Mary DraperIngles finds a home in Bedford...c. 1756-1759
Just try to imagine Mary’s situation in 1756…• Mary is 24 years old, and the mother of 2-3 children• She is concerned about her two sons, Thomas and George, who are still captives living among the Shawnee nation (perhaps also about a baby girl she had to leave behind).• She is blessed with a good marriage, to a man (William Ingles) who is capable of understanding her ordeal and who is willing to do anything to protect her and rescue their children• She has lost both her parents, and if she had aunts, uncles or cousins, we don’t know who they were, or whether they were living in Virginia• She has moved often – having been born near Philadelphia and moved several times with her family to places known as Pattonsburg, the North Forks of the Roanoke, and Drapers Meadow. Oh, and she has been to Ohio and Kentucky, too.• Her brother, John Draper, and her sister-in-law, Bettie Robinson Draper, are alive, but Bettie is still a captive among the Shawnee, and Mary is probably a little worried about how well John is handling the stress.
One enticing piece of evidence linking Bedford County to the Ingles family…..Ingleside• After leaving Bedford, William and Mary Ingles established a home on the New River (present day Radford) starting about 1760.• Their son John Ingles (b. 1766) built a beautiful home in 1790, and named it Ingleside.• Other Ingles descendants have also called their homes Ingleside…• Is it likely that William and Mary Ingles might have called their home in Bedford by the same name?
The search for reliable sources… The closest thing we have to a firsthand account of Mary Ingles’ story is a manuscript written by her youngestson, John Ingles, in 1830. The original copy of his manuscript is at theUniversity of Virginia. It was published a few years ago by Roberta InglesSteele and her brother, Andrew Ingles.
According to John Ingles, in Escape from Indian Captivity, hisfather brought his mother to Bedford…shortly before the Indians attacked Fort Vause (near Shawsville), in 1756
Trans-Alleghany Pioneers, by John Hale, first written in the 1880s, has beenreprinted many times. This map (from a more recent edition) represents the route of her journey.
Follow the River, written by James Alexander Thom about 100 years later, while considered an historical novel, represents the highest standards ofresearch and story-telling. His book is still available at bookstores around the country (and world) and has been used as the basis for the Hallmark television movie by the same name
Untangling a jumbled array of sources…• Augusta County Court Records (Chalkley Chronicles)• History reference books by F. B. Kegley, Mary Kegley, & many others• Escape From Indian Captivity – John Ingles• Trans-Alleghany Pioneers – John Hale• Biographies of other frontier pioneers (by Patricia Givens Johnston, Clare White, etc.)• Historical Fiction – James Alexander Thom• Recent scholarship, incl. the Smithfield Reviews, volumes 7 & 8 (“What Really Happened at Drapers Meadows: The Evolution of a Frontier Legend;” & “Portrait of a Survivor: The Long and Eventful Life of Mary Draper Ingles”)
Mysteries & Controversies… What do we really know about Mary? We have samples of her husband’s handwriting…but not hers!This charming little note and signature was traced by Mary Kegley and appears in one of her volumes of Adventures on the Western Waters
The Ferry Hill Ledger (1797-1805) has several entries indicating that she bought calico, and that once she brought in a “Milch” cow for credit.The original ledger is in Special Collections at Virginia Tech. (I have a photo copy!)
The Ferry Hill Tavern operated for several decades, starting in 1772. This painting shows us how the tavern may have appeared in the early nineteenth century.
We have family records about William and Mary’s children, grandchildren, and 7-8 generations of descendants, extending down to the present day.Thomas Ingles, who grew up among the Shawnee, married Eleanor Grills,from Albemarle, and theyhad a son, Thomas (shown here)
Thomas Ingles’ story• Born in 1751 (on North Fork of the Roanoke)• Lived with the Shawnee for thirteen years• Returned home to Virginia in 1768, age 17• Educated (at a school run by Thomas Walker)• Married a woman from Albemarle County (Eleanor Grills)• Served as a lieutenant under William Christian in the Battle of Point Pleasant (1774)• Lost his two oldest children (William and Mary) when the Shawnee attacked his home in Burkes Garden (1782)• Kept moving west…several children survived, and many descendants are still keeping his story alive today…
They say that lightning doesn’t usually strike twice in the same place, but perhaps Indian attacks did. Listen to what happened in 1782…• In the summer of 1782, Thomas Ingles (along with a few other men) was working in the fields in Burkes Garden, Virginia, when…• A Shawnee war party attacked the Ingles cabin and carried off Eleanor (wife), William (4), Mary(2), and baby Rhoda.• The rescue effort didn’t go well, with tragic results… The two oldest children were mortally wounded.• Thomas took Eleanor (seriously wounded by a tomahawk) and Rhoda (unharmed) to Ingles Ferry to be with his parents for awhile, but eventually moved back to the frontier (Tennessee). William Ingles (1729-1782) died at Ingles Ferry a few months after the tragedy.
