General Joseph Martin Chapter

Cumberland Gap, TN


Cumberland Gap Patriot

John Zinn

John Zinn was born in Berks County Pennsylvania in 1763. His family story is one of travel and hardship that would move his family from Germany to Pennsylvania, Kentucky and eventually Oregon, nearly one hundred years later after their arrival in America.  Zinn's family arrived in Philadelphia  in 1762 from Germany, and moved to Berks county Pa upon their arrival. John's birth in 1763 brought great joy to the family In 1779, Zinn's father travelled down the Wilderness road and moved his family to Ruddle's Station located in present day Bourboun county Ky.
    In May 1779, Zinn went along with his father on an expedition to fight the Shawnee at Chillicothe Ohio. This expedition was in retaliation For Chief Black Fish's siege of Boonesborough, one year earlier, and for his constant attacks between 1775-1778. In 1777, Over 130 Ky settlers were killed and their scalps were sent to Henry Hamilton, a British Colonel stationed at Fort Detroit who paid the Indians for each settler that they killed. The raid against chillicothe turned outto be a disaster. Onely One Shawnee was killed while the Shawnee killed over 12 of the Ky Militia.
      On June 24, 1780, Zinn was at Ruddles Station when Col.Bird of the British army attacked and Captured the Fort. Ruddles Station became the first Ky settlement taken over by the British Army. The Indians had tried for a year to capture Ruddles Station but was unable to do so. If the Indians couldnt drive the settlers out of  Ruddles Station, the British would just take over all over the settlement .Bird's army consisted of 300 English Troops and 600 Indians. Twenty settlers were killed while the rest were taken prisoner and sent to Fort Detroit until the Fall of 1783.
   Zinn returned to Bourboun county Kentucky in 1783 after being released by the British at Fort Detroit. In 1787, Zinn participated in an expedition against the Piqua Indians of Ohio. The Piqua Indians had attacked the settlements in Bourboun county since 1779. In 1782 George Rogers Clark defeated  the Piqua tribe and burned several of their villages near Springfield Ohio.
  By 1795, Zinn  had moved to Grant County Ky. In 1805, the last Indian Massacre to occur  in Ky occured in Grant county. Only one family was massacred, but it brought sorrow to the whole community.
Between 1795-1845, Zinn would marry three different  times. In  1851, Mary Zinn, one of the daughter's of John Zinn decided to move to Oregon. The Oregon trail was difficult. Only one in ten made it to Oregon in the early years. John Zinn would stay in Grant County where he would die in 1847.

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