Betty Zane HTML version
On June 16, 1716, Alexander Spotswood, Governor of the Colony of Virginia, and a
gallant soldier who had served under Marlborough in the English wars, rode, at the
head of a dauntless band of cavaliers, down the quiet street of quaint old Williamsburg.
The adventurous spirits of this party of men urged them toward the land of the setting
sun, that unknown west far beyond the blue crested mountains rising so grandly before
Months afterward they stood on the western range of the Great North mountains
towering above the picturesque Shenendoah Valley, and from the summit of one of the
loftiest peaks, where, until then, the foot of a white man had never trod, they viewed the
vast expanse of plain and forest with glistening eyes. Returning to Williamsburg they
told of the wonderful richness of the newly discovered country and thus opened the way
for the venturesome pioneer who was destined to overcome all difficulties and make a
home in the western world.
But fifty years and more passed before a white man penetrated far beyond the purple
spires of those majestic mountains.
One bright morning in June, 1769, the figure of a stalwart, broad shouldered man could
have been seen standing on the wild and rugged promontory which rears its rocky bluff
high above the Ohio river, at a point near the mouth of Wheeling Creek. He was alone
save for the companionship of a deerhound that crouched at his feet. As he leaned on a
long rifle, contemplating the glorious scene that stretched before km, a smile flashed
across his bronzed cheek, and his heart bounded as he forecast the future of that spot.
In the river below him lay an island so round and green that it resembled a huge lily pad
floating placidly on the water. The fresh green foliage of the trees sparkled with glittering
dewdrops. Back of him rose the high ridges, and, in front, as far as eye could reach,
extended an unbroken forest.
Beneath him to the left and across a deep ravine he saw a wide level clearing. The few
scattered and blackened tree stumps showed the ravages made by a forest fire in the
years gone by. The field was now overgrown with hazel and laurel bushes, and
intermingling with them w ere the trailing arbutus, the honeysuckle, and the wild rose. A
fragrant perfume was wafted upward to him. A rushing creek bordered one edge of the
clearing. After a long quiet reach of water, which could be seen winding back in the hills,
the stream tumbled madly over a rocky ledge, and white with foam, it hurried onward as
if impatient of long restraint, and lost its individuality in the broad Ohio.
This solitary hunter was Colonel Ebenezer Zane. He was one of those daring men, who,
as the tide of emigration started westward, had left his friends and family and had struck
out alone into the wilderness. Departing from his home in Eastern Virginia he had