The Zane family was a remarkable one in early days, and most of its members are
The first Zane of whom any trace can be found was a Dane of aristocratic lineage, who
was exiled from his country and came to America with William Penn. He was prominent
for several years in the new settlement founded by Penn, and Zane street, Philadelphia,
bears his name. Being a proud and arrogant man, he soon became obnoxious to his
Quaker brethren. He therefore cut loose from them and emigrated to Virginia, settling on
the Potomac river, in what was then known as Berkeley county. There his five sons, and
one daughter, the heroine of this story, were born.
Ebenezer Zane, the eldest, was born October 7, 1747, and grew to manhood in the
Potomac valley. There he married Elizabeth McColloch, a sister of the famous
McColloch brothers so well known in frontier history.
Ebenezer was fortunate in having such a wife and no pioneer could have been better
blessed. She was not only a handsome woman, but one of remarkable force of
character as well as kindness of heart. She was particularly noted for a rare skill in the
treatment of illness, and her deftness in handling the surgeon's knife and extracting a
poisoned bullet or arrow from a wound had restored to health many a settler when all
The Zane brothers were best known on the border for their athletic prowess, and for
their knowledge of Indian warfare and cunning. They were all powerful men,
exceedingly active and as fleet as deer. In appearance they were singularly pleasing
and bore a marked resemblance to one another, all having smooth faces, clear cut,
regular features, dark eyes and long black hair.
When they were as yet boys they had been captured by Indians, soon after their arrival
on the Virginia border, and had been taken far into the interior, and held as captives for
two years. Ebenezer, Silas, and Jonathan Zane were then taken to Detroit and
ransomed. While attempting to swim the Scioto river in an effort to escape, Andrew
Zane had been shot and killed by his pursuers.
But the bonds that held Isaac Zane, the remaining and youngest brother, were stronger
than those of interest or revenge such as had caused the captivity of his brothers. He
was loved by an Indian princess, the daughter of Tarhe, the chief of the puissant Huron
race. Isaac had escaped on various occasions, but had always been retaken, and at the
time of the opening of our story nothing had been heard of him for several years, and it
was believed he had been killed.