“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Standard in Kanawha County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)

Mary Ingles

Captive Journey!

— America’s Byways — Paint Creek Scenic Trail —

Mary Ingles Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, July 13, 2019
1. Mary Ingles Marker
Inscription.  The War for Empire during the 1750s (often called the French & Indian War) was a contest between France, England, and several American Indian Nations to control much of eastern North America, especially the Ohio River Watershed. This rich region supported abundant animal populations, fertile soils, and well-timbered mountainsides. It is no wonder that when British colonial expansion into the region threatened the livelihoods of some Ohio Valley Indian Nations, some anti-British factions of those Peoples allied themselves to the French, who had determined to keep the British Empire east of the Allegheny Mountains.

The war visited the Draper’s Meadow settlement (present-day Blacksburg, VA) in 1755 and the Draper and Ingles families were changed forever. Young wife and mother Mary Ingles (nee Draper) became a casualty of war. A French-allied Shawnee war party attacked her frontier home and those of her neighbors on and about July 30, 1755. Her mother-in-law and her sister-in-law’s baby were killed. Betty Draper, Mary’s sister-in-law was wounded. Mary and her two boys were safe, but their long ordeal was just beginning. Adding one more prisoner, Henry Lenard, to the captive party, the warriors prodded them down New River to Bluestone River, then up that stream a short ways before ascending the dominant massif known as Flat Top Mountain. Once on Flat Top, the party made its way past the Great Glade (near where Winterplace resort is located today) and onward to the “Painted Trees” (war camps) on Paint Creek. The larger of the war camps was located just a little ways upstream of this roadside park, and its painted
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trees served as records of military exploits undertaken during previous wars engaged in between northern and southern Indian Nations. Undoubtedly, the leader of Mary’s captors left his record here, showing several headless stick figures representing their dead and scalped enemies, as well as two women, two boys, and one man, perhaps collared with a prisoner cord. These prisoners, especially the women and children, were prizes worth much more than scalps.

Eventually, the foot-weary party would reach the Ohio Shawnee towns, but first they had to travel the Paint Creek Trail to access the larger trail through the Kanawha Valley. The going was rocky in spots, with numerous stream crossings. Food and medicines were gathered along the way. A crayfish hole here a blackberry patch there, provided the minimal sustenance the party needed to move fast down Paint Creek in hopes of avoiding a militia posse from the Virginia settlements. There was plenty of clean water to drink along the way—no coal mines, no sewer outfalls, no timber haul roads, no carelessly tossed garbage to taint the springs and branches.

Once the party made it to Sonhioto (present day Portsmouth OH), Mary’s sons were taken from her and adopted into Shawnee families. Betty and Henry were taken to other communities. Soon Mary found herself working for a French trader, making shirts for his clientele. She was befriended by an elderly woman and soon they had plans to escape. While rendering salt at Big Bone Lick in KY, they made their move. Over a life-threatening journey of around 500 miles, the two women returned to the Virginia New River settlements in the Fall, where Mary was united with the remnants of her family. Soon she helped her husband, Will, and her brother, Johnny, to plan to ransom her boys and sister-in-law. Two-year old Georgie could not be found, but Tommy and Betty were
Mary Ingles Marker, Map of the Paint Creek Scenic Trail, and the Standard WV Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, July 13, 2019
2. Mary Ingles Marker, Map of the Paint Creek Scenic Trail, and the Standard WV Marker
eventually returned.

When you fish, picnic, or drive along the Paint Creek Scenic Byway, ponder the ordeal of Mary and her family. Where you step into the water to lure a fish, Mary may have stumbled across Paint Creek holding little Georgie on her hip. Where you stop to unpack your picnic buffet, Mary’s captors may have offered their charges some blackberries and roasted turtle meat to sustain them for another ten miles. Where you, from the comfort of your car, see the beautiful redbud blooming along the road bank in spring, Mary may have spied the wild comfrey, with which she tended her sister-in-law’s wounded arm. Even with the noise of traffic on the interstate highway never far away, the gurgling of the riffles and waterfalls of Paint Creek can carry your imagination back to Mary’s ordeal.

You will find yourself asking the question that all modern readers of Mary’s story ask, “Could I do what Mary did?”
Erected by America’s Byways: Paint Creek Scenic Trail.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial EraSettlements & SettlersWar, French and IndianWomen. A significant historical date for this entry is July 30, 1755.
Location. 38° 7.738′ N, 81° 23.252′ W. Marker is near Standard, West Virginia, in Kanawha County. Marker is at the intersection of Paint Creek Road (Local Route 83) and Exit 74 (Interstate 77) on Paint Creek Road. Paint Creek Road parallels the West Virginia Turnpike Toll Road, Interstates 64 and 77. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Gallagher WV 25083, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Standard, WV (here, next to this marker); Mucklow / Gallagher, WV (approx. 2.3 miles away); Holly Grove “Bull Moose Special”
Paint Creek Scenic Trail Map image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, July 13, 2019
3. Paint Creek Scenic Trail Map
Click on the image to zoom in. Highlights (shown in green) left to right:
  • 1920—Striking miners terrorize Willis Branch with gunfire and destroy the mining complex with dynamite.
  • 1919—7 miners are killed in an explosion of the Weirwood coal mine.
  • 1989—Striking miners bombed the coal mine at Milbourn, WV
  • 1990s—The last company store operating in West Virginia was the Imperial Collieries store in Burnwell.
  • 1913—Approximate location of the striking miners’ tent colony that was fired on by mine guards wielding a machine gun mounted on the “Bull Moose” special train.
  • 1913—Union organizer mary “Mother” Jones inprisoned in Pratt.
(approx. 4.3 miles away); Bull Moose Special (approx. 4.3 miles away); Fayette County / Kanawha County (approx. 4.8 miles away); West Virginia Institute of Technology (approx. 4.9 miles away); Montgomery (approx. 5.1 miles away); Christopher H. Payne (approx. 5.2 miles away).
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 8, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 11, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 424 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 11, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.

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Mar. 3, 2024