Friday, January 31, 2003

Ohio Moments

Zane Grey's Western tales rooted in pioneers of Ohio


On Jan. 31, 1872, Zane Grey, one of the greatest storytellers of the American West, was born in Zanesville. Grey - whose birth name was Pearl Zane Gray (Grey was his pen name) - wrote nearly 90 books. His earliest novels were based on the adventures of his Zane ancestors, who were settlers of Ohio. He grew up hearing of the exploits of his maternal forebears, including Ebenezer Zane and his brother Jonathan. Ebenezer blazed Zane's Trace, the first road cut into the wilderness of the Northwest Territory that opened up the area to settlers. Jonathan founded Zanesville - the state capital until an earthquake struck the town during the first legislative session, prompting lawmakers to flee. Grey gave up a career as a dentist to become a novelist. His first book, Betty Zane, published by Grey in 1903, became part of the Ohio River Trilogy - stories set in the Ohio River Valley during the 1700s when settlers fought Native Americans for the land. Also part of the trilogy are The Spirit of the Border (1906) and The Last Trail (1909).

Rebecca Goodman

Ohio Moments will appear here daily during 2003. Have a suggestion? Contact Rebecca Goodman at or (513) 768-8361.

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