because the woman's place is wherever the woman is...

Friday, December 21, 2012

Betty Zane

In 1769, three of Elizabeth "Betty" Zane's brothers founded a settlement where Wheeling, West Virginia, stands today and some time later, the rest of the family joined them. Then, when the Revolutionary War began, the family supported the overthrow of the British crown.

Living near Fort Henry, the family would join their neighbors inside the walls when necessary and, according to the records, they did so on one occasion in 1782 when fifty British troops accompanied by more than two hundred Native American allies had a handful of local folks under siege in the fort. Things were going badly for the colonists. The Indians were in control. Zane's father was killed. And the settlers were running out of gun powder.

Zane knew where her father had buried some, but it was inside her family's cabin and outside the walls of the fort. Volunteering to go, she went out through the gate under the watchful eyes of her enemies. Before it became obvious what she was up to, Zane had hurried the sixty yards to her family's cabin, dug up the gun powder, wrapped it in a table cloth, and hustled back to the fort. There were some shots fired, but none met their mark before Zane was safely back inside with her family. According to the tale, Zane volunteered because, as she put it, "I can't fight, but I can get the powder." Sometimes, in-your-face women just don't realize their own value.

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