days. The second is that, at the time ...
and his
Green Mountain Boys The Green Mountain Boys were a militia organization first established in 1770 in the territory between the British provinces of New York and New Hampshire New Hampshire () is a U.S. state, state in the New England region of the United St ...
, who rose up to resist those efforts. While the resistance faded, so did New York's desire to assert its claim on the land around the Upper Connecticut, as a more pressing issue—
revolution In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, suc ...
—moved to center stage.


Independence and statehood

In January 1775 Committees of Safety from over twenty towns in the New Hampshire Grants area met in Manchester to discuss the need for local
self-governance __NOTOC__ Self-governance, self-government, or self-rule is the ability of a person or group to exercise all necessary functions of regulation Regulation is the management of complex systems A complex system is a system composed of many c ...
independent from New York. The
Manchester Manchester () is the most-populous city and metropolitan borough A metropolitan borough is a type of local government district The districts of England (also known as local authority districts or local government districts to distinguis ...
meeting created a "civil and political Body" to regulate their community. Two months later, another convention meeting at Westminster renounced the authority of New York's government. On March 13, 1775, two men were killed in Westminster by officers from New York. News of the first clash between American militia and British troops at
Lexington and Concord The battles of Lexington and Concord were the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the Revolutionary War and the American War of Independence, was initi ...
interrupted the
Westminster Westminster is a district in Central London Central London is the innermost part of London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city sta ...
convention, but settlers gathered at yet another convention at
Dorset Dorset (; archaically In language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing system compose ...
in 1776 and petitioned the
Continental Congress The Continental Congress was a series of legislative bodies A legislature is a deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is ...
to recognize Vermont as a
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine ''State Magazine'' is a digital magazine published by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Global Talent Management. Its mission is to acquaint Department o ...
and seat its delegates. The New York delegation convinced the Congress to deny the petition. Some former Green Mountain Boys companies served in the
American Revolutionary War The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the Revolutionary War and the American War of Independence, was initiated by delegates from Thirteen Colonies, thirteen American colonies of British America in Continental Congress ...
, including in the effort to capture
Fort Ticonderoga Fort Ticonderoga (), formerly Fort Carillon Fort Carillon, the precursor of Fort Ticonderoga Fort Ticonderoga (), formerly Fort Carillon, is a large 18th-century star fort built by the French at a narrows near the south end of Lake Cha ...
on May 10, 1775, and the invasion of Canada later that year. Ethan Allen and his then subordinate,
Seth Warner Seth Warner (17 May 1743 – 26 December 1784) was a Revolutionary War officer from Vermont who rose to rank of Continental colonel and was often given the duties of a brigade A brigade is a major tactical military unit, military formati ...
, induced the
Continental Congress The Continental Congress was a series of legislative bodies A legislature is a deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is ...
at Philadelphia to create a ''Green Mountain''
ranger regiment These are the special forces units of the Kenya Army tasked with airborne operations, commando raids, reconnaissance, counter-insurgency, infiltration and other specialized forms of warfare. Overview This is the umbrella body of specialized units ...
. Having no treasury, the Congress directed that New York's
Provincial Congress The Provincial Congresses were extra-legal legislative bodies established in ten of the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Br ...
pay for the newly authorized regiment; which it did. In 1777 the citizens of Vermont declared their full
independence Independence is a condition of a person, nation, country, or Sovereign state, state in which residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory. The opposite of independe ...
from
Great Britain Great Britain is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atoll An atoll (), ...

Great Britain
and established a
constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...
. The first elections under this constitution were held on March 3, 1778, and on March 12, the new
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...
was organized at
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. During the later stages of the Revolutionary War (early 1780s) several Vermont officials engaged in
negotiations Negotiation is a dialogue Dialogue (sometimes spelled dialog in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English lang ...
with British officials, including
Frederick Haldimand Sir Frederick Haldimand, KB (11 August 1718 – 5 June 1791) was a military officer best known for his service in the British Army The British Army is the principal Army, land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of the British ...

Frederick Haldimand
, the governor of
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, about Vermont officially returning to the British side. Just as Haldimand offered generous terms for reunion in 1781, the main British army surrendered at Yorktown, and it was clear that the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
would achieve independence. Following the
Revolutionary WarRevolutionary War(s) may refer to: * American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), the armed conflict between Great Britain and 13 of its North American colonies, which had declared themselves the independent United States of America * French Revolution ...
, Vermont was excluded (primarily due to objections from New York) from the loose
confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common action. Usually created by a treaty, confederations of states tend to be established for dealing with critical issu ...
established among the 13 former colonies. The state remained outside until 1791. In 1790 New York finally consented to Vermont's
admission to the Union The Admission to the Union Clause of the United States Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute t ...
. New York ceded its New Hampshire Grants claim to Vermont for 30,000
dollars Dollar is the name of more than 20 currencies A currency, "in circulation", from la, currens, -entis, literally meaning "running" or "traversing" in the most specific sense is money Image:National-Debt-Gillray.jpeg, In a 1786 James Gi ...
. A
convention Convention may refer to: * Convention (norm), a custom or tradition, a standard of presentation or conduct ** Treaty, an agreement in international law * Convention (meeting), meeting of a (usually large) group of individuals and/or companies in a ...
was held from January 6 through 10, 1791 at Bennington to consider joining the federal Union. The convention voted 105–2 in favor of seeking admission.
Congress Congresses are formal meetings of the representatives of different countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity ...
gave unanimous approval to Vermont statehood the following month, and on March 4, 1791, the New Hampshire Grants, as Vermont, became the 14th state, the first admitted to the Union after adoption of the federal
Constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...

Constitution
.


See also

*
List of towns in Vermont The state of Vermont Vermont () is a U.S. state, state in the New England region of the United States. It borders the states of Massachusetts to the south, New Hampshire to the east, and New York (state), New York to the west, and the Pro ...
*
Equivalent Lands The Equivalent Lands were several large tracts of land that the Province of Massachusetts Bay The Province of Massachusetts Bay was a colony in British America British America comprised the colonial territories of the British Empire ...


References


Sources

* * *


External links


The Problem of the New Hampshire Grants



Vermont Genealogy Resources
*

*

*
Map of Vermont Towns with Grant States and Dates

''Vermont vs. New Hampshire''
289 U.S. 593 (1933) at FindLaw {{Coord, display=title, 44, N, 72.7, W, region:US-VT_type:adm1st_scale:3000000 Former regions and territories of the United States Pre-statehood history of Vermont Vermont Republic
History of the Thirteen Colonies ---- *''The category includes articles on the history of the European Thirteen Colonies on the east coast of present day United Stat ...
1749 establishments in the Thirteen Colonies