We’ll never know for certain…• About George (born about 1753)… but the Ingles were told that he died soon after he was adopted into an Indian family in the winter of 1755-56.• About the baby girl delivered somewhere along the trail in West Virginia, in August of 1755. Mary never mentioned giving birth to a child on the trail, so she also never mentioned the unspeakable anguish she might have felt in deciding to leave her baby behind…• Some Shawnee families still claim that they are descended from Mary Ingles… Surprisingly, there were TWO women named Mary Ingles who were captured in Virginia within the same year, so that may have added to the confusion.• According to information gathered from several sources…William Ingles had an uncle (John Ingles) who was killed at Fort Vause in 1756. He was married to a woman named Mary, who was captured and taken into Ohio. She later tried to claim her widow’s share of her husband’s estate, but was turned down because the colonial government did not believe her claim to be legitimate… She remarried, a man named John Miller, and moved, at least for a few years, to the Carolinas.
Polly Ingles• More questions than answers…• She married John Grills (brother of Eleanor Grills, wife of Polly’s older brother, Thomas)• Many historians have said that Polly died young, after having one or two children. They base that claim primarily on the marriage records showing that John Grills remarried in 1792 (?).• I recently stumbled on a court record in which a woman accused John Grills of fathering her child (out of wedlock)…• Another historian I met (Wayne Stark, who works at Sweet Briar College), is absolutely convinced that he is descended from Polly Ingles, but that she married a man named McBroom. We’re still trying to figure out what may have happened.
Susannah Ingles married Abram Trigg. Abram was a lawyer and apparently helpedhis father-in-law resolve his land claims (nosmall accomplishment). The Triggs were aprominent family with ties to Bedford andthe Peaks Presbyterian Church. Both Abramand his older brother, John Johns Triggserved in the U.S. Congress.Abram bought choice bottomland along theNew River that eventually became known asKentland, and is now owned by Virginia Tech.
Rhoda Ingles, who married Bird Smith, had a dozen or more childrenJohn Ingles, who married Margaret Crockett, had eight children • One of John’s sons became a doctor and lived throughout his life at Ingleside. Bud Jeffries, who now lives at Ingleside, is a direct descendant of John, the doctor. • Another son, Thomas, inherited land on the other side of the river. He helped create the Ingles Lafayette turnpike and built a covered bridge over the New River. It was burned by the Confederates shortly after the Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain.
Here is a painting of that Thomas Ingles – grandson of Mary and William Ingles – and son of John Ingles
I am a direct descendant of Thomas Ingles• William and Mary had a son, John Ingles• John Ingles married Margaret Crockett and they had a son Thomas Ingles• Thomas Ingles married Katherine McClanahan• Thomas and Katherine had a son named Andrew Lewis Ingles• Andrew Ingles married Julia Harvey• Andrew and Julia had a daughter named Katherine Ingles• Katherine married William P. Hill and they had a daughter named Katherine Hill• Katherine Hill married John S. Apperson• Katherine and John had three children, with the youngest named Ellen, making me a 7th great-granddaughter…
If any of you ever saw the outdoordrama (The Long Way Home), the lion’s share of credit for the production goes to Mary Lewis Jeffries, who pushed, pulled and prodded the production formany years. This charming photograph was taken as she played the part ofMary’s mother – Eleanor Hardin Draper.Her son (Bud Jeffries) owns the property where the play was performed (for 30+years) and is carrying on the tradition byoffering “Ingles Farm Days” throughout the year.
Questions for Bedford historians…What information may be hiding here, in this museum, about Mary’s sojournin Bedford County, and about her relatives and neighbors?Who built Ingleside, the home mentioned on the map in my first slide? Did William Ingles build a home for Mary in Bedford that looked somethinglike this (The Ingles Tavern)?
I’d like to recruit your help as history detectives…• Can you help me look for information about the families who lived in Bedford County during the 1750s?• Many of these families probably moved away once the warfare in the backcountry settled down. The Bedford County Court records may have some bits of evidence indicating the names of the early families who lived here
What happened to all those settlers who came into Augusta County?• According to Mary Kegley, there were about 2,500 titheables in Augusta County in 1754, but within a few short years that number had shrunk to about 1,400. (Dan Thorp, a scholar who teaches at Virginia Tech, estimates that to count population, one should calculate 4 “bodies” per “titheable.” Using his rule of thumb, in terms of population, it could be estimated that there were 10,000 people in Augusta County before the start of the French and Indian war, but only 5,600 a few years after the war started.)• Where did everyone (approximately 4,400 men, women , and children) go??? Several hundred were killed or captured in Indians raids, but what about the other thousands? Did many of them come to Bedford? Did many of them come through Bedford on their way to the Carolinas?• Perhaps we could track down many of our ancestors if we search the court records in places such as Rowan County, North Carolina, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, or in several of the counties in central Virginia.