Second Yankee-Pennamite War
"Yankee Pennamite Wars 1775-1794 Part II, Second and Third Yankee-Penn Wars, Yankee Exodus, Ethan Allen & the Vermont Republic
After the First Yankee-Pennamite War part of the Wyoming Valley territory from 1771-1778 became known as Westmoreland, and was annexed to the control of Connecticut’s Litchfield County. Zebulon Butler represented Westmoreland in the Connecticut General Assembly (state senate) from 1774-1776, and was later a Continental Army general partly due to his fame in the region.
Above & Below: On this Day in History, July 3, 1778
Massacre of most of Butler's force by British Rangers and their Iroquois,
mostly Seneca allies
The Second Yankee-Pennamite War took place in 1775 beginning with skirmishes & ambushes between the settlers and militias of the Wyoming Valley. This short but bloody confrontation ended at the Battle of Rampart Rocks on Christmas Day 1775.
Here an unknown number of Yankee’s under Zebulon Butler defeated 600 or so Pennamite’s under Colonel Plunkett. The Yankees used the natural cover of the Rampart Rocks cliffs near the Nanticoke Falls to inflict heavy casualties on the Penns who retreated after considerable losses.
Shortly after however the Yankee’s and Pennsylvanians, seemingly forgetting their past conflicts called an official treaty, supplying fighting men to the Continental army and the militias of the Patriot cause. Western Pennsylvania was also a haven for Loyalists which would cause further bloodshed as a result. It was Butler who led the Yankee militia during the Revolution, up until the infamous Massacre of Wyoming Valley following the Battle of Wyoming July 3, 1778.
Following America’s War for Independence in 1783 politically and diplomatically Connecticut had lost all sympathy and support for their far off claims in Pennsylvania. In 1782 the Decree of Trenton confirmed that the Yankees were illegally settled in the Wyoming Valley, loosing their rights as citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and being stripped of their land claims as a result.
The Third Pennamite War was fought and ended in 1783 after a Yankee army burned the fort Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania and then abandoned the settlers of the Wyoming Valley. However bloodshed and a low intensity guerilla conflict of sorts would ensue for years after, not completely ending until 1794.
Part of the renewed Yankee campaigns from 1784-1790 began when 700-800 Yankee settlers were forcefully driven from their lands, loosing their claims and for some of them, their lives, following hardships in the wilderness after their eviction by the Pennamites.
Despite General Butler trying to lobby for Senate and Congressional support any hope for a peaceful settlement seemed in vain. This was confirmed by the arrival of Ethan Allen (b.1738-1789) and his Green Mountain boys of Vermont in April of 1786.
General Allen was a Revolutionary War Hero and a political force nationally as a former representative of the Vermont Republic, which many historians of this period call Vermont during this period from 1777-1791.
Flag of the Vermont Republic
He had come out of retirement and created a new skeletal regiment of Green Mountain Boys in the hopes of gaining considerable land from a deal between Vermont, Connecticut, and the Yankee settlers. Evidence suggests that he was willing to carve out another state in the region if the conditions were right it. It never materialized and his trip to the Wyoming Valley was a failure.
Green Mountain Boys, 1776
Sporadic fighting continued after Allen’s departure in 1787 and into the mid 1790’s. In 1799 hostility between the Yankees and Pennamites is squashed when Pennsylvania seeks a peaceful resolve to the conflict and grants the Yankee settlers and others the right to settle in the Wyoming Valley."