Ethan Allen Homestead hosts fundraiser Aug. 2

Gary Shattuck
Gary Shattuck

Vermont hasn’t always been a peaceful state, at least it wasn’t in the early nineteenth century.  Gary Shattuck brings the era alive with his recently released book “Insurrection, Corruption, and Murder in Early Vermont: Life on the Wild Northern Frontier”, in which he chronicles the Black Snake Affair and the War of 1812.  As a recently retired prosecutor with 35 years of experience in the field of law enforcement, and a current graduate student in the field of military history, it is no wonder that Shattuck breathes life into this tumultuous time with such finesse.
Much of the turmoil documented in “Insurrection, Corruption, and Murder in Early Vermont” begins with the Embargo Act of 1807, which President Thomas Jefferson signed in response to attempts by both the British and French to sabotage American neutrality in the Napoleonic Wars. This Act was aimed to prevent the seizing of American merchant cargo as war contraband and the forced conscription of American sailors. It was incredibly unpopular in Vermont, whose chief trade partner was British Canada, and many Vermonters smuggled cargo north. One ship, the Black Snake, was caught smuggling potash by federalized Vermont militia on the Winooski River near the Ethan Allen Homestead.  The resulting shootout killed two of the Militiamen and Jonathan Ormsby, a bystander. The Black Snake Affair, as it came to be called, was a highly partisan political issue, and is etched in Vermont’s memory as a symbol both of resistance against government policy and the lawlessness of the early Frontier.
For those interested in the Black Snake Affair, or early American military history, Shattuck will be leading a private tour of the area where the incident took place and share findings from his new book on Saturday, Aug. 23 at 4pm.  The tour is part of a fundraiser to support the Museum’s operations, admission is $50.  A reception will follow. Please RSVP by calling 865-4556 or email info@ethanallenhomestead.org.