ESSEX COUNTY. 299
English. The works at Ticonderoga and Crown Point were enlarged and strengthened, at a cost
By the provisions of the Treaty of Paris, signed Feb. 10, 1763, in which the French ceded their
possessions in North America to the English, the latter government was bound to respect the
titles to land previously granted by the former. The proclamation of the King of Oct. 7, 1763,
authorized the granting of the lands upon Lake Champlain to officers and soldiers who had served
in the war. These incompatible acts led to much confusion. Overlapping claims and conflicting
titles unavoidably followed; and the matter was not finally settled until after the Revolution.
In the mean time, the controversy had the tendency to retard settlement, by destroying confidence
in the titles by which the land could be held and conveyed.
Settlement was commenced upon the Boquet in 1765, under the auspices of Wm. Gilliland, a
wealthy merchant of N. Y.2 Through his agency, and that of other capitalists, several miles of the
lake shore between the mouth of the Boquet and Crown Point were settled, mills and roads were built
and schools established. Mr. G. held a justice’s commission, and for many years was the only
judicial authority.3 The settlers whom he induced to locate upon his estate were mostly Irish.
After the cession of Canada the great fortresses on the lake were allowed to fall into partial
decay, and were held by only small bodies of troops. Upon the receipt of the news of the com¬
mencement of hostilities at Lexington, a small body of troops, known as “Green Mountain Boys,”
under Col. Ethan Allen, surprised and took both Ticonderoga and Crown Point in May, 1775.4
During the summer and autumn of the same year the expedition, under Schuyler and Montgomery,
against Canada, passed down the lake, and returned the next spring, unsuccessful. Daring the
summer of 1776, naval forces were organized upon the lake by both the British and Americans,
the latter under the command of Benedict Arnold. In an engagement that ensued, the Americans
were defeated, and their remaining vessels were obliged to take refuge under the guns of Fort
Ticonderoga. Crown Point was dismantled, and the stores removed; and soon after it was taken
possession of by the British. Mr. Gilliland and the colonists ardently embraced the American
cause, and materially aided Montgomery’s army in its advance on Canada, by furnishing provisions,
and, on its return, by affording relief to the sick and wounded.5 Mr. G.’s estate was wasted by
both friends and foes, and finally the whole settlement was broken up by Burgoyne.6
Burgoyne landed on the banks of the Boquet, June 21, 1777, and spent several days in con¬
ferences with the Indian tribes; and on the 27th the invading army advanced to Crown Point. On
the 30th they invested Ticonderoga; and on the night of July 4 they took possession of “Sugar
Loaf Hill,” (now Mt. Defiance,) and erected upon it a battery of heavy guns, completely commanding
the fort. On the night of the 5th the Americans hastily embarked their stores and munitions of
war upon bateaux, and sent them up to Skenesborough under convoy, and the main body of the
army escaped into Vt.T Both parties were quickly pursued, and the tide of war slowly and sullenly
rolled southward, beyond the limits of the co.
In Sept. Gen. Lincoln, at the head of a body of militia stationed at Manchester, Yt., made an
attack upon these works, took Mts. Hope and Defiance, released 100 American prisoners, took 293
of the enemy, and captured an armed sloop, several gun boats, and more than 200 bateaux.8 The
fort was not taken. After the surrender of Burgoyne the place was dismantled, and the garrison
retreated down the lake. The rear division of their boats, with 50 men and a large quantity of
of Tories and Indians, who attempted to capture him, were
themselves captured and sent to Gen. Schuyler.
8 Mr. G. assisted Arnold in the prosecution of his designs to
the extent of his ability; and, in return for the kindness,
Arnold, by an arbitrary stretch of power, destroyed his dwell¬
ings, mills, and stores, and nearly reduced him to poverty. In
a memorial to Congress in 1777, Gilliland held the following
truthful and prophetic language in regard to Arnold:—“ It is
not in mine, but it is in your power to bring him to justice.
Bursting with pride, and intoxicated with power,—to which he
ever ought to have been a stranger, but which he has had art
enough to obtain from you,—he tyrannizes where he can. If
temerity, if rashness, impudence, and error, can recommend
him to you, he is allowed to be amply supplied with these quali¬
ties ; and many people think they ought to recommend him in
a peculiar manner to Lord North, who, in gratitude for his
having done more injury to the American cause than all the
ministerial troops have had the power of doing, ought to reward
him with a generous pension.”
7 A heavy chain, 1000 feet long, and an immense boom, erected
across the lake by the Americans at great labor and expense,
were cut through in 2 hours.
3 In this expedition the Continental standard left behind by
St. Clair was recovered.
The fort and field works at Ticonderoga spread over an area
of several miles, and the fortress at Crown Point embraced
seven acres. The ruins of these works now visible still attest
their extent and magnitude.
Mr. Gilliland at first designed to lay the foundation of a
vast baronial estate; and hence he sold no land, but leased it on
the most favorable terms.
A convention of the settlers was held March 17,1775, (St.
Patrick’s Day,) and a local, independent government was
adopted. The management of affairs was intrusted to a mode¬
rator, two supts. of roads and bridges, three appraisers of dam¬
ages, and a town clerk. Just before the Revolution, a scheme
was devised to form a separate colonial government, embracing
all the territory north of Mass. and between the Connecticut
and St. Lawrence Rivers. Philip Skene, the founder of “ Slcenes-
borough,” (now Whitehall,) is believed to have been the
leading spirit of this movement, and his appointment as gov.
of the forts of Ticonderoga and Crown Point in June, 1775,
seems to give color to this belief. See Journals of Congress,
June 8,1775; Watson’s Ag. Survey, Tr. Ag. Soc., 1852, p. 694.
* The capture of these forts, and of the armed schooner upon the
lake, was of immense importance to the Americans, as it supplied
them with a great amount of cannon and other munitions of war.
Gen. Cariton offered a reward of $500 for the delivery of
Gilliland in Canada. Sheriff White, of Tryon co., and a party