Martins Ferry and Colerain

Martins Ferry was the first legal settlement in Ohio. It was founded by Absalom Martin in November of 1787, a few months before Marietta. His son, Ebenezer Martin, was re-sponsible for much of the growth of the settlement. Betty Zane was a famous figure from the pioneer days. She saved Fort Henry during the Revolutionary War when she ran from the fort to her family home to fetch gunpowder and ran back. She is buried in Chestnut Grove Cemetery in Mar-tins Ferry. Her brother, Ebenezer Zane, cut out Zane’s Trace, the pre-cursor to the National Road.


Josiah Fox was born in England and came to America. In the 1790s, he was hired by the government to help design ships. His most notable work was the USS Constitution. It was a frigate that could withstand cannonballs due to the way it was designed. Cannonballs literally bounced off her oak sides, earning her the nickname, “Old Ironsides”. Josiah’s work designing war ships conflicted with his Quaker faith and as a result, he was expelled from the church, but later reinstated.

A small community of Quakers moved into Belmont County and brought with them their strong opposition to slavery. This led to several locations in Belmont County being stops on the Underground Railroad. The third station was located in Colerain at a mill belonging to Joshua Cope. To learn more about the significance of the Underground Railroad and its history in Belmont County, please check out the Under-ground Railroad Museum in Flushing, Ohio.