When Ohio was settled, the only highways were the streams and the Indian trails. After the Revolution- ary War the rich Ohio valleys became the goal of im- migrants. It was likewise the Paradise of the red men, who contested every acre of the soil. General St. Clair having met defeat at their hands, reported that the greatest hindrance to military operations was the ab- sence of roads, that their presence would be an incen- tive to immigration, that it would hasten the settlement of the country and be the best means of quieting the Indians. Congress at once acted upon the suggestion. The President was authorized to contract with a responsible party, for the opening of a road from Wheeling on the Ohio, to Limestone, Kentucky, on the Ohio. This road would pass through the best agricultural land that was then open for settlement in the Northwest. Virginians were flocking to the Military Lands, west of the Scioto, to locate their claims. The valleys of the upper Hocking and Muskingum were ideal places for the settler's clearing and cabin. The work of laying out this road was entrusted to Colonel Ebenezer Zane of Wheeling. Colonel Zane was a man of considerable force of character and played no small part in the settlement of the North-
west. He was an ideal frontiersman. He was thor- oughly acquainted with the western wilds from the Po- tomac to the Ohio. His brothers were men like unto him and assisted him greatly in his undertakings. President Washington could have found no better man. As early as 1769 he came to the present site of Wheel- ing, recognizing at once its important geographical po- sition. The next year he brought his family. Lord Dunmore, then Governor of Virginia, had the great- est confidence in Colonel Zane, and made him dis- bursing agent at Wheeling. A fort was erected and named Fort Finncastle in honor of the titled Governor of the "Old Dominion." Zane was familiar with the events that led to Dunmore's War, his sympathy be- ing with Logan, Chief of the Mingoes, but he took an active part in putting down that war. When the Revolutionary War clouds hung heavy over the land, true patriot that he was, he did every- thing in his power for the establishment of the new nation. While he was never in the Continental army, yet he served his country in a no less eminent degree. Living'as he did on the very edge of the frontier, he saw that it was as important, that the territory North- west of the Ohio should be held by the colonies as it was to obtain their independence. For the latter with- out the former would have crippled them and there would have been no room for growth. The struggling nation had no army to protect their frontier. It was left for the most part to such men as Ebenezer Zane, who voluntarily took it upon themselves to protect their homes from the ravages of the red-men, incited by British cupidity and revenge. The very last battle of the Revolution was fought at Wheeling. The name Fort Finncastle had been
changed to Fort Henry in honor of Patrick Henry the first governor of the Commonwealth. Here on the eleventh of September, 1782, the Indians and British made an attack. Colonel Zane's house stood about fifty yards from the fort. The people took refuge in the fort but Zane and his family remained in their house. It was at this battle that Elizabeth Zane, a sister, performed her heroic act. The defenders of the fort suddenly discovered that the powder was ex- hausted. There was a sufficient amount in Colonel Zane's house, but how to get it was the question. At this juncture, the girl volunteered to go, saying that her death would not mean so much as a man"s. The gates were opened. The Indians saw her hurrying across the open space, but their chivalry forbade them firing on a "squaw." Hastily filling a tablecloth, which she tied about her, she returned to the fort. She had almost reached it, when her purpose dawned upon the Indians and amid a shower of bullets, she passed through the gates. The fort was saved. During these years, Col. Zane had come into posses- sion of considerable property. He owned the land where Wheeling now is, Wheeling Island in the Ohio river, the present site of Bridgeport and Martins Ferry and a tract extending a considerable distance up Wheel- ing Creek on the Ohio side. Jonathan Zane, a brother, was a scout. In 1774 he guided an expedition against the Indians on the upper Muskingum. He served in like capacity on the ill- fated expedition of Governor St. Clair. It is said that if St. Clair had taken his advice, the result of the ex- pedition might have been somewhat different. It is but natural, therefore, that when Ebenezer Zane con- tracted to cut the road through Ohio, that he should
have left it to his brother who was better acquainted with wilderness ways. Jonathan Zane was assisted in the work by John McIntire who had married his sister. For this work Col. Zane was to receive a tract of land, one mile square for every navigable stream he should cross provided he should maintain a ferry. The work was begun early in 1797. The road was nothing more than a blazed bridle path, with some of the undergrowth and fallen timber removed. This "trace" left Wheel- ing, followed Wheeling Creek on the Ohio side, to its source, and climbed to the high ridges of Belmont county. Following this divide into Guernsey county, it passed through Cambridge, and then headed for the falls of the Muskingum at Zanesville. This was the first navigable stream. Zane gave the tract of land here to his brother, Jonathan and his brother-in-law, McIntire. This was to recompense them for their services in opening the road. They in turn leased it to William McCullough and Henry Crook for five years. These men kept the ferry and thus became the first settlers of Zanesville. John McIntire is really the founder of Zanesville. He died in 1815 and is buried beneath the shadows of the McIntire Children's Home, which he founded. This was established as a school for poor children of Zanesville. But upon the organi- zation of the free school system, it was changed to an asylum for unfortunate children, who here find a home and an education. This home derives its revenue from the McIntire estate, which originally was the mile square given to Zane by the United States Govern- ment. This trace struck Perry county as indicated on the map. There is considerable conjecture as to where it really did pass through the county. The writer has
