A dramatization of the immediate aftermath of the 1772 violent capture and rescue of Arlington settler and Green Mountain Boy Captain Remember Baker, in 1772 will be held at 6:30 PM Saturday, June 18, in the sanctuary of the Federated Church of East Arlington, located at 102 Ice Pond Road in the Bennington County town of Arlington.
The pre-dawn abduction of Remember Baker from his home in Arlington by Colonial New Yorkers was an attempt to oust the settlers of the New Hampshire land grants and represented an escalation of the strife between the New Englanders and the Yorkers. The ongoing resistance, by Hampshire Grants settlers, to New York land claims made the violent attack on the Baker family of Arlington on March 21, 1772 part of the trauma experienced by the Green Mountain Boys in the years leading up to the War for American Independence and the birth of the Republic of Vermont (1777-1791), later the state of Vermont.
As part of the continuing land disputes between the New Hampshire Grants and New York, a posse of Yorkers under Justice John Munro attempted to collect the New York bounty on Green Mountain Boy Remember Baker at his cabin. Awakened in the night and dressed in only his nightshirt, Baker attempted to defend his family with an ax.
In the ensuing scuffle, Baker’s thumb was severed by a Yorker sword, with Baker’s wife and son also sustaining injuries. Attempting to draw off his attackers and elude capture, Baker jumped from the top story of his cabin but was captured, then transported towards Albany in the Province of New York. Some Green Mountain Boys managed to catch up with the posse and rescue Baker (who, three years later, tragically died a patriot hero early in the War for American Independence).
The dramatization is the centerpiece of the public event. The content of the drama is an imagined emergency gathering of townspeople, the neighbors of the Remember Baker family, to share information about the break-in, attack, and brutal abduction of Remember Baker plus the effort to free him from his cruel Yorker captors. A cast of more than one dozen volunteers, under the direction of Robert Ebert, will perform in costume, portraying known founding residents of Arlington and Bennington. After the special performance, living history soldiers will fire an outdoor musket salute to honor Remember Baker and Vermont history.
Starting at 6 p.m., the public may enter through the wheelchair-accessible front door of Bailey Hall, a building adjoining the church. In passing through Bailey Hall, guests will have opportunity to interact with living history re-enactors and with non-profit history organizations, including: Bennington Battlefield State Historic Site, Bennington Battle Monument State Historic Site, Descendants of the Green Mountain Boys, Dorset Historical Society, Bennington Historical Society, Bennington Museum, and Arlington’s own Russell Vermontiana Collection. Admission is free to all. A few relevant items will be available for purchase.
A consortium of history-minded volunteers has worked together to plan this commemoration of an unsettling occurrence that befell Arlington 250 years ago. Several of the planners and participants worked together last year on the 250th anniversary of the July 1771 “Breakenridge Stand-Off” in North Bennington. Three of the planners also actively serve on the Vermont 250th Anniversary Commission.
This June 18 event runs from 6 – 7:30 pm. Public parking is located directly across Ice Pond Road from the church.
For any updates regarding this event, the public may leave a brief voicemail message at 802-388-2967 or simply check the “Remember Baker” Facebook page.