Ohio History Journal

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Ohio University, Athens, Ohio


It was only a narrow trail. It followed the moccasined

footprints of the Shawnee brave, as he had journeyed back

and forth on his mission of war or the chase, from the Penn-

sylvania frontier to his home on the plains of the Scioto. It cut

its blazed way through the virgin forest of Ohio from the Fort

of the Quaker, Zane, at Wheeling to where it again crossed the

river at Limestone, into Kentucky. This first public highway

in Ohio had been projected by Ebenezer Zane, the commandant

at Fort Henry, under the authority of the United States gov-

ernment in 1796.

Now that the Indian wars, which for several years had

disturbed the first Ohioans, were happily over, due to the sig-

nal victory of Wayne on the Maumee in 1794, this pioneer

thoroughfare, known in history as Zane's Trace, was soon des-

tined to become the artery through which would pour the stream

of emigration, as it spilled itself over the Alleghenies, to fructify

the virgin Ohio land which lay ready for the axe, the plow, and

the sickle. Along with this procession of home-seeking humanity

as it pushed its way along the blazed path, there came to Perry

County, Ohio, its first settler and its first Lutheran in the per-

son of Christian Binckley.

It was in April, 18O1, that this hardy pioneer came into

what is now Reading township, Perry County, though at that

time it was part of Richland township, Fairfield County. He

was one of the many Marylanders to make his home in this

section, having moved from Frankstown, near that center of

Lutheranism, Hagerstown, Washington County, Maryland.

Born in 1737, he was a middle-aged man at the time of