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 Ohio Revisited: Belmont County, Part 13 -- Heroism of Elizabeth Zane.

by Henry Howe.

Lynn, a ranger, warned the residents of Wheeling that an Indian army was approaching. For some time, the fort at Wheeling had been unoccupied by a garrison, during which time Colonel Zane's house had been used for a magazine. When most of the settlers moved to the safety of the fortress, the defenders had to take with them a supply of ammunition from Col. Zane's house.

The supply of powder that was initially taken to the fort seemed ample at the time, but -- because of the long duration of the siege, and the repeated efforts by the Indians to take the fort by storm -- the supply was now almost exhausted. Only a few rounds remained.

In this emergency it became necessary for the defenders in the fort to renew their stock from the large supply deposited in Colonel Zane's house. Accordingly, it was proposed that one of the fastest men should try to reach the house, obtain a supply of powder, and return with it to the fort. It was a plan full of danger; but many of the men shut up in the fort were willing to take the risk.

Among those who volunteered to go was Elizabeth, the sister of Colonel E. Zane. She was young, athletic, and possessed the courage to face the danger and the fortitude to sustain her through it. Refusing to consider her personal risk, when told that a man would encounter less danger because he could run faster, she replied, "and should he fall, his loss will be more severely felt; you have not one man to spare; a woman will not be missed in the defence of the fort." Thus, her services were accepted.

Removing some of her clothing that would impede her progress, she was ready for the hazardous adventure. When the gate was thrown open, she leaped forward and ran as she had never run before. In amazement, the Indians exclaimed, "A squaw, a squaw," but made no attempt to stop her.

When she reached the door of the cabin from which other settlers were fighting, she explained her errand. Colonel Silas Zane fastened a tablecloth around her waist, and emptied into it a keg of powder.

Again she ventured forth. The Indians were no longer passive. Ball after ball whizzed by, several of which passed through her clothes. She reached the gate, and entered the safety of the fort. With the renewed supply of powder, the entire garrison was saved.

Elizabeth Zane had just returned from Philadelphia, where she had received her education. She was wholly unused to scenes such as these, which were occurring all too frequently on the frontiers. The distance she had to run between the fort and cabin was about 120 feet.

This entry is adapted from Henry Howe's HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS OF OHIO (2 vols., 1907). The book has been reedited, updated, and restructured for inclusion in the Pierian Press Fulltext eBooks database, and is included on the Stratton House Inn Web site by special permission. This entry is licensed for use ONLY on this Web site. This entry may not be copied or downloaded, but may be used for educational purposes and personal pleasure under fair-use provisions via this Web site. Please note that the Stratton House Inn iteration of this entry does NOT include the subject headings assigned the entry for use in the Fulltext eBooks database.

DATABASE: Fulltext eBooks: Copyright (c) 1998 The Pierian Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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