The Mary Draper Ingles Trail (MDIT) is under construction. It approximates the route taken by a pioneer woman, Mary Draper Ingles, and her companion, an elderly Dutch woman, following their escape in 1755 from Shawnee captors at what is now Big Bone Lick, Kentucky. With no maps and only her memory to guide her, Mary reasoned the only way to return home was to follow the rivers. After an incredible 40-day journey over an estimated 450+ miles of rough terrain the two nearly starved women found their way to her home near present day Blacksburg, Virginia. In memory of their courageous journey, a group of Kanawha Valley hikers organized the Mary Ingles Trail Blazers in 1989. Their goal is to develop and maintain the Mary Draper Ingles Trail and other trails in that part of West Virginia. The group also works to promote an interest in hiking and an appreciation of the out-of-doors.
This page was last updated on: October 4, 2019
MARY (DRAPER) INGLES BIO
Date of birth: 1732 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to George & Elenor (Hardin) Draper who came to America from Donegal, North Ireland in 1729.
Sibling: Brother John Draper born in 1730, married Bettie Robertson in 1754.
Husband: William Ingles, born 1729 in London England to Thomas & his wife (name unknown) who died in either England or Scotland. Thomas' younger siblings were Matthew & John. They along with their father & eldest brother immigrated to America at an unknown date. William died in 1782 at the age of 53 years.
Children of Mary & William: Thomas b.~1751, George b. 1753, Mary, Susan, Rhoda and John b. 1766.
Date of death: 1815 at the age of 83.
Captured by Shawnees: July 30, 1755*, at the age of 23, during what is called in America "The French & Indian War" and in Europe "The Seven Years War."
Schooling: None that anyone knows of. Mary could not read at the time of her capture.
Escape From Indian Captivity. The Story Of Mary Draper Ingles And Son Thomas Ingles. Originally written by Mary's son John (date unknown). Transcribed from the original manuscript in 1934 by William Ingles (1877-1966) and Dr. Virginia O'Rear Hudson, Professor of English at Radford College. Copyrighted 1969 by Roberta Ingles Steele and Andrew Lewis Ingles. First edition 1969 & 2nd 1982 now in its fourth printing. ISBN 0-318-03613-4. Available for purchase in large quantities from: Robert Steele, 1832 Deyerle Rd. SW, Roanoke, VA 24018.
Trans-Allegheny Pioneers. Originally written by John P. Hale and published in 1886. 2nd edition copyrighted by Charles H. Enicks in 1931. 3rd edition copyrighted by Harold J. Dudley in 1971 and printed by Derreth Printing Company in Rale igh, NC.
Follow The River, by James Alexander Thom and copyrighted by him in 1981. Published by Ballantine Books, New York, NY. ISBN 0-345-33854-5.
* Mary's capture date is found in a list originally compiled near the end of the French & Indian War, and often assigned today to the pen of Col. Wm. Preston of the Augusta County militia. However, the more likely author is Dr. Thomas Lloyd. It can be found on pages 399-404 in The Virginia Magazine Of History And Biography, Volume II published in June 1895. The date of July 8, 1755 given in Hale's book and Thom's novel is incorrect.
MARY INGLES IN 18TH CENTURY NEWS
Information compiled by Ed Robey
The following are a few excerpts from the book titled "FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR NOTICES ABSTRACTED FROM COLONIAL NEWSPAPERS VOLUME 2: 1756-1757" by A.F. Lucier:
PHILADELPHIA Jan 22 (1756). Extract of a letter from Augusta County in Virginia, December 20, 1755. "Two of the Women that were taken Prisoner from New-River, are come back, who say, they were 40 days in coming in, and they had lived all the Time on Grapes and Nuts."
PHILADELPHIA Feb. 12. By a Traveller who lately came from New-River, in Virginia, we learn, that two Women were return'd: who had been taken Prisoners the Beginning of last Summer by the Shawanese, and carried to one
of their Towns, where there was a considerable Number of English Prisoners, who had been taken Captive from the Frontiers of Virginia. That when the Warriors arrived within half a Mile of their Towns, It is their Custom to whip those who have been so unfortunate as to fall in their Hands, all the remainder of the way till the get to Town, and that It was in this Manner our poor unhappy Neighbours from Virginia had been treated by them. That they afterwards used them as well as could be expected from Persons of their Savage Disposition. Thus they suffered some of the Men to go out a Hunting, and let them have three Charges of Ammunition, but would allow them no more, for fear of their returning back to the English.
PHILADELPHIA Feb. 26. In a Letter from Fort Cumberland, dated the fifteenth Instant, there is Advice, that two considerable Bodies of French Indians have been lately down there, and had picked up several of the Men belonging to the Fort; but that the Commanding Officer there had detached Parties immediately in Pursuit of them, which obliged them to retreat precipitately, and thereby prevented their getting among the Inhabitants. It is further added, that one Mrs. Inglis, who was taken Prisoner by the Shawanese when Col. Paton was killed, had made a wonderful Escape from the Lower Shanoe Town; and she was fourteen Days In the Woods on her Way home, was naked all the Time, and lived on Chestnuts, &c. The Particulars of what Discoveries she made while among them, was not come to Hand.
