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 Wetzel Brothers Escape from Indians in Belmont County, Ohio

by Marie Bundy

It was at a point midway between Speidel and Bethesda that the Indians decided to spend the second night after capturing Lewis and Jacob Wetzel near Wheeling and traveling the 20 miles through the woods. The boys were only 12 and 14 years old. The Wetzel's as well as the Indians were footsore and weary and the Indians fell into a sound sleep without tying the boys. When the Indians were asleep, Lewis whispered to his brother "We must now run." They slipped away quietly but when they had gone a hundred yards Lewis decided to go back for a pair of moccasins so they could make better time. When he had returned he remembered they had his father's gun so again he slipped back and retrieved the gun. After they had gone a ways they heard the Indians following them. They succeeded in their escape by hiding in the bushes until they had passed and then falling into the trail behind them. When the Indians came back they again hid and were successful in their escape. When they reached the river they crossed on a raft of their own construction to Wheeling and home.

Source: Centennial History of Belmont County




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