Ebenezer Allen (1743–1806) was an American soldier, pioneer, and member of the Vermont General Assembly.
Allen was born in Northampton, Massachusetts on October 17, 1743. His parents were Samuel Allen (1706–1755) and Hannah Miller (1707–1755). Allen married Lydia Richards (1746–1833) at New Marlborough, Massachusetts, in 1762. She was the daughter of Zebulon Richards and Lydia Brown.
Along with Thomas Ashley, Allen was a founder of Poultney, Vermont. Allen and Ashley (both had married daughters of Zebulon Richards) arrived at the site of the town along the Poultney River on April 15, 1771. Allen brought his family with him on the journey. Ashley traveled alone, building a shanty and planting corn before bringing his family to the wilderness.
Poultney was a patriotic village. All of its residents (except one) supported the American Revolution and most males served in the revolutionary army at various times during the war.
Allen became a Lieutenant in a company of Green Mountain Boys, was with Ethan Allen when Ft. Ticonderoga was captured from the British, and with Colonel Warner in Canada. He was appointed a captain in Colonel Herrick’s battalion of rangers in July 1777, and distinguished himself at the battle of Bennington. In September of the same year he captured Mt. Defiance by assault, and on the retreat of the enemy from Fort Ticonderoga made fifty of them prisoners. Subsequently, he was made major in the rangers, and showed himself a brave partisan leader. In his later life he was always referred to as Col. Allen.
Allen occupied many positions of civil authority in Vermont. He was a Justice of the Peace, served on many town committees, and was a representative to the Vermont General Assembly from 1788 to 1792. He was prominent in the planning of a new government for Vermont, helping to frame its constitution.
Allen was one of the original grantees of South Hero, Vermont by an act of the legislature in 1779. He left Poultney with his family for South Hero, Vermont where he once again was the first pioneer in a wilderness—tradition states that he arrived on August 25, 1783, however he may have arrived as early as 1779. In 1787 he enlarged his house and operated a public house on the island. He held many public offices and was a representative to the Vermont General Assembly from 1788 to 1792. His cousin, Ethan Allen, spent the last night of his life at his house in South Hero. Ebenezer removed from South Hero to Burlington, Vermont in 1800 and operated a tavern there until his death in 1806.
Allen was known as a man of strong convictions—whether political, moral or religious. He was opposed to slavery and on November 27, 1777, he granted freedom to two slaves stating: “I being conscientious that it is not right in the sight of God to keep slaves, give them their freedom.”
In 1792 Allen toured the unsettled portions of Ohio, Michigan and Upper Canada with a group of Indians for a year. In 1795, Allen was part of a partnership with Charles Whitney, also of Vermont, Robert Randal, of Philadelphia and several British subjects in Detroit including John Askin and William Robertson, which planned to buy the entire lower Michigan peninsula from the United States government for $500,000. A stock company was established, and two of Allen’s eastern partners promised members of Congress either stock or cash for their support in the purchase. This clumsy scheme was exposed, and the partner’s plans evaporated.