been for three years gathering data on this first "high- way" and he has found in Perry county more uncer- tainty about the actual route, than in any same dis- tance between Wheeling and Maysville. By many it is supposed to be the same as the Maysville pike. Others confuse it with the Old State Road surveyed in 1809. And still others think that the old Drove Road was the original Zane Trace. From such a di- versity of opinion it is diffcult to ascertain the ex- act truth. The route as shown on the map does not pretend to be infallibly true, but as far as can be learned, it is approximately correct. The prevailing idea that Fink's tavern, the nucleus of Somerset, was on Zane's Trace, is hardly correct. And yet, the most of the travel may have gone by way of Somerset. The men who blazed the trail were not particular in hunt- ing the best ground, although they usually aimed to follow the ridges. The last statement would justify the conclusion that Somerset was on the "Trace." But on the other hand the streams served as their guides. No white man had ever traveled the route before. They knew the general directions only. There is no doubt that the Somerset route would have been the better one, and travelers soon found it out. It is the opinion of the writer that the Zane men were trying to find the headwaters of another stream, flow- ing south, after they left Jonathan's Creek. They passed through the neighborhood of what is now known as Dead Man's School. Striking a branch of Rushcreek in southwestern Hopewell, they might have continued along it but for the fact that there is con- siderable swampy land in that section. This would cause them to change their course and take to the hills. This trace passed over Rushcreek at the Rushvilles and
following a southwest course, crossed the Hocking at Lancaster. Here Zane established another section of land. The little creek winding up through the alluvial meadows of Fairfield county was considered navig- able for "small boats." The town of Lancaster was laid out in 1800, by John and Noah Zane, sons of Col. Zane. From here the Trace continued toward Chilli- cothe by passing near the present village of Amanda and through Tarlton and the Pickaway Plains, crossing the Scioto at Chillicothe. Here they were obliged to locate their land on the west side of the river. Zane sold it to Humphrey Fullerton. Caleb Atwater says in his history of Ohio (1838) that Fullerton's widow yet owned it. From Chillicothe, the road ran southwest, crossing Paint Creek near the junction of the North Fork and the Yocatangee, followed the latter stream a distance and crossed Black Run, where it intersectd Todd's Trace, which it followed to Maysville by way of Manchester. In 1799 a post office was established at Chillicothe. Mail was brought over the Trace once a week. Gen. Sanderson of Lancaster was post-boy between Chillicothe and Lancaster. Zane's trace became the great highway of emigra- tion. Droves of pack horses were driven across it. Many of the settlers of south central Ohio found their way through the primeval forest by means of this blazed path. The first settler of Pickaway county; Caleb Evans, came through from Kentucky on Zane's Trail. The first settlement in Highland county was about half a mile north of Sinking Springs, on Zane's or rather Todd's Trace. Rude taverns were erected for the accomodation of the guests. At Lancaster there was one and at Zanesville, McIntire's tavern became famous for having once entertained Louis Philippe.
In 1798, a Mr. Graham located upon the site of Cam- bridge, Guernsey county. His was the only dwelling between Zanesville and Wheeling. Along this road the itinerant preacher came with saddle bags and "pious mien." By degrees the road was widened in part and in many places it was changed altogether, until it is almost lost. The Wheeling and Maysville pike only follows the Trace approximately. There are variations of three miles and over. The Trace followed the high ridges mostly and in many places went down precip- itous bluffs. The pike goes around the hills. Zane's road may well be said to be the initial step in the policy of "internal improvements." It served its purpose well and had much to do with the developement of the cen- tral west. Along it sprang up the settlers' cabin and the little clearings testified that the "white man's foot" had come. It opened up the most fertile portion, that was then accessible in Ohio. It was the connecting link between the east and the settlements made in the southwest. Ebenezer Zane certainly deserves the credit of be- ing one of the Founders of the Northwest. He died in 1812 and his body lies on Ohio soil. In the village of Martins Ferry, Belmont county, is the Zane burying ground surrounded by a brick wall. In this neglected enclosure, situated on a terrace overlooking the Ohio, as it begins to bend around the state, is a slab upon which are these words:
IN MEMORY OF EBENEZER ZANE
who died 19th November, 1812, in the
66th year of his age.
He was the first permanent inhabitant of this
part of the Western World,
having first begun to reside here in the year 1769.
He died as he lived, an honest man.