plunged into the woods, and after many days of hunting and exploring, he reached the
then far Western Ohio valley.
The scene so impressed Colonel Zane that he concluded to found a settlement there.
Taking "tomahawk possession" of the locality (which consisted of blazing a few trees
with his tomahawk), he built himself a rude shack and remained that summer on the
In the autumn he set out for Berkeley County, Virginia, to tell his people of the
magnificent country he had discovered. The following spring he persuaded a number of
settlers, of a like spirit with himself, to accompany him to the wilderness. Believing it
unsafe to take their families with them at once, they left them at Red Stone on the
Monongahela river, while the men, including Colonel Zane, his brothers Silas, Andrew,
Jonathan and Isaac, the Wetzels, McCollochs, Bennets, Metzars and others, pushed on
The country through which they passed was one tangled, most impenetrable forest; the
axe of the pioneer had never sounded in this region, where every rod of the way might
harbor some unknown danger.
These reckless bordermen knew not the meaning of fear; to all, daring adventure was
welcome, and the screech of a redskin and the ping of a bullet were familiar sounds; to
the Wetzels, McCollochs and Jonathan Zane the hunting of Indians was the most
thrilling passion of their lives; indeed, the Wetzels, particularly, knew no other
occupation. They had attained a wonderful skill with the rifle; long practice had rendered
their senses as acute as those of the fox. Skilled in every variety of woodcraft, with lynx
eyes ever on the alert for detecting a trail, or the curling smoke of some camp fire, or
the minutest sign of an enemy, these men stole onward through the forest with the
cautious but dogged and persistent determination that was characteristic of the settler.
They at length climbed the commanding bluff overlooking the majestic river, and as they
gazed out on the undulating and uninterrupted area of green, their hearts beat high with
The keen axe, wielded by strong arms, soon opened the clearing and reared stout log
cabins on the river bluff. Then Ebenezer Zane and his followers moved their families
and soon the settlement began to grow and flourish. As the little village commenced to
prosper the redmen became troublesome. Settlers were shot while plowing the fields or
gathering the harvests. Bands of hostile Indians prowled around and made it dangerous
for anyone to leave the clearing. Frequently the first person to appear in the early
morning would be shot at by an Indian concealed in the woods.
General George Rodgers Clark, commandant of the Western Military Department,
arrived at the village in 1774. As an attack from the savages was apprehended during
the year the settlers determined to erect a fort as a defense for the infant settlement. It
was planned by General Clark and built by the people themselves. At first they called it