Elizabeth Zane


Elizabeth Zane
Elizabeth "Betty" Zane was a heroine of the Revolutionary War on the American frontier. Born in 1759, she moved at a young age to Wheeling, West Virginia, where her family helped to establish Fort Henry. This move was illegal, as it encroached on land specifically reserved for the native peoples, and the threat of attack increased significantly after the start of the Revolutionary War. Elizabeth was sent for a time to school in Philadelphia, but she returned in 1871, shortly after the American victory at Yorktown. The fighting had not yet ceased, however, and only a year later, Fort Henry was besieged by Native American allies of the British. The settlers were outnumbered, and they soon found themselves in need of more gunpowder. Remembering a keg left at home, Elizabeth volunteered to make the journey home to retrieve it.

Elizabeth arrived at the Zane home unharmed, and she hid the gunpowder beneath her skirt before starting on her return trip. This time, however, their attackers were not fooled by the seemingly innocent women, and they fired at her as she ran. Amazingly, Elizabeth managed to evade the gunfire and successfully deliver the gunpowder, and two days later the British retreated.

Little is known about Elizabethís later life, but she married John McGloughlin and gave birth to five children. After Johnís death, she married Jacob Clark and had two more children. She lived out her later life in Ohio and passed away at the age of 64. She was buried in Walnut Grove Cemetery, where a statue commemorates her achievements.

Key events during the life of Elizabeth Zane:

Helped establish Fort Henry.
Returned home from school in Philadelphia.
Fort Henry was besieged by American Indians acting on orders from their British allies.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Backwoodsmen of Kentucky  in  Indian History for Young Folks  by  Francis S. Drake
Elizabeth Zane  in  Stories of American Life and Adventure  by  Edward Eggleston
Elizabeth Zane  in  America First—100 Stories from Our History  by  Lawton B. Evans
Betty Zane's Powder Exploit  in  Frontier Fighters  by  Edwin L. Sabin

Image Links

Elizabeth Zane's Return
 in Stories of American Life and Adventure

Unbar the gate and let me pass!'
 in America First—100 Stories from Our History

Elizabeth Zane brings powder
 in Story of the Thirteen Colonies

Short Biography
Simon Kenton Leading settler of the Ohio and Kentucky valleys. Fought on various Indian wars and the Revolutionary war.
Molly Pitcher When her husband was killed, she took over his position and helped man a cannon at the Battle of Monmouth.
Nancy Hart Pioneer woman who captured a group of Tory soldiers in her home, and later hung them.