Category Archives: The #American Revolution

Betty Zane, Heroine of #Wheeling, West Virginia

 

A True Story of a #West Virginia Heroine

Heroism of Miss Elizabeth Zane by Nagel & Weingaertner

Heroism of Miss Elizabeth Zane by Nagel & Weingaertner

 

During the #American Revolution, Wheeling, West Virginia, was a small garrison on the edge of the frontier.  It was called Fort Henry, named after Gov. Patrick Henry.  On September 10, 1782, the area’s settlers learned of an imminent attack by British soldiers and their Indian allies, the Shawnees, Mingos, Delawares, and Wyandots.  The next day sixteen-year-old Elizabeth (Betty) Zane hurried into Fort Henry, along with about forty others.  (Three of Betty’s older brothers, Ebenezer, Jonathan, and Silas, had begun settlement of the area in 1769.  Now Silas was in command of the fort.)

Ebenezer and Jonathan chose to stay behind in Ebenezer’s log house, built as strong as any fortress.  (Ebenezer’s house had once been burned to the ground by Indians and he vowed never to leave it again during an attack.)

Back in Fort Henry, about 20 men fought hard against their attackers.  They were outnumbered 15 to 1, but they had a small cannon and men who would fight to the death.  Betty Zane molded bullets for the fighters as the siege continued.  Then came a horrible discovery: Fort Henry was almost out of gunpowder.  The fort and every man, woman, and child in it was doomed!

The defenders knew that Betty’s brother, Ebenezer Zane, had several kegs of gunpowder stored in his house, if only they could get to it.  Volunteers offered to run 100 yards to the Zane house to get the gunpowder, but only one was chosen — Betty.  She convinced the men that they could not be spared, and besides, she could run as fast as any of them, if not faster.  The heavy wooden gate was swung open and Betty ran almost the length of a football field to her brother’s house.  The Indians spotted her but did nothing except shout “Squaw!  Waugh!”

Ebenezer flung open the door to his house.  After a quick explanation, he slashed a keg of gunpowder and poured the contents into a tablecloth.  Betty threw the bundle over her shoulder.  She flew out of the house and dashed across the open field, but this time the Indians were suspicious.  Bullets began to fly around her, ripping into her clothes and striking her arm, but Betty ran on, determined to reach the fort.

Several defenders of #Fort Henry pulled open the wooden gate.  Betty ran through the opening with the precious gunpowder on her back.  The siege continued for one more day and night until reinforcements arrived.  The following day the attackers gave up and left.

#Betty Zane has gone down in history as the courageous teenager who saved the early settlers of Wheeling, West Virginia, from certain death.  Her great-grandnephew was Zane Grey, author of over 90 books, mainly Westerns.

Children’s Books about Elizabeth (Betty) Zane:

Betsy Zane: the Rose of Fort Henry by Lynda Durrant

Betsy Zane: the Rose of Fort Henry by Lynda Durrant

Betsy Zane: the Rose of Fort Henry (2000) by Lynda Durrant   (fiction for 8-12 year olds, but based on Elizabeth Zane’s real life)

 

Women Heroes of the American Revolution: 20 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Defiance, and Rescue (2015) by Susan Casey

 

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The midnight ride of Revere, Dawes, and Prescott

The midnight ride of Revere, Dawes, and Prescott

A True Story from the #American Revolution

On the evening of April 18, 1775, a twenty-four-year old doctor named #Samuel Prescott from Concord, Massachusetts, rode his horse seven miles down the road to visit his fiancée, Lydia Mulliken of Lexington.  He had no idea that before the night was over, he would be caught up in a great historic event!

At 1 a.m. Dr. Prescott left Lydia, mounted his horse, and rode back home.  It wasn’t long before he came upon two other patriots on horseback, #Paul Revere and #William Dawes.  Revere and Dawes were headed to Concord to warn the residents that the British were marching toward their town, intent on seizing guns and ammunition.

