Bob Powell Published

McColloch Leaps Into Wheeling Creek to Escape Attack: Sept. 1, 1777

Ft Henry, Wheeling

On the morning of September 1, 1777, about 200 Wyandot and Mingo Indians attacked Fort Henry at Wheeling. The fort was defended by about 60 militia—nearly half of whom were lured outside the post and killed by the Indians.

The Indians then launched a siege of the fort for three days and nights. After burning cabins and outbuildings in the region, they withdrew across the Ohio River.

It was the first of two Indian attacks on Fort Henry during the Revolutionary War. The second attack, which occurred five years later, was the occasion for Betty Zane’s heroic actions.

The attack of 1777 produced a different story of bravery. A few militia escaped the initial Indian attack and made it to a nearby fort. That fort’s commander, Major Samuel McColloch, rode to lift the siege of Fort Henry, but he was trapped by Indians atop Wheeling Hill. McColloch spurred his horse to the edge of a cliff and leaped to the waters of Wheeling Creek far below. Amazingly, both he and his horse survived the leap.

Samuel McColloch was killed in another Indian ambush in 1782.