CHAPTER XII
The General Takes a Wife

There lived in the town of Westminster, Vermont, during the winter of 1783-84, a beautiful young widow described as both daring and dashing. Her name was Fanny Montresor Buchanan, and she lived with her mother and second stepfather, Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Wall. Fanny's first stepfather had been the celebrated Crean Brush, Irish lawyer and adventurer, who once acquired some sixty thousand acres of Vermont land.* Mother and daughter, aided by mother's third husband, were in Westminster for the purpose of getting some cash out of their lands.

Westminster was perhaps the best town in Vermont for

____________________
*
Crean Brush, long since forgotten, was one of the most notorious characters in America of the time. Born in Dublin, he came to New York in 1762 and became prominent in politics and land jobbing, eventually claiming sixty thousand acres in the New Hampshire Grants, most of it under New York title. He was naturally in the Yorker clique against Ethan Allen and the Vermonters. During the Revolution he sided with the British. Arrested in Boston for looting, he made a sensational escape from jail dressed in female clothing, smuggled in by his alleged wife, Fanny's mother. But in time even the British soured on him. On May 21, 1778, the Independent Chronicle of Boston reported with ill concealed joy that in New York City "the notorious CREAN BRUSH . . . retired to his chamber, where, with a Pistol, he besmeared the Room with his Brains."

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