Who doesn’t like a famous tavern

While we can revel in the actions of William Shepard during the Revolutionary War, he is not the only ancestor of ours who played a major part in our freedom from British rule. There are quite a few of these ancestors on our Shaw side of the family. Today I am going to talk about Captain Stephen Fay my 7x great grandfather.

The Fay family was originally from Hardwick, Massachusetts. In 1766 they removed to Bennington, Vermont where Stephen, and his wife Ruth (Child), purchased a hostelry/tavern, Green Mountain House, in a town that was currently at the heart of political action in Vermont.

Green Mountain House, more famously known as the Catamount Tavern. (Image found on Wikipedia.)

The tavern also became known as the ‘Catamount Tavern’ because of the stuffed ‘catamount’ (a type of wild cat), that was mounted on the signpost. The teeth of which were bared in the direction of the state of New York. This teeth baring symbol expressed his sentiments regarding New York’s attempts to take over land in Vermont. One of their neighbors was Ethan Allen. Ethan and his Green Mountain Boys used the tavern as the meeting place to plan their opposition to the ‘Yorkers’ who were coming to the area and setting up homesteads. Stephen Fay and his son Jonas were appointed the official agents of the New Hampshire claimants who opposed New York’s highhanded actions. They headed to New York to meet with the Governor and try to settle matters.

The ‘Council of Safety’ which was responsible for the citizens well being during the Revolutionary War met many a night here. This was where they planned and carried out the successful battle of Bennington on the 16th of August 1777. A victory which resulted in British General Burgoyne’s surrender at Saratoga.

Stephen and Ruth had 10 children some went on to become famous others not so much. It must have been quite a time to see.

Stephen passed way in 1781, Ruth died in 1833.

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