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Ebenezer Zane

Ebenezer Zane was born in the colony of Virginia (in an area that is now West Virginia) on October 7, 1747. His father’s ancestor, Robert Zane, played a helping hand in the founding of Philadelphia. Ebenezer had four brothers and one sister, Betty Zane. His brother Isaac Zane was captured by the Wyandot people for over a decade. Zanesfield, Ohio was then named after him. Elizabeth “Betty” Zane is a figure of Apalachin Folk Lore. Her descendant Zane Grey’s first published book centered around her heroics. She is known as the “Savior of Fort Henry” and is a pivotal figure in the history of Wheeling, West Virginia.

Ebenezer went on to marry Elizabeth McCullough and together they had 9 children that survived past infancy. The Zane children became influential figures in the settling of the Ohio Territory. Their first daughter, Catherine married the founder of Martins Ferry, Ohio, Absalom Martin. Their second daughter, Sarah married John McIntire who not only founded Zanesville, Ohio but was also a contributor to the Ohio Constitution. Another contributor to the Ohio Constitution, Elijah Woods, married Ebenezer’s daughter Ester. There second youngest child, Daniel Zane, was the ancestor of famed Wester novelist, Zane Grey.

Ebenezer had a major impact on the developing nation, even without his children’s influencing being contributed to him. He established Fourt Henry along side his brothers which made him a founder of what would develop into Wheeling, West Virginia. Fun fact: the National Road & Zane Grey Museum is built in the likeness of Fort Henry. Although, Ebenezar came from a Quaker faith, he became a colonel in the Viriginia militia and fought to defend Forth Henry on multiple occasions. This is not the last time he would go against his Quaker belief as, at the time of his death in November of 1811, Ebenezer owned ten slaves. Ebenezer seemed to enjoy having influence over the settlement of the area and so he held multiple positions within the early Virginian legislature.

Always looking forward, Ebenezer petitioned the newly formed United States Congress for funds to carve a path through the Appalachias. He built upon pre-existing animal and Native American pathways to create the Zane's Trace. This trace, though barely big enough to fit a horse, opened a gate to the Ohio territory that allowed settlers to continue moving westward. In payment for creating this vital pathway, Congress gave Ebenezar the land around the crossways of the Muskingum, Hocking, and Scioto rivers. Ebenezer gave it to his assistant and son-in-law, John McIntire who took that land and created the settlement known today as Zanesville, Ohio.  

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