The Captives

Twenty three year old Mary Draper Ingles was taken by Shawnee warriors in 1755 at Horseshoe Bend on the New River and amidst death, destruction and hardship, she resolved to survive.  She was first taken to an area on the banks of the Scioto and Ohio rivers, and then taken another 150 miles away to make salt for her Shawnee captors. Her sons and family, which were captured with her, were now either dead or sent further into the wilderness. Knowing that torture and death would be her reward if caught, she and an old Dutch woman resolved to escape. After a final farewell to her infant, whom she knew would be adopted into a Shawnee family, Mary and the old woman disappeared into the forest with only a tomahawk and two blankets. Neither woman could swim, so they had to make their way around each intersecting river while retracing their original route back to Mary’s home. The original 500-mile trip stretched into about 800 miles and took forty-three days, during which the starving Dutch woman tried to kill Mary with the intent to cannibalize her.  After reuniting with her remaining family and friends, and surviving another Indian attack in Bedford County, Mary and her husband William returned to their original homestead on the New River in Montgomery County and prospered.  William died in 1782 at the age of fifty-three and Mary lived in their original, windowless log home until her death at age eighty-three in 1815.

  
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