The story of McCullough's leap is described in numerous 19th-century frontier histories and is told, dramatically, from McCullough's point of view. According to the stories, on September 2, 1777, a large band of Wyandot Indians attacked the small Ohio River town of Wheeling, Virginia (now West Virginia), forcing the townspeople to take refuge in nearby Fort Henry. News of the siege soon reached Short Creek, about 20 miles up river, from which Major Samuel McCullough and 45 volunteers swiftly rode to Wheeling's rescue. Arriving at the fort and remaining in the rear of his command, McCullough was suddenly cut off from his men and surrounded. The Indians, who wished to torture the infamous white warrior before killing him, held their tomahawks. This gave McCullough a chance to bolt. The ensuing chase ended atop Wheeling Hill. McCullough was once again surrounded, except for an almost perpendicular precipice 150 feet high with Wheeling Creek at its base. His decision was immediate; rather than succumb to the horrors of torture, he struck his heels against the side of his steed, who sprang forward toward the precipice and they made the fearful leap. The Indians could only stand and admire. They had lost an opportunity to torture their most hated enemy. At least he was now dead. In the next instant, however, their astonishment grew tenfold when, from that impossible height, they watched as the Major climbed the opposite bank of Wheeling Creek and rode safely away.