Thursday, January 06, 2011

"West Bank, "Settlers", "Territorial Dispute" - Sound Familiar?

My Right Word

This story has it all: "settlers", "west bank", "land", "militia", "dispute", "colony", "pioneers", "territory", "hostilities", "territorial dispute" but it's not about Zionism.

When Gov. Benning Wentworth of New Hampshire chartered the nine Bennington County towns that will mark their 250th anniversaries in 2011, he was busily creating a dispute that could only be resolved by the king of England.
The nine towns he chartered in 1761 are Arlington, Sunderland, Manchester, Sandgate, Dorset, Glastenbury, Shaftsbury, Rupert, and Peru.

Wentworth had been appointed governor of the colony of New Hampshire by the king, but so had Gov. George Clinton of the royal colony of New York, whose eastern boundary was set at the west bank of the Connecticut River. So when pioneers began to arrive on land they had purchased in good faith from the governor of New Hampshire, they were treading on the same territory that was claimed by New York.

Ultimately, this was the reason the Green Mountain Boys formed as an informal militia unit, led by Ethan Allen, to protect the farms they had purchased. A different economic philosophy was at stake as well. Settlers on the New Hampshire Grants farmed their own plots of land, whereas farmers in New York generally rented from large baronial land owners.

After chartering Bennington in 1749 as the first town in "the Grants," Wentworth went on to charter Halifax in 1750; Wilmington and Marlborough in 1751; Westminster and Rockingham in 1752; Stamford, Woodford, Townshend, Newfane, Brattleboro, Fulham (later Dummerston), and Putney in 1753; and Chester, Guilford, and Tomlinson (Grafton) in 1754. Then he waited a few years until the end of hostilities that had resumed between England and France, and then the fall of Montreal, to return to his profitable project. He chartered Pownal in 1760 and soon discovered the benefits of mass production during 1761, the year of interest here.

Because Wentworth realized that only the king of England could resolve the territorial dispute he had created, he took actions which, if adjudicated, would be likely to tip the balance in his favor. Known for enjoying schemes that combined patriotism, religion, expanded jurisdiction, and monetary gain, Wentworth made sure each town he chartered in the Grants had acreage set aside for the so-called Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, for the first settled minister, plus plenty of land for himself.

To give proper attention to politics, he carefully named each town for a prominent political figure who was favored by the king...

It's about America.

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