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7 Year Tea Party Winners: Susan Craft's winner of her trilogy novels - The Chamomile, Laurel, and Cassia is: Lucy Reynolds, The winner of a copy of The Backcountry Brides is: Tammy Cordery, the winner of a silver quill charm is: Kathy Maher, Choice of one of three books by Carrie Fancett Pagels in paperback: Joy Ellis, A Bouquet of Brides Collection by Pegg Thomas winner is: Becky Smith, Janet Grunst's Selah-Award winning novel, A Heart Set Free, is: Sherry Moe.

Friday, March 9, 2018

THE AMAZING JOURNEY OF MARY DRAPER INGLES

I forgot the housework, neglected needed sleep and sort-of supervised the youngsters. That was my experience many years ago when I first read James Alexander Thom’s Follow the River. The fictional account of the true story of Mary Draper Ingles capture and captivity by the Shawnee in 1755, and eventual escape and journey home was one of those books that was impossible to put down. This twenty-three-year-old woman’s story demanded I do further research to learn more about her.

The Ingles and Draper families migrated to and settled in Draper’s Meadows on the western frontier of the Virginia colony, what is now Blacksburg, Virginia. Mary Draper was only eighteen when she married twenty-one-year-old William Ingles.

On July 30, 1755, Mary was at their cabin with their two young boys and William was harvesting in the fields when Shawnee warriors killed or captured most of the inhabitants of Drapers Meadows. Mary, her sons and her injured sister-in-law Bettie were captured and forced to travel further west. Mary’s sons were taken from her and adopted into the Shawnee tribe and taken to another village. Bettie was given to a warrior and traveled to another site.

Mary and another captive referred to as “Old Dutch woman” traveled another one hundred miles to a Shawnee village west to current day Cincinnati, Ohio. The two women were given the latitude to roam about freely and search for food. Mary Ingles was respected among the tribe for her indomitable spirit and her skills as a seamstress. She made shirts for the natives.

Mary’s journey with the Shawnee Indians is noted by the red line,
her return east is noted with the blue line her return east.
attributed to: Blue Ridge Country Magazine
In October of 1755, the two women escaped under the guise of foraging for food. They headed off along the Ohio River on almost a five-hundred-mile journey back to southwest Virginia with only two blankets and a tomahawk. Their forty-three-day odyssey through treacherous wilderness and Mary’s eventual return home is spellbinding.  
Mary’s story doesn’t end there. She and William had several more children and moved to the New River near Radford, Virginia where they built a home, an inn, and operated a ferry crossing. Over a period of years, the Ingles searched and found one of their sons purchasing him from the Shawnee tribe. Will died in 1782 and Mary lived in their log cabin and operated the ferry until she died in 1815 at the age of eighty-three. Will and Mary Ingles descendants of still own and inhabit their land.


A bronze sculpture of Mary Draper Ingles
by sculptor Matt Langford stands in front of
the Boone County, Kentucky Public Library Main Branch. 
attributed to: Blue Ridge Country Magazine

Mary Draper Ingles story is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the courage and fortitude of the women who helped settle our country.

25 comments:

  1. What a nice story. Women have always been strong. Honestly, I can't for the life of me, understand why we need a independent women's day. Can you?

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Karen. Mary Ingles' story is a fascinating one of courage and perseverance.

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  2. I learned about her in our West Virginia history class in 8th grade! (Only the way it was taught then, they made it sound like she abandoned her children in order to escape, which I found horrible. Good to know they'd already been separated and she kept searching!)

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    1. As another student of history I know you will also appreciate how James Alexander Thom used data from her descendants.

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  3. Fascinating. I'm surprised my history teacher didn't tell us about this woman.
    I must check out the book.
    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Andrea, I am both disappointed and frustrated by ALL I never learned through many years of History classes. That's why it's so important to read far beyond what is offered in our schools.

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  4. I am actually a descendent of Mary Draper Ingles on my father's side. I still have family that lives in the Blacksburg/Radford/Christiansburg area of Virginia, and my grandmother grew up in Radford. We still have an old ferry log from the ferry that the Ingles obviously began. Their river home is in ruins, I have a cousin who attempted to purchase and restore it, but I don't the money came through. Lori Benton mentioned "Follow the River" when she and I had a digital discussion after I read her book "Many Sparrows" which mentions Mary Ingles. So obviously I need to read it! Wasn't there an outdoor drama at one time, that chronicled this story. I remember going as a little girl with my family.

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    1. Wow, Rebecca, that's fascinating that you have such a close connection to Mary Draper Ingles. There was also a movie done which was good but possibly took some license with her story.

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    2. Radford still puts on an outdoor drama of Mary Draper Ingles called The Long Way Home. I haven't gotten to see it, but am hoping to this year! I have always been fascinated with this.

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    3. Thanks for sharing that, Sally.

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  5. WOW! This sounds like a book I would love to review.

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    1. You can probably find it at most libraries or through Amazon or Barnes & Noble

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  6. Thanks for talking about this book! Love this post!

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  7. When is this book for sale? I will put it on my must read list. I absolutely am fascinated by this!

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    1. It's not a new book. You can find it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble may also carry it.

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  9. Janet, thank you for posting this fascinating bit of history. I never learned about it in history class all those years ago. I will see if our library has a copy of this book.
    Hallmark made a movie called Follow the River about Mary Ingles that is very good. Here is a link to the movie trailer: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5psUS9aXP2A
    Blessings,Tina

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    1. Yes, I saw that years ago, Tina. It's good and pursues the possibility that she was pregnant when captured. I believe one of her descendants also suggested that.

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  11. Amazing story. Amazing woman.

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  12. I loved reading her story in Follow the River.

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    1. Me too, Lucy. At times it wore me out, and at other times made me hungry. Sympathetic feelings, I guess.

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  13. This is amazing! And two women trekking all that way back home. Surely God's hand was upon them! Thank you for sharing this true story!

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    1. I think you'd enjoy this book, Elaine.

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