Sunday, April 02, 2017

Thomas Young - the Man who Invented Vermont?

Yes, the ‘Sons of Liberty’ man of Longford/Belfast parentage is said in various sources to be the one who proposed the name for the state. He did so in a document written from Philadelphia, first dated 11 April 1776, which Young addressed 'To the Inhabitants of Vermont, a Free and Independent State, bounding the river Connecticut and Lake Champlain’. The name is a translation of “Green Mountains” and a reference to the pre-Revolutionary “Green Mountain Boys” who were led by Young’s friend and fellow Deist, Ethan Allen.

Young was one of a group who worked with Benjamin Franklin on the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776. Tragically he died on 24 June 1777 of yellow fever which he had contracted while serving as senior surgeon in a hospital in Philadelphia, so he never got to see the full outworkings of American Independence for himself. However, his contribution to Vermont was acknowledged in a document dated 20 October 1786 –

“We beg leave to represent our former worthy friend, Dr Thomas Young, now deceased, who pointed out the system to be pursued in establishing the state and to whom we stand indebted for the very name of Vermont”.

This document was a petition to the Honorable Assembly of the State of Vermont, brought forward and signed by Ethan Allen, Thomas Chittenden and Joseph Fay.

The 11 September 1891 edition of The Burlington Free Press contains a ‘trailer’ of sorts for a forthcoming series entitled 'The Scotch-Irish in Eastern Vermont' by “A.D.B.” which proposed to highlight in particular Caledonia County and the towns of Barnet, Ryegate, Newbury and Peacham.


I get the impression that there is a massive story yet to be unearthed around the life of Dr Thomas Young.