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The Molly Stark Trail

The Molly Stark Trail runs along Route 9 from Brattleboro to Bennington (see below):

Along its way it passes through the Green Mountain National Forest and several well-known southern Vermont towns, including Marlboro, Wilmington and Woodford. Add to this the fact that it lies just south of the Mount Snow/Haystack ski resort, and you're talking a fairly well-traveled route. None of which brings us around to answering the big question: who the heck is Molly Stark?

Molly Stark was born in 1737 in Haverhill, New Hampshire, the daughter of the 1st Postmaster for that state. She might well have gone her whole life without having so much as a footpath named for her if she hadn't married John Stark in 1758 (with whom she had 11 children).

It was during the Revolutionary War that General John Stark achieved hero-status. He'd originally made a name for himself at the Battle of Bunker Hill, but it is his defeat of the British at the Battle of Bennington that places him firmly in the annals of Vermont lore (forgetting for a moment that Vermont didn't exist at the time, and the Battle was really fought across the border in New York). General Stark marched his New Hampshire militia troops across the state from Brattleboro to Bennington to keep the British from raiding supplies that may very well have resulted in the fall of New York. Upon his arrival, he is rumored to have said, "There are the Red Coats, and they are ours, or this night Molly Stark sleeps a widow." With the help of the Green Mountain Boys, the Rangers of Vermont and a Massachusetts group, Mrs. Stark never did sleep a widow, and the stores at Bennington remained safe (their location is the current site of the Bennington Battle Monument).

Molly Stark died of typhus in 1814, but her name lives on to mark the route her husband took to meet, greet and defeat the British in 1777. Indeed, you'll find the name Molly Stark all over southern Vermont attached to streets, state parks, hospitals, schools, restaurants, inns and more.

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