Some writers have proposed that Mrs. Bingeman was Mary's companion on her long trek back from captivity. However, two pieces of evidence make this proposal unlikely. The first is the record usually referred to as the Preston Register, although according to the late author Patricia Givens Johnson it was likely composed by Dr. Thomas Lloyd. The register is a list of names of people killed, wounded, and captured from Augusta County from 1754 through May of 1758. On July 3 there was an attack on some New River plantations. John Bingeman, Mrs. Bingeman, and Adam Bingeman were listed as killed. Adam's wife, "Mrs. Bingman, jr." was listed as wounded. The suffix "jr." in this case simply means "younger" in order to distinguish her from elder Mrs. Bingeman, her mother-in-law. Since Mary's companion was described as an "old Dutch woman," then the only member of the Bingeman family that might fit the bill would have been John's wife. However, she was killed in the raid, and younger Mrs. Bingeman was wounded but not captured, so it seems clear from this list that the old Dutch woman could not have been Mrs. Bingeman.
The second evidence is a note in the Chronicon Ephratense, that refers to the schism caused by the Eckerlin brothers in the Seventh Day Baptist movement that centered around the Ephrata community in Pennsylvania. The Eckerlins formed an offshoot community on New River centered around Dunkards Bottom, now under the water of Claytor Lake. Sabbatarians or Solitaries, as the Seventh Day Baptists called themselves, who were unsatisfied with life at Ephrata would sometimes make their way to Mahanaim, the Eckerlin community, in search of further enlightenment. Henry Zinn was just such a Solitary who found his way up the Great War Road to New River. His apostasy was noted thus, "A young Brother in the Settlement [Ephrata], Henry Zinn by name, also longed at last for such a life of license; he begged the Brethren to accompany him thither [to Mahanaim, the New River settlement of the Eckerlin brothers], and promised in return to love them all his life long. He and the whole family of Bingeman were there killed by the Indians." Obviously, Mrs. Bingeman was too dead to accompany Mary back to the New River plantations.
Other authors have made the mistake of assuming the old Dutch woman was captured in Pennsylvania, home of the so-called Pennsylvania Dutch. Of course, the word Dutch in this context is from the German word Deutsch, the word Germans used to describe themselves. These were High Dutch from Deutschland or Germany, not Low Dutch from the Netherlands. However, there is no period information that would lead us to place much faith in this hypothesis. The two campaigns to southwestern Augusta County in 1755 were conducted by Shawnees and Delawares operating out of their towns in the vicinity of Scioto River. There is no evidence that these warriors had raided in Pennsylania. It is possible that a captive taken in Pennsylvania, could have ended up in one of the lower Ohio River Shawnee towns. However, it seems unlikely that a prisoner from Pennsylvania would have been interested in risking her life to travel further south to the back settlements of Virginia. Of course, she might have conjectured that a move in any direction towards colonial populations was a better choice than staying amongst the Shawnees---but do we need to look beyond the New River colonial settlements for an old Dutch woman? Perhaps not, for there were many German people settled there at that time, the Harmans being the best known today.
There is a good candidate for Mary's companion mentioned in the Register. To judge the likelihood of her candidacy, let us understand further the Register itself. As already stated, the author is unknown. The exact date of its compilation is unknown, but it had to be after May 1758, the date of its last entry. The results of the attack on Draper's Meadow on July 30, 1755 were recorded in the Register, and this is how Mary was listed, "July 30  Mrs. English & her two children, New River, prisoners, escaped." Mary's sister-in-law, Betty Draper was listed as "Mrs. Draper, jr., New River, prisoner" to distinguish her from elder Mrs. Draper, the mother of Mary and John. Betty eventually was released and made her way back to her husband, but not until after 1758. This is why Betty was not identified as "escaped" as was Mary. So the fact that Mary was identified as "escaped," indicates the recorder of the Register was aware she had made her way back home by the time the author penned the account.
Since the Register covers attacks in Augusta County from 1754 through the spring of 1758, the date of the Dutch woman's capture should be near Mary's captivity date or earlier. So we have three clues to look for when we check the Register for candidates for Mary's companion; her ethnicity revealed in her name, her date of capture, and her captivity status by 1758. A good candidate will be identified on the Register as a German captured before Mary's captivity date, and identified as "escaped". Only one person on the Register meets those criteria, and the following is the context in which she is listed: "July 3  Dutch Jacob, New River, wounded. His wife, New River, prisoner, escaped." So it seems most likely that Mary's companion was the wife of a German settler known as Dutch Jacob.
Anonymous, "A Register of the Persons Who Have Been Either Killed, Wounded, or Taken Prisoners by the Enemy, in Augusta County, as also such as Have Made Their Escape," in The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Volume II, the year ending June 1895, the Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, Virginia.
Ingles, John Sr., Escape from Indian Captivity, edited by Roberta Ingles Steele and Andrew Lewis Ingles, second edition 1982, Radford, Virginia.
Lamech and Agrippa, Chronicon Ephratense. A History of the Community of Seventh Day Baptists at Ephrata, Lancaster County, Penn'a, translated from the original German by J. Max Hark, D. D, published in 1889 by S. H. Zahm & Company, Lancastre, Pennsylvania, pp 188-189.