Dr. Prescott, a Son of Liberty and a true patriot, joined Revere and Dawes on their mission.  When they were about three miles out of Lexington, Revere, Dawes, and Prescott were stopped by British soldiers.  Prescott veered his horse to the left and broke through the British patrol.  He jumped a low stone wall, rode through a swampy forest, and raced ahead to Concord, arriving about 1:30 a.m. He shouted a warning and the town bell began to ring.  The militia sprang into action.

In the meantime, William Dawes broke free from his captors but was later thrown from his horse.  Paul Revere was caught but then released after the British took his horse.  Both Dawes and Revere returned to Lexington on foot.

Paul Revere is well-known thanks to Longfellow’s poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride,” written almost a hundred years after that fateful night.  But it was Samuel Prescott who actually finished the ride and alerted the people of Concord that the British were coming.

Click Picture for More Info

Click Picture for More Info

Prescott served as a doctor to the wounded during the #Revolutionary War.  He died at age twenty-six while a prisoner of war, giving his life for the cause of liberty.

#Children’s Nonfiction Books about the American Revolution and Paul Revere’s Ride:

#How Did Tea and Taxes Spark a Revolution? And Other Questions about the Boston Tea Party by Linda Gondosch  (Lerner Publishing Group)

Paul Revere and the Minutemen of the American Revolution by Ryan P. Randolph (Rosen Publishing Group

The Many Rides of Paul Revere by James Cross Giblin  (Scholastic Press)

Let me know of books you have read about the American Revolution that you enjoyed.  I’d love to hear from you.

Linda Gondosch

 

Samuel Whittemore, American #Revolutionary War Hero

 

minuteman image

Colonial Minuteman

This is the story of an American #war hero.

On April 19, 1775, the American Revolutionary War broke out between the British army and the American colonists.  Early that morning the first shots were fired in the town of Lexington, Massachusetts, as 1,800 redcoats marched through the town toward Concord.  After failing to find any rebel ammunition in Concord, the British decided to march back to Boston and regroup.  They weren’t too worried about the American fighters, calling them inept cowards.  They had not yet met Samuel Whittemore!

Samuel Whittemore was 80 years-old (some say 78) on that fateful day.  He was working in his fields in the town of Menotomy, near Boston, when he noticed the redcoats approaching.  Whittemore, an experienced soldier who had fought for the British during the French and Indian War, had joined the American rebels.  He was ready to fight for independence.

After grabbing his musket, two dueling pistols, and a saber, Whittemore crouched behind a stone wall.  When the redcoats marched directly in front of him, he shot and killed a soldier with his musket.  Then he shot and killed one more and mortally wounded another with his pistols.  When he pulled out his saber and charged, a British soldier shot him in the face and beat him to the ground with the butt of his musket.  Other soldiers quickly moved in and stabbed Captain Whittemore thirteen times with their bayonets, leaving him for dead.

Whittemore’s friends were amazed when they found the old man still alive!  In fact, he was trying to reload his musket even though part of his face had been blown away.  Using a door as a stretcher, they rushed him to Cooper Tavern where Doctor Nathaniel Tufts declared him near death and sent him home to die.  But 80-year-old Samuel Whittemore was not ready to die.  He lived another 18 years, long enough to see the Americans win the Revolutionary War, and long enough to see George Washington serve as the country’s first president.

whittemore tombstone image

Samuel Whittemore’s gravestone in Arlington, Massachusetts

Samuel Whittemore lived to be 98 years-old, badly scarred, but proud to have served in the American Revolution.  In 2005 the Massachusetts legislature declared him an official state hero.  He is buried in Menotomy, now called #Arlington, Massachusetts.

If you would like to learn more about Captain Samuel Whittemore, I recommend these two children’s books:

Let It Begin Here!: Lexington & Concord: First Battles of the American Revolution by Dennis Brindell Fradin    (Walker & Company)

Let It Begin Here!: April 19, 1775: The Day the American Revolution Began by Don Brown   (Roaring Brook Press)