In honor of July 4th, here's some interesting information about Ethan Allen, Revolutionary War hero and leader of the famed Green Mountain Boys, the Vermont militia that captured Fort Ticonderoga from the British without using force.
Ethan Allen was a bit of a loose cannon and a freethinker. He was also a Deist, and wrote a book called Reason, the Only Oracle of Man, that outlined his unorthodox religious views. It was an attack on Christianity, the Bible and the clergy. Unsurprisingly, it got bad reviews.
In 1785, which was late in his life, Ethan Allen discussed metaphysics with J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur, a Frenchman who became an American citizen and wrote a series of popular books titled Letters from An American Farmer. Ethan Allen remarked that if the transmigration of souls was indeed true, he hoped to return to earth as a magnificent white stallion so he could roam the hills of Vermont.
Allen died in 1789. Although the public viewed him as a national hero, clergymen took a dimmer view, one going so far to call him "one of the wickedest men that ever walked this guilty globe."
According to B.A. Botkin's Treasury of New England Folklore, shortly after Allen's death a large white stallion, unclaimed by any farmer, was seen roaming freely across the green hills of Vermont. Ethan Allen's remains have never been located by modern historians.