A Profile of Betty Zane: Heroine of Fort Henry


WHEELING, W.Va. – West Virginia Independence Hall (WVIH) in Wheeling will host the second program of the Fort Henry Commemoration Speaker Series in the auditorium at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 23. The speaker series is observing the 240th anniversary year of the first siege of Fort Henry and the 235th anniversary of the second siege.

Margaret Brennan, a Wheeling native and local historian, will present the lecture “A Profile of Betty Zane, Heroine of Fort Henry.” Brennan holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Wheeling College, a master’s degree in history and a certificate in public history from West Virginia University.

Elizabeth “Betty” Zane was the youngest sister of the Zane brothers, members of Wheeling’s founding family. She was about 16 years old when she arrived in Wheeling in 1782, right in the middle of the Indian Wars of the Upper Ohio Valley which took place from 1774 to 1794.

Zane gained fame as a local heroine for her now famous run for gunpowder during the second siege of Fort Henry during the 1782 battle. She ran about 60 yards to her brother Ebenezer’s blockhouse and carried back enough powder to enable the fort defenders to hold off the enemy. That act made her a legend in her own time, and the publication of the book Betty Zane by Zane Grey in 1903 gained her national attention.

The program is co-hosted by the Wheeling Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution and the Fort Henry Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution, and sponsored by the Wheeling National Heritage Area Corporation.

West Virginia Independence Hall has been on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) since 1970. It was originally built as a federal custom house in 1859, served as the home of the pro-Union state conventions of Virginia during the spring and summer of 1861 and as the capitol of loyal Virginia from June 1861 to June 1863. It also was the site of the first constitutional convention for West Virginia.

Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1988, the museum is maintained and operated by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, with the cooperation and assistance of the West Virginia Independence Hall Foundation. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, except major holidays. The museum is located on the corner of 16th and Market Streets in Wheeling.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the Office of the Secretary of Education and the Arts, Gayle Manchin, cabinet secretary. The division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the division’s programs, events and sites, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.​


Contact Information

Fort Henry Commemoration Speaker Series to Present “A Profile of Betty Zane: Heroine of Fort Henry” at West Virginia Independence Hall on Feb. 23 For more information about WVIH, contact Debbie Jones, site manager, at (304) 238-1300 or Deborah.J.Jones@wv.gov.